News & Info

Levelling the playing field

Over the past decade or so many New Zealand veterinary practices, just like their medical counterparts have become parts of large, often Australian owned, corporate groups. This is not always immediately obvious as in many cases the clinics keep using their original names and signage. As you know Little River Vet is independent and Banks Peninsula owned and operated, our staff live locally and are active in our communities so we were excited to hear about a collective group of like minded vets called IndieVets (short for Independent vets) that promotes and celebrates practices like ours without inhibiting our autonomy.

For us the immediate advantage of joining will be to leverage the group’s buying power. Currently 38 clinics are members (and this number grew in the one day it took me to write this article so I’m sure we’ll still see many more join up!) and the suppliers who offer rebates to IndieVet clinics are those we already use, also NZ owned and operated. We still get to pick and choose what suppliers we use and which of their promotions we offer. We’ll also have opportunities for group continuing education and for the sharing of our skills, knowledge and resources, again something I’ve advocated for since starting the Little River Vet. Collegiality has always been important to me and something I’ve struggled to find locally for the bulk of my time here. We’ll be deploying a fully trained Virtual Vet Nurse, Linda on our website and facebook page on a trial basis for a few months courtesy of IndieVets so give her a try and we may well end up keeping her on. I guess it also helps that we have a vet called India so why wouldn’t we want to join IndieVets?

The other thing that is more and more on my mind as I grow older is succession planning. Many vets end up with no other choice but to sell their practice to one of the large corporate groups as so often they’re the only potential buyer in town. Sadly this often results in consolidation and closing of clinics, something we’ve recently seen happen to two Christchurch vet clinics. Even worse you could end up in a situation where you can’t find anyone to buy your practice and are forced to close it yourself. IndieVets is able to help younger vets on their journey towards practice ownership and older vets to mentor them along. To be a member the practice owner has to be actively working in the clinic rather than managing remotely from afar. In Steve Merchant, the founder and director of IndieVets words, “That’s when the magic happens.” They also expect high clinical standards of their members and for them to invest in their staff’s wellbeing and development. These mesh well with our values so we were very happy to sign up.

So as we’ve said all along we’re proud to be able to offer you a choice of veterinary service provider here on the beautiful Banks Peninsula. We hope you’ll choose our local independent family owned veterinary business that invests back into our community!


As well as an online store with an extensive range we've also created an online portal to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions or pet food and other animal health products. You can also view invoices and statements as well as update your and your animal's details, and view their vaccination history.

Now you can like us on facebook to receive regular updates (including the monthly news article) and interact with us online.

We've joined IndieVets and also have a new virtual team member from them, Virtual vet nurse Linda - she's the blue lady at the bottom of your screen, you'll also find her on our facebook messenger. Linda can help with many of your queries or can pass requests on to the less virtual team members. Please note for all remote veterinary opinions (phone/video/email/message) there may be a small charge ($25-45).

Our Diamond Harbour clinic is up and running at 9 Stoddart Terrace, Church Bay. Please call in and say hello to Sandy. Dr India Martin joined us in July 2019 and is mainly based out of Lincoln servicing our dairy and lifestyle block clients, you will also see her at the clinic occasionally. We have beautiful cat greeting cards available to help fund our kitten rehoming and stray cat desexing work. Thanks to Cat Rescue Christchurch  who also generously pay for many of our surgeries on strays! You can hire stock signs for your car or to put on the road, as well as orange flashing beacons and hi-viz vests from us to comply with the new regulations when moving stock. We've put shingle down in the parking area and made it drive through so please park inside and tell us what you think! Also have you noticed our freshly painted roof?

We have a large of foods and animal health products, including the BlackHawk working dog food at great prices. Our cattery has proved very popular, and we've had many repeat customers. Masterpet has taken over the cattery's food sponsorship with BlackHawk cat and kitten food, we'd also like to thank Hills Pet Nutrition for their food sponsorship over the cattery's first 5 years.

We've upgraded our in house blood analyzer, so we can run many tests while you wait. This allows us to offer pre-anaesthetic testing as well as health screening for older animals, and provide an emergency laboratory service afterhours and weekends when the Christchurch laboratory is closed. We also now have a portable ultrasound scanner, good news for pregnancy testing.

We once again have the cheap mismating injection available for bitches. This has been off the market for a few years now, but Paul has been able to have some compounded. We have some ideas to help you save on animal health expenses- ask us about very competitively priced BlackHawk farm dog food specially designed at Massey for NZ working dogs, and get to feed a premium, performance enhancing brand. Also the RFID electronic ear tags are now compulsory for cattle and deer. Ask us about ordering NAIT tags for your stock, or about the new tagging requirements. There is a lot more flexibility in what visible tags are acceptable- they don't all have to be yellow! We are able to procure eartags at below recommended retail prices.

We also have a large range of Acana/Orijen, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin and BlackHawk dog and cat food in stock. We can deliver to Akaroa on Tuesdays and to Diamond Harbour on Mondays and Thursdays.

Animal health information - Archives

Most of our articles are available to view as posts on Paul's Linkedin page. Please contact us if you’d like copies of any that are not yet online, also let us know if you’d like to see any other topics featured here.

A different perspective, Animal welfare, Accidental poisonings, Arthritis, Allergies, Above & beyond, After Hours, Akaroa or bust

Becoming a vet, Becoming a veterinary technologist, Birthing & midwifery, Be wormwise this Autumn, Barley grass

Calici vaccination update- rabbits, Canine cough

Dental care, De sexing, Dogs, sheep measles & farm etiquette, Distemper

External parasites, Euthanasia, EID's, Equine deworming recommendations & autumn animal health advice

First aid in animals. FIV and Feline Leukaemia, Five Freedoms

Grain Poisoning

Happy to be stuck with you, Human-animal bond, Heat Stroke

Internal parasites, Is it too late to spay or neuter my pet? Internet & Google- the good the bad and the ugly, It shouldn't happen to a vet, I don't vaccinate my animals, Insights from a vet nursing studentIndoor cats & ways to reduce predation

Kitten rehoming, Kennel cough

Lamb rearing

Mafikeng rhino, Memories of Mafikeng, Mr Talkative, Mycoplasma bovis , Microchipping,

Nutrition, Nutrition in pet rabbits, New Year Animal Health Checklist

Obesity in pets, Onwards & upwards

Poisons in the pantry, primary health care, Plant poisonings, Pigs rule, Pig's Ear, Pathology & blood testing, Pet statistics in NZ, Phamaceuticals- the NZ situation, Parvovirus

Quotable quotes

Rabbit calicivirus, Ramped up rhino, Resistance-squandering a miracle, Road block

Senior wellnessSheep measles, Snuffles

Tapeworm, TB in NZ, The nasties, The big move, The Challenge of Diamond Harbour, The thief, The Driving Lesson, Technology at work, Tom cat vasectomy

Urinary problems in cats, Upper Respiratory Tract (URT) infections

Vets’ cars, vaccination principles- ruminants, Vaccination of dogs & cats, Vet lifestyler

War wounds, Why vaccinate?, World veterinary year, World vaccination guidelines, Wild & stray cats

Xhosa- lost in translation

Yoghurtised milk recipe