75th VE Day Anniversary – Animals in War

On this VE Day, it will be 75 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the war in Europe. The 75th anniversary will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of people from all walks of life. It is equally important to consider the role animals played and how they were touched by war.

Domestic pets

As they do today, pets played a significant role in people’s lives during the war. When refugees escaped from Europe, sometimes they only managed to escape with their pets.

With millions of people joining the war effort, charities such as the Blue Cross stepped up by looking after the pets of service members. Despite facing great danger during the war, the charity and volunteers across the UK continued to care for and treat animals. By 1945, they were treating 210,000 animals a year!

Pets also saved countless lives during the war. Here are just a few examples of pets who become heroes:

  • When an incendiary bomb was dropped through the roof of the house in which Juliana, a Great Dane, and her owner lived, the dog stood over the bomb and urinated on it, extinguishing the incendiary device. She was awarded her first Blue Cross medal for her actions. Juliana was celebrated as a hero for a second time in 1944 when she again helped to save the lives of her owners. After a fire started in their shoe shop, she alerted her owners’ family to the imminent danger. For this courageous action, she was awarded a second medal.
  • A little dog by the name of Fluff worked valiantly to save her owners. Fluff was buried with her owners in the rubble of their house after a German bomb landed on it. By continuous scratching, Fluff made a hole big enough to get out, which also acted as an airway for the trapped people. She stood outside the hole and barked until rescuers arrived.
  • The home of Peggy, a ferocious terrier, was blown up by a German bomb. Her female owner and a baby were trapped under the debris of the house. The dog worked furiously with her paws until she had made a hole through which the child could breathe. All three were saved and continued to live a happy life.

 

Dogs also played a direct role in the war. Dogs were trained to protect, patrol, find land mines, and even parachute behind German lines. Brian, a two-year-old Collie Cross, was one of the most-famous “paradogs” and was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his service. During the D-Day Landings, Brian and several other animals joined the conflict in France and beyond.

 

Horses

Horses have had a long-established role in war. In WWI, nearly a million horses were sent to France between 1914 and 1918, and only 62,000 returned. In WW2, soldiers of the Yeomanry regiments were shipped from Britain to multiple battlefronts with their horses. In 1942, when the Yeomanry were given tanks, the animals became redundant. Thanks to efforts of a charity called Brooke Hospital, now simply known as Brooke, these war horses were provided with a second home. Read more about their work with horses by clicking here.

During the Blitz, citizens and charities worked to save horses impacted by German air force bombing. Among the many stories of heroism during this dark period, volunteers and staff members of the Blue Cross worked to rescue 11 horses trapped in a bombed building in the heart of London. Even though bombs were falling within their vicinity, they managed to save 8 of these horses.

The human-animal bond

The human-animal bond persists through war and peace. Volunteers and charities looked after animals despite a considerable risk of personal harm, and many pets actively safeguarded their owners.

As we look back on VE day, let us be sure to remember and appreciate the important role animals played and continue to play in our life.

Deaf Awareness Week – the important role of dogs

We love dogs; they’re amazing companions – fun, loving and they bring us lots of joy! For some people however, their dog is more than just a pet, they’re a lifeline. Most of us are familiar with Guide Dogs – who are bred and trained to help people with visual impairments navigate their way around – but did you know that Hearing Dogs also exist to support people who are deaf?

As it’s Deaf Awareness Week, we have looked deeper in to the essential role dogs play in the lives of deaf people.

Through many years of experience, the teams behind breeding hearing dogs in the UK have settled on four perfect breeds they feel are best suited to carrying out the role and changing the lives of deaf people. Those breeds are Labradors, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles and mixed breed Cockapoos, due to their personality traits of being gentle whilst active and alert.

Like Guide Dogs, hearing dogs are bred specifically into the programme, with the intention of becoming working dogs and being matched with a person in need. Their training includes learning to respond to common (and not so common!) sounds like alarm clocks, doorbells, fire alarms and even text messages on mobile phones! These are all noises that a deaf person wouldn’t hear, and that could be potentially dangerous or even life threatening if they were missed.

Hearing dogs learn through reward-based training. When dogs display behaviour in line with what’s expected of them in their ‘job’ they get lots of fuss, treats and cuddles. When they don’t display the correct behaviour they’re simply ignored. Hearing dogs in training are never punished for the ‘wrong’ behaviour. This results in calmer, happier dogs, who go on to be dedicated and relaxed companions. Once matched up with an owner, the dog’s training will be further tailored to meet that person’s needs.

Hearing loss can occur from birth or later in life and can be very isolating and lonely. As well as providing essential listening skills for their owners, hearing dogs can bring companionship, confidence and independence. Hearing dogs can be matched with people of all ages, from children and teenagers through to older people. Parents can also benefit from being alerted to cries from their children if they fall or have a bad dream.

To find out more about hearing dogs, including how they are trained, and to read real life stories from people of all ages, visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk

Protect your pet from the sun

As we head into the summer months and temperatures start rising, it’s important to remember that your pets are most vulnerable at this time to many injuries and illnesses brought on by hot weather including sunburn, foot pad burns, dehydration, and the most dangerous of all, heatstroke. While heat stress is more common during the summer months, it can occur at any time throughout the year.

