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.

Vocational

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.

Degree

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.

Infections

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.

Allergies

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.

Parasites

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

Spring hazards in Hawick

Spring is an exciting time for most of us in Hawick pets included! Lighter nights mean more opportunities for being outdoors in Hawick. To ensure a happy and safe season for your animals, take a minute to make yourself aware of hidden dangers which could lead to a poorly pet.

Fleas, ticks and worms

Whilst a year-round problem for pets and their owners, fleas, ticks and worms become more prevalent as the temperatures rise. The best thing you can do to protect your pet is to use preventative treatment to avoid infestation. Please speak to your vet at Hawick Vets about the best option for your pet or about our Pet Health for Life plan, which includes preventative treatment and much more for a monthly fee.

Ivy

Whilst ivy is great for covering unsightly fences and outbuildings; it’s not great for cats and dogs. If eaten, ivy can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Prolonged contact with the leaves can cause skin conditions and soreness.

Lilies

Lilies are highly toxic to felines and if you suspect your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant, it’s essential to seek emergency advice. Lily poisoning in cats can lead to kidney damage which, untreated, can be fatal.

While less dangerous to dogs, with fatalities being rare, lilies can still cause illness. Your dog may show signs of listlessness and lethargy. They might also vomit and lose their appetite.

Insect stings

Not just a problem for humans, bees and wasps can sting our furry friends too, with the added danger of mouth stings if they accidentally eat one. External stings can be treated with a cold cloth to reduce the swelling. Give your pet ice cubes to lick or iced water to drink for mouth stings. Always monitor your pet for any signs of swelling around the mouth, tongue or throat, which can indicate an allergic reaction. Seek urgent veterinary advice should you notice any changes.

Tulips

The worst danger to cats and dogs in Hawick comes from eating tulip bulbs, so keep an eye on your pet’s digging in the garden or public parks. Signs of tulip bulb ingestion will include increased heart rate, trouble breathing and tremors. Get in touch with us immediately if you see any of these signs.

Grass

If you’re thinking of reseeding your lawn to banish the winter damage and refresh it for the summer months, then do be aware of the potential danger to your cat or dog. Grass seeds are arrow-shaped and sharp, meaning they can bury into fur and through the skin, scratch eyes, get stuck in-ears and even be ingested.

Try to avoid walking your dog through long grass when out and about and keep any grass areas at home trimmed short to avoid risk. Regular grooming of your pet can be helpful in spotting grass seeds in their fur before they become embedded.

Fertilisers

It’s the time for farmers and gardeners to start encouraging their soil into life, but fertilisers – both for home use and industrial – can be dangerous to our pets. Look for non-toxic fertilisers to use in your garden and be aware of community spaces when walking your dog. Vomiting, high temperature and diarrhoea should always be checked out by a vet.

Silver Cat Friendly Clinic in Hawick

At Hawick Vets we’re proud to be reaccredited as a Silver level Cat Friendly Clinic and members of the ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine) 

Read more

5 benefits to joining our Pet Health for Life plan

As pet owners, we all want the best for our four-legged friends, but we also know that pet ownership can be expensive. By becoming a member of our Pet Health for Life plan in Hawick you can spread the cost of essential healthcare and save money.

Here are five great reasons for you and your pet to sign up today!

One monthly fee
When you sign up to our Pet Health for Life plan you’ll know exactly what you’ll be paying each month, spreading the cost of essential healthcare for your pet. You’ll sign up to pay monthly via direct debit and we’ll collect the same amount, with no hidden charges. We’ll always let you know in advance if the price of your plan is due to change.

Regular medication 
For optimum health and protection in Hawick, your pet should be treated against fleas, ticks, and worms. Everyday life can be busy, making it easy to forget to order new treatments, or not realise you’re about to run out. As a Pet Health for Life  member, the correct dosage, based on your pet’s weight and personal circumstances, is included in your monthly fee.

Annual vaccinations
Primary vaccinations and subsequent annual boosters are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases and illnesses. With our Pet Health for Life, both primary vaccinations and annual boosters are included in the monthly fee, so you don’t have to find extra cash, in one lump sum to keep your pet safe.

Preventative check-ups 
As well as an initial vet consultation when you sign up to our Pet Health for Life, your membership also entitles your pet to other check-ups throughout the year. These can be essential in spotting issues you may not be aware of, which can then be treated more efficiently than if they’re left to develop unnoticed.

