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Meet Your Neighbor: Tania Woerner of Tally Oaks Veterinary Wellness Center

Meet Your Neighbor: Tania Woerner of Tally Oaks Veterinary Wellness Center

Written by Dulcy B. Hooper | Photos by Michael Butcher

As Dr. Tania Woerner describes it, growing up on a small farm in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, served as the backdrop to a storybook childhood. “I had wonderful parents,” she says, “and a great brother. My earliest years were full of dogs, cats, horses, goats, sheep, chickens — even a couple of cows.”  

Woerner knew that she was going to be a veterinarian before she made it to elementary school. “I was only 6 years old,” she says, “and I was in love with horses. Whenever the veterinarian came out, I was glued to his side. I knew that that was what I was going to do.” 

Such a prescient vision of the future was something very few her age could have imagined, and it helped chart Woerner’s ultimate path to founding Tally Oaks Veterinary Wellness Center, where her dedication to her patients (and their human caretakers) has won a devoted following. 

One Tally Oaks regular, Margaret Gardner, reflects on how relieved she was to find Woerner. She remembers, “[There was] a wonderful veterinarian in Middleburg many, many years ago — Lydia Donaldson… As far as I am concerned, those shoes had not been filled until I met Tania Woerner. And they were very big shoes!”

Woerner ascribes to a set of principles and practices that detail the expectations she has for herself and her staff: customer-focused; compassionate; courteous; consistent; genuine; continuous. “Our atmosphere is peaceful and not chaotic,” she adds. “We are country, not commercial. We offer a serene country setting with a barn instead of a strip mall, pastures instead of parking lots, and horses grazing in the fields. And I resist churning my patients out every 15 minutes!” 

Trees provide shade and a sense of calm at Woerner’s practice.

Woerner and her staff assess a pet’s diet, environment, lifestyle, and hereditary factors to come up with a customized preventative care plan. When it is necessary to treat illnesses and injuries, Woerner says that she prefers “a combination of traditional Western medicine coupled with complementary therapies such as laser, acupuncture, massage, and essential oils.” This integrative approach to veterinary care is one of the hallmarks of her practice. 

“What has impressed us the most about Dr. Woerner is how thorough and knowledgeable she is and her holistic approach with pet care,” shares Dana Quirk, a client. “We fully trust her with the care of our most precious gifts.” 

Leanne Lundberg, whose Boston terriers are among Woerner’s patients, mentions the “beautiful drive to the scenic facility, which is relaxing for both the human and their pets.” Lundberg adds, “I can’t think of anyone I would trust as much as Dr. Woerner and her team… She takes the time to diagnose the root cause and does so with such care and compassion.”

In pursuit of Woerner’s goal to become a veterinarian, she attended Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. “Albright was not known as a fun college,” she notes, “and it was absolutely zero fun for me. All I did was study. But I knew that to get into veterinary school, I had to go to a tough undergraduate school, and I had to get top grades.” 

Her efforts at Albright paid off. “When I applied to the University of Pennsylvania, I got right in,” she remembers. “And, by the way, a VMD is the same as a DVM; the only difference is that the degree is written in Latin at the University of Pennsylvania.” 

Left: A little sign directs pet parents where to go. Right: A very good patient receives a shot.

After veterinary school, Woerner accepted an internship at a standardbred breeding operation. Her first job as a veterinarian took her to Calder and Gulfstream in Florida, where she worked exclusively on racehorses. “It was wonderful,” she says, “but after being in Florida for a few months, I really missed my horses.” Woerner relocated to an all-equine practice in Maryland, where she became even more involved in riding. She soon joined a hunt club and began foxhunting, as well.

Between Maryland and her move to Virginia several years later, Woerner pursued yet another opportunity that added to her depth of knowledge and expertise: She joined a small group of veterinarians at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, working with pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for horses and small animals.  

“Some of the drugs I am using now — that are sitting on the shelves here at Tally Oaks — I got to approve,” she explains. “We designed the protocols and handled the studies and ensured that the animals were treated right.” At the same time, Woerner also served as a volunteer lobbyist for the American Veterinary Medical Association in Washington, D.C., and volunteered for the Horse Protection Association.

While still living and working in Maryland, Woerner’s love of foxhunting intensified, and she began spending her weekends in Middleburg with the Middleburg Hunt. Her father, while visiting from Pennsylvania, accompanied her to Middleburg one weekend and offered this observation: “Tania, this town has your name written all over it.” 

“When I left Maryland and moved to Virginia, I initially continued my equine practice here before deciding to work exclusively on small animals. I knew that I was really going to miss the horses, but I love working with small animals. There are so many more options — more drugs, more affordable treatments. It is intellectually interesting, and I enjoy working with different breeds.”

Another patient smiles while awaiting treatment.

For Tania Woerner, education never ends. “I really hate to delay or send patients somewhere when it’s something I can learn or a new piece of equipment I can invest in,” she shares. She recently completed an intensive study on ophthalmology when she realized that ophthalmologists were disappearing, and that it was becoming more difficult for her patients to get appointments at all, much less in a timely manner. 

“To be a good veterinarian, you must constantly learn because things change quickly in science and in medicine. If there’s something I haven’t figured out, I will research it and research it.” Tally Oaks Veterinary Technician Jaime Coppage explains why Woerner is so good at her job, saying: “She invests in every animal that comes through the door. She is so committed to studying every patient, and it is refreshing to see that.”

“Veterinary medicine is one of the most rewarding careers there can be,” says Woerner. “It is my goal to make animals feel better, because they cannot ask for help on their own.” ML

Tania D. Woerner, VMD
Tally Oaks Veterinary Wellness Center
19302 Silcott Springs Road
Purcellville, VA 20132
(540) 338-7081

Published in the April 2024 issue of Middleburg Life.

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