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In-discussion with Patricia

What inspired you to specialise in Neurology and what keeps you passionate about it every day?

Becoming a vet was a big dream of mine and I am grateful for achieving the specialisation in neurology and having the possibility of helping our patients and their families. Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are fascinating. This speciality keeps me motivated when facing a new case. Trying to understand the curiosities and underlying mechanism of a neurological disease. Neurosurgery is a field I particularly enjoy. There is no describable feeling to the enthusiasm I experience when seeing a dog recovering with the ability to walk again or when a cat returns to play after overcoming a brain tumour following surgery. I love my job!

Unfortunately, there are also very difficult and challenging days. Nonetheless, I believe the study and knowledge allows me to be able to accompany and support my patients and clients through all the difficulties with compassion.

What’s your most memorable patient/case and why?

There are clearly many patients that have got a place in my heart. These are patients from who I have learnt and grown from. One special dog during my years as resident was a lovely Brittany Spaniel with myasthenia gravis. This condition can be very challenging, I remember how we spent the Christmas period in the hospital hoping for her to respond to the treatment and supporting her to eat from an upright posture. I also remember a little hero patient, who spent two weeks in ICU fighting a respiratory infection, obstructive airways syndrome related to his breed and tetraplegia caused by a slipped disc. He overcame it all and he was such a character! I could keep going with my favourite clients and patients. A recent patient is becoming part of a future publication and, she was so strong and loving. She and her family were such fighters and so kind throughout all the difficult steps that were made.  

In the rapidly evolving world of veterinary neurology, what technological advancements excite you the most and how do they impact patient care?

I hope to be able to get my hands on the new advances in neurosurgery techniques for our patients with the focus in navigating systems for brain surgery. These techniques are already implemented in human medicine and allow accurate localisation of the brain tumour for its debulking even to those so easily recognised masses. On another side, epilepsy is under continuous investigation and experimental studies are being taken. I am hopeful to find new ways to manage this condition including medical therapies or even surgery.

For aspiring neurologists, what advice do you have for navigating the challenging but rewarding profession?

I believe the most important things are first to be excited about neurology and second, to be good and kind to others.

Be passionate for seeing curious neurological signs and study how “the brain works” making you into a little “neuronerd”. This passion will help you to keep focussed on the path ahead if this is the calling you really want.

As a neurologist, collaboration with a skilled team is crucial, how do you coordinate with other members of the team to provide comprehensive care for you patients?

Kindness and compassion are necessary skills to master for supporting us all when facing those challenging cases and hardworking long days. I believe it is also essential to love the challenge and keep open and motivated for learning. Medicine is in continuous development. Thus, we must keep our minds open and our hearts for the patients.  

Veterinary medicine often involves emotional moments, how do you cope with the challenges of balancing compassion for the animals and the demands of the job?

It is a continuous battle for me. Finding the balance between working hard for a case to finding the answers and the appropriate treatment while becoming emotionally involved at the same time with my patients and clients so I can provide strong support. I work with each patient as if they are my own, with determination and compassion.

What do you enjoy most about working here at Pride Veterinary Referrals?

The people. It gives me so much joy to find the appreciation in my colleagues, their friendly nature and how we find ways to have fun together. It is necessary as it can be very challenging at times. I also continue to learn and grow professionally with new challenges. The facilities at Pride Veterinary Referrals also allow me to work comfortably as a neurologist.

How do you unwind after work?

It is important to remember to defuse from work. Yoga helps! I like to meet with friends, play board games and enjoy the nature around us.