The Wangaratta Equine Hospital (WEH) is the end result of years of dreaming, planning and hard work by its founders Dr Graeme Blanch and Dr Andrew Bett. The new hospital evolved as a specialist facility of the Warby St Veterinary Hospital. The hospital has been developed in conjunction with GOTAFE to form an integral part of the National Centre for Equine Education. Both parties were keen to see a state of the art facility built in order to provide up to the minute care for equine patients whilst contributing to the ongoing education of equine veterinary nursing and equine studies students.
For many years Warby St Veterinary Hospital (WSVH) has been the premiere veterinary hospital in the greater Wangaratta region for the provision of equine veterinary services. This reputation was fostered by Dr Graeme Blanch whose desire to work with horses from his early days in Wangaratta saw his practice grow from a handful of horse clients to the point we are at today. Graeme began the Warby St Veterinary Hospital in 1981 in a single room of the building in Warby St that was also his home. At this time most of the local equine vet work was being done by vets from Benalla, about 20 minutes south of Wangaratta. Graeme's services were therefore much appreciated by local horse owners and equine consultations quickly became a mainstay of the practice workload. This work has always included stud work, racetrack work and all manner of services to pleasure, eventing and endurance horses. The work has mostly been done on farms, including surgical cases. The changeable environmental conditions and travel distances that the ambulatory horse vet encounters have been a major factor in the wish for the indoor facility that we now have.
Over the years Graeme was ably assisted by his partners and associates and the equine component of the Warby St work load steadily grew. He always had a strong desire to improve the care of his patients and the idea for a purpose built operating theatre and medical treatment stables grew in the back of his mind.
In 2001 Dr Andrew Bett joined the practice and rapidly developed a growing following among the equine clients. Andrew joined the partnership of Warby Street Veterinary Hospital in 2008 with a desire to further improve the services on offer for horses in our region. During this time GOTAFE was beginning its plans to relocate to a bigger and better site and the idea of the Rural Industries campus, National Centre for Equine Education and Wangaratta Equine Hospital was taking shape.
The development of the GOTAFE Equine Studies course quite neatly parallels the development of the Wangaratta Equine Hospital. In 1985 under the guidance of Mr Kevin Kurrle the equine studies course was instigated. The staff of the Warby St Veterinary hospital have from the beginning been involved with the practical work associated with the course's on site stud (Park Lane Stud). They have also been involved in various aspects of the curriculum, whether it be formal lecturing or more practical instruction during their contribution to the day to day running of the stud.
In 1995, after a 10 year working relationship between WSVH and GOTAFE, the idea of a joint venture to found a dedicated Equine Hospital was broached. The idea worked away on both parties from the background until 2004 when serious discussions between the then CEO of GOTAFE, Peter Ryan, and Dr Graeme Blanch began. The dream came much closer to reality in 2008 when definite planning began after a funding grant from the Commonwealth Government. Over the ensuing 2 years discussions, design and eventual building took place and the rest as they say is history. On August 1st 2010 the Wangaratta Equine Hospital was proudly opened when Mrs Barbara Ivill, Graeme's first equine client, proudly snipped the ceremonial ribbon at the official opening.
The Warby St Veterinary Hospital and Wangaratta Equine Hospital remain strongly intertwined with a common ownership by Drs Blanch and Bett, as well as in the most part a common staff. The WSVH continues to operate as it has for almost 30 years at 32 Warby St, Wangaratta in providing the best possible care for your small animals and livestock species. It is now supported by its flashier little brother, Wangaratta Equine Hospital at 218 Tone Rd for all your equine veterinary needs.