In 1957 Dr. Lose(rhymes with dose), a woman, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school, and became the first female equine veterinarian. She practiced for fifty years before closing her practice, but she still keeps up with all the veterinary medical advancements. Her first and forever passion is horses, becoming the third woman in the country to hold a horse trainer's license, and at 19 she was also the youngest to hold this license.
Doctor Phyllis Lose was a driven woman with spunk to spare. If she ever was told "no" she just worked harder to prove you wrong. "In 1953 it was a common belief that equine vets were "out" due to all the rapid developments of city life and world changes" ~ M. Phyllis Lose
She wasn't the type of woman to waste time being heart broken, she just studied harder, worked harder and never let it show. Phyllis was raised at the time when parents told their children to "Pull your boot straps up and keep going", something she applies to life everyday. In 1953 everyone figured small animal medicine was where the money was, that large animal was fading away. That rumor and knowledge didn't deter Lose, and equine vet was what she knew she was going to do.
Dr. Lose never married, probably due to her very tough schedule and driving discipline. There isn't a disadvantage in the world that can change her mind about becoming an equine vet. She does what she loves, which is all that matters.
Dr. Lose said her worst patient ever was a South American vulture that was owned by her horseman client Daniel Mannix. Daniel requested she take a look at while she was visiting, and it pecked out a chunk of her head. She wore a bloody turban while she finished all her rounds at other clients' barns. She and Mannix are still friends, he helped her write her autobiography, 'No Job For A Lady", in 1978.
Other books Lose put out are, "Blessed are the Broodmares" in 1991; "Blessed are the Foals" in 1987 and 1998; and, "Keep your Horses healthy" in 1986. All her books have been translated to German, Spanish and Japanese.
Phyllis opened two equine hospitals in Pennsylvania, she was also the first equine vet to do that. Her second hospital specialized in orthopedic, colic and soft tissue damage cases. It had a new surgical suite and recovery area.
It's funny where life takes you though.....
She closed the practice later down the road and moved to Florida. Her dog had won $5,500 in a Purina dog food contest in 1999. When Lose was invited to take him to Orlando for a movie audition in 2000, she decided to close her doors. After moving to Florida, she had to take her boards again.She was the oldest person there, she recalls of Test Day, she had to take them on the computer and still was the first to finish.
Since then Dr. Lose has been a track vet, it gave her extra income and allows her to do what she loves. She has seen many changes in the past 20 years in the way that women vets plan their careers.
Today, women aren't seen going into private practice alone, they're always in groups with men or women or both, or as employees in a private practice. "Maybe this is because it makes it easier to be married with children. Mares always seem to foal at night, maybe this helps to have other doctors there to answer the call" Lose says.
Technology has also helped to improve veterinary medicine in many ways. Dr. Lose didn't have a cell phone, there were none, she had a radio, call number KGH656.
Advice that Lose gives to all young vets? Never make friends with horse owners, you are never not a vet-you can't just go visit someone because they will say, 'While you are here.....'
Phyllis loves everything her job has shown her over the last 50 years, although more than a few successes stand out. At her surgical hospital, Lose was able to develop a procedure that transects the check ligament sheath, which released the tendon and resulted in nearly 100 percent success in every club-footed horse she tried it on. She also prides herself with never having an animal with post-op infection, which is probably due to her obsession with cleanliness.
Any regrets at all?
She wishes she had stayed up later, and gotten up earlier, which is hard to do when you're already working almost around the clock.
Doctor Phyllis Lose is an inspiration to not just young women looking at the veterinary field, but young women anywhere in any field.
What can we take from her?
Don't ever give up and never ever let one person's opinion control what you do in life.
Have a happy ride everybody