Celebrate our amazing team with us this World Veterinary Day

The Hawick Vets veterinary team is here for your beloved pets all year round, and despite the current circumstances, remain committed to quality and excellence in everything we do – which is why we wanted to ‘paws’ this World Veterinary Day to say thank you

By adapting our ways of working we’ve continued to provide the best level of care in these challenging circumstances, while keeping the health and wellbeing of patients, clients and teams our number one priority.

There’s one thing we can all agree on – our veterinary teams play an important part in your pet’s lives. Since World Veterinary Day was founded 20 years ago by the World Veterinary Association, we have recognised this day as a moment to stop and acknowledge all the care and treatment they provide for our pets all year round. There are many different people involved in running Hawick Vets – so we want to thank all of our members of staff, who help deliver the services and care for our pets.

Each World Veterinary Day has an associated topic, and this year’s theme is ‘Environmental protection for improving animal and human health” which applauds the contribution veterinary professionals have in supporting sustainability and protecting the environment. It also allows veterinarians to share their knowledge and raise awareness of how harmful actions towards the environments can affect both animals and humans too.

Over the last month, your continued support and words of encouragement have been really rewarding – thank you for respecting our teams as they continue to do their best for both our patient and clients.

Want to celebrate World Veterinary Day with us?

There are so many ways that you can join in with the celebration, to show how much you appreciate your vet, and team – you may even be able to include your pet in the celebrations too!

  • Share your story of how our veterinary team has played an important part in your pet’s life.
  • Leave us a review on Google – we love receiving your heart-warming reviews.
  • Spend some precious time with your pet(s):
    • Take your dog for a walk
    • Enjoy some cuddles with your cat
    • Try some agility with your horse
    • Reward your pet with some healthy treats.

 

We’re sure you’ll join us, and celebrate our amazing veterinarians!

Puppy Development during COVID-19

Are you wondering how to safely socialise your new puppy during the coronavirus lockdown? We’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.

As we all do our best to stay safe and comply with the government’s lockdown restrictions, puppies are likely to have their primary vaccination course later than usual. This delay means they’ll need to wait a bit longer before they can safely go out and explore the world. The good news is there are many ways you can help your puppy get used to new experiences without even leaving your house!

Normal puppy development

Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them ‘risk-assess’ new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs, who lack a memory bank of positive experiences, are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.

Separation and bonding

One positive aspect of lockdown is the extra time available to get to know and bond with your puppy. It’s extremely rewarding to watch their personality emerge. However, spending so much time with your puppy might make it harder for them to adjust to being alone when normal life resumes. If puppies are fearful of being alone, they could later develop separation anxiety. You could try the following to help your puppy adjust:

  • Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
  • Encourage independence- as your puppy gains in confidence, allow them to explore areas of the home alone, such as an enclosed garden
  • Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart

Noise

  • Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try dropping items, banging doors, singing and shouting.
  • Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
  • If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)

Dress-up

What better time to raid the dressing up box and try a new look? No one will see you and it will get your puppy used to the different things people wear, such as hats, sunglasses and veils. Allow your puppy to approach you in their own time and reward them when they do.

Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws.

Play

Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practise in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.

Children

If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.

Cars

Although it’s important to get puppies used to going out in the car at an early age, it isn’t possible to do this under the current circumstances and restrictions. If you have a travel crate in the boot now’s a good time to introduce them to it. You could sit the puppy in the crate in your car whilst stationary on your drive or outside your house, to get them used to being in the car. Alternatively, you could bring the crate indoors so that the puppy could get used to it by using it as their den. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car.

How to tackle ticks during the warmer months

Want to know the facts and how to avoid ticks this season? As we approach the warmer months, when ticks like to make an appearance, we wanted to give our pet owners a head start in preparing to tackle ticks!

Ticks live in tall grass and wooded areas such as trees, shrubs and leaf piles, particularly cool, moist, mature woods with thick undergrowth. They enjoy waiting in the underbrush for an animal or human to brush by, and then grasp the fur or skin and crawl up the leg. They don’t fly, jump or drop from trees. In the current circumstances, it may well be that people visit local areas of grassland and woodland in order to distance themselves from other dog walkers and come into more regular contact with ticks.

Although tick bites are often harmless, they can cause allergic reactions and certain ticks can pass diseases onto humans and pets when they bite, which can be dangerous.

