When animals fall ill or need medical attention, Lort Smith Animal Hospital is often the first port of call for help.

Vets and nurses at the North Melbourne clinic, the largest animal hospital in the country, carried out 37,996 consultations during 2016.

More than 23,640 of those consultations were for animal owners living in the west and north western suburbs.

Among the top local areas from which residents visited Lort Smith with their pets were St Albans (632 visits), Werribee (537 visits), Hoppers Crossing (534 visits) and Footscray (449 visits).

Keilor East was next with 418 visits, followed by Point Cook at 386 consultations and Altona Meadows with 384 animal medical cases.

The hospital also had 324 consultations with animal owners from Deer Park, 298 from Yarraville and 294 from Taylors Lakes.

More than 230 residents from Wyndham Vale, Tarneit, Hillside, Sunshine, Caroline Springs, Melton, Melton South, Melton West and Footscray West also visited Lort Smith with their pets.

Chief executive David Herman said people brought animals into Lort Smith for a variety of reasons including vaccinations, desexing, injuries, poisoning and infections.

“While Lort Smith treats animals from all across Melbourne, we typically see high numbers of people bringing their pets in from suburbs in Melbourne’s west and north west,” Mr Herman said.

“We know that a lot of people who are financially or socially disadvantaged from these areas choose to bring their pets in to be treated by us.

“Lort Smith fills a unique role as arguably the only public-style hospital for companion animals in Australia.”

The animal hospital offers a 10 per cent discount for some consultations if the pet’s owner is a senior’s card holder. It also offers a 25 per cent discount on most services for health care and pensioner card holders.

Last year, the hospital provided discounts valued at almost $1.5 million to people who would otherwise struggle to provide veterinary care for their pets.

“As a non-profit organisation, it has always been our mission to help people and their pets regardless of their financial situation, and we are often able to offer discounts or payment plans to ensure all animals can receive the care they need,” Mr Herman said.

Details: www.lortsmith.com