Lara Pet Hospital & Vet Centre

Meet Our Team

  

Dr. Julia Ferguson

Veterinarian (BVSc MANZCVS)

Julia knew what she wanted to do from an early age. Her mother claims 'Vicki the Vet' from 'A Country Practice' was the inspiration for her chosen career. Julia has always had pets of her own, from dogs and cats to horses, and currently she has two cats. She spent much of her time with her dogs and at pony club and always loved being around animals. Julia is proud to be able to now help her own pets and others to have happy and healthy lives. She is passionate about her work as a veterinarian and dedicates time and effort to ensuring that her patients receive the best care available.  Read More...

 

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Dr Lisa Tragear

Veterinarian (BVSc)

Lisa grew up in the south­eastern suburbs of Melbourne with a succession of pets ­ dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and horses. She always had an affinity with them and an idea that she would like to work with animals. After leaving school, she worked in a boarding kennel, in a horseracing stable and as a veterinary nurse. At 20, the enthusiasm and motivation she felt for her work as well as a desire to do something with a meaningful purpose, confirmed that she wanted to become a veterinarian. She returned to school to complete her secondary education, then went on to study Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1994. A career as a veterinarian has given Lisa a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that she can improve the welfare of her patients while assisting their owners, no matter what their circumstances. Read More..

 

 


Dr. Jennifer Cao

Veterinarian (BVSc (hons))

Jen grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne. She has always had an affinity towards animals. It was in fact her pet rabbit, Ruby, and her positive experiences during year 10 work experience at a local vet clinic that inspired her to follow a career path in becoming a veterinarian. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2009, and it was a job offer in Geelong that was the instigator to her move from Melbourne to Geelong. She recently left her first vet job after spending over seven years there to begin work at Lara Pet Hospital in March 2017. She started studying for her Masters in Veterinary Medicine through Massey University (University of New Zealand) in 2014. She is scheduled to finish this post-graduate degree at the end of 2017. This year she is writing her thesis about splenectomised dogs (dogs that have had their spleens surgically removed).Read More...

                                                                                     


Sarah McLoughlin

Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Ever since Sarah was a baby her mother said that all her time was spent with her cat and dog. Once she started talking all she wanted was a pony. So the love of animals has been part of her genetic make up.

Prior to becoming a Veterinary Nurse Sarah worked as a receptionist to the Dean of the University of Melbourne for 4 years. She decided that this was not what she felt like doing for the rest of her career and enrolled into Marcus Oldham Horse Business Management Course which took her into the horse Industry. Sarah then worked on a Horse Stud in NSW and looked after the mares and foals that needed treatments, and all aspects of Stud work. This was the start to nursing which Sarah knew was what she wanted to do for the rest of her working life. Read More...

 


Christie McKinnon

Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Christie grew up in Geelong. Her love for animals started from a very young age. As a child, her mother would say that quite often Christie would stop what she was doing and say "WOOF WOOF". Sure enough, if you listened carefully, you could hear a dog barking in the distance.

Christie grew up with a menagerie of animals. This included her horse (with which she did pony club and competitions with), her pet sheep "Chocie", chicken, ducks, her three pet yabbies that she saved from being cooked, some fish, her mouse "Ralph", birds, dogs and cats.

She has also done her fair share of fostering and taking on animals that needed a loving home. Read more

                                 

                                                                         

 

 

 

 


Aimee Costa

Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing)

Aimee was born and has grown up in Geelong, she currently lives in Belmont. She has owned and had pets in her life since she was a toddler, has always shown a love and passion for animals, and has known from a young age that she wanted to work with them. Aimee always had family pets, but when she was 13, after hassling her parents for years for her own dog, she received the best birthday present, a Golden Retriever named Jay. Jay is now 11 and a half years old and is a very sweet old man. Aimee also shares her family with a 6 year old high energy German short haired pointer, a 5 year old Anxious retriever name Mya, a 3 year old DSH black cat named Atheena and her most recent addition to her fur baby family is her 8 year old ex racing Thoroughbred named Tilly.

Aimee's interest in animals, welfare and their heath has always been an important to her, so when she was at high school she decided to do an additional subject as a VET in schools programme, where she studied her certificate 2 in Animal studies. Read More...

                                              


Lauri Steel

Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing Diploma in Emergency and Critical Care)

Lauri joined the Lara Pet Hospital team in July, 2015 as a casual and relief veterinary nurse after moving to the Geelong area.

Lauri inherited a love of animals from her grandmother at a very young age and began pursuing her dream career in veterinary nursing career in 2006, starting off as a veterinary receptionist in a busy bayside clinic.   Read More...


Amy Hope

Veterinary Nurse (Certificate IV Veterinary Nursing, Certificate IV Training and Assessment. )

Amy grew up on a hobby farm in the small goldfields town of Dunolly. From as young as she can remember she was always attempting to rescue, feed, collect or simply watch the behaviour of animals. Starting from before she could walk by staring into the fish tank for hours while the other children played with toys. Progressing to keeping frogs (much to the horror of her older sister), hand rearing orphaned lambs, birds and even crafting miniature rafts to save the bees that would fall into the birdbath in summer! Amy always had a natural admiration and calling towards animals. Read more...


