9 ELIZABETH ST, CASTLEMAINE VIC 3450

Our Veterinarians

DR BRUCE SYME

Dr Bruce graduated from Melbourne University vet school in 1991 with first class honors, after completing a 3 yr science degree with a major in molecular genetics. Bruce became a certified veterinary acupuncturist in 1995, and continued further studies in nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathy. Bruce has a wide range of interests in veterinary medicine, including both small and large animals.

Bruce enjoys using natural therapies, combined with traditional orthodox medicine, and has a special interest in nutrition and the links to chronic disease in dogs and cats, particularly in treating skin disease.

Dr Bruce started the Healthy Pets veterinary clinic in Castlemaine back in 1998, after managing several practices in Melbourne, and has enjoyed seeing it grow into a busy 4 vet practice.

“Why? – I love animals, it’s that simple. I have always enjoyed a special bond with dogs and cats, back since I was a little boy. They bring out my empathy and passion to heal. Since moving to Castlemaine over 20 years ago, that empathy has extended to horses and livestock of all types, and I find my life surrounded in animals, both at work, and at home, with multiple dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, chickens and turkey to keep us company in Yapeen.

When not working (LOL) I also enjoy being creative in my workshop, and getting away for the odd fishing trip or a spot of motorbike riding. My wife April and two children Sunny and Sam, seem to share my love of animals, or at least they tolerate my enthusiasm for having them around.”

DR DEAN BRIDGFOOT

Dr Dean graduated from Melbourne Vet School in the dark ages before the internet and when mobile phones were HUGE!

He has worked in Hong Kong, Scotland, El Salvador and recently Thailand. A confirmed recent convert to soccer (football). Dean is the father of 3 lads and is married to Carolyn, a wild Scotswoman. They have lived in Castlemaine since 2001. He loves working with cows and chooks, but definitely not with the big factory farms and feedlots.

He’s an unrepentant optimist who reckons the Western Bulldogs will eventually win a flag.

DR SACHINI FERNANDO

Dr. Sachini Fernando graduated in 2015 from Sri Lanka. After working some time in Sri Lanka, she traveled to Europe and Asia with her husband before settling in Australia.
She then pursued her interest to become qualified in Australia by following the National Veterinary Examination process.
She started working in the Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic in 2020.
In her spare time, she likes to travel and explore new places and food.

Our Management Team

ROBIN SYME

Robin was introduced to the beauty of the Castlemaine region over fifteen years ago when her brother Bruce first moved there. It was not long after this that she also decided to move here and now lives on a small rural block in Yandoit with her partner and their two dogs; an exuberant young Vizsla and a very tolerant Whippet.

After many years of working on the accounting side of family businesses, she has found it great to continue this line of work at Healthy Pets vet clinic and to become part of a terrific team of caring and dedicated professionals. Another facet of her work here as head of HR and financial administrator, involves supporting our team to achieve best work place practice for the personal and professional satisfaction of all our staff. In this role she draws on her years of experience working as a counsellor in both the welfare sector and private practice.

“Knowing how much joy our pets bring us, I feel lucky to be able to work with and support a fantastic  team of highly skilled and caring people who provide the highest quality of veterinary care to the animals and families in our community.”

LAURON GOWTY

Lauron has alway has a great passion for animal welfare. After leaving school she spent a lot of her time working on Polo studs in the surrounding areas.

In 2010 started on her journey on becoming a Qualified Veterinary Nurse, spending 6 years at Hepburn Veterinary Clinic then joining the awesome Healthy Pets team in Castlemaine in January 2017.

Lauron is local to the Castlemaine area, has 2 children and a beautiful Dogue De Bordeaux “Bugsie”.

HOSPITAL COORDINATOR

Our Nursing Team

CHELSEA WHITE

Chelsea grew up around Daylesford and has loved animals and been riding horses her whole life. She worked at Boomerang Ranch trail rides in Daylesford since her high school days and still spend some weekends there. Chelsea has also worked on a cattle station on the Barkley in North Queensland and from there decided to come back home and begin studying. She studied her certificate IV in veterinary nursing at Bendigo tafe and was over the moon to graduate. Chelsea  is working at Healthy pets veterinary clinic  in a combined role as veterinary nurse and receptionist.

