People’s attitudes towards their pets are changing in Finland. Anssi Tast, Evidensia Finland’s Vice President, says that two decades ago, “It was still very much ‘animals are animals’ so they get a certain kind of treatment.”
Not today though. “It is very obvious these pet animals are family members,” he notes. “They are treated in the same way you would expect to treat your child, or anybody else in the family. We have to handle them in a very sympathetic way always, and we have to understand that our pet owners love their pets. This is one of the mega-trends – that people are humanising pets.”
In turn, this has meant that animal hospitals in particular have had to offer state-of-the-art facilities that, just a few short years ago, would have been considered the preserve of highly specialised university facilities – or even confined to hospitals servicing the needs of human patients.
That’s exactly what Evidensia has been providing in Raisio in the south-west of Finland, since it opened its new Vettori animal hospital in May 2018. The facility is conveniently located at a town centre site, yet it’s also close to a large park area. The local clinicians who initially identified a need for the facility drove the process. With support from Evidensia’s head office, it took just six months to build the new hospital and then get it ready to receive patients.
The hospital was needed, in part, because there has been an obvious and increasing demand for facilities that are open all day, every day. “The old premises were too small to extend our services to 24/7 because if you have 24/7 services, you need kennel areas for dogs and for cats,” says Tast. “And of course there’s the need for operating theatres. Since we didn’t have the space, we had to build it all.” Not just kennels and operating theatres, either, but X-ray and scanning equipment too.
“That’s important, because once you become known as a 24/7 hospital, you must be ready to take in more demanding referral cases.” Anssi Tast – Vice President, Evidensia Finland
“Out-of-hours work is mostly emergency cases, but some animals need a longer period of intensive care that requires vets and nurses to be around,” adds Evidensia Finland’s Country Manager, Jukka Toivanen.
LOCAL AUTHORITY CONTRACT
The client list for the new hospital also includes the authorities in the nearby city of Turku. In Finland, local government has a statutory duty to organise first aid for pets and farm animals, so Turku purchases on-call services from the Vettori hospital.
The Vettori facility is Evidensia’s third 24/7 hospital in Finland and the company is looking to increase that number. Evidensia is planning a second hospital in Helsinki and is currently building a new hospital in Oulu, Finland’s fifth-largest city.
This is just the start. “We are really looking at a map and the population densities around Finland, for where we are going to open new 24/7 hospitals,” says Tast. That’s good news for Finnish pet owners, who want state-of-the-art, round-the-clock care for their animals.