The best vets in Canberra

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Looking for a Canberra vet for your furry friend? Read through our article to find our recommendations of some of the best. Photo: Vanessa Burdett.

From scales to tails, and feather to fur, more Canberrans are welcoming pets into their homes than ever before. Be it a dog, cat, bird, fish, or something a little more exotic, we are a nation of animal lovers indeed. In fact, Australia boasts one of the highest rates of household pet ownership in the world.

As the givers of unconditional love, it is no surprise that the bond shared with our pets is like no other. They bring out our softer side, encourage us to be more active, and at times even more social. Such are the impacts that scholars the world over have recorded countless medical benefits for owners from decreased blood pressure, triglycerides, and more.

While they improve our health and quality of life dramatically, we too care for them. If you have a four-legged or feathered friend, you will know just how important a veterinarian is. From vaccinations, to oral health, microchipping, and general concerns they are bedrock when it comes to your pet’s wellbeing.

That said, not all veterinarians and their clinics offer the same level or care or servicing. The good news is that we have shortlisted the leading vets in the Canberra region.

What makes a great vet?

The best vets are impeccably skilled animal health practitioners crusading for the wellbeing of creatures who cannot speak for themselves. Their passion, compassion, and considered approach ensures our pets health – and happiness for years to come.

  • Animal afficionados. The best vets are not only animal afficionados; they have a genuine affinity for their care. First impressions often last, so look for real passion – and importantly compassion – to put your mind at ease. Finally consider a vet with a disposition suited to your paw-pal for the best chance of fostering a connection.
  • Accredited & experienced. All practicing vets will be the proud owners of a doctorate in veterinary science and professionally accredited. In Australia vets are accredited at state level, so check the Veterinary Practitioners Board for those practicing in the ACT. Moreover, the best will also be members of peak industry body, the Australian Veterinary Association. While foundation qualifications are essential, what really counts is experience. A such, look for vets with a solid track record under their belts.
  • Recommended & reputable. Much like doctors, finding a reputable vet is often as easy as asking around. Personal recommendations from family, friends, or colleagues are often a great way to start researching. Equally, client reviews online along with broader pet health care websites can be helpful too. Finally, if you hold pet insurance it might be worth consulting your provider for clinic recommendations.
  • Services & need match. With varied pet ages and stages, it pays to find a vet equipped with the skills to service your needs. For instance, younger pets may benefit from clinics under which multiple generalist services are offered. These services may include vaccinations, microchipping and desexing, along with x-rays, pathology, and ultrasounds. Contrastingly, older pets may require more specialised services such as oncology, ophthalmology, or dermatology.
  • Convenient & available. A final minor, yet important factor is your vet’s location and availability. Considerations such as travel time, opening hours, and location all should be considered. Availability for your vet of choice and short waiting times all help when needed. Also look for what after-hours or emergency care is available.

The best vets in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Capital Veterinary Hospital

Locally owned and operated by Dr Ashrafi, Capital Veterinary Hospital have built a swift reputation for quality care and consistent service. Their boutique offering is home to small team of veterinarians, nurses, and support staff ensuring you see the same carers each time.

While they offer a range of generalist medical services, what sets this practice aside is their specialisation in complex surgical procedures. Among these are soft tissue, orthopaedic, and cruciate surgeries, alongside fracture repairs.

Conveniently located in Phillip and open six days, this team also provides emergency services for existing clients.

Katrina Buttriss shared praise for the team on Google, “I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the wonderful staff who have looked after my fur babies with such love and respect, every time we have visited them.”

Northside Veterinary Centre

For more than fifteen years, the devoted team at the Northside Veterinary Centre have worked together to provide high-quality and personal service to Canberra’s pets and pet-owners.

With more clinics owned by enterprise organisations, Northside Veterinary Centre are proud to offer non-corporate community-centred veterinary care.

Headed by Dr Adamson and Dr Oakes, this team of five full time vets, nurses and support staff adopt a team approach for the care of your pets. Offering a range of services from general consultations, to emergency, and surgery are a great local choice.

Beth Cribb had this to say about the centre, “Great vet! Compassionate and caring, down to earth advice. Great facilities and large comfortable consulting rooms.

