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Veterinary practice set to open in Beauly with acupuncture and herbal medicine services

By Rachel Smart

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Dominique Baranska and her family.
Dominique Baranska and her family.

A journey almost half way round the world has ended with the opening of a new veterinary practice in Beauly.

Highland Health Veterinary Care, based in the former Bank of Scotland office in High Street, is the brainchild of South African vet Dominique Baranska. She intends not only to offer comprehensive medical treatments, but also acupuncture and veterinary herbal medicine.

A certified dermatologist, she is working towards her specialist status, thus adding additional advice to her clients.

The new venture is a completely independent business and will be staffed by Dominique along with her own hand-picked team of professionals.

But hers has been no easy path to what she now sees as her dream job.

Her Polish parents fled their homeland due to fear of political unrest and set up home in South Africa where their daughter was born.

Always a lover of animals Dominique dreamed of becoming a vet, but the political situation in her homeland made that impossible and so, with an older sister already in Aviemore she arrived in Scotland as a 17-year-old with a dream to be a vet and £300 in her pocket.

While doing numerous jobs in the resort to finance herself, including training to be a lifeguard, she began studying an animal nursing assistant course in an attempt to get a foot into the veterinary medicine world. Applying for a position as an assistant nurse at an Inverness veterinary surgery, she was delighted to be offered the job and so began her professional journey.

Unable to afford vet school fees in Scotland, she embarked on her veterinary degree at the University of Life Sciences in Warsaw where she graduated in 2014.

Once more the road brought her back to Scotland and, after several positions in various vet practices, she landed back in the Highlands.

Now, with husband Lukasz and daughter Lilyanna, the family settled in Knockfarrel five years ago.

“Lockdown had had a devastation effect on all vets’ practices and despite our best attempts, I found the pressure becoming too great and I felt terribly guilty not having enough time to deal with all the additional clients,” she explained.

Having studied acupuncture and dermatology treatments - again both self-financed - over the course of her career, she started her own business, acupetvetscotland, from her home.

She added: “The pet population increased significantly during lockdown and many practices were overwhelmed. I wanted to try to help and do more and become part of pets’ lives. I want to take good care of everyone.

Dominique Baranska and her family.
Dominique Baranska and her family.

“I can’t get over how wonderful people have been to me; offering help to get the premises ready, painting, designing, doing errands for us. Lukas has kept a professional eye on the building work.

“The people of the Highlands have been marvellous and I hope that in some small way my team and I can repay that kindness of spirit by looking after both them and their animals.”

Highland Health Veterinary Care - Dominique emphasises the importance of the word “care” - will open its doors in June with an open weekend planned before that.

“I want everyone to have a good look round and see what we have to offer people and pets alike,” said Dominique.

Her website goes live on April 25 (www.highlandhealthvets.co.uk) and an open weekend is planned for June 7 - 8 for people to come and visit.

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