Our Specialist(s):
Dr Charles Kuntz
Dr James Simcock
Dr Ricky Cashmore

Surgical Registrar:
Dr Alex Santamaria

Our Resident Vets:
Dr Kath Duncan
Dr Abigail Brough
Dr Stephanie Colthurst

Our Rotating Internship Vets:
Dr Ryan Soussa
Dr Gwen Thornton
Dr Danielle Dusek
Dr Jeff Buckland
Dr Alex Mau
Dr Alex Carey
Dr Hayley Thompson

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Careers at Southpaws

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Our Team

Best Veterinary Nursing Employer of Choice, Southpaws, Melbourne, Australia
Best Specialist Veterinary Hospital For Dogs and Cats
Best Specialist Veterinary Surgery for Dogs and Cats Melbourne

At Southpaws specialist veterinary surgery, our team is at the core of the loving support and care that we provide to your family pets. We are immensely proud of our hard-working team, some of the industry's best veterinary nurses backed by dedicated support staff, protecting the well-being and health of our patients around the clock.

We love your pets just as much as you do and in partnership with our referring veterinarians we work tirelessly for the best outcomes for your family members. Our staff are highly trained and we pride ourselves on our continuing education and on-the-job training. Southpaws is an employer of choice in the Australian veterinary industry.

Leading Specialist Veterinary Surgeons, Melbourne, Australia
Australia's Best Veterinary Surgery, Victoria, Melbourne
Best Cancer Surgery for Dogs and Cats Veterinary Surgery

Our Specialist Vets

Dr. Charles Kuntz Best Specialist Veterinary Surgeon, Melbourne, AustraliaSurgery: Dr. Charles Kuntz
DVM, MS, MACVSc, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery, Fellow of Surgical Oncology.

Southpaws founder and director, Dr. Charles Kuntz, graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. He did an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and completed a residency and Master's degree in surgery at Virginia Tech in 1994. He achieved specialty board certification in surgery in 1996 on his first attempt. Charles then did a one year fellowship in cardiovascular research and surgery. He completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Colorado State University and was then a professor of Orthopedic Surgery there before moving to Northern Virginia where he started one of the busiest surgical referral practices in the Washington DC area. He was the program chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Academy of Veterinary Medicine.

Charles moved to Australia in 2004 and is the director and owner of Southpaws Specialty Surgery for Animals in Melbourne. He is an internship director, surgical residency advisor and program director for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Charles has published many scientific articles, abstracts, proceedings and book chapters on topics of surgical oncology. He was the chairperson of the oncology section of the National Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He is the editor of the oncology section of the current edition of Slatter's Textbook of Small Animal Surgery. He was the surgical expert on panel discussions of feline vaccine associated soft tissue sarcomas at meetings of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He was asked to write a chapter for a human surgical oncology textbook on bone cancer because of his reputation and expertise in cancer surgery. At Southpaws Charles started Australia's first deep radiation therapy unit for animals, one of only two in Australia today.

He has personally performed and interpreted over 5,000 CT scans on small animals. He has five United States patents for devices used in the treatment of diseases in animals. He has personally operated on over 5,000 patients with cancer with local control rates of over 95%. Charles has won numerous awards and appeared on national TV and radio and in newspapers and magazines. He receives referrals from all over Australia as well as consultations by phone and email world-wide.

Charles received the honour of being accepted as a Founding Fellow in Surgical Oncology by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons for his “Exemplary training, experience and practice in the multidisciplinary approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients and his devotion to cancer research.” He is one of the first people world-wide to receive this honour.

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Dr. James Simcock Best Specialist Surgeon for Dogs and Cats, Melbourne, Victoria, AustraliaSurgery: Dr. James Simcock BVSc (hons), MANZCVS (Internal Medicine), Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons

James graduated from the University of Melbourne with honors in 2005. Following graduation he worked for 12 months in a busy small animal general practice. He then completed two, twelve month internships in both Small Animal Oncology and Small Animal Surgery along with a 3 year American College of Veterinary Surgeons residency program under the direction of Dr. Charles Kuntz. In 2010 James achieved membership to the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists Internal Medicine Chapter.

In 2013 he became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons by passing the certification examinations on his first attempt. This makes James one of the first fully Australian trained small animal surgeons to pass this examination. In 2015 James became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. James is registered as a specialist in small animal surgery in Victoria. He is an internship director and surgical residency advisor for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

James has published on gastrointestinal and urogenital surgery and oncology and has presented a number of times at the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, Science Week. He is actively involved in teaching students and veterinarians and is an instructor and lecturer for a veterinary of post graduate education courses in surgery.

