Ever wondered what it's like being a vet on the Taieri? Reporter Ella Stokes catches up with Donald Murray, from Murrays Veterinary Clinic in Mosgiel, to see what it involves.

''Every day you're dealing with something different, from rabbits to cows.''

After growing up on the Taieri, Donald Murray has not really left, so he knows the place like the back of his hand.

He studied science at the University of Otago before completing his veterinary science degree at Queensland University.


In 1996, Dr Murray returned from Australia with his wife, Margie, and took over the clinic previously run by his late father James.

Dr Murray said his father did not really want him to be a vet but he could not help himself and there ended up being five vets in his extended family.

He and wife Margie, who is the practice manager, have three children: Robert 24, Rebecca 22 and Alex 20.

None of the children have taken up the profession.

Dr Murray said something different and challenging happened every day and being located in Mosgiel meant there were many different animals in different circumstances.

''Some of our clients are farmers who see sheep as production animals and then some who also have them as pets ... people have both a financial and an emotional connection.''

At this time of the year the clinic was extra busy with calving and he said the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis had meant hygiene had become even more important.

''It was already important, but now we have just become even more aware of hygiene issues, like tracking what farms our vehicles are going to ... it's just part of it and adapting the challenges.''


Dr Murray said he has seen a lot of change over the years, and a big shift in the way people viewed their animals.

''People have a bigger emotional attachment, especially around here as land has been made into lifestyle blocks and people only have a few animals.''

He said he loved his job and having to be constantly learning.

''I enjoy working with all species, the people and meeting farmers and animal owners.''

One of Dr Murray's goals was to create more of an awareness around working dogs' living conditions.

''A working dog's value can be overlooked.''

He said he would like to see them being fed better and have improved living conditions, especially during the colder months.

-By Ella Stokes

Southern Rural Life