Updated policies - Find out all the information about our updated policies at the bottom of the page.

News

Catch up on the latest small animal news

Changes to Small Animal Out of Hours Service

Out Of Hours Service Changes for Oakham Veterinary Hospital Small Animal

From Wednesday 15th September onwards, we will be partnering with Vets Now to improve the services we offer to our Out of Hours emergencies. This change is only affecting the small animal department, so it’s our cats, dogs and small furry friends. There are no changes to Equine Out of Hours so patients needing emergency treatment out of hours please continue to contact equine emergency team as before.

We do not have a vet who is dedicated to just night duties, therefore, as for many years our emergencies out of hours are looked after by our day team. These vets have just worked a full day and usually are also scheduled to work the following day. However, if they have a busy night they are understandably often sent home early the following day.  The increasing demand for our services following the growth in pet ownership in the last 18 months and the national shortage of vets have both put a strain on our ability to provide the high standard day and night service which we aim to achieve.  We have, up to now, been unable to recruit any additional vets to share the load.  Partnering with an emergency service that provides specialist care is, we feel, a positive step.

Vets Now has an established, dedicated night team, fully equipped to take care of all your pets' emergency needs whatever the hour. They have bases in both Peterborough and Nottingham and, whilst we appreciate that an extended journey isn't ideal, we have carefully considered the options and believe the welfare of our patients is best achieved with the enhanced night services on offer.

Please rest assured that the pets already in the hospital will still have high-quality 24 hour care that you have come to expect. Our dedicated night nurses will continue to monitor these patients throughout the night and have the support of a vet on call. You will be given a direct telephone number to allow you to contact our night nurse if your pet is staying with us. This number will also be provided to you, should you have concerns following a procedure or operation that your pet received during the day.

In an emergency or if you’re needing urgent advice, the main number to Vets Now will allow you to discuss your concerns with a member of their team. In many instances, we find telephone advice can be sufficient without an emergency consult being required. If your pet is seen at Vets Now our night nurses will forward case history and if it is recommended that your pet be hospitalised overnight then they can return to us on the next working day, where they will remain with us as an inpatient until they are fit enough to go home.

Thankfully most of our pets rarely need access to emergency care out of hours. If, however, you do need veterinary support out of hours please be assured that we have every confidence that the Vets Now team will provide the same high quality of care and treatment you are accustomed to.

We will provide our Emergency service during our opening hours - our intention is to extend these hours once suitable staff have been recruited. 

From 15th September Vets Now Out of Hours Service times are:

Monday to Friday 7pm until 8am

Saturday 5pm until 8am

Sunday 12pm until 8am

In an emergency, during the above hours,  when you call our number 01572 722646, you will be automatically diverted to Vets Now in Peterborough.

If you would like to save the number for an emergency: Vets Now (Peterborough) 01733 512192

Any questions or feedback could you email small.animal@oakhamvethospital.co.uk 

Catriona Laird MRCVS and Chris Booth MRCVS Clinical Directors

Clinical Vacancies

Are you looking for an improved work-life balance?

We are updating the way in which we work as a team In Small Animal, without compromising the gold-standard patient care and service we provide, upon which our reputation is based.

We are looking for experienced clinicians, vets & nurses, who are enthusiastic, motivated and thrive in a collaborative culture of:

  • Wide & varied caseloads
  • Excellence in clinical knowledge and expertise
  • Access to state of the art toys and diagnostic imaging equipment, including CT and MRI
  • The sharing knowledge and expertise
  • Professional development working alongside certificate holders in cardiology, medicine, surgery and dentistry

For more information please see our vacancies page.

Managing Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the insulin it produces is ineffective.  The body needs insulin to control blood sugar levels and use sugar for energy.  Without insulin sugar accumulates in the blood and spills into the urine causing the animal to urinate lots and drink lots of water.  The brain becomes sugar deprived without insulin meaning the animal is constantly hungry, yet may lose weight due to inefficient use of nutrients from their diet.  The disease most commonly occurs in older dogs and cats and can be managed long term with insulin injections, which are given at home.

Compo, a 14 year old Norfolk Terrier cross, was diagnosed with DM in 2015 following some tests performed by vet, Catriona Laird.  Catriona was suspicious from his clinical signs including weight loss, urinating more frequently and glucose & ketones in his urine, that he may have developed the disease.  His owners had been managing his condition with insulin injections but routine blood tests suggested that his diabetes was not stable.