Small Friends Veterinary Hospital

Since its inception in 2004, Small Friends Veterinary Hospital have built an impeccable reputation amongst past and present clients. Their first-class service, exemplary standard of animal care, and trusting professional approach are hallmarks of their offering.

Home to three vets and a team of nurses and support staff, this boutique practice specialises in small animals and household pets. Small Friends Animal Veterinary Hospital offers a comprehensive range of services from general consultations all the way through to complex surgery.

Located in Amaroo and open six days a week, Small Friends Animal Veterinary Hospital is an excellent choice.

Daniel Chisholm shared this glowing review on Google, Always friendly and professional. I have complete faith in the wonderful team at Small Friends Vet who have tended to our animals for the last 15 years."

Belconnen Animal Hospital

With an ethos anchored in the delivery of quality pet care, Belconnen Animal Hospital are well placed to deliver to your medial and surgical needs. They hold the philosophy that prevention is better can cure, and endeavour to care for your pets to ensure long, happy, and comfortable lives.

Recent changes in ownership have seen numerous improvements including state of the art technology and expanded service capability during business and emergency hours. Services include dentistry, behaviour, vaccinations, pathology, and more. Located in Weetangra the hospital is open six days a week.

Helen Day shared this great experience on Google, The staff clearly love animals! Very helpful and supportive of us and our new puppy, particularly as we have absolutely no experience.”

The Village Vet

Proudly local, The Village Vet, turns the ‘white coat’ effect on its head by creating a nurturing and homely environment for owners and their pets. They aim to provide families and their fur babies with a more comfortable and caring veterinary experience.

With over fifteen years of experience caring for feathered and furry friends their team offers a range of medical and surgical of services. With a separate

Located in Downer and open six days, they are a perfect choice for your household pet.

Natasha Crawford had this to say on Google, Amazing staff, the vets are kind and patient, they really listen to what you have to say and take any concerns seriously. Lovely, safe environment for all animals. They have separate areas for cats and dogs to ensure every pet feels comfortable.”

There is a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. For urgent care see our article on the best emergency and after-hours vets in Canberra.

Moreover, our articles on the best dog trainers, the best dog groomers, the best pet shops and pet supplies may help.

If you are a looking for somewhere for your pet to stay look to our articles on the best dog walkers and pet sitters, the best dog boarding kennels and catteries, and the best doggy daycare may be helpful.

Finally, if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest.

Your experience with vets in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the vets listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a veterinarian do?

Veterinarians service the healthcare needs of animals, much like doctors do for us humans. Commonly referred to as ‘vets’, veterinarians generally practice in hospital or clinic settings where they treat animals, including our beloved pets.

Why should I take my pet to the vet?

Veterinarians play an important role in maintaining the health and wellbeing of your pet. They monitor current states; diagnose and manage diseases; and treat sick or injured animals. As our pet’s mask symptoms easily, regular visits to the vet to help to keep them in tip top shape and prevent future illnesses.

How often should I take my pet to the vet?

The frequency of vet visits tends to depend on your pets age and their individual health needs. That said, most veterinarians recommend that you take your pet to them at least once a year for an annual wellness assessment. Additionally, take your pet to the vet as needed for any issues such as illness or incident which may arise.

What does a wellness check involve?

Regular wellness checks allow your vet to prevent, detect, or treat any health issues before they become life threatening. A typical wellness check may include a physical examination, diagnostic test, and a faecal examination.

Why should I vaccinate my dog or cat?

Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious diseases, and prevents the transmission of those that pose a risk to humans. For specific advice on vaccinations please consult your vet.

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canberrascout3:58 pm 06 Nov 19

Sonza Vet Clinic was consistently cheaper for us when we and dogs. They also made house calls at the time for us when it was too painful for our pets to continue. Highly recommended for budget pet care.
Sonza Vet Clinic 5893 Kings Hwy, Kowen ACT 2620 (02) 6238 1132 Checked their google reviews and seems their reputation still holds up.

