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Wales’ First Clinic for Exotic Animals Secures Backing of the Development Bank of Wales

Clinig Cyntaf Cymru ar Gyfer Anifeiliaid Egsotig yn Sicrhau Cefnogaeth Banc Datblygu Cymru



The Development Bank of Wales is funding the first dedicated exotic animal veterinary practice in Wales.

A £300,000 loan from the Development Bank’s Wales Flexible Investment Fund is being used by award-winning veterinary surgeon and advanced zoological medicine practitioner Doctor Sophie Jenkins to open the new independent run clinic at Riverbridge Business Park, off Newport Road in Cardiff.

The 3,000 sq. ft. unit features dedicated car parking, multiple consulting rooms, dedicated clinical wards for different types of species, an isolation room, diagnostic suite and two operating theatres. Two qualified veterinary nurses, three full-time vets and two veterinary nursing assistants have all been recruited to provide care solely for exotic animals, rabbits and small mammals. They will provide first-opinion and referral services.

A self-confessed animal lover, Sophie has Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) Gold Rabbit Vet status and was the winner of Burgess Excel Rabbit Vet of the Year 2020. She previously provided peripatetic veterinary services in Pontypool, Bridgend and Cowbridge.

She also practised with independently run veterinary practice Origin Vets. The two practices will retain a close working relationship, referring cases depending upon respective specialisms.

The new Origin Vets Clinic will offer the full range of veterinary services solely for exotic animals, rabbits and small mammals including consultations, husbandry, health checks, surgery, radiography and ultrasounds, investigative tests and beak and nail care. Placements for veterinary students from across the UK will also be provided; offering specialist experience and training in the care of exotic animals.

Sophie said:

“I was just four years old when I decided that I wanted to be an ‘animal doctor’. By the time I was 12, I had persuaded my parents to let me have my first exotic pet – a bearded dragon – and there started my fascination with exotic animals. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2008 and went on to work in an Australian zoo before returning to Wales and completing my post-graduate certificate in exotic animals and achieving the status of advanced practitioner in zoological medicine.

“There is a huge variety of exotic animals and they are becoming increasingly popular as pets yet there has been no dedicated clinic for their care in Wales. From being a small child I have dreamt of being a vet and having my own practice. The support of the Development Bank of Wales means that I’m now about to live the dream and open Wales’ very first dedicated and independently run exotic animal clinic. It’s brilliant and I’m very grateful to have such a great team to work with.”

Emily Jones is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales. She said:

“Sophie is passionate about her work and is absolutely committed to developing a progressive and forward thinking practice that is focussed on continuous improvement of animal care. She’s also helping to train the next generation of skilled practitioners in the care of exotic animals. We’re delighted that our investment has helped Sophie to open her first clinic in Wales.”

The £500 million Wales Flexible Investment Fund is for Welsh businesses looking for loans, mezzanine finance and equity investment from £25,000 to £10 million. Terms of up to 15 years are available.


The Development Bank of Wales funds businesses that they think will benefit Wales and its people. The ones that will create ripples of growth- those that are more than a good business model or a great idea. They finance responsible businesses – those with a strong social, ethical and environmental standards, as well as real commercial promise.

By providing sustainable, effective finance where options have seemed limited, they bring ambitions to life and fuel possibilities for people, businesses and communities in Wales and beyond.

The Development Bank’s ‘big picture’ view means it can often help with debt and equity finance when options seem limited, doing whatever it takes to make a positive difference, bringing together the right people and working collaboratively to find a way to make things happen for Welsh businesses and for Wales.

Its teams are embedded in local communities, working out of regional offices that give customers direct access to key decision-makers and signposted avenues of support. They understand what’s happening in Wales’ villages, towns and cities – the challenges and the opportunities. They see the potential for business growth as a catalyst for enhancing lives and communities in Wales and beyond.

For more information, visit the Development Bank website at to find out more.


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