Tough times are sadly having a knock-on effect for people’s pet animals, putting costly procedures at the vet’s beyond the reach of many.
Wayne Smith, who set up Alder Veterinary Practice in Bourne Road, Spalding from scratch in 1997, froze the already low fees charged at his practice four years ago and has brought in a series of measures to protect his ‘patients’ from the worst effects of financial hardship.
He said: “I became a vet because I wanted to care for animals, not to be a businessman.
“Times have been difficult, particularly in the last two years. We’ve heard stories of people having their pets put to sleep because they can’t afford vets’ bills, and that’s unacceptable to us.
“We’ve kept prices low and try to be cost-effective in terms of investigation - where there are choices of treatment, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of all alternatives. We offer payment plans too for clients who may be suddenly faced with an unexpected expensive procedure for their pet, so they can pay over a period of time.
“In unpredictable cases where treatment could last over a number of months we’ll set a ceiling on the cost so the owner has the security of knowing they won’t have to pay more, whatever happens.”
Wayne’s vet colleague of six years Sylwia Kogut has recently returned from maternity leave and Deidre Wilson, a vet with long local experience, joined the practice last summer for two days a week.
At Alder, owners are invited to sit with their animals while they are sedated for operations and when they wake up, if they wish, and visits to sick animals during their stay are encouraged.
The surgery is open every weekday from 8.30am to 6.30pm, with consultations by appointment between 9 and 10.30am and 4 and 6.30pm.
* Alder Veterinary Practice, 58 Bourne Road, Spalding, PE11 1JW. Telephone 01775 766646.