Meet Trish Wilhelm RVT: VetCS Co-Founder and COO

Trish Wilhelm VetCS COO

What does your four-legged family at home look like?

We have an almost 7 year old rescue dog named Poppy. You might see her on our social media from time to time, she's pretty famous for her one ear always standing up! We also just added “Button'' the winter white hamster to the crew. He's been so much fun!

What drew you to the field of veterinary medicine, and what is your educational background?

I started my career in veterinary medicine knowing I wanted to specialize in horses. My love for horses started at the age of 6, and like every horse person knows…my love for horses only kept growing from there. I obtained my Registered Veterinary Technician degree from Bel-Rea Institute in Denver, CO. I then completed my internship in Elizabeth, CO at an equine ambulatory practice. I went on to work for two busy equine practices as an accomplished veterinary technician in equine ambulatory and surgical services, a patient care coordinator, and I did also have other experiences in small animal clinics and shelters.

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career working with animals?

I remember being young and watching a vet come out to help resolve a colic on one of the horses at the barn. The entire process blew my mind! They ended up saving the horse and I knew I wanted to do something to help horses when I grew up!

Moving on to VetCS, can you briefly tell us about founding the company and why you decided to create plant-based products for pets and horses?

I was working as an RVT at an equine clinic with Dr. Chelsea at the time, and we had a horse owner ask us about using a product from a Colorado dispensary on her painful horse. We knew it was something we wanted to of course investigate first before she proceeded to use anything. We tried to find veterinary hemp products that met our requirements for transparency and efficacy and there weren't any. After looking into the potential benefits of cannabinoids for animals further, we decided to start our initial independent studies and then later formulated our first few products!

In your opinion, what are the top challenges you've encountered in the hemp/CBD industry for pets and horses?

A behind the scenes challenge would be certain regular business restrictions that are isolated/targeted at those operating in the cannabis space. Overall, general every day education on the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine is a mountain we are always (excitedly) climbing. It’s important to us as a company to educate everyone to end stigmas and legitimize the vast medicinal purposes of this versatile plant.

Is there a particular VetCS product you're especially proud of? If so, what makes it special to you?

I am SO proud of every single product of ours so it's definitely hard to choose! I recently was very proud to integrate our new Advanced Joint Formula for dogs into the mix which includes CBDA:CBD:CBG:CBN. It was incredible to watch our senior lab director, Tara Dorr, take our vision of this formulation and execute it so flawlessly. Tara really took the time to make this product everything we hoped for, and it shows in the results. It’s a game changer for a lot of dogs that struggle with mobility issues.

Reflecting on the years of VetCS, is there a specific moment that made you especially proud or that stands out?

There have been countless moments that have made me proud over the years, its very bittersweet to think about. I love reflecting back on when we were doing our own independent case studies in the very beginning before we even had official products or a website. There was a horse that was so uncomfortable from other injuries that he was completely off his feed. His owner was luckily game to try CBD with the guidance of Dr. Chelsea and I. Within 24 hours of CBD therapy his appetite returned, his inflammation was greatly reduced, and for the first time in a while he was comfortable. It was a true “It worked!!” moment, and I will never forget it. Every time we get a good review or feedback of how much our products have helped an animal stay more comfortable, it's that same “it worked!” feeling over and over again. It’s constant reminders that we are changing the lives of animals, which is why we took an oath to protect animal health to begin with. We love every minute of it.

As the main support person at VetCS, answering all those customer questions, do you have a funny story or an amusing interaction that made you laugh?

I LOVE my role as a resource for our clients to reach out to for cannabis consultations for their animals! You all are amazing, and I have really grown some meaningful relationships with our clients. I will never forget a client telling me that they used our calming peanut butter for their own peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch one day! They said it was so good they might have to buy their dog their own jar!

Do you have any advice for women looking to enter the field of veterinary medicine and also considering becoming a business owner?

Veterinary medicine gave me such an amazing foundation of knowledge to later allow myself to utilize my credentials in a unique way to pursue my career with VetCS. I am so grateful for that every day. I think finding the area of veterinary medicine you truly care about, and honing in on that will take you far because you are doing what you actually enjoy the most. As a business owner: learn to pivot when needed. Never give up, and pour everything you have into your passions. Always believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish anything you want to, because you CAN do it.

Now for our favorite question: If you could be any animal, which one would you choose and why?

Unicorn, 100%. They have always been described as the “horses of healing” as their horns have been said to have magical healing powers. I love believing in magic all around us.

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