I’ve always found Belconnen Animal Hospital (cnr Belconnen Way and Coulter Drive at Weetangera) very good.

deltarider said :

LiamMarsh said :

Jan Spate in hall, good vet, very nice lady, super cheap. Sorry I don’t have a number for you. when you find her address/number don’t bother calling you just turn up to the clinic on a first there first served type thing.

In the interests of having all the information available to you, Jan Spate has been deregistered as a veterinary surgeon by the vets board due to incompetence. I wouldn’t take my pets to her in a million years.

Care to back that up with any evidence? There were certainly issues with Jan’s registration a couple of years back, however as this story from 2009 mentions – – she was re-registered back then, and the issues mentioned are nothing to do with incompetence.

Jan Spate in Hall is basic but cheap and very thorough. Why spend $1000 when you can get the same type of service for $50 or $100.

We have two cats and two rabbits and love our animals but I think some people go a little crazy over their pets. If ya don’t give birth to it or marry it (or are born into it ) then it isn’t family, but haivng said that, our animals are much loved. The amount of money people spend on their pets is abominable!! $7000, seriously!! Think what that can do to feed starving people. More than happy to take the animals to the vet if they are sick but seriously, having operations and the like is more about you than the animal as you are just increasing their suffering.

LiamMarsh said :

Jan Spate in hall, good vet, very nice lady, super cheap. Sorry I don’t have a number for you. when you find her address/number don’t bother calling you just turn up to the clinic on a first there first served type thing.

In the interests of having all the information available to you, Jan Spate has been deregistered as a veterinary surgeon by the vets board due to incompetence. I wouldn’t take my pets to her in a million years.

You should always seek the best veterinary care which you can afford. The bigger hospitals do have equipment and means available to them which small clinics may not. If the vet feels your cat needs regular check ups/blood tests, etc. to ensure the medication it is on and dosage is still appropriate and not harmful to your cat then I’d be inclined to doing just that. How much would you be prepared to pay for your child’s medical care?

+1 for Jane Spate at Hall

i don’t know about the belconnen area however in all the yrs i’ve lived in canberra and no matter what suburb i always go to see either Malcolm or Karen @ Tuggeronong Veterinary Clinic in Fadden. I could not speak more highly of their caring compassionate natures – would trust them with animals no questions.

Bad Seed – +1 for South Vet Centre at Narrabundah. The guy there is particularly good with cockies and other birds

Whatever, Conan – proceed on the basis of lack of evidence and make whatever assumptions you want.

I’ve had poor experiences on pretty much the same lines with these vets in the past, as have friends and acquaintances, and would advise anyone to avoid them.

I know exactly what the OP is going through and extremely pissed off that a vet would use old pets nearing the end of their lives as a means of extorting money from clients completely unnecessarily.

Not in Belconnen but we have used the Inner South Veterinary Centre at Narrabundah (next to the German Club) for more than 30 years for various dogs and cats and always found them great

ConanOfCooma11:39 am 06 Jan 11

“…there are lots of medical conditions (for both humans and animals) that require constant, unchanging medication until death – and vets will acknowledge this.”

That information is not in the OP, so how can we take your word on it that these cats are experiencing similar issues?

“Doesn’t matter who you are, being gouged a couple of thousand dollars for a vet when you already have a firm diagnosis and know what is necessary is utter bollocks.”

It also doesn’t matter what you think you know, as at no point has the OP stated the nature of the conditions, and working off the data provided, the OP could be risking the lives of their beloved felines simply because they felt they were being hard done by financially.

I’m all for saving money, money is great, but not enough evidence has been provided to assume the vet is doing something shonky.

Madame Workalot11:02 am 06 Jan 11

Another +1 for Tuggers Vet Hospital in Braddon. I have taken my dogs there for various ailments over the years, and have never been unhappy with the treatment. They always take extra-special care and are polite, caring and compassionate. Well worth the 40 min drive.

I would recomend the Brudine Veterinary Hospital located at the Corner Kingsford Smith Drv & Alfred Hill Drv in Melba (+1 for Lefty!).

Brudine has been great friendly, realistic and reasonable. Highly recomended!!

Agree with comments above about those large vet businesses where you see a different vet each time. We have had real trouble with that in the past, total lack of continuity of care which resulted in a dog with a broken leg dying of kidney failure (one of the many she saw put her on the wrong medication).

