Mark Little thrilled to gain RCVS Specialist status

Mark Little thrilled to gain RCVS Specialist status

Former NIVA President and Fane Valley veterinary advisor Mark Little has achieved RCVS Specialist status in Cattle Health & Production.

Speaking to NI Veterinary Today about the achievement, he said: “There is a rigorous application process to become a RCVS Specialist. A veterinary Specialist must have achieved a postgraduate qualification at least at Diploma level, must make an active contribution to their specialty, have national and international acclaim, and publish widely in their field.

“My research, which I carried out in AFBI Hillsborough, into the nutritional effects on immunity in the transition dairy cow, went a good way towards achieving a few of these objectives.

“This research meant I achieved a PhD with Queens University and resulted in five published papers in journals including the Vet Record, Journal of Dairy Science and Animal.

“I also had the opportunity to present my work at national and international conferences including the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), Association of Veterinary Teachers and Research Workers (AVTRW) and American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), in front of some of the largest names in animal science and veterinary medicine. What surprised me is how interested the American researchers are in research into grass based dairy cow diets. This is because there is growing consumer pressure to feed cows grass, rather than maize-based diets.

“In addition to this, my years working in Trouw Nutrition has built upon this knowledge, particularly in mineral and vitamin nutrition, and resulted in working with students conducting and publishing research in mycotoxins and the nutritional links on behaviour.

Mark found out he had been given Specialist status in April, as a result of the knowledge he has contributed to the field of cattle nutrition, and while there’s no official event to mark the achievement “no such luck Joe – a simple certificate is all!” he’s well aware of how rare an honour it is.

“There are 48 Specialists in Cattle Health and Production in the UK. It is not a surprise that many of these Specialists are vets who are working in or in connection with universities. Within Northern Ireland, there are two Cattle Health and Production Specialists, including myself.”