About Us

Our Veterinarians

Dr James Tiernan


James was raised in country Queensland. After growing up with lots of pets, becoming a veterinarian was a natural progression for James.

Following graduation with a Veterinary Science degree from the University of Queensland in 2001 James moved to the UK and worked in several busy small animal clinics dealing with dogs, cats, and many other small furry patients that are common in the UK such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice and birds. Whilst in the UK James successfully passed examinations in a General Practitioner Certificate in Small Animal Medicine [GPCert (SAM)] through the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies. This was extremely useful in helping James to further build his skills in small animal medicine.

After spending eight years in the UK, James returned to Australia with Jane. On returning to Australia, James spent a short period of time at the University of Queensland Veterinary Small Animal Hospital before moving to Victoria and starting employment at the Western Animal Emergency Centre based at Werribee which is part of the Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital in 2009.

In June 2010 James and Jane were very excited to take over ownership of the Highton Veterinary clinic; it had long been their dream to have their own clinic. They have enjoyed working with the very capable staff and meeting all the clients and their pets.

James’ main interest is mostly in small animal medicine, especially emergency medicine. He also has a soft spot for cats (particularly British Short Hairs) and loves Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Outside of work James keeps busy with his young children Seamus, Niamh, Aislin and Declan and enjoys cycling and the odd run. His pets Abbie, Paddy & Fergus keep him busy.

At the clinic you can see James for just about anything related to your pets health, but in particular general medicine and emergency cases, as well as all pocket pets.

Dr Jane Tiernan


Jane is originally from Drysdale and always wanted to be a veterinarian from a very early age after growing up surrounded by animals. She attended school in Geelong before starting her Veterinary Science studies at the University of Melbourne. After attaining her Veterinary degree in 2000 Jane worked in mixed practice in Bendigo before moving to the UK for seven years. During her time in the UK Jane worked in several locum positions around England and Wales before taking a job at a busy Veterinary Charity Hospital in London.

After Jane married her husband James, they left the UK and moved back to her hometown Geelong and Jane took on a job at the Corio Veterinary Clinic before coming to Highton. Jane and James took over ownership of the Highton Veterinary Clinic in mid-2010.

Jane has done postgraduate studies in Small Animal Medicine and has been admitted to the Medicine Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. She has also done additional study in small animal surgery with the University of Sydney Post Graduate Foundation course. Jane enjoys both small animal medicine and surgery cases.

Jane and James have a very spoilt dog called Abbie, who is often seen around the clinic and their cats Paddy, and Fergus. Lucky Paddy was brought back with Jane and James from the UK and is thoroughly enjoying his new Australian life.

These days Jane spends more time with their young family than in the  in the consulting room keeping their tribe of kids out of trouble Seamus, Niamh, Aislin and Declan.

At the clinic you can see Jane for just about anything related to your pets health, but in particular general medicine and surgery cases.

Dr Susanne Jacker


Sue is a local Geelong girl, growing up in Highton. After finishing her secondary schooling in Geelong she went to the University of Melbourne and completed a Veterinary Science degree graduating in 1997. After graduation Sue moved back to Geelong and has now been working at the Highton Veterinary Clinic for over ten years. During her time at the clinic she has gained a wealth of knowledge in the veterinary world and has developed a strong rapport with many of the clients and their pets. Sue is known for her bubbly personality and caring nature.

Sue’s special interests are feline medicine and ultrasonography, and she has done numerous courses on these subjects. Having two Birman cats herself, she has been known to spend ages doting on these cats given the opportunity. However Sue enjoys all animals brought into the clinic, especially the dogs she’s taught in puppy class that have gone on to mature into lovely pets and companions.

Sue works part time as spends the rest of the time being Mum to her little son Jay.

At the clinic you can see Sue for just about anything related to your pet’s health, but in particular ultrasonography and feline medicine cases.

