Team - Veterinary Referral and Emergency Centre

We believe that expertise and qualification is simply not enough. Truly expert care combines this wealth of expertise with cutting-edge technology and a passionate commitment to compassion and respect for your pet.


Bernard A. Walsh


Bernard graduated from the Veterinary College of Ireland, University College Dublin in 1987. During 6 wonderfully enjoyable years in general practice he developed an avid interest in diagnostic imaging and in 1993 he was awarded a Certificate in Veterinary Radiology from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

He subsequently completed a three-year radiology residency at the University of Pennyslvania, Philadelphia, to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology in 1998. He has lectured in universities in the UK, the Caribbean and the US and worked in private referral practice in the US before returning to live in Ireland. Bernard is Managing Director of The Veterinary Referral Centre with which he continues to provide a cutting-edge diagnostic imaging service to companion animal vets in the southeast of the UK and via telemedicine the rest of the world!

Christoph Stork, DES ChirPA, DipECVS, MRCVS RCVS recognised Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Christoph is our visiting orthopaedic specialist consultant. He graduated from the Veterinary School at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich in 1996. He then, Christoph undertook a doctorate thesis on research into markers of bone metabolism for which he was awarded a (“magna cum laude”) in 1999. His clinical training commenced with a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and was deepened during a 3-year ECVS-approved surgical residency programme at the University of Liege, Belgium, where he completed a DES ChirPA diploma degree of specialisation in small animal surgery in 2002. During his residency he spent training periods in the United States at the University Hospital of the Michigan State University and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, NY.
Since From 2002-2009 he has been working as a full-time senior clinician in orthopaedic and spinal surgery in a busy referral-only small animal hospital in the UK. In 2004 he became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons by examination and a European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. He is a RCVS recognised Specialist in Small Animal Surgery since 2005.
Focussing on orthopaedic surgery for a number of years and having been exposed to a very large number of patients, he has accumulated a wealth of experience and furthered his skills to the highest level. This has been complemented by regular attendance at specialist CPD, conferences and master classes.
In addition to handling a busy clinical caseload, he maintained an active research interest and has several scientific collaborations. He has published a number of scientific papers in major veterinary journals and has lectured on a wide variety of subjects on a local, national and international level.
He enjoys all aspects of small animal orthopaedics, but has particular interests in arthroscopy, the management of complex fractures, the correction of angular limb deformity and treating feline patients.
In February 2010 Christoph founded orthovet (, a mobile veterinary orthopaedic specialist referral service, which has enjoyed rapid and continued growth since. Providing this new specialist service within a number of practices, such as ours, has enabled many pets to benefit from Christoph’s clinical skills.
Besides his veterinary passion, Christoph enjoys playing music, the “French cuisine” and spending time with his wife and their two children. The Gordon Setter “Jazz” and the cat “Barnabé” complete the family.

Stefano Nicoli


Stefano graduated from Bologna University in 1994 and spent the next ten years as a soft tissue Surgeon in private practice in his home town of Modena. In 2004 he started collaborating with referral practices in Italy as a soft tissue surgeon with particular interest in ureteral and kidney surgery, endocrine surgery, vascular surgery, microsurgery and cardio-thoracic surgery. From 2008 to 2012 he taught at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Torino University. He then became Chief of the Soft Tissue Surgery Department at two large referral centres, one in Rome, Policlinico Veterinario Roma Sud and one in Novara, Italy, the Instituto Veterinario di Novara. From 2014 to 2016 he taught at the University of Parma Veterinary School, Italy and in 2016 he was awarded the title of Master in Science in Urology and Nephrology of dog and cat. His particular interests also include adrenal and pituitary surgery

Given his unique talents and experience he has collaborated with many referral hospitals throughout Europe including veterinary hospitals in Spain, the UK and Denmark. He continues to work at the forefront of veterinary surgery at the department of vascular surgery at the human hospital, Santa Maria Nuova in Reggio Emilia, Italy; the Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery, Cáceres, Spain and has had further training at the Interventional Radiology and Interventional Endoscopy Unit, The Animal Medical Center, New York.

Stefano has spoken at many national and international congresses and courses on topics of soft tissue surgery. He is author and co-author of many articles in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery; The Veterinary Journal; Veterinary Surgery, Journal of Small Animal Practice and Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound. He is the author of the new Textbook of Urologic Surgery in the Dog and Cat in Italian and the chapter about cardiosurgery in the Textbook of Cardiology in Spanish.
From 2014 to 2017 he was President of the Italian Soft Tissue Surgery Society (SCIVAC). He loves teamwork and strongly believes that surgery is a team job! Stefano spent his military service as a Fireman. He loves sailing and was a professional sailor for 15 years. During this period he won an Italian Championship, one European Championship and achieve the 2nd place in a World Championship. He is married and is the father of a wonderful 9 years old blond little girl.

Pierre Barreau


European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Pierre qualified from the National Veterinary School of Nantes in 1985. He obtained his French Certificate in Small Animal Orthopaedics in 1991 and gained his European Diploma in Surgery in 1993 becoming one of the first Board-certified Specialists in France.. He has worked in referral practices in both France and the UK as well as a Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery at Cambridge University. During the last two years he was head of the surgery department as Associate Professor at the Veterinary School of Nantes.
He is happy to see a wide variety of soft tissue, orthopaedic and neurological referrals.

