background + practice
A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Natalie Marks has been with Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago, IL, for six years, and a partner since July 2012. Dr. Marks has held leadership roles in the AVMA, the Illinois State VMA and Chicago VMA, and was recently awarded the ISVMA Erwin Small First Decade Award.
Blum Animal Hospital, a consistently award-winning clinic, is a full-service veterinary facility with eight veterinarians, nine vet techs and one full-time practice manager/hospital administrator, offering a range of services from general wellness exams to behavioral counseling, pain management, surgery and more. The hospital recently expanded to be equipped with the latest technology to serve patients in the most humane and effective manner possible.
Dr. Marks prides herself on being empathetic and compassionate, working with families to provide the best quality and quantity of life to their pets. When she is not working, she volunteers with the AVMA and AAHA, and treasures her time with her husband and two children. They recently lost their Pug, Clyde, but Pugs remain her favorite breed of four-legged best friend.
why her nomination stood out
Dr. Marks’s nomination, submitted by a client and devoted pet parent, described a particular four-legged patient and the care Dr. Marks took to get him on a path to wellness. It was clear from the “tail” that Dr. Marks demonstrates a level of compassion, dedication and veterinary acumen that goes above and beyond the norm: “Dr. Natalie Marks is the best vet that we’ve ever known. When our adopted 8-month-old Lab-mix puppy named Goose was very sick, she was incredible. We thought our little puppy might not make it, but instead Dr. Marks confirmed a diagnosis of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and begin treatment right away. She taught us about the special nutrition and medication he needs. We had a lot of difficulty finding a new food that he liked. Every week for many weeks, Dr. Marks called me to follow up. Her warm personality and kind understanding made all the difference. She helped us transition through almost every protein in the book until we found a food that our pup was excited to eat. We finally have a happy, healthy 1-year-old dog. He has grown so much, now that he is getting the nutrition he needs and help his body needs to digest it. It is because of our kind, devoted and compassionate vet that we have such a bouncy, silly, HEALTHY pup!” – Beth W., Chicago
in her words
What drew you to veterinary medicine?
"I truly can’t remember wanting to pursue any other career path. I grew up with a close friend working on his horse ranch and instantly was drawn to the peace and gracious beauty of draft horses. As time went on, I became exposed to many other species and gravitated towards science with the help of many fantastic teachers and professors. Veterinary medicine combines the best features of working with animals and humans."
What is the most exciting advancement in veterinary medicine in the past 5 years?
"I am impressed daily by the advancements I see and utilize in physical and rehabilitation therapy. From advanced acupuncture, aqua-puncture, laser therapy, hydrotherapy and chiropractic medicine, I work synergistically with our local therapy center to adjunctively treat a myriad of disease with wonderful success – I even sit on their advisory board! Whether I have a post-operative cruciate patient, a paralyzed Dachshund after back surgery, a severely affected arthritis patient who can’t tolerate traditional medication, or simply an owner wanting another option for a weight loss program, I am always anxious to include this aspect as part of our total treatment plan."
What has been your greatest challenge, to date, in your professional career?
"I become incredibly invested in all of my cases and clients, and therefore, sometimes feel at risk of falling victim to emotional burnout. I have had to learn to grieve along with clients and to rely on the support of colleagues and family. I have had to learn a true work-life balance and how to find strategies to relieve emotional stress. While challenging, my personal investment in my clients has truly become one of the reasons I feel this career is so rewarding."
a bit of fun
Favorite human treat: Sushi!
Favorite breed of best friend: Pug
Favorite travel destination: Italy