Interview with Christina Marino, DVM, DACVIM (Small Animal Internal Medicine)
Where did you do your schooling and training?
I went to a small, liberal arts college in Albany, NY called The College of Saint Rose. I received a BA in biology and many awards at graduation, including the Sister Rose of Lima Award to acknowledge the student with the highest 4 year program GPA.
I then attended The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbus, OH. It was an amazing experience. I was involved with a research project with Dr. Guillermo Couto on greyhound blood pressure which led to a publication in the esteemed Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. I graduated number one in my class along with many student awards in internal medicine, feline medicine and surgery.
I entered the VIRMP Match Program (a.k.a. “The Match”) and landed at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC where I completed a one year rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery. It was there I solidified my intense love for internal medicine (though surgery was a close second). I again entered “The Match” and landed at the University of Pennsylvania for a three year internal medicine residency program. During this program I worked on research with kittens and congenital hypothyroidism. I also attended and completed the rigorous Hemodialysis Training Academy through the University of California, Davis College of Veterinary Medicine under the directorship of Dr. Larry Cowgill. I had immense practice with hemodialysis and electrophoretic procedures for three years and plan to start my own dialysis unit in the near future.
Following my training, I met the rigorous requirements for the College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and became a diplomat. I entered into a large private practice. It was here I was immersed in ultrasound with the guidance of other internists and radiologists, as well as intense internal medicine case management and high volume caseload.
Within the scope of veterinary medicine, what do you do?
I am an internist, also known as an internal medicine specialist. I trained for four years after the four years of vet school to focus on this particular area in veterinary medicine. An internist deals with all of the organs of the body on the inside, such as the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, pancreas, and bladder. Because all the organs are on the inside and our patients cannot talk to us, we have to rely on diagnostic tests (such as blood work) and tools (such as ultrasound, endoscopy, fluoroscopy) to figure out what is causing the patient to be sick.
What are your favorite areas of internal medicine?
I enjoy kidney disease, ranging from those with an acute issue to those older animals with chronic disease. I also enjoy autoimmune diseases as these are some of the most frustrating, yet rewarding to treat.
What animals do you practice on?
I have training with cats and dogs, but many of the same diagnostic procedures and tests we perform can also be applied to other small animals, such as rabbits, ferrets and reptiles.
Have you done any research within the veterinary field?
Yes. To become a board certified specialist, you must publish a research study. The word ‘research’ carries a very negative connotation. I was involved with many clinical research projects, such as the variation in blood pressure in Greyhounds in the hospital and at home, the connection between osteoarthritis and kidney disease in older cats, and the normal thyroid levels of kittens. These areas of research only help us to better diagnose and treat patients.
What is your favorite part about being a specialist?
The family or primary veterinarian will often refer cases to a specialist because they need a diagnosis to better treat the patient. As a specialist, I get to review all the information, come up with a plan, and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I can help and see the joy in the pet parents when I can help something that has plagued their pet for long durations. I can hold their hand as we try different treatment plans. I can console them when my medicines fail to cure the ailments of their pets. Someone recently asked me, “What makes you feel most alive?” This… this is what I love to do. Being an internist makes me feel alive.
What are 3 words or phrases you would use to describe yourself?
Compassionate. Persistent. Listener.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my husband. We are often traveling to visit family or experiencing new places. We love to attend concerts as well as be involved with our church ministries. We have 3 cats and 2 salamanders. I love to listen to classical music and play the piano, as this brings me back to my roots. And I am always cheering for my fellow Buckeyes on Saturdays during football season.