An Irish veterinary surgeon who had been working in Australia has been struck of the veterinary register after she admitted to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) that she had given horse tranquilisers and other drugs to her friends.

The Veterinary Surgeons' Board of Western Australia and Catherine Anne McGuigan were parties in the case.

The case documents reveal that McGuigan administered horse tranquilisers and other drugs to her friends during a weekend break together in Perth in October 2020.

Horse tranquilisers

McGuigan was employed as a vet surgeon at Murray Veterinary Services at Fishermans Road, Coolup in Western Australia.

Catherine McGuigan Image: Facebook

She provided veterinary surgery services to animals owned by two friends, named in the case as Mr. and Mrs. A.

McGuigan and Mr. and Mrs. A socialised regularly and from time to time took trips away together, during which they used illicit drugs including ecstacy and cocaine for recreational purposes.

During a trip away on the weekend of October 17 and 18, 2020, the vet and Mr. and Mrs. A rented and stayed at an apartment at Westview Parade in Wannanup near Perth, where they consumed alcohol and cocaine.

The case documents state that sometime during the weekend break, McGuigan took a bottle of 100mg/ml ketamine, from her work vehicle.

She administered a quantity of ketamine to Mrs. A by injecting into the muscle of her left shoulder and administered quantities of ketamine to Mr A. and self-administered quantities of ketamine.

The tribunal heard evidence that on the morning of October 18, 2020, the vet surgeon said to Mr. and Mrs. A, words to the effect that she could lose her job for giving them ketamine and purportedly made them promise that they would never tell anyone about her administering ketamine to herself and them.

Other drugs

The tribunal case also indicated that on another occasion, McGuigan supplied a 20ml bottle of 5mg/ml diazepam injection to Mrs A. for self-administration.

When supplying the diazepam, the vet said to Mrs A. words to the effect that it would help her sleep and she could take the diazepam orally by drawing it into a syringe and swallowing.

In December 2020, McGuigan is understood to have self-administered Airway Gel, an oral broncho-dilating agent for horses with the active constituent being Clenbuterol Hydrochlorid.

State Administrative Tribunal

The SAT determined that the veterinary surgeon's conduct "fell substantially short of the standards of professional conduct that could reasonably be expected to be observed by members of the veterinary profession of good repute and competency".

It stated that McGuigan "is guilty of unprofessional conduct as a veterinary surgeon pursuant to regulation 28(2)(c) of the Regulations and section 23(4)(e) of the Act; or alternatively, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by registered veterinary surgeons of good repute and competency".

The SAT noted that McGuigan was remorseful and accepted responsibility for her conduct and had no prior disciplinary history.

The tribunal also noted that the vet admitted her wrongdoing and reached agreement with the applicant [Veterinary Surgeons' Board of Western Australia], to resolve the proceedings at the earliest opportunity.

She was struck off the register of vet surgeons of Western Australia and was fined $1,000 and also has to pay the legal costs of the veterinary board to the amount of $3,000.