Montgomery Veterinary Practice early days.
Terry and Catherine Boundy moved to Montgomery in 1947 after he had served 3.5 years in Burma with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, and Catherine had been in the WRNS. The area had not had a local vet since Mr Wincup had died a few years earlier. So Boundy the Vet set up his plate at the same time as Dr Humphrey’s came to the town as the new Doctor. They both said that one of their main problems when they first came to the area was finding their way round the farms and villages. However, Sid at the Blue Bell knew everyone and everywhere.
Most of the early 50’s work was with cattle. Sheep were everywhere but the cost of having a vet see them on the farm was too expensive. It was cheaper for the farmers to bring sheep to the vet, anytime of day or night. One farmer used to drive his Riley car and the ewe would be on the back seat with his two sisters either side of her.
In 1953 the number of sheep coming in with difficult lambing’s was getting to be a problem. Caesarean section was fairly new on sheep. Soon the farmers could see the benefit to the ewe and young lambs. The operation time was reduced down to around 20 minutes, as long as the farmer who was holding down the sheep on the table did not faint!!
There were not a lot of home phones in the early 50’s. If an emergency call came in, such as a calving or milk fever and the vet was on a job at a farm with no phone, then the closest neighbour with a phone would be contacted to get a message to the vet to contact the surgery, run by Catherine. Sometimes one of the children would be sent with a message for the vet about the emergency.
There were a lot of calving’s, and when finished, there was always tea and food made by the farmer’s wife.
Wire operations were another problem. Bales of hay were still tied with wire in those early days. Sometimes bits of wire would be swallowed by the cow and end up piercing the stomach. An ex-army mine detector was used to detect the metal inside the cow by passing it around the outside of the cow. Everyone had to be quiet to hear the ‘ping’ when it picked up the metal.
Michael (Mick) Cross joined the practice in 1955 followed by Anne Lloyd who was one of the first lady vets in agricultural practice in Wales. Horse work was getting less and less in the 50’s. However, there was always some colt castrations to be done each year. Not a lot of sedation was used, only a bit of local in the right place, relying on manpower and twitch to get the job done, and most times, done standing.
Very little small animal work. However, several dogs that had eaten rat poison were saved by giving them a blood transfusion. There was a local dog that was used to give the blood and after a few sessions he had to be dragged into the surgery as he knew what was going to happen.
In the early 60’s, a new surgery, laboratory, and office were built at Kilaganoon on Kerry Road. Several vet assistants were employed. A few 4th year vet students from Liverpool University would come each year for the lambing season. Small hands were something they needed to have. Several African students came to see practice work and help out with operations.
Dehorning of dairy cattle was another big job which was done with a butchers saw or cheese wire, hard work as there were not many crushes on the farms. If there was a bleeder a hand full of cobwebs onto the wound usually did the job.
Godfrey Torr and Frank Dixon joined the practice in the late 60’s and soon they became partners being known as Boundy, Dixon and Torr, the Montgomery Vets. There was a full-time secretary and people to look after the animals brought in for operations. The workload increased with sometimes 6 vets working out of the surgery. Still, most of the work was large animals. More people were getting pets, and it was realised that there was an opening for more small animal work. Vet assistants who were newly qualified and had got up to date surgical experience were sought after.
By the late 60’s and early 70’s, sheep were starting to be more productive due mainly to better husbandry by the farmer who was asking for veterinary advice on how to get better stock. The practice started sending out monthly newsletters about sheep, then the ATB (Agricultural Training Board) started up their sheep courses with the help of the vets. Also, young farmers clubs were wanting vets to talk and demonstrate to them. Remember the “Phantom ewe” and how it showed people all the difficult ways of lambs being born and how to sort it out? You just had to put up with handling a cold dead lamb inside a metal water trough with a sheep pelvis screwed to the container.
The 70’s were good years but hard work. More assistants were needed to be taken on. Nigel Dodman, Steven Edwards, Kate Whitworth to mention a few all passed through the Montgomery Practice and went on to achieve noted positions in the Veterinary world. New drugs were getting better results and the vet drug companies were in big competition with each other. A well known Irish company brought in new drugs at cheaper prices. Whenever there was a car going over to Ireland it would come back loaded up with vet medicines. The horse side of the practice started to become busier due to more people taking up riding for pleasure. Work was carried out on several local studs and an x-ray machine was bought and used on large and small animals.
The practice moved from Kilaganoon to its present location. Terry came out of the partnership in 1980 but carried on as a specialist vet to the sheep and horse industry.