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Letter from the owner, Dr Joubert Viljoen

Home » Letter from the owner, Dr Joubert Viljoen

Dear Birnam Vet Client

This letter comes to inform you of the change of ownership and of the future of Birnam Veterinary Clinic. It is an honour and privilege for me to have taken over Birnam Vet from Dr Andre Wessels. Dr Wessels is an old friend and classmate and our friendship dates back to the 80’s when we were studying together at Onderstepoort. As with Dr Wessels, I myself can unfortunately no longer practice as a vet for medical reasons. I was involved in an accident in 2002 where a taxi skipped a stop street and wiped me out whilst I was on a motorbike. The accident changed my life and destiny and as with Dr Wessels, who considered practicing veterinary science as a calling, I too, had to come to terms with the fact that I could no longer work as a vet. Fortunately through the grace of God, the support of my family and the dedication of a very competent team of doctors and various hospitals, I was rehabilitated to the point where I can function pretty normally. I am still very involved in the veterinary industry through my practices, ongoing training and I am the current Chairman of the South African Veterinary Foundation.

Dr Simoné Steyn, our resident vet, took over from Dr Wessels and Dr Doug Davies shortly after Dr Wessels’ stroke. Dr Wessels is still recovering from the stroke and so far his recovery has been progressing well. Sadly, as many of you will know, Dr Doug Davies was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of June this year and passed away at the end of August. His sudden passing was a great shock to us all.

We realise that the changes at Birnam Vet came suddenly and there was no chance of preparing anyone for the scenario that has played itself out. Fortunately, you will notice when you visit the practice, that it is still the same team that assisted you before save for one or two new faces. Dr Steyn and I are very grateful for this very experienced and dedicated team we were able to join and we look forward to serving you and your family pets well into the future.

One of the immediate changes you will notice when you visit the practice is that we have re-introduced the premium ranges of veterinary pet foods and over the counter veterinary products for your convenience. If you have a particular need for a product which we may not carry, please inform our receptionists and they will gladly source it for you and see if there is a possibility that we can keep in stock for you in the future.


Since taking over the practice we have introduced a number of sophisticated new diagnostic instruments amongst others:

1) An Isofluorane Anaesthetic machine for safer General Anaesthetics for when your pet requires surgery;
2) A fully fledged dental suite to deliver first class dental care for your pets;
3) A digital X-ray developer with amazing capabilities to enhance images electronically, increasing our diagnostic capabilities;
4) A State of the art Ultrasound machine allowing us to do pain free, non-invasive investigations when indicated.
5) Volumetric electronic infusion pumps to accurately manage the rate of infusion when your animal needs to go on a drip.

These instruments complement our already well equipped hospital with full orthopaedic and soft tissue surgical instrumentation, a well-equipped in house laboratory with blood analysis equipment and microscope, allowing us to do advanced basic medical blood work and have results available at short notice, assisting with swift therapeutic decision making capabilities.

We have also introduced a new practice management system which will enhance our medical record keeping capabilities and pro-actively assist in the ongoing care and wellness of your pets.

Dr Wessels did not run accounts and we will persist with this practice and payment will be required at the time of treatment or discharge.

For your benefit we have decided to extend our morning consulting hours with one hour and Dr Steyn will be consulting until 11h00 in the morning after which time she will start with procedures and surgery. Our grooming service is carrying on as in the past and we look forward to delivering the good quality work you have become accustomed to over the years.

We have a vision to make Birnam Vet one of the best veterinary practices in Johannesburg. To this end we have introduced a number of values and principles towards which we will strive every day. We welcome you to our revamped website and encourage you to read more about our values and the benefits available to you on “About Us

Our website also provides a comprehensive list of the services we provide as well as some valuable information on a wide array of pet related health topics written by our vets. We encourage you to visit our website for qualified information first, before you the enter the ocean of the World Wide Web to look for answers to your pet related questions. Our website will also boast an online shop in the very near future where you can purchase your pet food and other veterinary products online from the comfort of your own home or office and have it delivered to your doorstep. Please note that there is a lead time of between 48 and 72 hours for products ordered online.

We hope that we will be able to build forward on the legacy of Dr Wessels and Dr Price and the other doctors who owned and worked at Birnam Vet over its proud sixty year history. Our slogan “A Scientific approach with a gentle touch” will motivate us to provide world class veterinary diagnostics and treatment, always remembering that we are dealing with dear family members who deserve dedicated loving care. Our vets will take the time to explain your pets’ diagnosis and treatment options with you. One of the benefits of becoming part of a bigger group is that we have seven vets who can apply their minds to a case when the need arises. If we cannot get to the bottom of your animal’s problem and cannot provide specialised treatment should it be required, we will refer you to a relevant specialist, ensuring your pet receives the best treatment available in South Africa. We would love to engage with you on our Facebook and Google Plus sites and invite you to visit and comment on the changes at Birnam Veterinary Clinic.

To you and your pets.

Best regards

Dr Joubert Viljoen, Dr Simoné Steyn and the healthcare team at Birnam Vet – Kathy, Bev, Vee, Patricia, Alpheus, Eliah, Goodness and Evelyn