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Veterinary Surgeon

Bute & Cowal Vets
Dunoon, Argyll and Bute
Salary from £38,000 to £55,000 plus 50% of OOHs call-out fees
Closing date
24 Jun 2024
Phone number

Job Details

Are you a small or mixed vet looking for a relaxed way of life with beautiful scenery and a great team?

"I have been working at Bute and Cowal Vets for the last 18 months and have found it to be a fantastic practice to work. The team could not be more welcoming, friendly, and supportive, and I have been particularly helped by the flexibility I have been offered in my employment. To top it all off, Dunoon is a wonderful place to live with real community spirit, not to mention the beautiful coast and mountains." Kate MRCVS

We would love a small or mixed vet with some experience to join our award-winning independent practice. We are committed to improving the health & welfare of companion and farm animals across the Island of Bute & the Cowal Peninsula. We are a family-run mixed practice with an interesting and varied caseload caring for a wide range of species, including wildlife. This role will be based at our Dunoon practice and is full-time, but we’re also very happy to chat about part-time, flexible working.

Our Dunoon practice.

Catriona grew up on the Isle of Bute, and having regularly tagged along with dad, Duncan, on farm calls, she soon knew she wanted to be a vet, going on to graduate from Bristol University in 2001. After spending a couple of years working at a mixed practice in Renfrewshire, she returned to the island to join Bute Vets.

When the owners of our neighbouring practice in Dunoon retired in 2008, we decided to expand, and Bute & Cowal Vets was formed. Catriona moved to Dunoon to head up the new surgery, and we’ve continued to progress. We were delighted to win the Petplan Veterinary Practice of the Year award in 2015.

Catriona loves the variety and challenges that a mixed practice brings - she could be seeing a diabetic cat in the morning and delivering a calf by caesarean section less than an hour later. She also has an interest in game bird work and aquaculture, which makes up a small percentage of the caseload at Dunoon, which is approximately 80% small animal and 20% large animal. Catriona is also a Marine Mammal Medic for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue and is called out to help with seal rescues and whale or dolphin strandings.

Our Bute practice.

Duncan has spent most of his career on the Isle of Bute after joining Bute Vets in 1979. He loves both the working life of a true mixed vet and being part of the island community. When he’s not working, he can be found looking after his smallholding, including his herd of Dexter cows. Duncan is proud to be the old man of a young team, watching the next generation of vets develop.

Bute & Cowal VetsOur team

We have a fantastic team of 8 vets working either full or part-time. Kathrin joined the team on Bute from South Africa and brings with her twenty years of experience.

Both John and Neil originally joined us as locums before becoming a permanent part of the team. Neil lives on the Isle of Skye but enjoys working with us so much that we’ve arranged his rota so he can now work one month on and then one month off.

"Despite being qualified for nearly forty years, I am still eagerly learning my trade and love the variety of work at Bute & Cowal Vets. My home is in the Isle of Skye, and the flexibility of working a block of four-day weeks in Argyll and then travelling home for a while suits me. Having lived in the Northwest Highlands for many years, I had forgotten just how beautiful Argyll is, and I’m glad to be working here."  Neil McRae MRCVS

Hugh enjoys the variety of mixed practices and splits his time between both practices, whereas Kate prefers the smallies.  We also have two brilliant new grads, Robyn and Luke, who are getting stuck in and have brought lots of energy and ideas.

We are also an RCVS-approved nurse training practice and have a great nursing team of 2 RVNs, 2 ACAs, and a trainee ACA, as well as our fabulous reception, admin, and domestic teams. At Bute and Cowal, we’re all one team and rely on each other to make the practice tick.

About the role

We are looking for a vet to join the team at Dunoon; it could be a small animal or mixed vet and could be full or part-time. We can also be flexible to fit around other commitments outside of the practice, so please do chat with us about flexible working patterns. We really value our team’s work-life balance, and with both our clinics closing at 5 p.m. during the week and no routine consultations on the weekends, you’ll have plenty of free time to enjoy this beautiful part of Scotland. As we are supporting two new graduates, this role would suit someone with some experience and who has finished their own GDP.

