Neurosurgery: Complex is our Everyday

Comprising five Neurology Specialists (DipECVN), one residency trained Neurologist, three residents in Neurology and two dedicated Neurology nurses Willows’ Specialist-led Neurology team form one of the largest Neurology-Neurosurgery services in the UK.

With access to world-leading Diagnostic Imaging facilities, Specialist Radiologists, Specialist Anaesthetics, and supported by a truly multidisciplinary approach, our team provide dedicated individualised diagnoses, treatment and care for patients with neurological problems including epilepsy, neuromuscular, spinal or brain diseases.

Supported by a dedicated Neurology nursing team and with an on-site Specialist-led Intensive Care Unit and world-leading diagnostic equipment, Willows delivers the best possible care and treatment for high-dependency cases.

Many patients with neurological conditions need prompt investigation and treatment, and so we aim to see urgent neurological cases the same day, where required.

Our team of Specialists are also happy to provide telephone advice to Veterinary surgeons on the management of neurological cases.


What Can I Expect if my Pet is Referred to an Neurology Specialist?

The starting point for each patient referred to a Neurologist at Willows is a full consultation and discussion with the owner including a detailed neurological examination. Further investigations are often required, Willows has access to state-of-the art neuro diagnostic facilities including high field MRI scanning, CT scanning, EEG, electrodiagnostic testing and 3D printing when required.


What are the Most Common Neurological Conditions?

Patients seen by our Specialist Neurologists include those with:

  • Seizures and other paroxysmal diseases: e.g. movement disorders, narcolepsy-cataplexy
  • Peripheral and central vestibular diseases: inner ear disease, dizziness etc.
  • Cranial nerves deficits: g. facial paralysis, trigeminal neuritis
  • Inflammatory central nervous system diseases: meningitis, myelitis and encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Spinal diseases: g. disc protrusion/extrusion (‘slipped disc’), syringomyelia, spinal malformations
  • Neuromuscular diseases: polyneuropathy (polyradiculoneuritis, endocrine neuropathy), junctionopathy (e.g. Myasthenia Gravis), myopathy (e.g. polymyositis, masticatory muscle myositis)
  • Neurological emergencies: spinal trauma, head trauma and status epilepticus (severe seizures or fits)

What Facilities are Available at Willows?

The Neurology team at Willows is fully supported by our multidisciplinary team of Specialists including the Specialist Diagnostic Imaging team, and Specialists working in the Anaesthesia, Orthopaedic, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology and Soft Tissue Surgery teams. Our highly trained clinical support staff, including a dedicated Neurology Nurse, provide superb levels of nursing care for all patients. Neurological cases often require intensive care, our dedicated Intensive Care Unit at Willows is equipped to the highest levels, enabling the best possible care and management of such high-dependency cases.

At Willows we provide a full range of investigations, including on-site advanced imaging including; high field MRI scanner producing the highest quality diagnostic images, CT scanning allows evaluation of patients with spinal or head trauma and cerebro-spinal fluid analysis. In addition electro-diagnostic testing is available for neuromuscular disorders and DNA testing for inherited conditions as well as muscle and nerve biopsy where required.

Meet The Team

Sebastien Behr


Head of Neurology

RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Neurology
European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology

Sebastien graduated from the Veterinary School of Toulouse, France in 2001. In the same year he presented a veterinary thesis on ‘Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins in the Dog’, which received an award for ‘best thesis of the year’ from the French Companion Animal Veterinary Association and the University of Medicine Paul Sabatier of Toulouse. The following year he performed an internship at Fregis small animal hospital in Paris, the largest private small animal hospital in France, followed by a three year residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery in the same hospital from 2002 to 2005. During his residency he focused his research on cerebrospinal fluid analysis and inflammatory non-infectious diseases of the central nervous system. Sebastien was awarded the Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Neurology in 2006 and the following year he was recognised as an RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Neurology.

Sebastien moved to the United Kingdom in 2005 to join a multi-disciplinary referral centre where he worked as a neurologist and neurosurgeon before joining Willows Referral Service as a senior clinician in March 2010 and he is now head of the neurology-neurosurgery service. He has a special interest in idiopathic inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, advanced neuro-imaging, brain and spinal surgery including advanced spinal surgery with the use of 3D printing which has been pioneered in veterinary medicine at Willows with Bill Oxley.

Sebastien is a past associate editor for neurology of the editorial board of the Journal of Small Animal Practice and a past member of both the Education and the Examination Committee of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. Sebastien has published numerous scientific publications and book chapters, he is also a regular speaker at conferences and CPD courses nationally and internationally.

Sebastien has a young family and two cats named Marcello, a domestic short hair, and Valentino, a British Blue.

Lluis Sánchez


European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology

Lluís graduated from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2012. The following year he performed a rotating internship at the Small Animal Hospital Babenhausen Dr Susanne Medl, in Germany, followed by a one-year Neurology internship in the same hospital.

He then moved to the UK, where he performed a one-year Neurology internship and a three-year residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Animal Health Trust from 2015 to 2019. During the following six months, Lluís worked as a Neurologist in the same institution, as well as at the Small Animal Hospital Babenhausen Dr Susanne Medl.

Lluís was awarded the Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Neurology in 2020.

His special interests include idiopathic inflammatory diseases of the central nervous syste and advanced neuro-imaging.