As his owners live over an hour away from the practice Catriona suggested they could monitor his glucose levels at home instead of having to come in repeatedly to perform a glucose curve reading here at the hospital.  This can be done using a 'Freestyle Libre' glucose monitoring system, designed and well used by humans but relatively untested in pets.  The monitor is attached using a small needle on the underside and will remain in place for about 14 days taking glucose readings every five minutes which can be read and downloaded onto a scanner which comes with the monitor.  Traditional blood glucose curves in-practice can be affected by the stress of hospitalisation and only give readings over a 12-hour period.

A small patch of hair is shaved off where the monitor is to be located and it is pressed onto the skin using the applicator, which has been kept completely sterile.  Compo was completely unaffected by the monitor being put in place.  If anything they may feel a sharp scratch similar to a vaccination.

Once securely in place Catriona checked the scanner was working correctly and Compo was ready to return home with all of his technology in place!  His owners were then able to take regular glucose readings and provide Catriona with some data equivalent to us doing repeated daily glucose curves in-house.  Consistently high glucose levels would mean that he needs a change in insulin dosage and then the monitoring would be repeated to make sure that the condition is being managed successfully.

Thank you to Comp for being such a willing participant in the trial, we hope to use the system more widely in the future for diabetic patients.

Don't be caught out by Flystrike!

With temperatures hotting up it's time to start thinking about taking action to prevent some of the conditions that can affect our small furries at this time of year.  In warmer weather rabbits are vulnerable to a condition called Flystrike, which can progress quickly and ultimately can be fatal.

Flystrike occurs when flies lay their eggs around your rabbit's bottom, these hatch into maggots which in turn chew into the rabbit's skin.  Rabbits with dirty bottoms (loose stools) and wet fur are at risk which means that rabbit's who struggle to clean themselves are more prone to the condition.

 

Rabbits with Flystrike may become quiet or listless and be in obvious discomfort.  If you suspect that they have got the condition then they will need to see a vet immediately for treatment.  It's essential to check your rabbit's bottom at least twice a day at this time of year and keep their hutches clean and dry.  Change bedding regularly (ideally on a daily basis) and disinfect the hutch completely every week.  You could also consider putting a fly screen over the hutch to act as a deterrent.  You can use topical prevention in the form of Panacur Rearguard, which is available to buy from our Reception and is effective for 10 weeks after application.

May is....Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month

The British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) exists to promote animal health and welfare through the ongoing development of professional excellence in veterinary nursing.  They launched Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month, which happens every May, to highlight the importance of the role of the Veterinary Nurse in practice and in the provision of responsible pet care to the general public.

Did you know that, outside of the consult room, most of the attention and medical care your pet receives is at the hands of a qualified veterinary nurse (RVN)?  No one day is the same and their daily tasks can involve:

  • Taking x-rays
  • Medicating patients
  • Nurse clinics
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Monitoring anaesthetics
  • Dressing wounds

This is all on top of looking after all the hospital inpatients who have been in overnight and admitted as day patients for surgery and procedures.

To find out more about the role of the RVN and how to go about choosing this as a career please click here to visit the British Veterinary Nursing Association website.

Spays: Laparoscopic vs traditional

What are the options?

At Oakham Veterinary Hospital we have a number of surgeons who are able to offer both the traditional, non laparoscopic spay or use the laparoscopic (keyhole) technique.  Although the traditional 'open' method is still more widely used, some people prefer the advantages of a less intrusive surgery for their pet such as, quicker recovery time, less bruising and tissue manipulation resulting in a more comfortable recovery.

 

Laparoscopic spays

The laparoscopic technique requires only 2-3 very small incisions to be made; typically they are just half a centimetre in size, allowing for the insertion of a camera and instruments.  The procedure is performed with magnified views of the organs allowing maximum precision and minimal invasion and trauma.  As only the ovaries are removed (ovariectomy) this shortens the surgical time and reduces the risks involved; there is no evidence of any advantage of removing a healthy uterus.  The recovery time is shorter than with non laparoscopic spays and provides a quicker return to full fitness for working dogs.

What are the advantages of a laparoscopic spay?

  • The entire surgery is performed through 2-3 holes of less than 1cm rather than the single large incision associated with conventional surgery, meaning there is a much smaller scar, reducing pain from the surgical wounds.
  • It is a safer and less invasive method of surgery.
  • Key hole incisions help to reduce the trauma on tissues that may be associated with non laparoscopic spays.
  • Reduced chance of post-operative wound infections and side effects.
  • A faster return to normal activity due to patient comfort and reduced scar formation.  A gentler, more comfortable recovery requires less rest, your dog can be active again in a couple of days.
  • Suitable for animals weighing between 10kg and 35kg - particularly young, lively, athletic dogs who may be difficult to keep quiet after a traditional spay.

