Ardene House cares for all pets – large or small, dog or cat, exotic or bird and offers an extensive range of services.
Our RCVS accredited hospital facilities at Kingswells allow us to carry out medical and surgical veterinary care, personalised vet and nurse health clinics, acupuncture, in-house laboratory diagnostics, digital radiographic imagery, ultrasonography and video endoscopy. The hospital hosts two extensive surgical operating theatres, a dental suite, pharmacy, separate intensive care and isolation units, and individual cattery and kennel wards.
Our branch practice situated within the Bridge of Don Asda shopping area is a prime location with extensive car parking available. At Bridge of Don we carry out personalised vet and nurse health checks, diagnoses and treatment of medical cases including acupuncture. It hosts an in-house laboratory and pharmacy and can provide emergency treatment. Further diagnostics, hospital treatments and surgical procedures are carried out within the Kingswells Hospital.
We know your pet can become ill or suffer accidents at any time. To make sure you have access to high quality care when we are closed, we have chosen to partner with Vets Now, the leading provider of Out of Hours care.
“All the photos on our Pet Services pages are of our clients’ pets. We would like to thank all their owners for giving us permission to use them.”
OUT OF HOURS EMERGENCY SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY VETS NOW EMERGENCY LTD. CONTACT THEM ON 01224 379091
Our in-patients are monitored and cared for 24/7 by vets and nurses, with Vets Now taking over responsibility to monitor their care when our practice is closed. Consequently, there is always at least one vet and one nurse on the premises at any time.
Our hospital has separate intensive care and isolation units, and individual cattery and kennel wards; We are particularly proud of our kennel ward where all kennels are “walk in”. Animals are typically moved into isolation if they display symptoms of (or have been diagnoses with) a particularly contagious disease such as parvovirus diarrhoea or cat flu. Rabbits and exotics requiring hospitalisation are admitted to our isolation unit. Effective barrier nursing is observed to prevent patient cross contamination by staff.
We have a large prep area where animals are seen and examined prior to being admitted. There are two operating theatres where a wide variety of surgical procedures are performed.
All anaesthetised animals are monitored by a fully trained member of our nursing staff, using pulse oximetry, ECG and capnography where necessary.
If an x-ray is necessary, this usually requires a sedative or light anaesthetic to keep your pet safe and still. This will mean leaving them in our care for a few hours. We have the most modern digital x-ray facility giving us very detailed images. The clarity of these images helps us in our diagnosis as well as being able to visually explain the problem to you, the owner, and discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for your pet. Successful treatment and management of disease relies first and foremost on accurate diagnosis.
A mobile MRI scanner visits our Kingswells hospital regularly. Scans are performed by qualified radiographers and the results are reviewed by a recognised RVC neurologist, who will diagnose and liaise a treatment plan with our Veterinary Surgeons
Ardene House offers complete healthcare for all types of companion animal, from routine vaccinations through to tailored diet and nutrition advice for your individual pet
We offer appointments throughout the day for all your pets’ needs. When you book a consultation with a vet or nurse you will get a full 15-minute consultation which means you have plenty of time to tell us all of your concerns. We also work hard to ensure you can see the same vet every time you visit us. Appointments can be made by telephone or at our reception desks.
We offer a full vaccination and booster service for all dogs, cats and rabbits. Our vets keep up to date with emerging diseases and make sure our recommended vaccines are the best available.
When you have animals, emergencies happen. Unfortunately, they are part of life. Ardene House Vet Practice is here to help you and your pet.
We know that emergencies (of any kind) are very stressful for both you, your family, and your pet. It is our goal to help you in any way that we can. Our staff is dedicated and well trained to handle emergencies of all types.
One thing we would ask you to do is please call ahead, 01224 740700, so that we are better prepared to take care of your pet when you come in.
We are dedicated to providing 24/7 care to your pets, 365 days a year. We will always see your pets as quickly as possible during our opening hours.
Outside our opening hours emergency cover is provided by the specialist Emergency Care providing Vets Now from our hospital premises at Kingswells where a vet and veterinary nurse specialising in emergency care are waiting to be of assistance throughout the night. Please call them for free emergency advice or to get an immediate emergency appointment; Monday to Thursday this services runs from 8.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m., and Friday from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m. Saturday. The weekend cover is from 4.00 p.m. Saturday through to 8.00 a.m. Monday.
