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Welcome Back! Floods, the Economy and the “Pleasures” of being a vet and a business owner

Welcome Back! Floods, the Economy and the “Pleasures” of being a vet and a business owner

It’s been a little while since I last put my thoughts down on paper (OK .. virtual paper). I had attempted to make this more of a regular post, but things just appeared to have got in the way recently.

Anyway, after the terrible incessant rain and floods over the last few days, I’m so pleased that the sun is out , and we have a glorious late November day in Cornwall. It just puts a completely different perspective on matters when the weather is less inclement, and makes me so thankful that City Road veterinary centre offered me a fantastic practice to work within as well as the chance to bring up my family in a beautiful environment when I joined them in 2007.

Whenever we have more than a seasonal amount of rain or snow, it gets me thinking why we can’t cope with bad weather as much as our continental counterparts. Two years ago, we had a smattering of snow and ice which lasted for a day or two, yet the whole of Truro was like a ghost town. Gritters were few and far between even after the snow had landed, and we nye on ran out of grit supplies. This must have had a deleterious  effect on the local economy in Cornwall, because it certainly had an impact on our small business. Monday 27th November, when the rain and floods (and the main Truro – Falmouth road had been shut) were at their worst, we had an extremely quiet day.

It does make you wonder when it’s so quiet, how after paying staff bills, drug and wholesaler bills, building costs, VAT and HMRC, how one is going to pay the mortgage and the business loan I took out to buy into the practice. Then there are days when you are so manic, you feel as if you’re running around so much that you could cause yourself a coronary!! But guess which days I take and the rest of the team take most fulfilment out of.
Yesterday was one of those days!

It was a day that we’d planned not to have to much in the way of procedures going on as we’d arranged for a videographer to come into the practice, in order to make a short 3 minute film which we would showcase on our website. Andrew Blake, of Inkspot media, arrived promptly and was so unobtrusive with his filming and gentle questioning of the staff, and because it was so busy he had enough content within a couple of hours of him filming.We all can’t wait to see the finished video after he’s edited out the less useful ( or embarrassing/gruesome) parts.

Becoming a practice owner in 2008, has made me so much more business wise. The Partners share all of the non clinical duties – that is the standard way these days for a small business. There is HR, accounts and payroll, health and safety, insurance,business planning  and advertising (including website maintenance, Facebook, Twitter, newsletters, newspaper articles, and blogs to update). Now a practice video!! Mr Dyson and Kingdon eat your hearts out! Some of this is interesting, some mundane but necessary for a small animal veterinary practice to stand ground.Non of this information was on the curriculum when I was a vet student all those years ago.

But it’s a clinician that I really am, and that is the part of the job that I am really passionate about. The practice of dealing with pets and their owners on a daily basis and  addressing their ailments can be intellectually  and emotionally challenging and draining . But the buzz one gets when everything goes right is incredible, and even after 20 years as a qualified vet, I still get to see the most interesting cases- even ones you’ve never encountered before.

Which brings me onto a Charlie, a 14 year old Tibetan Terrier. Charlie has been a regular patient of mine since I first joined the practice  5 years ago.He has had a number of illnesses which are being relatively well controlled on medication, but on this occasion he was coming in for his annual health check and vaccinations. At the time his owner pointed out a large soft swelling in his groin region. He had had an inguinal hernia repaired as pup when he lived in London, so a recurrence of his hernia certainly was a strong possibility.


Left: Soft tissue mass excised | Right: Xray of Charlie with large soft tissue mass

We organised for Charlie to be anaesthetised and for the swelling to be investigated. XRays and ultrasound were undertaken, and were consistent with a large mass consisting of fluid and solid tissue, so we surgically explored the swelling and removed this huge tumour, the likes of which myself or my colleagues, David and Jamie had never seen before.
It often amazes me the powers of recovery in our pets, even in geriatric patients. Within 2 hours, Charlie was mobile, had eaten, and after a nights stay in hospital, he was discharged home. I eagerly await the results of the histopathology, but it’s cases like these which makes my days, my weeks and my months so worthwhile as a practising clinician.

Until next time….;