Continuing our "Getting to Know" series, this month we share an interview with Dr. Hu.

Our objective is for you to know more about each of us, why we’re passionate about pets and how we each developed the skills and experience to help maintain the wellness and health of your pets.


A Discussion with Dr. Alaine Hu, DVM

Dr. Hu

Where did you grow up — and what types of pets did you have?
I am a "California Girl" growing up in San Jose. I attended the local Catholic girls high school and attended college and graduate school here in California. Growing up, I had many pets including a dog, cat, fish, rabbits, birds, snakes and horses.

Where did you attend school?
I received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a pre-veterinary concentration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. I also received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2004 from the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine — one of the best veterinary schools in the nation.

When did you know being a veterinarian was your calling?
Like most girls who love animals I "thought" I wanted to be a veterinarian. But I was unsure what the training and responsibility entailed. In college I finally obtained the "hands on" experience working with practicing veterinarians when I learned I had a deep-seated passion for veterinary medicine and surgery. This desire was confirmed as I worked as an animal technician and participated in equine projects — which I absolutely loved.

What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?
I love helping pets and sending them home with their families. For me, veterinary medicine is exciting as we are responsible for all aspects of a pet’s health — from assessing situations to performing surgery to reviewing radiographs to monitoring anesthesia to working with cardiologist, ultrasonographers, ophthalmologist and internists. Unlike human medicine, we do everything! I love that we get to take the time to know and understand each pet and their owner.

What do you view as the most important practices or activities to keep pets healthy?

If you’re a dog owner then do something with them! Take a hike, engage in agility, take beach trips or enjoy patio dining. Play with your dog, take them somewhere and challenge their mind. It heals them and you! If you have a cat, spend time with them and play with them. Your pet’s mental health feeds our own. And happy pets make happy people.

During your career, what types of animals have you treated?

While obtaining my undergraduate degree I worked with horses, cattle, chickens, pigs, and sheep and participated in roundups and brandings. As a technician during my studies at Veterinary School I worked extensively with cats, dogs and other small animals. After completing my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree, I had the good fortune to care for horses and work with the world’s best surgeons and internists for six years at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky and San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, California. I also cared for thoroughbreds in Southern California racetracks working with renowned horse trainers like Doug O’Neil, Mike Michowsky and Jorge Guiterrez and flew several horses to Dubai to compete in the World Cup in 2010.

How do you keep current with the latest treatments, techniques and medicines?

I am constantly learning. I review journals, attend yearly continuing education seminars, participate in local continuing education dinners, discuss medicine and surgical techniques with fellow surgeons, internists and other specialists, and review cases with colleagues and specialists. Additionally, my experience in equine medicine allows me to think "outside the box" and transfer useful techniques and protocols to help a wide array of pets.

What types of pets do you currently have—and what are their names?

I currently have two Australian Kelpies, Cricket and Dally. Cricket is currently in training as a sheep herding dog. I also have three wonderful horses:

  • Smoke N CD "Grace:" a Quarter Horse that I actively show in high level reined cow horse events.
  • Smart Chocolate Cherry "Babs:" an American Paint Horse that I started and trained myself.
  • Nu Chocolate Diamonds "Dizzy:" Babs’ five-month old foal.

What are some of your favorite stories about your pets?

My dogs do go everywhere with me: to work, horse shows, weekend trips and even the grocery store. Cricket is my resident "trouble maker" and "escape artist" and I have several stories to share:

  • Cricket often sneaks out by wiggling her way from run to run until she finds an open door.
  • Cricket has scaled the wall of my horse trailer reaching an 8 inch opening 6 feet off the ground. She wiggled through the slates unscathed, ran to the arena where we were riding, barked at us, then high-tailed it back to the trailer at the sight of a horse in the nearby pasture.
  • In the middle of a storm Cricket chewed my truck’s turn signal destroying my windshield wiper function. 
  • Cricket plays ball so hard she falls asleep with the ball in her mouth.
  • And she constantly "herds" Dally and any other guests (human or canine) during gatherings.

What hobbies, activities, or interests do you have outside of your calling as a veterinarian?
I love traveling with my husband who is a landscape photographer and have spent time in Mongolia and Nicaragua treating horses and small animals. I am a social dancer enjoying Salsa, Latin Dance and West Coast swing. And I love to cook and enjoy anything art related. I am an outdoor enthusiast enjoying rock climbing, hiking, exercising and competitively showing my Quarter Horse, Grace, in reined cow horse and cutting events.


Kirkwood Animal Hospital
The entire staff at Kirkwood Animal Hospital is dedicated to maintaining the health and wellness of your pet. We look forward to seeing you and your pet again and to sharing additional profiles of our passionate pet professionals.

Kirkwood Veterinarians
Kirkwood Staff

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health.