Be ‘Tick Aware’ this Autumn

img_4580For those of you who have been keeping up to date with ‘The Big Tick Project in Dogs’, the final results have now been published.  In summary, 1 in 3 dogs across the UK were found to have at least one tick attached to them with evidence of tick populations in both Urban and Rural areas.

This is worrying given the potential for ticks to transmit disease to our dogs. As a result of this study, practices across the UK are continuing to promote tick awareness and encouraging owners to be ‘tick aware’ this Autumn.

Be safe, not sorry and learn how to protect, check for and remove ticks today. Please read the following information and click on the links to learn more.

Protect. There are many products available and focus on preventative treatment is key. Preventative and protective treatment for ticks.

Check. It is advisable to check your pet’s daily for the evidence of ticks. However, wriggly pets and those with thick luscious locks can be difficult to check fully. At Hollybank, we are happy to check your pet for Ticks free of charge. Partial and completely engorged ticks are often visible to the naked eye, however it is worth noting that the immature life stages of the tick (nymphs) can be much smaller and much more difficult to find, no matter how hard we search! Therefore, our nurses will also be able to advise you about an appropriate tick treatment. How to check your pet for ticks.

Remove. Ticks must be removed safely and completely. At Hollybank, we recommend using a tick hook. If you do not have one of these when we are happy to help you remove the tick for free. How to remove a tick safely

If you want help, advice or would like to book a free tick check with one of our nurses then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01606 880 890


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Ear disease

Within our daily routine at Hollybank we see lots of dogs and cats with ear disease. Ear infections can manifest in one or both ears. They are generally itchy and irritated but can also be painful. Typical signs include, scratching the ears, shaking the head and rubbing their ears along the carpet.

Ear infections can occur on occasion but more often than not they can become a recurrent issue. This is due to a number of underlying risk factors which make your pet more likely to develop an infection.

1)Primary factors. These are diseases or situations that can cause an ear infection. They include a foreign body, parasites, allergic skin disease, endocrine disorders, defects with the ear itself and tumours down the ear canal.

Identification of primary factors is important. Once we have discovered this we can address the underlying issue and try to put into place a treatment to manage this condition. For example, long term management for allergic itchy dogs.


IMG_0958 (2)2)Predisposing factors. These are already existing factors that can increase the likelihood of an infection or exacerbate an infection already caused by a primary factor. There are three broad categories:

  • Conformation of your animals ear; hairy external ears, narrow ear canals, pendulous/floppy ears, excessive wax production.
  • Environment in which your pet is in; frequent swimming or bathing, high temeperatures and humidities.
  • Inappropriate management; Overzealous cleaning or inappropriate cleaning product.

Of course, we cannot change the conformation of our pet’s ears! However, we can help by trying to maintain a healthy ear environment. Generally we do not advocate plucking of hairs down the ears but trimming the ears around the canal can improve air flow and ventilation down the canal. We also advocate regular ear cleaning; this should be with an approved and sensitive product and can be especially useful after swimming.


3)Perpetuating factors. These factors can actually be created by the infection and then exacerbate the ear infection creating a vicious cycle.

  • Ear canal thickening. With ongoing infections the ear canal itself changes. It can become thickened resulting in a narrowed canal. This can be detrimental as this can create a moist environment with little airflow and the build up of discharge-in this environment infections can thrive. Once a thickened canal develops It can then be difficult to get any antibiotic drops down effectively!
  • Spread of infection. Ear infections are often only associated with the external ear. However the ear canal extends into an area called the middle ear. In certain cases external ear infection can spread into the middle ear and without addressing this problem it can prevent resolution of the ear disease fully.

Our role for this is to provide a product to help clear the infection. We will often also use steroids alongside our ear drops to help control any inflammation and try to reverse any thickening down the canal. Of course we base this on the individual pateint and the ear on examination. It is important to come back for re-examinations following ear treatment to ensure that the infection is cleared fully. Failure to fully resolve an ear infection will result in a recurrence of problems.


Any questions about ears or if you think your dog has ear disease please contact 01606 880890 for an appointment.

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In recent weeks Hollybank have had lots of reasons to celebrate! A number of Hollybank staff have passed additional qualifications or important exams so we feel recognition of their achievement and a huge congratulations are in order!

Helen Vet 1Helen is currently studying for a BSAVA certificate in Emergency Medicine and Critical care. This is a three year long course with an exam in the second year; Helen has recently passed this exam with a commendation! We are so pleased that all her hard work and dedication has paid off. She is now entering her final year of studies and we have no doubt that this time next year we shall be celebrating again!

SARAH VETSarah has recently received her post graduate certificate in veterinary medicine and surgery. Sarah studied for this during her internship at Dick White Referrals. This is a fantastic achievement and we are all very proud of her.


LeonieLeonie has a particular interest in physiotherapy and has been undergoing additional training and learning in this area. She has just passed her BSAVA Veterinary Nurse Merit Award in Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy and did so with flying colours!

Last but by no means least, a massive congratulations to Charlotte who has secured a place on the veterinary medicine course at Liverpool University! Charlotte has been carrying out regular work experience with us for the past two years. She is always such a help during her time with us and we could not be more pleased for her. We wish her lots of luck with her studies!


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