Additional discounts
As well as the basics included in your plan, you can also take advantage of additional discounts which will save you further money on pet ownership.

In addition to the tangible benefits, you’ll also enjoy peace of mind for both you and your pet. For full details of what’s included in our Pet Health for Life in Hawick please click here. 

Hawick Vets practice update

Whilst visiting us in Hawick, we’re here to provide you and your pets with the best experience, in the safest way.

Our practice, as always, have extensive hygiene measures in place. We are still encouraging social distancing, face coverings and contactless payments. However, we are very happy to be welcoming you into our consulting rooms and reception areas.

At some of our locations, we are operating with the following additional measures in place:

  • 1 person per appointment wearing a facemask.
  • limited numbers in waiting rooms
  • To help encourage social distancing, you may be asked to wait outside if the waiting room is too busy

Thank you for your continued understanding.

We look forward to seeing you soon in Hawick. Please contact us for further information.

Importance of Pet Insurance

We believe that pet insurance is an important part of responsible pet ownership in Hawick. Owning a pet is hugely rewarding, but it can also be expensive if they are to suffer an illness or injury.

Having a good pet insurance policy allows you to concentrate on what’s best for your pet while knowing help is there for the cost of unexpected treatment should they become ill or are injured.

People tend to think it’s only older pets that get ill and therefore, younger pets don’t need pet insurance, but we know from the patients we see each day that that is not the case.

The younger your pet is when you insure them, the better as it means you are less likely to have any existing conditions, which the policy may not cover, and you can then receive more help covering the cost of any future treatment your pet needs.

It is important to note that not all pet insurance is the same. There are many different types of policy available, and the level of cover provided can vary considerably. The four main types of policy are as follows:

  • Accident: provides cover for accidents only and no cover for illness
  • Time-Limited: provides cover for a set amount of time (usually 12 months) and after this period, the condition is excluded
  • Maximum Benefit: provides cover up to a maximum amount of money per condition and once this limit is reached, the condition is excluded
  • Lifetime: provides a set amount of money each year which is refreshed each time you renew your policy, allowing you to continue to claim for ongoing conditions

As you can see from the information above, the type of policy you choose can have implications for the veterinary care of your pet and the costs you will face, so it’s important to choose the right cover.

Sometimes, the cheapest insurance can cost you more in the long run. Therefore, when shopping around for a policy, we suggest that you ask the following questions to allow you to compare the overall value you are getting, not just the price:

Does this policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental, and behavioural conditions?

Is there a time or monetary limit on how long this policy will cover ongoing conditions?

If I file a claim, will my premium increase?

Unlike other forms of insurance, it is not always easy to switch pet insurance in the future as any pre-existing conditions your pet has are likely to be excluded, so it’s important to do your research and choose the right cover from the start.

Please contact us in Hawick for further information

antibiotics

Help us to keep antibiotics working in Hawick…

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develops mechanisms to reduce the effects of the antibiotic. These mechanisms evolve through mutation and adaptation. Mutations can be good or bad for bacteria. In some cases, the mutation kills the bacteria and it may provide the bacteria with a survival advantage. The survival advantage may include resistance to antibiotics. In the presence of antibiotics, this resistance becomes an advantage and the resistant strain becomes dominant.

In pets, just like in humans, it’s normal to have bacteria in the bowel and on the skin. These bacteria, just like any other, can develop resistant mechanisms, so using antibiotics can kill other non-resistant bacteria, allowing the resistant bacterial strains to dominate and thrive. As a result, overusing antibiotics or use of an antibiotic over an extended period can affect the ‘good bacteria’ and cause more harm than good.

Antibiotics are only effective against some types of bacterial infection and will not work against viral infections. Therefore, veterinary surgeons need to determine what kind of infection a pet may have to treat and help them recover quickly and safely as appropriate. Following your veterinary surgeons’ advice on medication, it’s essential to ensure long-term access to antibiotics that work.

Why do we need to alter the overall attitude towards antibiotic use?

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a One Health concern. If this important class of drugs becomes ineffective, it will have a serious impact on the health of both humans and animals.

For years now, alongside other infection control measures in human and veterinary medicine, antibiotics have been a core feature of providing effective medical treatment for bacterial infection. As a result, infections that were once fatal are now treatable and surgical procedures have become more advanced due to our ability to treat infections.

