Scone Veterinary Protégés I

Scone Veterinary Protégés I

Featured Image: Professor Sheila Laverty MVB, DACVS, DECVS

For over fifty (50) years the Scone Veterinary fraternity has promoted and sponsored continuing professional development across the international spectrum. Lately this practice has earned the sobriquet ‘Shuttle Veterinary Diplomacy’; probably the forerunner of similar mobility of working stud staff between the two hemispheres? The inaugural exchange veterinarian was James Crouch from Reynolds and Partners, Newmarket UK to Murray Bain in 1967. James was the recipient of a British Horse Race Betting Levy Board Scholarship. Dr John Egloff from Hagyard Davidson McGee, Lexingtion KY USA joined Frank Williams in season 1968. He was placed mainly at Widden Stud. Bill Howey and Richard Greenwood had also arrived from the UK in 1967 to join Murray Bain & Associates. They were both ‘Ten Pound Poms’. This latter practice later emerged as Scone Equine Hospital and now Scone Equine Group; one of the ‘giants’ on the world stage.

Dr Sheila Laverty MVB DACVS DECVS is a shining example of this strategy. She has enjoyed a stellar career since her brief locum assistant appearance in the early 1980s. Sheila had worked for Kieran Bredin on the Curragh, County Kildare. Kieran had been a visiting veterinarian to Scone in 1972. Sheila was much in demand. Sheila has written:I simply loved my time there from both a professional and personal standpoint.  I feel that my brain expanded and those 2 years changed me and my vision of the World forever”. 

Professor Sheila Laverty MVB, DACVS, DECVS

Sheila Laverty is a Professor of Equine Surgery and Director of the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at the University of Montreal. She is a clinician researcher, a surgeon and Chief of the Equine Surgery Service in the University’s Equine Hospital.

Dr Laverty graduated from University College Dublin, worked in racing practice on the Curragh and Fethard Equine Clinic/Coolmore Stud (Ireland) in the 1980’s. She also enjoyed working in the Scone Veterinary Clinic and in New Zealand during this time. Dr Laverty then completed an Equine Surgery and Lameness Residency at the University of California Davis in 1988. She was the first European woman to certify as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in Large Animal surgery.

Her Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory has focussed on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapy of joint disease for over 20 years. Sheila was alsoa member of the Canadian Arthritis Network, a federally funded, internationally renowned research network of 150 Canadian researchers, including orthopaedic surgeons, engineers and basic scientists, for 12 years and served on its research advisory committee. She is currently serving on the research advisory committee of the Arthritis Society of Canada and Quebec scientific network, Thé Cell, to advance cell therapy research. Her research is currently funded by the equine industry and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Quebec Cell therapy network. She also worked with the pharmaceutical industry on the development of novel therapies for arthritis.

Past achievements include: recipient of the institutional Pfizer Research excellence prize on two occasions; 140 publications in leading scientific journals such as the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Veterinary Surgery and Equine Veterinary Journal; invited speaker for over 100 lectures and supervision of 70 post graduate students (Post docs, PhDs, MScs, surgery residents and interns) including15 ACVS diplomates to date.

Sheila still enjoys equine surgery but also likes the challenges of researching the problems she encounters daily in clinics, such as osteochondrosis.

Professor Sheila Laverty will address a meeting of the local Equine Veterinarians of Australia (EVA) in Scone on Thursday 8th March 2018. She will be supported by her husband and partner Professor Jean-Pierre Lavoie (Canada) DMV, DACVIM.

Professor Laverty MVB, DACVS, DECVS:

“Osteochondrosis – a review, including current thoughts on pathophysiology, treatment and prognosis”.

Professor Lavoie DMV DACVM:

“Equine asthma – a review, including current thoughts on diagnosis and treatment”.

Major Seasonal Rainfall Zones in Australia

Major Seasonal Rainfall Zones in Australia

Featured Image: Major Seasonal Rainfall Zones in Australia

What can we expect in the future? How much will this influence the general health of horses?

What can we expect in the future?