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sarah Box

Trainee Nurse

Sarah grew up on a small property on the outskirts of Geelong where she spent her free time acting out scenes of McLeod's Daughters with her sister. Being the younger of the two (and her lazy, grey pony's particular resemblance to the character's horse, 'Oscar') Sarah always played the role of 'Tess'

Sarah discovered her love for animals at a young age, particularly their quirky personalities. She enjoyed spending time with her ponies and whippets, and watching episodes of McLeod's Daughters and Harry's Practice.
After years of pony club and competing with her horses, Sarah completed her Cert II in Equine Studies whilst completing her VCE. At that stage, Sarah was looking to further her studies in the animal industry. Read More...

 


Staff Stories

Julia

Julia grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne, and moved to Lara in 1998, a few years after graduation. She moved away again in 2002 and spent 5 years living and working in Amsterdam and another 5 years in Sydney. She and her husband returned to Lara in 2012.

Julia attended the University of Melbourne and graduated in 1994. She has undertaken significant further learning and is committed to continuing education. She gained membership of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in 2000, studying Small Animal Medicine. This area of veterinary science has always been a special interest to Julia and she continues to undertake further learning opportunities in this area and others.

With extensive experience both in Australia and overseas, Julia has had opportunities to work in general and specialist practices with many different areas of interest. She has special interests in medicine-which involves investigating problems and forming a therapeutic option to suit each individual patient, and imaging-which is the use of xrays and ultrasound to assist in diagnosis.

After so much varied experience and travel, Julia wanted to settle in Lara and be able to offer the pets of Lara a service equal to that which she had seen elsewhere. The old General Store offered all the space and scope to build the facility that she wanted, so they took the plunge and built the Lara Pet Hospital and Veterinary Centre.

When she is not spending time at the practice, Julia spends much of her time with her family-her husband Angus and two young sons. She is also a member of the Lara CFA and tries to be available when possible for calls. Her home is shared with two very well travelled cats, Shelley and Igor, who have been to Europe and back again! Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa

Veterinary science has allowed Lisa to travel and work overseas, and she has spent many yearsworking in one of Melbourne's largest and busiest small animal hospitals. She is experienced in all aspects of small animal medicine and surgery and enjoys the wide variety of her work and the many different species encountered.

In 2010, Lisa moved to reside permanently on the Surf Coast with her husband and two young children. They share their home with a greyhound called Hughie, one of her ex-­patients who she met as a young pup with glaucoma. His racing career was over before it started, but he has adapted well to life as a one-eyed and very indulged pet. Outside work, Lisa enjoys craft, travelling with her family and has an interest in environmental issues. Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Cao

 

The main reasons Jen enjoys her job as a vet is that she gets to meet people from different walks of life, help provide gold standard care to their animals, and help to nurture their human-animal bond. In the field of veterinary science, Jen has a special interest in endocrinology (hormonal diseases), emergency and critical care, and enjoys seeing rabbit patients. She also works at the local emergency centre in Geelong some weekends – but hopes not to see you and your pets there!

 

Jen lives with her dog Fluke, a spritely 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. Fluke used to belong to a client at her previous job who had to move into a nursing home, so Jen took her on as a 11-year-old. Since then, she has become smitten over Fluke, and even started an Instagram page for her! Her friends tease her by saying she treats her dog like a child (and she admits this is true!) Fluke often comes to work with Jen so you may see her around at the clinic! When she is not working, Jen enjoys cheering on the Western Bulldogs (she was extremely happy to have attended the 2016 grand final to witness a possible once in a lifetime occurrence), tending to her veggie patch, and spending time with her partner, Jason, and her dog, Fluke. Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christie McKinnon

Christie's passion for horses took her into the horse racing industry from 2004 - 2010 where she completed her Certificate III in racing. But as much as she enjoyed working with these majestic animals, it was not enough so she decided to follow her dream of veterinary nursing.

After completeing her course in animal studies in 2009 she was lucky enough to get a job in a local Geelong Vet clinic which is where she spent the next 6 and 1/2 years developing her nursing skills. In this time she also completed her Certificate IV in veterinary in 2011.

Christie's spare time away from the clinic is spent enjoying the outdoors with her somewhat stubborn, yet full of life boxer Bentleigh.

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Sarah

Sarah's next course of action was to work for Race Horse Trainer David Hayes at Lindsay Park Stud in S.A. for 2 years. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed riding work and even enjoyed the early morning rise. During this time Sarah competed in One Day Events on her horse and always had her dog by her side, and cat at home on her bed or bringing presents (mice, rats, rabbits). After she got her horse fix out of the way Sarah decided to try out for a Veterinary Nursing Job back at the University of Melbourne.

Over the past 21 years Sarah has worked in almost all areas of the Hospital. While working in General Practice for 6 years, she then felt like more of a challenge and went to work for the Emergency Centre at the University of Melbourne. During this time Sarah became the Nursing Supervisor for 5 years and worked in the Emergency Section for a total of 12 years. Emergency shifts were 12 hour shifts which consisted of 3 days and 3 nights in a fortnight plus every second weekend.

