Dr. Elaine Claffey joins Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists team
Elaine Claffey is the newest member of the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialist (CRES) team. Recently certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (Large Animal), the graduate of the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M. 2014) will be involved in all aspects of care at the clinic, from elective and emergency surgery to sports and regenerative medicine and lameness work.
“Coming from the equine hospital in Ithaca, I knew I’d be joining a fantastic team of specialists here at CRES,” said Claffey, who spent a year interning at the Vermont Large Animal Clinic before completing a residency in large animal surgery and continuing on as a clinical instructor at Cornell. “This clinic has such a unique place in the Long Island community, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Horses have been in Claffey’s life as far back as she can remember. She spent her childhood on a dairy farm in southwestern Virginia that has been in her family since 1795. “I grew up riding and was always interested in the veterinary care it takes to maintain athletic horses,” she said. After trying out a variety of equestrian sports, she eventually settled on – and excelled in – eventing, the “equestrian triathlon” that includes dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. She competed professionally prior to and throughout veterinary school, and currently has one riding horse, a five-year-old Thoroughbred that will be joining her on Long Island soon. “I’m a pretty one-track person,” Claffey admitted. “If I’m not at the clinic, I’d like to be riding. I really just like being around the animals.”
Naturally, her close relationship with horses informs how she approaches her work. “It definitely gives me a valuable outlook when working as an equine veterinarian,” Claffey said. “It’s easy for me to put myself in place of my clients when they are stressed or worried about their horses, because I’m the same way about mine. It also often helps me sort out subtle lamenesses or performance problems because I have that perspective as a rider.”
This unique set of skills is certainly valued by her new colleagues. “Dr. Claffey brings enthusiasm, dedication and incredible work ethic to Ruffian,” said Norm Ducharme, chief medical officer at CRES. “She is one of the finest and brightest surgical resident graduating from the Cornell program, and in addition to her competence she has personal qualities that will help support the core value of our clinic: she is kind and compassionate. We are fortunate to have her.”
-By Olivia Hall