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Veterinarian opens clinic specializing in neurology and ophthalmology
Finding her niche
hen Cheryl Cullen ('91) gradu-
ated in honours Science, she
debated between going into
medical school or veterinary medicine. Her
heart told her to choose veterinary school.
"I always loved animals, and I loved help-
ing people -- but I realized that in mending
a single pet, a veterinarian is also healing its
human owner too," Cullen says.
After Mount Allison, Cullen started working
with small animals at PEI's Atlantic veterinary
College (1991-95), then headed to the Uni-
versity of Saskatchewan for her internship.
There she did her residency and studied
ophthalmology. Ophthalmology was a per-
fect mix for Cullen -- it included medicine,
surgery, pathology, and a chance to specialize
and work independently.
In 2000, Cullen returned to PEI's Atlantic
vet College where she was the recipient of five
teaching awards and built a new thriving vet-
erinary ophthalmology practice -- the only
one in Atlantic Canada.
In 2005, Cullen and her husband Aubrey
Webb, also a vet and a neuroscientist,
whose clinical practice is limited to vet-
erinary neurology, were both able to
secure academic faculty positions at the
University of Calgary. They were founding
members of the new faculty of veterinary
medicine there, developing an advanced
curriculum and engaging in academic and
clinical communication.
Still longing to specialize, Cullen and her
husband returned to Atlantic Canada and
opened the CullenWebb Animal neurology
and Ophthalmology Centre in Riverview,
nB. The facility, which opened in november
2010, is the only strictly referral-based practice
in Atlantic Canada that deals solely with
neurologic and ophthalmic veterinary condi-
tions. The centre features cutting-edge equip-
ment, including Atlantic Canada's only ani-
mal-dedicated CT facility. Cullen also owns
the patent to an innovative medical shunt that
helps to cure glaucoma in dogs and humans.
While Cullen loves animals and admits she
would love to mend them all for free, she real-
izes she cannot, because of the need for expen-
sive equipment.
"Unfortunately, we can't allow our heart to fix
the animals," she says. "But we are currently
setting up fund-raising initiatives for owners
whose pets need surgeries and can't afford it.
Always one of the worries of being a vet is the
fact that sometimes we do have to euthanize
animals that we just can't help."
Cullen says a low point of her career occurred
while she was in general practice and had to
put down seven dogs in one day.
"I realized though that if I offered a special-
ized referral practice I would not have to
deal with so many traumatic losses on a daily
basis," she says.
On the flip side, Cullen knows she loves what
she does now, because every day she has the
opportunity to help a hurting pet and save
not only its life, but mend a broken-hearted
owner's life too.
And who could ask for more from their job?
For more information about the CullenWebb
Animal neurology and Ophthalmology
Centre, visit
featuRe stORy
by Sue Seaborn
Dr. Cheryl Cullen examines a willing
patient's eyes with the help of veterinary
nurse Kim Beukeveld
22 / Winter 2012 / RECORD