It’s a call you seldom want to make, but when you do pick up the phone, you need to know that there’s support and experience ready to help. These qualities have helped Emma Kennedy, of County Vets in Maybole, pick up the award of Large Animal Vet of the Year in the recent Scottish Vet Awards.

Owned and run by Emma, County Vets has been opened since 2012, and over the last seven years Emma has recruited a team of seven female vets, each with all-round skills, but also with specialist skills that cover both their large and small animal surgeries.

Also picking up an award for Vet Nurse of the Year is County Vet’s Sandra Mellor, who has been with the practice for almost seven years. Emma says that Sandra picked up the award after showing her caring, compassionate side, and being great with the clients. “She has seen it all, and still gets emotionally involved with all her patients,” says Emma.

Providing what the farmer needs is a specialist skill, and Emma attributes it to four of her vets being farmer’s daughters, including herself. She says: “It’s in the blood, really,” and, as Emma is married to a dairy farmer, there is no escape from farm life at home either.

She continues: “We try to work hand in hand with our large animal clients, it’s more about preventative practice now. Scheduling regular visits is important to catch anything before it becomes serious. There will always be the calls for those crisis moments of calvings, cesareans and lambings that need dealt with immediately, that’s just part of the job.”

We spoke to Murray Patrick of Spring Garden Farm, in Maybole, which is a dairy unit. He has been using County Vets since they opened and had nothing but praise for the outfit. “They are always really obliging, very helpful and often go out of their way to help us, both with our large animals and the pets around the house. They always seem to be on the ball. And have been really helpful with blood sampling and navigating our way around all the testing we have to do. It is changing the way of working to being pro-active rather than re-active. We’ve been trying to cut our antibiotic use, which is on everyone’s mind’s at the moment, and they have given us lots of advice on that front. They do all our pregnancy scanning and have advised us to have post calving checks, which even though all farmers still have issues, it has helped us to catch issues earlier rather than later.”

The Scottish Vet Awards are a public vote from the practice’s clients. The practice has to provide written affirmations of their work and bios on who was nominated, and County Vets found out they had been shortlisted and were delighted to be invited to the awards ceremony in Glasgow. Glad rags were purchased, of course. However, the week before the ceremony, they were notified that the ceremony had been cancelled, with very little information passed on to them.

A now deleted post on the Scottish Vet Awards Facebook page, which has also since disappeared, said: “It is with the deepest of regret that due to circumstances beyond our control, the 2019 Scottish Veterinary Awards will not be taking place.

“This decision is devastating for us as a company and we are extremely thankful for the support and commitment to the awards programme by our headline sponsor MWI Animal Health, our category sponsors and the veterinary staff from a huge number of practices across Scotland.

“As the matter is now the subject of legal proceedings, we regret that at this time we are unable to enter into any correspondence or comment further.”

Therefore, the ladies at County were all dressed up with nowhere to go, but they had a night out anyway in Glasgow anyway and enjoyed their well-earned win after learning which awards they had picked up. Congratulations!