Speaker Spotlight – Nicky Housby-Skeggs


For many years BARTA have been preparing large animal vets for the challenges of providing veterinary care to animals in situations that involve working alongside emergency services. The team approach delivers safer rescues and has brought clarity and reassurance in regard to the role of the veterinary professional. The next stage is to develop more advanced trauma modules as we anticipate and plan for foreseeable events.

Professor Debbie Archer and Dr Nicola Housby-Skeggs will be delivering a workshop at the conference; From Chaos to Order – The Art and Science of Triage in Equine Emergency Medicine. If you are a large animal veterinary professional, or might be managing an incident, this is one to be at! 

We asked Nicky what special interest do you have in dealing with Incidents Involving Animals/Disasters?

“I see incidents involving animals as a niche element of “one health” it is when animals, humans and their environment are often in conflict with one-another. The rescue team must understand all three to find a way to resolve a situation with limited impact on the well-being of that triad.

Having been part of both dangerous, emotional, and stressful rescue situations as well as those that have run smoothly, I want to ensure that everyone involved has the right tools for the job. This includes technical veterinary and rescue skills along with the management skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem solving.

We don’t always get the outcome we want but that is easier to come to terms with when you know you did everything you could.

Ensuring people are trained, and all incidents are well prepared for will improve the quality of lives of both people and animals worldwide.”

If you would like to meet Nicky and our other speakers at the BARTA Conference, why not reserve your space and book your ticket now: https://www.bartacic.org/conference/

Nicky graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2007 and joined The Royal Army Veterinary Corps. She served for 10 years: Firstly, with Military Working Dogs preparing them and their handlers for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Later she served as the veterinary officer for The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment where she developed Large Animal Rescue training as a core activity for the regiments. During this time, she was part of a large and complex team responsible for planning and providing emergency cover for high profile public events.

After leaving the military Nicky worked in ambulatory equine practices for 2 years before moving to the charity sector. She now works as the Veterinary Director for The Horse Trust charity providing both the onsite veterinary provision for 150 residents, she provides internal and external training in many areas of equine care as well as providing part of the RVC final year rotations. Nicky is the Chairperson for the Board of directors for the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Association (BARTA).

Getting involved in BARTA early in her veterinary career, the skills learnt gave Nicky a huge amount of confidence in tackling emergency and rescue scenarios. Throughout her time in the mounted units Nicky worked with an incredibly competent rescue team and used the skills and techniques they were trained in to resolve some complex situations in the public eye. Working closely with BARTA to share experiences, learn, and further develop the training.

Animals are an integral and essential part of human life either as companions, protectors, or a means of income. Incidents involving animals occur frequently and there is a huge potential for risk to human and animal life both through direct injury and the morbidity that follows an incident from the single animal trapped in a ditch to large scale flooding and evacuation.