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 Veterinary Hospital 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 Veterinary Hospital 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)



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.



Miss 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 at internship at a local equine hospital before joining Coombefield Veterinary Hospital 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.





Dr Carrie Daly BVM BVS MRCVS

Carrie 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 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 Veterinary Hospital 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

Emelie Real RVN Ctlls  

Emelie started working at Coombefield Veterinary Hospital in March 2008 as a student veterinary nurse. In October 2010 she qualified as a registered veterinary nurse after passing my 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!

Jane Adkin FdSc SVN

Jane completed her training as a Veterinary Nurse at Coombefield Veterinary Hospital 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 completed her nurse training at CVH in 2016 - She currently helps and supports our student nurses and is passionate about inpatient care.

Sophie Griffith RVN

Sophie started at Coombefield Veterinary Hospital as a work experience student, did her nurse training here also and is now a member of the team. She has a particular interest in caring for inpatients. 

Sandra De Seja-Martin RVN

Sandra started working as a trainee with a veterinary practice in Somerset while attending Bicton College of Agriculture and completed my training in 1999.

She has worked in various locations including the RSPCA and Cyprus Military Working Dog Support Unit.

She joined Coombefield Veterinary Hospital in December 2013, returning to work after a career break to look after her daughter. She enjoy all aspects of veterinary nursing but particularly enjoy surgical and emergency nursing. She was instumental in helping get the practice to ISFM cat friendly GOLD standard. She has also gained her post graduate diploma in feline nursing.

Kara Jennings 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 students. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and walking her springer spaniel


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.



Megan Knell RVN

Megan qualified in August 2017. She has a passion for inpatient care, laboratory diagnostic and has an interest in running nurse clinics. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, walking in the countryside, arts and crafts.




Amy Robinson 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, she is also a clinical coach to our student veterinary nurses. Amy enjoys the anaesthetic, surgical and emergency aspects of veterinary nursing. As a multiple cat owner myself I am an enthusistic supported of the fact that our practice is ISFM accredited "cat Friendly"

Dana Barker SVN

Dana, having completed here ANA and Nurse training at CVH has fulfilled her dream of becoming a veterinary nurse. Dana enjoys spending time with her two dogs and is looking forward to future endeavours.



Abigail Neale

Abi trained at a small animal and equine practice in Surrey and qualified as a small animal veterinary nurse in April 2018. She moved back to Devon after qualifying and made the move to Coombefield Veterinary Hospital shortly after.
She's passionate about inpatient care and enjoy working night shifts with emergency cases. Abi will soon be starting a certificate in emergency and critical care.
Abi doesn't have any pets of her own to love at the moment butshe and her husband are on the waiting list for a working Labrador puppy early 2019

Simone Fishlock SVN

Simone is a student veterinary nurse in her second year of college and has been a member of Coombefield since 2014. She is interested in surgical nursing and infection control. She enjoys taking part in endurance runs and attending the gym in her spare time.



Chloe Millar SVN

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




Stephanie 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 two rats and her dog, Bobby Socks.

Lotte Lewis

Lotte completed her Level 2 Diploma as an animal nursing assistant here at Coombefield 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. Lotte loves being involved in the care of our feline patients as a supporter of our ISFM Cat Friendly clinic.

Steph Young

Steph is currently studying her level2 diploma as an animal nursing assistant. Before coming to Coombefield she was a racehorse groom for both national hunt and point to point. She has a dog and a cat and enjoys going out often for long country walks.

Robyn Taylor: 

Robyn is currently studying Level 2 Animal Nursing Assistant course, she previously studied Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management.  Before Coombefield Robyn worked as a Barista for 4.5 years. 


George Skewes

George graduated from Kingston University with a chemistry degree in 2016. When not in the pharmacy, George spends time playing squash or lacrosse for Epsom. He also has two dogs, Frosty and Suzie who he enjoys spending time with.



Support Staff

Practice Manager

Stuart SaundersStuart Saunders

Stuart started working in the City of London as a trader in 1984 before moving to HK in 1993 to establish the business in Asia. Since leaving the city in 2002 he has been the practice manager of a firm of solicitors before moving into the veterinary world in 2007. In 2016 he was elected to the board of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG) an organisation dedicated to improving the management of Veterinary Practices across the country

He is married with 4 children, He has an aging lab/springer crossbreed and a Cat. He is keen on music, travel, golf, fly- fishing, horse racing and all countryside and conservation matters. He is also a Supervising Steward for Glastonbury Festival running a team of 275 volunteers.He has also volunteered for disaster recovery programs in flood areas in the uk and Serbia



Office Staff

Carol Wood - Accounts Payable

Yvette Harris - IT, Accounts Receivable

Yvette has been at Coombefield since 2011. She has a dog called Chica and a cat called Bee. When not in the office, you will find her rowing around Lyme Bay with the Lyme Regic gig club.


Reception Staff

Kirsty Price ( Head Receptionist Axminster)

Kirsty is a qualified funeral director who adores cats!




Audrey Dicks

Audrey has worked at Coombefield for many many years. She has a flock of sheep, herd of goats, dogs and poultry. Audrey also loves cooking.




Emma Price (Head Receptionist - Seaton)

Emma has worked at Coombefield for over 10 years. When she’s not in reception, her three children, puppy and two cats keep her busy!




Hayley Deblois

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.




Lucy Mortimer

Lucy has worked at Coombefield since 2010. When not working, she spends time with     her family and looks after her 3 cats.



Deby Henderson

Jenny Dillon

Jenny has worked at Coombefield for 18 months. She has recently got married in Turkey and can’t cook!




Caron Moss

Caron is a former military wife and civil servant, now settled in Devon with her husband. Caron also has two children and two dogs. She has worked at Coombefield since May 2016 and her spare time is spent dog walking, fly fishing, doing crosswords and reading.



Kate Cross

After a lifetime of working in the oil and gas exploration industry, Kate had a career change in 2016 and joined Coombefield. She has always had a house full of various pets – she currently has two cats and 2 dogs, including one which she recently rescued from Spain.



Josie Cable





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.




Katie Millar

Katie joined Coombefield in 2012 having been the office manager she has decided to rebalance her life and has rejoined the reception team on a part time basis.




Alison Latham

Claire Wise (Seaton)

Helen Wilkinson (Seaton)

Angie Tomlin (Seaton)




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Manor RoadSeatonDevonEX12 2AQ01297 24896find us