The veterinary nurse celebrates her 25th birthday



Karen Macdonald. by Paragon

One of North Cumbria’s most experienced veterinary nurses celebrates 25 years of service.

Karen Macdonald, Chief Veterinary Nurse at the Paragon Veterinary Group, joined the team at the age of 17 and the practice was operated in a mobile building.

Today, she leads a team of seven veterinary nurses, supporting seven small animal vets.

Paragon now has three centers, including a new small animal wing at its Dalston center that Karen helped design.

Staff, former colleagues, clients and friends gathered last week to give Karen a surprise presentation including a photo book telling her career story.

“It was just beautiful,” Karen said. “I was overwhelmed that people care. You just do your job and then you see everyone together and you realize it’s more of a family.

Karen has always wanted to work with animals and began with two weeks of professional experience with Paragon, then called Caldew Veterinary Group, when she was 15 and a student at Caldew School in Dalston.

“I am so proud of where Paragon has arrived. Things have moved massively. We literally started out in a portable building with only one consulting room, ”she says.

In 2019, the practice opened its new small animal area which includes two new theaters equipped for advanced surgery, a laboratory, a diagnostic imaging room, an isolation center, kennels for surgical and medical inpatients and a separate cattery.

“The new facility was something I really wanted, and we made it happen, and I’m proud to say I played a big part in it,” said Karen.

She has overseen the training of many veterinary nurses and says one of her favorite parts of her job has been knowing clients for many years.

“I also like being in the theater, monitoring anesthetics and taking care of patients. And the x-ray is something I love, ”added Karen.

The challenges of his career were foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 and COVID-19.

“In foot-and-mouth disease it was hard to see businesses and people’s livelihoods collapsing around them, it will never leave me,” she said.

“COVID has also been a big challenge with staff being put on leave and then getting many new customers but not being able to interact properly due to the masks and restrictions. “

Karen has also achieved personal goals for the past 25 years, traveling alone to India where she has seen tigers in the wild.

Looking back, she added, “Never in a million years would I have thought I would have done all of this. I was not at all a confident person when I started.

“I love the job more than ever. It’s good that my opinion is appreciated by the directors and the partners.

“I’m part of a great team, and no matter what you are in the business, everyone works for the same thing – to give the best care to clients’ pets. “

Karen, 43, lives in Morton with her husband Gary, son Elliot, six, and stepson Ewan, 11.


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