My professional names are Elizabeth Woolsey DVM and formerly Elizabeth Woolsey Herbert DVM G’day, howdy, hey y’all and welcome to the first blog post for a few stories and maybe some advice on horse health.
So here is a bit of background on me:
I come from good stock, as my cousin says, and I just like you, have a story. My mom was a 1950s mom until she wasn’t and returned from kid wrangling duty to the workforce as a research librarian. I had three fathers. The first was my biological father Jack Woolsey DVM who was also a horse vet.
The second and possibly the one that set me on a path to equine heaven, was Roy Rogers. He took over the parenting duties when I was young, and my bio dad was out working from dawn to dusk. Although we never met in person, I give him a lot of the credit for my passion for horses. The third took over duties, at his insistence, when my father passed many years ago. Dr. Tom Vaughan was my boss at Auburn Vet school, my dean when I went through school and guide for how I worked as a veterinarian. He passed this week.
My journey into veterinary medicine was not the usual path. I do have what may be the world’s record of rejections from vet schools. You can check Guinness’s, but it might not be a category. I was a California girl and went to UC Davis as an undergrad. I eventually worked full-time for the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH in 1973-1976).
My mentors included the entire surgical, internal medicine, and other ancillary department veterinarians. I was blessed to have worked with Drs. Wheat and Meagher as my primary bosses. In 1976 I went to work at Auburn where I worked as an anesthesia tech, did a masters in veterinary physiology and eventually graduated from veterinary medicine in 1984. I left Alabama after residing on the Saugahatchee Creek, chasing arrowheads, and learning how to be a vet. I know! That was a lifetime ago.
I had finally shown myself to be a competent student and even won some awards. One of the awards came with a placement directly into a residency in large animal anesthesia. Having worked with amazing students, interns and residents at UC Davis, Tuskegee, and Auburn veterinary schools, I was able to observe many instructors, and I felt it was important to get some real-life experience before I returned to academia.
Only I never went back…
I wanted a rural mixed practice and I started in one, but that didn’t work out. I went to work for my father in his 100% equine practice in Sonoma County California, and my life changed once again. I loved it. I loved the horses, the clients and my co-workers.
This began my practical education. It was an internship without the moniker. I did it all and learned from the best. In 1991 I moved to Australia where I practiced at Adelaide Plains Equine Clinic until I retired in December 2020. I now write the occasional professional article, and fictional stories about horse vets under the name Horse Doctor Press, and participate in podcasts.
So, the next blog will be from some of my experiences during the years I worked at Empire Equine Hospital. Some of the stories include horses with enteroliths, dystocias (difficult births), pheochromocytoma, and stuff so weird you would think I made it up. Along the way I will give you some hints to help you diagnose and treat what I think you can do on your own and what you can’t and hopefully help you to know the difference. Stay tuned…
Elizabeth (Boo to my friends)