Welcome to Vet Mentors - Matt Yarnall

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Matt graduated after a very happy 5 years at the Dick Vet, and wanted to make a difference so joined a mixed 2 man practice in Yorkshire. It was quite rough around the edges but it taught him a lot. Matt started locuming at Vets Now while still working there, which was a great opposite to what he was doing. He then volunteered in India, on the way to working for a year in New Zealand as a mainly large animal vet. Matt locumed on his return before wondering what to do next and coming across an advert for a cattle vet adviser for a pharmaceutical company. Having not known a lot about the job when he applied, Matt has had a great 8 years, and has done a Masters in Animal Health, Marketing Diploma and is currently studying for an Executive MBA at Henley Business School. Matt is a past Director of BCVA. Matt has a wife, 2 young children, and his therapy is his working cocker spaniel. Occasionally Matt throws himself into challenges such as adventure races, ultramarathons, triathlons, ironmen etc.


Tell us about a daily habit or routine you practice that contributes to your productivity and fulfilment?

- Wake up before anyone else

- 30 minutes coffee and reading the paper in peace and quiet

- Run with the dog

- Job done


When you start to doubt your own ability, or are having 'a bad day at the office', how do you get back on track? Can you give us an example?

- Chat to someone you know appreciates you and will give you confidence, even if they don’t know you’re struggling.

- Get away from the problem, either take a coffee/lunch break with other people or go for a walk

- If you don’t have the opportunity to do these, quickly think of something you’re really proud of, that someone else hasn’t achieved, and tell yourself to man up.

- If you’re really struggling for time, do a quick power pose (legs apart, shoulders back, arms in the air…)


What have you got better at saying no to? How did you realise this and how has it benefitted you?

- Adding more commitments to my life, eg. Member representation bodies, challenges, work tasks. This has really helped me focus on doing a few things better rather than just trying to juggle too much. Still definitely not there yet though, it’s a learning process!


If you could gift a book to all vets at graduation, what would it be, and why? (It doesn't have to be specific to animal health!)

“Why We Sleep”, by Matthew Walker. An absolute must for vets and anyone that wants to achieve too much.


Tell us about something you are currently a fan of? This could be anything; a person, trend, hypothesis, mindset, diet, activity, tech, hobby etc.

The farming sector will experience a boom in productivity in a generation’s time as a significant number of female vets are going to rural areas and marrying farmers, thus producing really skilled and bright offspring. This has happened noticeably with girls in my year at Edinburgh.

Also I'm confident that insects will be the new big ‘farm animal’ in 5 years’ time. It’s already happening, but from an efficiency and sustainability perspective, it’s hard to ignore.


What purchase of less than £100 has most positively impacted your life in the last 12 months?

My Withings watch, which tells me how much sleep I’m getting, and also wakes me up by vibrating on my wrist rather than making a noise (happier wife, see Q1), as well as the usual steps and distance etc.


What is the worst bit of advice you hear regularly in our profession? Why do you feel it is bad advice?

Not sure it’s advice, but it is certainly still an issue, that somehow it’s acceptable that after much unpaid labour and 5 years of studying to the highest level, it’s ok to be paid pretty much minimum wage. (Having said that, vets do need to be better at selling themselves and their abilities.)


What advice would you give veterinary graduates about to begin their careers?

Experience as much as you can (vetting is a great passport to the world), work out what makes you happy (and it may or may not be treating animals, and that’s ok), and plan your career and life around that.


If you could send a single text to every vet around the world simultaneously, what would it say? This can be one word, a message or an entire paragraph.

You’ve made it this far, you may as well enjoy it.