Hollybank Summer Newsletter 2015

Please read Hollybank Veterinary Centre’s 2015 Summer Newsletter by clicking on the picture.


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Preventative Health care for your pet.

Many of the health problems and conditions that affect our pets can be prevented with preventative health care. Here at Hollybank Veterinary Centre we believe that prevention is the best kind of medicine.

Fleas and worms

These parasites can be picked up from anywhere and many of our pets can have them without us even realising. Fleas can be a problem in the cleanest of houses and the most spotless of pets, just one flea can lay up to 40-50 eggs in one day! 95% of the flea population actually lives in the environment, such as carpets, grass or furniture. Fleas can survive at all times of the year, but mostly during the warmer seasons such as Spring, Summer and Autumn. However, dormant larvae in carpets will also start to develop when the central heating kicks in come Winter.

There are many different types of worms that affect our pets, including tapeworms, roundworms and lungworms. Some of these worms are also ‘zoonotic’ which means they can be passed from our pets on to us. Our pets are often infected from the environment (infected faeces or grass) or from other infected animals.

It is essential to keep your pets regularly treated for fleas and worms to prevent an outbreak. It is also important to treat the environment. When selecting appropriate treatment please read the packaging carefully. Ensure the product is specific to the species you are treating and adhere to the correct dosing quantity and frequency. If you have any questions regarding flea or worming treatment please contact the practice.



As of April 2016, England will be introducing a new law which requires all dogs to be microchipped. A microchip is a small electronic device, about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The procedure does not require an anaesthetic and the microchip is injected using a needle. This means that if your pet is lost or stolen and taken to a local authority, vet practice or animal welfare organisation, your details can be traced using the microchip. This will allow you to be re-united with your pet.






Dogs, cats and rabbits can all be vaccinated against a wide range of diseases. These diseases cannot only make your animal unwell, but can in fact be fatal. Vaccinating your pet can significantly reduce the risk of your pets contracting these diseases.

Routinely dogs are vaccinated against Distemper virus, Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis. Cats are protected against Panleucopenia virus, Herpesvirus, Calicivirus and Feline Leukaemia virus. Finally, rabbit’s vaccinations are against diseases such Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD).

If you would like to start your pets vaccinations, think your pets annual vaccination is overdue or have any questions regarding vaccinations, please contact the practice.



Neutering your pet not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but also provides a number of significant health benefits for your pet.

For females it also reduces the risk of them experiencing false pregnancies as well as decreasing the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, uterine infections and mammary cancer. For males it reduces roaming, fighting and urine marking, as well as reducing the risk of testicular diseases (cancer, infection, torsion) and prostatic diseases (enlargement, infection, cancer).

Neutering is a surgical operation which requires a general anaesthetic. Your animal will come in for the procedure in the morning and will usually go home the same day. The initial recovery period requires strict rest for 5 days. Your pet will also go home with additional pain relief and a very attractive buster collar to prevent them interfering with their wound. The age at which your pet can be neutered varies according to size and shape. In general dogs can be neutered from 4-5 months, cats from 4 months and rabbits from 3-4 months.


If you have any questions regarding preventative health care please contact us on 01606 880 890.


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Hollybank’s Brave pet of the Month…Willow!

Willow is lovely little black domestic long hair cat who presented to us one morning with sudden onset hind limb lameness; her owner reported she was non weight bearing to very minimally toe touching with her right hind leg.

When an animal presents with lameness we want to examine all aspects of that limb to localise the exact area of pain. We usually start at the top and work our way down. First we examine the hip joint (Coxo-Femoral joint), then progress downwards examining the long thigh bone (Femur), knee (Stifle joint), long bones (Tibia and Fibula), ankle joint (Tarsus), foot (Metatarsals) and lastly the digits (Phalanges).

Willow had considerable swelling located over her ankle joint although she was extremely tolerant and brave during her exam. She didn’t give much indication of pain other than some mild wriggling. Willow had no obvious wounds on her leg and we could not feel any obvious fractures. Her paw however, was stuck outwards at an abnormal angle and her nails were all scuffed.

There are many different potential diagnoses for a lame cat: wounds, cat bite abscesses, sprains and strains of musculoskeletal tissues, bone fractures, joint dislocations or luxation and osteoarthritis. However, due to Willows clinical signs (severe lameness, swelling, pain, abnormal foot position and scuffed nails to indicate some trauma) we were concerned that something more serious was on the top of our differential diagnosis list. As a result, we recommended x-rays.

Willow had to be sedated for her x-rays and whilst under sedation we were able to feel some instability of the ankle joint. The x-rays showed that Willow had a Tarso-Metatarsal joint luxation; this means that Willows foot (metatarsals) had shifted away from her ankle (tarsus) so that they no longer met to form a normal joint. Willow had been very determined to make it home with her injury and definitely deserves to be our brave pet of the month!

We sent the x-rays to an orthopaedic specialist who confirmed the luxation and advised us that Willow would need surgery. To repair the luxation Willow’s joint would have to be surgically fixated back into the correct position; this is done with a plate and screws fitted internally or with an external fixation apparatus. This type of surgery would also require a specialist surgeon and post-operatively Willow would need long periods of rest to give the joint the best chance of healing.

