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...
BVM&S, CertSAD, MRCVS
Donald is a Director and co-owner of Thistle Vets. He qualified from the Royal (Dick) Vet School in Edinburgh in '88 and after nine years working in London and the South East, returned to Edinburgh to join Thistle Vets 1998. He holds the RCVS Certificate in Dermatology and has been offering a referral service to other veterinary practices for complex skin and ear cases since then. Donald has four children, a Staffie cross rescue ‘Mia’ (who you may have seen on the SSPCA TV advert) and three Jack Russell terrier. He enjoys running (slowly) in the Pentlands with the dogs
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 young boys.
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.
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. On returning to the Scotland, Catriona initially worked as a locum for Thistle Vets but made such an impression that she became a permanent member of the team in '12. Catriona enjoys all aspects of clinical work but has undertaken further training in dentistry and acupuncture. In her spare time she has two cats and a Labrador ‘Archie’ to look after and enjoys snowboarding, horse riding and travelling.
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.
BVSc, BSc(Hons) MRCVS
Cari graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2019 having also studied a biology honours degree in Edinburgh prior to this. As soon as possible she got back home to Scotland to work in small animal practice. Cari enjoys all aspects of general practice and has a growing interest in behaviour and medicine. When not working she enjoys getting out in the Pentlands with her lurcher, Pip, and her horses!
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’
Nadia obtained her nursing qualification in 2020 having trained at Thistle Vets as a student and has begun studying towards a specialised feline nursing qualificaiton through ISFM. Nadia also assists Donald with his dermatology referrals. She has 2 adopted cats called O’Malley and Monkey and likes to unwind by spending time in the mountains or by the sea, drinking coffee, and reading.
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!
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.
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
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 girl ‘Holly’ who was born on Christmas day, two Dogs – 'Pepe’ the Papillon and ‘Coco’, a French Bulldog, and a Persian cat.
Our Front of House Team
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 Staffie called Leata, a Bulldog called Bryn 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 the Thistle team 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 as pictured 'Ella' 'Archie' and 'Joey'. Cora also owns 3 cats, 4 rabbits, 3 sugar gliders and a leopard gecko. 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.
Sorrel moved up to Edinburgh in 2020 having worked for veterinary practices in her native Kent, England for over 3 years. Sorrel spent 5 years in Australia where she started her career in animal care and now lives in Leith with her boyfriend and Siberian Huskey ‘Huxley’. In her spare time Sorrel plays guitars, sings and writes music.