By Shirley Murtha
Actually she arrived last July, but Dr. Caitlin Rothacker has gradually become known to the horse-owners of the greater Granby area as she slips into the shoes of retired veterinarian Liam O’Leary. Although small in stature, her experience prior to arriving in Granby more than qualifies her to fill those shoes! In fact, O’Leary notes that “Salmon Brook Veterinary Hospital is most fortunate to have such a talented highly educated and competent equine veterinarian with a deep knowledge of horses join the practice.”
Born in Idaho, Rothacker’s family moved to Brewster, New York, when she was seven, and even at that young age, she knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. The fact that her mom was a horse trainer probably had something to do with that!
Her undergraduate work completed at Bucknell, Rothacker went to the University of Illinois for veterinary school. Her first internship was a year spent at a race track in New Zealand. While at Bucknell, she spent a semester “down under” and so the internship posting was just too enticing to pass up. After that, she did a year in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school, followed by a two-year residency in ambulatory and sports medicine at UPenn’s New Bolton Center. There is a long positive history between New Bolton and Salmon Brook.
Rothacker was appointed to the staff at New Bolton. During her first year in that position she saw a posting for a job at Salmon Brook. She knew the Granby practice was family-focused and had no qualms about hiring female veterinarians in what was once a male-dominated field.
What does she like best about being a veterinarian? Helping the animals, of course, but equally as much she likes developing relationships with her clients —getting to understand their needs and helping them to become the best caretakers possible of their animals.
The hardest part about the job for her are the occasions when the diagnosis is difficult and the solution to a problem is not readily apparent. She notes that “the technology has come a long way, but I am still just a person in a truck at your farm,” trying to pull all the pieces together.
Expecting her second child in early June, Rothacker’s family includes her husband Andy and their three-year old son Charlie. She likes the life in Granby, especially the friendly and helpful people. It wasn’t long before she knew the best places to have lunch and where to go for good gardening supplies.
Salmon Brook Veterinary and Granby’s horse-owners welcome Caitlin and hope she will be around for a long time.