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Spinal Surgery

Sebastien Behr

DVM(Hons) DipECVN MRCVS

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.
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Toby Gemmill

BVSc MVM DSAS(Orth) DipECVS MRCVS

Clinical Director

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Toby graduated from the University of Bristol in 1996. Following a number of years in mixed and small animal practice, he undertook a Residency in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Glasgow. He holds the RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) and the ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery, and was also awarded an MVM for research into canine elbow dysplasia. He has worked as an Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgeon at Willows Referral Service since 2005.

Toby has been an RCVS examiner in Small Animal Surgery at both Certificate and Diploma levels. He was also a member of the RCVS Small Animal Surgery Board for several years. Toby has authored or co-authored numerous scientific papers and conference abstracts, given presentations around the world on a wide variety of topics relating to small animal orthopaedics and spinal surgery, and has regularly contributed to local CPD meetings. He is the co-editor of the 2nd edition of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Fracture Repair and Management. Toby has been involved with AOVET for several years and has sat on the AOVET European board and the Education commission; he is currently chair of the AOVET European board and a member of the International board. He enjoys all aspects of small animal orthopaedics but has particular interests in joint replacement, management of complex fractures and postgraduate orthopaedic education. He became Clinical Director at Willows in 2016.

"Having worked at Willows for many years and seen it grow into a large multi-disciplinary centre, I am looking forward to helping lead the practice forward, maintaining our commitment to providing the best possible level of care to our patients, owners and referring vets."

Outside of work Toby enjoys CrossFit, snowboarding, hill walking, and spending time with his family. He has a boisterous Labrador retriever who approaches life with excessive enthusiasm to compensate for any deficiencies in her training.
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Jonathan Pink

BSc BVetMed CertSAS DipECVS MRCVS

Head of Orthopaedics

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

A graduate of King's College London (1992) and the Royal Veterinary College (1997), Jonathan initially worked in mixed practice in Nottinghamshire before moving to a large small animal practice in Berkshire where he gained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery.

In 2002 Jonathan started his Specialist training, embarking on a three year residency in small animal surgery at University College Dublin with periods spent at veterinary schools in Ohio, North Carolina, and Paris. During this time he was involved in all aspects of orthopaedic, soft tissue and neurosurgery. Jonathan remained at University College Dublin as a lecturer in small animal surgery and in 2006 became a Diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons by examination and a European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. In October 2006 he joined Willows Referral Service, focusing on orthopaedics and spinal surgery.

Jonathan's main interests are complex fracture management, joint replacement and arthroscopy spinal disease. He has given presentations at national and international meetings on a variety of orthopaedic topics and has been an active contributor to the surgical training of students and colleagues through university teaching and continuing education courses in addition to helping to train the next generation of surgical specialists.

"At Willows, the caring ethos and commitment to providing the highest level of care to our patients and their owners allows us to offer the best possible treatment for each animal. The combination of excellent facilities and a team of experienced and highly motivated colleagues makes Willows the ideal environment in which to work and provide the level of care each patient requires."
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Stephen Clarke

BVM&S DSAS(Orth) DipECVS MRCVS

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Stephen graduated from University of Edinburgh in 1996. After a few years in both mixed and small animal practice Stephen gained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2002. In that year he started his Specialist training, embarking on a three-year residency in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Glasgow which he completed in 2005. In 2006 Stephen gained both the RCVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) and the ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery. He obtained RCVS Specialist status in 2008. Subsequent to completion of his Residency Stephen has spent the last five years as Orthopaedic Surgeon in a nationally renowned private orthopaedic referral clinic in Fife, Scotland. Stephen was delighted to join the team at Willows Referral Service in December 2010 and remains passionate about helping to maintain the Willows "commitment to excellence".

