Dr Filippo De Bellis joined London Vet Specialists in February 2016, to help set up the dermatology referral service. In this blog, he gives us a few insights into Filippo the expert and Filippo the experience-seeker.
“My journey to London Vet Specialists, I think reflects my life journey. I’m an Italian graduate, of course, and spent my first few years working in Tuscany (oh, the hardship!), where I intended to pursue a career in the equine racing industry. But my yearning to experience new things, set me off on a Grand Tour, and I made my way to England, to meet new people, and experience life here. I worked in different clinics, including time in Cambridge and charity work at the PDSA, before realising my main interest lay in dermatology. So I took up a residency at the Royal Veterinary College, where I stayed until 2009. I then worked as a consultant at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, and in several referral clinics.
“I learned about the creation of London Vet Specialists (LVS) from a colleague who was working there, and I was really drawn to going somewhere where I could build something from scratch – to create my own baby, so to speak. I enjoy a challenge (more of that later!), and also wanted a taste of London life – one of my passions is rock music – and British rock music, I love – I grew up listening to The Cure, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, even a bit of Depeche Mode! Living in London, I can tap right into the capital’s cultural heart. I go at least once a week to the cinema, to concerts, exhibitions…I love the vibe of the city.
“So, when Brendan offered me the chance to set up the dermatology service at LVS, I readily accepted. Taking and formulating something, and watching it grow really satisfies me, and I want to make LVS a renowned centre of excellence in dermatology that vets and pet owners will seek out. One of my interests is ear disease, and this has a real fit with my second area of particular interest, which is the multidisciplinary investigation of dermatological cases. The investigation and management of an ear case, for example, can involve pulling in colleagues for neurological input, diagnostic imaging, surgery; you can really only get that specialist group interaction in a referral centre, which is very satisfying to me. We’re lucky at LVS that, because it’s a small centre, there are colleagues on hand to easily consult with, which benefits the patients too. We’re lucky also to have our own in-house CT scanner and the capable hands of Livia Benigni to manage our imaging service.
“I enjoy teaching – I’m an honorary lecturer at Liverpool vet school still – and I’m looking forward to building relationships with London’s first opinion vets to help them work through their challenging cases. I’ve already scheduled my first CPD meeting which I want to take the form of dermatology case discussions. I want practitioners to feel they can approach me, and I’m available every Friday on the phone to talk to them.
“On a personal note, my ambitions are many and reflect my love of experiences and challenges. As well as a rock music enthusiast, I’m a sports car enthusiast. I love following the various racing circuits and teams, and love to go to live events. I do like to do some racing myself. My dream race car is an Aston Martin, and I’ve driven one a few times! For winding down, I like to Scuba-dive, and to wind back up, I practise several types of martial art. In fact, I’m fascinated by Japanese culture and have friends in Japan I like to visit.
“Going forward, I plan to travel as much as I can around my day-job and then eventually settle down and have a family – and a dog! I adore dogs. And I want to write a novel – maybe a spy story…. maybe with dogs in it.”