The ABVA Council

The ABVA is managed by a group of individuals who both practice veterinary acupuncture themselves and who have a desire to help the ABVA and its members move forwards in the teaching and promotion of veterinary acupuncture both in the UK and further afield. 



ABVA President

Les Cox

"I studied at Edinburgh University from 1968-73 and was in practice in North Cheshire for two years before moving to Ripon in 1976.  The practice in Ripon was, and still is, very mixed.  At the tome there were four vets including me.  I became a partner in 1978 and over the years the pracice grew such that when I retired in 2014 we havd over twenty vets covering all species.

My first acupuncture training was a weekend course with Trixie Williams in 1986. I then took the first IVAS Foundation Course in the UK in 1997 and gained their certificate. Incidentally, Dietrich was on the same course.  I have continued to practcie acupuncture and still do. I work on a consultancy basis at my old practice on a fortnightly basis.

I have been happily married for over forty years to my wife Janet and we have raised four children. They have produced seven grandchildren so far.  Our main family interest is in showing ponies which takes up a lot of our time but is very enjoyable."



Education Director

Dietrich Graf von Schweinitz

"A former President of the ABVA, I have been especially involved in organising and lecturing on the courses as well as recruiting the Spring Meeting guest speakers for many years. I have also served on the IVAS Education Committee and Board of Directors. I founded an equine practice in Guildford, Surrey which I recently sold and I now practice referral acupuncture and provide teaching both here and abroad. 

I have carried out and published pioneering research in the thermographoc monitoring of autonomic responses ot acupuncture in horses with chronic pain syndromes and in-needle electromyographic recordings of myofacial trigger points in horses.  More recently, I hav authored the papers 'Electroacupuncture for nerve injury in the horse' (Equine Veterinary Education, 2014) and 'Acupuncture for pain control' (Current Therapy in Equine Medicine, 2015).





Paul Cockerham

Paul Cockerham is one of the senior directors of a 13-man mixed hospital practice in West Cornwall.  He says he's recently been retired from the large animal work due to being too old and brittle! He first became interested in acupunture in the 1990s as a result of one of Trixie Williams' courses and as developed his techniques and understanding from that foundation.  Fortunately, all his small animal collegaues and even some horse owners believe in acupuncture, and he's been keen to broadcast that message.

Apart from vetting, Paul's wife and ten horses keep him busy, along with two children who haven't learnt to leave home yet. To relax, he also loves the study of late medieval and renaissance scuplture, and has a PhD to prove it.




Jen Harrison

Jen graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2004 and has since worked in both mixed and small animal practice in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Surrey.  In 2006, she attended the ABVA Foundation Course at Shuttleworth College and she has since followed this with ABVA Advanced TCM and Electroacupuncture courses, being awarded the ABVA CertSCVA in 2009. Since then she has been a member of the ABVA Council and has assisted with the teaching of practical sessions on the Foundation Course and edited the regular newsletter. She is the ABVA's Coordinator and is working towards tasks such as the formulation of a new and improved certificate and working with Dietrich to provide more and varied education in veterinary acupuncture, including the design and teaching of the Small Animal Recap course.

Jen now works part time in general small animal practice and spends the rest of her time performing referral acupuncture to the dogs and cats of Surrey.




Council Members

Heike Kopac

“I qualified as a vet in Germany and have worked in first opinion practice in the UK since1993, first in mixed and then in small animal practice. I have practised acupuncture for 20 years, usually fitting it into my routine consults with small animals and the occasional horse visit. After the birth of my second child I set up my company Holistic Vet Care in East Yorkshire and have provided acupuncture for small animals and horses in East Yorkshire for 10 years.

I now combine work as a Locum small animal vet four days a week with private acupuncture. Nowthat my children are a little bit older I feel I can give a little bit of time to my favourite subject of acupuncture and try and help develop it in this country, so last year I joined the Council. We are all busy vets with busy private lives but if we can devote just a little bit of time to spread the word about acupuncture as well as trying to improve our understanding of it, it should be worthwhile. Apart from attending the regular meetings and help with general organisation I am responsible for answering questions from the website and keep members details up to date. This year I helped to man the ABVA stand at the London Vet Show and was amazed how many vets are interested in acupuncture".



Stuart Marston

“I qualified in 1972 from the RVC. I initially worked in general practice as an assistant until 1974 when I put my plate up in the Midlands. I started a second practice in 1982 in a nearby town, eventually running a two centre, 4 vet, 10 nurse, 4 lay staff enterprise. My role was entirely small animal for the final fifteen years. I have held all off icer positions in the BSAVA midland region at some point. I sold my business in 2008 and retired from general practice. I then moved to Yorkshire in 2010 to help with the grandchildren and pursue other interests. I have been a veterinary homeopath for over 15 years – secretary of BAHVS since 2006 – and used acupuncture for over 10 years. I have been a member of ABVA council for 6 years.”


Gary Cregan

Gary Cregan graduated from UCD veterinary college 1988, and worked from October 1988 to May 1990 in general mixed practice in Hampshire.  He returned to Ireland and worked with Athlone Veterinary Clinic from May 1990 to September 1990, again a general mixed practice.

In September 1990 Gary moved to his current practice Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital in Dublin. This was a large mixed practice, but with expansion of the city, it became a companion animal only practice about ten years ago. He is a partner in the practice and is involved with all aspects of busy practice life. Gary became interested in acupuncture about 10 years ago and has completed ABVA foundation and advanced courses. 



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