A Big Leap

Almost 20 years ago, Dr. Andy Claude made a professional decision that was “financial suicide” at the time.

But it was a decision that has turned out for the best.

At the time, Claude (DVM ’92) was in private practice in Grimes, a suburb of Des Moines. He was well-established in his practice but itched for something else.

That something else was first an internship, then a three-year residency back at his alma mater.

“It’s what I really wanted to do,” Claude said. “I really wasn’t a client-type veterinarian and wanted something different.

“It was easily the best decision of my professional life.”

The rotating residency in internal medicine wasn’t without its challenges. First Claude had to make do with a significant lower salary. Then there were the hours required of an internship as opposed to what he was doing in private practice.

And throw in the fact he only had a month to prepare in making the move from owner to intern and it was “a very challenging year.”

Once his rotating residency came to anesthesiology, Claude knew he had found his calling.

“This was ‘it’ I remember thinking,” Claude said. “This is where I wanted to be and I found I really enjoyed working in an academic setting. I wasn’t interested in going back to private practice.”

After completing his residency at Iowa State, Claude did stay in academia, working first as an anesthesiologist at Mississippi State University and for the past two years at Michigan State University where he runs the anesthesiology service for the teaching hospital.

Claude is board certified in the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia and has settled in at Michigan State.

“The hospital here sees many more cases than we did at Mississippi State,” Claude said. “There a big day was 12 cases, while here 12 cases is a slow day.

“The nice thing about being here is there always seems to be new challenges, new things for me to tackle.”