Dr Genevieve Touzel is taking over ownership of Sai Kung Animal Hospital
Why did you take on this new responsibility Dr Gen?
I love Sai Kung, and the opportunity to take over Sai Kung Animal Hospital, with its great reputation and fabulous team, was too good to miss.
What is your mission as a vet?
To provide the very best care to beloved animals and their humans.
Why include humans?
Dealing with an acute trauma or a chronic illness of pets can be very stressful. Part of my job role is to help ‘the humans’ too.
You ran the Sai Kung branch of SPCA for five years. How was that?
Sai Kung is the pet capital of Hong Kong. Working at Sai Kung SPCA – in the bustling hub of Sai Kung – was wonderful and hectic and a great introduction to Hong Kong vet life. I loved my time there and the dedication, care and compassion shown by everyone who works for SPCA is exceptional. SPCA is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year, and I wish them all the best for their next century!
What can residents expect when they visit Sai Kung Animal hospital?
Friendly faces, a team of animal lovers and perhaps a treat or two if they are lucky. Usually, we can fit your pet in for an urgent appointment the same day and our in-house laboratory, Xray and ultrasound facilities means we can diagnose and treat without delay. Sai Kung Animal Hospital has been owned by Hong Kong Vets for over 20 years and has a great reputation. We will build on that.
What services will Sai Kung Animal Hospital offer?
We offer most veterinary services including preventative health care, surgery (soft tissue and basic orthopaedic) and wellness clinics. I have a certificate in veterinary acupuncture and love to complement western medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where appropriate. Pain management and balancing multiple illnesses in senior pets is one of my passions. It is amazing the difference you can make to the well-being of older pets by taking a holistic view to patient care. I also offer flank spays for cats. These have proved very popular and are an alternative to desexing cats via a midline incision on their bellies.
How did you wind up in Sai Kung?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia but have spent the majority of my working life in the UK. My brother also lives in Sai Kung. Six years ago, I flew from the UK to surprise him on his birthday and fell in love with Sai Kung. Returning to London that Sunday night, I was already hatching plans to convince my family that Hong Kong should be our next adventure. Luckily my family loves adventure just as much as I do. Considering they had never been to Hong Kong, I was thrilled that they were willing to embrace the unknown. My husband Ben Dawson set up his business, Sai Kung Handyman. I was nervous that the family would not love Sai Kung as much as I did but my fears were unfounded. We haven’t looked back.
Why do you have such a strong following among Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay residents?
I am an honest person. I say it how it is. After 21 years of practice, I’m a competent and skilled surgeon and proficient in medicine, and acupuncture. People come to me because they trust my advice. It is a privilege to be in this position.
Why do you like Sai Kung?
A family trail run, followed by a swim, then a meal at one of Sai Kung’s many amazing restaurants. An icy cold pint is essential also. Most importantly, I love the community. In five years, I have made some great friends.
Sai Kungers welcome people with open arms. When we first arrived, we were inundated with invites to events. It was crazy but a fantastic introduction to Sai Kung life. Everyone is so busy here but there is always someone around to talk to and support you as required.
How did you become a vet?
At seven years of age, I was excited beyond words when my parents took us for a drive to collect a mongrel pup. I loved him so much. I would sleep with him curled up in his basket, nuzzle him endlessly and I even ran away from home with him one day. From here onwards, my devotion to animal welfare escalated. I would try and save every injured animal I could find, I was a regular attendee at various welfare events and protests and used to collect animals on long drives that were injured by the roadside. On one particular road trip, I would throw various items out of the car window until my parents would stop the car. There was always roadkill in Australia and I was intent on checking the pouches of marsupials for any surviving orphans. I also had a pet possum that gnawed a hole through the wall in our living room. I hand fed the possum daily through the hole. I started regularly volunteering at RSPCA in Australia at 12 years old and loved both the welfare and clinical side of this. For me, there was never any other alternative than to become a vet.
What do you love about your work?
Each day brings new challenges and successes. Being surrounded by animals and people who love animals is also not a bad way to spend your days…
Do you have any advice for young people who want to become a vet?
Gain as much experience with animals as possible. I scrubbed outdoor cages every Sunday in the Australian Summer heat as a teenager. I volunteered at animal shelters, farms, private kennels and vet clinics on school holidays. I also held a part time job during high school and university at the local department store, so time management was a skill I learnt early on.
What else should wannabe vets know?
Vet work is not always glamorous. We deal with faeces, maggots, blood and some pretty gruesome injuries. We work long hours. The first years are tough and it is difficult to ‘switch-off’. Social media can be brutal, especially towards less experienced vets. Mental health problems are a huge issue in the industry. You need solid foundations, thick skin and a good support network are required. Vets need to enjoy working with people as well as animals.
Do you have a message for the people of Sai Kung?
Love what you do!