Starting a Veterinary Surgery

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: September 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Independent veterinary surgeries (often referred to as veterinary practices) treat a range of pets and working animals and provide preventative services such as vaccinations, neutering and spaying. Many surgeries also retail medical supplies such as worming tablets and flea treatments, along with pet food and accessories. Some surgeries specialise in small animals, farm animals or equines, while others treat all three. Typical commercial and business customers include farmers, boarding kennels, animal charities, animal breeders, riding stables, racehorse trainers, police and army dog handlers, and zoos.

Veterinary surgeries are usually owned and run either by a single qualified veterinary surgeon or by two or more vets working in partnership, typically trading as a limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited company. However it is not necessary for the proprietor of the business to be a qualified vet. Veterinary nurses and other suitably qualified people are often employed by the business, and are qualified to carry out particular tasks, such as minor surgery and medical procedures under the supervision of a qualified veterinary surgeon. Smaller independent veterinary surgeries are facing increasing competition from larger 'corporate' chains of veterinary surgeries and major pet care retailers that also provide 'in-store' veterinary care.

This profile provides information about starting up and running an independent veterinary surgery. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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