Human Touch
With a track record of more than 30 years of serving pets and their owners, Phoenixville Animal Hospital evolves to embrace a comprehensive approach to care
by Bob Craig and Sharon A. Shaw

Credit Kim and Russ Galligher for knowing a good opportunity when they spot one.

Kim Galligher, V.M.D., was working at Phoenixville Animal Hospital as a relief doctor for more than three years and looking to take the next step when then-owner Richard Wolstenholme, V.M.D., decided to sell the thriving practice. Along with her husband, Russ, she saw tremendous opportunity in an institution that had an excellent reputation, more than 30 years of advocating for pets (and satisfying their owners) and plenty of room for growth.

“It was the opportune time,” says Russ of last year’s decision to purchase the practice. “We had been searching for a veterinary hospital to buy and everything fell into place. It was time for someone new to take over and bring in today’s modern medicine.”

The Gallighers did not hesitate in overhauling Phoenixville Animal Hospital, with investments in advanced technology, staff training and the addition of certified technicians. Training procedures now include monthly “lunch and learns” from medical supply companies and local specialists to train staff in medication protocols, while a new medical records system and digital X-ray machine have improved efficiency.

“Updating the hospital and equipment allows us to do more here by elevating the level of what we can offer, both medically and surgically,” says Kim. “We continue doing what the practice always did, and now we can offer more. [We’re] updating all software to move to paperless, which helps with record-keeping, handling client appointments and keeping in touch with referral vets.”

Tailored Service
The practice isn’t done with its evolution yet, as the Gallighers plan to renovate and expand the existing waiting room to accommodate dogs and cats separately, construct an additional exam room and add a treatment area specifically designed for medical/dental procedures. The hospital will undergo an entire “facelift,” says Russ. In addition, Phoenixville Animal Hospital now offers a diverse array of services to an equally diverse clientele. While serving a base of 4,000 active clients within a seven- to nine-mile radius, the previous owner had a large following that continues to grow under the new ownership. Part of what attracted the Gallighers to the practice was the ability to serve the area’s broad socio-economic group, according to Russ.

The Gallighers recognize the fact that different pet owners have different needs, and therefore strive to keep all services within reach of their entire customer base. If a certain procedure or medication is not economically feasible for a particular client, the practice will make the best recommendation within the client’s financial parameters. Their mission is to always do what is best for the animals while paying close attention to the desires of the client.

“One of the things I try to explain to my staff is that, as a vet, we are here to help the pets, and the only way we can is if the family seeks us out,” Kim explains. “We try our hardest to never pass personal judgment and offer the gamut of what is available. Of course, our goal is to advocate for an animal’s well-being.”

In addition to flexible service options, Phoenixville Animal Hospital provides price discounts for seniors on Tuesdays and complimentary sample doses of some medications and prescription diets, as well as incentives such as monthly raffles for yearly supplies of heartworm and flea-and-tick-control products. Also, beginning this summer, the practice will begin making house calls, which Kim had previously offered under her business Willistown Veterinary Services. Most of these services simply are not offered by many smaller veterinary clinics.

The offerings provided by Phoenixville Animal Hospital are nearly limitless, spanning a wide range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services. This should come as no surprise considering Kim’s extensive veterinary medical background, which includes externships with equine practices and at the Philadelphia Zoo, multiple per diem veterinary coverage with small and large veterinary and emergency practices, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. What keeps clients coming back is, however, Phoenixville Animal Hospital’s devotion to connecting with clients—both human and animal.

“We use science and medicine as it has developed,” Kim says. “But we maintain relationships with our clients. We tailor services to the individual. We want them to be happy to have come to us to help their pets.”

Proper veterinary care is extremely important during the growth and development of household pets from birth to old age. Keeping up with their diet, exercise, behavior, eating habits and every detail of their being is crucial to a healthy life. Phoenixville Animal Hospital encourages clients to understand the many facets of veterinary health while encouraging prevention and wellness.

In most households, pets are considered to be part of the family. Knowing this, the Gallighers engender client loyalty with “compassionate and comprehensive care” in a way that fosters human-to-animal interaction, according to Kim. She prefers to educate her clients about the treatment options so owners can be involved in their pets’ care plans. Whereas pet owners used to treat their pets only for vaccines and emergencies, the reformation of veterinary medicine is making it common for pet owners to take their animals to the veterinarian for medical history, diet and prevention inquiries and procedures. Kim says this is the most important thing that owners can do to maintain their pets’ health. Because pets can’t communicate symptoms, the practice can perform several screenings to identify illnesses sooner.

“In an industry where there is so much corporate takeover, people feel that any changes they see are being made by big companies,” Kim says. “But we are a young couple looking to invest in our family and the future. We think choosing a veterinarian is like choosing a pediatrician. You want a relationship, and so do we.”

Phoenixville Animal Hospital
1121 W. Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460
610-935-9071 |

Photograph by Rob Hall