One of the largest and best equipped purpose-built animal hospitals in the UK is to be built in Solihull.
The Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Tanworth Lane, Shirley, will move to its a new premises at nearby Cranmore Business Park.
The move will see the centre increase in size ten fold and will also more than double the current workforce to more than 100 vets and support staff.
Peter Renwick, co-owner of the Willows Veterinary Centre and veterinary ophthalmologist, said: “We have been looking to make a move for the last 11 or 12 years now, as the practice has grown considerably and since the early 90s and has out-grown the building.”
The pioneering Willows Veterinary Centre became the first private referral service to open in the UK in 1989. It is still the largest practice of its kind in the Midlands and after the moving to its new premises in the summer of next year it will become one of the largest in the country.
Willows Veterinary Hospital specialises in orthopaedics, joint replacement, spinal surgery and ophthalmology - which deals with disease and surgery of visual pathways through the eye and the brain.
The new veterinary centre will be equipped with some of the best facilities in Europe including an MRI whole body scanner, a multi-slice CT scanner, six operating theatres, two x-ray rooms and intensive care facilities.
The hospital will also expand its specialist services to incorporate soft tissue surgery, neurology, critical care and advanced imaging and will now be able treat illnesses such as cancer and diabetes in animals.
Mr Renwick commented: “Diagnosis, surgery and treatment of animals has improved considerably over the last 20 years or so and the expectations and demands on the speciality services we provide have expanded too.
“New, sophisticated techniques and operational procedures, especially MRI scans have become very popular and now mirror those in the human field.”
The current centre at Tanworth Lane employs 12 surgeons, two general veterinary surgeons, five orthopaedic and five eye surgeons, but will now look to employ internationally recognised specialists to cover the new areas of care.
Last August, orthopaedic specialists at the Willows performed the first canine knee replacement in Europe. Grace, a seven year old bearded collie, travelled all the way from Northumberland to have the pioneering operation to relieve the pain and mobility problems caused by arthritis.