Thistle Vets was established as Lanark Road Vet Surgery in 1982 by Ken and Sue Urquhart. Over the years the practice grew steadily until it moved to it's current location at Alcorn Rigg in 1997. Donald joined the partnership in 1999 providing a dermatology referral service for Scotland and the north of England which remains his main clinical focus. A new surgery was established in 2012 at Chesser which has flourished in to a fully equipped self sufficient site.
In 2015, Ken and Sue decided to retire and pursue new passions outwith work life, handing over the reigns of 'Thistle Vets' to Donald and James. As one of only a few remaining independent, non-corporate practices left in Edinburgh, our aim is to continue the tradition of a high standard of care in a compassionate and down to earth manner. Scott came on board as a Director in 2020 to help ensure we can continue to offer this long in to the future.
the original 'Lanark Road Vet Surgery'
Ken Urquhart MRCVS
Meet the Team
At Thistle Vets, we are blessed with a caring, enthusiastic and highly skilled staff who all make up a cohesive team and allow us to offer high standards of veterinary medicine and customer service. Many of our vets have advanced qualifications in a variety of clinical specialities, and are backed up by qualified and experienced nurses, reception and support staff to ensure we can provide Edinburgh's pets the best possible care. Read on to find out a little bit more...
BVetMed, GPCert(FelPractice), MRCVS
James graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in '05 and spent many happy years in East Yorkshire before moving to Scotland and joining Thistle Vets in 2012. Since then, James has become a Director and co-owner at Thistle. James has further qualifications in Feline Practice and has a specific interest in Small Animal Cardiology, although also enjoys all the other aspects of general practice . When out of work, his three young girls ensure his life is never dull!
BVMS, BSc(Hons), GPCertOphth, MRCVS
Scott qualified from the University of Glasgow in '09 and has worked all over the UK and in Australia before settling in Edinburgh and joining Thistle Vets in '14. He became a director in 2020 shortly after completing a certificate with merit in Ophthalmology. Scott's interests outwith his work revolve around watching rugby, taking photos and eating food. He has a long suffering wife and 2 boys.
After graduating from the Royal (Dick) Vet School in 2008, Catriona worked in mixed practice in Durham. She then headed overseas working in New Zealand for a year before doing voluntary work in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. In 2012, Catriona returned to Scotland and Joined Thistle Vets. Catriona enjoys all aspects of clinical work but has undertaken further training in dentistry and acupuncture. Catriona has just returned from maternity leave and can't wait to catch up with all of the patients she has missed over the last year.
BVMS, GPCert (FelP), MRCVS
Gail qualified from the University of Glasgow University in '91. After working in Wales and around Scotland, she returned from the Highlands to Edinburgh to join Thistle in '17. Gail enjoys all aspects of the job but has a particular passion for feline medicine, holding a certificate in feline practice GPcert (FelP) and in veterinary acupuncture (CertVetAc IVAS). At home, Gail has two energetic cats, Effie and Theo, and in her free time enjoys hill walking, cycling, yoga and live music.
Alistair previously worked for Thistle Vets in '94 when it was still known as 'Lanark Road Vets before ultimately going on to buy a clinic of his own which he and his wife ran for almost 20 years. After selling the business, Alistair came back to where it all began, and rejoined Thistle Vets in 2020. Alistair has always been a 'people person' and puts his relationships with clients and their pet's first, a habit he intends to continue at Thistle. In his spare time, when he's not studying, playing and recording guitar and keyboards at home, he can be found at the gym, cycling the backroads of West Lothian or at his local karate club. His current animal menagerie includes two cats, Joey and Phoebe, and two horses.
Originally from Ireland, Donal obtained his veterinary degree in Budapest qualifying in 2022. He joined Team Thistle in July '23 and has quickly become a favourite amongst clients. Clinically, Donal particular enjoys ultrasonography and radiography, along with soft tissue surgery. When not at work, Donal enjoys playing rugby and visiting far flung locations around the world.
Mimi joined Thistle Vets in December 2020. She enjoys the variety of small animal general practice and getting to know all the pets under her care. Mimi's interests lie in preventative and proactive medicine, and is a true general practitioner. Outside work she can be found with her dogs or working in the garden, and also likes getting out on her stand-up Paddleboard or going for a swim.
