Small Animal Team 

Our friendly, dedicated team of staff are here to provide the best care for your pet. Our training is regularly updated to ensure that we are in touch with the latest methods and treatments.

Veterinary Surgeons   -   Nurses   -   Support Staff

Veterinary Surgeons

Tessa Porter MA Vet MB Cert SHP MRCVS (Clinical Director)

Tessa PorterTessa qualified from Cambridge in 1985 and later joined Coombefield in 1988.

Tess now splits her time between Coombfield and her equine work at Summerleaze - She enjoys all aspects of her small animal work  but has a particular interest in surgery and feline medicine, and as such is our ISFM cat advocate.

Tessa has her own horses and several cats which take up much of her spare time. When she can, Tessa escapes to Kenya to visit family.



Jaap Jan van Dijk DVM MRCVS (Clinical Director)

Jaap Jan van DijkKnown as 'JJ' - qualified from Utrecht Veterinary University in the Netherlands in 1996. He moved to the UK later that year to work in Dorset and joined Coombefield in 2001, becoming a Partner in 2007.

JJ has always had a particular interest in exotic animals, helping to set up and run a club for vets and vet students whilst studying in the Netherlands to further their, and his own, knowledge.

His main interests are birds, reptiles (especially tortoises) and fish. Although not a specialist in exotics as such, he is happy to see all animals from an axolotl to a zebrafinch!

Outside of work, JJ enjoys family time, relaxing in the garden and cooking. He also enjoys travelling - especially to the Netherlands to stock up on Dutch treats!



Jenny Ashby BVSc MRCVS (Assistant) 

Jenny qualified from Bristol Vet School in 2008 and has been working at Coombefield ever since, initially as a mixed vet, but now in small animal. Jenny has two children and enjoys baking in her spare time.



Rebecca Skellern MA Vet MB MRCVS (Assistant)

Beccy qualified from Cambridge in 2006, and then spent three years in mixed practice in South Wales. After a spell travelling and working in New Zealand she returned to the south west where she had spent her childhood, and started at Coombefield in September 2011. Beccy enjoys the local countryside and coastline, and spends her spare time cycling, riding, snowskiing and diving. 



Brenda Soldan BVetMed MRCVS (Assistant)

Brenda SoldanBrenda has been working at Coombefield for almost 20 years and has a special interest in diagnostic imaging. In her spare time, she enjoys horse riding, dog walking and spending time with her family.



Nick Weaver  BvSc MRCVS  (Assistant)

Nick WeaverNick graduated from Liverpool in 1982. Nick has worked in Somerset, Derbyshire, Norfolk, Shropshire, and had his own practice for 12 years before coming back to Somerset. Outside of work, Nick enjoys cycling, gardening, photography, picture framing, stained glass work and spends a lot of time at his children’s houses doing DIY!



Gaynor Cumming BvetMed MRCVS (Assistant)

Gaynor qualified from the Royal Veterinary College and has worked in London, Yemen, Ilminster and Honiton. She spent some time at Coombefield previously working as a locum. Currently she works part-time at Coombefield as well as at Bovey Tracey and is Supervising Vet at a bull stud near Dartington, so she has a busy & varied working week.
She loves all aspects of practice.
When not working she loves to spend time with her family, reading, crafting, Salsa and walking their two dogs- Barnes and Wallis.



James Pattison BVSc MRCVS (Assistant)James Pattison BVSc MRCVS (Assistant)

James graduated from Liverpool in 2013, He has an interest in orthopaedic surgery and is currently studying for a surgical certificate. Outside of work, James enjoys cycling and walking his dog River.



Chris Ogden BVM BVS MRCVS (Assistant)Chris Ogden BVM BVS MRCVS (Assistant)

Chris graduated from Nottingham in 2013 and worked in a mixed practice in Staffordshire before working a season as a dairy vet in New Zealand. Chris moved to Dorset for a lifestyle by the sea and to get more time out on the water sailing and rowing. Chris enjoys all aspects of small animal practice, but is most interested in canine and feline ophthalmology and is studying for his certificate in ophthalmology.



Philippa Burg VetMB BSc MRCVS (Assistant)

Philippa graduated from Cambridge in 2011 and spent the summer at a small animal neutering clinic in Malaysia. She then went on to undertake an internship at a local equine hospital before joining Coombefield in 2013. After a few years at another practice Philippa has now rejoined us. Philippa is also our resident acupuncturist and her main interests include helping with pain associated with arthritis.





Carrie Daly BVM BVS MRCVS (Assistant)

Dr Carrie Daly BVM BVS MRCVSCarrie has recently joined the practice since graduating from Nottingham University in July 2018. Carrie moved to the south west to enjoy the beautiful countryside and walks, with her two dogs, Jasper her Dalmatian and Sapphire her Collie puppy. In her spare time she enjoys training and competing in agility, as well as training and competing Jasper as a carriage dog. Carrie enjoys all aspects of small animal practice, and is most interested in surgical cases and imaging.