In recent years, however, the medical and veterinary professions have identified that the effectiveness of antibiotics against some bacteria has changed. We know this because the bacteria which can resist antibiotics are seen more often. To slow down the evolution of resistant bacteria and protect the efficacy of the drugs, medical professionals have had to review their approach to using these antibiotics, whilst research to find new antibiotics is ongoing.

How does antibiotic resistance occur?

After Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, work was undertaken with his colleagues Florey and Chain to make the molecule useable as a drug to treat infections in people. Fleming himself noted in his early observations that bacteria could become resistant to penicillin, even if used appropriately.

Understandably, given its significant impact on healthcare, penicillin was initially prescribed widely, but it became less effective over time.

A combination of factors has contributed to this. Some of these include:

  • Bacterial multiplication, mutation and evolution (natural processes)
  • Use of antibiotics for non-infection control reasons
  • Prescribing antibiotics ‘just in case’ for illnesses may speed the development of resistance
  • A significant reduction in the availability of novel antibiotic classes.

What does this mean?

Research for new antibiotics is an area of focus that has Government support. However, the development and approval process for any new drug takes time. While this research is ongoing, we need to take measures to slow down the evolution of resistance and protect the drugs’ efficacy.

This means that, as some antibiotics are no longer as effective as they used to be, healthcare and veterinary professionals have had to adapt their approach to administering antibiotics to help preserve the efficacy of those that currently still work. This work has resulted in significant drops in antibiotics used. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate reported a reduction in antibiotics in food-producing animals in the UK of 52% in six years (between 2014 and 2020).

We should also be aware that any new antibiotics discovered may be reserved for human use instead of antibiotics for our animals.

Why is it important for veterinary medicine?

As antibacterial resistance is a growing concern in both human and animal medicine, there is pressure to preserve the medical use of certain antibiotics. This has implications for animal health and welfare. Veterinary professionals, therefore need to use antimicrobials responsibly. Using antibiotics only when appropriate in Hawick also reduces the chances of drug side effects and reduces the carbon footprint of treating diseases.

 

In both human hospitals and veterinary practices, it is common to find recommendations for infections or conditions where antibiotics are not required. This is called Antibiotic Stewardship.

Our practice in Hawick supports the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the Small Animal Medicine Society (SAMSoc) ‘PROTECT ME’ principles. Their core principles are as follows:

Prescribe only when necessary

Reduce prophylaxis

Offer other options

Treat effectively

Employ narrow spectrum

Culture appropriately

Tailor your practice policy

Monitor

Educate others

 

Please contact us in Hawick for further details.

Festive opening hours in Hawick

With Christmas around the corner in Hawick, we wanted to ensure we had our festive opening hours for the festive period in place for you.

Please see below our opening times over Christmas and New Year.

  • Christmas Eve: 8.45am-6.00pm
  • Christmas Day: CLOSED
  • Boxing Day: CLOSED
  • 27th December: CLOSED
  • 28th December: CLOSED
  • 29th December: 8.45am-6.00pm
  • 30th December: 8.45am-6.00pm
  • New Years Eve: 8.45am-6.00pm
  • New Years Day: CLOSED
  • 2nd January: CLOSED
  • 3rd January: CLOSED

If your pet requires a prescription or specific food during the holiday period, we kindly ask that you request this well in advance.

If you require any emergency care, please call 01450 372038.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Please contact us in our Hawick office for further information

Tortoise parasite prevention

Do you have a tortoise? If so, it is recommended to have a worm count carried out on your tortoise twice a year.

A worm count can be carried out by obtaining a faecal sample, which can be tested in practice. It is common for tortoises to have a low-level worm burden; however, when this increases, it can cause issues such as diarrhoea, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients, and subsequently, weight loss. It is particularly important to control before hibernation, after moving to a new enclosure, before meeting a new tortoise, or if they stop eating or have diarrhoea.

If a positive test is returned, we would recommend booking in for worming treatment. Many wormers will only kill the live worms and not the eggs and, for this reason, we may advise on repeat doses and another faecal count at the end of the treatment.

Whilst your tortoise is undergoing worming treatment it is important to remove all substrate and replace it with newspaper. Throughout this time, you should feed your tortoise with high fibre, high water content food. It would help if you did not feed them fruit, as sugar can lead to worms reproducing more rapidly.

For more information, please contact us.