Feb 8 2010 by Claire Devine, Chester Chronicle
A SPECIALIST horse surgeon is enjoying his new role at a renowned equine hospital.
Neil Townsend, of Elton, Chester, is a vet specialising in equine soft tissue surgery at the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, Neston.
He has a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) certificate in equine surgery, and is part-way to achieving a European diploma in veterinary surgery – one of the highest qualifications possible in the field.
Neil, 30, started work as a surgeon at the hospital in January after completing a post-graduate clinical training programme in equine soft tissue surgery at the University of Edinburgh.
He said: “I used to ride a lot when I was younger and love spending time with horses. “I decided to specialise in soft tissue surgery as I love the variety of the work.”
Describing a typical day, Neil said: “I start work at 8am and do the clinical rounds with a senior clinician.
“After we have discussed the cases, I spend time dealing with individual cases and teaching students.
“On a busy day, I might do two or three operations in a day.
“I normally finish my clinical work at 5pm and then spend time contacting owners and vets to keep them up-to-date on their horse’s progress.”
Neil, who treats horse referrals from Chester Racecourse, said: “As a surgeon, you need to be able to make decisions quickly and think on your feet. You also need to have really good communication skills as you have to explain the surgery and its potential risks to owners. You also have to be able to break bad news to owners, which isn’t easy.
“The best part of the job is knowing you are making a difference. The worst is knowing you can’t save every horse.”