School of Veterinary Medicine and Science


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Sarah Freeman

Professor of Veterinary Surgery, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences


  • workRoom B21 Gateway Building
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    LE12 5RD
  • work0115 951 6422
  • fax0115 951 6440


Sarah Freeman graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London in 1994. Following a year working in mixed practice in Suffolk, she returned to the Royal Veterinary College in 1995 as a postgraduate student in the Equine Hospital. She obtained a PhD in equine anaesthesia, the RCVS Certificates in Veterinary Anaesthesia, Veterinary Radiology and Equine Soft Tissue Surgery. She became a lecturer in Equine Surgery at the Royal Veterinary College in 1999, and became a Member of the Institute of Teaching and Learning in 2002. Between 2002 and 2005, Sarah was self-employed undertaking consultancy veterinary education and clinical work. She became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2005. She joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham in 2005, and was involved in much of the early planning and delivery of the new curriculum.

Current role at Nottingham includes Equine Species convenor, undergraduate teaching in Yrs1-5, particularly in the Musculoskeletal Modules, supervision of two surgery residencies at Oakham Equine Hospital, and research based around clinical disease (equine colic, equine orthopaedics and canine reproduction), undergraduate education and human-animal interaction.

Sarah was awarded a personal Chair in 2014, and is a Professor of Veterinary Surgery at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2017 for meritorous contributions to clinical practice, and won the RCVS Impact award in 2019 for her work within the REACT colic campaign.

Expertise Summary

Current role at Nottingham includes teaching, research and clinical work.

Sarah Freeman is a Professor in Veterinary Surgery at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. She is a European Specialist in Large Animal Surgery, and also holds further qualifications in Equine Soft Tissue Surgery, Veterinary Anaesthesia and Radiology. She currently supervises a surgery residency programme at Oakham Equine Hospital.

Sarah primarily teaches in Musculoskeletal 2 (Year 4 module), and Musculoskeletal 1 (Year 1 module), but also contributes to teaching and assessment in other years and modules. She is the Equine Clinical SubDean with responsibilities for the equine teaching across the curriculum. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was awarded the Lord Dearing Award for Teaching and Learning in 2007 and in 2013.

Research interests are centred around clinical disease in horses (including colic and musculoskeletal disease, and the horse-human relationship), undergraduate learning and assessment, the role and impact of assistance dogs, and canine obesity. Sarah is currently a primary supervisor for 2 PhD students, Katie Lightfoot and Caroline Quarmby, and one Masters students, Richard Birnie. She co-supervises PhD students Rachel Moxon, Purba Islam and Freya Rooke.

Sarah leads the Nottingham Equine Colic Project. This research group has used a co-production methodology to work with vets and horse owners to generate new evidence and recommendations on the recognition and assessment of colic (funded by World Horse Welfare). The project team has collaborated with the British Horse Society to produce the 'React now to beat colic' campaign, a highly successful evidence-based equine health initiative to help horse owners with the early recognition of colic, which won the Veterinary Record Evidence award in 2017. The research group has also developed educational materials on colic specifically for veterinary surgeons and practices ( The Colic Champions scheme was launched with The British Horse Society in 2018, and currently has 66 veterinary practices signed up who are using and promoting the REACT owner and vet materials ( A new initiative, The Equine Wound project was launched in 2018, and is starting a similar process for wounds in horses, and is currently collecting data on injuries in horses ( Sarah is also currently working with colleague Dr John Burford and the World Horse Welfare International team to look at how some of their current work can be developed to benefit working equids in developing countries.

Previous research has encompassed a broad range of methodologies, including both qualitative and quantitative techniques. Current and previous collaborations have included the School of Education and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (University of Nottingham), the Royal Veterinary College (University of London), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (University of Calgary), Hong Kong Jockey Club and the British Horse Racing Authority. The full list of current and previous research projects are provided on the research summaries section.

Research Summary

Sarah's research interests are in education and clinical disease .

She is currently supervising PhD or Masters research studentships on:

Preparedness and critical decision-making in equine colic - Katie Lightfoot

Factors associated with obesity and weight loss in dogs - Caroline Quarmby

Novel treatments for Osteoarthritis using a horse explant cartilage model - Purba Islam

Health and behavioural effects of pre-pubertal neutering in dogs - Rachel Moxon

Wound healing in horses: prospective cohort study to determine factors that significantly affect duration and outcomes of wounds - Richard Birnie

Clinical audit in veterinary practice - Freya Rooke

Selected Publications

Past Research

Previous research has been on equine anaesthesia and sedation, the use of abdominal ultrasound in diagnosis and prevention of colic in the horse, nutrition, obesity and musculoskeletal disease in the horse.

Completed PhD students:

Liz Mossop. Defining and Teaching Veterinary Professionalism. 2012

Abigail Clutterbuck. Nutritional targeting of inflammatory pathways and catabolic mediators involved in equine osteoarthritis 2013

Sarah Williams. The effect of management regimes on large intestinal motility in the horse. 2012

Claire Mann. An ethnographic study of the student experience of making meaning and identity through a new Veterinary curriculum 2013

Kate Cobb. The impact of assessment on the constructive alignment of a modern veterinary curriculum. 2014

Laila Curtis. Developing evidence on the primary case presentation and assessment of acute abdominal pain (colic) in the horse 2016

Claire Vinten. The development of clinical reasoning in veterinary students 2016

C Whelan. Causes and impact of premature retirement of guide dogs - the guide dog owner's perspective. 2017

Erica Gummery. An investigation into the impact of anatomy teaching in the veterinary curriculum through the perceptions of students and teaching staff 2018

Adelle Bowden. Maximising the impact of evidence-based medicine on equine health and welfare 2018

Completed Masters students:

Hilary Audretsch. Premature Retirement in Guide Dogs: Behavioural Reasons for Withdrawal 2013

Daisy Jones. Understanding why guide dogs fail to meet their predicted qualification outcomes. 2016

Rafa Azola. Retrospective study of ultrasonographic features of superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) injuries in 469 Thoroughbred racehorses in Hong Kong, and their relationship to outcome. 2016

Isabella Wild. Disseminating evidence to equine practitioners 2017

Harriet Clough. Exploring the Horse-Human Relationship 2018

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 6116
fax: +44 (0)115 951 6415