Sarah Caney is an internationally recognised specialist in feline medicine who has worked as a feline-only vet for more than twenty years.
She trained as a specialist at the University of Bristol and is one of thirteen recognised specialists in feline medicine working within the UK. Sarah has written or co-written four books published by her business Vet Professionals including ‘Caring for a cat with chronic kidney disease’, ‘Caring for a cat with lower urinary tract disease’, ‘Caring for a cat with hyperthyroidism’ and ‘Caring for an elderly cat’. Sarah enjoys seeing a mixture of first opinion and referral feline cases. Sarah conducts online owner surveys and has published much of her research results in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
I am the CEO of Vet Professionals and have worked as a feline-only vet for more than twenty years. I am a University of Bristol graduate and also completed my feline medicine residency and PhD at this institution. I spent four years as a lecturer in feline medicine before leaving to pursue a career in private practice.I have always enjoyed seeing a mixture of first opinion and referral feline medicine patients and have a particular interest in geriatric feline medicine. I am internationally recognised as one of only thirteen veterinary specialists in feline medicine in the UK. I founded Vet Professionals in 2009 and have authored and co-authored a number of the Vet Professionals ‘Caring for a cat’ series of books. I have published widely in prestigious international journals and have been an invited speaker to veterinary conferences around the world. I havev worked for many years with the UK cat charity, International Cat Care (ICC) and the International Society of Feline Medicine.
I was inspired to work with cats for two main reasons. Firstly, as a Bristol graduate, I was lucky to learn from trailblazers in the world of feline medicine (Tim Gruffydd-Jones and Andy Sparkes) and could see the massive impact that they and others had in the world of feline medicine through work done at Bristol. Secondly, I love the fact that cats are challenging to work with – often difficult to handle and don’t read the rule book when it comes to showing the clinical signs and lab findings they should do with a particular disease. I am a sucker for a challenge so feline medicine was right up my street!
In the future, I would like to see improved communication with our cat owners – for example with vets and nurses using email and phone calls to keep updated on their patients rather than necessarily bringing the cat into the clinic every time. Although clinics are vastly more cat-friendly than they used to be, a vet visit is still very stressful for a cat. Improved patient outcome is often associated with good attention to detail and good communication. For many conditions, this can be achieved through dialogue with the owner eg face to face, phone, email etc and the cat is not always required.
I have heard that the VET Festival is great fun – it certainly sounds like it will be a different experience, compared to the standard hotel or conference centre I usually lecture in. The programme looks great so I am looking forward to the experience.
I hope I can inspire clinicians to think more about their feline cases and how they can make the vet experience as cat-friendly as possible. I’ve built up a lot of practical tips throughout my career so there should be new tips for everyone. I would like to encourage clinicians to consider making simple changes that should not cost a lot but may make a big difference to patient well-being.