James has recently become further involved with the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists and is an examiner for the Fellowship examinations in Small Animal Surgery. Passing the College Fellowship exam is part of the requirements for registration as a Veterinary Specialist in Australia.

James is particularly interested in orthopaedic and neurologic surgery and is a co-director and owner of Southpaws alongside Dr. Charles Kuntz.

Dr. James Simcock Best Specialist Surgeon for Dogs and Cats, Melbourne, Victoria, AustraliaSurgery: Dr. Ricky Cashmore BVSc, FANZCVS (Surg), Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery

Ricky graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2005. After a year in general practice in South East Victoria he embarked on his path towards surgical specialisation. This included completion of a rotating internship at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, a surgical internship at the Veterinary Specialist Centre in Sydney and a three year Surgical Residency at the Small Animal Specialty Hospital (SASH) in Sydney. From 2013-2017 Ricky remained at SASH as a Senior Surgical Registrar, then Surgical Specialist enjoying an intense and highly diverse case load.

Ricky attained Membership and Fellowship of the Australian New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in small animal surgery by examination and has also been a previous examiner for the small animal surgical chapter. He has published and presented around the world. He has a strong and active interest in clinical and biomechanical research relating to the canine hip, stifle and spine, the focus of his current research projects. He is a past recipient of the prestigious VOS Wade O Brinker Orthopaedic Resident Research Award for biomechanical research relating to the canine stifle, conducted at the Australian School of Advanced Medicine (presented WVOC, Colorado 2014).

Ricky’s surgical interests include minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy, laparoscopy and thoracoscopy), partial and total joint replacement, percutaneous and minimally invasive fracture repair and neurosurgery, in all of which he has completed further focussed training in Australia and North America. Additional to being a certified hip replacement surgeon, Ricky is fortunate to have both trained and been an active surgeon within one of Australia’s busiest total hip replacement teams for the past decade and is enjoying bringing this experience to Southpaws.

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Our Other Senior Vets

Dr. Alex Santamaria at Southpaws Specialist Veterinary Hospital Melbourne, AustraliaSurgical Registrar
Dr. Alessandra Santamaria


Alex graduated with a Science degree (Major in Zoology) from The University of Melbourne in 2009. While studying science she was employed as a veterinary nurse. She then went on to graduate on the Deans Honour List from The University of Melbourne with a Veterinary Degree in 2010. Alex started working in a mixed animal practice just out of Melbourne for the first 8 months of her career and then moved to a small animal practice in the Northern suburbs.
Alex started working at Southpaws in early 2012 and completed a year long internship in Small Animal Surgery and Oncology. Alex has just recently completed and passed her Australian and New Zealand college membership exams. Alex enjoys both orthopaedic and soft tissue surgery however has a special interest in oncology surgery and particular reconstruction post large tumour removal. Alex successfully completed her 3 year residency in small animal surgery at Southpaws in October 2016 and is a senior and valued member of the Southpaws surgical team.

Dr Paul Crocker Internal Medicine and Critical Care at Southpaws Specialty Surgery for Animals

Dr Paul Crocker - Internal Medicine
BVSc (Melbourne) MANZCVS (Internal Medicine and Emergency Critical Care)

Paul has over 20 years experience as a veterinarian with particular interests and experience in Internal Medicine and Critical Care. Paul graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1995 and has worked in both Australia and the UK. His experience includes 6 years with Adelaide University,including 2 years heading up the Small Animal Internal Medicine service. Paul joined Southpaws in 2017 to assist our Internal Medicine department in keeping up with their busy workload and adding additional capabilities for in-patient and critical care. Paul’s particular areas of interest are Critical Care (Surgical and Medicine Patients), Anaglesia, Diagnostic Imaging, Endocrinology, Nephrology and Cardiorespiratory Medicine. In his spare time, Paul is co-director and performer at Sixfootsomething Productions, an independant theatre company. Paul enjoys running, swimming and yoga. He has a Border Terrier named Pickle and three cats.

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Our Resident Veterinarians

Intern Veterinarian At Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Kathryn Duncan - Surgery
B. Sc. DVM (Melbourne)

Kathryn graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2015. She did a 2 week placement in 2015 with Southpaws and that helped to cement her interest in surgery. Kathryn is a keen netballer and enjoys keeping fit. She loves spending time with her dog Dexter and cat Mim. Kathryn's completed her internship in early 2017 at Southpaws and has now started her Residency program in Surgery with us. Kathryn is a busy member of the hardworking Southpaws team.

