Career history

Frances Harcourt-Brown qualified from Liverpool in 1973 with the idea of a career in large animal practice. Two years working in dairy practice were followed by mixed practice where she was also responsible for horse anaesthesia. In 1977, Frances and her husband, Nigel, set up their own practice in Harrogate. In 1996, Frances wrote a paper about the clinical conditions of pet rabbits that are associated with their teeth. It was published in the Veterinary Record and Frances was given her first award. She was invited to give lectures at major conferences and her interest in the diseases of pet rabbits developed further.

In 1997, with the help of her husband, Nigel, Frances started writing a book that evolved into the first edition of the Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. It was finally published in 2001.  The book was researched carefully and written because of the lack of scientific information about the diseases of pet rabbits at that time

After completing the book, Frances was often invited to give lectures both at home and abroad.  She completed a Fellowship thesis on 'Metabolic bone disease as a possible cause of dental disease in pet rabbits' and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2007. In 2008, Frances became the first and only RCVS Recognised Specialist in Rabbit Medicine and Surgery. She became a European Specialist in 2009 when she joined the European College of Zoological Medicine as a de facto diplomate.  During this period, Frances was still in practice but her workload was mainly pet rabbits that she saw on a first opinion, second opinion, and referral basis. She was a contributor to and co-editor of the BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Imaging and Dentistry that was published in 2013.

In 2014, Frances started to retire from general practice and the international lecture circuit. By this time her workload was 100% rabbits. She left the European College of Zoological Medicine and spent more time at home. In conjunction with her husband, she ran a successful series of lectures for vets, veterinary nurses and owners that were held locally. In  2016, Frances and her husband retired from general practice although they are but still involved in veterinary education about rabbits.


  • William Hunting Award 1996 for best paper in the Veterinary Record written by a practitioner
  • Melton Award 1999 for meritorious contribution to small animal practice
  • Dunkin Award 2002 for best paper in Journal of Small Animal Practice written by a practitioner
  • International Conference on Exotics 2004: Award for 'commitment to pet rabbit education'
  • William Hunting Award 2008 for best paper in the Veterinary Record written by a practitioner (for second time)
  • Fellowship of Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Gained in 2006 for a thesis entitled 'Metabolic bone disease as a possible cause of dental disease in pet rabbits'.
  • RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund) 2012: Award 'In Recognition of your tireless work to raise the standards of rabbit welfare and care''