What Happens When…

…Your Pet is Microchipped?

A microchip is a small chip, the size of a grain of rice, that is placed under the skin with a needle a little bigger than a vaccination needle.  Microchips have a unique number which we will register to your personal contact details onto a national database.  This means if your pet was ever lost and picked up by the police, the dog warden or taken to any vets, they can be scanned to obtain the microchip number and your details can be accessed by contacting the database.  We routinely microchip dogs, cats and rabbits.

Microchips can be placed in a normal consultation with either one of our veterinary surgeons or nurses.  No sedation or local anaesthetic is required and we routinely microchip young puppies and kittens.  We first use a handheld microchip scanner to scan your pet.  This ensures that there has not already been a microchip placed (this is especially important if the history of your pet is unknown).  We will then place the microchip between your pet’s shoulder blades and scan your pet to check it is in correctly.

The whole procedure takes only a couple of minutes.  Occasionally microchips can migrate underneath the skin a little and, rarely, they will migrate further around the body.  When scanning to see if a pet has a microchip the whole of the animal’s body is routinely scanned to ensure one is not missed if it has moved.

In 2016 it will become law to have your pet microchipped. Although it is not currently a requirement (unless your pet is travelling abroad) we do strongly recommend getting your pets microchipped so we can return them to you safely if they do ever become lost.


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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the Month…Benji!

We recently saw Benji out of hours when he wasn’t very well, not wanting his food and just curling up in the corner. When he came to the practice he was a bit tender in his abdomen and not as bright as usual. He was also a bit pale when we looked at his gums. To investigate further we decided ultrasound scan Benji’s stomach and to run some blood tests. We were concerned that as he was pale he could have something in his abdomen that was bleeding and making him uncomfortable.

On the scanner we could see that Benji had a mass in his liver, however we couldn’t see any obvious fluid building up in his abdomen. We kept Benji in for observation and gave him pain relief to make him comfortable.

In the morning Benji was a bit brighter but we started to see some fluid building up and were suspicious that the mass in Benji’s liver was bleeding. By putting a needle through the muscle wall we confirmed that the fluid was indeed blood. Liver masses can be benign or malignant and can spread to other organs, sometimes before the first mass is found. There was a chance that if we operated to try and remove the mass and stop the bleeding that they would be nothing we could do, particularly if the tumour had spread. However the only other option would be to put Benji to sleep. Tumours within the abdominal organs can be prone to bleeding as they are not normal body tissue, sometimes with lots of blood vessels supplying them. Once they start bleeding they can be fatal if we don’t do something to stop it.

Benji’s owners decided to operate and we successfully removed the mass from Benji’s liver. During recovery we had to give Benji fluid support to maintain his blood pressure and to help replace his fluid loss due to the mass bleeding. We also had to provide Benji with pain relief, and other medication to reduce the risk of infection and to stop him feeling sick.

Within a few days Benji was feeling much better, comfortable and eating well. Although he had to have strict rest initially he soon recovered, and once his wounds were healed he was back to his normal self.

We sent a sample of Benji’s tumour to the lab to find out what type it was. Unfortunately it came back as likely a malignant tumour, so we are monitoring Benji closely for any recurrence. Thankfully his most recent scan was all clear!

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Celebrating Hollybank’s 5th birthday!

Hollybank turns five years old on March 2nd!  It has been a busy few years which has seen the practice become a Royal College accredited hospital and grow from strength to strength. As a practice, we feel it is very important to be part of our community.  We have had a close relationship with the local children’s charity The Joshua Tree since we first opened, raising money for them through our annual open days and evenings and via the collection box in reception.

This year we have decided to do something a bit different!  To mark our birthday we will be donating £1 for every vaccination we do to the Joshua Tree.  Cat, dog and rabbit vaccines are all included and the scheme will run from 2nd March 2014 for 12 months.  Look out for regular updates on the total raised so far!

If you would like to find more about our chosen charity, visit www.thejoshuatree.org.uk.


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What Happens When…

Your Pet is Hospitalised?

Any patient coming in for a procedure spends the day with us. However, on occasion it may be necessary to hospitalise patients for longer. This may be because they require a drip (intravenous fluid therapy), medication that cannot be administered at home (such as strong pain relief) or because they need very close monitoring.

If your pet has to come and spend longer than a day with us then they will not be on their own overnight. We have a vet or nurse in the practice 24 hours a day to ensure that your pet is closely watched, that they have the appropriate medication when needed and to make sure they don’t get lonely!

We have separate wards for cats and small furries (like rabbits or guinea pigs) and for dogs, to ensure that any stay here is as stress free as possible. We have clean kennels with plenty of comfortable bedding and warm blankets. Our isolation facility is available for any patients that we are concerned may be infectious. This has all the same comforts as our other wards but gives us the ability to keep any risk of infection away from other inpatients.

