My name is Dr. Cathy Emms and I grew up on a mixed farm near Peterborough , Ontario near the village of Warsaw. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a veterinarian and I spent all my time with my Dad helping to milk cows, feed pigs and cattle, clean out pens, put in hay , straw and grain, pick stones, harrow and plow the fields. I loved every part of farming (except picking stones) , and I often helped the cows to calve. I learned to ride on our team of work horses, Maude and Nell, while my Dad had them harnessed for various jobs they did! My friends and I rode those work horses all over Peterborough County from a very young age!
There were very few women in the veterinary field when I was growing up, and I remember that one old vet who came to our farm to do a difficult calving did not want me to be present at the calving because he thought it was inappropriate for a young girl to see. Thankfully, my Dad told him that I always helped in the barn and he would not send me to the house as the vet had requested.
I would take piglets into our house who were cold and almost dead when sows rejected them, and warm them in our wood stove oven and bottle feed them to bring them back to life! It always amazed me when these piglets who were clinically dead, would magically come back to life with a little milk , warmth and care ! I think this is when I developed the expression, ” Where there is life, there is hope!” I do live by that motto and I do not give up on animals without a fight! Any of the piglets that I saved, then became mine to sell, so that was a further motivation to save their lives, but it was hard to send them to market because I named all of them and they became pets.
I also worked for several dairy farmers while going to University. I would milk cows on weekends, and sometimes early in the morning before going to class because I needed work to help pay for my education, but also because this is what I really liked to do. I worked for some wonderful farmers, but the family who influenced me most were the Parkers.
Their dairy farm was located on the Scotch Line near Alliston and I worked there for 2 summers, and did relief milking for them so they could get away at other times of the year also. They were like my second family and I continued to visit regularly well past the time I worked for them. They encouraged me to stay in school and keep trying to get into the Veterinary program at OVC when I was getting discouraged. Without their encouragement, I likely would not be a veterinarian today.
I graduated from the University of Guelph, first in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture ( honours) and then again in 1984 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree (honours). I went into private practice as a large animal veterinarian for Cheltenham Veterinary Services treating beef and dairy cattle, horses, pigs, goats and sheep. After a year I then switched to small animal medicine and surgery when I became pregnant with my first son, and I have continued practicing mainly in the small animal field since then.
I then worked in Barrie for almost 10 years for Dr. Lloyd Fisher at Barrie Veterinary Hospital. This was the opportunity of my lifetime, as Dr. Fisher was one of the best veterinarians I had the priviledge to work with, and I learned so much from him! I will be forever grateful to him for all his guidance and teaching. I also worked for 2 years at Barrie Animal Hospital with Dr. Brian Westgarth-Taylor, and learned a great deal from him also, for which I am very grateful.
In 1997, I started Ivy Veterinary Services with the help of my husband Roger, on our farm property in Essa Township. I am a sole practitioner, occasionally getting locum veterinarians or neighbouring practices to cover for me if I am away, but 95% of the time, when you visit Ivy Veterinary Services you and your pet will see me! My veterinary practice includes cats, dogs, pocket pets ( mice, hamsters, rats, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Ferrets and Degus), all types of birds from small to large, and reptiles of all types. I also occasionally treat and neuter various pet monkeys and lemurs. My practice is very pet friendly, and we have acres of fields for walking dogs right outside our building. I am an Accredited Veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) licensed to export cats, dogs, birds, poultry, and horses to the USA and other countries as well. I am also licensed to do Coggins Testing ( Equine Infectious Anemia) for horses. I perform routine surgeries like spaying and neutering in my hospital. I am also very proficient at many other surgeries such as: the Lateral Ligament Suture Repair for ruptured anterior cruciate Ligaments, surgery to correct Luxating Patellas, feline Urethrostomy repairs, and surgery to correct Entropion, ectopic cilia, and ” Cherry Eye” to name only a few. I have taken continuing education courses to ensure that I use the techniques recommended by board certified specialists.