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Meet The Penrith Vet Team | Vets4Pets

Vets4Pets Penrith

Meet the Penrith vet team

Katherine Staines

Katherine Staines

Joint Venture Partner

How can you ensure you work in a practice providing the highest standard of veterinary care?

How can you be certain you get enough time to listen to your patients and talk to their families?

How can you be surrounded by a closely knit team all pulling together and treating every patient like their own pet?

Katherine’s answer was simple, do-it-yourself!

As a joint venture partner with Vets4Pets she was able to open her very own, brand new, purpose built, state of the art equipped and superbly staffed veterinary surgery in the heart of Penrith in March 2014.

“I was born and bred in Kendal, the thought of living anywhere other than Cumbria has never crossed my mind. I know I can offer people from Penrith, the Lakes and the Eden Valley a local vets with a family feel and yet modern treatments tailored exclusively to small animals.”

Katherine graduated in 2009 with distinction from Edinburgh Royal School of Veterinary Studies and gained invaluable experience working very hard at mixed practice in Alston. It must have felt a little like going back to James Herriot’s times, driving over the moors in the dead of night. In fact, these famous stories were Katherine’s early inspiration together with a talk by a local vet at her pre-school. At 3 ½ years of age Katherine decided there and then to be a vet. And to close the circle she is now giving talks to budding vets at Penrith schools.

Shouldering the responsibility for her own practice and working long hours with unlimited dedication would be enough to fill anyone’s life. Katherine however goes home at the end of the day to look after her cat Bertie, dog Paddy, her children Eve and Harris and her husband!

Describing her favourite hobbies Katherine explains: “We make the effort to get out walking as often as possible, if only to give poor Bertie the cat some time to rest. I like getting stuck in with play dough and baking and we all enjoy playing hide and seek! I'm also embarrassed to admit that I've grown old before my time by taking up knitting.”


Melanie Turban - vet - Penrith

Melanie Turban

Veterinary Surgeon

After over 18 years as a small animal vet it is safe to call Melanie an experienced old hand. She qualified in 1996 from the Veterinary University Hanover in her native Germany and after six years working on the continent she fulfilled her dream and moved to England.

“I always get asked why I came to the UK and it is really quite simple: I love the people, the countryside and the tea. I only found out about the exceptionally high standard of veterinary work over here when I actually started my first job in Wolverhampton.”

Melanie spend ten years faithfully looking after pets in the Midlands and improving her skills along the way. But the pull of the mountains proved too strong and after many a happy holiday in the Lake District Melanie moved to Appleby in early 2013 and took up a position at a small animal practice in Co. Durham. As soon as Vets4Pets advertised the new practice in Penrith Melanie knew this was where she wanted to work, combining the advantage of a top modern, brand new, purpose built surgery with being able to live amongst her beloved hills.

“I get really excited if I can just quickly hike up Blencathra after work and still be home for bed in time!”

As a genuine general practitioner Melanie is happy to look after your pet whatever the problem. She has developed some specific “pet-subjects” and undertaken further studies and training over the years. The care of the geriatric patient is especially close to her heart.

“With regular examinations and a few additional laboratory tests it is amazing how much difference individually targeted medication can make to the quality of life of an old dog, cat or rabbit. The challenge is in the combination of diseases an OAP pet may suffer from and balancing therapy to achieve maximum benefit. One patient may for example need heart tablets, arthritis drugs and physiotherapy sessions. There is also the constant progress of age related diseases which needs to be monitored. Repeated examinations and follow up consultations are helpful to keep up with the ever changing conditions of my patients.”

In addition, Melanie enjoys soft tissue surgery and is focussing her professional development on the operating side at the moment. She is also a passionate advocate of dental treatments for pets.

“Dental disease is the most common, most underdiagnosed and undertreated cause of pain in dogs, cats and rabbits. We have to understand that our pets will not stop eating until they are in absolute agony and have probably suffered for weeks or months without us noticing. I am thrilled to have the whole range of modern dentist’s tools available at Vets4Pets Penrith to provide the care our pet friends deserve.”