The majority of the advice we provide relates to preventative care and keeping your pet in tip-top condition. Having qualified and trainee Veterinary Nurses who between them have a wealth of knowledge and experience, allows us to run a number of clinics to help and support our clients with the care of their pets. Apart from helping your pet, a nurse-led consultation can also help you as a number of these clinics are free or charge or have a reduced fee compared to that of an appointment with a veterinary surgeon.
Nurse appointments can be made for some general check-ups, tick removal, clipping nails and administering medication; we also recommend them for routine wound checks and suture removal, dressing checks and changes, and post dental checks. Our nurses administer the 2nd and 3rd puppy vaccinations, give advice, as directed by vet, on flea and worm treatments, and provide a range of free advice consultations including organising regular puppy parties.
Health Promotion – Weight Clinics
Our registered veterinary nurses offer free weight clinics. Let us help you to maintain a healthy body weight for your pet, where we will assess your pet’s body score, condition and measurements before recommending an individually tailored programme of exercise and diet to get your pet back to peak condition.
Neutering your pet is one of the best things you can do for them. When you neuter your pets, you give them a better chance at a happy life! They often live longer because they are less likely to run away, get in fights, or get hit by cars. They are less likely to get certain types of cancers. Females are less likely to get pyometras and other deadly diseases. Males are less likely to spray and have other behavioural problems.
Here are Ardene House we would be pleased to help you neuter your pet. If you have any questions or would like more information on our neutering services, please contact us.
It is now a legal requirement for all dogs in Scotland to be microchipped and registered with an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old. There are no exemptions with regard to age. Failure to microchip your pet could result in up to £500 fine.
An “identichip” is a tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, designed to be injected under an animal’s skin. Each chip carries a unique identification code which can be scanned using a small handheld device. Vets, dog wardens, rescue charities and other organisations dealing with lost pets are equipped with these scanners. At implantation by straightforward injection, the owner’s details and identichip code are registered for life at a central database. When a chip is scanned in a lost pet, the owner’s details can easily be found.
During February and March 2016 we will be reducing the cost of our microchips to £12 to help all dog owners comply with the regulations. The cost of implantation of the microchip includes the cost of the initial registration on the pet log database.
Under the regulations if you do not get your dog microchipped and keep your details up to date then you may be liable and to pay a fine of £500. Don’t forget to change your details if you move house. The microchipping regulations do not affect the requirement for collars and tags as part of the Control of Dogs Order 1992.
Although for now it is not a legal requirement for cats to be microchipped we highly recommend that cats are microchipped too; it really is the best method to help you become reunited should they go missing.
This offer is available to both dog and cat owners for appointments with one of our veterinary nurses throughout February and March 2016.
You can order a repeat prescription by telephone. Please give us at least 24-hours’ notice to allow us to order any medication that we do not have in stock. We follow UK guidelines and all pets on repeat medication must be seen and checked by a Vet at least every 6 months. You will be charged a consultation fee for a medication review.
Written prescriptions, where appropriate, are available for a small charge should you decide to purchase your medication elsewhere.
Dental care is very important for our pets, though many owners do not realise just how vital it is. Dental disease is more than just bad breath and discoloured teeth, it can cause many health issues, including heart disease, liver problems, and kidney disease and is the most common infectious disease of our pets.
80% of dogs and 70% of cats over three years of age suffer from some form of the disease and require dental treatment. This makes it the most common pet health issue among our pet population.
Even though it is so common, and harmful, owners often don’t realise just how important it is to take care of their pet’s teeth. Owners need to brush their pet’s teeth and give dental chews. It is also important to have your pet’s teeth checked by a vet regularly; professional cleaning under anaesthesia might be recommended as we can reach areas where you are unable to reach with a toothbrush at home.
Owners are often unaware that their pets have a problem or are indeed in pain. The majority of dental problems are treatable and nearly all are preventable. If you are concerned that your pet has some signs of dental disease, or would just like one of our qualified veterinary nurses to look at your pet’s teeth, contact us today. We can schedule a professional dental cleaning if your pet needs one.
We know your pet can become ill or suffer accidents at any time. To make sure you have access to high quality care when we are closed, we have chosen to partner with Vets Now, the leading provider of Out of Hours care.
