Equine vet gains trip to Kentucky

Vetlife Alexandra vet Becci Bishop with trophies that she has won this year. Photo supplied.
Vetlife Alexandra vet Becci Bishop with trophies that she has won this year. Photo supplied.
Becci Bishop is something of a globe-trotting vet.

Originally from the English town of Rugby, she completed her veterinary degree at Bristol University in 2009.

She moved to New Zealand, where she has worked ever since, and is now looking forward to a forthcoming trip to Kentucky - the Mecca of horse-racing in the United States - after acquiring a scholarship, along with Alexandra farrier Murray Jones.

Ms Bishop (28), who works for Vetlife in Alexandra, has a special interest in equine veterinary medicine. She initially worked as a mixed practitioner for Vetlife in Oamaru for 18 months, which included looking after the town's yellow-eyed penguin colony.

She then worked as a locum anaesthetist at Massey University before completing a one-year equine rotational internship at the university's equine teaching hospital.

During that time, she completed her first paper, which was published earlier this year in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal.

The paper, about Ivomec drench resistance in foals in the Manawatu, won the best practitioner publication award at the New Zealand Veterinary Association's conference.

She also won a young practitioners presentation, an award given by Massey University's equine branch, for a presentation she had made on an ''interesting'' case from Central Otago.

She believed it was consistent with a Settle tumour (a spindle epithelial tumour with thymus-like differentiation), a very rare tumour of soft tissue in the neck that had been diagnosed in humans - although in only about 42 cases worldwide - but never in a horse.

Earlier this year, Ms Bishop and Mr Jones successfully applied for a scholarship from the New Zealand Equine Research Foundation to travel to Kentucky.

It would be an opportunity to increase their knowledge on specialised shoeing and diseases such as laminitis, and learn about the latest developments and treatments.

They would then return to Central Otago and help educate other farriers and vets in the area, she said.

The pair, who were looking at going in March or April next year, would spend at least three weeks in the US.

Ms Bishop, who estimated about 90% of her veterinary work was equine, originally planned to stay in New Zealand for two years before returning to the UK.

But now, she intended staying ''for good''.

The lifestyle of a vet in New Zealand was ''way different'' to what it was in the UK, she said.