Dr Charles Kuntz

Specialist Surgeon

DVM, MS, MACVSc, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery, Fellow of Surgical Oncology.

Southpaws founder and director, Dr Charles Kuntz, graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. He did an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and completed a residency and Master’s degree in surgery at Virginia Tech in 1994. He achieved specialty board certification in surgery in 1996 on his first attempt. Charles then did a one-year fellowship in cardiovascular research and surgery. He completed a fellowship in surgical oncology at Colorado State University and was later a Professor of Orthopedic Surgery there before moving to northern Virginia where he started one of the busiest surgical referral practices in the Washington DC area. He was the program chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Academy of Veterinary Medicine. Charles moved to Australia in 2004 and is the director and owner of Southpaws Specialty Surgery for Animals in Melbourne. He is an internship director, surgical residency advisor and program director for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.  Charles has published many scientific articles, abstracts, patents, proceedings and book chapters on topics of surgical oncology.

At Southpaws Charles started Australia’s first deep radiation therapy unit for animals, one of only two in Australia today.  He has personally performed and interpreted over 5,000 CT scans on small animals. He has operated on over 5,000 patients with cancer with local control rates of over 95%. Charles has won numerous awards and appeared on national TV and radio and in newspapers and magazines. He receives referrals from all over Australia as well as consultations by phone and email worldwide.  Charles received the honour of being accepted as a Founding Fellow in Surgical Oncology by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons for his “Exemplary training, experience and practice in the multidisciplinary approach to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cancer patients and his devotion to cancer research.” He is one of the first people worldwide to receive this honour. At Southpaws, Charles focuses primarily on soft-tissue surgery including cancer care, spinal surgery, cardiothoracic and brain surgery. Charles is passionate about innovation for the betterment of veterinary science and about providing extraordinary levels of patient care. Charles points out that in veterinary medicine owners have a choice of treatment options, and so he invests significant time in helping owners make the best decisions for their pets and themselves. Charles also loves veterinary education, often hosting free lectures and live streaming videos of surgeries and he enjoys the questions and interest from veterinary professionals all over the world. In his spare time, Charles enjoys spending time with his family, woodworking, photography and playing the guitar. Of his pets, Charles remembers the time when a friend took his black Labradors for a walk, they walked 10 m in front of him and turned around and barked at him, Charles says he admires that kind of simplicity in the world.

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Dr James Simcock

Specialist Surgeon

BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Internal Medicine), Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons

James graduated from the University of Melbourne with Honors in 2005. Following graduation, he worked for 12 months in a busy small animal general practice. He then completed two, twelve-month internships in both Small Animal Oncology and Small Animal Surgery along with a three year American College of Veterinary Surgeons residency program under the direction of Dr Charles Kuntz. In 2010 James achieved membership to the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists Internal Medicine Chapter. In 2013 he became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons by passing the certification examinations on his first attempt, this makes James one of the first wholly Australian trained small animal surgeons to pass this examination. In 2015 James became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. James is now registered as a specialist in small animal surgery in Victoria and is an internship director and surgical residency advisor for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. James has published on gastrointestinal and urogenital surgery and oncology and has presented many times at the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, Science Week. He is actively involved in teaching students and veterinarians and is an instructor and lecturer for a variety of post-graduate education courses in surgery. James has recently become further involved with the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists and is an examiner for the Fellowship examinations in Small Animal Surgery. Passing the College Fellowship exam is part of the requirements for registration as a Veterinary Specialist in Australia. James is particularly interested in orthopaedic and neurologic surgery and is a co-director and owner of Southpaws.

