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Referral Veterinary Surgeons

These veterinary surgeons have developed their interests in a number of key fields: we have vets who have postgraduate qualifications in cardiology, internal medicine, dermatology, ophthalmology and surgery (soft tissue & orthopaedics), behavioural medicine, and dentistry. Many of these vets have also been granted advanced practitioner status by the RCVS.

Clinical Director of Woodcroft Referrals: James Farrell BVetMed CertSAS PGCertVBM MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

James qualified from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 1998, gained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2007 and was listed as an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in 2015, demonstrating his abilities to date, and an ongoing commitment to further development of his skills and clinical evaluation amongst his peers.

James gained extensive experience in trauma cases involving skin reconstruction and fracture repair during his five years at the PDSA charity before moving back into private practice where he began to accept referrals. His special interests include canine cruciate ligament disease, ear surgery, management of aggressive tumours (surgical and chemotherapy) and minimally invasive surgery.

In addition, from early on in his career, James has had a passion for teaching. He was a clinical teaching associate for the Nottingham Vet School between 2010 and 2012, supervising final year vet students’ surgery and continues to provide CPD for vets and nurses in practice. He also writes a monthly column for a dog magazine.

At home, James and his wife, Ruth, enjoy a busy time with their family of three children, three dogs, two cats, two tortoises and an African Pygmy Hedgehog.

Clinical Director of Cardiology: Jane Marshall MA VetMB CertVC MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Cardiology

After graduating in 1987 from Cambridge University Jane joined a busy mixed practice in Penrith where she stayed until joining Woodcroft in September 2005. She attained her postgraduate certificate in cardiology in 1996. Jane heads up our cardiodiorespiratory referral department.

In her spare time Jane enjoys hill walking in the Yorkshire Dales, Derbyshire and the Lake District. She has also recently taken up skiing.

Clinical Director of Ophthalmology: Alison Rutter BVetMed BSc (Hons) MRCVS PgC Ophthal PgC SAS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology

Alison graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2008 and started her career at the RSPCA hospital in Manchester. After two years, she moved to a small animal A&E hospital where she spent the last four years. During which time, she completed her GP certificate in Ophthalmology  and embarked on a Surgery Certificate. She joined Woodcroft in October 2014, to further her interests in Ophthalmology.

Alison enjoys walking and running with her whippet, Maggie, travelling, listening to live music and meeting up with friends.

Clinical Director of Orthopaedics: David Parker BVSc (Hons) CertSAO MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Orthopaedics

Graduated in 1983 from Liverpool University. David joined the practice in 1989 and became a full partner in 1993. With the support of the practice and his family he gained his postgraduate qualification in orthopaedics in 1995.

David is married with four children. In his spare time his hobbies include supporting Everton, running, gardening and playing the occasional round of golf.


Clinical Director of Behaviour: Patricia Connolly BVSc MRCVS

Graduated from Liverpool University in 1995, Patricia subsequently spent three years at Woodcroft Veterinary Group where she developed an interest in behavioural medicine, seeing cases on a first opinion basis before spending four years at a veterinary behaviour referral practice in Chester seeing cases throughout the northwest.

Patricia rejoined our practice in 2003. She currently sees feline and canine behaviour cases on a referral basis including house visits and clinics. She has also lectured on behaviour topics and has contributed to both veterinary & behavioural scientific publications.

Clinical Director of Ophthalmology: Alistair Oldfield BSc (Hons) BVSc Cert VOphthal MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology

Graduated in 1997 from Bristol University. Alistair originally joined the practice in June 2002 after working for nearly five years at the PDSA clinic in Manchester. His interests include skiing, golf and running. Clinically, his main interest lies in veterinary ophthalmology and after attaining his postgraduate certificate Alistair accepts referral ophthalmology cases from referring practices across the North West. He is the joint scientific program coordinator for the British Association of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Alistair and his wife Ruth have a young family.

