Easter Emergencies

As the flowers and trees start to bloom and spring makes its way to us, we need to be aware of the toxic substances starting to appear both outside and inside the house. Lots of tasty treats at Easter that we enjoy can also be toxic to our pets. If you suspect that your pet may have eaten something toxic do not hesitate to call us at the practice on 01606 880890 as early treatment can make all the difference. Some of our Spring and Easter risks include:

 Chocolate contains Theobromine which can affect the central nervous system, causing twitching and a high heart rate as well as other signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea, salivation and a risk of kidney failure.

Raisins, grapes, currants or sultanas can be found in savoury food items such as hot cross buns, scones or fruit cake and can be fatal. Gastrointestinal signs, salivation, blood in the stools or vomit, lack of appetite and lethargy can occur. If left untreated, they can cause kidney failure. There is no link between the amount consumed and any clinical effects.

Daffodils contain toxic alkaloid substances which are poisonous if ingested by dogs. Typical signs include gastrointestinal upsets (vomiting and diarrhoea), abdominal tenderness, a lack of appetite (anorexia), salivation, lethargy and a high temperature (hyperthermia). Other more serious signs can be seen if not treated, such as, twitching (ataxia), collapse and dehydration.

Lilies. All species of the Lilium or Hemerocallis are highly toxic and potentially fatal for cats, these species include the Asiastic Lily, Tiger Lily and Day Lily. All parts of the plants cause death of kidney cells and fatality is high if treatment isn’t initiated with the first 18 – 24 hours after ingestion. Common signs include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy and increased drinking and urination. If left untreated kidney failure can occur.

Slug pellets. Many molluscicides contain a toxic substance called Metaldehyde and if ingested by either cats or dogs can cause serious central nervous system problems. Signs include muscle spasms or tremors, convulsions, a high temperature, panting and respiratory distress.

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Improvement works later this week

Just a reminder that later this week, on the 1st and 2nd of April we are having some work done to improve our car park and reception areas. We are still open as usual should you need us, however, obviously this will involve some disruption in these areas.

We are thankful in advance for your patience with us over these few days. Please bear with us and we hope you will look forward to seeing the new changes once the work is done.

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Our final fundraising total for the Joshua Tree Charity!

Since we opened in 2009, Hollybank has helped to raise money for the Joshua Tree Charity. This has involved fundraising at many of our events and activities over the past few years. Following our 5th Birthday in March 2014 we promised to donate £1 from every vaccination to the Joshua Tree for a year.

Having just celebrated our 6th birthday, this year has come to an end. Incredibly over the past 12 months we have raised a grand total of £2833!

The Joshua Tree is a fantastic local charity which provides support for families of children with cancer. To find our more about them and all they do go to www.thejoshuatree.org.uk



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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the month…Popcorn!

Popcorn is a 7 year old Shih Tzu who has recently had open chest surgery.

Popcorn first presented to her usual vets as she was becoming increasingly tired and out of breath during her walks, she had also lost some weight. On examination, Popcorn’s heart could not be heard on the left hand side of her chest and any heart sounds that were audible were very muffled and unclear. We should be able to hear lung and heart sounds over both sides of the chest so this was an indication that something was affecting these sounds and further investigations were needed.

Popcorn had chest x-rays which showed a large mass in her chest on the left hand side.  In order to decide how to treat Popcorn a sample would need to be taken to determine the type of chest mass; some masses can carry a poor prognosis therefore it is very important to do this. Popcorn had a short general anaesthetic and biopsies of the mass were taken for analysis. Luckily, Popcorn’s mass came back as a Thymoma.

Thymoma’s are relatively benign masses which do not tend to invade local tissues or spread to other areas in the body. As a result surgical removal of the mass should be curative. However surgery in the chest is still very risky and removing a mass here can be difficult due to its close proximity to large bloods vessels, the lungs and the heart. This type of surgery needs to be performed by a very experienced and specialist surgeon. Therefore Popcorn was transferred to Hollybank where a specialist surgeon who we work with was able to perform the operation and we were able to monitor her post-operative care closely.

Popcorn’s surgery was challenging. The mass was very large and adhered to the left lung lobes and surrounding vessels which took lots of careful dissection. The anaesthetic also had to be very carefully monitored as we had to manually inflate Popcorns lungs during surgery to allow her to breathe whilst her chest was open.  However, the surgery was successful and the mass was removed! A drain was placed in Popcorns chest at the end of the procedure to allow drainage of any fluids (inflammatory fluids created during tissue handling) or air (the lungs could leak air if removing the mass had disrupted there surface).









Popcorn then began her post-operative care with us at Hollybank. It was very important to monitor Popcorns breathing rate and effort following surgery in case there was any fluid or air accumulation in her chest. For this reason we also drained Popcorns chest every couple of hours via her chest drain; initially we had inflammatory fluid. Over the next few days Popcorn received lots of TLC and was receiving injectable medications such as strong pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics. We also put local anaesthetic down Popcorns drain to provide extra local pain relief. She was even lucky enough to have lots of fresh chicken due to her insistence that she didn’t like dog food!

