Anderson following in parents’ footsteps

Dr. Stacy Anderson and horse

In August, 2006, Dr. Stacy Anderson and Boy from Ipanema (thoroughbred/percheron cross gelding) competed in the Wayne DuPage Horse Trials in Wayne, Ill. Photo courtesy of Dr. Stacy Anderson.

Dr. Stacy Anderson remembers always having animals around while she was growing up in rural Michigan and Iowa. And since both parents were veterinarians, it was only natural that her herd included pigs as well as cats, dogs and horses.

Anderson’s favourite animals were the horses. She was four years old when her mom and dad first introduced her to riding, and by the age of five, she had her own pony. She eventually became involved with English riding, competing in eventing and dressage, and with Pony Club – an interest that continues today.

The influence of her parents prompted Anderson to choose veterinary medicine as a career. She describes her mom as an immunologist who made her mark in the world doing swine research, and her dad as a swine veterinarian who loves pigs.

But after completing a veterinary degree at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, her career took a sidetrack, and Anderson spent three years running a large horse training business that specialized in eventing and dressage.

“It was really fun,” she recalls. “I practised veterinary medicine on the horses that I had in my barn, and at one time there were 60 of them. But I finally decided that I needed to go and use that degree that I’d earned.”

Anderson took an internship at a Chicago practice that focused mainly on equine surgery – an experience that helped her realize surgery was the right fit for her. “I like that you’re fixing something and you get to use your physical skills – you need to have dexterity, to be able to manipulate things,” explains Anderson. “As a horse rider, you very much rely on your sense of feel, and surgery is very similar to that.”

In 2009, following a second internship at the University of Tennessee, she began her residency in large animal surgery at the WCVM in 2009 and was selected as an Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF) Fellow. Anderson is working on a combined Master of Science-residency program under the supervision of Drs. Joe Bracamonte and Spencer Barber from the Department of Large Animal Medicine. She’s on track to graduate next spring.

The residency has been an excellent experience for her. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my own skills while I’ve been here, and I’ve learned that I’m a strong leader and can work well with the students,” Anderson notes. “I’ve also developed my ability to take in information, remember it and learn it.”

Her future plans include completing a PhD at the WCVM and then following in her parents’ footsteps with a career in academia. In the meantime, she enjoys spending her spare time with her husband boating, fishing and working on their latest project – a home renovation in Saskatoon, Sask.

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