A new recruit at a leading North East referral veterinary centre is enjoying a career change with a difference after switching from treating humans to caring for animal patients.

The vastly-experienced Claire Shields has joined Linnaeus-owned Wear Referrals in Bradbury, County Durham, as their dedicated sonographer and will be responsible for using ultrasound to produce images, scans and 3D views of animals to help diagnose problems and plan treatments.

Her career has previously focused on treating humans but now she is looking forward to working with the expert team at Wear to help deliver the best possible medical and surgical treatment for sick and injured animals.

Claire said: “In my previous career as a sonographer, I have worked within the NHS, for commercial ultrasound companies as an applications specialist, and I also had my own 4D ultrasound business for 10 years.

“This gave me a very broad background in everything ultrasound and in particular Doppler and the vascular applications of ultrasound.

“Ultrasound is a great diagnostic tool for all manner of conditions and diseases, but primarily treatment at Wear can involve searching for foreign bodies, assisting with ultrasound guided fine needle aspirations, surveying lymph nodes for our oncologist or general full abdominal surveys to help in the diagnosis of abdominal disease.

“I have only been at Wear a few months so far but have found the whole team very welcoming and I’m so pleased to have started this new career as a veterinary sonographer.

“Wear has a fantastic team and our diagnostic imager Naomi Earley and sonographers Angie Lloyd Jones and Julie Burnage, of Aspire UCS, were great in helping me transfer my skills from human to veterinary care.

“Now, I’m looking forward to returning the favour by sharing my ultrasound knowledge with the vets here at Wear.”

Claire’s professional switch is mirrored by a change in emphasis in her personal life, too, with animals again coming to the fore.

She explained: “My two children are now at University giving me and my very understanding husband, time to care for our small herd of Golden Guernsey goats, hens and dogs!”

Wear hospital director Darren Stubbs is delighted to welcome Claire to the hospital’s expert team and the busy imaging department.

He said: “Claire is a great addition to the team. We have a busy caseload of ultrasound scans and rather than ask more of our existing dedicated diagnostic imaging team, we recruited for a sonographer with a great deal of experience.

“Claire is already making a real difference; her compassion and care for animals is apparent in everything she does.

“The structured training of a sonographer in the human health field involves a degree course and additional post-graduate training, while we have an effective and rigorous training programme in place that has enabled Claire to translate her already advanced skills to the veterinary side of ultrasound.”

Wear Referrals specialises in providing expert multidisciplinary care, including anaesthesia, oncology, neurology, orthopaedics, soft tissue, internal medicine, cardiology, intensive care and diagnostic imaging plus physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and rehabilitation.

For more information on Wear Referrals, which is part of Linnaeus, visit www.wear-referrals.co.uk or search for Wear Referrals on social media.

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