Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Woofs With.... A Veterinary Surgeon

Time for another Woofs With.... interview, and this time we got chatting to Emma, who is the director of our local veterinary practice, Greensands Vets in Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire!  We wanted to find out what it is like being a veterinary surgeon so we asked a few questions.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

So Emma, how and why did you become a vet?

I qualified as a vet 19 years ago, after graduating from the Royal Veterinary College, London University. I wanted to be a vet for as long a I can remember, influenced no doubt by James Herriot as well as my love of horses.

I love all the looking after that pets require and used to enjoy mucking out and grooming my horse just as much as the hacking out and weekly gymkhanas. I was also fascinated by biology and my mum was regularly horrified to find me at the kitchen table dissecting livers, kidneys, hearts and eyeballs that I obtained from the local butcher! I think being a vet was just inevitable.

Tell us about your own pets

As a child I had a whole menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, horses, various small furries, and two very mischievous goats called William and Katy (a good 20 years before the royal couple got together). Nowadays we just have one black cat, called Bean, who was an RSPCA case who came into my last practice soon after I joined. She's now an extremely sprightly 15 year old who's adapted to her new life in a flat extremely well.

Emma, and her 15 year old cat, Bean

After graduating, how did you get started in practice?

I started out with plans to become an equine vet but I discovered I enjoyed the small animal side even more.  My first job was in Birmingham at a small practice much like the one I now own with my partner Derek, who is also a vet. After 4 years there with fantastic and encouraging bosses I wanted to perform more surgery and diagnostics and moved to a busy hospital practice in Wolverhampton, working with a large team of vets and nurses. It was there that I met Derek, who ran one of the branch surgeries. Wolverhampton gets a bad press and although the city centre itself has yet to embrace cafe culture, there are some beautiful areas close by. I must have liked it as I stayed for 14 years!

For the last few years we've considered buying our own practice but they don't come on the market often and when they do the big corporate practices jump in and snap them up. Greensands Vets in Woburn Sands was ideal as we loved the location and it was small enough to be manageable. We've been here now for nearly 8 months and life is great, if busy!

What's a typical day like for you?

My day involves a nice mix of consultations and surgery as well as investigations using blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound scanning. I get to meet pets and their owners much more here than in my previous job and this has revived my love of veterinary work as you can become a little detached in a hospital, where I would rarely get to follow up on my own cases.

What are the best and worst things of your job?

Seeing the pets well again and happily back home really is what motivates me. As far as the worst part of the job, strangely it isn't euthanasia, although that is obviously a difficult task but one I feel privileged to perform to relieve suffering. Early on in my career I struggled with the change from the seemingly limitless funds and state of the art diagnostics available within the university hospital but I have come to understand that every situation is different and that many factors impose constraints on treatment and it is my job to help the owners to reach decisions, working together as a team.

Thank you so much Emma - it was very interesting talking to you.  And thank you for being a fab doggy doctor!  We will see you soon for my annual health check and booster shots!!  


  1. I really enjoyed reading Emma's story. Thanks so much for linking it to the hop!

  2. I really wanted to be a vet when I was younger and I still think it would be a great job. Unfortunately, my insane fear of needles killed that dream.

  3. Great interview. We loved Emma's story. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Hi Y'all!

    Oh she sounds like a fun vet!

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  5. I thank you for taking the time to interview Emma and adding this to the blog hop. I think vets are wonderful and often times not appreciated enough.

  6. How brilliant that Emma made time for her interview, she seems like a lovely vet to be cared for by :)