BA, BSc, BVM&S PgCert(VBM), FHEA MRCVS
Originally from California, Bryanna moved to Scotland to study veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2021. She started her career in charity medicine in Wales before returning to Scotland to complete an Internship at the Dick Vet. Always keen to learn more, Bryanna has also completed a business certificate with distinction and holds a teaching qualification which she uses to educate veterinary students, nurses, and other vets. Bryanna loves talking with clients and finding creative and pragmatic solutions for their pets. She is passionate about small animal surgery, medicine, and exotics, and outside of work can be found hiking the hills with her husband and lovely Labrador.
Kelly graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2006 and spent six years in mixed and small animal practice in Yorkshire before moving north to Edinburgh in 2012. Since then, she has been busy juggling family life alongside the demands of small animal practice including time spent at an emergency out of hours facility, and joined Thistle Vets at the end of 2020. Kelly continues to have an interest in all aspects of general practice and is planning to study for a certificate in small animal emergency medicine and surgery in 2022. In her spare time she enjoys Crossfit, running and is always decorating.
Michal was born, raised and qualified in Eastern Pomerania in Poland. After qualification in 2015 Michal, his wife Anna and their dog Orka decided to move to Scotland. After working in mixed practice for 4 years, he felt that his destiny is to dedicate himself for companion animals. Michael is a true clinical all rounder but his real passion is cardiology and is planning to train towards a certificate. In his spare time he enjoys traveling with his family, DIY'ing, plying guitar and piano, carpenting.
Originally from East Yorkshire, Anna studied Bioveterinary Science at the University of Lincoln, before graduating from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2018. She loved the city of Edinburgh so much she decided to stay! Anna joined the Thistle vet team in September 2023, and has a particular interest in canine medicine. She is currently undertaking a certificate in internal medicine. When not at work, you'll usually find her whipping up some baked goods to bring in for the team, or exploring beautiful Scotland with a dog in tow.
Teri have been nursing for over 20 years, during which time she has worked in a variety of veterinary settings including with exotic species, and in an emergency out of hours vets. Teri's main focus is now as a qualified animal behavourist in addition to her nursing duties. In her spare time, she can be found with her friends and family, often with her Border Collie 'Colin' in tow.
DipHE CVN, Dip AVN, RVN
Sarah has been at Thistle Vets since 2014. In her time she has managed to achieve her veterinary nursing qualification and go on to become an advanced veterinary nurse. Sarah has a keen interest in surgery and radiography. Sarah is one of our Clinical coaches and enjoys teaching all aspects of nursing to her student nurses. When not at work Sarah enjoys reading, baking and spending time with her husband and goldador ‘Jack’
Caitlyn graduated as a registered veterinary nurse in early '21 after working at Thistle Vets throughout her studies. When not at work, Caitlin enjoys cooking and baking (very) tasty treats for her family, friends and colleagues. She loves travelling, playing video games and caring for her pets.
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Jill is an Edinburgh native and joined Thistle in 2014 having worked with animals form a young age. Jill has a menagerie of animals at home and has a good knowledge of exotic species having worked in the exotics department at Edinburgh University. Her current collection of furry (or scaly) friends extends to guinea pigs, dogs, abearded dragon, fish, axolotls and most recently a hitherot homeless Budgie, not to mention a husband and 2 daughters!
Holly joined the Thistle Vets team in May 2021, having graduated from Edinburgh Napier University. She enjoys all aspects of her nursing role, in particular anaesthetics and caring for patients following surgery. In her free time, Holly enjoys spending time with her horse, Star as well as walking and playing her guitar.
Katia, originally from Edinburgh, grew up in Greece but returned to Scotland to study at Edinburgh University. In her previous role, she worked in Business Development for one of the largest universities in the UK. However, animals have always been her passion so she took the leap to follow her childhood dream of working and helping furry, scaly and feathery pets. In her free time she enjoys cycling, reading and spending time with friends, family and her precious cat Frankie.
Heather joined the team in September '21 having recently graduated from Edinburgh Napier University and originally hails from London before she moved to Edinburgh in '17. She has been working with animals for over 7 years including work in Africa with large animals. She has a well loved cat, Stiles and when not at work she enjoys acting, swimming, adding to her vast library of books (and sometimes reading them).
