Getting a Master of Veterinary Medicine is already an impressive feat, but Dr. Trudie Prinsloo took her studies one step further and got a Law degree too.
In 2002, she qualified as an attorney and, with her unique education and experience, decided to start Legalvet Services in 2015 to provide legal advice to the animal and veterinary industries in South Africa.
She’s also teamed up with us at dotsure.co.za this month to answer all of your pet questions.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a pet if you and your partner split up, whether you should draw up a will for your pet, or any other legal pet questions, submit your question here and we’ll answer them on our Facebook page.
But first, let’s get to know Dr. Trudie Prinsloo!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Where were you born?
I was born in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, but grew up and attended school in Pretoria, Gauteng.
Did you always know you wanted to become a vet?
I wanted to become a vet from the first time I thought about a career, which was in primary school. In high school my entire focus was on ensuring that I would be selected to study Veterinary Science.
What made you want to become a vet?
A love and compassion for animals. This is also the reason I studied law and combined it with veterinary science. An animal abuse case I worked with when I was a lecturer at the Onderstepoort was the final catalyst that lead me to enroll for the LLB degree.
If you completed an internship, where did you do your internship?
I Did a Clinical Pathology internship at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort.
Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
I grew up with dogs, cats, and birds as pets in our house. We also had horses when I was in high school.
I have had many special pets over the years, but if I must pick out one, it must be my beloved Giant Schnauzer, Jayden, who sadly died in 2018. He was the most gorgeous gentle giant and loved by absolutely everyone that met him.
Currently we have two dogs: Sandy, a mixed breed that I rescued, and Troy, another beautiful Giant Schnauzer.
Where is your favourite place to vacation and why?
Somewhere in nature, away from the crowds. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and northern parts of the Kruger National Park are some of my favourite places in the world.
2. Tell us about Legalvet Services.
Where is it based and what do you do?
My business is to provide legal advice and assistance to veterinarians and the animal health industry. I am based in Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape, but do most of my consultation work online, so I am not geographically bound.
How long has it been in operation?
Legalvet Services started in March 2015.
Tell us about your clients/ patients?
Our clients include companies, veterinarians, and farmers. Through the assistance to the animal health industry, veterinarians, and farmers, I believe we also contribute indirectly to the improvement of animal lives.
What is the weirdest thing you have seen or treated a patient for?
When I was a state veterinarian, I once saw a Boer goat with its neck permanently bent at an angle so that it was looking to the right and back. It would walk in the opposite direction that it was looking!
The goat did well under the circumstances and the owner took very great care of it. The owner told us that it had been like that since it was young, but we could not determine what the cause was.
What is your stand-out career moment to date?
Attorney: As South African Veterinary Association’s appointed attorney in a Constitutional Court case: South African Veterinary Association vs Speaker of the National Assembly & Others  ZACC 49, where judgement was in favour of SAVA.
Veterinarian: Not a single event, but all the awesome times I had working with buffalo when I was a state veterinarian.
3. Let’s talk pets!
Do you have any general healthcare tips for pet parents?
If there is a sudden change in your pet’s behaviour (anything out of the ordinary), phone your vet immediately for advice; do not wait until the next day.
Why is it important to regularly take your pet to the vet?
Chronic diseases such as kidney failure and heart failure can be difficult to see in your pet in the earlier stages when treatment is far more effective and cheaper. Once there are visible signs, it is often too late to treat them effectively. Regular visits to your vet will help to diagnose disease in the early stages.
What are your thoughts on pet insurance?
Pet insurance is one of the best developments there has been for pets and their owners in the past few years. It is heart-breaking to euthanize a sick or injured pet because the owners cannot afford the treatment, especially where treatment has a good prognosis, and the pet can still live happily for several years.
From a veterinarian’s point of view, it is also one of the most soul-destroying things to euthanize a pet because an owner cannot afford treatment.
How can people get a hold of you?
They can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 0825601359.