VES Member Spotlight: Dr. Bleakley

Dr. Bleakley is originally from Northern Ireland and he earned his veterinary degree from University College Dublin in 2011.  He completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates in Maryland in 2012. He completed a residency in small animal surgery and concurrent Masters at Colorado State University in 2016. He became a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons – Small Animal, and a Diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2017.  He is also certified in canine rehabilitation with the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.  Dr. Bleakley worked as an attending surgeon at VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center from 2016-2019.  He started CARE Surgery Center in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020.  In his spare time Dr. Bleakley enjoys an active lifestyle with his wife and five children.
Tell us about your current role (ie. Practice type, position, professional and research focuses?)

I am a small animal surgeon and business owner in private practice.  Our focus is improving the standard of care through minimally invasive surgery. 
How do you incorporate MIS into your surgery clinic?

I started CARE Surgery Center because of a passion for minimally invasive surgery.  I was fortunate in my opportunities for training at Colorado State University where I received excellent mentorship in new techniques and technologies that minimize the impact of surgery on our patients.  I have been able to incorporate such into my practice where we look at every patient with a minimally invasive approach in mind, be it laparoscopy or minimally invasive osteosynthesis.  If we can make the incision smaller while maximizing patient care, we feel we’re better serving the patient and the client.
What excites you about MIS? (or tell us about a MIS success story)

I called a client last week delivering biopsy results following a thoracoscopic pericardectomy on a Doberman Pinscher.  I asked how her dog was doing.  She said, “You wouldn’t know she had surgery, she’s acting like nothing happened, you wouldn’t believe it…” 

That kind of feedback is music to my ears.  The benefits of a higher standard of care for our patients and clients excites me.  That and the impressive technology and improved visualization involved with minimally invasive procedures.
Why do you love being a VES member?

I love the opportunity to learn from others more experienced than I.  Between the VES webinars and the VES listserv I am so grateful for those so willing to share their expertise and experience.  I have always felt like I am standing on the shoulders of giants.  Many in the VES community were instrumental in developing the techniques that I now perform in my practice.  To be able to watch webinars from them, read their discussions, or even ask them questions makes me grateful to be a VES member.
Where would you like to see veterinary MIS go in the future?

I feel like we are playing catch-up with human MIS so I look to human medicine and surgery as to where I would like to see veterinary MIS moving.  My father-in-law had a heart attack last year. He pretty much dropped dead on the tennis court.  CPR, induced hypothermia and extensive ICU care all saved his life, but the arterial stenting is what gave him his life back.  He didn’t have open heart surgery because of the advances in minimally invasive procedures.  He was back to playing tennis within weeks.  We don’t deal with coronary artery disease in dogs and cats but the same principles of MIS apply.  Another example is my son breaking his humerus.  His fracture was repaired percutaneously with fluoroscopic guidance.  Recovery was fast and complete.  There are so many advances on the human side that I would like to see adopted more amongst veterinarians. 
What do you like to do for fun outside of veterinary medicine?

I enjoy an active lifestyle and spending whatever free time I have with my family. My weekends are taken up by physical fitness, soccer games, dance recitals and my family in general.  I also enjoy traveling, scuba diving and spending time in nature- be it the top of a mountain, the bottom of the ocean, or surrounded by woodland.