We see the bloke who operates out of his house in Ijong St, Braddon, now. We don’t get the gammut of x-rays and blood tests for every diagnosis. Seems OK.

@Minion – +1 for Tuggeranong Vet Hospital – a small group of senior vets and they are picky about the junior vets that work for them so you always get good ones. They have been very good to me thorough my dog getting diabetes and various other health issues.

@Minion #30 – I can’t speak highly enough of Malcolm McKnown, Tuggeranong Vet Hospital in Fadden.

I’ve never taken a pet to Jan spate, but I have heard she is excellent, I live on the other side of town and recommend Peter Burgers in Braddon.

Did you know that with some vet meds you can get scripts filled at human pharmacies? When our dog was prescribed heart medication it was very expensive to get it through the vet. I looked into options and found that Macquarie Pharmacy (which is a compounding chemist) was able to compound the meds for me at 1/4 the cost. Our dog was on the medication for 2 years and it saved a lot of money. We asked our vet for the script to shop around and they were happy to provide it. They also gave us repeat scripts at no cost.

Depending which part of Tuggers, Weston Creek Vet Hospital probably isn’t too far away. The vets are vet nurses are fantastic, really care about the creatures they are treating and don’t just try to get your money. We’ve used them for years for our dogs and cats and wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere.

+1 Small Friends in Amaroo.

It’s a bit of a hike but so worth it. All the staff are lovely, are more than happy to answer my silly questions, have no problem dealing with my excitable Staffy and actually care about the animals welfare instead of just getting the cash off you.

Any decent vets in Tuggers? My aged puss hates car trips 🙁

When we lived in Ngunnawal, we always went to Gungahlin vets, they rock.

I used to have 4 dogs in the states. Much cheaper to vaccinate/treat them myself by getting the drugs directly. Essentially my vet got dogshit (literally).
buy the drugs overseas and reserve the vet appointments for bloodwork and fecal analysis. From the sound of it the Vet in question is unworthy of having anything to do with your cat’s shit.

++ For Jan Spate. She is excellent.

Not in Belconnen, but a great Vet and a really nice bloke is Peter Burgess in Ainslie. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

Monster of the Deep6:59 pm 05 Jan 11

I would not recommend Belconnen Animal Hospital on Belconnen Way. I took my dog in there once because she was having digestion problems and had a very distended belly. The vet barely glanced at her, told me she had an upset stomach and that her distended belly was just fat. He sent me away with some antibiotics.

I WOULD recommend Jan Spate at Hall. Several weeks after we had visited Belconnen, she diagnosed my dog as having a tumour on her liver (not just fat) and did every test and x-ray possible. She helped us with our dog’s pain management and other cancer-associated palliative care. Jan is the first vet I’ve come across who actually puts out effort to help you. Definitely worth the 20 min drive.

I used to take my cat to Kippax till she died 3 years ago, and had absolutely no problems with them. She had several significant health problems over the years, and was given appropriate treatment and tests for her conditions (I’m a nurse, so was able to pick when she was having heart problems and developed diabetes). I always found them helpful, and compassionate when she died. Having said that, next time I get a pet I would consider pet health insurance, I know that if the cat has any health issues they will need regular monitoring etc. Animals are just like people in a way, they need the same sorts of drugs, tests, and treatment for the same condition. It is not always reasonable to expect to be given a prescription to last you the year.

Gosh – I have a friend who had an absolutely SHOCKING time at Canberra vet hospital. Wouldnt treat her animal until money was paid up front. Then was told as it got late – shut the gate when you leave please – as the animal was dead out the back.

Conan – there are lots of medical conditions (for both humans and animals) that require constant, unchanging medication until death – and vets will acknowledge this.

For cats, it’s likely to be blood pressure medication for feline hypertension or cortisone for older snooty bred cats with problems.

If you go to a vet who charges you to write a script each time, this more than doubles the price of the actual medication, if they insist on doing expensive consultations then you can add some regular payments of $200-$300. If you have more than one old cat, you could do some sums and realise that going to a vet like this will cost more than a couple of thousand dollars per year – all for nothing more than to keep the animals on the medication that everyone knows that they need until they die. If you find a vet who *isn’t* price gouging, then, after the initial work of figuring out palliative care, you pay the base cost of medicine (plus the usual yearly checkup or so).

