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

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.

Pet Skin Conditions

Skin disease is quite common amongst pets, as up to 25% of small animal consultations relate to skin issues. Part of the reason why skin conditions are so common is that skin only reacts in certain ways despite many different causes, and don’t forget that ears are lined with skin as well. Skin conditions cause irritation and pain, therefore understanding the cause means a quicker resolution.

Common signs of dermatological issues in pets

Pets suffering from skin problems show a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Rubbing excessively against carpet or other surfaces
  • Chewing at the skin
  • Red, irritated skin, rashes, or sores
  • Weeping sores or spots
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the legs, feet, or body
  • Repeated rubbing of the face or ears
  • Flaky and dry skin
  • Loss of fur
  • Lumps and bumps

If you notice any of these symptoms, we advise you to book an appointment to see us.

Causes of dermatological issues

Pets can develop skin issues for many reasons. Some factors include allergies (environmental, food, or parasite), bacterial infections, acne, hair loss, or parasites such as fleas, ringworms, or ear mites.

The resulting skin irritation can vary from mild or temporary to severe infections or other health concerns.

Testing and treatment for dermatological issues

There are a variety of ways to test for dermatology issues. In many cases, one of our vets or nurses collects a small sample of material such as a fur pluck, skin scrapes, or skin swabs and examines them under a microscope. They will be looking for mites, yeast, bacteria, and other explanations for why your pet could be in discomfort. Allergy testing is commonly performed by a blood test or skin prick test.

The most common treatments available for dermatological issues are:

  • Flea and mite treatments
  • Oral or injectable anti-itch medication
  • Allergy desensitisation
  • Topical medications (creams or ear drops)
  • Medicated shampoos and conditioners
  • Skin supplements
  • Hypoallergenic diet

In many cases, we will ask you questions about what you have observed regarding your pet’s behaviour. This critical information, paired with their physical examination findings, will allow us to determine the best action plan to correct your pet’s skin condition.

Flea, tick and worm prevention for dogs

Your beloved dog is at risk of contracting parasites as they are ever-present in our environment, but you can keep your pet safe by regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment.

Ticks

Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. There are several different ticks species, and they vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. They are common in grasslands and woodlands but can also be found in domestic gardens. They are in all areas of the United Kingdom.

You are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, but they are active throughout the year. Unlike many other parasites, ticks do not fly or jump but climb or drop onto your dog’s coat when you enter their habitat, especially in long grass. Once on your dog, they screw themselves into the skin and feed on blood.

Ticks can irritate your dog and spread microbes that cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis. As a dog owner, it is good to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or neutralise them. Tablets, spot-on treatments, and collars are available to help fight ticks, and it is best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.

Fleas

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are prevalent across the United Kingdom. Fleas on dogs are more than just a summer problem as they can survive and bother your pet all year-round.

Dogs typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or fleas in their environment. This insect’s robust back legs enable it to jump from a host or the surrounding environment onto your dog.

Fleas will make your pet uncomfortable and itchy; they can also pose a profoundly serious health risk. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by the parasites, and it can be fatal to puppies or immunocompromised dogs. Don’t forget fleas feed on people too, and a flea infestation can easily get into your home.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to consult your vet to find the safest, most effective, and most sustainable product for your dog. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting flea development – and some newer products on the market do both!

Worms

The thought of worms in our beloved dog can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in dogs is an integral part of responsible dog ownership.

Every dog is at risk for worms, no matter where they live or how much time they spend outside. There are three types of worms we worry about – Roundworms, Tapeworms, and Lungworms. Worms are usually transmitted through the faecal-oral method. That means that your pet may have come across microscopic parasitic eggs that are present in faecal material. Some worms, such as tapeworms, are transmitted via fleas. The parasite lives inside the flea, so when a dog accidentally eats fleas, they become infected. Some tapeworms can be transmitted when a dog eats raw meat. Lungworm is spread via foxes, slugs, and snails and is a potentially fatal parasite for dogs.

For most dogs, it is recommended to take some type of worm prevention year-round. Your vet will let you know what the best product is, based on the worms found in your part of the United Kingdom, and your dog’s lifestyle.

Join our Pet Health for Life

If you join our Pet Health for Life plan, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your dog free from ticks, fleas, and worms alongside routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!

Flea, tick and worm prevention for cats

Your feline friend can always be at risk of contracting parasites with them being ever-present in our environment. However, regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment is the best way to protect them, your home, and yourselves from infestation.

Fleas

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are found year-round across the United Kingdom and are the most prevalent skin parasite found in cats.

Cats typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or from their environment. A house with central heating and fitted carpets creates a warm and humid condition that is perfect for fleas to flourish. Fleas feed on blood and then lay eggs. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day which fall off wherever your cat goes. The eggs hatch into larvae which live in dark recesses of your home. Eventually, the larvae spin a cocoon that can be present in the environment for as long as two years, waiting for the right signals to hatch into an adult flea when the whole cycle starts again.

Fleas are likely to make your cat uncomfortable and itchy, and you may notice they have inflamed skin or small scabs at the base of their tails or around their necks. Flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by parasites, which can be especially dangerous in kittens. Fleas also don’t mind who they bite and will commonly feed on you and your family.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to contact us to find out what we can offer and recommend. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting fleas’ development – and some newer products on the market do both! Products intended for treating fleas in cats must not be used on cats as they can be toxic.

