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Dr. Williamson: Veterinarians in Greenfield

Dr. Derek Williamson, DVM/
Medical Director

What is your educational and veterinary medicine background?

I did my undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. I received my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2003. After graduation, I practiced small animal medicine and surgery for eleven years at a mixed animal practice in Elkhorn, WI.

Why did you decide to become a veterinarian?

I knew I wanted to study a science-related field when I left for college. I thought about going to medical school, but didn’t want to have to specialize as much as is required in human medicine. Veterinary medicine allows me to be a surgeon, general practitioner, anesthesiologist, internal medicine practitioner, etc. all in the same day. I have always loved animals, so it seemed like a natural fit.

What is your most memorable moment as a vet?

My first day on call after graduating from veterinary school was pretty memorable. In the span of a few minutes, I saw a dog with a gastric dilatation/volvulus (which required emergency surgery), a dog in severe heart failure, and a dog whose tail was shut in a door and needed to be amputated. Being after hours, I was by myself at the clinic with these three very labor-intensive cases. For a doctor fresh out of school, it was definitely trial by fire!

What are the best things you find about being a veterinarian?

I enjoy interacting with both pets and people on a daily basis. It is fun getting to know my clients and pets. Over time, pet owners come to know and trust you enough to put a family member’s life in your hands. Every day is different and dealing with both routine appointments and the most stressful problems can each have their own rewards. I find the career most rewarding when a pet is presented with a very life-threatening problem that requires surgical intervention to resolve. Some examples would be a GDV, pyometra, enterotomy, gastrotomy, etc. Though they can at times be tense cases, knowing you are performing a procedure to save a life is a great feeling. A positive outcome in these cases is the greatest reward I have found in veterinary medicine.

What are your special interests in the field of veterinary medicine?

I enjoy soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, ultrasonography, and working through and solving complex medical cases.

What is the most unusual pet you have helped treat?

I have seen many strange animals–a bengal tiger, fox, lynx, sugar gliders, pot bellied pigs, snakes, lizards…

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Slow traffic

Favorite place to eat?


Favorite place to visit?

Central America, Costa Rica is my favorite

Favorite food?

Burritos. With extra hot sauce.

Favorite movie?

Forrest Gump

What are your favorite sports teams?

Wisconsin Badgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Bears.

Name 3 things people might be surprised to learn about you:

  1. I summited Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft) with my brother in Tanzania, Africa.
  2. I cut my finger off on a table saw a few years ago. It was reattached and is completely functional.
  3. I enjoy doing mission work with my church and have been involved in an ongoing project in Honduras. We have done mostly construction work, but I have been able to do a little veterinary work while down there as well.