In his spare time, Lluís enjoys travelling with family and friends.

James Elford


European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology

James graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in London in 2008. He spent the next year working in mixed practice in Cheshire, treating both large and small animals, before concluding that his interests were more inclined towards small animal work. In 2010 he moved to a busy small animal practice in Berkshire, where he thoroughly enjoyed his involvement in all aspects of small animal medicine and surgery.

James joined Willows as an Intern in September 2011, spending time working within each of the Specialist disciplines, as well as providing emergency care for the pets of Willows’ primary clinic clients. It was during this time that James developed a fascination for surgical and medical neurology, and he is pursuing this interest further in his role as Willows’ Resident in Neurology. During his Residency, James will be working towards a European Diploma in Veterinary Neurology.

James owns a rather over-enthusiastic German Wire Haired Pointer called Bodi, with whom he can often be found running around the surrounding countryside.

Simona Radaelli

RCVS and European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology

Simona graduated from the University of Milan, Italy. She developed an interest in neurology during her studies, having rescued a cat with head trauma that became epileptic. After graduation, Simona won a neurology internship at the University of Athens, Georgia, United States. Then, she moved to the University of Hannover, Germany, to complete a neurology residency. As a result, Simona gained the Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Neurology (DipECVN) in 2005. Also, she completed a PhD on Neuronal Dysplasia as a cause of refractory seizures in dogs and cats.

Simona has worked in UK referral practices as a Neurology Specialist since 2005. She has a passion for teaching and has taught Foundation and Higher Education Students since 2011. She has published numerous articles and book chapters, and she has also lectured in several national and international congresses.

Cristina Toni


European Specialist in Veterinary Neurology


Cristina graduated from the University of Parma (Italy) in 2013. After two enjoyable years in general practice, Cristina pursued her love for neurology undertaking two rotating internships first, followed by a three-year residency program in Neurology and Neurosurgery at Willows. Her research focused on spinal surgery during her residency with a particular interest in 3D printed patient-specific drill guides. Cristina was awarded the diploma of the European College of Veterinary Neurology in 2022.

Cristina worked in another multidisciplinary referral centre in the UK as a neurologist and neurosurgeon before re-joining Willows in March 2022. Cristina enjoys all aspects of neurology and neurosurgery, particularly inflammatory diseases of the CNS, epilepsy, and spinal surgery.

Cristina enjoys spending time with her two dachshunds, Tito and Theo and friends in her spare time.

Robert Clark

BVetMed(hons) MRCVS
ECVN Resident in Veterinary Neurology

Robert graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2017. He spent the next two years working in a busy first opinion practice in Somerset treating a wide range of medical and surgical conditions, partaking in an intense emergency rota.

During this time he spent a portion of his days off visiting a local neurology specialist to gain insight into the discipline. The enthusiasm and support given here was enough to get him hooked on persuing a career in veterinary neurology. To this end, in 2019 he undertook a rotating internship at Davies Veterinary Specialists (another busy Linnaeus hospital) to gain further experience working closely with specialists in multiple fields.

Robert joined Willows in early 2020 to partake in the European College of Veterinary Neurology residency training program under the guidance of the experienced neurology team. Robert holds a particular interest in the surgical management of spinal and intracranial conditions with the use of 3D printed surgical aids.

During his spare time Robert can often be found competing on a squash court or walking his energetic Working Cocker Spaniel, Islay.

Francesca Violini


ECVN Resident in Veterinary Neurology

Francesca graduated from the University of Perugia (Italy) in 2016 with a thesis on thoracolumbar disc herniation in dogs.

Following her graduation, she worked in the busy family veterinary practice in Perugia and she moved to the U.K. in 2017 to complete a rotating internship program at Vale Referrals, in Gloucestershire.

She then returned to general practice as a locum Veterinary Surgeon before joining Willows in July 2019 as a rotating intern.

To further advance her career within the neurology field Francesca undertook a Neurology internship at Fitzpatrick Referrals in July 2020. She then returned to Willows as a Resident in Neurology and Neurosurgery in January 2021.

In her spare time, Francesca enjoys running and exploring the British countryside.

Victoria Indzhova


ECVN Resident in Veterinary Neurology


Victoria graduated from the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical sciences in Brno, Czech Republic in 2015. She then returned home (Bulgaria) where she worked in a small animal hospital for 2 years.

She undertook a one-year rotating internship at Wear Referrals in the North East of England in 2017, where she then stayed and completed a two-year neurology internship. In January 2021 Victoria moved to Anderson Moores Veterinary specialist where she spent 6-months working as a neurology intern.  She joined Willows as a resident in veterinary neurology in July 2021.

Victoria loves spending her time with her family and plays with her little 2-year-old niece.

Thomas Heaselgrave



Tom studied Veterinary medicine at the University of Nottingham, achieving two degrees BVMedSci(hons) and BVM BVS(hons) MRCVS during his time there.

Since graduating, Tom has worked in a busy small animal hosptial in Dudley where he gained great exposure to surgery and emergency cases. Tom has a keen interest in Neurology and orthopaedics, and is hoping to pursue this interest following his rotating internship at Willows.

In his spare time Tom is in a band and enjoys playing regular gigs around the Nottingham area.


Find out more

To assist owners in understanding more about Neurological conditions, investigations and treatment we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through the some of the more common neurological conditions seen by our Specialists.