Chelsea have a miniture dachshund, an NQ bullarab and a couple of horses.  Chelsea says “I love the team I work with and the services the clinic can offer clients and pets”.

CLIENT CARE TEAM

MELANIE STEPHANSON

I began working at healthy pets at the start of 2017 as a trainee. I am in my second and final year of nursing now. From a young age I knew I wanted to work with animals. In my spare time I enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family

NURSE

Kate Allen

My name is Kate, I’m a Castlemaine Local.
I’m a newly qualified Nurse but have always been passionate about animal health and well-being. The medical and emergency side is definitely my favorite part of my job, and I LOVE the science behind everything, as well as all the cuddles (I can’t resist a puppy).

In my spare time, I spend it with my partner, son, and friends, usually camping, four-wheel driving, or anything outdoors. I have 3 gorgeous and goofy dogs and a Quarter Horse.

NURSE

Katherine Dretzke

After a life of working in Children’s books, studying horticulture, and doing all sorts of weird and wonderful jobs, Katherine has settled herself down in the arms of the Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic team.

Currently studying Cert 3 in animal studies (so close to finishing), Katherine will continue on to study Cert 4 in Vet Nursing.

Katherine lives with 3 cats, a kelpie, 5 rabbits, 8 chickens, and a goose name Petunia whom she talks to more than her neighbors would like her to.

NURSE

Marcus Karlen

Marcus has joined Healthy Pets as a vet nurse while working toward a veterinary degree. As an overseas qualified vet and holder of a Masters in Animal Welfare science from Melbourne University, Marcus strengthens further the already experienced, passionate, caring nurse and animal care team at Healthy Pets.

With an extensive background in horse care and welfare experience within the breeding and racing industries, farm animal veterinary practice, welfare research for pigs, chickens and horses, and personal interests in large breed dogs, the wild lizards trying to take over his farm, his beloved horse, and the kangaroos that use his backyard as a highway, Marcus is a true advocate for all creatures great and small.

NURSE

Colleen Garsed

Colleen Garsed is a gifted Obedience Trainer for Adult Dogs and Puppies.

Colleen was born and raised in a small country town in SA and after being surrounded by animals and animal loving people, Vet nursing seemed to be the natural pathway for her to take.

She moved to Vic in 1983 and began Vet Nursing at Berwick in 1984. In 1985 Colleen started working at Maryborough Vet Practice where she commenced study for her Vet Nursing Certificate at Box Hill College and graduated in 1987. Whilst working at Maryborough Colleen completed a 12 month course at Kintala Dog Obedience Club to become a qualified Dog Obedience Instructor. In April 2001 she left Maryborough Vet Practice and commenced work at Healthy Pets Veterinary Clinic.

In 2002 Colleen started Training Wheels a Dog Obedience School, running classes at Healthy Pets and Newstead. In 2005 she had the opportunity of becoming a partner at our clinic which gave her career another aspect which she continues to enjoy.  During 2007 – 2009 Colleen completed her Certificate 4 in Companion Animal Services with The Delta Society. She feels very strongly towards responsible pet ownership and through all her experiences and study she assists people in training their dogs to become valuable members of their family and the community.

Colleen and her husband Andrew share their home with 2 dogs, a cat and some chooks. In her spare time Colleen enjoys walking, gardening and cooking.

For more information on puppy class times please contact Colleen directly.

Phone: (03) 54 762 573
Email: colleengarsed@bigpond.com

PUPPY SCHOOL- Training Wheels

MEAGAN HARRISON

Meagan has a special interest in physiotherapy and alternative therapies and nutrition.
She also has a passion for horses and horsemanship training.
Meagan is a nurse with 13 years experience in the veterinary industry as well as a qualified myofunctional therapist.
Meagan has a German shepherd named Shadow, Millie , who is a staghound X and Smokey her cat as well as 4 horses.

Valley Complementary Animal Therapies

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