Susanne Heartsill, DVM

Dr. Susanne Heartsill was four years old when she proclaimed to her family that she was going to “be a zoologist” when she grew up. That early love of all animals grew into a passion for veterinary medicine.

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Dr. Heartsill has two dogs, Tater (pictured) and Jack.


Lakeland, FL

Why did you become a vet?

From a very young age, I wanted to be a zoologist and travel to Africa. Jane Goodall was a huge inspiration to me as a child and I wanted to work with endangered species all over the world. My parents encouraged this fantasy but gently suggested that perhaps a veterinarian was a more reasonable endeavor. I never considered any other calling. I spent my childhood and adolescence riding and competing in equestrian competitions nationally. During that time, I began to work toward being an equine veterinarian. Once in veterinary school, it became apparent that while I love horses, my true calling is dogs and cats. My love for veterinary medicine is centered around caring for small animals and their pet parents.


 What do you enjoy about your job?

There are no two days alike in veterinary medicine. I love everything about emergency medicine, dentistry, surgery and the mental gymnastics required to “solve” cases. It’s like being a detective. These precious little beings cannot talk to us, so it is our responsibility to talk for them. I also truly love the human aspect of veterinary medicine, By caring for someone’s beloved pet, I am also taking care of them. I am absolutely passionate about protecting and nurturing the human·animal bond.


Graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. Worked as an associate veterinarian and for an emergency hospital in Atlanta until 2004. Moved to Memphis and founded Downtown Animal Hospital in Feb 2004 which became part of The Pet Hospitals family in March 2016. Currently the Medical Director at The Pet Hospitals Downtown where she has continued to care for her beloved patients and clients.


What do you love most about living in Memphis?

Having lived and worked in downtown Memphis for years, I am most in love with the people. I love seeing the bridge across the Mississippi River at sunset, the vibe and pulse of the blues, the fabulous food, the cottonwood trees on Mud Island in June when it looks like it’s snowing despite 90 degree temperatures … but most of all, the people.


What secret talent do you wish that you had?

Like all veterinarians, I wish I could see into the future of our patients. Most of my peers have wished for a crystal ball, but in reality, we must rely on our intuition and ability to solve cases. I also wish I could sing as well as I think I can when I’m driving. That would be nice…..
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