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Soft Tissue Surgery team

Dr Stephen Baines

MA VetMB PhD CertVR CertSAS DipECVS DipClinOnc MRCVS

Head of Soft Tissue Surgery
RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology

Stephen qualified from Cambridge University.  He held an internship position at North Carolina State University and then spent a year in general practice before taking up a Residency in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Liverpool, where he gained the RCVS Certificates in Veterinary Radiology and Small Animal Surgery.  This was followed by a PhD in canine tumour biology at the University of Cambridge followed by a period as Lecturer in Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery.  He then moved to the Royal Veterinary College, as Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery and Head of Surgery. He also completed a Master of Science degree in Comparative Clinical Oncology at the University of Birmingham.

Stephen is currently Head of Soft Tissue Surgery and Director of the Residency Training Programme in Small Animal Surgery at Willows. He is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and is an RCVS Specialist in both Small Animal Surgery and Veterinary Oncology. He is the only active Specialist Surgeon in the country to hold Specialist Status in these two disciplines.

Stephen is a committee member of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Veterinary Society for Surgical Oncology, and the Association of Veterinary Soft Tissue surgeons, and has also been Chairman of Examiners for the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery and a member of the BSAVA Scientific Committee.  He is a member of the editorial board of The Veterinary Record and is Editor in Chief of In Practice.

Stephen has published over 60 papers in the peer-reviewed literature and has given over 150 presentations at regional, national and international meetings.  He has written over 30 continuing education articles and a dozen book chapters.  He is the editor of the BSAVA Manual of Surgical Principles.  He is a regular lecturer at national and international meetings. He has received clinical research prizes from the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Royal Veterinary College.

Stephen's clinical interests include all aspects of clinical oncology, wound management and reconstructive surgery, and minimally invasive surgery, particularly thoracoscopy.  His clinical research interests involve tumour cell biology, biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and therapy and novel therapeutic agents for treating cancer in small animals, and this research has been supported by BSAVA Petsavers, the PetPlan Charitable Trust and RCVS Trust.

Stephen and family own three Domestic shorthaired cats, Apollo, Artemis and Athene. When not at work, Stephen is a keen triathlete, and has participated in events from sprint distance to full ironman distance. He is usually leader of the pack in the swim, but needs to work on the run. He won his age group (Super Veteran) at the last Olympic distance triathlon, so Willows may now boast that it has its own Super Vet!

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Chris Shales

MA VetMB CertSAS DipECVS MRCVS

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Chris graduated from Cambridge Veterinary School in 2000 having gained a degree in Zoology in addition to qualifying as a Veterinary Surgeon. Chris then spent two hugely enjoyable years working in general practice in Suffolk before returning to Cambridge as a Resident in Small Animal Surgery. Following completion of his residency in 2005, Chris worked as a Clinical Surgeon in the Soft Tissue Department of Cambridge University before moving to take up a post as Clinical Fellow in the Small Animal Surgery Department at Bristol University.

Chris is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a member of the written examination sub-committee for the European College. Chris is particularly interested in upper airway surgery, surgical oncology and is a member of the interventional radiography group at Willows. He has been at Willows since 2009 and as such has been at the core of the team’s commitment to the pursuit of clinical excellence via a multi-disciplinary approach to soft tissue surgery.

Chris is a keen rugby fan and mountain biker but recent restrictions on his free time due to his young children have led him to dust off his running shoes! Chris and his family share their house with Hattie, a fantastic Labrador who was successfully treated at Willows for a liver shunt!

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Faye Swinbourne

BVM&S MVetMed DipECVS MRCVS

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Faye graduated from Edinburgh University in 2004. After working in mixed veterinary practice for several years she opted to pursue specialist surgical training. Following the completion of a small animal rotating internship in private referral practice and a second internship at the Royal Veterinary College, she undertook a three-year residency programme in small animal surgery and a clinical masters degree (MVetMed) at the Royal Veterinary College. Faye became a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2014.

Faye has a keen interest in all aspects of soft tissue surgery and a particular interest in thoracic and abdominal emergency surgery. She is committed to delivering a high standard of care to her patients and clients, enhanced by the multi-disciplinary team of veterinary specialists working at Willows Referral Service.

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Julia Riggs

MA VetMB AFHEA DipECVS MRCVS

European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Julia graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2011, having gained a degree in zoology alongside her veterinary degree. She spent a year in a busy, first opinion small animal practice in York before returning to Cambridge to undertake a small animal rotating internship. During her internship Julia developed a strong enthusiasm for surgery, and subsequently stayed in Cambridge as a Junior Staff Surgeon before commencing a three-year residency programme in small animal surgery. She completed her surgical training programme in May 2017 and became a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in February 2018.

Julia is interested in all aspects of small animal surgery, particularly surgical oncology, wound management/reconstructive surgery, and upper airway surgery. Her research has so far covered topics including oral malignancies in dogs, skin grafts in dogs and cats, and the diagnosis and clinical grading of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome in dogs.

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Emma Hall

BVSc MRCVS

ECVS Resident in Small Animal Surgery

Emma graduated from the University of Bristol in 2011. She then worked in Brighton for 18 months before moving to a busy small animal practice in Oxfordshire. Following the completion of a small animal rotating internship at the University of Glasgow’s teaching hospital and a surgical internship at a Specialist referral hospital in Surrey, Emma joined the Willows team as a resident in small animal surgery. Emma is actively involved in several research projects covering a number of topics, including humeral condylar fractures, portosystemic shunts and the use of 3D-printed patient specific osteotomy guides.

Emma has a strong interest in all areas of soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery and is currently working towards a European Diploma in Veterinary Surgery.

In her spare time Emma enjoys walking, climbing and scuba diving.

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Tim Easter

BVMedSci BVM BVS MRCVS

ECVS Resident in Small Animal Surgery 

Tim qualified from Nottingham University in 2013. He then went to work in Sussex in an exclusively small animal practice before completing an internship at Willows. Following this, he spent two years at a busy small animal hospital in Oxfordshire before returning to Willows to undertake a surgical residency. Tim is currently working towards a European diploma in small animal surgery. With a broad interest in both orthopaedic and soft tissue surgery Tim has current research investigating tibial fracture stabilisation and the use of patient specific guides for the treatment of humeral intracondylar fissures.  

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Erika Villedieu

DVM MRCVS

ECVS Resident in Small Animal Surgery

Erika graduated from the University of Toulouse in France in 2014. After moving to the UK she worked in general practice for two years and completed a small animal rotating internship at the Royal Veterinary College and a surgical internship at a Specialist referral hospital in Surrey, focusing on soft tissue surgery and surgical oncology. Erika joined the Willows team as a resident in small animal surgery in July 2018. She is currently involved in research projects on brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome and soft tissue sarcomas. Erika is currently working towards a European Diploma in Veterinary Surgery.

In her spare time she enjoys cycling, running and walking.

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