03/01/2010 12:00AM

Head surgeon leaves New York veterinary clinic

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Dr. Patricia Hogan, the head surgeon at the Ruffian Equine Medical Center near Belmont Park, resigned from her position in February to practice full-time at her own clinic in New Jersey, according to the owner and operator of the medical center.

Dr. James Hunt, who operates the hospital under a lease held by International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, said that Hogan had played an instrumental part in helping to get the hospital off the ground, including her work picking and training the hospital's staff. A staff surgeon she hired, Dr. Chris Byron, will take over her role, Hunt said.

"She's obviously one of the best surgeons in the whole world," said Hunt. "We're just glad she was involved as much as she was for as long as she was."

The $18 million clinic was developed by IEAH over the course of five years and opened in May, 2009. Hogan helped design the hospital and participated in most of the planning for the clinic, according to Michael Iavarone, the co-president of IEAH.

"She helped us greatly in getting the hospital off the ground," said Iavarone. "But she has her own thing in New Jersey."

Dr. Hogan did not respond to a message left on her cell phone. She owns and operates Hogan Equine at Fair Winds Farm in central New Jersey.