Sarah thrived in Emergency work and had the privilege to work with many Veterinary Specialists, gaining vast amounts of knowledge and nursing skills. Her proudest moments in this job have been helping with Continuing Education of Veterinarians in Emergency and Critical Care and instructing post graduates on how to put in chest drains, place tracheal tubes, emergency surgeries, caesarians, foreign body removals, trauma management, blood transfusions, taking arterial blood samples, placing central venous catheters, looking after Quarantine patients, managing staff and doing rosters. She is experienced in monitoring Snake bite and Tick paralysis patients, monitoring them while they are on ventilation. Sarah has also lectured for continuing Education for Veterinary Nurses on Anaesthetic Monitoring and Whelping Emergencies.

Sarah moved to Lara in 2001. Currently Sarah has 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 ponies, 3 horses. Most of these animals have been adopted as Strays.

Sarah has now returned to General Practice, to become a normal every day worker and loves not working overnight any more. Sarah loves working close to home and loves to meet new clients from our Community, as Lara is a great place to live. Sarah currently works part time with Lara Pet Hospital and the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital. Lara Pet Hospital is a great place to work, friendly and compassionate giving off a very welcoming feel to our local residents.

Working as a Veterinary nurse is a very passionate job in which she loves. Sarah finds her profession constantly stimulating. She tries to have all equipment/procedures ready ahead of time and is always looking at what she can do to benefit the situation at hand. She enjoys working as a team member with her fellow employees and meeting the clients that also have a love of animals and enjoy listening to their animal stories. Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aimee

Her studies and work experience confirmed that Vet nursing was the career path that she wanted to take, therefore soon after graduating high school she landed her first vet nursing job in a local vet clinic in Geelong. Aimee worked at her previous clinic for 4 and a half years where she completed her certificate 4 in veterinary nursing and gained much needed knowledge and experience.

 

After working as a nurse for 4 and a half years and dealing with a very anxious dog of her own (Mya), Aimee's interest in the Behaviour field grew and she sat in on many lectures and tutorials of a Veterinary Behaviour specialist in Melbourne. She decided to sign up for a Certificate 4 in Companion animal services through the Delta society in order to become a fully qualified and accredited Delta dog trainer. After 2 and a half years of study Aimee became fully qualified as a Delta Dog trainer and decided to start her own business A+ Dog Training.

 

Aimee runs puppy school and adult basic obedience classes here for us at the clinic as well as in Geelong. This training has helped her to better understand anxiety and other behaviour issues and give her own dog Mya a stress free life through training and consistency. Aimee also works for us as a Veterinary nurse on a Casual basis and works at least 2 days a week, and additional fill in shifts.

 

In her spare time Aimee loves riding her horse Tilly down at Aireys inlet, spending time with her family and friends and of course spending time with her fur babies.  Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauri

She has two ‘poster children’ for the benefits of pet insurance at home - rescue cat Inara (who has irritable bowel syndrome) and an English Bull Terrier named Lulu, who is affectionately referred to as ‘the eater of all things’ (including 4 wooden kennels and 2 earth wires) – she is a gorgeous dog, but perhaps not terribly smart.

Lauri holds her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, a Diploma in Emergency, and Critical Care and her vocational training qualifications, which allows her to pursue another passion – the training and education of junior and student nurses. She is a self confessed nerd and loves learning too much to ever stop studying.

In her spare time Lauri enjoys writing industry resources, Krav Maga (a form of Israeli close quarter combat), watching cute animal videos on YouTube (but who doesn’t) and working as an assessor of vet nurse and animal care students.

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Amy

Amy worked in varying industries searching for a chosen career, including legal clerical work and radio stations. She decided she could not find what she was looking for so went back to her love of animals, and now simply couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Amy is a qualified Veterinary Nurse as well as a vocational trainer so she can pass on her passion and help student nurses achieve their goals.

Amy enjoys all aspects of nursing and takes great pride in keeping each patient as comfortable and healthy as possible. In particular she feels privileged to be able to witness and nurture the human/animal bond owners have with their pets, and loves getting to know and treat every pet as an individual.

Amy shares her home with her dog Laika the kelpie cross. Laika is a bed hog, a food thief, a “big talker” and an awkward dork that worries more than she should. But is still loved for exactly who she is.

Outside of work Amy enjoys boxing, weight lifting, writing nursing resources, eating good food, as well as drinking perhaps just a little too much coffee.  Back to top...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah

After being a part of an in-vitro fertilsation program at a local farm each year, Sarah decided to further her studies and pursue a career with a wider range of animals. Sarah is currently nearing the end of her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

Sarah now enjoys her time outside of work tending to her veggie patch, camping, spending time with her sooky whippet, Reggie, and being Aunty to a mad labrador and 3 crazy hounds.

Being an only fur- child, Reggie is said to be the best traveled whippet, between camping and tagging along to farm after farm with Sarah and her partner wood-cutting

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