Although many orthopaedic fixations are very successful, as with any procedure we perform we cannot predict its success. When placing foreign material inside the body we also have to be aware for the potential of secondary complications where intensive management is sometimes needed.  As Willow was not insured we had to take this all into account in our decision and decided that this was not a feasible option.

As Willow was otherwise a very fit and healthy cat with a lovely temperament we elected to perform complete hind limb amputation. The following day Willow had her right hind leg amputated and the operation went well. She stayed in with us that evening to receive pain relief and ensure she remained comfortable. Willow was already trying to move around the next day and was enjoying lots of fuss and cuddles so we were happy to send her home.

Even within a couple of days Willow was moving around really well and determined to get back to exploring.  At Willows post operative check she was doing remarkably well; her wound had healed nicely and she was quickly acclimatising to life on three legs.

Willows owners are delighted with how well she is doing and Willow is just as delighted to be back with her family, especially Fox Red Labrador, Bracken, who she truly believes is her mummy!

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GALA day fundraising

The Sandiway and Cuddington annual GALA was a great day out and as you can see the Hollybank staff fully embraced the Animal theme!

As part of The Joshua Tree Foundation stall, our ‘Guess the footprints’ quiz had 40 applicants raising a total of £20! Thank you to everyone that participated and we hope the lucky winners enjoy their prizes! All proceeds will be donated to the charity.


Unfortunately, George did not win the Scarecrow competition.

However, due to popular demand George is being raffled. Raffle tickets are £1 each and all money raised will be donated to The Joshua Tree Foundation.

Hurry tickets are selling fast!

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The Big Tick Project 2015!


Hollybank veterinary Centre will be joining practices across the UK to take part in the Big Tick project 2015!

The project is set to be the largest nationwide collection of ticks from dogs and will ultimately allow advanced knowledge of tick-borne disease in the UK.


The University of Bristol are teaming together with Chris Packham to run the project, which aims to raise awareness and encourage owners to take their pets for free Tick checks. Any Ticks removed will be sent to The University of Bristol, who will be examining the ticks for the presence of tick-borne disease, principally Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is transmitted to your dog by a bite from an infected tick. Ticks can attach to your pet while out walking through woodland or park areas. Clinical signs can include lameness, lethargy and a fever which if not addressed can progress to kidney disease and heart failure. Lyme disease is also ‘zoonotic’ which means it can be transmitted between your dog and you. With Lyme disease becoming a growing concern in the UK it is important that we all get involved.


To protect your pet and reduce the risk of Tick exposure there are a number of different products available and we would advise regular use of these.

Here at Hollybank Veterinary Centre, we are happy to check a tick for free!

Please contact the surgery if you would like a free tick check or advice regarding preventative care. Dogs that have taken part in the project will receive a Big Tick Project certificate.

To find out more visit www.bigtickproject.co.uk





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Baby Bird Watch…

Spring is a lovely time of year for all, however, during spring and summer high numbers of young birds and fledglings are brought to us by members of the public, thinking that they are injured or abandoned. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to release these birds back into the wild. We hope the following information will help in your assessment of any baby birds you may find this Summer.

The bird I have found has no feathers: If the bird has no feathers at all, this is what we would call a nestling. Nestlings require protection from their nest and will not survive without it. Please ring us and we will be able to put you in contact with the nearest wildlife support officer

The bird I have found has feathers: These birds are what we would call fledglings. Fledglings leave the nest just before they can fly and spend 2-3 days on the ground; the parents are usually nearby, even if they cannot be seen, and continue to feed them. However tempting, interfering with these young birds will do more harm than good and you should not touch a baby bird unless it genuinely needs helps. You can monitor the bird from a distance and if in immediate danger you can move it to shelter a short distance away.

Why are these young birds hard to release back into the wild? Young birds need to be released exactly where found and as quickly as possible as the adults may leave the area and therefore not care for the youngster. Most of these young birds have to be taken to rescue centres, which can cause unnecessary stress and death.

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George the Giraffe!

Please meet our newest addition to the Hollybank Team, George the Giraffe!

George is taking part in Cuddington and Sandiway’s Animal themed Scarecrow competition! The results will be announced on the 13th June at the Cuddington and Sandiway GALA.

Please come along and get involved during the GALA day too. Hollybank have joined together with The Joshua Tree Foundation and will be running a stall with our very own ‘guess the footprints’ competition.

As usual there will be a parade, stalls and attractions for you to get involved in, and staying with the animal theme,  there will be animals for you to meet too. Pets are not allowed at the event however there is a ‘pet wall’ for you to attach a picture of your loved ones.

You may even see some of the Hollybank staff dressed in their animal onesies!

We have high hopes for Georges success!






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Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month


Last up this month is Leonie. Please click on her picture below to find out what she loves most about being a veterinary nurse.

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Fundraising update for the Joshua Tree Charity!

As part of our ongoing support of the Joshua Tree there is a collection box in reception.

Thanks to all of our lovely clients donations we are pleased to report our most recent collection box total came to £168.22! This brings our running total to an amazing £6705.81!



The Joshua Tree have also recently been awarded further funding to enable them to expand their support to families. To read more about this wonderful local charity please visit:  http://www.thejoshuatree.org.uk/



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Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month


Next up is our Veterinary Nurse Kat. Please click on her picture below to find out about the patients she has seen this week.

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