What was your first pet?
When I was growing up my parents had a Dachshund called Daisy Belle. My first dog was a mut called Drongo who was “rehomed” onto me by the senior partners wife at my first practice.
What are your favourite animals?
African Wild Dogs, Swallows and Red Kites
What is your funniest vet moment?
On the way into work late at night to operate on a colic, I hit a badger which ran off into the woods so I couldn’t help it. When I made it to the hospital, a visiting German student became quite concerned, asking why was the badger walking along the road at this time of night? It was only when he asked if the badger was the man making sausages, we were able to reassure him that the badger was a black and white animal, and not a butcher…
What is the most memorable or unusual animal you have treated?
A fetlock arthrodesis in Barbados….. on some bales of hay in a tent on the side of the main road.
Jo Suthers describes her lifelong passion for horses, which led her to become a Specialist in Equine surgery.
Despite being fanatical about horses, my mother was never able to have a pony; subsequently, when I was three I was given a pony, a naughty Shetland called Mouche. Some might say he was the perfect first pony, as, with a talent for biting and bucking, he tried very hard to put his tiny jockey off equestrianism; however, I was hooked.
I went on to study Veterinary Science at Edinburgh University. I graduated in 2006 and spent a short period in mixed practice in Kent. Realising I was keen to pursue a career in equine practice I then undertook an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Liverpool. Following this I took a job at Bushy Equine Vets, which later became B&W Vet Group. Whilst I really liked the area, the clients, and the other vets I worked with, it became increasingly apparent to me that I wanted to become a specialist in Equine surgery, in order that I could perform surgery and work as part of a team in a hospital, with the challenging referral cases, that I found most interesting and rewarding.
I returned to the University of Liverpool in 2009 and undertook a 4-year residency in equine surgery and epidemiology funded by the Horse Betting Levy Board. I was lucky enough to learn from a number of brilliant equine clinicians and to pursue my interests in surgery and research. I gained an MPhil for my research on colic surgery, investigating survival following colic surgery and risk factors for colic. Following my residency I worked briefly at a large hospital in south Sweden. In 2014 I sat my European Diploma and attained specialist status, and returned to B&W Equine Hospital. I am now one of one of three specialist surgeons at the hospital, working alongside 2 equine internal medicine specialists, an equine dental specialist, and an equine diagnostic imaging specialist. We have a fantastic team including our interns, nurses, nursing technicians, imaging and laboratory technicians, and yard staff. Together we all strive to provide the very best possible standards of client and patient care, and it is this team approach, and the high standards we set ourselves that I find really motivating. I particularly enjoy achieving an accurate diagnosis in a difficult lameness or poor performance case, then formulating a practical plan and potentially performing surgery, with the aim of returning the horse to its previous level of performance. In addition, colic surgery and saving a horse that would otherwise die is always rewarding (even in the middle of the night!)
Being a specialist has offered me so many opportunities. Alongside my clinical work I am involved with learning, education and development for all of the CVS equine practices. I supervise a resident who is training to become a specialist in equine surgery, mentor the interns at B&W Equine Hospital, and together with the University of Nottingham, co-supervise a PhD student who is investigating the implementation of Quality Improvement in Equine Practice. Being a specialist in Equine Surgery has taken me to Europe, Morocco, Russia and the USA and has allowed me to work at various national and international equestrian events including Blenheim, Cheltenham and Aintree. I am excited to see what the next 20 years of my career bring.
Find Jo’s profile here
Further useful links:
Edinburgh University – https://www.ed.ac.uk/vet
Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Liverpool https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/equine/team/
B&W Vet Group https://www.bwequinevets.co.uk
Horse Betting Levy Board https://racehorsehealth.hblb.org.uk/
European Diploma https://www.ecvs.org/home/
CVS equine practice https://www.cvsukltd.co.uk/our-businesses/practice-division/cvs-equine/
University of Nottingham https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/