Wolfe Vets, Independent, Family Owned 24/7 Expert Veterinary Care
Wolfe Vets is obviously very different to other London clinics from the moment you pass through the door. The attention to detail evident in the pet boutique at reception is a hint at the level of thought and investment that has gone into developing the veterinary hospital that is revealed behind the consult rooms. Reception is full of beautifully designed toys, collars, leads, healthy foods and veterinary approved dog treats; as many products as possible are free range, sustainable or recycled. Everything represents the ethos of the clinic: exceptional standards, dedicated care and a bit of fun.
Founder and lead vet, Dr. James Bennett, said: “The pet owners of west London have long deserved a vets that could do everything brilliantly; I found it incredible that veterinary facilities are typically better outside London, so I decided to reset the balance. We will treat cats and dogs from first vaccination through to major injuries and illnesses. Pets don't like being away from home, at the vets, so I have done everything I can to make them happy here, and to speed their recovery to get them home faster.”
Dr. James Bennett is one of only a handful of vets in London recognized by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as an Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal (Dog and Cat) Surgery, he is the only vet in London to combine that advanced accreditation with certification in Feline Practice as well.
The operating theatres and hospital are more like a private human hospital than a vet. James has taken surgical and imaging (ultrasound and xray) referrals from other vets for a decade and was determined to have the best possible facilities to carry out that kind of advanced work. “You would find the same equipment and instruments in a human consultant's theatre. Our bodies are very similar, there is every reason to apply the same standards”, James is keen to stress.
The entrance to the clinic has ‘Mogs' and ‘Dogs' in a mosaic on the floor, directing pet owners either side of reception before their consultation. James explained how stressed animals hide problems, and that he can diagnose illnesses even better in relaxed patients. At each step in developing his hospital James was at pains to make choices to improve his patients' time at the clinic and set things up in ways that mean they get well even sooner. It doesn't seem like much but if keeping cats away from dogs means that they allow a better examination in the consult room, it also means that problems can be picked up more accurately and they will be treated earlier and better. It will stop some pets needing sedation for certain procedures, reducing expense and sparing unnecessary medication … all through sitting apart in reception. “It's not rocket science,” said James, “it's the KISS principle, keep it simple stupid!”
Another feature that James is happy to have built is the separate dog and cat wards, “Imagine being a sick cat with a dog barking in a cage underneath, if you have not eaten for several days it isn't likely you'd pick up and recover with a hungry terrier beneath you.” The cats have their own ward, with kennels that are quiet, warm and non-reflective so that they are not startled by their own reflection. W4 never knew that cats were so sensitive! The clinic is set up to comply with International Cat Care Gold Standard regulations.
The dog ward is large and airy, with kennels to fit all shapes and sizes of hound. Dogs don't like being cooped up and they need to be comfortable while they recover from sickness or surgery.
“I want people to find it easy to choose Wolfe Vets to help them care for their pets,” says James, “We genuinely care for our patients and their owners, I have a team that wants to help. We treat all kinds of problem, from simple to very complex cases, we have the best equipment to make accurate and speedy diagnoses, we can see patients 24/7 and can hospitalise them here until they are better so there is no driving all over London, you can visit them, you can see the whole hospital, there is nothing to hide; we are no more expensive than the corporate clinics that have swept through London, despite being so well equipped, and we are easy to find and access: you can even get to us from the major A-roads (A4, A316 and North Circular) and then park your car for free at Majestic Wines, 30 metres away. When designing Wolfe Vets I envisaged it being a real amenity to the area, I really hope that is how people see it.”
They invested heavily in the fixtures and fittings of the hospital but in a different way to other vets, James says, “We will never make any money out of having an air circulation system that cost as much as ours, but having it there, moving air in and out of rooms, filtered, warmed or cooled, means that we'll spare pets sharing infections, and reduce the chance of complications during operations, it's impossible to know which animals directly needed it or benefit, but it is comforting to know that we have done everything in our power to give our patients the best chances of recovering quickly from their illnesses.”
Wolfe Vets also has a charitable function: James ensures that it is not only his local patients that benefit from the clinic. If they vaccinate a pet against rabies they also vaccinate a dog against rabies in a country where rabies is a problem; the clinic will also be supporting the fight to save the African Wild Dog and helping to train farmers in the developing world to look after their livestock, to both their and their animal's gain. James says, “I have tried to look at animal care from all angles, our pets are unbelievably fortunate to be living with us, they are doted upon; some simple care can massively benefit animals that were not so lucky at their birth.”
Looking around the clinic James makes it all seem rather obvious: the X-Ray unit gets pictures faster than other units, so pets are sedated for less time, so the whole process is safer; a comprehensive in-house laboratory means the results are available within minutes not days, so pets can be diagnosed and correctly treated faster, “KISS again,” James said.
Pet owners are very much encouraged to visit. Every day is an open day and, so long as people are not in a desperate hurry, the team always make the time to give a behind the scenes tour. James wants his pet owning clients to be able to know where their pets are being looked after, how it is happening and also why, to create a real bond of trust. James explained, “I enjoy spending time with and getting to know my clients and their pets. I could spend all day in theatre but have chosen to build something bigger, based around us being a team, looking after pets together. They are part of our families, it's about looking after our loved ones really.”
September 21, 2020