  • Increase in average temperature
    • 1 – 6°C
  • Rainfall frequency ↓
  • Rainfall intensity ↑
  • More monsoonal rains
    • Not restricted to the north of Australia
    • Seasonal rainfall patterns changing
  • Dry days ↑
  • Evaporation rates ↑
  • Droughts ↑
    • longer and more frequent


Equine Reproduction Veterinary Practice

Equine Reproduction Veterinary Practice

Featured Image: Acquiring accurate information on the health of a developing foetus wasn’t meant to be easy

It was often posited that veterinarians were ‘smarter’ than other related professional cohorts because their patients couldn’t talk? I perceive this might be a considerable advantage in this ‘know-all’ age of instant information. In actual fact animals do ‘speak’; firstly among themselves in a language only they understand and secondly in another domain in which we are the interpreters. This is the ‘body language’ of animal behaviour or the science of ethology. The latter is very factual, truthful and strictly honest. It’s what we observe. In veterinary science we refer to any perceived changes in behaviour as clinical signs. In medicine ‘symptoms’ are often the individual patient’s view of the situation; subjective and sometimes suspect. The doctor knows best.

In any investigation of animal health an accurate history is vital. The owner or manager usually provides this; it is subjective. The means of acquiring additional measured data have improved dramatically within a generation. Once upon a time our tools-of-trade were confined to thermometer, stethoscope, palpation, percussion and perhaps radiography. Now we have a veritable plethora of refined highly technical aids to diagnosis. Ultrasonography was the first ‘cab off the rank’. It changed everything. Refinements in technique and knowledge have accelerated dramatically. It’s hard to keep pace with the rate and pace of change. Maybe I’m just becoming old?

The Cuan Goanna

The Cuan Goanna

Geoff Palmer is a local legend. If I told him that or he knew I was writing this he would not agree. Geoff is 82. He has worked every day of his life since leaving school as soon as he could at age 14. His job description is multifarious; but typical of many of his rapidly disappearing genre, gender and generation. His CV includes general farm hand apprentice, horse breaking, yearling preparation, stockman, cattle man, roustabout, reluctant shearer, horse trainer, track work rider, rough rider, rabbit trapper, shed hand, fencer, boundary rider and even a few ‘unmentionables’.

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Mines, Wines and Thoroughbreds in the Hunter Valley

Mines, Wines and Thoroughbreds in the Hunter Valley

I am indebted to my good friend Professor Wayne Bryden for the following links to peer reviewed technical papers relating to thoroughbred production in the Hunter Valley. They cover several scientific disciplines. So does Wayne. He’s a son of the Hunter Valley soil himself. His admirable parents were traditional dairy farmers down Dartbrook way; near Aberdeen just south of Scone. This sort of upbringing and background gives Wayne a length-of-the-straight start when it comes to high level evaluation of salient and pertinent agricultural production issues. In addition he’s objective and not biased; as all good scientists should and must be. I commend these to you unsullied with subjective comment.

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Climate Change & Racing

Climate Change and the Australian Thoroughbred Racing & Breeding Industry

We should all think about this; no matter where you sit on ‘climate change’?


Dr Gary Muscatello: Primary Industry Adaptation Research Network Theme Leader

Dr Peter K Knight: Animal Biosecurity, Production and Health

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney

NCCARF (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility)


  • Climate change fact or fiction?
  • Threats to our racing horses and communities
  • Racing industry issues
  • What can we do?

Climate change in Australia

  • Since 1950
    • Warming
    • Less rain in South-East; More in the North-West; Changes in extreme weather events
  • Heat waves, floods, frosts, fires and droughts

Sea level has risen 70 mm

UPDATE Friday 19th January 2018

Scone Race Club Meeting Transferred

Dear Members,

Due to the extreme heat predicted for Sunday 21st  January 2018 our race meeting has been transferred to Wyong Race Club.
The races will be on all racing channels and will still attract great attention.
We are sorry for any inconvenience caused due to this move, but the horses welfare is always paramount in our industry.
We thank you for understanding, and are looking forward to seeing you at our next race meeting on Friday 23rd of February 2018.
Kind Regards
The Scone Race Club

Heath Courtney CEO

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Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Hunter Valley

Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Hunter Valley

Featured Image: James Brine

Several times a year I drive via ‘Glendon’, Singleton to my home at Hawks Nest. ‘Glendon’ was a magnificent historical property originally established by the Scott Brothers (Robert and Helenus) in the 1820s. Its 80,000 acres hosted a central homestead, 300 horses, 9000 horned cattle and tens of thousands of sheep. ‘Glendon’ was home to celebrated thoroughbred stallions ‘Toss’ (1828) and ‘Dover’ (1830). Both stood there. I always reflect quietly and dwell calmly on the poignant association between ‘Glendon’ and one of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who spent some years of enforced servitude there.

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