One of few Niagara practices that treats everything from family pets to farm animals
BY JOHN CHICK
Special to the VOICE
The Dunnville Veterinary Clinic is easing into its much larger new home, but veterinarian Dr. Bob Perry, speaking on behalf of his partners Dr. Kadri Uukkivi and Dr. John Las, says their services will remain as personal as ever.
“The new building will help us to better serve the community,” he said. “We may be getting larger but we still have the small town feeling.”
The clinic dates back to 1952, and over the years it outgrew its longtime location on Ramsey Drive. Despite two building additions over the decades, the time came for a much larger space. That’s why the operation, with its ten doctors and 15 support staff, moved into their vast new digs at 1017 Broad Street E. on August 26.
“It was very important,” said Perry, who has worked at the clinic since 1990. “We ran out of parking, but even just for the flow of work. We had a real bottleneck, where we’d sometimes have to turn people away.”
That won’t be an issue now, thanks to the exponentially larger space, and efficient design.
“We designed it in a way where we have a check-in desk and a discharge desk, so we don’t have a glut of people coming and going at the same desk,” he said, adding that the odds of the dreaded dog-cat lobby confrontation should be minimized.
“Exam rooms for cats on one side, dogs on the other side … so there’s a little bit of separation.”
The large operation also means that services are available that aren’t often found in smaller practices.
“I would say most vet clinics would not have the lab capabilities that we have,” said Perry.
Where other vets depending on outside labs, which also means a delay in results, Perry says that Dunnville can run biochemistry, complete blood counts, urinalysis, thyroid levels, progesterone levels—“Very important with breeding dogs to time breeding and predict whether we are able to do a c-section”—and the lab is able to microscopically analyze blood smears, fecal samples, cytology, and semen, with results coming often in minutes.
“We also prepare semen for shipping, fresh-chilled all over North America and even to Europe,” said Perry.
The hardware doesn’t stop with the lab.
In addition to in-house digital x-ray and digital dental x-ray equipment, “We have portable digital x-ray as well for horses that we use on the farm.”
The practice also has ultrasound in-house, and ultrasound in each mobile unit for cows and horses.
“We currently have a flexible endoscope, and eventually hope to upgrade to a rigid scope as well,” said Perry. “We use it mainly for gastrointestinal evaluation. The last case I used it for was to retrieve a work glove from a Basset Hound’s stomach. Thus, not needing surgery to get it.”
Perry said that the endoscope is also used for biopsies of the stomach and intestines in cases of inflammatory bowel disease.
“If and when we upgrade to have rigid capabilities as well, we will be able to scope the nose and bladder. And use it for transcervical insemination on dogs.”
While providing care for people’s pets still constitutes the majority of the business, a substantial amount of Dunnville’s work comes from their farm practice. The clinic estimates about 35 percent of their services are devoted to agricultural cases, something that is actually expanding.
“Our territory is growing in the farm practice,” Perry said. “There are very few vets that cover farm practice any more. We cover a big territory, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Simcoe.”
The agricultural file mostly involves dairy cattle and horses, but also goats, llamas and alpacas. While in the vast majority of cases, Dunnville’s vets will go to the individual farms to treat the animals, it’s not unheard of to bring a horse or a cow to the facility.
“We have had people ride in if we were just running a blood test or a vaccine,” Perry said, adding that the new operating rooms are also designed to handle larger animals.
To celebrate the re-opening and give the public a chance to check out the new facility, the clinic will host an open house this Saturday, Sept. 28.
“We’ll have tours with displays of what we do throughout the clinic,” said Perry, with giveaways, likely a bouncy castle for kids, snacks, and drinks. The festivities start at 1 PM.
CORRECTION: Updated to clarify that Dr. Bob Perry, Dr. John Las, and Dr. Kadri Uukkivi are equal partners in the practice.