Head Nurse

Naomi Ashby-Pickford NCertENCC RVN  

Naomi started working in Veterinary Practice in 2001 and qualified as a registered Veterinary nurse in 2005 from Cannington College, Yeovil.

She continued to work in first opinion practice for several years before moving to Bristol to work for one of the largest Referral hospitals in the South West gaining a wealth of knowledge in Critical care, Surgical, Orthopaedic & medical nursing. Alongside referral nursing she spent a year as a lecturer for Cannington College teaching ANA students. She joined Coombefield in August 2012 after a year in a local Equine Referral Hospital. Whist at Coombefield she has completed a Certificate in Emergency and Critical care nursing.

She has a keen interest in wound management, orthopaedic and equine nursing and is a qualified pet health councillor.

The Nurses

Jane Adkin FdSc RVN (Maternity leave)  

Jane completed her training as a veterinary nurse at Coombefield in the summer of  2015. Previously she studied animal behaviour and welfare at University in Gloucester. Jane's main interests are in canine behaviour, anaesthesia and in-patient care



Chelsey Hayes RVN 

Chelsey qualified as a nurse in 2015.She enjoys spending time in the countryside riding and exercising her spaniel Luna. She has recently become part time due to becoming a mummy to her little boy Zebedee




Sophie Griffiths RVN 

Sophie qualified as a registered veterinary nurse in 2016 and has worked at Coombefield since 2012. Sophie recently has brought some pet chickens and has discovered how amazing they are as pets.




Kara Jennings FdSc RVN 

Kara started working at Coombefield Veterinary Hospital in 2014 as a student veterinary nurse whilst studying at Nottingham Trent University. Kara qualified in 2016. Her main areas of interest are nurse clinics and emergency and critical care. She is also a clinical coach to our student veterinary nurses. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and walking her springer spaniel.


Megan Knell RVN 

Megan qualified as a registered veterinary nurse in 2018. Megan runs our successful nurse clinics, such as weight clinics to help patients lose weight. In her spare time Megan enjoys beekeeping and exercise.




Dana Barker RVN 

Dana’s journey with Coombefield in 2011 when she did a week of work experience. She then worked Saturday mornings before being employed to gain a Level 2 Diploma as an animal nursing assistant. Dana then went on to be a student veterinary nurse, and after 3 years of studying, hard work and dedication, Dana qualified as a veterinary nurse.

‘After always wanting to be a veterinary nurse I am proud to say I am officially a registered veterinary nurse’


Amy Robinson  BSc(Hons) DipAVN DipHECVN NCert(A&CC) RVN  

Amy qualified as a registered veterinary nurse in 2004 from Cannington College, Yeovil. She has worked in a range of disciplines including orthopaedic, ophthalmology, emergency and critical care and working nights in a referral hospital. Amy joined Coombefield in 2008 and has gained a nursing certificate in Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Higher Education Certificate in Clinical veterinary nursing, Diploma in Small Animal Veterinary Nursing and BSc(Hons) in Clinical Veterinary Nursing and the BSAVA merit award in surgical nursing. Amy is also a clinical coach to Steph T and Robyn. Amy enjoys the anaesthetic, surgical and emergency aspects of veterinary nursing and working any night shift she can.

Amy also runs Coombefields website and Facebook.


Sandra De Seja Martin ISFMDipFN RVN 

Sandra qualified as a registereed veterinary nurse in 1998. Sandra holds the Diploma in Feline Nursing and ensures our nursing care is of high standard. Sandra owns 3 cats and enjoys Origami.




Nathalie Ford CERT ECC RVN 

Nathalie qualified in 2005 as a registered veterinary nurse. She has been at Coombefield for many years. Nat owns dogs, cats and rabbits. Nat has an interest in rabbit nursing and working night shifts. In her spare time, Nat loves Game of Thrones and Lego building.




Donna Mace RVN 

Donna qualified in 1999, and lectured at Bicton college for 10 years. Donna started at Coombefield Veterinary Hospital in 2015 and is also an OSCE examiner. Donna enjoys horse riding and has three small children who keep here busy in her spare time.



Abigail RVN 

Abi trained at a small animal and equine practice in the South East of England. She made the move to Coombefield earlier this year. Abi is passionate about inpatient care and enjoys working night shifts with emergency cases.



Chloe Millar SVN 

Chloe is a student veterinary nurse in her second year of training, and thoroughly enjoys horse riding and dog walking. Chloe has an interest in nursing clinics and puppy parties in the future.




Steph Toogood SVN

Steph is a student veterinary nurse, currently in her first year of training, and has a particular interest in exotic species. Before working at Coombefield, she studied a level 3 diploma in animal management. Outside of work, Steph enjoys photography and specialises in professional pet photoshoots. She also enjoys spending time with her nine rats and her dog, Bobby Socks.