Dr Ricky Cashmore

Specialist Surgeon

BVSc, FANZCVS (Surg), Registered Specialist of Small Animal Surgery

Ricky graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2005. After a year in general practice in South East Victoria, he embarked on his path towards surgical specialisation. He completed a rotating internship at the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, a surgical internship at the Veterinary Specialist Centre in Sydney and a three-year Surgical Residency at the Small Animal Specialty Hospital (SASH) in Sydney. From 2013-2017 Ricky remained at SASH as a Senior Surgical Registrar, then Surgical Specialist enjoying an intense and highly diverse caseload.  Ricky attained Membership and Fellowship of the Australian New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in small animal surgery by examination and has also been a previous examiner for the small animal surgical chapter. He has published and presented around the world. Ricky has a healthy and active interest in clinical and biomechanical research relating to the canine hip, stifle and spine, the focus of his current research projects. He is a past recipient of the prestigious VOS Wade O Brinker Orthopaedic Resident Research Award for biomechanical research relating to the canine stifle, conducted at the Australian School of Advanced Medicine (presented WVOC, Colorado 2014).  Ricky’s surgical interests include minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy, laparoscopy and thoracoscopy), partial and total joint replacement, percutaneous and minimally invasive fracture repair and neurosurgery, in all of which he has completed further focussed training in Australia and North America. Additional to being a certified hip replacement surgeon, Ricky is fortunate to have both trained and been an active surgeon within one of Australia’s busiest total hip replacement teams for the past decade and is enjoying bringing this experience to Southpaws.

Dr Alessandra Santamaria

Surgical Registrar


Alex graduated with a Science degree (Major in Zoology) from The University of Melbourne in 2009. While studying science, she worked as a veterinary nurse. She then went on to graduate on the Deans Honours List from The University of Melbourne with a Veterinary Degree in 2010. Alex started working in a mixed animal practice just out of Melbourne for the first eight months of her career and then moved to a small animal practice in the Northern suburbs.  Alex started working at Southpaws in early 2012 and completed a year-long internship in Small Animal Surgery and Oncology. Alex has just recently completed and passed her Australian and New Zealand college membership exams. Alex enjoys both orthopaedic and soft tissue surgery however has a special interest in oncology surgery, in particular, reconstruction after the removal of large tumours. Alex successfully completed her 3-year residency in small animal surgery at Southpaws in October 2016 and is a senior and valued member of the Southpaws surgical team.

Dr Kathryn Duncan

Resident Veterinarian Surgery

BSc. DVM (Melbourne).

Kathryn graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2015. She did a 2-week placement in 2015 with Southpaws which helped cement her interest in surgery. Kathryn’s completed her internship in early 2017 at Southpaws and is now in her final year of the residency program. She will sit her specialist exams in 2021. Kathryn enjoys all aspects of the surgical profession but is particularly passionate about cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery.  She is passionate about providing the best care possible for each and every patient, and ensuring owners are provided with information regarding all of the options available for their pet’s care, to help them make informed decisions. She loves being able to help owners navigate what can be very difficult decisions to make sure that the best outcome possible is achieved. During her spare time she enjoys running and playing netball, and spending time with her mischievous doberman Mia.

Dr Paul Crocker

Internal Medicine

BVSc (Melbourne) MANZCVS (Internal Medicine and Emergency Critical Care).

Paul has over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian with particular interests and expertise in Internal Medicine and Critical Care. Paul graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1995 and has worked in both Australia and the UK. His experience includes six years with Adelaide University, including two years heading up the Small Animal Internal Medicine service. Paul joined Southpaws in 2017 to assist our Internal Medicine department in keeping up with their busy workload and adding additional capabilities for in-patient and critical care. Paul’s particular areas of interest are Critical Care (Surgical and Medicine Patients), Analgesia, Diagnostic Imaging, Endocrinology, Nephrology and Cardiorespiratory Medicine. In his spare time, Paul is co-director and performer at Sixfootsomething Productions, an independent theatre company. Paul enjoys running, swimming and yoga. He has a Border Terrier named Pickle and three cats.