Each hospitalised patient has a ‘Hospital Sheet’ that details when they should receive checks and medication and allows staff to note down when they have passed faeces and urine, if they have vomited and when they have eaten or drunk. These accurate records allow us to closely monitor your pet and act quickly if there is anything we are concerned about or if anything new develops.

Whenever your pet is staying with us we will call you with an update of their progress at least twice a day and more frequently if needed. If they are just in for a short stay we normally try to avoid having visitors as this can often lead them to them becoming unsettled when you leave. If patients are in isolation then unfortunately we cannot allow visitors due to the risk of infection. Patients staying longer that are not in isolation can sometimes have visitors and we will always discuss this with you on an individual basis.

By the very nature of being hospitalised your pet will be unwell. We understand that is a stressful and worrying time for both your pet and for you and will do everything we can to try and ease your worry as much as possible.

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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the Month…Molly!

Molly is a 12 year old Yorkshire Terrier. Her owners first became concerned when she started drinking more than usual and having accidents in the house. Increased drinking and urinating can be a sign of many diseases, some of which could make her unwell if left untreated.

Initially we took some blood and urine from Molly. This allowed us to look for problems with organs, such as the liver and kidneys, as well as giving indicators of other things such as glucose (sugar) levels in the blood, something we look at if we are concerned about diabetes.

Whilst we were waiting for Molly’s results to come through she became poorly. Given the possible causes of her increased drinking we took an isolated blood glucose sample to measure the level of sugar in her blood. It was high, indicating that she had diabetes.

When dogs get diabetes it is usually because the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is what converts glucose from the blood stream into a different form so that it can be stored in the body. If the body can’t convert the glucose, for example following a meal, then the levels in the blood stream remain high. We therefore had to give Molly insulin to reduce her blood glucose level.

Molly stayed in the hospital overnight following her first insulin injection. By the next day her blood glucose level was reducing so she went home to continue her insulin injections twice a day.

The important factors in managing Molly’s diabetes are to keep a consistent requirement for insulin and to give a consistent amount of insulin. This means keeping her food intake the same each day, as well as giving it at the same time. Molly gets insulin injections twice daily and is fed just before her injection. To work out exactly how much insulin Molly needs we have to check her blood glucose level over the course of a day. We don’t want it too high, but we also don’t want it too low because the body needs it as an energy source, particularly in the brain. We therefore start at quite a low insulin dose and increase it from there, depending on her body’s response. We have to wait a few days between changing her dose and retesting to make sure insulin levels are remaining consistent.

Sometimes diabetes is easily controlled but this is not always the case. Finding the right dose of insulin for Molly has proven to be a bit tricky. If other diseases, such as Cushings disease, are present it can make diabetes harder to control. Therefore a specialist ultrasonographer came and carried out an ultrasound scan of Molly’s abdomen to check for other complicating problems. Thankfully this was all normal.

Molly is now on track and is responding well to her current insulin dose. Since getting her blood sugar levels under control she has been much brighter and happy, and her drinking has greatly reduced, meaning her accidents have too.

She will likely have to continue her insulin injections for the rest of her life and we will keep a close eye on what her glucose levels are doing, as well as managing her food intake. However, aside from this Molly can lead a normal life, doing everything she loves to do!

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New Years Resolutions!

It is at this time of the year that we breathe a sigh and make what feels like a never-ending list of New Years resolutions.  Mostly we do it with the aim of getting in shape, whether a lifestyle makeover or going down a few dress sizes.

Of course, keeping our pets healthy and trim is just as important, as they can be prone to many of the same health problems. Weight gain in particular can put extra stress on hearts and joints and increase the risk of some diseases.

Cat, one of our registered nurses runs weight clinics for our patients who are trying to lose a few pounds. She can give advice on target weights, diets and ways to encourage our pets to exercise more. Last year two of Cat’s patients were the runners up for the Royal Canin Weigh-in Club 2013. Have a look at their stories below…


Lottie before weight loss

‘Ten year old Lottie has many health issues, heart disease, Syringomyelia and more recently blindness. In addition to all of this Lottie was extremely overweight, and try as I may, I just could not get her weight down. We were advised by Cat at Hollybank Veterinary Centre to try her on the Royal Canin weight loss programme and with the professional guidance and support, and lots of encouragement from Cat, my lovely Lottie is now like a different dog and enjoying life to the full again.’

Lottie after weight loss


Sooty before weight loss

Sooty had a difficult start in life. She was a stray living on our street with four kittens and nowhere to call home. Although proficient at begging and hunting, Sooty was underweight. We took pity on the little black stray, gained her trust with tidbits and adopted her. Soon she was living happily in our house. It wasn’t quite a happy ending though as whilst we were on holiday Sooty escaped from the person looking after her. She embarked on a two month, eighteen mile trek across Cheshire before being handed in to the RSPCA and identified by her microchip. We were amazed and delighted to have her back but very quickly her weight spiraled out of control as we naively fed her cheap supermarket food. On a routine visit to our local vets, Hollybank in Sandiway, they suggested she may benefit from a monitored diet programme. Sooty switched to Royal Canin which she loved right away. The weight fell off and she’s never looked in better shape! Sooty’s a great cat, although the neighbourhood mice may disagree. She’s been a real friend to us and we want to enjoy her company for many happy and healthy years to come. Being a greedy guts by nature, she still tries to steal the odd treat but nowadays all she gets is the occasional steamed green bean!’