The team at Vets Now are always there when we are closed, so you can rest assured that you and your pet will have a vert and nurse on hand, whether it’s four in the morning or half-way through Christmas Day.
Please be aware that because of the nature of Out of Hours emergencies, a night-time or weekend appointment will be more expensive than seeing a vet during usual hours. Vets Now will discuss this with you at the time of your appointment and before commencing any treatment. Please consider pet insurance to give you peace of mind that your pet will be able to receive the best possible care 24 hours a day.
If your pet was seriously sick or injured and required major surgery and/or an extended hospital stay, would you be willing to spend £1,000 or £5,000 if required, or £400 per month for long term medication? If your answer is yes, but you’re worried about how you would afford it, then you should at least look into purchasing pet insurance.
If you already have insurance and are considering changing insurance companies, please give this considerable thought as changing policies after a condition has occurred can lead to exclusions on the future policy.
Insurance is peace of mind for all those unexpected expenses involved with pet ownership. Ardene House is an approved practice under the FIA scheme and endorses Petplan insurance.
There are many insurance companies available and we recommend all clients make full enquiries before purchasing any insurance product.
Just like humans, as our pets age, their health needs change and it is important for owners to watch them closely to make sure that they remain healthy. This is especially true with cats, who hide their illness well. Sometimes, by the times that you realize that your cat is sick, it is too late.
We offer a number of old age checks and can detect and treat a number of illnesses before they become a problem for your pet.
Diet is especially important for senior pets; their needs change so a senior diet should be fed and it is also important to feed a high quality food. Many pets start to get picky as they age so it is very important that owners monitor how much their pets really eat.
Regularly examinations are also important and we recommend at least 6-monthly health checks. As your pet ages it necessary to keep an eye on their weight and body condition. Our vets and nurses may be able to notice a problem with your pet before you do!
Regular blood work with a urinalysis should be done to review certain values as this will help catch any problems early; ensuring that your pet’s kidneys and liver are working properly. They can also highlight early signs of other potential problems.
Arthritis is a very common problem with older pets; treatment is improving yearly. Arthritis cannot be cured but can be managed successfully and we have many different options to make your senior pet more comfortable.
If you have any questions about the care of your senior pet, please contact ustoday; one of our dedicated staff will help you answer your questions.
Golden Oldies for cats aged 11 years or over
These appointments are for senior cats, and include a questionnaire, blood pressure reading, weight check and urine analysis and they are free.
As our pets get older a number of conditions can develop. The aim of these checks is to catch any disease process or aging changes as early as possible before any overt clinical symptoms may have arisen. This allows us to treat or support a patient at the earliest stage of a problem.
Our puppy and kitten care at Ardene House is second to none. We use modern generation vaccines to provide the best possible protection and our vets perform full health checks before vaccination.
Our registered nurses provide free monthly puppy and kitten check appointments up to the age of 12 months. During these appointments the nurse will discuss a range of topics with you and answer any questions you have so that you can become a confident pet owner.
They also offer free puppy parties for puppies around 10 weeks old, i.e. between their 1st and 2nd vaccinations; these are hugely popular and a great way to start socialising your new pup.
As any caring cat parent knows, a routine visit to the vet is anything but routine. Regular examinations are the right thing to do, but try telling that to your cat. Stress levels run rampant; emotions are on high. This can be especially true for senior cats that are showing signs of changes in their behaviour. If only there was a way to help tame the entire vet experience. The following steps should help you plan and prepare the next time your cat is due for an appointment.
- Be sure to always use a carrier, or substitute with another safe container for safe transport.
- If your senior cat keeps refusing to enter the carrier, help get your cat acclimated to it by placing it among your home’s everyday environment. Place any treats, favourite toys or blankets inside to make it more comfortable and inviting for your cat. And be sure to keep them inside once your cat enters.
- Top-loading carriers are less stressful for your senior cat, as they allow for easier removal. And if needed, your cat can be examined while remaining inside the carrier.
Car Ride Tips
- Don’t limit car rides strictly for visits to the vet. Start taking your cat on regular rides in the carrier to help your cat get used to the motion and the surroundings of your vehicle.
- Avoid feeding your cat for at least one hour before transport to keep your cat from getting carsick.
- Give your cat a treat or verbal praise to reward good behaviour in both the waiting room vet/nurse consulting room.
- Always speak in a soft voice to help your cat remain calm.