For more information please contact our small animal reception on 01572 722646.

Pet club members receive 10% discount on neutering.

Laparoscopic Spay Flyer

Physio clinics

We are delighted to announce that we are now offering Veterinary Physiotherapy and Omega Laser therapy clinics with Sammy Finnemore from Hazelcroft Veterinary Physiotherapy.  Clinics will be held in the practice every Wednesday from 11am to 3pm.

Physiotherapy can help to reduce pain, rebuild muscle, and rehabilitate following injury or surgery; as well as greatly improve mobility, quality of life, and even enhance performance in competitive animals.  Using a combination of manual therapies, electrical therapies (such as the Omega Laser), and remedial exercises, Sammy will deliver a bespoke package of treatments tailored to your pet's specific needs.

Some conditions that can benefit from physiotherapy include:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip/elbow dysplasis
  • Patella luxation (dislocation)
  • Cruciate ligament injury
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Pre and post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Reduced mobility in older pets
  • Fractures
  • Back pain or spinal injuries
  • Wounds or scar tissue
  • Muscular strains and soft tissue injuries

Sammy is a fully qualified and insured Veterinary Physiotherapist, a member of The National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists (NAVP), and on the Animal Health Practitioners Register (AHPR).

To book a session, or for more information please give our reception team a call on 01572 722646.

Alternatively, you can contact Sammy directly:

W: www.hazelcroftvetphysio.co.uk

E: hazelcroftvetphysio@gmail.com

T: 07870 269008

Keeping pets safe in Spring!

Most pets live around poisonous plants all their lives and instinctively know not to eat them.  However, inquisitive puppies might be at risk from common Spring bloomers such as Azaleas, Daffodils and Rhododendrons.  The clinical signs that your dog might have ingested something poisonous could be nausea, vomiting, depression, difficulty breathing and eventually, a coma.  Many plants can be fatal to your pets if eaten in large enough quantities so it is worth doing your research before you stock your garden.  

It's a well known fact that lilies are toxic to cats, simply brushing against the pollen and licking it off their coat can be lethal.  We would recommend that cat owners avoid having lily plants or cut flowers anywhere in their homes or gardens.  Initial symptoms indicating poisoning would be depression, lack of appetite and possibly vomiting.  The symptoms will progress quickly with your cat becoming dehydrated, suffering from diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and bad breath. 

 

As well as an abundance of flowers coming into bloom this is also the time of year when we all compete to have a lawn resembling the nearby bowls pitch and lawn treatments are scattered on at regular intervals.  Please read the instructions very carefully as many fertiliser treatments will need a period of time or a significant amount of rain before it is safe for your pet to venture outdoors again.  Rinse your cat's pads when they come home if they show any signs of residue that could be fertiliser.  If they groom this off themselves the toxins will find their way into the stomach and bloodstream.

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned then phone your vet immediately for advice.  In the case of many common poisons we will be familiar with the treatment already.  For anything more unusual we have 24 hour access to the 'Veterinary Poisons Information Service' who act quickly to give advice and treatment options.

The right diet for Thumper

Recent British Veterinary Association (BVA) research has highlighted that a high propoThumper the bunnyrtion of pet rabbits are suffering from preventable health issues like obesity, gut problems and dental disease.  The cause of which can almost always be linked to a poor diet.

Rabbits need a fibre-based diet packed with clean hay, grass and leafy greens such as broccoli, cabbage and kale.  Grazing on hay and grass all day ensures a healthy gut and keeps their teeth to the correct shape and length (rabbit's teeth never stop growing so need to be constantly working to grind them down).  

It's a common myth that carrots are a great foodstuff for rabbits, they should in fact only be fed as an occasional treat due to their high sugar content, carrot tops are a much better alternative than the veg itself.

Rabbit muesli encourages selective feeding and predisposes rabbits to dental disease and obesity.  A small egg cup of standard pellets daily are a better complementary source of vitamins and minerals.

15% of their diet should be made up of plants and vegetables such as courgettes, spring greens, broccoli, kale, basil, parsley, dandelions and burdock.  Avoid feeding iceberg lettuce as it contains lactucarium which can be dangerous in large quantities.

Any changes to your rabbit's diet should be made gradually with advice from your vet.  

Put a stop to parasites with 25% off!

