The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. And Dr. James Askew loves a good challenge.
The world’s first trans-radial and trans-ulnar endoprosthesis on a tortoise? Sure. Oral surgery on a shark? Why not? Working with venomous snakes (and even giving them a kiss on the lips)? Definitely. How about a groundbreaking surgery on an African Serval? That’s in the works.
Basically, Askew lives for the challenge of helping and rehabbing animals, and he always manages to do it with his own flair and sense of humor.
“I like to consider myself the Captain Kirk of veterinary medicine," says the 1996 alumni. “To go someplace no man has gone before.”
Kangaroos, sea turtles, bald eagles, sloths – Askew loves to walk on the wilder side of veterinary medicine. Yet, sometimes the challenges present themselves in common forms.
“There was a bull frog, whom we named Jeremiah, that was brought to me after being hit by a postal truck,” says Askew, who works at Happy Tails Animal Hospital in D’Iberville, Miss. “We saw it as an exciting challenge. So we went straight to surgery. The spinal chord was severed clean through, but I pinned the spinal column anyway. With some prayer, TLC and the help of a hospital and staff, we watched a paraplegic not be a paraplegic.”
Best of all, he and the staff weren’t the only ones to be able to watch it. Thanks to his YouTube channel, his nearly 39,000 followers also got to learn about Jeremiah, and the countless other amazing or shocking animals he comes in contact with regularly.
“I started this veterinary journey fully intending to be boarded by the American College of Zoological Medicine,” says Askew. “So I started documenting my cases, and for fun, I started posting the cool stuff on Facebook. Months later, I received an email from Facebook eluding to ‘great work, but have you ever considered a YouTube channel?’
“So, a few years and over 2,000 videos later, here I am loosely educating nearly 40,000 thumb owners a day on YouTube, Instagram and other social media channels.”
If you want to see some truly entertaining and amazing videos, you can find them on his channel, James CritterDr Askew DVM.