Pet Plus Story 1 - Susanna McIntyre
My name is Susanna McIntyre and from an early age I was brought up with pets. My interest in animals started with two guinea pigs (which suddenly became eight, as they do) followed by a cat, then later, a horse.
I rescued as many injured wild animals as I could in my childhood neighbourhood. This would include animals like hedgehogs caught in fruit netting and tennis nets, or a bat that fell down a neighbour's chimney, terrifying their young daughter in the sitting room, or birds that flew into people's closed windows.
I was hoping that one day I would find the cure for rheumatoid arthritis
I studied sciences all the way through school. At first I planned to do a Biology sandwich course with the year spent out in industry in a disease research lab. I'd hoped to find the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, which is a seriously debilitating disease. I knew about it as it 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 type of 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 it was. I learned about anatomy and physiology in normal, healthy animals, then all the things that contribute to disease. This meant I learned largely parasitology, bacteriology and virology, then all the drugs (pharmacology) and surgical techniques that we use to treat these diseased states.
Why do some animals get ill? Why don't we all become ill?
But all we are doing is getting rid of symptoms, usually without addressing the underlying cause. There was no mention of prevention, apart from vaccination and the elimination of parasites to prevent the diseases that their presence evokes.
Having qualified, I still had questions to which I am only just discovering answers.
- 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. I started to understand what was going on when I experienced the power of nutrition, emotion, attitude, exercise, rest, sunlight and other natural factors. Then I came across the science of epigenetics.