Graeme Harman: “We are here for the family, both human and furry members, and it shows in our caring after treatment service.”
Recognising that pets have owners who regard their fur babies as biological kin, Graeme and his wife Daniela Spath brought the knowledge they’d gleaned from five years working at a veterinary practice in the UK to White River. And believe us, forget any ideas you have about domestic animal care – Casterbridge Animal Hospital is light years away from the standard veterinary practise.
It begins with the recommended annual health check-up for your pet, which can pick up the early onset of any uglies and extend the life of Tigger. Then there is the post-procedure service – a series of follow up phone calls to check on Rover’s progress once he’s home. Graeme says this picks up a lot of issues owners don’t think are worth troubling a return visit about – wet bandages, for instance, which can lead to gangrene. This team really cares about their patients.
A lot of thought lies behind the layout of the surgery – post-op animals recover in the post at the vets’ workstation, where there is always someone close at hand to keep an eye on them as they come round from anaesthesia. Graeme is proud of the ICU tent they have developed, which is especially useful for animals being treated for snakebite; the ICU tent warms up dogs in shock and delivers lifesaving oxygen-rich air. Other than immediately post-op, recuperating dogs and cats are kept in separate wings of the building, thus reducing their stress levels while they are sick.
It’s the little touches that are breathtaking. Note little doesn’t refer to the price, the state of the art pieces of medical equipment and machinery at the hospital are an expensive investment for the practise. However, Graeme feels strongly that these are key to the success of the procedure and the recovery. A machine that makes oxygen, another which warms the patient on the operating table, preventing core body temperature from dropping dangerously low. Ultrasound, digital X-ray, a specialist dental machine – the list goes on.
A new service offered here is Fur Styling @ Casterbridge. Moses Zondo spent four weeks studying at Tailwaggers Professional Dog Grooming Academy in Johannesburg and is qualified as a dog and cat hairdresser – he’ll even do nails! Moses has a magic touch with his clients, even cats adore his pampering. By appointment only.
Mindful that not all pets are born equal, one of the Casterbridge Vet’s annual highlights is their Mandela Day service. Working with the State Veterinarian and the SPCA, they spay 60 dogs and cats every July 18 in Msholozi. Graeme says it’s heartwrenching to watch residents line up from early morning, hoping that their pet is one of the lucky ones to be spayed, de-flea’d and de-wormed. “It’s made a huge difference,” he remarks. “Once the animal is pest free, it’s taken inside the house and treated as a loved pet.” White River residents volunteered to help with the recovering post-op care and the surgery was a’buzz with people sitting on the floor cuddling drowsy animals.
Mon – Fri: 08h00 – 11h00 & 14h00 – 18h00
Sat: 08h00 – 12h00