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OUR HISTORY

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RCVS coat of arms, granted in 1844

Our practice is one of the oldest in the Highlands: there has been a veterinary practice in our current location for nearly 40 years. The practice was founded by Jock Robertson in 1974 and became known as Robertson, Burgess & Donald as new partners were added. The practice buildings used to be a working farm, known as ‘Eldad’, which was farmed by two generations of the Munro family. We have kept the original fascia and cobblestone car park, whilst refurbishing and modernising the interior. At one time, our practice treated farm animals and horses, but common with much of our profession, decided to specialise solely in pets about ten years ago. One of the early partners, George Burgess retired in 2009 and Stewart Donald still works for the practice having returned as Clinical Manager after a number of years working for the government veterinary services.  

 

Scotland has a long and illustrious veterinary history, which was and still is dominated by the two schools in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Royal (Dick) Veterinary School, now part of the University of Edinburgh, was founded in 1823 by William Dick. Dick’s father was a farrier and he himself trained as one before furthering his education at the Royal Veterinary College in London. After passing his examinations, he returned to Edinburgh to start one of the oldest veterinary schools in the world. In 1862, a former student and colleague of William Dick, James McCall, founded an equally illustrious veterinary school in Hope Street, Glasgow. William Dick and James McCall had infamously disagreed on the best method of controlling Rinderpest – cattle plague - in Scotland, which was devastating cattle herds throughout Europe at the time. Dick had promoted treatment, whilst McCall had pioneered the culling of infected animals. His motive in opening a rival Scottish school was to distance himself from the ‘fallacious and damaging views of the Edinburgh School’. An early supporter of McCall was the pioneer of antiseptics in human surgery, Joseph Lister who reputedly used McCall’s premises for his early experiments.

 

Prior to the 1800s, farriers and other practitioners performed veterinary work and it wasn’t until 1844 that the veterinary profession was recognised in its own right, by the formation of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.