The editor of Ipswich Local News has invited me to write a column for you monthly, about Vets, Pets and Things that Matter!
I look forward to this journey together and hope that you might provide some commentary or pass along some questions you might be hoping to ask.
A little introduction…
Just as many of you, I am sure, I have loved animals from the moment I was born. Childhood photos have me toddling about with the family boxer/lab, camping among the wildlife for weeks at a time, quietly enjoying the solitude and wonder of nature, raising orphans and breeding puppies. I also loved farm work and spent time as a vet student working with dairy cows, angora goats, pigs, beef cattle and horses.
On graduation I worked in Queensland’s first accredited veterinary hospital of excellence, where I did a lot of surgery weekdays and attended to large animal emergencies on weekends. I remember a client calling at 2am, surprised at my sleepy voice, thinking I stayed up all night to wait for calls. Now we have emergency hospitals in urban areas at least, but in the 1980s, most vets were on call all night. I enjoyed the excitement of a midnight caesarean and the challenge of dealing with emergencies, largely on my own, doing my very best.
Once children came along, I started a little practice at home, which grew over time into the Greater Springfield Vets group. While I still adore animals, our 50 staff now do the hands-on work, and I enjoy, in turn, taking care of my people.
A vet’s job is to ensure the health and welfare of all of our animals. This includes the companion animals, dogs, cats and horses, which 69% of Australians enjoy, as well as livestock, and of course wildlife. We also take responsibility for animal nutrition, safe food production, biosecurity and One Health. One Health describes the important intersection of human and animal health. A good example is rabies, which spreads between dogs and people, or, closer to home, the Japanese encephalitis virus, which threatens people, pigs and birds in a complex vector matrix.
So there is plenty to talk about! Vets have an interesting life and there is always much for us to learn. I look forward to sharing some experiences with you over time!