Doesn’t matter who you are, being gouged a couple of thousand dollars for a vet when you already have a firm diagnosis and know what is necessary is utter bollocks.

I know the veterinary practice that is being discussed here (it’s not hard to figure out), who have developed a bad reputation and been chewing through vets like there’s no tomorrow.

+1 the one on the corner of Belconnen way and Coulter drive, they’re very good.
and +many for Jan Spate in Hall, she is in a league of her own.

I completely agree with RandomPoster @ #20. I have always found the vets and support staff at the Weston Creek Vet Hospital to be outstanding, if your cats can stand the trip. Excellent service and a realistic approach to illness, injury, oncology and geriatric care. I have my 15 year old (and still very sprightly) Jack Russell to prove it 🙂

I used to go to the veterinary hospital on the corner of Barton Hwy and Northbourne Ave for all my pets – dog, cat and cockatoo. I stopped going there after my dog died. Sure they sent me a card and were sensitive about how to deal with the body and everything. But the problem was the lack of continuity in vets when my dog went downhill fast over the course of three weeks. Around three different vets looked at my dog over that time – with the last euthanasing her (but only after we fobbed off his suggestion for further useless painful treatment). So if you want a dedicated vet, go to a family business, rather than one with a big mob of vets. After my dog died, I decided to go to a vet in Kaleen – a really eccentric chap who was just fine and compassionate. He took out my 11 year old cat’s lumpy mass quick smart with no fuss, no undue cost, and no additional pressure on me to take her in for unnecessary follow-ups, checkups, drugs or vaccinations.

RandomPoster3:25 pm 05 Jan 11

I would highly recommend the Weston Creek Vet Hospital, we live in Belconnen and take our animals there.

ConanOfCooma3:16 pm 05 Jan 11

Mr.Jones, I’m afraid it is you that failed to read the OP.

“…each cat now needs regular medication to slow their decline…”

“Our vet wants to monitor the cats’ conditions regularly, but we can’t afford it…”

I imagine that it’s something like human based medicine – All the Doc wants to do is keep and eye on the animals, and make sure the meds are still doing their job. What happens if the meds stop working for the positive, and hasten the death of said feline? Is it unreasonable to monitor the moggie, or refuse said checkups due to it being a financial inconvenience?

Like I said, if the cats are worth that much to the OP…

Growing up in Belconnen, the family pets were always taken to Brudine Vet Hospital, which is the one that Lefty is referring to. My mother still takes her dogs & cat there, although it has changed hands a couple of times over the years. They are really friendly and very supportive when the hard decisions need to be made.

I also recommend Small Friends in Amaroo – both of the vets are fantastic and give great advice. Even the dog loves going. (however, he loves people and getting attention so much he’d probably love any vet).

Pommy bastard3:12 pm 05 Jan 11

Another big up for Rob and Wendy Boxall. Fantastic people, great care, reasonable charges. (And he’s a Pom! 🙂 )
Boxall Rob & Wendy
Belconnen Way
Weetangera ACT 2614
(02) 6254 2122

Inappropriate2:49 pm 05 Jan 11

Another vote for Small Friends in Amaroo: Matt doesn’t push the hard sell and supports any decision you want to make with your pets.

+1 more for Belco Way & Coulter Dve, Weetangera; Rob’s been good and not money-hungry, though not necessarily cheap (and a small tick for Ernie – he could easily have pushed us down the expensive path, but didn’t even try).

Seem to recall Jan Spate has been strongly recommended on this forum in the past.

“So you love your cats dearly, but you’re also not happy to pay for them to live?”

Conan – read the post properly. The cats need regular medicine (which the OP is happy to pay for), but the vet won’t provide medicine without also insisting on expensive unnecessary consultations.

Our 13 year old cat over the past 6 months has deteriorated with a tumour on her brain – and the vet at Melba (cnr Alfred Hill and Kingsford Smith Drive)has been really supportive. They didn’t rush to put her on medication. They gave me options and didn’t push. The fees I have paid per visit have been reasonable and they are very nice people.

