Flying doctors stable stop
SISCO, a quarterhorse in Grafton, is a pretty special pet. On Thursday, a vet was flown in via helicopter to operate on a benign tumour in his foot.
The surgeon, Dr Stephen Rayner, flew his own helicopter in from his practice in Oakey, Queensland, to perform the procedure at the Equine Veterinary and Dental Service at Clarenza.
The surgery involved cutting into the bone of the horse’s back right hoof bit by bit to remove a keratoma (benign tumour) and treat a secondary infection.
Dr Rayner said that he makes trips away from his practice about once a week to make complex surgeries available to horse owners in regional areas of Queensland and New South Wales.
“I think that it is really important for equine surgeons to be able to travel because in some cases the animals cannot be transported without risking further injury.
“There aren’t too many surgeons and only six specialists in the country.
“While I do prefer to operate in Oakey, not too many vets do what I do and service regional areas and I get a lot out of it personally.”
Vet Oliver Liyou of the Veterinary and Dental Service said the surgery was fairly invasive and needed expert attention.
“Steve offers a fairly economical service which we really appreciate here in Grafton,” he said.
“More often than not, it is cheaper to get him down here than it is to transport a horse up to him.”
Oliver also said the practice, based at the old drive-in site, had recently installed a helipad to accommodate Dr Rayner and his chopper.