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Intern Veterinarian At Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Stephanie Colthurst - Surgery
BVSc. (James Cook)

Stephanie was born in Australia but spent her early childhood in the USA and Japan (where she became fluent in Japanese) before returning to Australia. She graduated from James Cook University in 2014 and completed an internship at Veterinary Specialist Services in Queensland in 2015. During 2015 she did a one week exchange with a veterinary practice in Singapore and also received a Young Speaker's award at the ANZCVS 'Science Week'. Stephanie joined Southpaws for a second twelve month internship which she completed in February 2017. Stephanie has now accepted a position with Southpaws as a surgical resident. We look forward to Stephanie pursuing her career goals with us over the next 3 years.

Intern Veterinarian At Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Abigail Brough - Internal Medicine
B.Sc, BVSc (Adelaide)

Abi graduated from the University of Adelaide vet program at the end of 2014 and has spent 2015 as an intern and emergency clinician at Queensland Veterinary Specialists in Brisbane. Abi then joined Southpaws for a second internship for the 2016 year and has now accepted a position as a Resident in Internal Medicine. In her spare time Abi enjoys horse riding, running and cooking and she provides a wonderful supportive resource to our senior internal medicine clinicians.

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Our Rotating Internship Veterinarians

Dr. Ryan Soussa
BSc DVM (Melbourne)

Ryan graduated in 2017 from the University of Melbourne second in his class, with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree with Distinction. He achieved the Dean’s Honours List every year of his degree and shared the Payne Exhibition Prize for the highest academic achievement in the program’s clinical years. During his final year, Ryan spent an extensive amount of time in the United States of America, undertaking externships in orthopaedic surgery at The University of California – Davis and oncology at The University of Wisconsin – Madison. He has a strong interest in surgical and medical oncology and hopes to build on this during his internship with Southpaws. Ryan loves to travel – he has backpacked throughout five continents and almost 20 different countries - and spending time with family and friends.

Dr Gwen Thornton Veterinary Intern At Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Gwen Thornton
DVM (Melboune), MSci Zoology (University College London)

Gwen graduated with a Masters of Science in Zoology from University College in London in 2013 and then from the University of Melbourne in 2017 with her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. During her DVM Gwen completed externships in Canada and at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington DC. She has volunteered for animal welfare groups while travelling in Africa, Japan and the UK. In her spare time Gwen is a high level volleyball player and when she's winding down she enjoys reading, baking and playing music.

Dr Danielle Dusek Intern Veterinarian At Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Danielle Dusek
DVM (Melbourne), BSc (Melbourne)

Danielle graduated from the University of Melbourne DVM in 2016, achieving the Deans Honours List in each of four years. Danielle worked as a GP Veterinarian at Mentone Veterinary Hospital in 2017 and prior to this worked two years part time at Southpaws as a veterinary nurse. In 2003 - 2005 Danielle was the recipient of Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. In her personal time Danielle likes skiing, camping/trekking, singing and walking on the beach.


Dr Jeff Buckland Veterinary Intern Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Jeff Buckland
BVSc (Hons) University of Melbourne

Jeff graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012 and accepted a position as Associate Veterinarian at the mixed practice at Portland and Heywood Veterinary Clinic in Victoria's South West. For four years Jeff worked with small animal medicine, surgery and critical care and in large animal surgery and medicine including after hours call out support. About a quarter of Jeff's caseload was supporting the local community in managing their cattle herds. In early 2017, Jeff relocated, almost back to the suburbs, to the small animal practice of Beaconsfield Veterinary clinic in 2017 before starting his internship with Southpaws in 2018. In his spare time Jeff has good taste in music and enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family.

Dr Alex Mau Intern Veterinarian At Southpaws Surgery for AnimalsDr. Alex Mau
BSc DVM (Melbourne)

Alex graduated with his DVM from the University of Melbourne in 2017. Alex is a great communicator - skills developed from many years in retail sales in Melbourne and has a good level of fluency in Mandarin. Alex has a special interest in clinical pathology being a current member of the American Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists. During his DVM Alex did his placements in clinics around Victoria including at Gribbles Veterinary Pathology. We look forward to Alex being a terrific contributor to our busy intern team this year. In his spare time Alex has a keen interest in technology and gaming, and loves cooking and travel.

Dr Alex Carey Veterinary Intern Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Alex Carey
BSc Bioscience (Adelaide) DVM (Adelaide)

Alex graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2017 with her DVM, collecting student prizes and awards for academic achievement in each of her years of study, including being a four time winner of the Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. She spent one of her elective rotations working on Biosecurity and Conservation Medicine in South Africa examining the interactions between livestock and wildlife. During her veterinary studies Alex has volunteered with several wildlife and domestic animal care facilities including assisting with health assessments of flying foxes. In her spare time Alex likes to keep fit via running and basketball. Alex joining Southpaws, rounds out our total of Alex's to three.


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