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The Clinical Team

Veterinary Practitioners

Sarah Heath


Sarah Heath qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1988 and spent four years in a mixed general practice before setting up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. She is an honorary lecturer in Behavioural Medicine within the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool and responsible for the behavioural medicine curriculum for undergraduate veterinary students. In addition to her clinical and teaching work Sarah has written a number of books and regularly contributes to veterinary publications on behavioural topics. She also lectures at home and abroad on the topic of animal behaviour.
She became the first veterinary member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors in 1990. In 2001 she was awarded the Melton Award by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) for meritorious contributions to small animal practice and in 2002 was awarded the Vetlink Award for outstanding service to the Veterinary Nursing Profession. She was a founding member of the BSAVA affiliated Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group and served as its secretary for 7 years. Sarah is the co-founder of the International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting which is now established as the most important international congress on Veterinary Behavioural Medicine and is held every other year. In 2002 she became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine and served as the second President of that College from 2003 to 2008. She is a European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine (Companion Animals). She is Immediate Past President of the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology.

Elizabeth Ayrton


Liz qualified as a vet in 1985 at Liverpool University and after a year spent at Bristol University has worked in general practice for 30 years in Cumbria, Wiltshire and also in Bath. She initially worked in mixed practice and then later in small animal practice. In 2015 she took the decision to specialise in behavioural medicine and started studying for a Masterís degree at the University of Lincoln and started working at behavioural referrals. Liz lives in the Lake District with her husband, two children and three Bearded Collies. She enjoys fell walking, music, knitting and walking and showing her dogs. She is the Breed Health Co-ordinator for the Bearded Collie Club.

Carrie Tooley


Carrie qualified as a vet in 2012 from the Royal Veterinary College and spent three years in mixed general practice in Norfolk and Cornwall before deciding to pursue her interest in behavioural medicine. Carrie began a Masterís degree at the University of Lincoln in September 2015 and started working part time at Behavioural Referrals in January 2016, she also continues to do small animal first opinion veterinary work as a locum. Carrie spends her time away from work playing rugby, paddle-boarding, kayaking and training Patch Ė the four legged, work-in-progress responsible for her choice of career specialism!

Kate Richardson

Kate Richardson

Kate qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Glasgow University in 2005. She spent the 1st seven years of her career in mixed animal practice in Dorset, before joining Behavioural Referrals in January 2013. Since graduation, Kate has gained additional post graduate qualifications in Small Animal Medicine and in 2012, gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from Southampton University. Following completion of this qualification, Kate decided to pursue her interest in behaviour work further and took the position as a Veterinary Behaviourist within the Behavioural Referrals team. Outside work, Kate enjoys spending time with her young family and two Border Collie crosses, Tilly and Kiwi. She enjoys walking, travelling and gardening, especially when the weathers sunny!