A state of hyperthermia, heatstroke occurs when a pet’s core body temperature exceeds the normal range, caused when heat generation exceeds the pet’s ability to cool itself down and lose the heat.

All pets are susceptible to heatstroke, but some are more prone than others including;

Dogs and Cats – pets which are overweight, have a thick heavy coat or are of a flat-faced breed (which is prone to breathing difficulties) are all more prone to heatstroke.

Rabbits and Guinea pigs – Rabbits and guinea pigs of any age are susceptible to heatstroke because they have very few ways of getting rid of excess heat. As prey species, they are experts at hiding any evidence of distress. Long hair, pregnancy and being overweight are some of the factors which make them more prone to heatstroke.

To help protect your pets during warm weather spells, and minimise the risk of any sun-related injuries, here are a few simple things you can do at home:

Water

Ensure your pet always has access to fresh water. Like humans, our pets are at danger of dehydration if they don’t drink enough water. Do not wait for your pet to appear thirsty or beg for water; ensure that it is readily available in a shady area, out of direct sunlight. You should also ensure their bowls are clean so that it stays nice and fresh, and they want to drink from it.

Exercise

Beat the heat and exercise your dog during the coolest part of the day. You should try and get out early morning or late evening and keep extra strenuous exercises to a minimum throughout periods of hot weather. When taking your dog for a walk you should ensure you have a fresh supply of water with you. If your dog isn’t used to going for long walks, is overweight or suffers from breathing difficulties, it is advisable to avoid exercising them when it’s particularly hot.

Time out

It’s important that your pet has access to a cool area in the house or hutch out of direct sunlight to go and relax.  Also ensure the area has an ample amount of airflow and remains well ventilated throughout the day.

If your rabbit or guinea pig are kept in a hutch then you should move this into a shaded area, or inside of the house, depending on where it is located.

Sun Cream

Just like us, our dogs and cats can get burned when they endure prolonged sun exposure, and as a result, can suffer from red, inflamed skin which is painful and irritating; resulting in scaly skin and hair loss. Use a pet-safe sun cream recommended by your vet – especially on pets with thin or white fur –  focusing primarily on their nose and ears to protect them from harmful UV rays.

Cars, Caravans and Conservatories

Never leave a pet in a car, caravan or a conservatory as temperatures, even on a cloudy day, can rise dramatically within a very short space of time. This could quickly lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal. If you have to travel with your dog in a car, you should ensure there is fresh air circulating through the vehicle, either from an open window or air conditioning. If you see a dog in a car looking distressed you should call 999 immediately, as recommended by the SSPCA and other animal welfare organisations.

Keeping your pet cool

If you’re seeking some further ideas for ways to keep your dog or cat cool, and entertained at the same time, you could:

  • make some frozen treat cubes,
  • let them play with a cold/damp towel,
  • provide a cooling mat,
  • place fans around the house,
  • provide a paddling pool,
  • put some toys in the freezer to cool them down.

Do not use ice, or ice-cold water as this can cause shock.

If you have a rabbit or guinea pig, you could:

  • freeze a water bottle and wrap it in a towel. They can then snuggle up to the bottle to cool down.
  • choose to give them some fresh vegetables. Before putting them in their hutch, wash them and leave a little water on them to add to their water intake.
  • regularly pour cool water on them so the heat is lost by evaporation.

It is important to note that you should not use ice-cold water or ice as this could shock their body and worsen the problem.

Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms you should look out for with heatstroke in dogs:

  • Distressed breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Heavy Panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargic and weak
  • Collapsed or stumbling
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors

Although being very similar to a dog’s symptoms, a cat’s symptoms can be a lot more subtle and include:

  • Distressed breathing
  • Heavy Panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Appears drowsy – may pace
  • Collapsed or stumbling
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors

Some of the symptoms you should watch out for in a rabbit or guinea pig include:

  • Red ears (rabbits)
  • Bright red tongue
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Lethargic
  • Muscle tremors
  • Appears drowsy

If your pet is presenting symptoms or you are concerned about your pet and heatstroke, you should contact us immediately.

Local Dog Walking during lockdown

If there is one thing that many dogs look forward to each day, it is getting out of the house for a walk. Whereas this used to be plentiful, the arrival of COVID-19 and the resulting Government measures that followed, has caused changes to the routines of both pets and owners alike.

So, to make sure you (and your pet!) can get the most out of ‘walkies’ we have put together five handy tips:

  1. Using the lead

With the advice being to keep your dog on the lead when out walking, this might be not what your dog is used to. They might start pulling ahead on the lead or start trying to grab the lead with their mouths. Scattering treats on the ground as you are walking or holding a treat in your hand, may mean they focus their attention on them and not the lead or giving them their favourite toy to carry in their mouths might keep the lead free. Training your dog to walk on a loose lead will make the walk more enjoyable for both of you – especially if you are out with young children too.