Donald Wiggins BVM&S CertSAD CertSAM MANZCVS (Medicine of Cats) ISFM Adv Cert FB MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine

Graduated in 1983 from Edinburgh University. Having been an associate in the practice for a number of years, Donald joined the partnership in 1993. He has obtained postgraduate certificates in both dermatology and small animal medicine. In 2016 Donald decided that he would like to return to his roots and has stepped down as a director to concentrate on being an associate veterinary surgeon.

With more time on his hands Donald decided to return to active study, and in 2018 he passed his medicine of cats examination, and a short time later was awarded the International Society of Feline Medicine Advanced Certificate of Feline Behaviour.

Donald has 3 rescue cats (Pablo, Binka & Maya) and a whippet (Polly). He enjoys walking his dog,especially in Anglesey. His main interests are internal & feline medicine.

Alex Wilson BVSc CertAVP(SAM) MRCVS

Following her graduation from Bristol University in 2008, Alex spent 4 years working in Charity Practice for the RSPCA at the Greater Manchester Animal Hospital. She then took up a role within a large private veterinary hospital practice, during which she developed a keen interest in internal medicine. Alex joined Woodcroft Vets in April 2015 and has recently gained the Certificate in Small Animal Medicine.

In her spare time Alex enjoys catching up with friends and family, eating out, going to gigs, and travelling; not forgetting spending time at home with her two Siamese cats, Lola and Izzy.

Marta Lopez Garcia LDA Vet PGCertSAOphthal MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology

Marta is from Bilbao, a lovely city in the north of Spain. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Zaragoza in Spain. She has since been working in several small animal veterinary practices in the UK where she developed an interest in veterinary ophthalmology and completed her certificate in small animal ophthalmology.

She joined Woodcroft as an addition to our ophthalmology referral team. In her spare time Marta enjoys walking her dog Jamie, a saluki cross. She also enjoys meeting up with friends, reading and travelling. 

Eva Pavelkova MVDr CertAVP(VC) MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Cardiology

After graduating in 2006, Eva worked as a first opinion small animal vet in Lancashire before completing her cardiology internship at the University of Liverpool in 2013. She gained her RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Cardiology in 2014. Before joining the team at Woodcroft, she worked in both first opinion and referral practices in the North West. Over the last few years, she also took part in various veterinary projects in rural areas of India and Africa.

Eva works closely with Jane Marshall dealing with cardiorespiratory referral cases at the Queen’s Road Veterinary Hospital.

In her spare time, Eva enjoys travelling, reading and long distance running.

Informative image: Veterinary dermatologist Heather SmithHeather Smith MA VetMB CertVD MRCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Dermatology

Heather graduated from Cambridge University in 1998 and over the years developed a particular interest in dermatology cases, choosing to advance her knowledge of the subject and study for the Certificate in Veterinary Dermatology, which she was awarded in 2008. She is passionate about all areas of dermatology including claws, ears and skin and joined our dermatology referral team in 2017. She has also been awarded "Advanced Practitioner Status" by the RCVS which further recognises her expertise in her chosen field.

Outside of work Heather owns an ex-racehorse called Winnie and regularly competes with her in dressage events.

Dr Kerry Billington BVMS PGCertSAS MRCVS RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery

Kerry graduated from Glasgow in 2009 and spent several years in mixed practice before making the switch to entirely small animal.  She gained her certificate in small animal surgery in 2014 and became an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in 2016.  At Woodcroft, Kerry splits her time between soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery.

In her spare time Kerry enjoys music, swimming, baking, flip fit, ballet, walking her Utonagan Caoimhe and trying to avoid housework.

Dr Alexander J Smithson BVM&S BDS(Hons) CertEndontology MRCVS

Dual-qualified human dental surgeon and veterinary surgeon

Alex graduated from Edinburgh in 1998. He operates a Veterinary Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Referral service and visits us on a weekly basis at the Handforth Centre. Alex is a member of the European Veterinary Dental Society and past Clinical Course Organiser for the British Veterinary Dental Association. He writes and lectures widely and tutors courses for vets and universities. Alex's dual qualification, in conjunction with the formal training in oral and maxillo-facial surgery he has completed, parallels the training of a human oral and maxillo-facial consultant. It also enables him to add human treatment experience to enhance the management of veterinary cases.

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