My name is Susanna McIntyre and I was brought up with pets, starting with 2 guinea pigs (which suddenly became 8, as they do) then a cat then a horse. I rescued any injured wild animals in the neighbourhood, like hedgehogs caught in fruit netting and tennis nets, a bat that fell down a neighbour’s chimney, terrifying their young daughter in the sitting room and birds that flew into people’s windows.
Studying sciences all the way through school, I planned to do a Biology sandwich course with the industry year in a disease research lab. I’d hoped to find the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, a seriously debilitating disease which had crippled my best friend’s mother. Logically, I thought that if I found the cause, I could then work out a cure and better still, a means of preventing it in the first place. At a careers talk from one of these research labs, a vet gave the presentation and told me that if I really wanted to do this research, I needed to qualify as a veterinary surgeon. I had thought that such a qualification was way out of my reach, but decided to spend some time with our local veterinary practice to see what life as a vet in practice was like. I absolutely loved every minute of it! From that moment on, I worked like mad to get the A level grades I needed to study Veterinary Science at University.
I was offered a place at Bristol University and spent the next 5 years studying hard. What a great course! I learned about anatomy and physiology in normal, healthy animals, then all the things that contribute to disease, largely parasitology, bacteriology and virology, then all the drugs (pharmacology) and surgical techniques that we use to treat these diseased states. But all we are doing is getting rid of symptoms, usually without addressing the real underlying cause. There was no mention of prevention, apart from vaccination and eliminating parasites to prevent the diseases that their presence evokes.
Having qualified, I still had one question to which I am only just discovering the answer. Why do some animals and people suffer from ill health in the first place? Why are some more prone to parasitic infestations than others? We are all exposed to the same stuff broadly speaking, but we don’t all get ill. Why? It was many years before I even scratched the surface on my quest when I experienced the power of nutrition, emotion / attitude, exercise, rest, sunlight and other natural factors and came across the science of epigenetics.