Vet graduate’s love of horses brings career, honors

AFP Correspondent

BLACKSBURG, Va. (June 3, 2014) — A love of horses has always been a driving focus in 29-year-old Elaine Flory’s life and it has led her to a career in large animal veterinary medicine and a handful of academic honors.
Sitting on a decorative limestone boulder on the lawn of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine on a sunny spring afternoon, Flory, DVM, talked about her plans for the future.
She is a recent graduate of the college and is looking forward to beginning a year-long internship in Vermont in June.
Flory was honored with Virginia Tech’s 2014 Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine Outstanding Graduate Award earlier this year.
The award is sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the senior class.
It recognizes exceptional academic achievement and leadership by a graduating student from each of the university’s eight colleges, the school reported.
Recipients have a minimum grade point of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale and are selected by faculty and students within the respective colleges.
Her other honors include being the recipient of the Dr. Jocelyn Leighty Rodgers Memorial Scholarship and the Andrea Walnes Memorials Scholarship.
She was also inducted into Chi Chapter of Phi Zeta, the national veterinary honor society.
Flory grew up on a Pulaski County, Va., dairy farm and was part of the family operation but said her spare time was always devoted to horses, adding her idea of a good weekend activity is eventing with her horse, usually accompanied by her mother, Janet, while her father Dale and brother Scott and his wife Laura deal with cows.
“I have a thoroughbred ex-race horse I got after I got in here,” Flory said.
His name is Leo and he is better at eventing than racing, she said.
With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, Flory took a couple of years off from school before deciding to become a veterinarian realizing she wanted to work with large animals.
“I thought about it when I was little,” Flory said about becoming a veterinarian. “I sort of looked around and knew that was what I wanted to do. In college I really decided.”
She has narrowed that to concentrating mostly on equines and is considering a residency in equine surgery after the Vermont internship.
She is also planning to marry Dan Claffey, DVM, a small animal veterinarian who graduated with her.
While Flory’s specialty is equine medicine and surgery, like all VMRCVM students, she went through the four years of study and worked with all kinds of animals.
The fourth year working in clinics proved to be her favorite part of the experience.
She sees it as a culmination of the three previous years as she got to use what she had learned.
Working the clinics gives the students to do a little bit of everything.
“I enjoyed it all,” she said, “but my favorite part was being in large animals around horses.”
During her internship, Flory will be working with horses in a practice in Milton, Vt.
Dan will be an hour away working with small animals in upstate New York. Since he is from Canada, she is not sure where they will be living and working after their marriage.
Asked what advice she would give a young person considering entering veterinary medicine she advised definitely spending time working with a vet to see what it is like.
She sees it as a hard endeavor for anyone who is not 100 percent committed to the profession.
Elaine is a student member of the American Association of Equine Practioners, serving as vice president and fundraising chair.
She belongs to the International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology and is a member of the student chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association.