- Never resist a trained veterinary professional from handling your cat. This will raise your cat’s anxiety and may cause her to bite or scratch.
- Be sure to discuss with your vet or nurse ways to make your next visit even more comfortable for both you and your senior cat.
- Cats over the age of 8 – 10 years old should have a health check every 6 months so that problems can be detected early and the maximum done to help our aging cats. (The same goes for dogs too)
- Take advantage of our free monthly kitten checks to help get your pet used to travelling to the practice and being handled.
Are you having problems caring for a terminally ill pet at home? Does your pet have a medical condition that is painful or causing poor quality of life? Are you afraid that your sick or elderly pet is suffering?
Deciding when your pet may need hospice or euthanasia, or “putting your pet to sleep”, is a very personal and private decision, but that doesn’t mean you have to make this difficult choice on your own. Our hospice and humane euthanasia services are conducted with respect, compassion, and care. Before you struggle through one more day with a sick, elderly, or terminally ill pet that is suffering, call us to learn how we can help.
Our staff of compassionate, caring professionals can help you through this painful experience. We will offer hospice services and will work with you to ensure your pet’s comfort and dignity during his or her last days and final moments. Do you have any special requests? Do you have questions about care of your pet’s remains? We can help you with these concerns and will make every effort to accommodate your wishes at this very difficult time.
There are several options for handling of your pet’s remains; probably the most common choice today is cremation, with or without the ashes returned.
Grieving for your pet can be a very sad and difficult experience; the following may be of help:
Download: Animal Welfare Foundation Saying goodbye – the ultimate kindness pdf HERE
Download: Blue Cross for Pets Coping with the Loss of a Pet pdf HERE
Our veterinary hospital at Kingswells has regular visits from a mobile MRI scanner saving long and stressful journeys for sick pets. Scans are performed by fully trained radiographers and the results are reviewed by a recognised RVC neurologist who will diagnose and suggest a treatment plan.
We are pleased to be supported in our clinical work by specialist veterinary surgeons who work with us at Kingswells. This means that your pet has access to some of the best referral facilities in Aberdeenshire should one of our Veterinary Surgeons recommend a referral consultation for your pet. You don’t have to be a client of Ardene House to take advantage of this expertise; if you are concerned your pet is not responding to treatment please speak to your vet about referral to a specialist.
We are pleased to be able to offer specialist pain management, cardiology, dermatology, and ophthalmology; and in addition, animal behavioural therapy. The team of specialists who work closely with us include:
Fergus Coutts BVM&S MSc MRCVS
Fergus spent 20 years developing a family run, small animal practice based on a high standard of client care and compassionate clinical expertise. This was underpinned by the strong ethos that “every animal entrusted to our care is treated as if it was our own”.
He has been a Pain Management consultant since 2010, at Stirling and Ardene House and was recently awarded an MSc in the Clinical Management of Pain (with distinction) by the University of Edinburgh.
Fergus has a passion for enhancing animals’ comfort and helping them to live happy and healthy lives. Research into pain mechanisms and drugs to control them has led to dramatic improvements in the management of pain in people. Recent work has enabled much of this research to be applied to the care of our pets, improving their pain management and their quality of life.
Outside the practice Fergus enjoys open-water swimming, photography and teaching other vets about pain management.
Craig Devine BVSc DVC MRCVS Veterinary Cardiologist
Veterinary Cardiologist Craig Devine BVSc DVC MRCVS, a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Diplomate in Veterinary Cardiology, grew up and qualified as a veterinary surgeon in South Africa and came to the United Kingdom after qualifying in 1992. During the following ten years, working around London he developed a passion for all things heart and lung related and has worked exclusively with animals with cardio-respiratory problems since completing a residency at Edinburgh University in 2002. He has had the fortune to see all aspects of small animal veterinary medicine over these past 23 years and the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of in particular heart disease during this time has been truly remarkable.
When Craig first qualified a diagnosis of heart disease was made by listening to the heart, recording the electric activity of the heart and taking a chest x-ray to get a look at the outline of the heart. Once a diagnosis was made there was very limited number of medications available to manage whatever was found. A dog in congestive heart failure would typically have ended up on two to three different medications before nothing more could be done and survival times were often less than a year for these patients.
