What’s This Veterinarian’s Secret Weapon? Math.

Jul 15, 2021 | Schertz

Last blog post we spoke about potential careers in math, this week and next we will be bringing back and highlighting some people that have some cool careers that utilize math. For this week, we will discuss Dr. Sara Ochoa and how math helps her keep pets happy and healthy. 


Like many children, Ochoa struggled with math, thankfully, a caring fifth-grade teacher gave her special attention to help her understand how math works, helping her achieve her childhood dream of becoming an animal doctor. Having that intervention before she got to middle school made a tremendous difference in her life, she said, and she sailed smoothly through most other high school and college math courses. 


Now a small and exotic veterinarian in rural Texas, Ochoa regularly uses algebra and arithmetic. “I use math on the job every day,” she said. “We weigh the animals using pounds, but a lot of our dosages need to be given in kilograms, so I have to convert pounds to kilograms. Then the drug should be given at ‘so many milligrams per kilogram,’ and the concentration is ‘so many milligrams per milliliter,’ and you just continue. It’s an algebraic equation that I use everyday, all dayk to calculate drug dosages. 


Ochoa shares her expertise and love of veterinary medicine with young people by volunteering to teach at local high schools and veterinary schools. She hopes more children will follow their dream of helping animals through veterinary science, stating, “ I highly recommend it to young people. You can make more money in ‘people medicine,’ but animal medicine is very rewarding.”

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