Dr Stephanie Colthurst

Resident Veterinarian Surgery

Surgery BVSc. (James Cook)

Stephanie was born in Australia but spent her early childhood in the USA and Japan (where she became fluent in Japanese) before returning to Australia. She graduated from James Cook University in 2014 and completed an internship at Veterinary Specialist Services in Queensland in 2015. Stephanie joined Southpaws for a second twelve-month internship which she completed in February 2017. Stephanie is in her final year of her residency at Southpaws and will be sitting her specialist exams in 2021. Steph has always wanted to help animals and since becoming a vet she loves being able to do that every day. She is passionate about keeping up to date with advances in veterinary research, so that she can strive to provide the best possible care for each patient and their owner. Stephanie likes to spend most of her free time outdoors exploring Australia’s varied and beautiful landscapes with her four-legged child “Fideaux”. Recently Steph’s partner wanted a second dog but she fell in love with a surrendered cat and so they compromised and got a new cat.

Michael Knowles

Business Manager

BSc, GDipBus, OCPM.

Michael has over 30 years of experience in business management, marketing and strategy. He has worked for some of the world’s largest companies including UTC, Agilent and Cummins. At Southpaws Michael looks after everything that vets shouldn’t touch, such as HR, marketing, finance, strategy and facilities. Michael loves hiring bright new staff into Southpaws and watching them grow. In marketing, he enjoys website design and social media and helps to arrange our Rivoli lectures and newsletters. Michael’s passionate about his family, beer making, amateur theatre acting and science stuff. In his spare time, he runs and walks Dax (the hunting hound), while Maggie (Jack Russell X) stays home and guards the two cats, cockatiel and an assortment of fish.

Dr Jeff Buckland

Surgical Intern Veterinarian

BVSc (Hons) University of Melbourne.

Jeff graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012 and accepted a position as Associate Veterinarian at a mixed practice, Portland and Heywood Veterinary Clinic in Victoria’s South West. For four years Jeff worked with small animal medicine, surgery and critical care and in large animal surgery and medicine including after hours call out support. About a quarter of Jeff’s caseload was supporting the local community in managing their cattle herds. In early 2017, Jeff relocated, almost back to the suburbs, to the small animal practice of Beaconsfield Veterinary clinic in 2017 before starting his rotating internship with Southpaws in 2018. Jeff enjoyed the experience so much he has stayed on in 2019 to participate in a further surgical internship. In his spare time, Jeff has good taste in music and enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his family. At Southpaws, Jeff has a reputation for his baking prowess, which is much appreciated.

Dr Mary Williamson

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BVetMed (Royal College London).

Mary is originally from Kentucky, USA but studied in England, obtaining a BVetMed from The Royal Veterinary College in London in 2016. Following graduation, she moved to Australia and has spent the last two years working for our good friends at Knox Veterinary Clinic in Wantirna South. Mary has a particular interest in Internal Medicine and hopes to build on this during her internship with Southpaws. During her spare time, she plays volleyball, enjoys hiking, and spending time with her dog Chloe (who also emigrated from Kentucky) and her cat Max.

Dr Monica Sharma

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BSc (Hons) BVSc (UQ)

Monica is originally from Melbourne, where she graduated with a BSc at The University of Melbourne in 2010, majoring in anatomy. Monica developed an interest in research and undertook an Honours year in 2011 investigating the biological effects of synchrotron radiation on normal and tumour tissue. After a break for travel, Monica completed her BVSc at the University of Queensland in 2018. Her veterinary interests include internal medicine, oncology and radiation therapy which she hopes to learn more about during her one-year internship at Southpaws. Monica also loves rabbits (professionally and as pets) and in her spare time enjoys cooking, baking, (very acceptable at Southpaws) travelling and learning languages. Monica is shown here giving Yuki, a patient and friend, a cuddle.

Dr Chris Wood

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BSc DVM (Dist) (Melbourne).

