Ponoka vet awarded for excellence

Being the best in your field has far-reaching benefits and acknowledgement of those skills is a feather in the cap

Being the best in your field has far-reaching benefits and acknowledgement of those skills is a feather in the cap that can be added to your resume.

The recognition for Ponoka veterinarian Leighton Coma came in the form of the 2012 Young Veterinarian of the Year Award.

Coma has been practicing with Central Veterinary Clinic for the last three years. The award is also significant because only new veterinarians practicing in the last five years can receive the award.

He was nominated by business partner Bill Frischke, and Coma believes winning the award comes from his dedication to surgery and productive medicine for dairy cattle.

Coma conducted post-graduate work at Cornell University specializing in dairy work and advancing milk production from dairy cows. In addition to this specialty, he also helps other patients such as dogs, cats, horses and even iguanas. “We get one or two a year.”

Originally from Thorhild, Coma enjoys the rural veterinary life and likens it to being a well-known author. “I like the James Herriot-esque country lifestyle.”

Being a veterinarian is not always glamorous but what drives Coma is putting animals back together. He feels a person is able to see results immediately after surgery.

“It’s always a good feeling because you’re just improving,” stated Coma.

Improving milk production in dairy cows is another matter. The field is fairly advanced and progressive, he said. “There’s always something new that’s happening.”

The other benefit is working directly with dairy farmers who are actively involved in the process. Farmers want to see improved dairy production and he believes many farmers work with their veterinarian and he enjoys seeing improved results in cows.

Coma also works as a consultant for the SPCA and is an on-call veterinarian for Alberta Farm and Animal Care (AFAC).

At AFAC he ensures farmers are compliant with poorly managed operations where animals may not live in the best conditions; in some cases proper animal conditions can be managed with minor improvements. Coma helps producers understand proper farm methods.

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