Petition to bring out-of-hours vet back to Exmouth and Budleigh

PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 July 2015

Dog on lead

Dog on lead

(c) Digital Vision.

Pet owners concerned about the scrapping of emergency vet care in Exmouth have set up a petition calling for the return of the vital service.

Currently, none of the vets in Exmouth or Budleigh Salterton offer any out-of-hours cover after surgery closing time. Owners must take their pets to Exeter for emergency treatment.

Corner House Veterinary Surgery managing director Joanne Mason said pets received better care under the changes because the emergency vet remained on-site, staff worked through the night, they had state-of-the-art equipment and treatment was more cost effective to owners.

Mrs Mason, who started Corner House Veterinary Surgery in 1985, said the decision two years ago by Exmouth’s three vet practices to transfer the town’s out-of-hour emergency vet care to Exeter had not been taken lightly and was well advertised in the local press.

She said the Exonia Veterinary Emergency Service (EVES), at St David’s Station, began its working day when other practices closed and was dedicated to providing emergency and critical care to pets through ‘continuous nursing’.

Mrs Mason said the move had been made in the best interests of the animals. “It took a lot of soul searching,” she said. “We have just reached our 30th anniversary. For 28 years we have done our duty at night so it was a hard decision to make.

“Ninety nine per cent of the people who have used the service have been really happy with it.”

But a dog boarder from The Colony said the lack of emergency vet cover locally has prompted her to give up her business after five years.

Cathy Kowan, 70, of Rosebery Road, Exmouth, believes pet owners have been kept in the dark about the changes to the availability of emergency vet care.

Cathy, who has owned dogs for 42 years, said: “If a pet becomes ill or has an accident in the evening or over the weekend, it will have to be taken to the surgery beside St David’s Station in Exeter.

“Most pet owners I have spoken to did not know this, as they would only have found out if an emergency situation had arisen.

“As a registered home-boarder for dogs, I am very concerned about this. If one of the animals I am caring for has a medical emergency, a 30-minute drive to obtain treatment is not acceptable.

She added: “An elderly dog in my care a while ago had a stroke-like episode.

“Luckily, it was at half-past four in the afternoon so I was able to rush her straight to my local vet.

“An hour or so later and I would have had to drive her to Exeter and I hate to think what might have happened if that were the case.

“This is a large area in which many of the residents have pets.

“I am sure that if more pet owners were aware of this situation we could make a case for reinstating the emergency care we need.”

● Sign the petition at:

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