Meet the team
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 ragoll cat Wilbur, Spaniel dogs Paddy and Stanley, her children Eve, Elsie, Harris and Beatrix and her husband!
After over 20 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 focusing 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.”
Louise joined the team in June 2019, working Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays alongside Mel and Katherine. Originally from Warrington Louise moved to Cumbria with her husband Joe, to enjoy the delights of the Lake District.
Louise graduated in 2013 from Liverpool University having previously worked in the customer service industry and previous to this as a qualified veterinary nurse.
At home as well as husband Joe, she also has three dogs Gracie, Poppy and Missy.
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 and after orthopaedic operations. She works closely with our visiting physiotherapist Heather Halton from Borders Canine and Equine Physiotherapy.
Katherine was delighted to get Vicky into the team after working together with her in Alston. Vicky 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 daughters Isla and Robyn, son Joseph and fiancé Mark, the two cats Ruby and Pebbles and Ellie and Izzy, the Spaniels. Getting the chance, Vicky takes her horse Winston out for ride and also enjoys racing bangers (stock cars) ‘round the track.
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 and her husband Martin dedicate their free time to looking after Claire’s daughter Robyn and her son Liam, as well as a horse and a pony, four dogs, a cat, sheep, 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!
Emma joined the team in January 2016 and her competence and efficiency are a great asset. She enjoys being a hands-on clinical nurse caring for her patients all the way through from being admitted to hospital, having treatments and operations and recovering from anaesthesia to finally going back home feeling better.
You will also meet Emma holding consultations like post-operative examinations, parasite control advice and second vaccinations, nail clips and weight and diet advice. Enthusiastic and striving for excellence Emma enrolled for the Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing - Anaesthesia in February 2017.
“It is important for nurses and vets to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Learning new techniques or getting the latest scientific information is also a great motivator. When I know I can do something - I really want to do it!”
Emma is originally from Newmarket, Suffolk where she had worked in small animal practices before moving to Cumbria to join a mixed practice. She enjoys socialising with family and friends as well as attending to her flock of Kerry Hill Sheep, always accompanied by her sidekick Albi, the Jack Russell Terrier.
Hannah joined the team in August 2017, after working in mixed practices in Cumbria. She graduated from Myerscough collage in July 2015 with FdSC in Veterinary nursing. Hannah grew up on her family farm in south Cumbria surrounded by lots of sheep and cattle. Her pets currently include 3 horses, Starlight and Linda and her first home breed Fell Pony foal Phoenix. She also has a cat Scruffy who she hand reared from just 4 weeks old, she has definitely landed on her paws receiving lots of TLC from Hannah.
In practice her main interests involve anything cat related. Hannah is our cat friendly advocate and is on hand to help minimise stress for our feline patients. She also completed her ISFM Certificate in Feline Friendly Nursing in March 2018, joining the list of feline friendly nurses. Hannah also has the role of completing claim forms for our insured patients. A timely and potentially complicated task which involves lots of cups of coffee and the odd biscuit!
Outside of work Hannah is often found helping out on the family farm. In fact, most of her “holidays” are taken in spring to help lamb 1,000 sheep. If she gets time she enjoys walking in the Lake District, Knitting and enjoying a good book.
We are actually feeling very privileged to add Mica to our staff. She has taken on regular Saturday shifts with us in addition to her studies at Newton Rigg College to gain the Foundation Degree in Veterinary Nursing.
Meanwhile she has the opportunity of gaining hands on experience in practice and we have an extra pair of highly useful hands! Mica already holds a BSc Business Studies degree from Lancaster University and due to her previous career as a sales assistant at a department store she is at home at reception but her passion is for the animals. She used to volunteer for the Dogs Trust as well as Cheltenham Animal Shelter.
“I could not think of a more rewarding job than helping animals feel better or preventing them becoming unwell in the first place. Vets4Pets Penrith are great at preventative healthcare. "
Every patient gets a personalised plan according to their lifestyle which is easily affordable with the monthly Direct Debit plan called Complete Care. My favourite animals are dogs and I have a special interest in puppy socialisation so I will help the other nurses running the popular puppy party. ”
With family roots in Penrith, Mica was born in Manchester but lived most of her life in Cheltenham as well as places further afield like Switzerland and India. Returning to Cumbria was a bit of a homecoming then. When not studying, Mica might be found walking her parents’ Patterdale terriers Darcy and Fern and her aunty’s Border terrier up the fells. Sometimes the city calls for meeting up with friends or a shopping trip to Manchester or Newcastle.
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. Her expertise includes people (organising holidays, wages and rotas) as well as pennies (looking after our accounts). 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 lovely granddaughters called Macey and Elsie.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 was suffering from a common form of sunlight induced cancer on his white ear tips and had to have an operation taking off part of the ears. Before the operation he had to have sunscreen applied to his ears every day!
Kat joined the team in September 2019, having previously worked in many different roles in the animal care industry including dog grooming, receptionist and Pets at Home college. She has completed her Suitable qualified person award which allows her to give advice on the best flea and worm treatment for your pet.
At home her menagerie of animals keep her busy and range from Copper the Chihuahua to Mushu the bearded dragon.
Vets4Pets Penrith is committed to bringing you affordable, high quality care via a modern, well equipped practice, including a lab, pharmacy, digital x-ray and ultrasound. Plus, on site car parking too!
The friendly team can't wait to meet all of their new clients!
Emergency coverEven if we are closed, we have your pet covered.
Operating TheatreAn operating theatre with gaseous anaesthetic facility for surgical procedures.
Isolation UnitA special ward to care for animals with contagious diseases.
Blood Pressure MonitorUsed to measure the range of blood pressure as a preventative treatment to identify early signs of systemic hypertension.
Show more services
BiochemistryAllows an assessment of the functionality of a patients organs.
HaematologyAllows the assessment of a patient's blood and blood cells.
In-house LaboratoryA range of analytical tests and equipment to assist in the rapid diagnosis of illness.
X-RayGenerates digital 2D images of bones and internal organs.
Hospital WardSuite of custom-built kennels for the housing and monitoring of in-patients.
DentistryThe treatment and prevention of dental disease
Starter pack protection
Best Start in Life
Complete Care Senior
Flea & Worm Pack