Dr Marion Vince


Marion moved to Geelong two years ago from Gippsland. Since then she has been thrilled to be part of the team at Highton Vet Clinic.

Marion graduated from Murdoch University in Western Australia in 2008 and since then has immersed herself in a variety of large and small animal veterinary care. The personal and unique bond between humans and their furry family members has drawn her to focus just on small animal medicine and surgery (although she does miss tubing horses and pulling calves at midnight!).

In her spare time Marion enjoys running her dogs on the beach, bike-riding at the Youies, and swimming.

At the clinic you can see Marion for just about anything related to your pets health, but in particular, she has a keen interest in emergency medicine and feline medicine and likes to keep updated on all the latest research.

Dr Luke Ellis


Luke is new to Geelong and new to the clinic. He has massive interest in surgery cases, so if you need something cut off or repaired he can’t wait to see you! Luke has recently moved with his partner from Ballarat where he had been working in a local vet clinic for the past 3 years.

Luke is enjoying seeing a greater variety of interesting cases amongst our patients. He is also hoping to do more study in the area of small animal surgery and says Highton Vet Clinic really offers a great opportunity for gaining experience in the field.

Luke has a chocolate Labrador named Charlie Brown. Outside of work he enjoys exploring the wineries around Geelong and on the Bellarine. He is also a big sports fan especially of Los Angeles in the NHL hockey. Oh and he barracks for Collingwood!

At the clinic you can see Luke for just about anything related to your pets health, and particularly for soft tissue and orthopaedic related surgery.

Dr Rachael Johnstone


Rachael is another local girl, she has lived most of her life in Geelong. She graduated with first class honours from Melbourne University. Her first job was in Geelong Clinic establishing her skills in small animal practice.

After a couple of years she took the opportunity to pursue her dream of dairy cattle practice in Warrnambool. She spent over 2 years performing calvings in the wind and rain and loved every minute of it. Her next position was working in emergency medicine at the Western Animal Emergency Centre at the Melbourne University Vet Clinic and Hospital.

More recently she has worked Saturdays part time while raising her family of four young children. She has 2 young cats, Garfield and Nermal (named by the kids) and 3 backyard chooks. In her small amount of spare time she enjoys baking, especially with chocolate.

At the clinic you can see Rachael for just about anything related to your pets health, but in particular general medicine and emergency cases.

Dr Mahala Gunther

Mahala grew up in the Geelong region and after 15 years of living a working in both Australia and overseas, she has recently returned to Geelong to join the team at Highton Vet.

Mahala has a mixed background having started her career in environmental science before moving to NSW to pursue a veterinary career with a mixed practice focus; taking up additional roles in animal welfare and wildlife rescue.

Mahala’s family is always growing with Ming a giant Tibetan mastiff, Athena a tiny Pomerian X and a Lani- a medium sized good mix of everything. She is also looking forward to her two cats, two chickens and rabbit joining her and her partner soon as they settle into Geelong.

In her spare time, you will often find Mahala at the beach with her dogs, enjoying live music, mountain biking or camping with friends.

At the clinic you can see Mahala for just about anything relating to your pet’s health. Her special interests are dermatology and skin, allergy and immune-based disease, endocrinology, avian health and diseases of our older geriatric patients.

Dr Marguerite Treloar

DVM BSc (Hons)

Marguerite recently moved to Geelong from Werribee. She is excited to join the team at Highton Vet Clinic.

Marguerite was raised on a farm near Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales. She undertook a biology degree at the University of Wollongong on the New South Wales south coast after finishing school. Motivated by the variety and challenge offered by a veterinary career, she later completed her veterinary studies at the University of Melbourne.

Marguerite has two guinea pigs and is planning on getting some chickens soon. Outside of work she enjoys swimming, the outdoors, cooking, travelling, reading, sewing and other crafts and spending time with her family and friends.

