TRADITIONALLY, the veterinary profession has had a love-hate relationship with the pet shop. Vets provided medicine and surgery, while the shops provided the pet and its accessories - lead, collar, food and bedding. More recently, the lines of distinction have become blurred. Vets, as well as expressing concern over the welfare of dogs and cats for sale in pet shops, also stock pet food and behavioural therapy aids and toys to sell to clients; pet shops retail ear and skin treatments plus other over the counter products and do not refer customers to the vet as often as in the past. Now a super breed of pet shop has emerged - the pet superstore. Here, John Bower asks, does it represent a threat to the small pet shop and to traditional small animal practice, or an opportunity?
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