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Gill joined us in 2015 after many years in an ophthalmology referral practice. She enjoys being part of a great team and the amazing work they do, and finds the care and welfare of her patients the most fulfilling part of her job. She spends her spare time caring for her 3 dogs and 2 cats
Emily is a 2023 RVN graduate of Napier University in Edinburgh. She joined the Thistle Vets team at the start of 2022 as part of her vet nursing training and began working here full-time later that year. Her degree Honours project focussed on the management of diabetes in dogs and cats and she also has a particular interest in anaesthesia. In her spare time Emily runs, hill walks, plays guitar and makes jewellery. Her family in Inverness have a whippet cross called James, and she hopes to have a pet of her own soon!
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Lauren has always known she wanted to work with animals and started her journey by volunteering with the SSPCA which confirmed her passion for animal welfare. Lauren Joined the team in 2023. When she’s not working she enjoys spending time with friends and caring for her two mini lop rabbits, Rodney and Baloo.
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Rhiannon moved to Edinburgh in '16 from the Isle of Lewis. She joined Thistle in '21 after doing her Veterinary Care Assistant training and is now progressed to her veterinary nurse training. In her spare time she enjoys going back up the the islands helping with her grandfathers sheep, going on long walk with her dog shadow, meeting her friends and visiting her family.
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Gabie has loved animals her entire life and get a lot of satisfaction from working with pets day to day. She helps look after our in patinets and takes care of their needs during their stay in the clinic. Out of work she enjoys going on adventures with her boyfriend and coming home to snuggles with her two cats Rocksy and Oreo.
Veterinary Nurse Assistant
Kiara Moved to Edinburgh in '22 from Canada where she worked in a vet clinic for 4 months. Prior to that she always found a way to be around animals whether it was volunteering or helping on a friends farm. When she is not at the clinic she enjoys using her 35mm film camera, hiking and trying new food. Kiara plans to eventually get her Bachelor of Science degree and be a zoologist.
Our Front of House Team
Shirley joined small animal practice straight from school and trained as a veterinary nurse on the job, working for 12 years in an ophthalmology referral practice before becoming Practice manager. She then left to become a full time mum and run the local pony club and school equestrian club before joing Thistle Vets. In her spare time Shirley can usually be found in the middle of a field tending to her horses. She also enjoys attending pipe band competitions with her daughter’s band.
Sophie is originally from Southampton where she gained diplomas in Animal Care and in Customer Care. After college, she spent six years with the RSPCA as Head of Kennels. She moved to Edinburgh to be with her now husband and joined Thistle Vets in 2006. Sophie loves reception work and meeting clients and their pets alike, but also helps manage things behind the scenes to ensure the practice keeps ticking! She has a little (human) girl ‘Holly’ who was born on Christmas day, and her pet's now number 5 dogs and 5 guinea pigs!
Susan has been with Thistle since 1994 and has the dubious honour of being the longest serving member of staff! She is married with 3 boys and 5 grandchildren, and enjoys meeting old and new clients alike. She has a cockapoo named Maude, and a parrot called Alf. When the grandkids and pets aren't keeping her busy, Susan enjoys crochet, crafts and baking, and has taken on the role of unofficial practice 'mum', taking care of all the staff.
Claire started working at Thistle Vets in 2017. Animals are her passion and over the years has owned many pets including cats, fish and even terrapins. She loves seeing a wide variety of animals every day at work, especially our kitten patients. In her spare time Claire loves trips to the cinema, a swim and jacuzzi, and having a chat over coffee and cake with friends and family.
Jackie is Edinburgh born and bred and joined Thistle vets in 2016 after many years working in customer service. Jackie lives locally with her husband, two children, Staffy and two Rabbits. In her spare time she enjoys camping, walking and spending her weekends in the Highlands.
Cora joined Thistle in 2019. Originally destined for a career in retail management, Cora knew that animals were her passion, and so made a swift career change! Currently owning 3 dogs, 5 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 sugar gliders, a leopard gecko, a crested gecko and 2 guinea pigs, Cora has something of a menagerie at home. In her spare time when she isn't running about after her mini zoo she also plays the bagpipes and is a Guide leader at her local Girl Guiding group.
Noemi moved from Hungary to Scotland in 2020 and joined Thistle a couple of years later. She has a little cat named Bubu, and when not taking care of our clients, she enjoys getting outdoors, crafting, and swimming.