Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

We’re celebrating our wonderful nurses; want to join in? Throughout May, we will be raising awareness of the resilience and myriad of jobs our veterinary nurses have within our practice team and the wider veterinary industry. Below you’ll learn what Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month is, the roles our exceptional nurses play on a day-to-day basis and if you think this is a career you would like to get into, we have explained the different entry routes you can take to becoming a veterinary nurse.

We hope you’ll join us in our celebration, from all the team at Hawick Vets.

What is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month?

Since 2005, every May, we have celebrated Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. The celebratory month, led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession.

Our Veterinary nurses are an integral part of our veterinary team at Hawick Vets and are vital for the smooth running of our practice.

As well as providing expert nursing care for poorly animals, our veterinary nurses play an important role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy. They carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in performing diagnostic tests, treatments and can be delegated minor surgical procedures. Our registered veterinary nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy.

The registered veterinary nurse (RVN) title is used by our nurses who have undergone extensive training and education. Once they’ve passed their final nursing exams, all nurses are entered onto the VN register and are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They follow the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, which includes requirements to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) to keep their skills up to date.

At Hawick Vets, we are extremely proud of our veterinary nurses dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.

To meet our exceptional nursing team, click here.

What roles do our veterinary nurses have?

Our veterinary nurses have a complex yet diverse role in our practice, with no two days ever the same. Here are just a few fundamental roles they carry out regularly:

  • They provide in-patient care
  • They monitor anaesthesia and sedated pets
  • They take blood samples and place intravenous catheters
  • They take radiographs
  • They provide dietary advice
  • They support owners during bereavement
  • They manage our dispensary
  • They provide intensive care to critical patients
  • They support patients who are whelping
  • They provide first aid
  • They manage and package up laboratory samples
  • They provide weight management advice
  • They provide a nurse consultation service
  • They provide dental care
  • Scrubbing into surgical cases and assisting the surgeon
  • Provide sterile supplies management and maintenance
  • Carry out minor surgical procedures
  • Provide aftercare for patients post procedures

Are you interested in becoming a Veterinary Nurse?

How can I become a Registered Veterinary Nurse?

There are two main routes, a vocational route through a level 3 diploma or a degree route.


Those who prefer to complete on the job training may prefer to go to college and work within practice whilst they complete their qualification (vocational route). The Level 3 Veterinary Nursing diploma can either be completed through day release where you attend college one day a week alongside work. Or it can be completed as block releases where you spend a period of time learning the theory before going back to practice. This route is also available as an apprenticeship, which gives you the opportunity to be paid whilst you study and to have your course fees funded.

If you’re interested in the apprenticeship route, the first step onto this pathway is often to look for a position as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) where you can gain experience within a veterinary practice. These positions are offered within the Linnaeus practices across the UK; find out more here. That PCA position may lead to a paid apprenticeship within that practice to complete your qualification as an RVN.

Certain entry requirements need to be met to allow you to complete the course. Currently, these are 5 National 5 (N5) at grades A*-C (or 9-4), including English Language, Mathematics, and a science subject. If you do not meet these requirements, alternative qualifications may be acceptable. It’s always worth contacting the educational institutions running the courses to find out more.


The other route is the degree option. This is where you attend university and gain a degree and your Registered Veterinary Nursing qualification. You will spend periods of time learning the theory of veterinary nursing at university and then attend blocks of clinical placement within a veterinary practice. This option offers you the opportunity to experience university life and brings the potential to be taught by world-leading veterinary clinicians. Some universities run the veterinary nursing course alongside another discipline, such as companion animal behaviour or rehabilitation, providing you with another area of knowledge and opportunities to develop further qualifications within that additional area. You can explore the various courses by checking out the UCAS website.

Entry requirements vary depending on the university you are applying to. You can find information for each university course through the UCAS website above.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced career where each day will be different, veterinary nursing could be for you!

Join the Linnaeus family…

Are you a student veterinary nurse or a registered veterinary nurse looking for a new challenge? Linnaeus has many opportunities to explore. Click here to discover the current nursing vacancies across our group.

How to help your itchy dog

Have you noticed your dog scratching a bit more than usual? This article covers the common reasons your dog might have itchy skin and some top tips for providing relief.

Common dog skin conditions

If your dog has started itching and scratching more than usual, it might be due to some of these common issues:

  • allergies;
  • parasites; or
  • infections.

In some complex cases, all the above factors are present.


Bacterial infections typically look like spots or pimples. Yeast infections give an oily or greasy feel to your pet’s skin. Since the ear canal is lined with skin, ear infections are also common. Vets can use tools like an otoscope to look deep inside the ear. Our vets take a minor skin or blood sample to determine what type of infection is present and prescribe medication to treat the condition.


Dogs (especially certain breeds) are very prone to environmental allergies. This is called atopic dermatitis and can be thought of as similar to human hay fever, except the reaction happens on the dog’s skin rather than the respiratory system.

Common allergens that impact dogs include:

  • fleas;
  • pollens;
  • trees;
  • grasses;
  • moulds; or
  • dust mites.

Some of these allergies can be seasonal, for example, pollen allergy season is at its peak during warmer months of the year. Pollen stems from grass, weeds, flowers or trees. Bathing your dog during the pollen season can decrease the number of allergens in contact with the skin, but if the skin is damaged, please seek advice on which shampoo to use.

Dust mites are the most common allergy for humans and impact our canine friends as well. These mites thrive in carpets and furnishings, where they feed off shed skin cells. Diagnosis of a dust mite allergy can be complicated and requires examination.

Despite the many different things dogs can be allergic to, the skin can only react in a certain number of ways. Once itchy, most of the symptoms we see are caused by the dog scratching and damaging the skin, allowing microorganisms that typically live there to take hold. Your vet can help to both diagnose and treat allergies. An extensive array of treatments is available, including shampoos, supplements; tablets to stop the scratching; regular injections, and desensitising vaccines.


Dogs can develop an allergic reaction to flea bites; an immune response to flea saliva causes this. The bites cause excessive itching, inflammation and hair loss. Tick bites can also trigger a similar reaction in dogs. If fleas or ticks aren’t a problem, check with your vet to see if your dog has a mite infestation.

Some dogs can catch the fox mange mite, which burrows in the skin and is intensely itchy. There is also a mite called Demodex which can cause hair loss.

Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection in dogs. They are the second most common external parasite found on pets; the top spot belongs to fleas. Infestation is common in puppies and kittens, but the signs of infestation can be seen at any age.

A variety of different treatment options are available to your dog to treat ear mites. Some are topical medications, while others may be spot-on treatments or tablets. Your vet can determine the most appropriate treatment for your dog. Prevention is a matter of monthly topical anti-parasite application and keeping your dog’s ears clean.

What should you do next?

Many skin disease symptoms are not obvious. It’s important with speak to your vet sooner rather than later to begin a diagnosis and treatment plan promptly.

Book an appointment with us today

Call 01450 372038 to book an appointment or Book online