A POPULAR Malvern Vet has announced his retirement after 46 years helping people's pets.

Richard Chamings from White House Vets is stepping down after nearly five decades of work in the industry, though he will be carrying on for a couple of days, part-time for now.

Mr Chamings' final day with the practice was on Wednesday (September 30) and he looked back on his time in the job.

He said: "When I qualified as a vet from the Royal Dick Veterinary School in 1974, things were very different to the way they are today.

"We had moved on from James Herriot, but there were definite similarities. Practices were generally mixed, meaning we were treating all species.

"It could be a guinea pig one minute and a race-horse the next. In fact, my very first call on my very first job in Dorset was to see a lame cow."

Mr Chamings said the industry was a very different place back when he started, with one older vet not even using a stethoscope, instead putting his ear to the animal's chest.

He added: "We relied on our senses - touch, smell, sight and hearing to reach a diagnosis. One of the older vets did not even use a stethoscope, preferring to put his ear to the animal’s chest.

"The odd flea or louse did not seem to bother him, though he did scratch a lot. We were fortunate to have an elderly ex NHS X-ray machine, but many practices did not.

"We did not have to put up with the mass of regulations that we have to today - on health and safety, employment laws, drug usage and accountability.

"We were sensible, made the odd mistake, and did not live in fear of being sued."

Back in those early days, Mr Chamings' pay consisted of £2,500 a year plus a Ford Cortina, unlimited petrol and accommodation while on early morning farm visits.

In 1985, after some time working in Devon and Worcester, Mr Chamings started White House Vets in Newtown Road, being joined by friend and colleague Ann Carman in 1988.

Mr Chamings leaves his patients in the care of his colleagues Ines, Ann and Jo, who will shortly be joined by Maria from Spain.

He said: "I have enjoyed my 46 years in veterinary practice . I hope I have made a difference and improved the quality of life of my patients, and made the right decisions as necessary.

"I would like to thank all of the clients and patients who have supported me over the years, many I think of as friends. I will miss them."