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...


Dr Jessica Latter


Jessica grew up in Los Angeles, surrounded by pets of all kinds, from snakes and guinea pigs to cats and dogs. It was when she was 5 years old that she first proclaimed she was going to become a vet. Along the way she volunteered her weekends helping at a cat adoption service, rode horses, played the viola and eventually began finding a passion for endurance sports.

Jess gained her Bachelor of Science at UC Davis, where she studied Animal Science. She took a detour to becoming a vet by working for many years in scientific research. When the time was right, she applied to the University of Melbourne for a veterinary degree and to satisfy the desire to travel. Once in the veterinary field she found a special interest in cat medicine, for which she has pursued further education.

While studying she met her now husband, Matt. In her free time, Jess continues to train for long distance running events, enjoys reading (loving authors like Stephen King and Charles Dickens), cooking, tending to her many house plants and spending time with her husband, young son, and two step-children

Dr Taylor O'Brien


Taylor’s love for animals cemented her desire to become a vet from a very young age. She completed a Bachelor of Science before continuing into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Taylor joined the team at Lara Pet Hospital at the start of 2023, and hasn’t looked back since!
Taylor enjoys the variety that comes with working in general practice, with an interest in both medicine and surgery. She also loves that this allows her to contribute to the wellbeing of pets in all stages of life; from their first vaccination right through to their senior years. She is passionate about trying to make vet visits as stress-free as possible for both pets and their owners, and utilises a fear-free approach with patients. 
She spends most of her spare time keeping busy with her dogs - Coco, a Husky, and Obie, a Jack Russel cross. 

Dr Belinda Calvert


Dr Natalka Kohut


Jennifer Cao


*** Jen is currently on maternity leave enjoying her two beautiful children ***

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. Jen started studying for her Masters in Veterinary Medicine through Massey University (University of New Zealand) in 2014. She completed this post-graduate degree in 2018. As part of her Masters degree, Jen wrote a thesis on splenic masses in dogs. She is currently studing a Postgraduate Certificate in Emergency and Critical Care through the University of Melbourne.

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 medicine, Jen has a special interest in endocrinology (hormonal diseases), emergency and critical care, and enjoys having a fun chat to clients during routine appointments. 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 partner, Zac, and their dog Scout, a spritely 1-year-old rescue Kelpie cross Border Collie. 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, planning home renovations and spending time with Zac and Scout.


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Elly grew up on the Bellarine Peninsula. Her love for animals started at a very early age and she always knew she wanted to work in the animal industry.

While in high school she worked weekends at a dog boarding kennel and began her animal studies course. After completing high school she began working at a dog day care center for a period of time before moving on to veterinary nursing in 2008 and completing her certificate IV veterinary nursing studies with the Animal Industries Resource Center (AIRC).

During her free time she enjoys travelling, hiking and snowboarding. She also loves camping and 4WDing with her husband Josh and their two golden retrievers Macey and Henry.


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Hello my name is Susan and I’ve been a Veterinary Nurse for over 30 years. I started working with animals at the young age of 14 working voluntary at Geelong Animal Welfare Society for many years on weekends. I gradually progressed to paid weekend work when I turned 16 and then full-time work at 19. I worked with them for 5 years and as well as caring for the animals I drove their animal ambulance, assisting injured animals. I moved on to work for Kardinia Vet Clinic on a part-time basis as a Vet Nurse and set up an animal taxi part-time called Geelong Animal Taxi Service. I ran my taxi business which I really enjoyed but had to stop when I was offered full-time employment. The offer was too good to refuse as vet nursing was always my dream job. I worked there for 17 years stopping to have a family and then returned to veterinary nursing getting a job with Bellarine Veterinary Clinic of which I worked for 15 years. I have semi retired now and working at Lara Pet Hospital on a casual basis, mainly working as a surgical nurse which is a passion of mine. My main interest in the field is surgical, I also like to think I make an effort to make your pets visit less stressful with my many years of experience in the field.


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Olivia joined the Lara Pet Hospital team in late 2020 after completing her last Certificate IV placement at the clinic.

She grew up in Lara and has always been passionate about caring for animals which helped her make the decision to work in the animal industry. She realised in her year 10 work experience at a vet clinic that vet nursing was the path for her and went on to compete her Certificate III in veterinary nursing the following year.

Olivia loves her two feline fur babies Norman and Fisher, they keep her entertained with all their mischievous antics.



Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Jenni was born in Geelong, but spent a small chunk of her childhood living in Melbourne and then moved back to Geelong to begin her schooling years.