At the clinic you can see Marguerite for just about anything relating to your pets health. Her special interests are dentistry and unusual pets, particularly rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens

Dr Kristian  Danorwayan


Kristian has been fortunate to have a life of living in various countries around the world from a young and is now a recent addition to Geelong, and he loves it here.

He studied marine science at Boston University, before completing his veterinary degree from the University of Melbourne. Originally the plan was to study astrophysics and become an astronaut, but decided that planet Earth had plenty to offer. During his stint as a penguin caretaker at the New England Aquarium, he aspired to become a veterinarian and is now ready to start his career.

Kristian’s special interest are aquariums and aquaculture. He concentrates his efforts to expand his budding clinical skills and include aquatic medicine. Kristian hopes to provide service to those who keep finned friends in the future.

To unwind outside of the clinic, Kristian tends to watch TV with his three-legged cat, Peggy. He is enthusiastic about his video games, board games, fried chicken, and disc golf. If you stroll along Barwon Valley Park you may catch him on certain afternoons having a throw.

At the clinic you can see Kristian for just about anything relating to your pet’s health. Her special interests are medical cases.

Dr Cristina Pearce

BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (Eq Med) MVS

Cristina has recently returned back to Highton Vet Clinic after several years away, she promises to update you all soon.

At the clinic you can see Cristina  just about anything relating to your pets health. Her special interests are dermatology. 

Dr Carlos Donoghue 


Carlos as recently started at Highton Vet after moving down south from Qld, he promises to update you all soon.

At the clinic you can see Carlos  just about anything relating to your pets health. 

Our Veterinary Nurses


Head Nurse and Surgical Coordinator

 Melissa started her veterinary nursing in Portland in 2001, before moving to Geelong in 2006 and starting at the Highton Veterinary Clinic.
Apart from her duties as the Nurse Manager Hospital and Surgery, Melissa enjoys nursing surgical cases and is interested in the area of pathology.
Her pets include the charming William who was previously Clinic cat, as well as Thomas and Eric.
Melissa is an ardent pet lover and during the spring and summer months she is a foster mum to unwanted and orphaned kittens, looking after them until they are big enough to find good homes. Melissa has been fantastic with caring for the kittens that come through the clinic and looking after them until they are able to be adopted through our Adoption program.
In November 2012 she was awarded the Cenvet Nurse of the Year 2012 for her dedication to the profession of Veterinary Nursing.




Head Nurse and Reception Coordinator

Jo became a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse in 2009 after some years spent in dog grooming and as a wildlife keeper at a sanctuary.
Since October of 2018, she has been the Nurse Manager for Consult and Reception, so you can rely on Jo for the smooth running of our front-of-house team.
Jo loves travelling overseas every year, and she also enjoys hiking and visiting wineries with friends on weekends spent away.


Deputy Head Nurse Coordinator

Laura is originally from Shepparton and has done a lot of travelling in her past. It was in 2004 in New Zealand whilst driving in the pouring snow, she saw a cute border collie dog in a ute speckled in snow where she had an epiphany she wanted to be a vet nurse. Fast forward 13 years and Laura has volunteered in Thailand at an animal rescue centre, locumed at clinics all over Melbourne and worked in Tweed Heads on the beach. Laura’s passion is caring for hospital patients and dealing with emergencies and nursing your pets back to full health.

Outside of the clinic Laura’s passions are cooking, spending time with her two cheeky cats and singing and playing bass and guitar in her two bands.


Veterinary Nurse

 Studying at the same time as Jo, Sarah also qualified in Veterinary Nursing in 2009.

Sarah has been fostering greyhounds since August 2017 and enjoys helping to find forever homes for homeless greyhounds. Sarah is also very fond of the smaller animals and loves giving cuddles to all the little ferrets that come into the clinic.

Sarah is passionate about helping owners and their pets that are going through difficult times with terminal illness and euthanasia. She is a dedicated nurse and enjoys being involved in the nursing of sick animals in the clinic back to good health.

Sarah also has a creative side which she likes to indulge in when not at work, and is especially partial to music, cooking, photography, drawing, and is currently writing a fantasy novel.


