Our team at Merewether Vet Hospital


Dr Christopher Holland BSc(Vet) BVSc PhD

Dr Christopher Holland has been providing veterinary care in Merewether for almost 25 years. He graduated with honours from the University of Sydney in 1982. After 4 years in small animal practice he then completed a PhD in neurophysiology (University of Sydney) and continued post doctoral research in this field at the universities of Cambridge (UK) and Newcastle (NSW). He has a particular interest in veterinary neurology and has published many peer reviewed papers in this field. Chris also has decades of experience in small animal general practice and is interested in all aspects of medical and surgical care of dogs and cats. In 2014 he became a director and part owner of Merewether Veterinary Hospital.

Dr Karen Catchpole BVSc Hons 1

Karen graduated from the University of Sydney in 2001, and has been a veterinarian at Merewether Veterinary Hospital for 10 years. After graduation, Karen spent 4 years in small animal practices in Western Australia, before returning to Newcastle in 2005. She started at Merewether Veterinary Hospital straight away and has never left! She is now an owner and director. Karen enjoys all aspects of general practice, and the challenge of seeing the unexpected. Karen enjoys an active life outside Merewether Veterinary Hospital with her husband, 2 busy boys, a spirited Labrador named Marty, and a shy cat named Tim.

Dr Felicity Cole BVSc Hons1 PhD

Felicity graduated from the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1997. She began her career in mixed animal practice in Armidale, NSW, before going to the United Kingdom where she worked as a locum in several busy small animal practices. Between 2000 and 2004 she completed a PhD in veterinary epidemiology at the universities of Sydney and Glasgow, before moving to Newcastle in 2005. Felicity worked part-time at the Newcastle Animal Emergency Centre for 5 years, and has now worked at Merewether Veterinary Hospital for over 7 years, where she is an owner and director. Her interests are small animal internal medicine, improving patient care, and veterinary epidemiology. Felicity has a cat-loving Labrador named Minerva, a dog-despising cat named Austen, and a cheeky parrot named Beaky.

Veterinary Nurses & Support Staff

Katherine at Merewether VetKatherine Longbottom

Katherine has been part of the Merewether Veterinary Hospital team since November 2007, completing her Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing in 2009, achieving an award for excelling in all areas of the course. Katherine loves all aspects of her vet nursing career and has a particular interest in radiology, pathology ad assisting with surgeries. Katherine has always had a passion for animals and decided this would be her chosen career from a young age. Katherine enjoys her life out at Kurri Kurri and owns a naughty ‘hair tie/bread-eating’ Burmese cat named Moet, a skittish domestic short hair cat called Mater and a variety of reptiles (too many to name!)

Ashlee, staff member of Merewether Veterinary HospitalAshlee Rehbein

Ashlee has been working at Merewether Veterinary Hospital since starting her Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing at Kurri Kurri TAFE in the year 2009. Ashlee began this course after graduating year 12 at Lambton High School as she has always had a keen interest in the care of animals. Over the 6 years of employment, her role has varied from being a kennel hand, to grooming, and, she is now one of our full-time nurses assisting in most of the clinics daily duties which include surgical procedures, reception duties, and teaching our Puppy Preschool classes. Her fur-babies are “Calvin” the cat, who was a neighbourhood stray. He is now the big brother to “Zara” the Great Dane x Bull Mastiff. They are the best of friends and enjoy chasing each other back and forth around the house.

Jessica, vet nurse at Merewether VetJessica Griffiths

Jessica is one of our longest serving veterinary nurses. She joined us when she first embarked on her veterinary nurse training, and in the 9 years since has become a vital part of our team. She enjoys all aspects of veterinary nursing, with a particular interest in surgical nursing, in-patient treatment and puppy pre-school. Her calm and efficient manner ensures that all animals have excellent care while in our hospital. Jessica has 2 adopted furry friends, both acquired through MVH. Her feline friend Cleo, the naughty tortie and her canine companion, Alfie the whippet aka Alfie the whimpet.

Jennifer, staff member of Merewether Vet hospitalJennifer Carter-Smith BSc Capt Vert Mgt

Jennifer has always been passionate about animals and began studying towards a career within the animal industry at the age of 16. During 9 years of study she was awarded a scholarship and graduated with full distinctions across 5 certified courses; including Veterinary Nursing and Captive Animals (Zookeeping) through Hunter TAFE, then continuing onto a Post-Graduate Bachelor of Science in Captive Vertebrate Management through Charles Sturt University in 2010. This included 6 years as a volunteer ranger at Blackbutt Reserve and zookeeping within various zoos of Australia.

