BVSc(Hons) FANZCVSc(Surgery)

Small Animal Surgical Specialist

Why Vets Love Him…

Dr Fearnside is an ANZCVSc examiner in surgery, Fellowship (2006-2008) including a position as head examiner (2008) and Membership examiner on multiple occasions – Head examiner (2012). He was the recipient of the Australian Veterinary Practitioner Scientific Paper Award (2004), and currently a Supervisor for specialist trainees in Surgery.

On Rare Days Off…

He’s usually “doing jobs for my wife and kids!” Although Dr Fearnside also enjoys skiing, gardening, cricket, family time, and is an aviculturalist/avian enthusiast!

Words from our Specialist:

“Wound management is an important area for all practicing veterinarians and an area that is constantly evolving with new treatments becoming available. We see and treat open wounds every day in practice, yet we are frequently taught so little about it other than basic empirical therapy. Understanding how a wound heals, what factors influence healing and what we can do to enhance or impeded healing is critical.”

“[Furthermore,] I find the evolution of wound treatment throughout history fascinating from control of infection to development of surgical treatments and wound agents/ interactive dressings.”

Thoughts on Veterinary Horror Stories:

“Everyone has a horror story – our aim is to limit these for the future by learning from each other and the mistakes made in the past. History is full of horror stories with wound management – you only have to refer to treatment options from the world wars to understand this.”

What He Didn’t Learn in a Textbook:

“Most wounds have an incredible ability to heal. Nature is by far and away the best healing tool in the world of healing – we have to support her and work with her rather than working against her. I hope that the lessons learned will encourage this trait. Too often we antagonize or fail to appreciate natures’ inherent healing potential.”

Procedure, technology, or medication that he has used and realized that there was a better alternative:

“The big thing here is interactive dressings and silver as a wound agent. The traditional wound dressings most of us use in practice are grossly outdated and often counter-productive to healing.”

What else have you tried that doesn’t work? What have you tried that does work and may be surprising to other vets?

“Silver impregnated products work well as a wound agent in infected or contaminated wound.”

“Penrose drains are the one of the most commonly misused objects in wound management.”

Dr Fearnside’s Practical Surgical Tips:

Using appropriate drains in wounds, using skin flaps both local and axial pattern.

Dr Fearnside’s Advice to New Graduates:

Be conservative with wounds. Often wounds are not as bad as they appear and can heal in spite of severe trauma/contamination – give a wound the benefit of the doubt before doing anything drastic!!!


“Meet Dr Steve Fearnside,” by Stephanie Buelna at VetPrac ®

A warm thank you for Dr Steve Fearnside for this exclusive interview. It’s an honour to welcome him as an education leader to the VetPrac Wound Management Workshop. Click here to download the Wound Management Brochure. And share these practical tips with your veterinary friends on Facebook or by email.