Dogs and cats pick up ticks very easily, and dogs in particular are susceptible to tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t prevent your dog from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Ticks and their bites may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behaviour or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

Currently we are open for urgent or emergency consultations, but are still able to provide advice regarding:

  • The best tick prevention products for your dog
  • Tickborne diseases in your area

To further reduce the chances that a tick bite will make your dog sick:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away

In these worrying times, we can arrange to dispense tick prevention products for you, whilst maintaining stringent social distancing to protect you, our colleagues and the most vulnerable people in our society.

How to remove a tick

Step 1: Put on some gloves

There is little risk of the tick affecting you, so thoroughly washing your hands first will be adequate. Wearing gloves can prevent any infectious germs from the tick affecting you or your furry friend so if you have gloves available, wear them.

Step 2: Keep your pet calm

It is important to keep your pet calm and if somebody is available to help, they can keep your pet relaxed whilst you remove the tick. Perhaps distract them with some treats?

Step 3: Tweezers at the ready

It is also important not to squeeze the body of the tick, as this could force potentially harmful germs from the tick into your pet’s bloodstream. The best instrument to use is a “tick removal hook” which is passed under the tick and then turned gently around until the tick releases comes away. Failing this, take a pair of tweezers and grasp onto the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Grabbing close to the skin is the best way to get a tick head out but be careful not to pinch your pet’s skin!

Official tick removal advice can be found at https://lymediseaseuk.com/2015/10/26/tick-removal/

Step 4: Pull out the tick.

If using a tick hook, keep turning the hook using the instructions included in the pack until it releases. If using tweezers, gently pull the tick straight out taking your time and remaining steady. Do not twist or suddenly pull as you don’t want to leave the tick’s head or mouth behind. After removing the tick, examine it to make sure the head and mouthparts were removed. If not, please call your vet for advice on removing any remaining tick parts.

Step 5: Get rid of the tick

Kill the tick by placing it in a container with rubbing alcohol. Once the tick is dead, we recommend keeping it in the container with a lid in case your pet begins displaying symptoms of disease. There are many types of ticks, and each carry different kinds of diseases, so keeping the tick can help your vet make a proper diagnosis should your pet become poorly.

Step 6: Disinfect the bite.

You can use wipes to disinfect the bite site, or you can use over-the-counter chlorhexidine solution to clean the area.

Keep an eye on it for signs of infection. If the skin remains red or becomes inflamed, please call your vet for advice.

Horse Owners & Trainers COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 14th April Update

Following the announcement that the period of lockdown is to continue, we would like to clarify how this applies to horse owners and trainers.  Our number one priority is to be able to maintain our 24 hour, 7 day a week service to horses requiring urgent and emergency treatment, whilst protecting both human health and our colleagues in the NHS by following the recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

At a very challenging and worrying time for everyone, we appreciate your understanding and patience as we adapt to providing a veterinary service under restrictions. We are following guidelines from both the government and the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), which may be subject to change as the situation evolves.


Collecting medication and essential supplies

  • Please phone to order any medication or essential supplies, where possible allowing 48 hours notice for our vets to dispense the medication.  
  • Our vets will either dispense the medication or phone you to discuss alternatives. Please note that there may be some disruption to our supply chains but we are working hard to ensure that we have suitable products for your needs.
  • A member of the team will phone you to advise you when the medication may be collected.
  • Please alert us of your arrival outside the practice, preferably by phone, however stay in your car and someone will bring your order to you or advise you to collect it from the drop box at the side door of the practice. 

Non-essential procedures

  • All routine procedures, including pre-purchase examinations, routine dentistry, routine health checks, poor performance/mild lameness examinations etc. are postponed until further notice. 
  • It may be suitable to offer a telephone/video consultation assisted by videos and photographs. This may allow our vets to then be able to prescribe treatment remotely. If you have any concerns regarding your horse please contact us and we will be happy to advise.
  • Castrations may become a welfare or human safety issue if the current situation continues for several months and into the summer, therefore where appropriate, it may be possible to perform some of these procedures.  Please contact us to discuss specific cases and circumstances.

Vaccinations

Tetanus 

  • The tetanus vaccine is very important as this can often be a fatal condition in horses. We have also had cases of tetanus in the practice. It has a much longer protection time than the equine flu vaccine, meaning we only boost tetanus every two years. As a result, it is likely that horses are protected for many months beyond that.
  • If your horse has not had a tetanus or flu/tetanus combination vaccine and sustains a wound, it is likely to need a tetanus anti-toxin injection to help prevent tetanus. 
  • If your horse has not completed its primary course of three vaccines for tetanus or flu/tetanus please contact the surgery.