Fleas are the most common external parasites seen on dogs and cats, and a very common cause of skinDogs in the grass disease.  It's a familiar misconception that fleas are a sign of neglect or poor hygiene; any pet can get fleas if they are not treated with flea prevention products.  Adult fleas live in your pet's coat, feeding on their blood, but they lay their eggs in the environment i.e. your pet's bedding.  You may see live fleas (small brown insects) in your pet's fur or flea dirt - a fine toothed comb will help you check for this.

Other signs of flea problems include itching, scratching and skin scurf or infections.  Fleas can give your pet tapeworms so it's important to treat for flea and worm infestations if you spot evidence of live fleas.  Flea control needs to be viewed as prevention rather than cure, we recommend using a vet strength flea treatment best suited to your pet every 4-12 weeks.

Please be aware that some dog flea treatments contain Permethrin, an insecticide that is safe for dogs but highly toxic for cats.  None of the products that we stock contain this ingredient but it is very commonly found in some brands sold by supermarkets and pet shops so do please be aware.

Our range of Pet Club Packages have been designed to include effective flea control treatments on a regular basis.  We are currently offering 25% off a pack of 6 popular chewable flea/tick tablets for cats and dogs (given on a monthly basis).  For more information please phone the small animal reception team on 01572 722646.

Put it down Pixie!

Tiny little Jack Russell cross, Pixie Fitch, came in to see Roxane a couple of weeks agoPixie the jack russell having gulped down a rubber Morph toy, without pausing to chew.  Luckily, her owners had seen her do it and as she's only a tiny 11 week old puppy they brought her straight down to the practice.  She was admitted and given an ultrasound, which showed the toy not progressing well through her digestive system.  There was no option to induce vomiting as the toy could easily have become stuck in her Oesophagus.  The only course of action was to perform an exploratory laparotomy (surgically open up her abdomen to remove the toy).  Having gained her owner's permission, Catriona performed the surgery and successfully removed the toy.

Pixie was very carefully monitored throughout her general anaesthetic and recovery, the nurses checked her vital signs repeatedly looking for any changes in blood pressure, temperature and blood sugar.  The following morning she had started to eat and was doing well.  As her temperature was still fluctuating though the decision was made for her to stay at the hospital overnight with some intravenous (IV) fluids and a heat pad in her kennel.  After a good night where Pixie had been eating, drinking and toileting normally, Catriona was happy for her to be discharged into her owner's care with some ongoing pain relief.

Pixie came back to see one of our veterinary nurses after a couple of days to check the surgical wound and make sure her vital signs were all good.  Her owner was happy that she was very comfortable and very keen to play!  Her final post-operative check on Christmas Eve with Chris went well and he was happy to sign off an end to her treatment.

It never ceases to amaze us what some pets will decide is edible, thank goodness her owners saw what had happened and acted fast, the size of the toy relative to Pixie would have made it virtually impossible for it to pass through without veterinary help - hopefully it will put her off chomping one down in the future!

Watchdog on medicines

The BBC programme Watchdog recently aired a discussion about the cost of veterinary medicines.  Their reporter found that many people believed they could only buy these medicines from their veterinary practice and were unaware that written prescriptions could be requested (at a small charge) and fulfilled by an online pharmacy.  They went on to point out that such medicines can often be found online at a cheaper price than the retail cost of buying them from your vet.  

As a veterinary hospital which occupies a large site, employs a number of staff and has lots of specialised equipment and facilities we are aware that, although our prices are competitive, we are not always able to match the prices of some online pharmacies.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) summed up the situation for many practices with their response:

'It is expensive for anyone to keep and dispense veterinary medicines under the strict guidelines that are set out in legislation.  Setting up a pharmacy, buying and maintaining the correct equipment, and training staff are all costs that must be met by the sale of the medicines.  Vets must keep in stock a whole range of medicines, including those needed in an emergency, and very expensive drugs that are rarely used. Online suppliers are able to buy in much larger quantities than individual vet practices and have less overtheads to cover.  If medicines from an online source are very cheap this should ring alarm bells and you should take extra care to ensure the website belongs to a reputable, UK-based organisation.  There are added benefits to buying from your veterinary practice.  The vets and nursing team will spend time demonstrating how to administer medicines correctly to ensure maximum efficacy and can talk through any possible adverse reactions, how to spot them and what to do.'

For members of our Dog Club Gold package and Active Cat package we offer 10% off all oral medication (excluding antibiotics) which can provide a significant yearly saving for pets on longterm medication.

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