Dr Babis Koffas


Babis graduated from the Aristotle University Veterinary School, Thessaloniki, Greece in 1998. After spending time as an intern and working in small animal practice, he completed a PhD in feline cardiomyopathies at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh in 2003. He then did a residency in small animal cardiology at the Royal Veterinary College, London and in 2007 he became diplomate of the European College of Internal Medicine (Cardiology).

For the last 4 years he offers referral services for cardiorespiratory disease in small animals in the South East of England.

Babis is a world expert in novel echocardiographic techniques (tissue Doppler imaging). He has published widely and presented and lectured nationally and internationally. He enjoys all aspects of small animal cardiorespiratory medicine and has a particular interest in interventional cardiology.

Chiara Leo

DVM, MSc, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVIM Oncology

Chiara Leo graduated from Milan University (Italy) in 2003, completed an internship at the Tierspital University of Zurich (Switzerland) and then a residency in Oncology at the Animal Oncology and Imaging Center in Zug (Switzerland).


She has been Lecturer in Oncology at the Royal Veterinary College (London, UK) from 2011 until 2016 and Head of the Oncology department from 2015 until 2016. In 2016 she moved back to Italy where she has developed the Oncology service at the Istituto Veterinario Novara.

Dr Matthew Oxford

Matthew is one of only a handful of Veterinary Dentists in the UK and established the New Forest Veterinary Dental Service in 2011, to provide a service for referral veterinary dental and oral surgery procedures for other veterinary practices. He sees around 1000 cases a year, ranging from routine work to complex dental and oral surgery cases including extensive maxillofacial reconstructions following trauma and oral cancer surgery. He has carried out ground breaking jaw removal surgery (mandibulectomy) in Pygmy Slow Loris, which weigh as little at 350g! His main interest is in endodontic (root canal) treatment of teeth and has carried out over 3000 root canal procedures in dogs and cats. He has even carried out root canal treatment in Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Otters, Wolves and several primate species, which really pushes these techniques to their limits!

Matthew is currently the lecturer in Veterinary Dentistry at the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol. He holds the European Certificate in Small Animal Surgery. Matthew publishes regularly in the veterinary literature, is a reviewer for a number of publications and is on the Editorial Board for the journal Companion Animal.

Dr Kaye Gudich


A graduate of Massey University in New Zealand Kaye spent the first four years of her veterinary career in general practice. During this time she enrolled and completed a 12-month post-graduate course in the field of dermatology. The opportunity then arose to undertake doctoral studies, funded by Hills Pet Nutrition, researching protein permeability across the gut. Kaye was part of the team that helped develop and release Hills Z/D, the first hydrosylate veterinary diet, to market. Kaye then took up a residency to train as a consultant in small animal medicine at Massey under the supervision of European, American and Australian boarded specialists. Upon finishing her residency she moved to Melbourne Australia to work in a busy emergency-only centre. Kaye then worked as a clinical registrar at Murdoch University, Western Australia.

Kaye moved to the UK in 2004 and has worked in numerous referral practices in South East since that time.

Kaye has extensive experience in the ICU emergency medicine, lectured in pediatrics, enjoys all aspects of endoscopy, oncology and is happy to see cases in canine and feline medicine.

Outside of work Kaye has a rescue cat and competes internationally in Olympic Weightlifting.

“Offering professionalism, kindness and understanding for pets with all kinds of medical conditions where it is often the attention to detail that enables diagnosis of illnesses and implementation of workable treatment plans”

Anita Patel

BVM, DVD, MRCVS RCVS recognised specialist in Veterinary Dermatology

Anita Patel runs a busy dermatology referral service out of 4 clinics in London and the South East of England and lectures both in the UK and internationally. She is recognized by the Royal College as a specialist in Veterinary Dermatology and has immense experience in the field.

Anita has over 20 years’ experience in veterinary dermatology, gaining her certificate (Cert. SAD) in 1993 and her Diploma in 2002. As a specialist in her field, she has dedicated the last 14 years exclusively to small animal dermatology.

Anita co-authored a case based text book on small animal dermatology in the “Saunders solutions in veterinary practice” series, as well as chapters in various dermatology text books. She has published papers in refereed and peer reviewed journals and is actively involved in all aspects of dermatology

Before devoting herself full time to veterinary dermatology, Anita had her own, 2 clinic, busy small animal practice in Surrey where she was a busy general practitioner as well as pursuing her interest in dermatology.

Emma Buckland


A bit about me – I studied at Southampton University between 1995 and 1998 obtaining a BSc degree in Physiology and Pharmacology before undergoing my veterinary training at the Royal Veterinary College. I qualified as a vet in 2003 and have been working in first opinion small animal practice since.

I have always had an interest in methods of recognising and managing pain in all small animal species which led me to attending a Foundation course in Veterinary Acupuncture in the spring of 2008. In May 2013 I successfully completed a year long course of study, accredited by the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies. The course consisted of taught modules, self directed study and culminated in an examination and case report assessments. As a result I have been awarded the General Practitioners Certificate in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management.

Keen to expand the service I am able to offer, I am currently studying towards an herbal medicine qualification with the Australian based College of Integrative Veterinary Therapy and look forward to being able to offer herbal medicine consultations in 2014!