We have daily morning rounds where we all get together to make a plan for the day, but we’re also realistic and can be flexible with the schedule to deal with any urgent calls that come in. We have a protected lunch break between 1 pm and 2 pm when the Dunoon surgery is closed, and Bute is manned by our reception team for collecting prescriptions, etc.

Bute & Cowal VetsWe have two types of shifts. Our consulting shift is a true mix, where you’ll usually start with some small animal consults before going out for any large animal visits if you’re in a mixed role. Depending on what the day brings, the afternoon could be more visits or an afternoon consult slot in practice. Our operating shift will start with a few admit appointments, and then we operate until 1 p.m., when we close for lunch. You have dedicated admin time, so there’s plenty of time to follow up on cases and make phone calls. You will then have a consulting slot from 3.30 p.m. until 5 p.m., with our last routine appointment booked at 4.30 p.m.

We have all the usual kit including digital X-ray and ultrasound, which we are in the process of upgrading. We’re also happy to invest in new equipment to support your interests.

We are proud to still offer our out-of-hours care for our clients, and this is shared between the team. The on-call rota at Dunoon is just 1:4 weekends and 1 weeknight per week, with the Friday off after the weekend on-call. We use an answering service to triage calls, so you’ll only have to deal with the cases that really need seeing, and if you are called out, you’ll receive 50% of the OOH's emergency fees. There is always backup available, along with the on-call RVN, and generally, the on-call is not busy (we won’t use the dreaded Q word!). If you are a small animal vet the on-call would purely be small animal.

About the local area

Located on the west coast of Scotland, Argyll & The Isles is an idyllic place to live with stunning scenery from tranquil sandy beaches to rolling hills and heather-covered moorlands. It’s also one of the best places in Scotland to see wildlife, including golden eagles, red deer, otters, seals, puffins, and more. This area is fantastic for outdoor activities, including walking, cycling, sailing, and water sports, or you could take a boat trip for a spot of dolphin and whale watching. The Isle of Bute was The Sunday Times' 2022 winner of the annual ‘Best Places to Live’ guide and is one of the most accessible Scottish islands, just a short ferry ride across the Firth of Clyde. It’s a fantastic place for families with 3 primary schools and an award-winning secondary school.

We’d love you to join our pub quiz team, ‘The Gannets,’ and help us continue our new winning streak (not that we’re competitive!).

Bute & Cowal VetsThe Package:

  • Salary of £38,000 - £55,000 plus 50% of OOH's call-out fees.
  • Holidays increase with length of service.
  • CPD encouraged and certificates supported.
  • Professional fees paid for RCVS, Veterinary Defence Society and BVA
  • Practice membership for Webinar Vet
  • Practice vehicle to use for visits.
  • Costs covered for travel between the practices.
  • Employee Assistance Programme for all the team and their families

If you would like to know more about us, then please call us for an informal chat; we’d love to hear from you, or if this sounds like the job you’ve been searching for, then apply now!


Bute & Cowal Vets was formed in 2008 when Bute Vets bought the neighbouring veterinary practice in Dunoon, previously TM & JA Black.  The merged practice now covers the Isle of Bute and the Cowal Peninsula as far north as the A83 Rest & Be Thankful Road, with branches in Rothesay and Dunoon.

The practice is a family run, mixed general practice with 5 full time vets.  We see a variety of companion animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, birds, horses & donkeys, and deal with beef, dairy, sheep with occasional pigs, camelids, poultry, game birds and even fish!

Although we are a small practice in modern day terms, we run our own emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.  We feel it is important that such vital services are provided locally with minimal travelling for worried owners and sick animals.  If your animal is ill at night or at the weekend, the last thing you want is a long drive and a fight with the SatNav!

The majority of small animal cases are best seen at one of our surgeries, however we are able to offer house visits when appropriate.  Please bear in mind that since a house visit can often require 2 members of staff to be away from the practice for over an hour, we would ask that visits are kept for times when they are really needed.

Although you will occasionally see lambs, sheep and calves being treated at one of our branches, most farm and equine animals are examined and treated on the farm or yard.  It involves a lot of driving for vets, but we have the added bonus of living and working in a really beautiful area!

Company info
17 Argyle Street
Isle of Bute
PA20 0AU

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