Meet the widely travelled Irish equine veterinarian who now calls Australia home, and whose preference for a “quiet one” has adapted to her new home’s climate and viticultural products! VetPrac is excited to welcome Dr Sue Jones to our team of educators; let’s find out a little more about Sue’s journey from Ireland to Australia.
What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto further study in large animal ultrasonography and equine sports medicine and rehabilitation?
“I have wanted to be a vet since I can remember, and I guess was inspired by my Dad’s love of horses to specifically pursue equine practice. I would be remiss to not acknowledge the James Herriot books as also being somewhat responsible for my choice of career. As for pursuing ultrasonography it was twofold. One was how alarmed I was by the presence of the ultrasound machine in my car in my first job. The second was my genuine belief that the more precise you can be with the diagnosis the better the management can be.”
You’ve worked in your home country of Ireland, and then the U.K., many states of Australia and then the USA before returning to Australia. What are your favourite things about each of these countries?
“A difficult question to answer briefly! Ireland will never cease to amaze me in its beauty, but also the depth of love for the equine industry. Melbourne certainly comes close in that regard, but horses flow in the blood of the Irish in a very traditional sense. The standard of equine practice in the UK really set the bar for me and encouraged me along the lines I have followed to expect more of myself and deliver more to clients. Also, it’s difficult to beat an open fire with a hot toddy after a walk in your wellies in the streaming rain. I have come to love and adopt Australia largely because of the people, their love of the outdoors, their relaxed nature and the vineyards may have had something to do with it! California was a spectacular place to live and UC Davis was truly inspirational as an institution.”
What do you consider is the most significant advancement in equine ultrasonography for lameness in the last 5 years or so?
“The ease of access to reasonable priced highly efficient and multi-purpose machines. Equine vets are increasingly looking to make the most out of their investment and as such seeking on-going training to support their performance clients”.
Are you working on any research projects at the moment?
“I have recently submitted a paper on the evaluation of the larynx in horses during swimming. We scoped them while they were swimming which had a few logistical challenges but was pretty fun.”
What do you enjoy about teaching? Who has been your biggest influence when developing your own teaching style?
“I particularly enjoy identifying various ways to adapt my teaching for the individual student. I love when someone has a particular aim and I am able to assist them to reach that. I did the fellowship as my ability to scan was so far below where I wanted it to be and I feel so strongly that sharing what I have learnt will advance equine practice. Dr Mary-Beth Whitcomb (UC Davis) has one of the most individual and innovative teaching techniques I have ever come across and I do attempt to channel this into my own teaching”.
What do you like to do to wind down? What do you like to do for fun?
“I really enjoy sitting outside after a day’s work with a glass of wine (specifically a South Australian Shiraz!), a few friends and a cheese board. I play field hockey for the local Werribee Tigers who have welcomed me in as part of their family (it’s been a slow start to this season however with many injuries!).”
To enhance your expertise in using ultrasound as a diagnostic tool in equine lameness, and experience Sue’s teaching style, register for the VetPrac Equine Lameness Ultrasound workshops:
Register HERE for Distal Limbs on July 4-5th 2019.
Register HERE for Proximal Limbs and Spine on July 6-7th 2019.