Jenni's love of animals began when she was only a toddler. Always being surrounded by animals, Jenni found a passion to love and take care of them.

In 2009 Jenni was lucky enough to secure a traineeship at a very busy small animal clinic in Maribyrnong. Here she was trained and completed her certificate IV in veterinary nursing. Jenni has never looked back and still loves her job each and every day. Jenni has a passion for emergency and critical care.

Jenni keeps very busy with her 3 small children, her husband and her two fur-babies, Ziggy the Whippet and Bowie the Poodle X.

In her spare time Jenni loves taking her dogs and young family for walks through the bush. On the weekends hanging out with her friends and family either going to see a band or becoming familiar with the local wineries.



Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Molly grew up on the Surf Coast; This has shaped her love for wildlife and all animals.

Molly completed an animal studies course during her VCE, which she loved. She always knew she wanted to help animals and Veterinary nursing felt like the perfect fit for her.

Following a couple of years of travel she made the decision to complete her Cert IV in veterinary nursing, which she completed in 2020.

In her spare time she loves walking her beautiful fur baby Rei, a mix of beagle and border collie, as well as looking after her newest member of the fur family, Little River, a mischievous rescue kitten who is always keeping her on her toes


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Meg lives just outside Ballarat in the Moorobool Valley with her husband,
daughter and their menagerie of animals!
They share their property, with their gorgeous Labradors, 3 beautiful horses, 2 rescue cats, friendly chickens, and 2 hand reared sheep (who think that they are dogs!! ) … Not to mention the loads of native Aussie wildlife species that call their ‘Conservation Green Zone’ ribbon along the Moorobool River ‘Home.’ (Yes, even some resident platypus!)
Meg has worked in the industry nearly 25 years as a Veterinary Nurse, emergency Centre Nurse, Practice Manager, and Instructor. She has been lucky enough to work with animals as small as mice, as tall as giraffes, as cheeky as monkeys, and everything in between.
In 2012 she went on to complete her teaching qualifications and went into teaching vet nursing, developing and coordinating veterinary and animal related courses and also running programs for workplace trainees. She has been involved with Zoos based conservation education and owned her own business in Animal Behaviour and Psychology.
She has a keen interest in emergency and surgical nursing and also takes special concern with ‘end of life’ journey support for the animals and their loving families. She absolutely loves working with horses and farm animals and even after all these years, still gets excited about cuddling puppies and kittens!
When Meg isn’t working in clinic she can be found riding her quarter horse mare ‘Tess’, her big Standardbred ‘Enzo,’ or out volunteering as a rural 1st responder through Ambulance Victoria.


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

Chelsea is a qualified IV Veterinary Nurse, originally from Adelaide. She began her nursing career in 2016 and loved the industry from the beginning. Chelsea has worked in different clinics in Adelaide and Melbourne, and has now found home in Geelong West, with Lara Pet Hospital being a perfect fit.  Chelsea has a special interest in surgery and dentistry.
Chelsea has always had pets growing up and a love for all animals. She currently has 4 fur-babies at home, including a kelpie (Casper) and 3 cats (Sushi, Alphie and Peaches).
In chelsea's free time, she runs a small business called The Good Dogs Cookie Club, making pet treats and other goodies with a portion of proceeds donated to Sophie's Legacy; a non-for-profit organisation aimed to make positive changes to mental health in the veterinary industry.


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV )

*** Christie is currently on maternity leave enjoying her beautiful baby girl ***

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


Veterinary Nurse (Cert IV)

*** Jamie is currently on maternity leave enjoying her beautiful daughter and new baby on the way ***

Jamie is a self professed "crazy dog lady" although that passion extends to all animals big and small. Jamie spent the majority of her childhood convincing her mother to add to her extensive pet family of cows, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, dogs, stick insects and the odd yabbie!

Her love of her dogs led her to compete in agility and obedience trials with her devoted blue heeler, Tara. They never won, but they always had a fun time working together. This sparked a lifelong interest in animal behaviour and enrichment. read more

Staff Stories




























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...




























































































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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Jamie Beunen

After ten years of working a variety of fields, Jamie finally worked up the courage to study what had always been her secret dream job. She started with a certificate III in companion animal services and loved it so much that she commited to another two years of study to finally become a vet nurse. Jamie was lucky enough to be accepted for her student placement at Lara Pet Hospital, but after she graduated they couldnt make her leave so she joined the team in 2019.

Jamie spends her time outside of work painting, learning new tricks with her fur child Dougal and resisting the urge to adopt every stray dog she sees

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