Tuesday, 16 July 2019 07:50

Vet gets top gong

Written by  Peter Burke
Merlyn Hay. Merlyn Hay.

Oamaru vet Dr Merlyn Hay, who in 2017 outed Mycoplasma bovis on an Oamaru dairy farm, won the premier award at the Feds conference.

She was one of several people recognised for outstanding contributions to the primary sector.

“I was just doing my job,” she told Rural News in response. “It’s very humbling and I’m not sure it’s entirely deserved.”

Hay says when she saw the unusual and distressing symptoms in the farm’s cows and calves she talked to colleagues, trying to brainstorm ideas and see the signs that would lead to an unusual diagnosis. 

“I was encouraged by Associate Professor Richard Laven at Massey University that we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an exotic disease,” she said.

Hay’s nominator for the award said they’d always found rural vets willing to go the extra mile, but says her actions had given that a whole new meaning. 

“She didn’t have to do what she did, but the country is better for it. Dr Hay has saved the New Zealand primary sector millions of dollars and potentially enabled our country to achieve what no other country has -- to rid itself of this disease.” 

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