A newly-appointed clinical director who has taken the helm at a leading Essex vet practice has spoken of the lightbulb moment she first knew veterinary medicine was her calling. 

Laila Liakouras will lead the team at Animal Ark Veterinary Centre in Ilford after joining the Linnaeus-owned practice last month. 

The highly-experienced clinician, originally from Chicago, has a wealth of experience across both referral and primary care settings following a varied career which has seen her study in Greece before taking senior roles in both the USA and UK. 

However, it took a spark of inspiration to turn Laila’s attention away from human healthcare to veterinary medicine at an early age. 

She said: “I was always interested in medicine, especially surgery, and from an early age the medical members of my family naturally encouraged me to go to medical school. 

“But it wasn’t until I volunteered at a local animal shelter when I knew that I had a calling to go into veterinary medicine as a small animal veterinary surgeon.” 

Indeed, what has followed has been an illustrious career for Laila which, as a Greek national, first saw her qualify to study at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece after first achieving an undergraduate biology degree from North Park University in Chicago. 

She went on to complete junior clinical training scholarships at AUTh, Tufts University and Bristol University in small animal surgery, anaesthesia and analgesia. 

Laila said: “After my time as a veterinarian in specialist referral centres, I have been involved in many areas of veterinary medicine, including as a hospital clinician, an emergency vet, primary care head vet and a regional director, prior to joining the team at Animal Ark.” 

Laila, who was nominated for the PetPlan Awards Vet of the Year in 2021, said she was looking forward to being part of the strong team at Animal Ark, with key ambitions to help the practice continue to put patient care and team welfare at the top of the agenda. 

She said: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Animal Ark team because of their hunger to continue to strive for the best standards of care. 

“My background is in referrals, so using evidence-based medicine is incredibly important but equally important is the client relationship. 

“It’s my responsibility to give our team every opportunity to use their knowledge and experience to best service the individual pet and their family and seek treatments that are right for them. 

“I’m also looking forward to fostering a culture where team members are enabled to grow and progress in a safe environment, while ensuring Animal Ark is a practice that serves its people, patients and community.” 

For more information about Animal Ark, visit www.animalarkvets.co.uk or search for Animal Ark on Facebook.

Back to news