Editor's Pick

Jillian Sinclair | Marketing Specialist
Florida Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Taylor McLendon grew up in Saint Augustine, Florida, where her interest in horses first began. Keeping to her Florida roots, she received both her bachelor’s degree in animal biology and doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Florida (UF). During her time at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine (UFCVM), Dr. McLendon served as class president all four years and as the president of UF’s chapter of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). Continuing her love for learning and leadership, Dr. McLendon recently graduated from the FVMA’s Power of Ten program, which is designed to develop skills in leadership and entrepreneurship for Florida veterinarians. She is also a member of the AVMA, AAEP, FAEP, and FVMA.

Turning Passion into a Career

Her love for horses began as a child while competing in Western performance events. This is where her passion for the equine athlete began and why she has devoted her career to this field. Her practice largely focuses on lameness and sports medicine of the performance horse.

Dr. McLendon currently owns and operates Mandarin Equine Veterinary Service in Jacksonville, FL. During her fourth year of veterinary school, she accepted a position working at the practice, which was then owned by her lifelong mentor, Dr. Peggy Fuller. While most recent graduates start their career with an internship, Dr. McLendon went straight into fieldwork at the practice. After three years working
as an associate, she purchased the practice in July of 2022 and is now the sole practice owner and only practitioner. Dr. McLendon has big goals for her business and is looking to expand and grow the practice.

Plans for the Future

She hopes to expand Mandarin Equine to a three-doctor practice while keeping the focus on sports medicine and lameness. Her five-year plan includes adding to the ambulatory services and increasing the staff size. Her goal is to continue to offer innovative diagnostic and treatment options that will best serve the performance horse. She is heavily involved in continuing education opportunities and is an advocate for advancing veterinary medicine and techniques in her field.

Dr. McLendon is very interested in the business side of the veterinary industry as well. She enjoys running her practice and working on the financial and management side of the business rather than just focusing on practicing veterinary medicine.

A Family Affair

Dr. McLendon is a truly family-oriented individual – and she brings that into her work as much as possible. One of her sisters, Adison, works as the practice manager at Mandarin Equine and her youngest sister, Meghan, is currently in her second year of veterinary school at UF. Meghan is also focused on veterinary medicine and plans to join Dr. McLendon’s practice after graduating in 2025. Dr. McLendon is even going to be coating Meghan at her White Coat Ceremony.

“This [coating Meghan] will absolutely be a core memory that stays with me forever. There is nothing that means more to me than being a part of her journey into the best profession,” said Dr. McLendon.

Dr. McLendon is married to her husband, Josh. They have a two-year-old son named Grady and are welcoming their second child this March. She loves that her job allows her to work with her family daily and is thankful to have a career that allows her to have a work-life balance, especially while starting her family.

Images courtesy of Dr. Taylor McLendon.

Advice for Newer Veterinarians

When asked what advice she would give to someone who is just starting their career in veterinary medicine, Dr. McLendon said:

“Your career does not have to (and should not) consume your entire life. This profession has so much to offer and can be incredibly rewarding. However, it’s entirely possible to have a work-life balance. I think the current mindset is that in order to be an exceptional vet, you must make personal sacrifices, and I could not disagree more. I run a very successful practice, I have close personal relationships with many of my clients, and (even more importantly) I do everything in my power to be the best mother and wife that I can be. Being an excellent vet does not mean working yourself to the point of burnout. It means taking care of yourself first so that you are healthy and strong enough to serve your patients.”

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