The Evolution of Veterinary Care

by Clare Brash
Published: Updated:

by Clare Brash B Vet Med, MRCVS, Station House Vets

James Herriot wouldn’t recognise the modern first opinion practice of today. Not only have the horse hair sutures and exploding purple tinctures vanished, to be replaced by the best medical technology and effective safe drugs, but the whole way of using visiting specialists, either at the surgery or online which has allowed us to massively extend our services “in-house”. This means that we have access to their expertise and specialised equipment without having to move injured pets miles to visit other centres of excellence.

On the horse side, we have close ties with practices both near and far and can refer them to the best surgeons for rapid top quality care. We have visiting acupuncture, laser therapists, and on-site visiting dental specialists and master farriers.

For small animals, I’ll use my own dog as an example. The wonderful “Magpie” had begun to snore with every breath and needed our attention. A Herriot-era test of holding a scrap of tissue to her nostrils confirmed that the left nostril was completely blocked as the tissue didn’t move with each breath. A short reversible, safe sedation followed and the digital dental x-ray revealed a mass in her nose. Not just one, but four colleagues replied to my emailed photograph within minutes offering advice, and an amazing expert surgeon visited the next day with specialist equipment to remove the tooth-germ tumour through a bone flap in her face. This was sent for histology at our lab giving us the great news that it wasn’t malignant. She could have had in-house specialist imaging by endoscopy or ultrasound from our visiting imaging specialists. laser therapy, acupuncture, feeding advice or even behavioural expert attention (which would have been useful given that she is bonkers!). Or follow-up physio or even aquatherapy if needed. Luckily a simple operation was enough in her case, and she is fit and running amok, barking excessively as ever.

With unlimited budget available I could have referred her to any specialist in the country; as an independent practice and we regularly offer this to our clients. However, I wanted her nearby and cared for by people I trust and who know her and our family, just as we care for you and your pets, both great and small, as if they were our own, keeping your wishes and budgets in mind.

Visit Station House Vets for help and advice.

Clare Brash
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