A Q&A with Austin Rodeo veterinarian Dr. Golla
Dr. Steven Golla, founder and area director of the Chisholm Trail Veterinary Clinics, has been one of the Austin Rodeo’s two veterinarians since 2007. Dr. Golla gives a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a large-animal and rodeo veterinarian.
Q: How did you get involved with the Austin Rodeo?
A: Austin Rodeo officials recognized my experience as a large-animal veterinarian and life-long experiences with the livestock show, and recruited me in 2007 to be one of the Rodeo’s two veterinarians.
Q: Wow, more than a decade with the Austin Rodeo! What do you do as an official rodeo veterinarian?
A: I am responsible for anything related to animal health at the rodeo. The other doctor and I are required to be chute-side during performances, or the show does not go on. We treat any and all animal injuries. We are there for immediate triage of animal sickness or injuries, from coughing to sudden death. Luckily, those are very infrequent.
I also manage the health of all animals on the grounds, including stock show animals, performance animals, and exhibits. I also operate the livestock show drug screening program, in which we test show animals’ urine for drugs.
We also are tasked with surveying the grounds for any an all evidence of communicable diseases that could start an outbreak. I actually help set up a policy for the Austin Rodeo with the Animal Care Committee for emergency protocol in the case of a significant animal event. We have to make sure the policies are upheld to ensure the health and safety of the animals and public.
Q: That’s quite a bit of responsibility! But Chisholm Trail Veterinary Clinic contributes to other rodeos, too, right?
A: Yes, we provide livestock show drug screening for two other Texas counties at their county livestock shows.
Q: Why is working with the Austin Rodeo (and others) so important to you?
A: I am very honored to serve the Austin Rodeo. The Rodeo’s mission is to preserve western heritage, and we supply hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and livestock show support to the youth of Texas.
Additionally, as veterinarians, we promote our profession and show how we protect the welfare and integrity of livestock and the food supply. Education and agricultural promotion are key elements that I am proud to support, and I hope that educating today’s public will go a long way into preserving agricultural and western tradition.