Advances in ultrasound technology in particular over the past twenty years means that we can now peer into that once relatively opaque heart shadow and examine, in minute detail, the internal structures of the heart, the movement of these structures and the flow of blood through the heart. The availability of chest CT scans also allows a much more detailed picture to be obtained of the rest of the chest. This allows for much more accurate diagnosis and staging of disease and allows treatment to be tailored to the type and severity of the heart or lung condition.
This improved diagnostic capability, along with the markedly improved range of treatments available for managing patients with heart disease means that the majority of dogs in heart failure now live good quality lives for 12-18 months or longer. In human terms this may not seem like a long time but for his patients this often equates to a ten percent or more improvement in their good quality life expectancy i.e. the equivalent of you or I living an extra 8-10 good quality years or more. Getting the best for these patients really requires a thorough understanding of their underlying condition from the outset and keeping track of how their condition evolves over time.
Craig established Borders Cardiology Ltd in response to the growing need for specialist cardiorespiratory veterinary services across Scotland. He provides an “in-house” referral service at our Kingswells branch, usually every Thursday, by appointment only.
Marcel Kovalik DrVetMed PhDF DipECVD MRCVS
Dr Marcel Kovalik, Consultant Specialist in Dermatology, qualified as a veterinary surgeon from The University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Kosice (Slovak Republic) in 2004. Following his graduation he obtained a PhD in Pharmacy in the field of allergology, pharmacology and immunology. He then went on to join a first opinion practice in the UK before embarking on his three-year European Residency programme at The University of Edinburgh, completing this in August 2011.
Marcel is board-certified by the European College of Veterinary Dermatology and is a member of the Board of European College of Veterinary Dermatology and the European Society of Veterinary Dermatology.
Marcel runs monthly clinics at Ardene House Veterinary Hospital, Kingswells, where has been very successful in treating a wide variety of skin complaints without the harsh side effects associated with other approaches to skin conditions. His expertise covers a wide variety of different skin conditions most commonly due to allergies, autoimmune conditions and skin tumours. In addition, Marcel has proved invaluable in helping dogs with chronic ear infections which have proved difficult to control by standard means
Kate Sands BVMedSci(Hons) BVM BVS(Hons) GPCert(Ophthal) PgC(SAO) MRCVS
Kate was one of the first years to graduate from the University of Nottingham in 2012. After graduating, she worked for three years in general small animal practice at a busy hospital in Cheshire. Having developed a keen interest in ophthalmology, Kate completed her modular certificate in 2015 and her Post-Graduate Certificate in Small Animal Ophthalmology the following year. Kate moved up to Edinburgh in 2015 and joined the team at Batchelor, Davidson and Watson vets, accepting referral ophthalmology cases from all over Scotland and the North East of England.
In her free time, Kate likes spending time outdoors, exploring Scotland's beauty spots with her camera. She also has a great love of Japanese culture and takes evening classes in the language
Mark Bayliss BVMS MRCVS
Mark has been working at Ardene House for almost 20 years now. He graduated from Glasgow University in 1993 and after a short spell working in Manchester he joined Ardene House in 1997.
Mark has two daughters, neither of whom is thinking of becoming a vet. He enjoys walking holidays with his wife Catriona and their Bedlington Terrier Fred. When he is not in work Mark is usually trying to remember how to play golf, or trying to forget his last game of golf. A good book and a glass of wine always helps.
Together Mark and fellow director Graham constantly strive to provide the top level of care for the clients of Ardene House, and are proud to run Aberdeen’s only RCVS hospital standard veterinary practice.
Iain Wallace BVM&S MRCVS
Iain qualified from Edinburgh University in 1986. After spending twenty years chasing cows and sheep over the Yorkshire Moors and the hills around Stirling, he decided he needed a change and traded his wellies for a life inside attending to smaller animals. In 2006 he joined Ardene House and managed the Bon Accord Street Branch. When this closed two years later he moved to the main centre at Kingswells. He now splits his time equally between there and the Bridge of Don Branch where he is the Clinical Manager. He enjoys all aspects of both small animal medicine and surgery.
In his spare time Iain enjoys running and hill walking.
Ann Wortley BVMS MRCVS
Ann qualified from Glasgow University in 1996 and decided to go to the Isle of Lewis for her first job. After four years of enjoying mixed practice and island living Ann decided it was time for a change so she packed a rusksack and with passport in hand went to New Zealand where she was a locum vet between exploring the country and having a good time.
