Ermineskin citizen graduates vet school, is part of busy practice

(Photo submitted)
Hodgson says being a vet can be a dirty business, but he plans to go far with it, hopefully practicing in Europe eventually. (Photos submitted)Hodgson says being a vet can be a dirty business, but he plans to go far with it, hopefully practicing in Europe eventually. (Photos submitted)
(Photo submitted)
Justin Hodgson

Dr. Justin Hodgson, 25, a citizen of Ermineskin Cree Nation of Maskwacis, graduated from veterinary school in May, 2020 and is now practicing in Meadow Lake, Sask.

He graduated from with a doctorate of veterinary medicine from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at he University of Saskatoon.

Before that, he completed a three-year program in animal health where he was on the dean’s list.

Now all his hard work as a student has paid off and he’s settled into a practice he’s familiar with. He started at his current practice a week after graduating, as he had already worked for them for two summers as a student.

A busy vet already, Hodgson gave an interview over the phone while on his way to perform a c-section.

Hodgson says although being a student was fun, it was also stressful and he’s happy to be done now.

Thankfully for him, COVID-19 didn’t add too much of an inconvenience to his education, as he only had to do one month online before he was finished his studies.

Where he works now is a general mixed practice, but about 60 per cent of what they work with is cattle, says Hodgson. He says they’re the only practice within 200 km so they get all kinds of animals, small to large.

Hodgson says his favourite part of being a vet is building relationships with people as he visits their farms and being invited into their homes, and the trust they put in him to care for their animals.

He passed an exam that enables him to be licensed in both Canada and the United States, should he pursue that.

Eventually, he hopes to practice in Europe.

His reasons are to see how vets practice in other parts of the world, see something different and “completely switch it up,” he says.

Hodgson graduated from Wetaskiwin Composite High School in 2013.

During his growing up years, he was into sports and rodeo, playing hockey in Wetaskiwin and Camrose.

He was a rodeo contestant and outrider in many chuckwagon competitions and it runs in the family.

His father, Barry Hodgson, continues to compete in chuckwagon and thoroughbred horse racing events and his grandfather Larry Hodgson is a former international hockey player, rodeo contestant and chuckwagon and thoroughbred horse racing participant.

His Mother Bonnie is a veterinarian technologist and Hodgson credits her influence with helping him find his path to veterinarian medicine. In high school when he was deliberating what his career path should be, between being a physician or a vet, his mother suggested he volunteer at a vet clinic.

After he did that, he knew being a vet was what he wanted to do for a profession.

“We are proud of his success as I know he worked very hard all the way through,” said Ermineskin Chief Willie Littlechild, who is Hodgson’s uncle.

READ MORE: Alberta lawyers will take Indigenous Cultural Competency training

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