Meet the Veterinary Teaching Hospital team: Dr. Boel Fransson

Dr. Boel Fransson, left, offers feedback to students who are using a virtual reality simulator to practice a laparoscopic procedure.
Dr. Boel Fransson, left, offers feedback to students who are using a virtual reality simulator to practice a laparoscopic procedure.

Dr. Boel Fransson is the head of our Small Animal Surgery service and one of the nation’s leading experts in laparoscopic procedures, or minimally invasive surgeries. In addition to serving as the hospital’s main surgeon for minimally invasive and interventional surgery procedures, she also has been leading an effort to improve and develop training and assessment methods for laparoscopic surgery.

Originally from Sweden, Dr. Fransson lives near WSU on a small farm with 10 mules, a pair of horses, a dog, three cats, and five chickens. She also has two daughters and is married to Dr. Claude Ragle, who has been an equine surgeon at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital since 1992.

What is your typical day like at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital?

Morning rounds with colleagues and house officers from 8-9 a.m.; receiving patients and discussing work-up and treatment with clients Mondays and Wednesdays; surgeries on Tuesdays and Thursdays and additionally as needed for the hospital. If the surgeries are routine, I usually support our residents doing them; if it is advanced surgery, I often do them with the assistance of the residents. On Fridays we do a lot of medical records and discharge patients that are ready to go home. 

What made you want to work in veterinary medicine?

I have always loved animals and health science. I was accepted into medical school but decided to change to veterinary medicine instead.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I have two passions – performing advanced minimally invasive surgery (exciting!) and teaching residents. Making an animal almost instantly better and more comfortable through a procedure and seeing the residents grow in their skills and confidence are both equally rewarding.

What are your career goals?

I am hoping to develop a comprehensive training curriculum for residents so all residents in the U.S. can get help to learn more about and be well prepared for the advanced minimally invasive surgeries whether they work with minimally invasive surgery faculty or not. I am hoping to lead that enormous task from my position here at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love horseback riding, or in my case, muleback riding. I am doing a discipline called cowboy dressage and recently some liberty with my mules.

What advice would you give to pet owners?

Don’t wait too long if you think your animal may need surgery! The difference between doing surgery on a still fairly healthy animal versus a sick animal is miles wide.