Dr. Gray is a clinical assistant professor of equine surgery.
Tell us about your background.
As many veterinarians do, I decided at a very young age that this was the career I wanted. I spent a lot of time and allowance money rescuing stray animals, much to my parents’ dismay. And while I didn’t have a horse of my own growing up, I have always gravitated toward them. I am from North Dakota, and I attended Iowa State University for my undergraduate degrees and for veterinary school.
After veterinary school, I completed an internship at the Retama Equine Hospital outside of San Antonio, Texas, a surgical and sports medicine internship at Tufts University, and finally my residency in equine surgery here at the University of Illinois.
After finishing my residency in 2020, I went on to be a clinical instructor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., for a year, during which time I passed my surgical boards and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
I spent the past year as a clinical instructor of Large Animal Emergency and Large Animal Surgery at Purdue University, before returning “home” to the University of Illinois in June as a clinical assistant professor of equine surgery.
How did you become interested in equine surgery?
During my first internship, a yearling Quarter Horse presented for a non-weightbearing lameness a few weeks after making the poor decision to kick a porcupine in his field. It turned out both his fetlock and his tendon sheath were infected! He was supposed to go on to be a racing horse, and the owners wanted to give him a shot to get him there. The surgeon used her knowledge of anatomy and her specialized skills to painstakingly remove all the dissolving quills and flush his joint and tendon sheath to remove the infection. I remembered thinking that without her unique technical skills, that little guy wouldn’t have had any chance to have a sound life and I wanted THAT as my career. Following that case, I wholeheartedly pursued a career as an equine surgeon.
Tell us about one of your favorite cases.
Every time I can get a horse back to doing its job- whether that job is race, jump, or just be loved by its family- it’s a favorite case of mine. I have had quite a few memorable patients and couldn’t possibly pick out a favorite!
What are your special interests?
I enjoy all aspects of equine surgery from arthroscopy to colic surgery and everything in between!