If you haven’t met Melanie at the surgery yet, the best place to find her is on top of a fell or cycling along a country lane. She is easily recognised by a little ginger 3-legged terrier called Roo who is regularly put into the rucksack when her legs get tired. The evenings are spend in front of the fire with a good book or a chat with dear friends.

“I have turned into a tour operator for England walking holidays and I love showing off my gorgeous Cumbria to German family and friends.”

Vicky Younger - Veterinary Nurse - Penrith

Vicky Younger

Veterinary Nurse

Vicky’s mission at Vets4Pets Penrith is to keep your pet happy, fit and healthy. A qualified veterinary nurse since 2008 she is committed to making her patients feel comfortable at the vets.

“I like giving them lots of cuddles when they have to stay with us. A nice fluffy bed and a lot of “TLC” goes a long way to reduce anxiety and stress. They should feel at home even in hospital.”

To help keeping your pet in shape Vicky also runs the weight control clinics. We have prescription foods available at Vets4Pets and Vicky will work out the daily allowance individually for each patient. Regular follow up appointments for weight monitoring and waist measuring can ensure the success of a diet and are free of charge.

Vicky also has a keen interest in physiotherapy which is useful for dogs and cats with arthritis or after orthopaedic operations. She has recently spent a day at a local hydrotherapy centre observing exercises on the underwater treadmill. We can arrange referral if your pet would benefit from hydrotherapy.

Katherine was delighted to get Vicky into the team after working together with her in Alston. She has a real knack for our more wriggly patients and is always eager to offer help and advice to both pet owners and colleagues. Her spare time is spent with her little son Joseph and husband Mark, the two cats Ruby and Pebbles and Ellie the dog. Getting the chance Vicky takes her horse Winston out for ride and also enjoys racing bangers (stock cars) ‘round the track.

Claire whitfield - Veterinary nurse - Penrith

Claire Whitfield

Veterinary Nurse

After many years of being a qualified veterinary nurse Claire still loves working with animals and helping them when they are ill. Her efficiency and calm, collected style comes into its own at times of pressure. In case of emergency, Claire is the nurse to care for your pet with a cool head and a warm heart.

“I love the fact that we are kitted out to deal with major surgery at Vets4Pets. We’ve got the modern anaesthetic and monitoring machines, best quality instruments, special theatre and skilled vets to operate. We have x-ray, ultrasound and blood testing facilities. For intensive care after surgery we can offer separate wards for smaller pets, cats and dogs. Yet we are still a small, closely knit “family” team taking a personal interest in every single patient!”

Claire comes from Ashington in Northumberland and has gradually moved west. She lived in Hexham before moving to Alston where she worked for a local vet practice for over seven years before joining Vets4Pets. Always busy, she dedicates her free time to looking after her daughter Robyn, eight, and her son Liam, four years old, as well as a horse and a pony, two dogs, a cat, nine sheep, eight ducks and lots of chickens. And while she is spoiling her family she also treats the team at Vets4Pets to home-made cakes on a Sunday!

Carolyn Ellis - Penrith

Carolyn Ellis

Veterinary Nurse

As one of our dedicated qualified veterinary nurses Carolyn is likely to look after your pet during surgery, time in hospital or for minor procedures such as nail clips. Originally from Chorley, Carolyn obtained her degree in veterinary nursing in August 2007, graduating with a 1st and has worked at a referral centre for orthopaedic surgery as well as at a local Penrith practice before joining Vets4Pets.

Carolyn’s supreme organisation skills and highest professional standard inspire the whole team to always strive for excellence.

“We are going to apply for RCVS Practice Standards Scheme recognition and the criteria are challenging. So if we are doing things properly from the start it will be no problem to pass the inspection.”

You may also be grateful for Carolyn’s help if you experience difficulties with your dog’s or cat’s mental health. Carolyn has a special interest in canine and feline behaviour and you are welcome to book an appointment with her for your fearful Fido or moody moggy. One of Carolyn’s projects is to extend her clinics after further study and qualification for behavioural treatment.

