Thursday, September 20, 2007
New vet joins staff at clinic
By SUE WATSON
There’s excitement at Willow Bend Animal Clinic with the arrival of Elizabeth Smith, a recent graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.
Smith interned at the clinic for about six weeks last year and joined Willow Bend in July after her marriage and honeymoon in June.
The Smiths have moved into an old house on Craft Street in Holly Springs.
“We bought an old house in town, so, like the rest of Holly Springs, we’re fixing it up,” she said. “It’s fun - our first house.”
Her husband, a man she met the first day at MSU, but whom she didn’t date for four years afterward, works for FedEX in Collierville, Tenn., as a senior market specialist. He’s also from Memphis.
Dr. Smith, from Ripley, became interested in veterinary medicine at age 3 when her dog got sick.
“I hated not being able to help her,” Smith said. “So that’s when I got interested in veterinary medicine.”
Smith, who graduated from Ripley High School, and earned degrees in animal and dairy science at MSU, is no stranger to difficulty.
At age 16 she began having trouble from a genetic defect that was not resolved for 10 years. The problem caused her to drop out of college for a while.
Resolution came when a radiologist at Oktibbeha County Hospital found the trouble, a chiari malformation of the brain tissue that was putting pressure on her spinal cord.
Smith’s condition was diagnosed December 2005 and she had surgery to remove the malformation in Februrary 2006. Her twin sister, Sarah Miller, had the surgery, too. Doctors had misdiagnosed both their conditions for 10 years.
After surgery, Smith said, her thinking became more clear and her hands more steady.
Sarah Miller has a degree in communications and a master’s in English from MSU.
“It made life in general better for me,” she said.
Surgeons at Semmes-Murphy Clinic in Memphis performed the operation at Baptist East.
Recovery took about six weeks and Smith resumed her studies as a junior at MSU.
Smith works with dogs and cats and large animals such as horses and cattle.
She gets extra surgical experience by volunteering with Humane Societies.
And she enjoys every day’s work.
“Days have been really busy, so far, and very interesting, for sure,” she said.
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