DeadlySchnauzer2:39 pm 05 Jan 11

I would second and third Belconnen Animal Hospital (, they are awesome. Don’t be put off by the slightly old and faded decor 🙂 … As well as great staff, they keep meticulous computerised records on the medical history of your pets that they pull up and reference at each visit.

We moved away from Belconnen a few years ago, but still make the long trek out to see them because we are yet to find a better vet.

Incidentally, is also the one on the corner of Belconnen way and Coulter drive that Neanderthalsis mentioned, but I’ve also heard good things about Jan Spate, but can’t remember from where.

I’d second Mr Caulfield’s Gungahlin recommendation. A compassionate mob of vets who are generally realistic about pricey medical interventions. – 1 Belconnen Way, Weetangera

These guys are great. Rob, Wendy, Tamara and Katie are all very helpful, patient, and empathic to your needs. I’m not so fussed on Ernie, but mainly because I found his bedside manner a bit harsh, but he was probably more concerned about my dog at the time, rather than being diplomatic.
It still won’t be cheap, but they don’t come across as being money-centric. I know that Rob never pushed “upgrade” options, when my dog was getting old and frail.

+ 1 Jan Spate at Hall
Ph: 6230 2223

She is brilliant.

We also were unhappy with the Vets in the West Belconnen area (though admittedly, more than 10 years ago)… One in particular, was very quick to recommend putting animals down as a valid option to treatment.

We have been using Canberra Veterinary Hospital in Lyneham for a dozen years or so. Very happy with their care and service, as have other members of our family. They have even sent out flowers or cards when we’ve had to have animals put down in their surgery.

Matt Almond at Small Friends in Amaroo.

I would (and have) drive(n) right across Canberra to take the Burmese there. His service has been nothing short of excellent.

Jan Spate in hall, good vet, very nice lady, super cheap. Sorry I don’t have a number for you. when you find her address/number don’t bother calling you just turn up to the clinic on a first there first served type thing.

My family still takes all our pets to Weetangra (spelling?) vet. Its cheap and effective treatment whilst the vet in Kippax are in it for the money and would put your pet in danger with unnecessary surgery. For example cats heal so fast that their wounds dont ‘flush’ the infection so it heals over the infection. My cat had a huge infection but it was treated with a quick shot of antibiotics and pills, whilst the kippax vet wanted to do surgery and put in a drain saying that he was very sick and needed it immediately. Fair enough my kitty was sick but there was less invasive actions to cure him.

Now that i’ve moved to the gungahlin area i recommend small friends vet in Amaroo. This is the only vet i take my pets to now and they are quite informative, supportive and look at you with $$$ signs. At the moment i have a very fussy eater of a dog and they check up on me to see how my princess is keeping up.

Other than small friends vet the only other place i recommend is weetangra. Don’t go the gungahlin vet near the autocentre because they are out to rip you off just like kippax.

neanderthalsis2:11 pm 05 Jan 11

We take our cat to the one on the corner of Belconnen way and Coulter drive, cant remember the name, but we have had no issues with them in treating the occasional battle wound or for the more usual jabs.

ConanOfCooma2:05 pm 05 Jan 11

So you love your cats dearly, but you’re also not happy to pay for them to live?

You could get them taxied, then they would be with you forever. In whichever permanant pose you choose.

TBH, out of all the cats I have had, I have only taken them to the vet to be vaccinated or put down. They are an incredibly hardy creature, and if they are on the decline, you may just be prolonging their suffering.

For the record, the above mentioned cats that were put down, were 21 and 16 years old. No meds needed to get them that far.

Holden Caulfield1:50 pm 05 Jan 11

We’ve been using Gungahlin Vet Clinic for years, which made perfect sense when both of us were in Nicholls. However, they are now in Gungahlin Town Centre and we have moved to the inner north. We still use Gungahlin Vet Clinic, though, as for the most part they have been excellent with our animals.

It started as a small husband/wife practice but has since grown. Thankfully, though, the same personal service is still delivered, well, as best as can be following growth and flexible staff rosters etc.

If we moved further away we’d still go out of our way to continue using them.

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