McMaster & Heap Vet Practice are pleased to offer a Small Animal Surgical Referral Service by Dr Helen Milner (Milner Consulting)

Helen Milner – Registered Specialist in Small Animal Surgery

Helen graduated with Distinction from Massey University in 1989, having arrived at the university on a Junior Scholarship and leaving with an illustrious academic record; collecting awards each year of her studies including the Veterinary` Science Faculty Medal for best overall student, 1986-1989.

Starting work in Auckland as a small animal vet, Helen soon departed for the UK where she worked in a truly mixed practice.  It was here that her interest in small animal surgery grew.  In 1991, she was employed as the Senior Demonstrator in Surgery at the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Liverpool.  In 1992, she took up a residency in Soft Tissue Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College, London.  During this time, Helen completed the Certificate in Veterinary Radiology.  In 1996 she was awarded a Veterinary Research Fellowship and an advanced student position at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, from which she completed a PhD in Immunology in 1999.

In 2000, Helen relocated back to New Zealand where she helped deliver and develop the Veterinary Nursing and Animal Technology courses at UNITEC, Auckland.  Helen also worked in a clinical capacity for Franklin Veterinary Referral Services, South Auckland.  In 2003, she decided to become a “Mainlander” and joined Vetspecs in Christchurch and, by early 2004, she had become a co-owner of that business.

Helen has since completed surgical externships and locums at Texas A&M University, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, and New Zealand’s own Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as well as anaesthesia externships at Massey University and clinical pathology externships with Gribbles Veterinary NZ.  Helen became a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Surgery by examination in 2004 and a Fellow by examination in 2006. The latter achievement resulted in her registration as a surgical specialist.  Helen has served as a Membership and Fellowship examiner for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists since 2008 – a ‘giving back’ role she greatly enjoys.

In 2010, Helen travelled to Brisbane to train and become a certified PennHip Veterinarian:  In June 2011, Helen travelled back to the UK to spend some time with the teams at the University of Liverpool, Veterinary Tissue Bank in Wales and Fitzpatrick Referrals in Godalming.  In July 2011, Helen headed to San Diego for training in Innoplant’s Helica Total Hip Replacement (THR) system which brought to New Zealand a new cementless way to surgically treat end-stage hip arthritis.

In October 2011, Helen became the sole owner and Director of Vetspecs and successfully navigated the business through some ‘tricky times’ in the wake of thousands of earthquakes that have struck Christchurch since September 4, 2010.  After 11 years of business ownership, Helen “sold up” in 2014 and ventured forth as a self-employed consultant, forming Milner Consulting in 2015.  In this independent capacity, Helen has worked as a surgical specialist and educator for a variety of NZ and Australian Specialist hospitals.  A long standing future goal is to take her surgical skills for a “holiday” to charitable organisations such as bear rescue with Animals Asia (  Watch this space!

Despite the various work-related travels, Christchurch is definitely Helen’s home and so she is very excited for Milner Consulting to be now largely based at McMaster & Heap Veterinary Hospital.  Their team’s dedication to animal health and welfare is exemplary and Helen is really thrilled to be included in their impressive expanding journey.

During her limited spare time, Helen enjoys tramping, cycling, pilates, yoga, cinema and theatre, all sorts of music, travel, food and wine, and time spent with family and friends.  Unfortunately, the knees are no longer really permitting any improvement in her limited skiing or squash skills!  Her husband, Chris, is a tremendously patient leveller and supporter for Helen, despite the hours he spends at Mitre10 and Bunnings as part of his never ending love of DIY.  This keeps Helen busy with power tools in and out of work!