A mum-of-two has turned her hand to caring for exotic pets by setting up her own business.
Vicky Pedder had been working in vetinerary practices for the last 18 years, but decided to go it alone and launch her own services.
She now runs VP Exotics from the home in Torrisholme which she shares with her husband Graham and two young children.
She has installed a purpose-built animal lodge which houses rabbits, reptiles, guinea pigs, tortoises, caged birds and poultry, giving owners peace of mind when they go on holiday.
Vicky is also hoping to develop the community vet side of her business, giving clients the opportunity of her going into their homes instead of them having to visit a practice.
Services include nail clips, dental checks and general health checks.
In addition, she is starting to manufacture her own pet food range for rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises.
“That’s going really well,” she said. “I am looking at developing it further for other animals. It’s about trying to improve the nutrition in animal feed.
“I am trying to encourage people to be more informed about the welfare of exotic pets,” she said. “There has been a big rise in the number of people keeping tortoises and poultry.
“There are more and more reptile shops and breeders of exotice pets too. I see a lot of health issues that are easily rectified with the right information.”
Vicky also carries out work in the community, including giving talks about exotic pets to schoolchildren and in nursing homes.
Vicky, 38, set up VP Exotics last year after spotting a gap in the market.
“A lot of my clients with rabbits were struggling to find specialised lodging,” she said. “It was a niche opportunity.
“I am now looking to build a phase two for house rabbits.”
Vicky is enjoying the change of scenery so far, having spent the last 12 years at Lanes vets in Lancaster.
She said: “I loved it there but this is very different. I can work from home which is great, and it’s nice to be a bit more community-based.
“But I am strongly linked with all the local vet practices.
“I do miss practice but I think after 18 years it was time for a change.”
Vicky, who also has to look after two tortoises, a royal python, six hens, two dogs, a parrakeet and an aviary of rescued birds of her own, said her hard work is paying off.
“I have had to put in a lot of hours getting myself established but I am really pleased with how it’s going,” she said.