Missouri’s First Female Veterinarian —
THE ONLY WOMAN GRADUATING Magna Cum Laude from Munich University in Germany in 1954, Saueressig, a newly licensed veterinarian, came to St. Louis in 1955. She was planning to study American veterinarian methods for one year.
Forty-seven years later, Saueressig is chief of staff for the Humane Society of Missouri, a position she has held since 1965. Under her leadership, the veterinary clinic has become the largest veterinarian medical center in the state of Missouri outside the University of Missouri - Columbia. Today, the staff has grown to between 10 and 15 licensed veterinarians, and 50 veterinarian technicians and lay employees. The center handles over 80,000 animal patients and more than 17,000 surgical procedures a year.
In 1955, when she began as staff clinician at the society, Saueressig was the first and only female veterinarian in Missouri. ”My boss at the time referred to me as ‘that foreign girl with the newfangled ideas.‘“
In the 1950s, the clinic was open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with only two rooms and one ward for animals. There were only two veterinarians. Surgeries were performed on ”off-time,“ which meant either 6 a.m. or late at night.
Saueressig was selected by the Women’s Veterinary Medical Association as the Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of 1971. One of her most popular endeavors was the weekly column she wrote for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, ”Ask the Pet Doctor,“ from 1979-1985.