Years involved in industry: 50
- President of the following veterinary bodies: MVPA, AVA (Vic), ASAVA, ACVS
- Awarded an Australian Sports Medal
- Order of Australia
- Greyhound Racing Control Board Member
- International lecturer and co-author of Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound
Born in 1930, James Richard Gannon graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science from the University of Queensland in 1952. Being from a dairy farming background, he immediately returned to Queensland’s rural scene and established the first veterinary practice in the city of Maryborough.
Two years later, he moved further upcountry to the township of Monto where he again launched the first veterinary practice in that locality dealing with dairy and beef cattle. Severe Queensland drought saw him visit Victoria “for a week, just for a change”, and it was decades later before he ever bothered to return.
After settling at Kew, it was not long before a thriving practice of four vets and nine nurses offered a seven-day service, from 8am to midnight every day – and many a greyhound trainer can testify to that! So what started Dr Gannon with greyhounds? “For the first two years at Kew, I worked almost exclusively, full-time, with horses (thoroughbred and harness),” he said. “Then disaster struck, when a number of injections of tetanus antitoxin for various injuries sustained from horses caused a severe allergy to develop – in those days tetanus antitoxin was made from horse serum, and repeat doses produced allergic responses. “That was the end of all further horse contact – so, naturally, the only other attractive racing animal athlete was the greyhound – and that’s how it all started.”
Following a busy decade at Kew and Richmond, with equally outstanding colleagues like John Murray, Phillip Kidd and Janene Kirschner, Dr Gannon was invited in the 1980s to reinvigorate the Sandown Veterinary Clinic, where he was a driving force behind the establishment of the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) in Victoria.
Then began an era of unparalleled affordable and dedicated veterinary service to the greyhound industry, supported by top vets such as Des Fegan, Peter Yore, Richard Healey, and a series of Sandown Cadetship graduates including Michelle Brooks, Chris Boemo and Steve Brown, just to mention a few.