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

Surgical Registrar:
Dr Alex Santamaria

Our Resident Vets:
Dr Kath Duncan
Dr Stephanie Colthurst

Surgical Intern:
Dr Jeff Buckland

Internal Medicine Intern:
Dr Alex Mau

Our Rotating Internship Vets:

Dr Mary Williamson
Dr Jason Makar
Dr Bianka Csizmas
Dr Monica Sharma
Dr Emma Hoolihan
Dr Chris Wood

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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 and Referral Hospital, 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 (Not Specialists)

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.

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Surgical Intern Veterinarian

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 a mixed practice, 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 rotating internship with Southpaws in 2018. Jeff enjoyed the experience so much he has stayed on in 2019 to participate in a further surgical intership. In his spare time Jeff has good taste in music and enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family. Jeff is well known at Southpaws for his baking prowess which is much appreciated.

Internal Medicine Veterinarian

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. Alex completed his internship with Southpaws in 2018 and has accepted an overseas residency. In the meantime for the first half of 2019, Alex will be staying at Southpaws and supporting our busy Internal Medicine team. In his spare time Alex has a keen interest in technology and gaming, and loves cooking and travel.

Our Rotating Internship Veterinarians

Dr Mary Williamson from Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Mary Williamson
BVetMed (Royal College London)

Mary is originally from Kentucky, USA but studied in England, obtaining a BVetMed from The Royal Veterinary College in London in 2016. Following graduation, she moved to Australia and has spent the last 2 years working in for our good friends at Knox Veterinary Clinic in Wantirna South. Mary has a particular interest in Internal Medicine and hopes to build on this during her internship with Southpaws. During her spare time she plays volleyball, enjoys hiking, and spending time with her dog Chloe (who also emigrated from Kentucky) and her cat Max. 


Dr Monica Sharma from Southpaws Specialist and Referral HospitalDr. Monica Sharma
BSc (Hons) BVSc (UQ)

Monica is originally from Melbourne, where she graduated with a BSc at The University of Melbourne in 2010, majoring in anatomy. Monica developed an interest in research and undertook an Honours year in 2011 investigating the biological effects of synchrotron radiation on normal and tumour tissue. After a break for travel, Monica completed her BVSc at the University of Queensland in 2018. Her veterinary interests include internal medicine, oncology and radiation therapy which she hopes to learn more about during her one year internship at Southpaws. Monica also loves rabbits (professionally and as pets) and in her spare time enjoys cooking, baking, (very acceptable at Southpaws) travelling and learning languages. Monica is shown here giving Yuki, a patient and friend, a cuddle. 

Dr Chris Woods at Southpaws Specialty and Referral HospitalDr. Chris Wood
BSc DVM (Dist) (Melbourne)

Chris graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine with Distinction. He was recognised on the Dean’s Honours List in each of the four years of the degree and was awarded the William Allen Stewart Scholarship in the program’s final clinical year. During his DVM Chris undertook externships in Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery, and Oncology at Colorado State University, and was selected as an Australian delegate for the ‘International Symposium on Wildlife Utilisation’, based out of the University of Pretoria. Chris is an early riser and loves starting each day at the gym, he enjoys exploring the outdoors on his days off and listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the evenings, and of course, watching Netflix.


Dr Jason Makar at Southpaws Specialty Surgery for AnimalsDr. Jason Makar
BSc DVM (Melbourne)

Jason graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with his DVM. During his final year Jason spent externships at the United states (UC Davis) and in Canada, and he is one day interested in working abroad. He has a strong interest in orthopaedic surgery. With this internship at Southpaws Jason aims to build on these skills and develop himself into a better veterinarian and surgeon. When not at work, Jason loves to travel to countries to ski and try out local foods and he also can bake a mean baklava (which is why we chose him). 



Dr Emma Hoolihan Southpaws Specialty and Referral HospitalDr. Emma Hoolihan
BA MA, BVSc, DVM (Adelaide)

After working as a broadcast journalist in the North Island of New Zealand, Emma returned to her hometown in South Australia to follow her passion to become a veterinarian. Emma graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2018. Whilst pursuing her studies, Emma relished her work as a veterinary nurse at the Gawler Animal Hospital in SA. She has also worked as a locum surgical assistant at Queensland Veterinary Specialists and in 2018 gained invaluable experience from specialist surgeons in Ottawa, Canada, which cemented her love of orthopaedics and reconstructive soft-tissue surgery. During her down-time Emma enjoys riding her horse called Rabbit, smothering her Devon Rex cats in love, and hiking the world with friends and family.

Dr Bianka Csizmas at Southpaws Specialty and Referral HospitalDr. Bianka Csizmas
BSc (Hons), BVSc (JCU)

Bianka graduated with Honours from Animal and Veterinary Biosciences from LaTrobe University in 2011. Following this, she completed a year of graduate research, looking at the intestinal microflora of dogs and dingoes and its association with diet. She then went on to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine at James Cook University in 2018. She has earned the prestigious Golden Key International Honours Society medal for her academic achievements during her time at veterinary school and has represented the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) in small animal surgery. Bianka has a special interest in small animal internal medicine, and alternate therapies including acupuncture. Away from her professional life, Bianka enjoys painting and drawing, yoga, running/hiking and travel. 





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