First in a series of interviews with the Vets Now team in Manchester
Vets Now’s emergency and specialty hospital in Manchester is one of the most technologically advanced pet emergency facilities in the country.
But what really sets the hospital apart — aside from its state-of-the-art equipment and resources — is the people who work there.
It’s home to several internationally-renowned specialists and referral clinicians.
Among them is Laura Cuddy, a specialist in small animal surgery and canine sports medicine and rehabilitation, who is board certified in both Europe and the US.
Our content marketing manager Iain Harrison asked Laura to lift the lid on her career journey, her interests, and what makes Vets Now in Manchester such a unique place to work.
Find out more about the services on offer in Manchester
When did working as a vet become an ambition?
I’m a little stereotypical in that I had always wanted to be a vet. Our local vet at home in Ireland was a board-certified surgeon, and I spent a lot of time with him growing up. He opened my eyes to the fact there is much more to being a vet than just routine work. As a result, I wanted to be a surgeon at a very early age.
Tell me about your career to date?
I went to the School of Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin (UCD) and during my time there, I had very strong mentors who fostered my interest in the profession. After graduating in 2008 I travelled to Florida to begin a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery. During my five years in the US I did a combined masters of science and residency in small animal surgery. It was a great experience.
But then the call of home came and myself and my husband, who’s an equine surgeon, decided to move back to Ireland. I worked at UCD for three years as an assistant professor in small animal surgery. Career wise I’d loved to have stayed in the US — and I’d probably have stayed in academia. But from a personal perspective, we wanted to be closer to our family. We also wanted to share some of the things we’d learned in the US with colleagues in Ireland and the UK.
How have you managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time?
I’m very career driven, and because this is what I’ve always wanted to do, I made a choice not to waste any time. Going to the US was a huge opportunity. The standard of care and the standard of practice is very high, and there are lots of people willing to invest significant effort and finance into animal health. It was a fantastic place to work and learn.
Interested in referring a case to our team in Manchester?
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Every day is different. Each case is different, and each case presents a unique challenge. Around 60-70% of my work is orthopaedics and lameness. Much of this involves working with patients to get them back on their feet and the chronic management of conditions.
I also do soft tissue surgery and trauma surgery, which are both very interesting. Many of the referral patients we treat in Manchester have already been seen by several other vets. As such, we’re often at the end of a long road so the cases can be challenging. But helping a very sick animal get back on their feet is also very rewarding.
Where are your ambitions for Vets Now in Manchester?
At the moment we deal with a lot of trauma surgery cases, whether that be orthopaedic or soft tissue. We’d like to build the elective orthopaedic caseload, so we become well known for cruciate disease, hip replacements, arthroscopy, etc. — and advancing new technologies and new techniques. I’d like to see us become known as a state-of-the-art referral centre for whatever condition your pet has.
What makes the hospital a special place to work?
It’s much more than just a facility. Yes, we’re lucky as we have state-of-the-art equipment and the hospital is designed with patients in mind. But a hospital is nothing without the people in it. In Manchester, we have a small but cohesive team of specialists, general vets and emergency-specific vets and very highly-skilled veterinary nurses and animal care assistants who, with the support of management, are working together to try to optimise patient care and client service.
What do you enjoy most about delivering CPD?
I deliver a lot of CPD, mainly in Europe and the US, in orthopaedics and minimally invasive surgery, and teaching is something I enjoy in general. It’s very rewarding when people say they’ve learned something, or changed their practices or techniques, simply by listening to you. It also feels good to be able to give something back to the veterinary community.
What do you do to relax?
We live on a farm with cattle and horses. We also have two badly-behaved dogs who occupy a lot of our time. We enjoy working on the farm and doing the garden. I also do a lot of travelling, mainly doing CPD.