On returning to the UK Ann was a locum in the North of England until, after a cold British winter, a year in Australia sounded like good idea. So once again Ann packed her bag and went travelling and worked in the Australian outback as well as in city practice. After encountering the cute – koala and kangaroo – and the scary – lots of snakes, she decided that it was time to come home.
On returning to the UK she worked for a short spell in Scarborough before coming to Ardene House in 2004 to be a small animal vet. Ann has decided that it is time to settle down and has bought a house and finally unpacked everything.
Ann enjoys the challenge of surgery, especially orthopaedics where she can get the power tools out and fix the problem. She is in the process of doing a Certificate in Small Animal Surgery but admits that learning new things is more fun than writing about them.
Ann lives with her cat Oscar who came to Ann after a road traffic accident left him with bad head injuries. Oscar made a good recovery but everyone thinks he is a bit of a klutz and is affectionately called her special needs cat.
When not working Ann enjoys gardening and walking, ambling along and taking photos with her camera. In the evenings she enjoys reading a good book or playing Bridge.
Allison Clark BVM&S MRCVS
Allison graduated from University of Edinburgh in 1983 and worked in Aberdeenshire for two years in mixed practice. She then went to Lanark to work for Glasgow University’s teaching practice for three years before returning to the North East to work for a large farming company. Since having her family, Allison has worked part-time/locum in practice and for Food Standards Authority and joined Ardene House in 2004, where she splits her time between Kingswells and Bridge of Don.
She has two daughters, two dogs, and two guinea pigs. When not walking her dogs, Allison enjoys pottering in the garden and skiing when weather permits.
Catherine Hutchison BVMS MRCVS
Catherine graduated from Glasgow University Vet School and spent the first four years of her career working in mixed practice in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Although she valued this initial experience of treating farm animal, equine and small animal patients she decided to concentrate on small animal work.
Catherine joined the small animal team at Ardene House in 2005. She enjoys all aspects of working in a busy small animal hospital but is particularly interested in medicine, especially feline medicine. Catherine has completed a course in small animal acupuncture and uses the technique to aid in the treatment of chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders. She is currently working towards a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (CertAFP) and is enjoying the challenge of completing the canine and feline medicine modules.
Catherine lives in Banchory with her husband Rod and is on the lookout for a new feline friend. Outside work she enjoys going to the gym, travel and is currently having golf lessons.
Marion Ford, MC VetMB MRCVS
I qualified from Cambridge in 1987, having studied veterinary medicine and a brief but enjoyable foray into archaeology and anthropology. I spent the first two years after qualifying in small animal practice in Northampton, then moved back to Cambridge where we stayed, with brief career breaks to raise a family, for the next 24years.
The Cambridge clinic had a strong exotic bias, and I had the privilege of helping to build up the surgical side of our work there, gaining a surgery certificate, (EVPS GPCert) in 2005. The work was certainly never dull with patients as diverse as giant sulcata tortoises, monitor lizards, water dragons, sugar gliders, otters and the odd wolf, not to mention tarantulas and scorpions.
Relocation to Aberdeen in 2013 brought a change of focus with two years in an out of hours and emergency clinic, before returning to general practice.
Outside work, since moving to Scotland I have discovered the pleasure of traditional fiddle music, and now play with the Aberdeen Strathspay and Reel Society. I am an enthusiastic if sadly untalented tennis player; I enjoy kayaking and hill walking with my son, and despite the more challenging conditions still enjoy wild swimming, completing a six-day swim around and between the Inner Hebrides this summer.
Alison Cheshire BVMS MRCS
Alison graduated from Glasgow Vet School in 2005 and spent two years in a mixed practice before deciding to concentrate on small animals. She comes from the Isle of Lewis and regularly enjoys visits home to the islands. She now lives in Inverurie with her family which includes a three legged dog called Nessie, and enjoys photography and reading in her spare time.
Alison enjoys all aspects of the job but particularly likes getting to know her patients and their owners. She has a special interest in exotic animals and is always happy to see birds, reptiles and ‘small furries’‐ for anything from an informal chat about their care, routine check-ups, or investigation and treatment of illnesses. Alison is based at Kingswells but can also be seen for consults on Monday afternoons at our Bridge of Don practice.