Stephen has been author and co-author of a variety of publications within the field of orthopaedics, covering topics including fracture management, feline rheumatology and tibial osteotomy. He has presented his work at meetings both nationally and internationally, as well as providing continuing veterinary medical education for both vets and nurses. Stephen is a past examiner for the RCVS Diploma in Orthopaedics, and is a current AOVET faculty member. Stephen is current co-chair of the AOVET UK and Ireland Advanced Techniques in Small Animal Fracture management course, and was elected as AOUK and Ireland Vet chair in 2019

Whilst Stephen is involved in all aspects of clinical orthopaedic practice, he has a particular interest in orthopaedic complication management, arthrodesis and management of humeral intra-condylar fissure and humeral condylar fractures.
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Dr Kinley Smith

MA VetMB CertSAS DipECVS PhD MRCVS

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics)
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Kinley graduated from Cambridge University in 2000 and spent 7 years in small animal practice in Derbyshire and Cheshire, gaining the Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2006. In 2007 he began doctoral training at the University of Liverpool investigating the mechanisms of cruciate ligament disease in dogs. This research was very successful and in 2010 he graduated with a PhD. In the same year he began a Residency in Small Animal Surgery at the University of Glasgow which he completed in 2013. He gained the ECVS Diploma in Small Animal Surgery in 2014 and RCVS Specialist status in 2015. Following 3 years working in a specialist referral practice in Derbyshire, Kinley moved to Willows Referral service in 2017.

He has published a number of scientific papers and has lectured internationally since 2008 on scientific and orthopaedic topics. Although interested in all aspects of orthopaedics, Kinley has a particular interest in ligament and tendon injuries, treatment of joint disease and management of chronic orthopaedic conditions.
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Alexis Bilmont

DVM DipECVS MRCVS

European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Alexis graduated from the Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort (France) in 2006. From 2007 to 2013, he worked as an intern and assistant in surgery at the Veterinary School of Toulouse, and at subsequently at several referral practices in the south of France. He returned to the Veterinary School of Toulouse in 2013 to undertake a three year residency programme in surgery. He became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2017.

Alexis’ clinical interests cover all aspects of orthopaedics and spinal surgery, and he has a particular interest in minimally invasive fracture repair. He is committed to providing the best possible level of care to his patients, and giving an excellent service to pet owners and referring veterinary surgeons.

When not at work, Alexis enjoys spending time with his wife and children, and playing piano. He is also a keen squash player.
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Lluis Sánchez

Ldo Vet, MRCVS, DipECVN

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.
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James Elford

BVetMed MRCVS

Clinician 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.
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Cristoforo Ricco

DVM MRCVS

Clinician in Veterinary Neurology

Cristoforo graduated from the University of Parma, Italy in 2008. He went on to complete a four month long externship at Fregis Small Animal Hospital in Paris, the largest private small animal hospital in France. This time allowed him to confirm his interest in Neurology.

Following the externship, Cristoforo moved to the UK where he worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon in a busy primary care practice for 1 and 1/2 years, before completing a one year rotating internship at Southfields Veterinary Specialists (formerly VRCC), a large referral practice in Essex. Following the internship he worked in another busy small animal practice whilst undertaking clinical research in conjunction with the Royal Veterinary College.

Cristoforo then returned to Fregis in 2013 to undertake a three year residency in Neurology and Neurosurgery. He returned to the UK to join the Willows Referral Service Neurology team in October 2016.

In his spare time, Cristoforo enjoys dancing and travelling around Europe visiting family and friends.
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Cristina Toni

DVM MRCVS

ECVN Resident in Veterinary Neurology

Cristina graduated from the University of Parma (Italy) in 2013, where she developed a deep interest for Neurology. After graduating she worked for 9 months in a busy veterinary centre specialising in Neurology and Neurosurgery in Italy.

In 2014 she moved to the United Kingdom to complete a one-year general rotating internship in a busy referral centre in Merseyside. After two enjoyable years in general practice she joined the Willows team in March 2017 as a rotating intern first and then as a Resident in Neurology and Neurosurgery. Cristina enjoys all aspect of Neurology and Neurosurgery especially intracranial disorders and spinal surgery.

In her spare time Cristina enjoys going for long walks with her dachshund (Tito) and travelling abroad.
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