AFTER 50 years as a veterinarian, Dr Arthur Young thinks he might get along better with animals than people.
But he does qualify that by saying he knows some very nice people with some ill-natured animals.
Dr Young, 73, of Bahgallah near Casterton, was recently awarded a certificate of achievement for his 50 years’ service to his profession by the Victorian Veterinary Practitioners Board.
His 50 years’ service has included nearly 20 years in Warrnambool and nearly 30 years in the Casterton area.
A mark of his lengthy service is that he is the first person that some doctors encounter who has brucellosis, a disease passed from cattle to people that was eradicated in Australia in the mid-1980s.
Dr Young picked up the disease, which causes fever and muscular pain, in 1967, before vaccination of cattle against the disease was compulsory, and has suffered a few relapses since.
Contracting brucellosis is one of the many challenges that Dr Young has faced during his long career, with others including getting kicked in the head by horses and unpaid bills.
He jokes that he prefers to be kicked than unpaid, which might underlie his light-hearted quip about preferring animals to people.
Dr Young has worked mainly with horses and cattle during his career and has taken a no-nonsense approach to his work.
He sometimes gets frustrated about the lengthy time that passes before he is called to assist cows or mares giving birth, saying animal welfare should be put first.
His no-nonsense approach includes steering away from “heroic surgery” on pet animals, saying it often did not improve their quality of life and was not financially wise for the pets’ owners.
Advances in science had given veterinarians “lots of nice new toys” to identify problems but “a proper thorough examination was still of paramount importance,” he said.
Dr Young has also been a keen equestrian and trainer of jumps horses.
He “totally disagrees” with the RSPCA’s stance against jumps racing, saying “he had never put a horse in a jumps race that could not jump and did not want to jump”.
The sport had been “buggered up” by bringing in low hurdles that were ridiculously easy for horses to get over, he said.
“Horses that make a bad mistake pay the penalty but they are put out of their misery in minutes.”
But that was still a better fate for many poor performers in flat races “than being put out in boggy paddock with no rug and no feed,” Dr Young said.