Chantal Serra BVSc MRCVS
Chantal has 11 years clinical and surgical experience in small medicine and surgery and qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2004 from Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria in South Africa. During her clinical training years, she worked with all types of animals including African wildlife, on one occasion assisting with a root canal procedure on a cheetah.
Her roles have been varied during her career, from working sole charge for a large veterinary group in the South East of England to working for the largest out of hours’ company in the UK. Her professional interests lie across a broad range of areas, mainly Small Animal Surgery, Emergency and Critical Care, Diagnostic Imaging, and Business Management.
“Animals are an integral part of our lives and I am so grateful to be able to be part of the bond that exists between owner and pet. The heart melting moment when an owner is reunited with their beloved pet, albeit after a surgery or after being hospitalized for a period of time, is priceless.”
Her main interests outside of work are travelling to exotic destinations and spending time with her family.
Philippa Simpson BA VetMB MRCVS
Philippa lives in Catterline with her husband Andrew and baby Peter. Andrew is unfortunately allergic to dogs and cats, so they have no pets at the moment. She loves learning languages (and music and reading and cooking and hill-walking and craft gin) and usually works at least some of these into an average day of being a Mum!
Sophie Paxton BVMS MRCVS
Sophie graduated from Glasgow Vet School in June, and after completing several weeks of placement with us as a student in previous years, Sophie became a full-time member of the team in August 2019. She is taking part in the IVC Graduate Academy which provides continual professional development and support for recent graduates.
In her free time, Sophie loves to travel and enjoys seeing friends, yoga and getting out and about in the great outdoors.
Mhariann Smith, BSc (Hons) RVN
Mhariann is the Head Nurse of our Small Animal Hospital. She
joined the practice in November 2009 as a student nurse while completing four years veterinary training at Edinburgh Napier University where she graduated with a BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing Degree in 2012.
Mhariann’s role involves general nursing responsibilities, staff management and training. She is responsible for setting the clinical nursing standards (working closely with the Vet Director) and to ensure the implementation of these standards. She is also heavily involved in health and safety within the practice.
Mhariann enjoys the diversity of the job and developing student nurses within our small animal hospital. She encourages her nursing team to work to a high standard and supports the veterinary surgeons in their care of your pets.
Her favourite aspects of the job are being able to spend time getting to know the patients, working alongside a compassionate team and encouraging the development of student nurses.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going on walks and visiting new places.
Melanie Thomson RVN
Melanie initially joined the team at Ardene House, Kingswells in 2011 just after qualifying as a nurse. After leaving for a short period of time to work closer to home, the draw of Ardene House was too much and Melanie returned as a locum nurse, while also doing some reception work.
In April 2018 Melanie took over the role as Head Nurse to cover maternity leave.
Melanie enjoys all aspects of nursing and especially enjoys helping the Nursing team expand their knowledge and experience while looking into ways we can improve the patient and client care.
Nickie Ward RVN
Nickie joined the practice in 2004 and quickly went on to gain her SVQ level 3 Veterinary Nursing qualification. In 2013 she completed the Advanced Veterinary Nursing Diploma; this allowed her to study nursing in greater detail and gave her a deep understanding of the skills involved in caring for veterinary patients. During her studies she developed a passion for anaesthesia and finds the subject as fascinating as it is terrifying! Having enjoyed a break from study she is now looking to further her knowledge in Veterinary Dermatology while working alongside our Dermatological Specialist.
Nickie enjoys providing advice and support in nursing clinics, running diabetic clinics; and loves to see young animals’ personalities develop as they grow during the puppy and kitten health checks. She runs and organises the practice’s puppy parties and this gives her the opportunity to support and guide clients in caring for their pets while helping them understand their pet’s behaviour and recognising normal puppy behaviour.
Nickie was adopted several years ago by a very hungry little stray who needed a good home and a big food cupboard. For a small cat Lily is very loud when her stomach rumbles and thinks every hour is tea-time. A sentiment Nickie can often relate to!
A keen runner with a love of hills, Nickie likes to find new and interesting ways to challenge herself. Having completed several types of runs both with and without obstacles/mud she is now looking forward to her biggest challenge yet in May 2016. This will see Nickie running a Marathon on and around the Great Wall of China alongside 200 other enthusiastic (and slightly mad!) runners while raising money for Epilepsy Action, a charity close to her heart. Ardene House are providing sponsorship for Nickie to participate in this very worthwhile fundraising event.
