Pets at Home has added two veterinary specialist referral centres to the group’s portfolio as it seeks to build its services business.

The specialist pet retailer has acquired a 76% stake in Dick White Referrals for £14.1m and a 90% stake in Eye-Vet Referrals, a dedicated ophthalmology centre based in Cheshire.

Dick White Referrals, based in Cambridgeshire, employs 31 vets and is one of the UK’s largest small animal specialist referral centres.

Pets at Home chief executive Ian Kellett, who replaced Nick Wood last month, said: “We are delighted to welcome both Dick White Referrals and Eye-Vet Referrals to the group.

“These new shared ventures represent another strategic step in building our presence in the specialist referrals market, while also enhancing our reputation with the UK’s veterinary clinicians.

“We have grown our specialist referrals division to four centres in just over a year and see further opportunities in the veterinary market that will deliver growth and attractive returns.”

Earlier this month Pets at Home reported a 3.2% rise in fourth-quarter like-for-likes and said it expects full-year profits to meet expectations.

The retailer has been increasing its service offer, opening 50 vet practices and 60 grooming salons in the 12 months to March 24, the majority of which are in-store.

Pets at Home, which trades from a total of 427 stores, had 388 vet practices and 240 grooming rooms at the end of the quarter.