West Gippsland Vet Care
185 Princes Way
Drouin, VIC, 3821
Phone: 03-5625-1707

West Gippsland Vet Care
1 Bona Vista Road
Warragul, VIC, 3820
Phone: 03-5623-4822


Our Vets

Dr Grant Nielsen - Veterinarian BVSc(Hons) MACVSc(Nutrition)

GrantGrant grew up on a beef and sheep property near Guyra in northern New South Wales. After graduating with honours in Veterinary Science from Sydney University in 1994 he commenced working at West Gippsland Vet Care. Since then Grant has gained extensive experience in all aspects of mixed practice.

Grant has developed a strong interest in ruminant nutrition and in 2001 became a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Surgeons in Ruminant Nutrition. Others areas of interest include bovine surgery, reproduction and mastitis. Grant has gained extensive experience in ultrasound and manual pregnancy testing in cattle. He is export accredited for cattle and is a trained countdown adviser for mastitis investigations.

Grant lives in Warragul with his wife Sophie and their two boys Jeremy and Sam. He enjoys keeping fit and does the occasional triathlon.

Dr Benton Smith - Veterinarian BVSc MACVSc(Surgery)

BentonBen graduated from the University of Queensland in 1996. After 2 years of practice in sunny Queensland, he ventured south to "Mexico". After stints at Leongatha and Moe, along with three working holidays to the United Kingdom, he joined West Gippsland Vet Care.

In 2002 he undertook a 12 month Small Animal Surgery Internship at the Animal Surgery Centre during which he attained his Membership to the Small Animal Surgery Chapter from the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.

He is AQIS accredited for the export of dogs and cats and in 2006 achieved his accreditation for the PennHIP program for the prevention of canine hip dysplasia.  His areas of interest include orthopaedic and soft tissue surgery and canine reproduction.

He lives just outside Warragul with his wife Stephanie and his two children Noah and Ella, dogs Gus & Ruby and cat Sunny (not to mention the horse, chooks, cows etc, etc!) in his spare time he enjoys riding his pushie, swimming, golf and working on the farm.

Dr Simon Ronalds - Veterinarian BVSc

SimonSimon has grown up in the local area, with his family heavily involved within the beef industry. After graduating at Melbourne University in 2000, he has worked in multiple mixed animal veterinary practices within Victoria, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Simon started here at West Gippsland Vet Care at the start of 2010.

Simon's main interests lies in cattle medicine, surgery and herd health. He is AACV pregnancy test accredited, Countdown Downunder accredited advisor (mastitis investigations) and has completed his certificate in gross pathology (field postmortems). Simon also enjoys his occasional times in the clinic caring for the smaller members of your family.

Simon lives in Drouin with his wife, Carla - a local paramedic, with their two children Lachlan and Charlotte. You may also see his faithful companion "Hunter" (Collie x Kelpie) occasionally in the clinic or out on farm.


Dr Christine Vanschyndel - Veterinarian BVSc(Hons)

ChristineChris grew up in Mirboo North and graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1996. She initially worked in small animal and equine practice for 4 years. She then spent 8 years doing shift work in 24 hour animal emergency clinics in Melbourne. During this time she developed a passion for small animal emergency and critical care medicine. She completed a distance education course in small animal anaesthesia and emergency medicine in 2000.

Chris joined West Gippsland Vet Care in 2008, initially working Saturday mornings only. She has recently increased her work load to half-time. Her main area of interest remains small animal emergency and critical care.

The remainder of Chris' time is spent looking after her three children Harry, Téa and Nina with her husband Ward at their property in Ellinbank. She enjoys travelling, hiking and camping.

Dr Sophie Nielsen - Veterinarian BVSc MANZCVS (Animal Behaviour)

SophieSophie graduated from Sydney University in 1994 and has worked in mixed and small animal practice in Australia and England.

In 2012 Sophie became a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Behavioural Medicine and is able to help clients and their pets with her Behavioural Assessment consultations.

In addition to behaviour consultations Sophie runs Puppy Pre-School classes each week. With her behaviour training this is an opportunity Sophie enjoys, guiding clients and their pups at this important life stage.

Sophie has 2 boys Jeremy and Sam and a very busy Border Terrier 'Hairy'.

Dr Megan Thomas - Veterinarian BVSc(Hons) MACVSc(Medicine)


Meg graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2000 and first joined the practice in January 2001. She worked for the clinic as a large and small animal vet for three years before heading off to travel.

In 2004 Meg spent a year traveling around Australia and working as a locum in predominantly small animal practices in various parts of the country. Then in 2005 she worked in a small animal practice in Birmingham, England, before traveling through Europe for 3 months. After her 2 years of travel, Meg returned to Warragul to rejoin the practice.

Meg’s interests lie in small animal medicine and more recently she has been working predominantly in the clinic with the small animals. In 2003 she completed a distance education course in Dermatology through the University of Sydney. In 2008 she became a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Small Animal Internal Medicine. In 2011 she completed another distance education course, this time in small animal emergency medicine and critical care.

Meg is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her project, under the supervision of Professor Chris Whitton, is an investigation into joint disease in horses. She continues to work one day a week in the practice and can usually be found at the Drouin clinic.

In her spare time Meg enjoys running, reading and scuba diving. She has two cats of her own - tabby-cats called Lexi and Rupert. She still loves to travel and would like to see as much of the world as possible.


Dr Christopher Thorne - Veterinarian BVSc(Hons)

Chris TDr Chris Thorne graduated from Melbourne University in 2000 and spent time working in Frankston before heading overseas. He spent five years working in the UK, in Essex and Cambridgeshire. After returning to West Gippsland with his family in 2009 he worked for 5 years in a small animal practice in Berwick. Chris joined West Gippsland Vet Care in 2014.

Chris has experience in Emergency and Critical Care medicine, and enjoys the challenge of both medical and surgical cases. He is also a certified PennHIP member.

Dr Stuart Cocking - Veterinarian BVSc

SetWidth210-Stuart2Stu grew up on a dairy and beef farm on the northern fringe of Melbourne. He graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2007 and headed straight into dairy/mixed practice in South Gippsland. After two and a half years it was time to head off travelling. He headed to the UK and worked many locum stints in a variety of dairy and small animal vet roles, in between his travels.

Upon his return home, Stu was drawn back to Gippsland, where he spent 12 months running a small animal clinic before joining West Gippsland Vet Care in July 2014. He enjoys the all-rounder role of mixed practice.

When he is not working Stu tries to get home to the farm on a regular basis. He also likes to hit the mountains for some snowboarding in winter and the beach for a bit of fishing and diving in summer.

Dr Becky Dickinson


Dr Loreena Butcher


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