With more than 40 years experience in his industry, equine vet and Order of Australia recipient Angus McKinnon finds it humbling to be recognised for his work in the veterinary sciences.
While the recognition came as a ‘‘complete surprise’’ for the equine-reproduction specialist, he said the award, which would be presented in September, was a reminder no-one achieved anything alone.
After starting the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital in 1988, alongside business partner Jim Vasey, Dr McKinnon has found himself supported by a strong and passionate team.
‘‘It’s the team that you work with that creates the results,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s the vets and support staff, those at the hospital and with research, they’re the people that should be recognised.’’
After graduating from Melbourne University, Dr McKinnon completed further education at Ontario Veterinary College in Canada, before teaching at Colorado State University.
A passion for reproduction has driven his extensive research in the area and seen him become a part of several world firsts, including the first foal to be produced from intracytoplasmic sperm injection using eggs from a live mare, and the birth of a rare donkey via embryo transfer from the biological mother into a surrogate horse.
‘‘It’s pretty exciting times when those things happen,’’ he said.
Outside of research, Dr McKinnon said the progress in technology had revolutionised the industry.
‘‘It has just been fantastic and I’ve been very lucky to be involved in veterinary medicine when there’s been such diversity and improvements with the things we use,’’ he said.
‘‘I couldn’t go backwards, the equipment we work with now is just awe inspiring. People put a lot of work in to get them there and we’re just the end users.’’
Having been published more than 65 times and mentored more than 90 interns and 14 residents, Dr McKinnon is relishing the next chapter of the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital following its sale to the Melbourne University.
With himself and Dr Vasey retained to continue to run the facility, Dr McKinnon was pleased to see the hospital used to inspire and train the next generation of equine vets.
‘‘When we started we had seven boxes for the horses and now we have 44 with multiple paddocks and for us it’s a fantastic result to sell the hospital to an institute that will continue to develop it, train new vets and help us conduct research,’’ he said.