Problem solving and hard work is how Dr. Cindy Lukianchuk, a veterinarian at the Russell & District Veterinary Clinic, sums up what travelling to farms raising cattle, bison or horses within the Parkland region means to her.
The 2015 graduate of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine began searching for a job while attending farrier school two years ago in the United States.
“While job searching, I came across an advertisement for Russell, joining Dr. Cathy Clemence in January 2018,” said Lukianchuk, who has family ties to the community of Erickson. “I was really excited an opportunity opened up close to home.”
Backed by a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan in 2011, and graduating from the Butler Professional Farrier School located in Nebraska in 2017, Lukianchuk began her quest to put her career(s) in motion.
“My career allows me to live in a rural community close to home and family,” said Lukianchuk, who left her home outside of Erickson as a teenager to pursue advanced education and hockey at Balmoral Hall School, in Winnipeg, graduating in 2007. “With veterinary medicine there is never one day that’s the same and with each call — large or small — you never stop learning.”
Preferring to work with large animals, horses are a favourite, and through her farrier service, Alloy Equine, Lukianchuk has plenty of opportunity to work with them. Offering the services of routine hoof trimming, shoeing (cold and hot fitting), reserts and therapeutic shoeing, Lukianchuk is a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Farriers Association, and the American Association of Professional Farriers.
Completing a basic farrier and blacksmithing course as well as an advanced therapeutic farrier and blacksmithing course while at the Butler Professional Farrier School, these courses taught her how to trim, shoe, and forge shoes from flat bar stock.
“I think there is always a demand for farrier services, however, in this particular area there might not be a large percentage of horses to support one farrier,” said Lukianchuk. “Currently I am servicing the Russell area, and into Saskatchewan focusing on Yorkton and the Swift Current regions. As long as there are enough horses to make the trip worthwhile I’m not really limiting my region at this point.”
Loving the field of podiatry, she says it’s truly amazing what a shoe can do for a horse, and even more amazing what the foot can tell you about the horse.
Lameness in horses, solely being treated through veterinary-based options (steroid injections, anti-inflammatories, etc.) was the push that Lukianchuk needed to become a farrier.
“I have come to learn, a multi-model approach is always better in foot issues involving miniature ponies, donkeys, light horses, or heavy horses,” she said. “I have a nine-year-old gelding that has navicular syndrome (heel pain) and was in a university research project which evaluated treatment options by comparing MRI results pre- and post-treatment. Although he obtained intra-bursal steroid injections at the end of the project, which kept him sound for several months, by incorporating a farrier’s approach — therapeutic shoes, physical rehab exercises, and no injections — he has been kept more comfortable.”
While struggling with his lameness, Lukianchuk always thought back on her hockey career and the many injuries including lameness she acquired.
“If I had an injury I always had many different types of treatments that were all necessary to keep me sound, not just an anti-inflammatory or some sort of injection,” said Lukianchuk. “Horses are no different, they have the same muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone as we do, just a different shape.”
Like a veterinarian, there are always risks working around a horse or any large animal. From a farrier’s view, being kicked, stepped on, or having a nail go through a finger are just a few of the dangers, which come from this type of profession.
Away from the job, Lukianchuk, who owns a couple of horses for pleasure and sale, really enjoys breaking horses, while her fiancé is involved in the bovine world.