  1. Keeping the walk fun

To keep the walk interesting for your dog, you could practice training exercises using a long lead and harness and their favourite treat or toy. Getting them to come back to you when called will allow you to keep on top of social distancing, but also gives your dog an element of freedom, while still on their lead, to explore when no-one is around.

  1. Maximise opportunities for a walk

With the Government measures currently allowing a person to leave the house for one piece of exercise a day, this provides your dog with at least one walk daily. However, if there are more adults in the house, or others willing to help, then each of them could separately take a walk – meaning plenty of fresh air for your dog!

Do be careful though not to over walk your dog, especially if they’re very young, or older.

  1. Finding the best routine

It sounds a bit strange, but at a time when ours have drastically changed, routine could be exactly what your dog needs! That means sticking to a similar time each day for their walk or keeping the preparation the same. On the other hand, if your dog isn’t too fussed by routine, different sights and smells each day might make it more interesting and help you find places to walk where less people are around.

  1. Going off the beaten track

With popular dog walking areas locally to you making social distancing more of a challenge, the temptation to find quieter walking routes might take you in to the countryside. There is nothing wrong with this but remember to follow the designated footpaths, closing any gates behind you and not straying into fields of crops. Do avoid fields with livestock, especially during the current lambing and calving season. There is also plenty of young wildlife and livestock about that can be frightened by your dog, so it is important to obey any signs you see.  Be mindful that we are in tick season too, and those quieter wooded areas are the ideal habitats for ticks this time of year! Please contact us if you need to purchase the relevant treatment.

But what if you are walking a neighbour’s or relative’s dog as they can’t get out? The above tips can still apply but below are some other points to consider:

  • Linked to finding the best routine, agree the best time and how long the walk will last with the owner to avoid any confusion.
  • Work out how best to collect and return the dog that still allows you to obey social distancing guidelines.
  • Where possible use a different lead, ensuring that it is washed with soap and water after use.
  • Washing your hands before leaving home and again when returning is also best practice.

More information on the above can be found on both the RSPCA and Dogs Trust websites.

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This campaign, led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession to the public.

Veterinary nurses are an integral part of the veterinary team at Hawick, and are vital for the smooth running of any veterinary practice.  As well as providing expert nursing care for poorly animals, veterinary nurses also play a significant role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy.  They carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, treatments and minor surgical procedures, with veterinary support.  Registered Veterinary Nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy.

The title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) can be used by nurses who have undergone extensive training and education. Once they’ve passed their final nursing exams, 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, we are extremely proud of our veterinary nurses. We have an amazing team who are dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.  Even during this challenging time, some of our nurses are still working in-practice helping to support emergency and urgent cases.

Click here to meet our nursing team at Hawick.

To find out more about role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website at www.bvna.org.uk/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing/a-career-in-veterinary-nursing.

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.

Hawick Vets COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 14th April Update

From 23rd March, for an initial 3-week period, veterinary practices have been physically open for urgent and emergency cases only, following government advice and professional guidance from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Veterinary Association (BVA).

Following new guidance, from 14th April, some additional services can be offered to our patients, while still following COVID-19 guidelines and strict social distancing. Any additional services we can offer will depend on a risk assessment which considers the safety of our clients and teams with the welfare of your pet, to ensure the most appropriate course of action is determined. Of course, we continue to be physically open for urgent and emergency cases.

As we continue to comply with social distancing rules, we are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is likely that fewer appointments will be available and that we will need to prioritise cases on clinical assessment and need.

Examples of services which may be possible:

Vaccination – We strongly believe in vaccination and the benefits of preventative healthcare, but risks vary based on geography, lifestyle and previous history. We will use our professional judgement and discretion to assess each individual situation and advise you on the best course of action.

Neutering – we will assess your pet’s situation based on welfare, population control and individual household circumstances to decide if the need for neutering your pet is essential or if it can be safely delayed further. We are also mindful of the need to preserve essential PPE and anaesthetic which are required by the NHS.

If your pet requires one of the above treatments, please get in touch. For existing clients, if we have not already been in touch with you, please contact us.

We are currently reviewing how best to re-introduce some of these services while keeping you and our teams as safe as possible – so please bear with us, it may take us longer to answer calls or respond to email/web requests. If you have any other concerns about your pet’s health, please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Flea and worm treatments – will continue to be provided based on your pet’s need. Please call us to order more.

Prescriptions and food – will still be supplied, however the process for ordering may have changed. Please call us if you require more.

We realise you may be feeling anxious about your pet’s wellbeing. However, we wanted to reassure you that we’ll do all we can to support you and your pet – should the need arise.

Guidance for visiting a practice:

We will continue to minimise face-to-face contact, to protect human health and curb the spread of COVID-19, and therefore if you are visiting us:

  • When you arrive, please wait outside and call our reception team to notify them of your arrival.

We will advise you of how we can safely take your pet into the practice to be examined.

  • To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, please do not enter the practice unless instructed to do so.
  • 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 your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients not to visit their pet at this time.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.

We have made this decision as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and for now, stay safe, we are here for you if you need us.

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.”