Treating your cat will only go part way to controlling any flea infestation – it is also crucial to ensure that they are killed and removed from the environment to prevent reinfestation.

Ticks

Ticks are 8 legged creatures related to spiders and are most commonly found in long grass and woodlands. Ticks can be harmful to cats as they can transmit disease and can be locally irritating. Although you are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, they are active throughout the year.

Ticks will attach themselves to your cat as they pass by, jumping from the foliage and climbing up their legs. Once attached, they remain there for five days, drinking your cat’s blood. Ticks are visible with the naked eye but can be hard to spot amongst the fur. They prefer to attach around the head and ears.

As the well-known saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, and there are various products available to help treat your cat to prevent them from becoming infested by ticks. We can recommend the best product for your pet. If your cat has a tick, then contact us to arrange an appointment to remove it, as if they are not removed correctly the mouthparts of the tick can remain in the skin leading to infection.

Worms

The thought of worms in your beloved cat can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in cats is an integral part of responsible pet ownership.

There are two types of internal parasites that are commonly found in the gut of cats – tapeworms and roundworms.

Tapeworms are flat, tape-like worms that attach to the wall of the gut. Your cat may become infected with tapeworm if they were to ingest something that was a host for the tapeworm eggs, such as a flea or rodent.  As fleas can transmit tapeworm, if your cat shows signs of having fleas, then there is a good chance they have tapeworm too.

Roundworms live in the intestine of your cat and are more resembling of an earthworm. Like tapeworms, their eggs are passed in the faeces, and although not infectious straight away after being passed, they will be after only a couple of days and remain infectious for years! It is also common for roundworms to be passed on from a mother to her kittens through the milk.

Although not fatal, the presence of worms in cats can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, irritation, and diarrhoea.

For most cats, it is recommended to take year-round worm prevention. We can advise you on the best product based on the type of worm found and your cat’s lifestyle.

By becoming a member of our Pet Health for Life plan, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your cat free from ticks, fleas, and worms, as well as routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!

Easter Bank Holiday hours

With Easter just around the corner, our opening hours may vary from our usual times. Please see below for our opening times over the Bank Holiday weekend:

Friday 2nd April                      08.45 – 18.00
Saturday 3rd April                  Closed
Sunday 4th April                     Closed
Monday 5th April                    08.45 – 18.00

Out of Hours service will be available by calling 01450 372038 as usual.

Thank you for your co-operation.

World Heart Day – 29 September 2020

We celebrate World Heart Day today on 29 September 2020. This is the world’s biggest awareness-raising platform for cardiovascular disease (CVD) which is accountable for nearly half of all non-communicable disease deaths in humans.

Did you know that heart conditions affect our pets too?  Within our group of practices, we have cardiology specialists available who investigate all aspects of heart disease.

In the first instance, if you have concerns that your pet has symptoms, please contact us for an examination.  Here are some of the signs to look out for…

  • Stopping or slowing on walks
  • Difficulty breathing or not being able to catch their breath
  • Not settling down to sleep at night
  • Coughing, especially during or after exercise or if they’re excited
  • A bloated stomach (caused by fluid build-up).

If you find your pet is showing any of the above symptoms, please make sure you speak to us straight away. Unfortunately, heart disease cannot be cured, however it can be managed.

Happiness day-cat and owner

International day of happiness – how pets contribute to our Mental Wellbeing

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will no doubt cause disruption to our usual routine and reduce the amount of social contact we have – preventing us from doing some of the things we enjoy which helps protect and maintain our mental wellbeing.
Read more

hawick coronavirus update

Hawick Vets COVID-19 Update

At Hawick vets, the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, our staff and our community is our number-one priority.

We remain committed to delivering exceptional care to your pet, while doing our part to reduce the spread of respiratory illness (in particular, COVID-19 coronavirus), including careful monitoring of the health and wellbeing of our staff.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken a series of precautionary steps at our practices in response to this outbreak, including increased cleaning, disinfection and access to hand sanitiser for our staff and clients.

Doing our part to keep pets, clients and our staff healthy during COVID-19 (coronavirus)

In addition to the steps we’re taking as a practice to protect everyone who works in and visits our practice, we kindly ask that you take the following precautions:

  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has, or you’re experiencing symptoms (new persistent cough and/or fever), and your pet needs veterinary care, please call us. We will be able to advise you on how your pets can receive the care they need.
  • If you have been self-isolated with COVID-19 and have recently visited one of our practices, please let us know as soon as possible. This is so we can implement measures to protect our staff and other clients, some of whom are elderly or could be more susceptible to illness.
  • If your pet requires urgent veterinary attention, please call us.  We will be able to advise you on how your pets can still receive the care they need.
  • When you arrive, please call our reception team and they will advise when you can enter the practice. If you are told to wait, if you can please wait outside the practice or in your car and the reception team will call you as soon as you can enter.
  • Only 1 client should enter the practice whenever possible.
  • Please limit your time in the waiting area, and maintain at least 6 feet / 2 metres of space between you and other pet owners in common spaces.
  • When possible, schedule appointments in advance to not only reduce your wait time but also enable us to better prepare for your pet’s health needs prior to their arrival.
  • If your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients to avoid visiting their pet.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.
  • We are following the government’s most recent advice regarding the measures we need to take to help control the spread of COVID-19. There’s provision at all of our practices for you to wash your hands when you arrive and before you leave.

Please contact us if you’d like further advice about caring for your pet over the coming months

LINNAEUS – Practice Corona Poster