Chris graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine with Distinction. He was recognised on the Dean’s Honours List in each of the four years of the degree and was awarded the William Allen Stewart Scholarship in the program’s final clinical year. During his DVM Chris undertook externships in Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery, and Oncology at Colorado State University, and was selected as an Australian delegate for the ‘International Symposium on Wildlife Utilisation’, based out of the University of Pretoria. Chris is an early riser and loves starting each day at the gym, he enjoys exploring the outdoors on his days off and listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the evenings, and of course, watching Netflix.

Dr Jason Makar

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BSc DVM (Melbourne).

Jason graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2018 with his DVM. During his final year, Jason spent externships at the United States (UC Davis) and in Canada, and he is one day interested in working abroad. He has a keen interest in orthopaedic surgery. With this internship at Southpaws Jason aims to build on these skills and develop himself into a better veterinarian and surgeon. When not at work, Jason loves to travel to countries to ski and try out local foods, and he also can bake excellent baklava (which is why we chose him).

Dr Emma Hoolihan

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BA MA, BVSc, DVM (Adelaide)

After working as a broadcast journalist in the North Island of New Zealand, Emma returned to her hometown in South Australia to follow her passion for becoming a veterinarian. Emma graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2018. While Emma pursued her studies, she relished her work as a veterinary nurse at the Gawler Animal Hospital in SA. She has also worked as a locum surgical assistant at Queensland Veterinary Specialists and in 2018 gained invaluable experience from specialist surgeons in Ottawa, Canada, which cemented her love of orthopaedics and reconstructive soft-tissue surgery. During her downtime, Emma enjoys riding her horse called Rabbit, smothering her Devon Rex cats in love, and hiking the world with friends and family.

Dr Bianka Csizmas

Rotating Intern Veterinarian

BSc (Hons), BVSc (JCU).

Bianka graduated with Honours from Animal and Veterinary Biosciences from LaTrobe University in 2011. Following this, she completed a year of graduate research, looking at the intestinal microflora of dogs and dingoes and its association with diet. BShe then went on to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine at James Cook University in 2018. She has earned the prestigious Golden Key International Honours Society medal for her academic achievements during her time at veterinary school and has represented the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) in small animal surgery. Bianka has a particular interest in small animal internal medicine, and alternative therapies including acupuncture. Away from her professional life, Bianka enjoys painting and drawing, yoga, running/hiking and travel.

Dr Angela Webster

ICU and Critical Care Veterinarian


Ange grew up in Melbourne, and graduated from the University of Melbourne with Honours in 2008. She moved England in 2010 to work around the country as a locum veterinarian, and for three years travelled the UK and Europe extensively in between job contracts. She also volunteered her skills at charity clinics in Mexico and the Cook Islands. In 2013 Ange came home to Australia to undertake a 1 year rotating internship in Brisbane. During the internship Ange developed a love of emergency medicine, and afterwards started working solely as an emergency and critical care (ECC) veterinarian, at a highly regarded 24-hour referral hospital. Ange completed her ECC Membership exam for ANZCVS in 2017, and joins the Southpaws team in 2019 to assist in management of our critically ill patients. When not at work, Ange has a variety of hobbies, including rock-climbing, salsa dancing, diving, travel and music festivals.

Our Fantastic Nursing Team

At Southpaws we pride ourselves on our experienced, talented and fun-loving nursing team. Our experienced team comes from all walks of life including overseas qualified nurses and home grown members with veterinary nursing qualifications up to diplomas and degrees. Our team are some of the most experienced in Australia and at Southpaws they gain first hand experience and knowledge of working in a busy referral and specialist environment. Our nurses work around the clock to provide high levels of technical nursing care and lots of love and affection to our patients.

At Southpaws patient care comes first and our nursing team are an essential part of providing gold standard care, not only throughout the day but throughout the night and 24/7/365. Our dedicated night nursing team ensures that our patients in-hospital receive all the medications, monitoring and care and attention that they need throughout the night. Our day team rotates between ward, internal medicine and surgery and rotates through weekend day work. We offer above award remuneration and a flexible and fun workplace.

If you are interested in joining our fantastic nursing team at Southpaws please click on this link and give us your details.