What challenges you the most about being a vet?
The most challenging thing about being a vet for me would be a complex orthopaedic procedure. These operations require diligent planning with a detailed knowledge of anatomy and the margin for error is usually very small.
Orthopaedic surgery has been described as a mixture of woodwork and gardening with the result being dependent an a race between bone healing and implant failure. We have to understand how to nurture the bone so that it can heal as rapidly as possible and apply some form of device that will allow that healing to happen whilst coping with the stresses and strains applied to it by a patient who does not understand the meaning of lying in bed and taking it easy.
Once off the operating table all implants are under stresses that eventually will lead to some form of fatigue and failure, which most people will understand when we talk of metal fatigue and the accidents to vehicles, especially planes that we read about in the press.
Consequently, our intervention must ensure that the bone heals rapidly so that the implant becomes less important to weight bearing as quickly as possible. All these factors make orthopaedic surgery the most challenging thing that I do.
What’s the strangest case you’ve seen?
I have seen and been involved in many unusual cases over the years. Some of the exotic species I have treated remain highlights and having been the veterinary surgeon responsible for a wildlife park there have been many of these cases.
From performing vasectomies in Merekats and Elk to exploratory abdominal surgery in an Iguana. Domestically the oddest case would probably be a surgery I did to a koi carp. This involved anaesthetising the fish in a special anaesthetic dissolved in some of it’s pond water and then a 20 minute window with which to perform the surgery before the fish woke up!
What would you have been if you weren’t a vet?
I wanted to be a vet from a young age. I was heavily influenced by the stories of James Herriot and I have been extremely fortunate in my career that I have been able to experience so many of the different aspects to being a veterinary surgeon and having worked in some lovely parts of the British Isles.
I love being a vet and frankly I can’t think of another career I would rather do but my hobby is photography and though I doubt I could have made a career of it I would love to have been a nature photographer or cameraman.
What excites you most about veterinary medicine?
There is a lot to get excited about. The profession has changed dramatically in the 30 years that I have been working in it and it continues to evolve at pace. I have seen significant changes in the roles people play in practice and the skill set and knowledge of the veterinary nursing team has expanded to improve the health care provided in practice.
Developments in anaesthesia and pain control mean that we are able to perform more complex and demanding procedures whilst ensuring patients have a less stressful experience at the same time. New developments in diagnostics and surgical planning are taking full advantage of things like 3D printing though it seems unlikely we will see that soon in general practice…but who knows?
Why did you choose Arun Veterianry Group?
I came to Arun Vets at a time of personal change having sold out of my practice that I had built up over 25 years.
In the six months I then spent as a locum veterinary surgeon working for short spells at various practices in the UK I was able to get a flavor of how the profession is changing and coping with that change. Sad to say not all the changes in the profession are to my liking and the corporatisation of the veterinary profession is something only time will tell has been a good or bad thing.
From my perspective I see the tentacles of the corporate beast strangling off the individuality of provision provided by the profession over many years and siphoning off the profits that had until recently been the source of investment in veterinary practice to line the pockets of corporate investors.
Superficially, this has kept low end veterinary care down in price but without the benefits of investment in equipment and staff. Arriving at Arun Vets was like a breath of fresh air. Matt’s unique take on veterinary practice design and his dedication to providing the best level of care creates a dynamic atmosphere with optimism about the future not readily apparent in the corporate world.
By remaining an independent practice with our own out of hours cover service means that there is a continuity of care not available from practices that use a separate night time emergency service.
This allows a bond to form between client and vet creating a level of trust that enables us to work with owners and develop the best treatment plan for an individual. It is this bond that I find most compelling and is the single most important factor for me to remain here.