Partner Sabinne Bürgener, whose father-in-law Kurt set up the practice in 1961, has been appointed VetPartners’ managing director in Germany and will oversee operations and expansion in the country.
The acquisition marks further European growth by VetPartners, which already has practices in the UK, France and Italy, and is preparing to acquire its first practices in Spain.
Dr Bürgener, who qualified as a vet in 1984, built up the small animal side of the mixed practice in the Eifel region of Germany, and has been managing it since 1994. It was voted among the best 200 small animal practices in Germany by Focus magazine in 2020.
Tierarztpraxis Kelberg employs 15 team members and their six vets include Dr Bürgener’s husband Gunther and son Niklas. Niklas is joining VetPartners as country development director to help expand the group in Germany.
Dr Bürgener said: “We are more than proud to be the first VetPartners practice in Germany and are looking forward to a good association. We believe that VetPartners and our practice fit together as we share the same values that have always been very important in our practice, with a culture of support, respect and dedication.
“We are confident that with VetPartners at our side, we can continue to provide our employees with a safe workplace where it is a pleasure to work. Working together in a great team gives us the basis to be very committed to the care of our patients and their owners.
“The fact that we can rely on good equipment, the latest technology and continuing education gives us the certainty that we will be able to develop our practice further and we look to the future with great confidence.”
Niklas Bürgener said: “Working for VetPartners combines my two main interests of veterinary medicine and developing a business. We can truly identify with the VetPartners’ culture of support, which we got to know during our visits to the UK.
“We are happy to share that with German vet practices. Being part of a new generation of vets with different expectations and aspirations of their job, I understand the future needs of practice teams.”
VetPartners CEO Jo Malone said: “I am so pleased to see the start of our family of practices growing in Germany. Sabine and Niklas share my passion for the veterinary profession, creating a great place for our team members to work, as well as looking after our clients and patients in the best way possible. I look forward to working with them and supporting the growth of our group in Germany.”
Led by vets, VetPartners was founded by Mrs Malone in 2015 and has 160 of the UK’s most respected and trusted small animal, mixed, farm and equine practices, employing more than 6,000 people across nearly 550 sites in the UK and from its headquarters in York.
The group has diversified and now includes pet cremation services, an online retailer, a small animal veterinary nursing school, an equine nursing school, laboratories, a research dairy and a locum agency.
The group expanded into Italy in December 2019, when Ospedale Veterinario San Francesco in Treviso became the founding Italian practice. It now has 14 practices in Italy and is anticipating further growth in coming weeks.
Further expansion continued in 2020 when Clinique Vétérinaire Bas-Poitou became the first French practice to join VetPartners. More than 60 veterinary practice sites are in various stages of integration with VetPartners in France.