Veterinary Nurse 

Simone qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1986, and is often quoted as saying she loves veterinary nursing so much she would work for free!
Kept busy with her family and pets, Simone is very experienced in caring for your pets and passing on valuable advice for owners.
Simone loves to chat so she is always happy to answer any queries clients may have and to pass on tips from her wealth of knowledge.
Simone has a soft spot for Pugs and has bred several litters. Currently she has three pugs named Bronte, Poppy and Remi and cat named Barry


Veterinary Nurse

Tania is loving nursing as a profession after becoming qualified in November 2014. She has a passion for all animals especially pocket pets and small dogs.
Tania has 2 Chihuahuas, Barney and Jedda, a cat named Milky, and a bearded dragon named Pogo.
When not at work, Tania enjoys spending time with her two children, going to the gym, running and hanging out with friends.


Veterinary Nurse

Jemma has been nursing at Highton Vet Clinic for 5 years after graduating in November 2016 with a Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing.

Jemma enjoys all aspects of her nursing role, especially assisting the vets in surgery, and in nursing sick patients back to health.
Jemma has three gorgeous dogs, Billy, a German shepherd, Lulu the spoodle, and Willow a groodle, as well as a cat named Kiara.
Outside of work Jemma enjoys catching up with friends, playing netball, running and taking her dogs to the beach.


Veterinary Nurse

Louise has been nursing since 2003 and became fully qualified in 2006. She is also a registered microchip implanter.
Her biggest love in Veterinary Nursing is routine and emergency surgery and she has a big soft spot for geriatric patients.
Louise likes to undertake regular webinars to keep up to date with all the current ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ for nursing to ensure that she is looking after your pets to the best standard.
When not at work you’ll find Louise up in the mountains hiking or snowboarding, or in the garden or somewhere outdoors.
Louise has a very spoilt Border Collie names CJ and lots of African Chiclid fish.


 Veterinary Nurse

Somer has recently completed her studies in Veterinary Nursing. She is very passionate about all animals and has a keen interest in surgery and hospital patients’ cases and loves nursing patients back to health.

Somer is known as the crazy dachshund lady of the clinic. Her miniature dachshund, Sonny is her absolute world & when not at work you can find her spending time with him, her partner & friends.

Outside of work Somer also loves sports, especially basketball and netball.





Veterinary Nurse

Annie works part time at the Highton Veterinary Clinic and thoroughly enjoys veterinary nursing. Being little herself, Annie prefers the smaller dogs and she has a little Papillion called Paris, who although small still have lots of attitude.



Veterinary Nurse 

Naomi has been a veterinary nurse for 10 years, working in both general clinic and emergency. She enjoys medicine cases and nursing your pets back to good health.
Now, Naomi splits her time with veterinary nursing, and travels to far north queensland researching Australia’s threatened species.
Naomi is mum to two cats Eric and Flynn and often can be seen taking Eric for a walk on his harness.
In her spare time Naomi can be found hiking, camping and chasing waterfalls.


Kennel Assistant 

Olivia started at the clinic in June of 2018 and will be commencing her Certificate 4 in Veterinary Nursing in 2019.
Olivia developed her love for pets and wildlife through previous roles at Werribee Zoo and as a pet shop attendant.
Olivia has a spoilt dog named Harry and a new cat called Bean. Outside of work Olivia enjoys baking cakes and spending time with her friends.

Our Support Team

Jennie Deckker 

Practice Manager 

Jennie says she’s always busy however promises she’ll update you soon!



Liz has lots of experience in receptionist roles but has never before
worked in a veterinary practice. She grew up on a farm but has lived locally
for the last 20 years. Liz loves dogs and cats. Outside of work Liz can often
be found at a basketball stadium and coaches a Special Olympic Victorian Team
as well as supporting her two sons who also play basketball.


