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The road from Barcelona to Saskatoon

Dr. Imma Roquet

Large animal surgical resident Dr. Imma Roquet and one of her equine patients. Photo: Debra Marshall.

An avid equestrian since the age of six, Dr. Imma Roquet had no doubt that her life would revolve around horses. “I just love them — I have no other explanation,” explains Roquet who grew up with horses and dogs in Tona, Spain – a small rural town near Barcelona.

Roquet graduated from the University of Barcelona’s veterinary program in 2006. During her third year in veterinary school, she started volunteering at an equine hospital in Barcelona — an experience that opened her eyes to the specialty of equine surgery.

“I worked with the surgeons a lot and with the medicine department. Although I enjoyed medicine, surgery really attracted my attention,” she recalls.

When Roquet wanted to learn more about potential career opportunities, she decided to complete two externship programs after graduation – one in England and one in the United States. She travelled back to Spain to work at an ambulatory practice for seven months and then returned to the U.S. to complete an internship in Virginia and another in Kansas.

Finally, through a residency matching program, Roquet received an equine surgery residency at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). — a valuable experience that takes her one step closer toward her goal of becoming an equine surgeon. In 2010, Roquet was also selected as one of the Equine Health Research Fund’s research fellows.

Having lived in the United States since 2007, Roquet’s move to Western Canada in 2009 wasn’t too big of a transition. The biggest adjustment was, of course, the weather. “We don’t experience anything below -8°C back home. We do see snow in Spain, but it doesn’t stay white for eight months of the year,” she says, laughing.

Despite the long winters, Roquet really enjoys living in Saskatoon and likens it to a small European city. However, she still misses home and hopes to return to Spain once she completes her combined surgery residency and Master of Veterinary Science (MVetSc) program in 2012.

Although Roquet remains undecided on her future career plans, she continues to love her job even during the challenging times. “If you still enjoy what you do with little pay and little sleep that must mean something,” says Roquet with a grin.


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