A renowned veterinary specialist is hanging up his scrubs after a long and varied career in which he founded and grew one of the country’s leading veterinary hospitals. 

RCVS and European specialist in veterinary dentistry Peter Southerden retired this week after four decades in the industry, during which time he has been globally celebrated as one of the few AVDC Founding Fellows in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the world. 

Peter started his veterinary career after graduating from Liverpool University in 1984 and moving to Swindon following his engagement to his now wife, Ibby. 

Together, the couple jumped at the opportunity to buy Eastcott Veterinary Clinic in 1987, as a single-handed small animal practice. 

Despite being only 25 at the time, Peter and Ibby worked tirelessly with the support of an incredible team to grow Eastcott into the leading referral hospital it is today; now part of Linnaeus and employing more than 200 team members as a Tier 3 small animal hospital. 

Peter has been heavily involved with Eastcott ever since, most recently as managing director for both the Swindon hospital he founded and fellow Linnaeus referral centre Cave Veterinary Specialists near Wellington, Somerset. 

Commenting on his impending retirement, Peter said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be a founding member of this fantastic hospital and to witness its rise over the last 40 years. 

“Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of our people, and their passion for creating a truly purpose-driven business.” 

With a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt, Peter was instrumental in launching and leading the dentistry division at Eastcott, which is one of only a limited number of referral centres to offer the specialist-led service in the country. 

He said: “I am incredibly grateful to the veterinary profession for everything it has given me over the years. 

“I have had an extremely interesting, varied, stimulating and exciting career, and I look back with nothing but fond memories of it all and consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do so.

“It goes without saying the success of the hospital comes down to having such a wonderful team, right from the start. 


“I have had the absolute pleasure of working with an incredible bunch of people through the years; some of them have been with Eastcott for decades, while others have moved on to pastures new. 

“However, everyone has been instrumental in the growth and success of the hospital and we could not have done it without such a fantastic team – the list is too long to name them all but that again is a fortunate problem to have! 

“Of course, at the heart of it all has been my rock and pillar Ibby, without whom this would not have all been possible. I don’t think either one of us foresaw how successful the hospital would become, but I could not have done it without her and am grateful to have had her by my side through it all. 

“There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to spending more time with my family and taking up those activities and hobbies I just didn’t have time to commit to before. 

“I have full confidence in the Linnaeus team and have no doubt we made the right move when they approached to buy the hospital. I am sure they will continue to build on our success and offer an unprecedented level of service to pets and their owners everywhere!” 

Duncan Barnes, clinical director at Eastcott Veterinary Referrals, said: “It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with Peter. He has been an inspirational leader and has always strived to help and assist those around him to fulfil their potential and thrive. 

“His passion for veterinary dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery means he has made enormous contributions to the veterinary profession and the welfare of the countless patients that he has treated. 

“Moreover, he has been instrumental in teaching generations of vets that the oral health of pets is an important area of clinical practice that should not be ignored. 

“One of Peter’s greatest achievements is the foundation and growth of Eastcott Veterinary Hospital and leaves behind an agile and resilient practice. We will miss him dearly.” 

For more information about Eastcott Referrals visit www.eastcottreferrals.co.uk or search for Eastcott Veterinary Referrals on social media. 

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