Meet our latest large animal vets, who have made the big move to Southland from the UK.
Keeping up with the demands of the farming calendar and ensuring we provide a quality service all year round means we are always looking for fresh talent. It is a real asset to have such breadth of experience and knowledge across our veterinarians, which comes from their varied backgrounds.
Sophie trained as a vet in Nottingham, but spent her first few years after graduation working in a farm/livestock job back home in the South-West of England. Upon arriving in NZ, she contracted as a shepherdess and locum vet before joining VetSouth’s Winton clinic.
“The farmers are my favourite part of being a vet – they are normally pretty hilarious people. Everyone down in Southland is so friendly, I literally have to factor in an hour of chat time for everything I do!"
“I also love helping to educate and advance farms. Working with livestock and fixing individual animals is great, but I get my main satisfaction from helping explain disease prevention, enabling farmers to progress with their herd health.”
Since moving to our shores, Sophie has taken up snowboarding and is hoping to get involved in NZ culture as much as possible.
Originally a city boy, hailing from London, he moved to Cambridge to study veterinary medicine in 2011. After graduation, he spent six months in the ‘dairy capital of Scotland’, Dumfries and Galloway. This is perhaps where his passion for cattle work really began: “If it ruminates, I’m in!”
He has spent the last four years at a 100% farm veterinary practice in Northumberland, where he became partner last year. “Always keen to have my cake and eat it, I wanted to go to New Zealand for a working sabbatical, so here I am…”
“To say the welcome we’ve had from the practice, the farmers and the wider community has been warm would be an understatement,” says Kaz. “It also goes without saying that the landscapes are fantastic!”
Kaz is always keen to learn about new farming systems and ‘bigger picture’ concepts such as how farming livestock affects the natural and social environment in rural communities, and vice versa.
So what is his favourite thing about being a vet?
“Veterinary practice is a translational science, meaning we have to take all that material we learned at vet school and try to ‘translate’ it to an on-farm scenario. This is where the climate, animal biology and human nature can all make that a lot more interesting.”
Never tiring of farm animals, Kaz often spends his free time lending a hand on sheep and beef farms run by colleagues or family members. He also films and edits YouTube videos on his channel, ‘Farm Vet Films’*, which was originally created as a way to show his non-farming friends what he gets up to at work. Check it out!
*VetSouth is not associated with 'Farm Vet Films' and does not assume any responsibility for its content.
- Rachael Buckingham