In all of the above cases, please contact us to discuss individual circumstances if you have any concerns.

Equine flu 

  • As horse movements are currently restricted, the risk to your horse as a result of going overdue is minimal for equine flu.  We understand that there are consequences for competing but these are exceptional circumstances and we will work to help to share the financial burden of any restarts.
  • 6-monthly equine flu boosters will not be given. For the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it needs to have received a flu vaccine within the last 12 months, instead of the existing 6 or 9 month requirement for horses competing under BHR or BEF rules.

For other equine vaccines, the decision as to whether or not to vaccinate will be made on a case-by-case basis by the vet after weighing up the risks and benefits.

Ill and Injured horses

Currently, all calls will enter a telephone triage system. We are experiencing more phone calls than normal so thank you for your patience.  If your call is of an urgent nature please make reception aware of this when speaking to them.

  • You may be offered a telephone/video consultation and advice. The vet may ask you to take some photos or videos to help them assess your horse remotely and provide a treatment plan without a physical visit.
  • For cases where physical examinations are necessary, we ask that no one showing COVID-19 symptoms or that is self-isolating should be present during the examination.  Please ask another person to present the horse where possible.
  • Social distancing (more than 2meters) must be practised unless there is an urgent and immediate threat to welfare e.g. a mare with foaling issues.  This is very challenging within a stable and there may be situations where it is necessary to sedate or tie up your horse to minimise close contact. This is to protect you and your family as well as our staff and other clients.

The latest BEVA guidelines have been designed to reduce the risk of a visit and we would be grateful if these could be followed:

  • Your vet will minimise the time spent at your property. You should not expect your vet to enter into discussion at the time but rather collect a history beforehand and inform you of their findings/instructions by telephone or video.
  • Only one person from your property should assist the veterinary surgeon (even if horses belonging to a number of different owners are being examined / treated) except in exceptional circumstances such as a foaling.
  • Physical distancing (at least 2 metres) should be maintained throughout the veterinary visit.
  • A strategy for sedation may be discussed with you to facilitate the examination/treatment without compromising physical distancing. Your vet may want to sedate the horse to allow physical distancing when in normal circumstances sedation would not be necessary; you should respect your veterinary surgeon’s judgement or postpone the visit until there is less risk to human health from COVID-19. 
  • Gloves should be worn by everyone throughout the visit.
  • You should not touch any veterinary equipment and should remain a minimum of 2 metres from it and from the vet’s car at all times.
  • You should determine where the veterinary surgeon can park so that they can avoid contact with others on the yard and minimise the length of their visit. A means of alerting you to the vet’s arrival should also be discussed.
  • You should not expect the vet to enter an office, house, coffee room or any other building other than to see the horse or wash their hands. 
  • Please ensure there are facilities for hand-washing available. If there are none then make the vet aware of this prior to the visit.
  • Do not expect your vet to do additional tasks that have not been discussed prior to their visit
  • Please be considerate and respectful to your vet. There is no obligation for them to place themselves at risk by attending your property at this challenging time.

Caring for your horse and riding during COVID-19 

The latest advice from the BHS states:

“Horse welfare is critical and grooms or the sole carer for a horse should travel to provide care for horses. Where horses are kept in livery the BHS advises that horse owners respect the protocol put in place by the yard owner or manager and work as a team to agree a care plan for your horse(s).We are getting a lot of questions in relation to riding your horse, for which there are no specific government guidelines at present. We advise that it is not appropriate to put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services and everyone should make their own individual decision as to whether riding is necessary at this time.”

The weekend of chocolate & treats – keeping our pets safe

The majority of the nation gets excited to be eating Easter eggs or chocolate for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or perhaps all three! But we need to careful and ensure our pets don’t get a hold of any, as chocolate could be dangerous for our animals, especially dogs!

What should you look out for this Easter?

Chocolate

Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’, which is toxic to our pets. Even small amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures (or fits), heart problems or, in severe cases, death. So be careful where you keep your chocolate!

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins – and all of these are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they could suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal. Sharing just a little bit with your dog isn’t worth the risk – please keep them away from hot cross buns altogether.

