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Bush Leaves




BVSc, MSc, Cert ES (soft tissue), Dip ECVS


Claire graduated from the University of Queensland in 2003. Claire started her veterinary career with an internship in equine medicine and surgery at Randwick Equine Centre in Sydney before moving to the UK in 2005. There she spent time in equine referral and first opinion practice before completing a 3 year Residency in Equine Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, generously funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB). In addition to gaining invaluable experience of specialist cases during her residency, Claire attained her RCVS Certificate in Equine Surgery (soft tissue) and was awarded a Masters of Science by Research for her thesis investigating the muscles of the equine soft palate. 

In 2011, Claire passed her European College of Veterinary Surgeons diploma examination, making her a European Specialist in Equine Surgery. Whilst enjoying all forms of equine surgery including colic, arthroscopy, fracture repair and minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy and transendoscopic laser surgery), Claire’s special interest lies in respiratory surgery and the investigation of dynamic respiratory tract obstructions in the racehorse (exercise endoscopy). Claire has published and presented to peers on respiratory and dental conditions of the horse.




Following graduation from UCD in 1996, Ernan spent 2 years in mixed practice in Northern Ireland. Ernan then moved to Greenwood Ellis & Partners (now Newmarket Equine Hospital) where he spent 5 years. During this time and his transition to Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital, Ernan did 3 consecutive stud seasons working with Scone Vet Hospital, based on Collingrove Stud in Australia’s Hunter Valley. 

Ernan’s veterinary interests lie in equine reproduction,stud medicine and the thoroughbred in training.




Joe is a 1965 graduate of UCD. After 18 months working in mixed practice in Birmingham, UK, Joe moved to Newmarket to join Day Crowhurst (now known as Newmarket Equine Hospital) for 4 ½ years, working in both the racing and breeding sides of the practice. Whilst practicing in Newmarket Joe was awarded funding from the Horseracing Betting Levy Board (HBLB) for a 6 month expedition to see the latest advances in equine surgical techniques in America (Cornell, New Bolton Centre, Kentucky, Ocala and UC Davis), Argentina, Australia (Scone), New Zealand and Hong Kong where he observed and was taught new procedures, among other things the laryngeal tieback, arthroscopy and periosteal strips. 

Joe moved to The Curragh in 1971 to join Bob Griffins practice, the current day Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital where he is the senior partner. There are very few things in equine practice that Joe has not seen, and his experience is invaluable. Joe is a well known and respected figure in the Irish racing and breeding community. He has acted as an attending veterinarian at The Curragh racecourse for 40 years. Joe has also been heavily involved in yearling and breeze up sales, with long term service as a member of the veterinary panel for Goffs and Tattersalls sales. 

Joe maintains a keen interest in racing, having ridden his first point to point winner aged 14 years old. He also continues to follow Kilkenny hurling, being a member of successful Kilkenny minor teams, holding an All Ireland college medal for hurling.




John graduated in 1974 from UCD. John started his veterinary career with 4 years equine practice in the UK prior to joining Stan Cosgrove at Troytown Equine Hospital in Kildare in 1979. John spent 12 years, the later part as a partner at Troytown before moving to Saudi Arabia in 1992 where he spent 4 years as private vet to Prince Sultan Al Kabeer in Riyadh. 

John returned to Ireland in 1996 to join Joe O’Donnell at Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital, where he is now a partner. John has a wealth of experience, particularly in the racing and breeding Thoroughbred. John is based on The Curragh with his family where he follows his own breeding interests, most notably produce of late being Jumborio, Cottonmouth and Reported.

Joe O'Donnell
John Byrne
Claire Hawkes
Ernan O'Donnell
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