Get to Know

Get to Know Alex Gochenauer

Dr. Alex Gochenauer and dog, Loki

Dr. Alex Gochenauer pictured above with dog, Loki, began working as the clinical staff pharmacist in June 2020.

When did you begin working at the College of Veterinary Medicine?
I started working at the College of Veterinary Medicine in June 2020, following the completion of a veterinary pharmacy residency.

Describe your role at the college.
I am a clinical staff pharmacist in the Medication Dispensary and my role includes:

  • Overseeing the Medication Dispensary’s operations
  • Compounding and dispensation of pharmaceuticals
  • Collaboration with faculty, staff, and students regarding clinical aspects of pharmacy and research studies
  • Implementation of clinical pharmacy involvement throughout the hospital
  • Researching and responding to drug information questions posed by faculty, staff, students, and outside clinicians
  • Education, instruction, and training of faculty, staff, students, pharmacy students, and Parkland veterinary technicians

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is precepting. Pharmacy students from a variety of schools sign up to spend 4 – 6 weeks working in the Medication Dispensary in their clinical year and I have the opportunity to teach them about veterinary medications, compounding practices, and the most common small animal disease states. I had some wonderful mentors in pharmacy school and want to provide any support I can to these students who are the future of the profession.

Complete this sentence: My most memorable day at work was…
…when the Zoo Medicine service reached out regarding medication questions for the treatment of piranha. My pharmacy student and I were able to determine where to purchase the appropriate medication, how to ensure the medication dissolved into the 90-gallon fish tank, and if there was a need to remove the medication from the tank or if it would dissipate on its own.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy doing things that are relaxing to help me decompress after work. Most often you can find me reading a good book, spending time with my pets, or binging Netflix/Crunchyroll/Hulu with friends.

What is something your co-workers may be surprised to know about you?
My co-workers would likely be surprised to know that while in college I also completed a degree in anthropology as a backup plan in case I didn’t like pharmacy.

What is one thing on your bucket list?
One thing that has always been on my bucket list is attending Oktoberfest in Germany.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or place in the Champaign/Urbana area?
There are so many great restaurants here that it is difficult to pick! For breakfast/brunch I will always happily go to Big Grove. I wish I could eat at The Poke Shack every day for lunch. They have a great menu and the food is always delicious. My favorite place for dinner and drinks is Guido’s. They have a fun atmosphere and are the perfect combination of a restaurant and bar.

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
I would not be able to go a day without coffee, but in my world, it is considered a necessity.

Do you have any pets?
I have five pets and there is never a lack of affection or fur at my house. Prior to working at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I had two cats – Simba and Nala. They are brother and sister, look almost identical from a distance, and were my moral support throughout undergraduate and graduate school.

My first year working here I was exposed to a variety of dog breeds and made the (questionable) decision to get a corgi. His name is Loki and he lives up to the title as my life has been chaotic ever since. It was confirmed a few weeks after he came home with me that he has megaesophagus, a disease state that requires him to eat his meals upright in a chair to prevent food from becoming stuck in his esophagus and then potentially aspirated, which often leads to pneumonia.

As my co-workers know, I am a bleeding heart, so in September I adopted a kitten from one of our veterinary technicians and his name is Edgar Allen Poe – Poe for short. Poe is the cuddliest fur ball but he lives to antagonize my other cats. Clearly Poe needed a friend which led to the adoption of another kitten from another veterinary technician. Captain Jack Sparrow was aptly named as he is missing a formed paw on his back leg, giving him the appearance of a peg leg.

Front to Back: Captain Jack Sparrow, Simba, Edgar Allen Poe, Nala