Nicola Jamieson RVN, DipCapbt (OCF Level 4)
Nicola joined the staff at Ardene House in September 2001 having previously worked as a kennel assistant. She left us briefly to work in Elgin and re-joined Ardene House in May 2008. Nicola qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2009. She is Head Veterinary Nurse at our Bridge of Don practice, where she undertakes management duties, provides nurse consultations and runs puppy pre-school sessions.
Nicola has a keen interest in nutrition, in particular weight management of cats and dogs. Her other passion is animal behaviour. After a long desire to further her knowledge in this field, Nicola beat off competition from veterinary nurses across the UK in 2014 to win a bursary to study year one of the Coape Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour and Training. She completed this with distinction at the end of 2015, qualifying her as a Behaviour Advisor.
In her spare time Nicola enjoys spending time with her partner David, their Chihuahua Izzy and their cat Scampi. Nicola also assists with local puppy training classes and enjoys going to concerts, reading, and socialising with friends.
Stephanie Smith RVN C&G VNES
Before Stephanie joined Ardene House she completed Intermediate 2 Animal care and HND Animal care at Aberdeen College. She completed work experience at both Mackies dairy with the cows and at Blair Drummond Safari Park where she learned how to care for a wide range of exotic species. Stephanie then went on to work for two and a half years at a country veterinary practice as a nurse assistant until she left to join Ardene House.
Stephanie joined the practice in December 2011 as a care assistant/receptionist, and in August 2012 started studying for a registered veterinary nurse qualification. In August 2015 Stephanie passed her final practical exams and is now a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the RCVS.
Stephanie has a wide range of pets; Sophie a long haired cat, Maisie a Staffie cross, B the corn snake, Maia a Chinese water dragon, Sid the bearded dragon and Aqua and Bob the Terrapins. She has a keen interest in exotics. She also recently gained a City & Guilds Certificate in Nursing Exotic Species and Wildlife.
Suzanne Meston, RVN
Suzy completed a HND in Animal Care before starting her veterinary nurse training with Abervet. She joined Ardene House in January 2016 to complete her training and passed her final exams to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse in October 2016.
Suzy has two cats at home – Mittens, an elderly cat who sleeps a lot, and Shimmer who likes to eat a lot! She has a tortoise called Tortie who is 9 years old and very friendly … but chases the cats!
In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, reading and spending time with friends and family
Molly Cartney RVN
Molly started seeing practice at her local vets at just 13 years old. She then went on to study the Level 3 Veterinary Nursing Diploma in 2014 and qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in August 2017.
Molly has 7 years’ nursing experience and moved to Ardene in December 2017 to take on the challenge of working in a hospital environment and to develop her nursing skills. Molly particularly enjoys running nurse clinics and helping owners gain a better understanding of their animals. She also has a strong interest for nursing medical cases and learning more about different medical conditions.
In her spare time Molly can be found looking after her horse and two donkeys. Together with her partner Calum they take part in many traditional country activities including shooting and fishing. They also own 6 dogs, a cat called Ginger George and enjoy long country walks.
Melissa Dow, RVN
I previously worked in a mixed vet practice in Ellen and completed the HND in Animal Care and the theory to the Veterinary Nursing SRUC Diploma prior to joining Ardene House in June 2018. I now only have the practical OSCEs to go before becoming a Registered Veterinary Nurse.
I enjoy learning about cases and am keen to know more about exotics and behaviour.
I am loving working at Ardene House already.
Nicky Hilton VCA
I’ve worked for Ardene House for 14 years. I now work part-time as a Veterinary Care Assistant and still look the every day challenges. “There is never a dull day”.
I have many animals myself – 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 geckos, and 2 horses (well, 1.1/2 .. a Cob and a Shetland). They all keep me busy when I’m not at work as does my kids Laura and Archie, both teenagers now.
Charlotte Cush VCA
Charlotte started at Ardene House as a Veterinary Care Assistant in 2016. Previously working with the SSPCA at Drumoak, Charlotte has a lot of hands on experience with various different species. Charlotte has a HNC in Animal Care and is currently completing a diploma in assisting our Veterinary Surgeons monitoring animals whilst they are under anaesthetic. Charlotte has a Chihuahua called Evie.