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Blue Cross Victoria Hospital Celebrates Centenary In Style [31/05/2006]

Veterinary staff at the Blue Crossí Victoria Hospital got a taste of what life would have been like when Victoria Hospital first opened in 1906, by dressing in period costume to help celebrate the hospitalís centenary. Clad in big, full skirts or stiff tweed suits, the staff worked all day in their restrictive outfits, and got some idea of the difficulties early 20th century staff would have faced. In addition to the costumes, a mock-up of an early clinic was carefully constructed to show how it would have looked and been run in 1906, complete with old examination equipment, boxes of medication and test tubes from that time.

With so many years spent devoted to Londonís needy animals, the charity has many photographs spanning back through time. Displayed proudly in the hospitalís reception, these photos show staff at work throughout the last century and highlight just how much the hospital has changed throughout the years. Featuring some images of working throughout the Blitz in World War II, when staff often worked by candlelight, the staff and visitors of today were able to see just how fortunate clients and staff are to have the facilities available now.

In the first year of Victoria Hospitalís existence the donkey ward was an integral department, and one of its first cases for treatment was a mare belonging to a flower dealer from Notting Hill, which was successfully treated for pneumonia. First into the cat ward was a grey tabby kitten, whose foot was injured in a road traffic accident Ė some things have not changed that much after all! In that first year, the Victoria treated 10,957 patients, of whom 1,226 were horses and donkeys, 3750 were cats and 4436 dogs. Last year, nearly a century on, 81,984 animals were treated at Blue Cross hospitals across the UK.

Most of todayís Blue Cross clients are elderly pet owners, for whom pet ownership is a vital lifeline, and their pet an important companion. Often these elderly owners would be unable to afford the treatments needed by their pets if the Blue Cross did not provide the services it does. To find out more about The Blue Cross visit their website.

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