Heswall vet unveils transformed West Kirby veterinary centre

By Mary Wells

West Kirby’s Acorn Veterinary Centre has been transformed following a ten month renovation project.

The former buildings attached to the end-of-terrace three-storey Victorian town house, in Acacia Grove, which once housed a family printing firm and forms part of the surgery, have been demolished.

In their place is a modern, glass-fronted 3,000 sq ft single storey building which will house the latest equipment and pet accommodation and will have a staff team of 19 which will include the creation of two new jobs.

The new practice, which is run by the independently-owned Willows Veterinary Group, was built by local firm JFW Construction of Bebington, and houses three consultation rooms, a double theatre and an imagery suite which will house X-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy and ECG equipment.

There is a designated feline and canine dental theatre which has its own digital dental X-ray system. The number of parking spaces has doubled from three to six.

There are also be designated wards for cats, dogs, other small animals and exotics, ensuring that a poorly pet’s stay with the Acorn team is as comfortable as possible.

Head Vet Tom McGowan is pictured at the new Acorn practice in one of the consulting rooms with Ernie the dog.

For Head Vet Tom McGowan, it is the exciting conclusion of a 10-month project and he said his team could not wait to move in to their new premises from their temporary home at Hillcroft Farm in Frankby Road, Frankby.

Tom, a father-of-two who lives in Heswall and is originally from Arkansas in the US, said: “We have a lot of very loyal clients who entrust us with the care of their pets because they like the friendliness of the staff and our high levels of care it will be fantastic to be able to continue this in such brilliant facilities.

“We are basically taking our very up-to-date service and making sure we have a facility to match which staff can feel proud to call their place of work and our clients will be impressed by and feel comfortable in when they visit.

“It is airy and very modern with high ceilings and skylights which let in lots of natural light. I am delighted with the finished building and we cannot wait to start treating and caring for our patients there.”

The prep area at Acorn Veterinary Centre which is the heart of the surgery. Much of the treatment, blood collection and preparing pets for surgery takes place here.

The surgery is part of Willows Veterinary Group which is currently also investing heavily in the premises and equipment at its flagship animal hospital – Willows Veterinary Hospital – in Hartford, near Northwich.

Willows Veterinary Group has 25 small animal practices, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a seven-office farm practice, located across Cheshire, into North Wales, the Wirral and Staffordshire. It is accredited by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The new Acorn surgery has been meticulously planned with its animal clients in mind as Tom explained: “In the dog ward, there is room for 14 dogs including three walk-in kennels designed with the comfort of larger dogs in mind.

“In the cat ward, we have international cat standard approved accommodation which means there are features like a hutch inside where the cat can go to hide themselves away. They are made from polymer with glass doors which means they are much quieter because research has shown how metal cages with their constant clanging can be very stressful for the cat.

“There are also designated wards for smaller animals such as rabbits and also exotic pets and it is important to provide this to help keep stress levels for each individual pet low by keeping the various different animals very separate from one another.

“We have installed CCTV throughout so we can monitor the animals from anywhere in the building.”

Much care has been taken by Willows Veterinary Group to use locally sourced labour and products.

Bebington-based JFW Construction have built the new surgery with help from sub-contractors including A P Mitchell Building Services of Neston, Wilson’s Flooring Specialists of Birkenhead, K2 Aluminium of Birkenhead and Spar Roofing Limited of Wallasey.

For more information on Willows Veterinary Group go to www.willowsvetgroup.co.uk