“It can be extremely rewarding to get owners to change habits or environment just a little yet see a huge difference in the pet’s wellbeing. They let us know if something is not right, we just need to learn to listen.”

At home Carolyn is sharing with Conny and Freddy, the Labradors, as well as three cats, tropical fish and her boyfriend Andrew. This is enough to keep her busy but if time allows the “family” enjoys canoeing trips. Apparently, it is proving a little tricky to teach little Conny to sit still in the middle and wetsuits are strongly recommended.

Zoe Receptionist Vets4Pets Penrith

Zoe Woodhall


You will encounter Zoe at reception where she excels at providing Vets4Pets’ outstanding service. She is definitely a natural at looking after people but she is also well practiced thanks to her nine years of experience as Product Specialist at Centre Parks and as trained lifeguard.

“I’ve always been interested in animals and on my days off I have often helped out at animal rescue places. Now I am very excited about the chance to turn all my professional attention to the pets I love.”

Zoe is training as Suitably Qualified Person for the sales of specific medications and she is aiming to attain further qualifications in animal care and behaviour. Ultimately she is hoping to become our first trainee veterinary nurse. She gets very excited about surgical operations.

“It is just amazing how much preparation and checks every single surgery requires. Everything is so precisely planned and monitored and all equipment is ready at hand in case of complications. It doesn’t matter if it is for a guinea pig or a great Dane the effort is always the same.”

Another area of Zoe’s special interest is rabbit husbandry and medicine. Bunnies are getting very popular and rightly so for they make lovely companions not only for children. We are seeing an ever increasing number of rabbits at Vets4Pets Penrith and Zoe is ready to be our bunny ambassador.

“They are very special and quite different from dogs and cats. We have a lot of advice on rabbit vaccinations, parasite treatment and food and I am looking forward to telling you all about it.”

On her days off Zoe is always close to animals, walking a friend’s dog or visiting a local animal shelter or zoo. A little rabbit named Charlie is lucky enough to be Zoe’s own (pampered ) pet. The chances are you know Zoe already, since she is originally from Penrith and has lived locally all her life.

Yvonne Glendinning - receptionist - penrith

Yvonne Glendinning


To minimise waiting times and to ensure we’re always prepared for your pet’s specific requirements we hold our surgery on an appointment only system. But answering the phone and booking appointments is just one of the multiple tasks our receptionist Yvonne is mastering. She may also ring you up when your pet’s booster or flea treatment is due. She will advise you on all the amazing special deals Vets4Pets can offer. Her personal favourite is the Vac4Life:

“Such an amazing deal! If you sign up your pet at a young age you will eventually pay under eight pounds per booster. And you can get this service at any Vets4Pets practice in the country so your pet is always covered locally at the same high standard of care even if you move house.”

When asked for her qualifications Yvonne states she makes a good cuppa. This can be independently confirmed but she also has many years of experience in administration from her previous position with the Freight Transport Association. What is even more impressive is her genuine empathy and eagerness to assist in any way possible whether a distressed pet owner needs comforting or a “lunchless” vet needs feeding! 

“I always thought it would be fab to work at a vets and now I am really happy here. I love sneaking a peek behind the scenes. It is astonishing how there can be an intensive care hospital with oxygen treatment, intravenous drip and beeping monitors one day and a dental operating theatre with whining drills and ultrasound scaling of teeth the next day.”

Yvonne does the scenic commute from Alston where she lives with her husband John. They have a son and a lovely granddaughter called Macey.

Being a true pet lover Yvonne looks after three cats at home. All of them are quite special. Cilla is actually a boy but he doesn’t mind his girly name. Lulu copes well on three legs and Chery-Errol is a stray who just decided to move in. He is suffering from a common form of sunlight induced cancer on his white ear tips and is due to have an operation taking off part of the ears. In the meantime he gets sunscreen applied to his ears every day!