Meet the vet flock: Holly

VetSouth mixed animal vet Holly Hender shares her insights on working with sheep.

Hi, I’m Holly, a mixed animal vet based between Gore and Tapanui. I have been with VetSouth for almost 2 years now, after graduating from Massey University in 2021. 

Having moved to Gore without knowing a single soul, it is now well and truly home, thanks to a bit of classic Southland hospitality!

One of the things I love most about my job is how different and exciting every day can be. For example, I could spend the morning seeing cats and dogs in-clinic, the afternoon on farm visits and then treat a horse on an after hours emergency call. You never know what each day will bring!

I’m passionate about working together with my key clients to formulate achievable animal health plans that will boost productivity and farming businesses, particularly in the current economic times.

However, sometimes, animal health doesn’t go to plan and figuring out the puzzle of a diagnosis and treatment plan can be an interesting challenge.

Puzzling out a diagnosis

Over autumn this year, I dealt with a few different farms who were having sick and dying ewes. With tupping fast approaching, we managed to send samples to the lab and diagnose the animals with Salmonella Hindmarsh. 

Sick ewes were treated and the affected flocks were vaccinated with Salvexin+B, to prevent further illness, just in time for tupping. 

Being involved in finding a solution to a crappy situation is a very rewarding aspect of being a veterinarian.

Sheep & beef season

In terms of more routine work, a highlight of the year for me is always ‘sheep and beef season’ over the summer. We spend our days palpating and vasectomising rams, undertaking faecal egg count reduction tests and doing OviMAX/OviGOLD client visits. 

It is such an awesome opportunity to get out on-farm and have a catch-up with clients outside of the consult room.

Holly doing some shepherding over lambing season. Image by: Holly Hender.

Holly doing some shepherding over lambing season. Image by: Holly Hender.

Outside of work, I enjoy exploring the lower south island, am active in my local Young Farmers Club (Waitane), and spend time on-farm with my partner, who is a sheep and beef farmer.

I hope lambing and calving has gone well and you all manage to get a breather before cracking straight back into it! Hopefully see you on-farm soon...


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