What should I do if I think my dog has been affected?

If you think your dog has been affected by any of the above or other treats/hazards, it is advised you act quickly. Contact your vet in an emergency as soon as your pet shows signs of being ill or if you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t – we are available 24/7 in emergencies.

It’s a good idea to write down the details of anything you think your dog has ingested, when they ate/drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they have been experiencing. If your pet needs to be seen, bring any containers or labels which will help the vet choose the best course of action.

Easter Opening Hours

With Easter coming up, our opening hours will remain as per our usual times below:

 

Friday:         08.45 – 18.00

Saturday:   CLOSED

Sunday:      CLOSED

Monday:     08.45 – 18.00

 

Our usual emergency/out of hours service will be available outside of the times above.

Please read our latest COVID-19 update in relation to our current procedures

Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

COVID-19 & Pets

COVID-19 is much in the news, and some reports are based on fact, others speculation. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have some advice for you as a pet owner – or someone who spends a lot of time around pets – here’s what you should know:

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person to person contact. – OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health – https://www.oie.int/).

While COVID-19 is still very much a predominantly human disease, the evolving scientific information around this new disease and the virus that causes it reinforces the need to treat pets as we do our family members; separating them from other infected individuals when possible and practise good hygiene when handling them, including proper hand-washing.

Specifically about cats, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organisations continue to agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that, in natural settings, pets spread COVID-19 to people. At this point we know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is most efficiently spread via human-human contact. We understand that there may occasionally be human-to-animal transmission of the virus (albeit without significant illness), so it’s important to treat pets as we would any family member and help keep them virus-free.

Additionally, there is currently no guidance to keep cats indoors. Only when cats are from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and the cat is happy to be kept indoors, should this be considered.  Further information is available at https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19/

COVID-19 FAQ

In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have pulled together a list of the frequently asked questions – which provide further information about the precautions all veterinary practices are taking to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Q: Are all existing appointments cancelled?

A: Following advice from the UK government, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA), we are currently only seeing urgent and emergency cases as face-to-face consultations, so routine and non-urgent appointments need to be postponed.  Rest assured that these appointments are those that can be delayed safely so please call us to discuss any queries you may have.  We will regularly review these appointment recommendations in line with government advice.

Q: What is classed as urgent or an emergency?

A: An emergency is when there is immediate threat to life or where there is likely to be a significant impact on an animal’s health and welfare if left unmanaged. Urgent cases are usually more stable, but still with significant health and welfare implications and a risk of deterioration.

If your pet is showing signs of being unwell or you have any concerns over their health, please contact the practice to discuss their signs and next steps, so we can guide you as to what type of care is required and when.

Q: Can I still get a repeat prescription?

A: Of course. We are here to ensure the continued health and well being of your pet and are still dispensing their current medications used to treat ongoing medical conditions. Please bear with us as we may need more notice for repeat prescriptions than you are used to, and the process may be different in terms of collection or delivery. We may also require a telephone or video consultation in order to proceed with the repeat prescription. Please call us if you require further information.

Q: Can I still get worming tablets and flea treatments?

A: Absolutely. It is important that these treatments are administered regularly for the health of your pet and we will work with you to get your order prepared and ready. As with prescriptions, please bear with us in terms of changes to collection or delivery.

Q: My pet’s vaccinations are due. What shall I do?

A: In support of the government’s instructions for people to stay at home, we are postponing vaccinations during the current lockdown period. This is in accordance with instructions from our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, as well as other professional organisations and major charities. For adult dogs, there is some leeway on vaccination dates. It is advisable to limit dog-to-dog contact and their range of outdoor walks during this period. Keeping dogs away from areas which might harbour disease such as water courses or areas with a high rodent population such as farms and stables is also recommended. Puppies and kittens should, as far as possible, be kept indoors and away from other animals until we are able to start or complete their vaccinations. More information from the British Veterinary Association on vaccine postponement can be found here.

Q: My cat or dog needs neutering, what shall I do?

A: As planned neutering procedures are not classed as urgent or emergency, we are unable to offer these in the short-term. In the meantime, it is important to separate males and females entirely and to keep cats indoors if possible. Please call us if you need more advice on the practicalities of this until we are able to neuter your pet.

The information and advice contained here will be reviewed and updated in line with future government advice and guidance from the BVA and RCVS. Therefore, please visit regularly for the most up-to-date information.