Variety of work a plus

Northern Southland Veterinary Service vet Lochie Chittock, with dog Foxy, is a recipient of the...
Northern Southland Veterinary Service vet Lochie Chittock, with dog Foxy, is a recipient of the voluntary bonding scheme for veterinarians. PHOTO: COURTNEY LOVERIDGE
The voluntary bonding scheme for veterinarians was launched in 2009 to help ease a shortage of veterinarians working with production animals and working dogs in rural New Zealand. Shawn McAvinue talks to some of the latest recipients working in rural southern communities. This week we meet Northern Southland Veterinary Service vet Lochie Chittock, 25.

New vet Lochie Chittock was always planning on launching his career in a rural clinic.

"I couldn’t have seen myself going to work in the city," he said.

He recently attended an equine dental course in Wellington, which confirmed he had made the right decision.

"I’m glad I didn’t end up there as a new grad, dealing with some of the clients up there. The people you deal with down here have a bit more practicality and common sense," he said.

After finishing his studies at Massey University in 2022, he spent most of summer rabbitting around Bannockburn.

His parents Kerry and Jacqui are sheep and beef farmers who have farmed throughout Otago including Owaka and Palmerston.

Lochie started working at Northern Southland Veterinary Service in February last year.

He worked there twice during compulsory placements when he was a student.

"I was really impressed with the clinic and the variety of work ... some days you’re helping out a sheep and beef cocky with their drenching programme or doing a post-mortem on a dead cow and the next day you could be doing surgery on a wee Jack Russell."

Doing any task for the first time was enjoyable and it was "nice to tick those boxes off".

The scheme incentivises graduate vets to remain working in New Zealand for longer rather than leaving to work overseas.

"When you have a scheme that means you can chip a bit off your student loan it does make it a bit more appealing to hang around," he said.

He worked while studying, including relief milking, to keep his student loan down.


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