Claire Shirey

Six-thirty every morning. Rain or snow it doesn't matter. As long as the grain is in the troughs and the horses are eating by seven, the day will carry on in its usual manner. A mere thirteen acres is all we have back in Hickory Flat, but it is enough to keep my family busy and occupy us with plenty of work always needing to be done. Living alongside various animals, I get the chance to experience some out of the ordinary situations with the veterinarian, eventually leading to my interest in the field of Veterinary research.

One branch of the Veterinary fields that greatly interests me is being on the race track working alongside million dollar race horses. While breeding Thoroughbreds to race, we eventually ended up with eight on the farm and only racing one. They are my favorite breed because of their speed and athleticism. They have been a great influence in the path i hope to take as a veterinarian.

The most influential moment I have had growing up on the farm was the struggle with my pony and her battle with Equine Cushing's Disease. She survived for 3 years after being diagnosed, being given 5mg of pergolide everyday. Because ECD is an Endocrine disease directly effecting the pituitary gland and the release of the Adrenocoricotropin hormone, Pergolide is a medication given to reduce the pain of laminitis and the insulin resistance in a horse with ECD. In 2010 we had no choice but to euthanize Lady after going a week without being able to stand in her stall, showing us that the medicine was no longer working. To this day, Lady continues to be the most influential aspect of my per-veterinary path.

Recently, another horse that has always been in my life was diagnosed with the same Cushing's Disease. At a greater severity, we have already accepted the future outcome. One day i hope to find a way through veterinary research to contribute to finding better treatments to lesson the symptoms of the uncured disease.