Popcorn stayed with us for one week post-operatively and made really great progress. The amount of inflammatory fluid from her chest gradually reduced and we were able to take her chest drain out. Her surgical wounds were healing really well and on listening to her chest we were now able to hear her heart and lung sounds on both sides. Popcorn was considerably brighter and happier by the end of the week and we felt she was well enough to go home. Since then Popcorn has been putting on weight and doing really well at home. It has been great to see her back looking so bright and lively!

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Improvements to our practice at the beginning of April

In a few weeks time, on the 1st and 2nd of April we are having some work done to improve our car park and reception areas. We are still open as usual should you need us, however, obviously this will involve some disruption in these areas.

We are thankful in advance for your patience with us over these few days. Please bear with us and we hope you will look forward to seeing the new changes once the work is done.

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Arthritis in our feline friends…

What signs do we expect to see when our dogs start to suffer from arthritis? Often lameness, stiffness or not wanting to go for a walk are the first things we notice. Now what about our cats? Unfortunately it isn’t usually as simple. The changes we see tend to be related to a change in lifestyle or behaviour rather than the obvious signs of pain or discomfort.

These can vary greatly and include things such as sleeping more and being less active, not eating as well, not going out as much, not wanting to jump up onto things or climb stairs, avoiding interaction such as being stroked, and not grooming well, getting constipated or not going to the toilet in the litter tray. We don’t always see a clear limp or stiffness.

However this doesn’t mean that arthritis doesn’t result in pain the same as our dogs. In most of our cats it is due to age related change but can also be secondary to previous trauma or developmental changes too.  Thankfully there are several things we can do to help keep our cats comfortable and to help manage their arthritis.

One of the major things we can do is to provide anti-inflammatory pain relief. As arthritis causes pain and inflammation this is really important to help improve our cats’ quality of life. Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are also helpful to reduce inflammation and protect cartilage from destruction. Both Helen and Richard are also able to perform acupuncture which can be very effective in conjunction with other pain management.

Ella one of our patients receiving acupuncture

Another simple way to help our cats manage is to keep their weight healthy. Being overweight means a bigger strain on our cats’ joints, increasing pain levels and deterioration of the condition. We appreciate this isn’t always easy so our nurses are always on hand to help. Just call the practice to book an appointment. They can also advise you on some simple physiotherapy exercise that can help maintain muscle tone and strength and ease stiffness.

If you think you cat may be affected by arthritis just give us a call on 01606 880890.

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Our microchipping offer for dogs is ending

Microchipping of dogs in the United Kingdom will become compulsory in 2016. Microchipping helps to reunite animals with their owners if they are ever lost or stolen and is a permanent means of identification.

Ahead of this change we have been providing FREE microchips for dogs. However, this offer will now only be available UNTIL the end of March 2015 so book in soon to take advantage. Call us on 01606 880890 to book an appointment.

As of 1st April 2015 microchipping and registration will cost £20.00 per dog.

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An update on our vaccination donations for the Joshua Tree

In January we have raised a further £186 for the Joshua Tree Charity with donations of £1 from every vaccination that we give.

To find our more about this wonderful cause visit www.thejoshuatree.org.uk

So far from our vaccination donations we have raised a total of £2644!


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Head Veterinary Nurse Position

We are currently looking for a keen and dynamic Head Nurse to lead and direct our team of RVN’s and to contribute in all aspects of excellent nursing care.

We are looking for a hardworking and caring individual with drive and determination. A willingness to supervise, motivate and direct others as well as working within a small team is essential. This is an exciting opportunity to develop a hospital nursing team.

Please send any applications by email to Richard Hewitt at info@hollybankvets.co.uk

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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the Month…Taz!

Taz is a Border Terrier who has had a bit of a busy year. He first had a problem back in April last year when he started drinking and urinating much more than he had done previously. He was getting up a lot in the night to go to the toilet and had lost some weight.

This can happen for lots of different reasons. In Taz’s case some blood tests revealed that he had diabetes. In Taz’s case his body does not produce enough insulin which is needed to store the sugar from his food in his body. Without insulin the sugar levels in his blood get very high, which can become life threatening if uncontrolled.

In order to control his diabetes we started Taz on twice daily insulin injections. These are administered by his owners, and are given with a special injection pen. The amount of insulin we give is very dependent on the individual dog. It is also affected by food type and quantity so Taz has to have a very strict diet and exercise management.

We soon started to get Taz’s sugar levels under control. He has to come in regularly for us to measure a glucose (sugar) curve which looks at the level of sugar in his blood over a day. This is to make sure his glucose levels are not going too high or too low. Thankfully his diabetes is well controlled.

Unfortunately shortly after his diabetes diagnosis Taz started to have dome problems with his eyes going cloudy. In some cases diabetes can cause cataracts, so this was our first thought with Taz. He went to see a specialist eye vet and had surgery to remove his cataracts. Although this surgery can be very successful it does come with possible complications.

After his surgery Taz unfortunately developed glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye). He had eye drops to try and control this and reduce the pressure as it can be very painful. Despite the drops however one eye did not respond, and the only option left was to consider removing his eye.

Taz underwent enucleation surgery here. Due to his diabetes and his strict regime of food and insulin we had to be very careful to monitor his sugar levels and anaesthetic closely. Thankfully Taz did brilliantly and recovered really well from his anaesthetic. When an eye has been painful and vision has been reduced dogs can be much happier once the eye is removed. Taz hasn’t looked back since and is doing great!


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