Insurance Coordinator  and Administrative Assistant

Judith says this is definitely the most interesting of all the jobs she’s worked in! She says it’s not just the great Clinic staff members but especially the patients and their owners that have really made this a job she loves!

In late 2016 Judith moved from what had been her main role in reception to looking after admin in the clinic, but you will still her in reception from time to time and at weekends.
When she’s not at work Judith enjoys yoga, and travelling and hiking. Her most recent trip combined both of these with climbing in the Himalayas in Bhutan.




Leanne was born in Geelong and moved back here 8 years ago to be closer to family,
after living on the Sunshine Coast for 12 years.
She is married and has 3 children, as well as 2 dogs, 1 cat, 4 chickens and too
many goldfish to count!
Leanne enjoys spending time with family and friends; camping, walking, and going out
for coffee!


Robyn has promised she’ll update you soon! 




Bridget has promoised she’ll update you soon!




Jessie Joined the Highton Vet Clinic team in October 2018. Jessie was born in Geelong and grew up in Ocean Grove. Jessie has 2 Dogs called Snow and Pullthru who are two cheeky Jack Russell’s.

Jessie loves all animals, coffee, cocktails and pilates.


Puppy and Dog Trainer and Behavioural Consultant

Lisa has over 36 plus years’ experience in training dogs, 24 years of which has involved her taking puppy and training classes. Lisa coordinates and runs our Puppy Classes, Puppy “FunDamentals, and Adolescent Dog training classes and always gets great feedback from the clients. She has the reputation of being one of the best dog trainers in Geelong and has been a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia Inc, since 2000.
Lisa is fantastic at educating and helping clients manage their dog’s behaviours so that they can become well-mannered companions. Lisa understands that every dog and its family are different which is why she loves the challenge of solving any behavioural hiccups that a client may encounter with their pet. She regularly attends training workshops with leading experts in behaviour & training, so is up-to-date with the best techniques for the best outcomes for our clients.

Lisa and her husband have two children, eight dogs – Rottweilers & Field Spaniels and regularly compete with their dogs. Lisa is also involved in “Aussie Truffle Dogs”, a company that breeds, evaluates & trains dogs to hunt for truffle.



Anita is not someone you see at the clinic on a day to day basis but she has been at the clinic for years. She helps make sure the clinic finances are running to plan. When not at work she is busy with her family and dogs Tess and Lucy.



Clinic Cat

Betsy  joined the team in October 2015.  She like most clinic cats arrived at our on our door steep in a box – with her siblings- as a dumped litter. So some reason after being hand raised by  Melissa, she never really left- nobody can recall why not?  Betsy is the reason we often have “discounted ” or tasted bags of food for sale in the clinic, and the reason the store room has be keep constantly shut, as she never stops eating.  

Betsy often used to sleep in reception however since Ernie arrived she loves playing with him now. 



Clinic Cat

Ernie Joined the team in April of 2018. Ernie came into clinic as a Orphan and he was hand raised by one of our nurse manager Melissa. After unsuccessfully trying to find Ernie a home it was decided that Betsy would love to have a fur friend in the clinic.

Ernie enjoys the great outdoor so spends many a sunny day in the courtyard playing. Ernie also enjoys supervising the staff while doing surgery and giving lots of lunch time cuddles. e joined the team in April of 2018. Ernie came into clinic as a Orphan kitten  and he was hand raised by one of our nurse manager Melissa. After unsuccessfully trying to find Ernie a home it was decided that Betsy would love to have a fur friend in the clinic.

Ernie enjoys the great outdoor so spends many a sunny day in the courtyard playing. Ernie also enjoys supervising the staff while doing surgery and giving lots of lunch time cuddles.  


Contact Us

(03) 5243 0077

Monday to Saturday 8am to 10pm
Sunday 10am to 10pm

Have a Question? We Can Help

4 + 13 =

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Expert pet care advice, seasonal health alerts, and special offers

You have Successfully Subscribed!