Valuing Our Independence

I was having a naughty scroll through Facebook the other day whilst on my lunch break; I should’ve really been catching up with some administrative stuff, that’s why I said it was a naughty scroll…..

Anyhow, whilst I was on social media I noticed a post about buying local to support independent businesses, and it got me thinking about how our high streets have become dominated by big chain stores. Then it dawned on me that this has happened in the Pharmacy, Optician, and Dental industries in recent years. It seems that Veterinary Practice is heading that way too, but I think our independent status is what sets us apart here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre. It’s our unique selling point, if you will :-).

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think corporatisation is necessarily a bad thing; I just don’t think it should be the only choice available to people. A one-size-fits-all approach is never a good thing, no matter which industry it applies to.

Out of pure curiosity, I had a quick check on the type of veterinary practices in and around the Derby area. Would you believe that SLVC is pretty much the only practice in the locale that hasn’t been bought out by a large corporate group? This sadly seemed to broadly be the picture country-wide too.

I’m sure every veterinarian strives to do the very best for every single one of their patients – our love of animals is what drives us to become vets in the first place. So I’m not saying that Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre is better than the larger practices, but I do think our difference is worth shouting about. Let’s face it, if we don’t “big ourselves up”, who’s going to? It’s not as if we have a huge advertising budget to play with either, we can’t put an advert on national television. In that respect we definitely look like David next to their Goliath!

So what do we, as a small, independent veterinary practice, do well? For starters, we are a small team which pretty much means that we get to know you and your fur-babies very well. This lets us build up a relationship with you quickly, and your pet soon comes to trust us. In emergency situations this trust can come in very handy, as your pet doesn’t panic and we can treat them quicker.

At Saint Leonard veterinary Centre we try our hardest to ensure that you see the same vet each time you come to see us; again this helps build trust between us all more speedily.

We also offer half price home visits on Thursdays, something that I really do think only independent practices like ours offer. I know bigger practices that deal with larger animals (such as horses) and livestock offer “zone” visits, but those that are small animal practices like ours, don’t. In fact, being available for home visits in general is something that most practices don’t do.

These visits are for routine care such as vaccinations, check-ups, anal glands, claw clipping, micro-chipping, collection and delivery for routine operations, and worm and flea treatments. We find our less mobile, non-driving, or sensitive -pet owners really do appreciate SLVC giving them this option.

Another service that we are able to offer is Home Euthanasia. Granted, it isn’t something that any of us want to think about until we have to, but when the time comes it’s nice to have the choice of where to say goodbye to your beloved furry family member. Emergency situations are obviously different though.

You might think that our independent status means we offer less care options than the larger corporations. Wrong. We offer surgery and have two surgical suites complete with anaesthetic monitoring and patient-warming facilities, and we also have a separate dental suite too.

At this point I’m going to mention the fact that I hold Advanced Practitioner Status from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. I say this because less than 2% of all UK vets have this qualification – proof that big (practice) isn’t always better 🙂

Our in-house laboratory can give us comprehensive blood results in minutes, cutting down stress for owners, and letting us treat our furry clients quickly and accurately. Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre also has a fantastic diagnostic suite where we can take digital X-rays, perform high-powered Ultrasound scans, ECG’s, and monitor blood pressure.

Personally, I love being small (and mighty) because it means our team at SLVC is tight-knit and always has each others’ backs. We know how each other works and slot together like a well-oiled machine; we know each other’s names, and no-one is just a payroll number.

Best of all though, being small means that we can offer you a truly exceptional level of care for you and your pet. It also means that we can make time for extra cuddles and smooches with them – one of the best bits of our job!

Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