University opens 'cutting edge' pet hospital

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The Independent Online

A £15 million animal hospital opened today and is said to be the most advanced of its kind in Europe.

The University of Glasgow facility for small animals will treat about 6,000 pets every year.

The hospital has MRI and CT scanners, an underwater treadmill and a pain and rehabilitation centre.

Around 120 veterinary students and 30 veterinary nurses will be trained there each year.

Dean of the faculty of veterinary medicine, Professor Stuart Reid, said the hospital marked a "step-change" in the treatment of small animals.

"It represents the latest in care for pets and is the most advanced such facility in Europe," he said.

"The patients we treat will still receive the best care available but this will now be in the best surroundings available.

"With cutting-edge facilities and capacity for training veterinarians at all stages of their career, the faculty will be using the building as a flagship for its clinical provision.

"We are immensely proud of our small animal hospital and feel sure it will provide a world-class service for the pet owners of the UK."

The centre, based on the university's Garscube campus in Bearsden, will perform operations at any time of day or night.

Around 90% of its patients will be cats and dogs, although other pets will also be cared for.

The MRI and CT scanners will help diagnose neurological conditions such as slipped discs or brain tumours.

The hospital also has a centre for comparative oncology - a growing field in which studying naturally arising tumours in pets can help experts learn more about human cancers.

An endoscopy room will help detect early cancerous changes in the guts of cats and dogs.

Dr Mark Jackson, the hospital director, said they were seeing more animal cancer cases every year.

"Our centre for comparative oncology gives a wide range of treatment for most types of cancers in small animals," he said.

"Pets are living longer than ever before and this is leading to the diagnosis of diseases more commonly seen in geriatric patients.

"As well as allowing us to treat these conditions, the new facilities will allow us to gain a better understanding about the development of illnesses and produce new ways to both diagnose and treat them."