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Riverside Vets

October 2014

Turn left for dogs, turn right for cats ... the waiting room at Riverside Vets in Livingston had a small partition up the day I visited, to help separate dogs from cats in the waiting room. A visit to the vet can be stressful for any animal and the partition is just one example of the attention to detail and care that Riverside Vets try to bring to their whole practice.

I caught up with owners Mandy Clarkson and Graeme Sherriff during their lunch break in the middle of a typically busy day. Besides themselves there are five other vets in the practice, covering two sites in Livingston (Howden South) and Bathgate (Mid Street).

“We aim to carry out best-practice and excellent service in a friendly environment,” says Mandy. “We cover all small animals and carry out all routine procedures here. Occasionally when a pet comes in with a condition requiring specialist treatment or a specific operation, we have a network of specialists we can call on. Here we focus on general practice and on being the best at that.”

Both Mandy and Graeme trained in Glasgow, have spent some time away working in practices elsewhere and came back to this area to be closer to home. Mandy now lives in Bathgate and Graeme in Livingston. He shares his home with two dogs, three cats,a lizard and a three-legged rabbit, not to mention his marine fish tanks. He also occasionally takes in sick or injured wildlife and nursing them back to health at home. Mandy is UK breed co-ordinator for Dandie Dimont Terriers and she shares her home with three of them.

Many locals will recognise the practice as “Hedley's”, as it was originally established as Hedley's in 1981 and was Livingston's first veterinary practice that was located in the new town itself. The Bathgate practice was added shortly after, in 1984. Mandy joined Hedley's as a young vet in 1986 and Graeme joined in 1992. They purchased the business in 2001, renaming it Riverside Veterinary Practice. So between them they have a long history with the practice and a lot of experience both here and elsewhere. They expanded the Livingston practice in 2011, building an extension onto the existing building. Besides giving them more space, it allows them to separate the treatment areas for dogs and cats so that they are at opposite ends of the building to help reduce stress, something which is very important to them.

Both surgeries have laboratories on site for quick diagnosis of diseases and blood test results. They are also able to develop x-rays within minutes using similar equipment to that used in human medicine. Likewise in the operating theatre they use a range of anaesthetics identical to those used for humans.

Prevention is always better then cure and this is at the heart of what Riverside do. Their Very Important Pet (VIP) Health Plan is their own membership scheme designed to encourage people to keep up with regular health checks for their pets as well as spread the cost of routine treatments and, most importantly, make sure that any problems are spotted early by the vet. An optional accidental injury insurance is also available.

Mandy specialises in homeopathy for pets, and although it is not very often requested at the moment she has it “up her sleeve” if someone specifically requests it, or if there are no conventional medicine options for a particular case.

Riverside online shop

Riverside Vets have an online shop where you can browse and buy everything you need for your pet including food, treats, cleaning and hygiene products, bedding and toys.

“We aim to be a one-stop shop for pets,” explains Mandy, “ and this is what the online shop helps us to be. Our pricing is more competitive than major pet brands, which many people don't realise. For medication such as regular wormer, flea treatments and medicines you should book a consultation to make sure you get the correct dosage.”

The online shop is already up and running, although along with their website it is undergoing a revamp currently and will shortly be relaunched with a new look. In the meantime you can shop online and have your shopping delivered to one of the surgeries for you to collect (no postage charge) or if you order over £35 delivery is free to your home address.

I ask Mandy and Graeme if they enjoy their work and get a resounding “Yes! Every day at the practice is different!”

Follow Riverside Vets on facebook here where, along with keeping up with the latest news and offers, there is a monthly pet photo competition where you can win a voucher to spend in the online shop.

Batgate practice: 01506 634176

Livingston practice: 01506 437096