CROSS Veterinary Clinic in Crossmaglen, which only opened in January this year is certainly proving popular with farmers and pet owners across a wide swathe of rural south Armagh, north Louth and parts of Monaghan.
Thanks to the initiative of two already well known local vets, Pat Flanagan and Michael McCreesh, this landscape of family farms and small settlements now has a practice in the heart of the community.
Located on the Dundalk Road, opposite Crossmaglen Rangers GFC, the modern practice premises a few minutes from the village square offer easy parking for pet owners and farmers calling for a consultation or to collect animal health medicines.
Partner Pat Flanagan, a graduate of University College Dublin, explained how the decision was made to open the new practice. “I was already covering this area from a practice in Dundalk and when Michael McCreesh, a farmer’s son from Crossmaglen, expressed a wish to return to work in the area it was an opportunity we both seized.”
On leaving UCD Pat gained excellent experience in both Donegal and Monaghan before joining his late father, also Pat, in the Dundalk practice of Murdock and Flanagan.
“Eventually I bought Charlie Murdock out and became a partner with my father, but with his passing and a clear need to have a practice at the heart of the area we served opening Cross Veterinary Clinic was a logical next step.”
For fellow vet Michael McCreesh Cross Veterinary Clinic meant coming back home after working in Carickmacross and Kilkeel since graduating from Liverpool University veterinary school almost six years ago.
As Michael explained both practice partners are highly experienced yet open to new ideas as regards preventing and treating illnesses in both farm animals and pets.
Vets at the practice are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week as regards emergency calls to tel; (028) 3086 8848 with ‘by appointment’ small animal consultations from 4.30pm to 6pm weekdays and 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays.
For clients needing animal health products the practice reception and retail area is open from 9am to 6pm during the week, but closes an hour earlier on Saturdays.
The familiar voice greeting phone callers seeking to make appointments or arrange TB testing is that of practice manager Kathleen McElroy, who moved with Pat to the new practice after working with Murdock and Flanagan in Dundalk since 1968. Helping Kathleen at the busy reception desk, on a part time basis, is Louise Mallon.
Commenting Michael McCreesh noted that local knowledge was a major advantage for both vets in the practice as regards responding to urgent calls. “Most of our large animal clients have either suckler cows or a dairy herd and due to small farm size having another job for by farming is not uncommon.
“This makes it all the more important that they put a herd health regime in place to plan how to prevent costly problems. Often a simple vaccination programme will make the difference between profit and loss in rearing calves, for example.
“Thus giving ongoing advice, as well as dealing with emergencies, is an increasing part of our workload. The practice’s ultra sound scanning equipment, the most modern available, is also in huge demand for pregnancy scanning.”
The companion animal side of the new practice in Crossmaglen is likewise seeing more owners seek advice on protecting their pet’s health.
“To facilitate routine and elective small animal surgery we have invested in a fully equipped operating theatre with adjacent X ray and blood testing facilities,” Pat Flanagan added.
“Reflecting our interest in companion animals Cross Veterinary Clinic is linked with both the Dogs Trust, the largest canine charity in the country and Cats Protection, which has a branch in Co Armagh.”
Asked why the new practice was proving so popular Pat Flanagan said that,
“For animal owners, be they farmers or those with pets Cross Veterinary Clinic offers good old fashioned, speedy service from the heart of our local community using the very latest techniques.”