Scott Kilpatrick opens up on his career and what expansion will mean for emergency and specialty hospital
Scott Kilpatrick’s specialism is in internal medicine, and his role involves investigating and managing chronic disease conditions in dogs and cats.
After graduating in 2007, the 35-year-old began his veterinary career at the PDSA, before moving to Vets Now in Edinburgh to work as an out-of-hours emergency vet.
After two years Scott returned to his alma mater, the University of Edinburgh, to do a four-year residency. He became a full-time referral clinician at Vets Now’s emergency and specialty hospital in Glasgow in 2016 and obtained specialist status the following year.
In this interview, Scott sheds some light on his role at Vets Now and provides some insight into what to expect when the hospital expansion is complete.
Refer a case
How would you describe your role in Glasgow?
I’m a specialist in small animal internal medicine, having completed a Diploma at the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. My role involves investigating and managing chronic disease conditions in dogs and cats. Obviously, the main focus at Vets Now is out-of-hours emergency and critical care, but in our 24-hour hospitals, we also have to think about what happens after these patients are critically ill, particularly if they’ve been ill for weeks or months. As much as we want to cure all of our patients, a lot of the time their illnesses don’t go away completely and we have to consider how to manage those over the long term.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are so many things. I’ve spent a long time training to do this job and I made that choice because I love what I do, particularly working with animals and their owners. I also love working for Vets Now, because of the type of company it is and the people I work alongside. On top of that, Glasgow is a great place to live. There are so many other reasons that make this the perfect job for me.
What are your main clinical interests?
For my Master’s degree, I studied the pathogenesis of canine liver disease. But in my day-to-day work, I see more cases of chronic vomiting and diarrhoea than anything else so gastrointestinal disease and endoscopy are key clinical interests now.
How will the expansion help the hospital improve its service?
The main aim of the expansion is to benefit the pet population of Greater Glasgow, as well as our partner practices and their clients. It will provide us with more space and, importantly, more state-of-the-art equipment. This includes a fluoroscopy system which will, in essence, allow us to do real-time X-rays.
Tell me about the interventional radiology service you are launching?
This is fast becoming one of my main clinical interests and it’s very exciting. This service will help us diagnose and fix abnormalities in a much more minimally invasive way. Fluoroscopy will allow us to monitor the flow of blood through abnormal vessels and guide vascular and cardiac interventions. It will also provide us with the opportunity to do more advanced stenting techniques. For example, dogs and cats who develop cancer of the urethra are often put to sleep because they can no longer urinate. What we’ll be able to do is introduce metallic stents to open up the urethra. While this procedure won’t take the cancer away, it will allow the pets to survive for much longer because they’ll still have the ability to urinate.
How will the service benefit pet owners?
Not only will we be able to improve the quality and length of life in some conditions, we will also be in a position to offer alternatives to surgical procedures so patients undergo fewer operations. While surgery is brilliant, and essential, in many situations, if we can fix a problem without having to subject a pet to open surgery, then obviously that’s going to benefit them.
How will the service benefit partner practices?
You need state-of-the-art equipment to offer this service, and that equipment is simply not available in every practice. In addition the techniques vets must be proficient in to carry out these procedures aren’t widely taught. I’ve had to do extensive further training to be able to use these machines, so partner practices will benefit from having this skill-set available to them.
What makes Glasgow a special place to work?
The people I work with. They are a great bunch and that makes such a difference. I also enjoy working for Vets Now because they’ve always been so supportive of me in my career. The icing on the cake is the new facilities will match up with the people in the building, because as much as everyone does a wonderful job, there are limitations because we’ve totally outgrown this place.
Where do you see the hospital in five years’ time?
One of my ambitions is to introduce a residency programme within medicine. I also see us employing more than just me for internal medicine because we’re just one clinician deep at the moment and that’s limiting because, regardless of how many wonderful nurses we have, we’ll reach a point where I physically can’t see any more cases. I can really see the interventional service developing as well.