Robyn Taylor 

Before coming to Coombefeld, Robyn worked as a Barista for 4 years. Robyn is currently studying the Level 2 Animal Nurse Assistant Diploma. Prior to this, she completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management at Bicton College. Robyn has a particular interest in rescue and rehabilitation and, in 2014, travelled to El Bosque in spain to volunteer in a local animal welfare shelter. Robyn has two cats, Rory and Nahla, and a cheeky Border Collie called Nellie.


Steph Young VCA SVN

Steph has worked at Coombefield since 2017 and qualified as a Veterinary Care Assistant (VCA) in 2018. Steph began her student veterinary nurse training in 2019. In her spare time Steph loves nothing more than interior decorating and sharing her designing secrets on Pinterest.



Chelsea Whatling  

Chelsea Whatling is one of out student animal nursing assistants. Chelsea started working at Coombefield in January 2019. She has completed a Level 3 Animal management course in Bicton. Chelsea will begin her student veterinary nurse training in September 2019.



Ella Jones 

Ella Jones is one of our student animal nurse assistants. She joined Coombefield in April after working at Cave Veterinary Referral hospital. Ella will start her student veterinary nurse training in September 2019.



George Skewes - Dispensary King

George graduated from Kingston University with a chemistry degree in 2016. George is also a retained firefigher for Dorset and Wiltsure Fire and Rescue Service. In his spare time he enjoys cycling and playing squash.




Iris Parkin 

Iris is a GCSE Student at the Woodroffe School who works every other Saturday morning. She has had an interest in animals since she was young, and enjoys spending time with the sickly patients and helping them recover. She aims to continue gaining experience in this field to eventually pursue a full-time career in the veterinary sciences.



Support Staff

Kylie Drysdale - Practice manager

Yvette Harris - Accounts

Carol Wood - Accounts



Hayley De Blois 

Hayley has been a receptionist at Coombefield since 2008. She has two dogs, two cats, guinea pigs and chickens. Hayley also has a keen interest in wildlife, Game of Thrones, sky diving and throwing surprise birthday parties for people.




Audrey Dicks 

Audrey has worked at Coombefield for many years. She has a flock of sheep, herd of goats, dogs, chickens, ducks and doves. Audrey also loves cooking, gardening and makes an amazing pavlova.




Kate Cross 

Kate joined Coombefield in 2016. She has two cats and 2 dogs. Kate enjoys helping old people cross the road (whether they want it or not).




Lucy Mortimer 

Lucy has worked at Coombefield since 2010. When not working, she spends time with her family and looks after her cats and rabbits. Lucy loves astronomy and writes to Elon Musk weekly to see if she can get a free trip to Mars.




Caron Moss 

Caron has worked at Coombefield since May 2016 and her spare time is spent dog walking, BASE jumping, sudoku and reading.




Josie Cable (On maternity leave)

Josie joined Coombefield in 2017 and since completed her SQP qualification in companion animals and avian species. She has a lively, young sprocker, a cat and children to keep her busy outside of work!




Karen Rattew

Former civil engineer, settled wit her husband, step daughter and 2 labradors in Devon. Karen has worked at Coombefield since September 2017. In her spare time, she enjoys kayaking, walking and outdoor activities.


Alison Latham

Alison settled in Devon in 2013 and is passionate about exploring the county. She enjoys riding and dog-walking as well as keeping chickens and goats. Alison is a member of a local boules team and also plays table tennis regularly.


Katie Millar

Katie has 12 years Veterinary Practice experience along with a degree in Animal Science and Behaviour, coming from a background of Veterinary Canine Rehabilitation and a Veterinary Hydrotherapist in a previous life! She has a keen interest in dog training and behaviour and enjoys training with her rescue Sprollie "Suzie" as well as walking, gardening and enjoying countryside pursuits.


Seaton Surgery

Emelie Real RVN Ctlls  

Emelie started working at Coombefield in March 2008 as a student veterinary nurse. In October 2010 she qualified as a registered veterinary nurse after passing her exams.

She has a certificate in teaching in the life long learning sector so is able to teach veterinary nursing. She is also a clinical coach at the practice to help the students qualify.

She enjoys the medical side of nursing and having involvement in caring for sick inpatients. The main thing she loves about her job is the variety – no 2 days are ever the same!

Claire Wise

Claire is a qualified Permaculture Designer who joined Coombefield in 2015 after living afloat cruising the inland waterways. Prior to that Claire ran a smallholding near Hawkchurch. Presently Claire lives in Seaton with her husband and son.

Helen Wilkinson

Helen started working at Coombefield in 2016 and works at our Seaton Practice.

Lotte Lewis ANA 

Lotte completed the Level 2 Diploma as an animal nursing assistant in 2018. Before working at Coombefield, Lotte studied dog behaviour and ran a successful dog walking/sitting business for 10 years. Lotte has always supported rescues, having rescue dogs of her own. She also owns horses and is interested in western riding and horse behaviour.

Angie Tomlin

Angie has been working at Coombefield for many years and works every Saturday morning at our Seaton Practice.

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