A new vet has joined the equine team at Paragon Veterinary Group in north Cumbria, after leaving her native Italy to pursue her dream career.
Selina Squarotti, 28, qualified as a vet from the University of Edinburgh this year before joining Paragon.
She joins the practice’s team of equine-specific vets based at its Newbiggin centre near Penrith.
“I feel really lucky to be working at Paragon, everyone is really nice,” says Selina.
Growing up near Turin she had her own horses and decided she wanted to be a vet aged 15 after watching the local vet at work.
“I have always ridden, and I used to compete in show jumping. I started following the vet around,” she says.
“I started to be very interested in lameness and how to figure out what was happening.”
But Selina says opportunities were limited at home. So, aged 18 she took the plunge and moved to London, even though competition is fierce in the UK to take veterinary degrees.
Selina spent a year learning English and working as a waitress and in bars. She then took a three-year Biomedical Sciences degree at Kingston University London.
“My professors said I wasn’t going to get into vet school because it’s so difficult – but I guess I proved them wrong,” says Selina.
She was accepted at the prestigious Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Edinburgh University for a four-year veterinary degree.
During lockdown she was lucky to be one of reduced numbers working in the Dick Vet equine hospital.
“I was looking after the patients and helping with emergencies. I probably got more experience because there were fewer people in,” she says.
Selina graduated in June and was taken on by Paragon after writing to them.
“It’s what I have been working towards all this time,” she says.
“Being a vet is very fulfilling especially if you see a horse that isn’t looking great, and you manage to make it feel better. I particularly like dealing with lameness, medicine cases and emergencies.”
Selina lives in Ivegill. “Cumbria is beautiful,” she says. “I love hiking. I plan to start riding again – and get a paddle board.”