Wales’ first clinic for exotic animals secures backing of the Development Bank of Wales

Investment Executive
Origin Vets

The Development Bank of Wales is funding the first dedicated exotic animal veterinary practice in Wales.

A £300,000 loan from the Development Bank’s Wales Flexible Investment Fund is being used by award-winning veterinary surgeon and advanced zoological medicine practitioner Doctor Sophie Jenkins to open the new independent run clinic at Riverbridge Business Park, off Newport Road in Cardiff.

The 3,000 sq. ft. unit features dedicated car parking, multiple consulting rooms, dedicated clinical wards for different types of species, an isolation room, diagnostic suite and two operating theatres. Two qualified veterinary nurses, three full-time vets and two veterinary nursing assistants have all been recruited to provide care solely for exotic animals, rabbits and small mammals. They will provide first-opinion and referral services.

A self-confessed animal lover, Sophie has Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) Gold Rabbit Vet status and was the winner of Burgess Excel Rabbit Vet of the Year 2020. She previously provided peripatetic veterinary services in Pontypool, Bridgend and Cowbridge. She also practised with independently run veterinary practice Origin Vets. The two practices will retain a close working relationship, referring cases depending upon respective specialisms.

The new Origin Vets Clinic will offer the full range of veterinary services solely for exotic animals, rabbits and small mammals including consultations, husbandry, health checks, surgery, radiography and ultrasounds, investigative tests and beak and nail care. Placements for veterinary students from across the UK will also be provided; offering specialist experience and training in the care of exotic animals.

Sophie said: “I was just four years old when I decided that I wanted to be an ‘animal doctor’. By the time I was 12, I had persuaded my parents to let me have my first exotic pet – a bearded dragon – and there started my fascination with exotic animals. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2008 and went on to work in an Australian zoo before returning to Wales and completing my post-graduate certificate in exotic animals and achieving the status of advanced practitioner in zoological medicine.

“There is a huge variety of exotic animals and they are becoming increasingly popular as pets yet there has been no dedicated clinic for their care in Wales. From being a small child I have dreamt of being a vet and having my own practice. The support of the Development Bank of Wales means that I’m now about to live the dream and open Wales’ very first dedicated and independently run exotic animal clinic. It’s brilliant and I’m very grateful to have such a great team to work with.”

Emily Jones is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales. She said: “Sophie is passionate about her work and is absolutely committed to developing a progressive and forward thinking practice that is focussed on continuous improvement of animal care. She’s also helping to train the next generation of skilled practitioners in the care of exotic animals. We’re delighted that our investment has helped Sophie to open her first clinic in Wales.”

The £500 million Wales Flexible Investment Fund is for Welsh businesses looking for loans, mezzanine finance and equity investment from £25,000 to £10 million. Terms of up to 15 years are available.