AN animal lover who had to give up plans for a career as an equine nurse due to a severe form of asthma has found a way to continue her dream of helping sick horses.

Alice Smith grew up wanting to work with horses and it was a dream come true when she joined Rainbow Equine Hospital as a trainee nurse. However, she was devastated when she realised that daily close contact with her favourite animal had started to affect her health.

Alice suffers from a rare form of asthma called brittle asthma and caring for lots of different horses every day at the Malton hospital left her wheezing and struggling for breath and needing her inhaler 20-30 times to help her get through each day.

Alice said: “I have suffered from asthma since I was 13, but it became much worse in the last couple of years. Brittle asthma is difficult to manage and pretty much anything triggers it, and being in close contact with lots of different horses was causing me to have more attacks. It had got to the point where my doctor, the asthma specialists I’d been referred to and my parents were telling me that enough was enough and I couldn’t work with horses any more.

“I loved my job so much I put off handing in my notice for three months. I even tried avoiding some of the things my role involved, such as clipping horses so I wasn’t breathing in bits of hair, but it didn’t make any difference. In the end, I had to accept defeat and went to speak to my manager.”

In a positive twist of fate, another role within the hospital had become free on the same day and Alice was offered the chance to switch jobs.

She said: “An opportunity came up in the hospital as the head of pharmacy and it has turned out to be perfect for me. Working in the pharmacy department means I can still be involved with helping horses, but I don’t need to have direct contact with them.”

“I absolutely love my new role and it suits me perfectly because I’m meticulous and super-organised. I am also over the moon that I can keep working at Rainbow because I would have been devastated to leave. I feel a lot healthier and I rarely need use my blue inhaler any more. My new job has transformed my life.”

Moses Brennan, clinical director at Rainbow Equine Hospital, said: “Alice is a valued member of the team, so rather than lose her we offered her the role as head of pharmacy. She has thrown herself into her new role and we are delighted that she is still part of the family at Rainbow.”