St Kilda vet clinic reopens fulltime

Dunedin veterinarian John Keenan takes a look at Labrador-cross Murphy at Vetlife St Kilda...
Dunedin veterinarian John Keenan takes a look at Labrador-cross Murphy at Vetlife St Kilda yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A Dunedin veterinarian hopes his St Kilda clinic’s return to a full working week will help alleviate the demand for vet services in the city.

Vetlife St Kilda — formerly the St Kilda Veterinary Clinic — in Andersons Bay Rd, officially opened its doors on Monday after two years of operating part-time.

After the previous owner VetPartners merged with the Humanimals clinic in South Dunedin, Dunedin veterinarian John Keenan said he and his colleague Dr Tony Malthus had been working at the St Kilda clinic twice a week over the past two years.

But now, Vetlife had leased the building and the clinic was back to working five days a week from Monday to Friday.

Dr Keenan, a practising vet of 47 years, said it was great to be able to provide a regular service again.

"A lot of these clients are long-standing clients, and only working two days a week you felt couldn’t deliver the service you would like.

"Now, with the clinic being open five days a week, the service can be delivered OK."

Dr Keenan said a lot of customers had already registered with the clinic, many of whom were returning clients, and the phones had been "constantly ringing".

There was a worldwide shortage of vets because of insufficient numbers of younger ones to replace older, retiring vets, he said.

A lot more people seemed to own pets since the Covid-19 pandemic, and a lot of people were complaining about having to wait weeks to get a routine appointment with a vet.

It had also been an issue for people wanting to get their pets registered, as some clinics were already fully booked and not taking on new clients.

The St Kilda clinic and its sister location in Mornington — which had closed — had been quite large practices, and had left a lot of demand and people scrambling to find vet services, he said.

Providing the service for five days a week should alleviate some of that demand, he said.

Vetlife St Kilda hub manager Sophie McSkimming said there was a "massive need" for vet services in Dunedin.

They had received at least 160 calls and 100 emails on Monday alone from people wanting to register with them.

Being a part of Vetlife meant the clinic now had access to specialist orthopaedic surgeries and diagnostic equipment, she said.

The location was great and having Drs Keenan and Malthus was exciting for returning customers.

"It’s just really good for the city to have another option."