The new Mount Vets veterinary hospital opens next week after nearly 18 months of construction work. The facility is designed to make every aspect of animal medicine more efficient and friendly for clients, staff and pets.
“Separate waiting areas for cats and dogs,” explains vet Charlotte Freeman as she welcomes us into the airy foyer. “Some cats get very stressed if they are too near big panty dogs.” Four consulting rooms open off the reception area. Screens display a real-time treatment timeline for every animal having a procedure, with the staff inputting information to iPads.
The entire hospital is a powerful mixture of thoughtfulness and tech. The cat kennels don’t face each other because, says the Feline Advisory Board, cats can stress if they have to look across too much at other cats. Even the doors are soft-closing to reduce noise.
There is a large dental treatment room, separate from the two operating theatres to avoid cross-contamination from bacteria in animal mouths. “Eighty per cent of dogs and cats have something wrong with their teeth or gums,” explains Charlotte when we seem surprised at the scale of the dental facility.
Next Thursday all 45 staff from the High St practice of Mount Vets move to the new site on the A38 near Cades Farm. So too does a vast range of equipment from operating tables to X-ray and ultrasound machines.
“Everyone is very excited at the prospect of being here and it should help with recruitment as this is the kind of facility where people want to work,” said Charlotte. At present there are 45 employees; 15 vets, plus nurses and support staff.
It isn’t all dogs, cats and rabbits (the fastest increasing animal pet). The practice deals with farm animals on holdings from Sidmouth to Stogumber and the nine vets working with cows, sheep and poultry have their own section of the hospital for reasons of bio-security. They even have their own kitchen.
Mount Vets was established in Wellington back in 1945 by a single vet. It has grown steadily and the move to the new hospital is a long-planned part of increased specialisation and capability according to Charlotte. “I was hired in 2003 and even at my interview there was talk of the goal of moving to a purpose-built modern facility. This isn’t something we’ve rushed into,” she said.
On Saturday the hospital is holding an Open Day at the new hospital and the entire community, pet-owners or not, is invited to come and look around. “We’re expecting lots of people, so don’t be shy,” said Charlotte.