Sooty after weight loss

Lottie and Sooty along with their owners have put in some hard work in 2013 and it has clearly paid off. Congratulations from all the staff at Hollybank to them both!

If this all sounds a bit familiar give us a call on 01606 880890 or speak to a member of our staff. From advice about diets to regular support and weigh-ins we would love to help you to help your pets get healthier in 2014!


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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the Month…Scamp!

Scamp is a West Highland White Terrier who came to see us feeling quite unwell. He was very lethargic and drinking more than usual. He had been sick a few days before and didn’t want to eat anything either. On examination he also had a high temperature.

We needed to investigate further as Scamp was feeling so poorly, so initially we took some blood to run some tests. Scamp’s results suggested that his liver was the cause of the problem. There are lots of conditions that can affect the liver and the blood test cannot give us an exact diagnosis. At that stage we could not tell whether Scamp’s condition would carry a good or poor prognosis. An ultrasound scan was the best way to try and get more information.

We organised a specialist to scan Scamp’s abdomen the next day. In the mean time we started him on some intravenous fluids to try and support him. With liver problems we sometimes need to take a sample of the liver to be examined at the laboratory. Because the liver can sometimes bleed when we take a sample with a large biopsy needle it is important to check that the body has enough ingredients to clot the blood effectively In Scamp’s case one of his clotting times was a bit increased so we opted not to take any liver biopsies until the test could be repeated to check whether it was ok.

However, the ultrasound scan itself showed some changes. The ultrasonographer suspected that he had an infection in his bile from his gall bladder, causing inflammation of the bile ducts and possibly the liver itself. We took a sample of the bile to send off so that we could work out which antibiotics would be most effective to treat the infection.

We continued Scamp’s fluids and started some antibiotics and soon he was looking much brighter. We also started some liver supplements to help his liver function. Unfortunately, once we stopped Scamp’s fluids he deteriorated and started vomiting again. Therefore whilst we were waiting for his bacterial culture results we kept Scamp on fluids, his antibiotics and the liver supplement. Unfortunately although he remained stable, he did not continue to improve as we hoped.

The reason became clear when we received Scamps culture results. He did have an infection of his bile but unfortunately the infection was not responsive to the antibiotics he was taking. We started some new antibiotics that the culture results showed should work against Scamp’s infection.

Scamp soon started feeling a bit better and we were able to stop his intravenous fluids. This meant that he was able to go home to continue his course of antibiotics. Since then Scamp has had a few ups and downs but he is now doing much better and enjoying his walks again.

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Christmas Opening Hours

Richard and all at Hollybank would like to wish all our clients and their pets a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Over the festive period we are open:

Friday 20th             8.30 am-6.30am

Saturday 21st         9.00am – 12.00pm

Sunday 22nd           24hour Emergency Care

Monday 23rd          8.30am-6.30pm

Tuesday 24th          9.30am-5.00pm

Wednesday 25th     24hour Emergency Care

Thursday 26th        24hour Emergency Care

Friday 27th              8.30am-6.30pm

Saturday 28th         9.00am-12.00pm

Sunday 29th            24hour Emergency Care

Monday 30th           8.30am-6.30pm

Tuesday 31st           9.30am-5.00pm

Wednesday 1st        24hour Emergency Care

Thursday 2nd          9.30am-7.30pm

Last orders! Friday 20th Dec is the last ordering day for food and medications.

Please remember if your pet is ill over the festive period we are always available and a vet or nurse is in the practice 24/7. Please call 01606 880890 to speak to the duty vet.

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Hollybank’s Winter Open Evening

Just a reminder that our Winter Open Evening is this Wednesday!

We are opening our doors between 5pm and 8pm this Wednesday evening, the 4th of December for you to come and have a look behind the scenes and find out more about us.

We look forward to seeing you!

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What happens when….

                                                                                                  …your pet needs us out of hours?

We provide a 24-hour round the clock service should your pet need us in an emergency. If you call us after we have closed you can still reach one of our usual vets who are happy to help you -whatever the time of day or night!

We feel it is really important to have continuity with our patients and we hope it is comforting to know that in a stressful, emergency situation you will be helped by the vets and nurses you see on a regular basis and in the same building.

As a Tier 3 hospital we have a member of our usual staff in the building at all times. They stay in a designated crash room. This allows us to provide continuous care for our in-patients if needed.

If you need us out of hours just call the usual number 01606 880890 and you will be directed to the out of hours line. If you have any questions about the service we provide please don’t hesitate to ask!

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