Dr. Alex Young always imagined she’d be a horse vet. What started as a large animal ultrasound fellowship at UC Davis to hone her skills as a lameness diagnostician ended up in a specialist radiology qualification. It was the “exposure” to many different imaging modalities at UC Davis that morphed Alex from an equine vet into a specialist radiologist. Let’s hear more about Alex’s career and her passion for education.
What inspired you to become a veterinarian and then go onto specialise in radiology, in particular equine musculoskeletal imaging?
“My family owned a small thoroughbred breeding business when I was young and I always wanted to work with horses. At vet school, I was convinced that if I wasn’t a horse vet, I wouldn’t be a vet at all. I wanted to be out on the road, in my truck looking at horses in the fresh air and sunshine…these days I sit in a dark room and sometimes look at cat/dog radiographs thinking “How did this happen??” I never planned to become a radiologist. I liked lameness workups and began the UC Davis Large Animal ultrasound fellowship thinking that it would round out my capabilities as a lameness diagnostician…but with the exposure I received to all the other imaging modalities while I was there I couldn’t help but become interested in those also.”
Who were the biggest influences in your training at UC Davis?
“Dr. Sarah Puchalski, Dr. Mary Beth Whitcom and Dr. Mathieu Spriet”
Any advice for new grads or general practitioners that wish to pursue further education in the use of ultrasound for lameness assessments?
“There are some great ultrasound workshops around and the EVA generally has an imaging person presenting at the Bain Fallon conference every couple of years. Try to keep an eye out for these as there are often associated wet labs that offer great hands on experience.”
What have you learned from experience that you didn’t learn from a textbook?
“Ultrasound is all about practice and hands on repetition. The more you scan, the more you develop your hand-eye coordination and the more skilled an ultra sonographer you become. The more you see, the more you realise the mistakes you have made in the past and the better diagnostician you become.”
What do you enjoy about teaching?
“I really enjoy contributing to what I believe is a lingering deficit in our equine veterinary training. Most equine vets were never taught how to operate an ultrasound machine let alone place a transducer on a horse in vet school so there is a huge population of “self taught” vets doing their best but also feeling quite lost with this modality (I was one of these vets before I went overseas!) I enjoy helping my colleagues fill this deficit and sharing the skills and knowledge I gained in the USA.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“Spare time? What is that? I’m embarrassed to admit that prior to having kids, most of my life was my work. Now I’m loving being a mum and spending time with my family. My work might keep me in a dark room but family time is spent outdoors in the fresh air as much as possible!”
If you’re one of the many vets that feel lost with using ultrasound in lameness assessments of horses, why not register for the Equine Lameness Ultrasound workshop with Dr. Denoix at Gatton on July 4-7, 2019. At this workshop, you’ll also meet Alex and have an opportunity to share much of her vast knowledge of all things imaging.
Download the brochure HERE.
Register HERE for Distal Limbs on July 4-5th 2019.
Register HERE for Proximal Limbs and Spine on July 6-7th 2019.