She has also had much experience in domestic animal grooming and has been tutored by Master Groomers from Germany and across Australia via The Grooming School. During this time Jennifer has worked within the animal industry as a veterinary nurse, zookeeper, park ranger, groomer and pet au pair. She has a special interest in native wildlife, exotic fauna and their conservation.

Sharon, Veterinary Nurse at Merewether VetSharon Roche

Sharon joined the team at Merewether Veterinary Hospital in May, 2014 after completing her Cert IV Veterinary Nursing course in 2012 with mostly distinctions, and Cert II Animal Studies course in 2010 winning an Award for Excellence. Animals, and particularly dogs have been a passion all her life, with over 40 years experience in conformation showing, handling, grooming, show management, obedience training, and participation in most performance dog sports, as well as completing the Delta Pets as Therapy training.

Sharon also has an interest in animal behaviour and dog reproduction having worked in the area of artificial insemination specialising in surgical artificial insemination and caesareans. She has also assisted in the whelping of a number of litters from different breeds.

Sharon’s current dog is a Bearded Collie who as well as being one of the country’s top show dogs of his Breed, has several obedience and herding titles, and in addition has appeared in several advertising campaigns including being the poster dog for Frontline and Convenia. For several years Sharon has also bred, shown and exported Fancy Mice to several States specialising in Siamese and Snowtigers in all coat varieties and including manx.

GabriellaGabriella McFadyen

In 2009 Garbiella began her Cert II in Animal Studies, and continued on to Veterinary Nursing the following year. While studying, she did her placement at a mixed practice in Dubbo, where she gained employment and worked for a further 2 years. In 2012 she moved to Maitland where she worked at a small animal practice for 2 years, before taking a transfer to their Rutherford clinc, where she now works part-time.

Gabriella’s current role at Merewether began in 2014 as a casual nurse, where she thoroughly enjoys the working environment, and the high standard of care patients receive. She is currently studying a Diploma in General Practice and looks forward to learning new skills to improve her nursing capabilities. Gabriella is chief carer to her mischievious girls, Poppy the Papillon, and Kenya the Sheltie.

Kristen, nursing staff at Merewether vetKristen Russell

Kristen has been working at Merewether Veterinary Hospital since 2011. She started off doing work placement while studying her Cert 4 in Veterinary Nursing, and then gained employment as a casual nurse. Kristen has had a passion for animals her whole life, growing up on a farm gave her experience with a large range of different animals big and small. Kristen loves all aspects of veterinary nursing and enjoys assisting with surgery. Kristen has a Toy Foxie named Gypsy, a rabbit named Baxter, and a bird named Barney.

Shelley, staff member of Merewether vet practiceShelley-Marie Smith

Shelley has been a valuable member of Merewether Veterinary Hospital since June 2011, her primary position being that of Administration, Payroll and Accounts Officer. Along the way Shelley’s journey has evolved somewhat and as well as maintaining day to day running of the business, she has also become an all-rounder in admitting/discharging animals and assisting in basic care of patients, as well as really enjoying the face to face interactions with clients. Most importantly, Shelley holds dear the priority of being Chief Animal Cuddler within the practice and is also highly appreciated for her staff’s birthday cake cutting skills.

Shelley has a love for animals and has done all her life so feels that being part of a veterinary team in combination with her vast experience and skillsets in an office environment, that she has found and established her perfect career. Shelley enjoys a busy family life that wouldn’t at all be the same without her bouncy 3 year old Cavalier X ‘Sonny’, inherited old boy Cavalier ‘Cruz’, her dainty little Tabby cat ‘Sweetpea’, and newly rescued addition Abyssian X, very cheeky ‘Nacho’.

Oreo the clinic catOreo the Clinic Cat

Oreo was born August 2013 and surrendered to Merewether Veterinary Hospital as an abandoned sickly stray kitten. With lots of love and care he soon flourished into the healthy yet naughty feline he is today. Oreo is unique in his black and white markings and was named with the nursing staff’s fondness for sweet treats in mind. His favourite hobbies include: sleeping, snacking, supervising his humans, digging through garbage for hidden treasures and generally being mischievious. Oreo is often seen greeting clientele at the front counter and is a much-loved furry member of the Merewether Veterinary Hospital team.