Richard has been recognised as an Advanced Practitioner

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons have recently published the first list of Advanced Practitioners.

An Advanced Practitioner is a Veterinary Surgeon who has completed further qualifications accredited to Postgraduate Certificate level (equivalent to a Masters Level 7), and who has continued professional development in their field over and above the requirements to stay up to date.

Advanced Practitioners have particular knowledge and experience in an area of veterinary practice. Richard completed his Certificate in Veterinary Anaesthesia in 2007 and has been recognised an Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Anaesthesia.


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Hollybank’s Brave Pet of the Month…Bess!

Bess is a very happy and playful Springer Spaniel who presented with an extremely swollen and sore paw. Bess became lame on her right front leg one morning and within 24 hours couldn’t put her foot down at all.

On exam her right front paw was extremely swollen and the swelling extended to above her carpus (wrist joint).  The outermost digit had fluid coming from an area of thin and damaged skin which looked infected and as a result the surrounding soft tissue was severely inflamed. We call this cellulitis. On palpation of the foot it was painful but, as we could not feel her digits underneath the swelling, we could not rule out an underlying fracture or foreign body in her foot.

Bess required intensive antibiotic therapy and pain relief so we admitted her into the hospital for these to be given directly into her vein. We also started Bess on fluids as she had a very high temperature; the fluids would act to cool Bess down but also dilute any toxins associated with the infected paw. Within the first few days the skin overlying Bess’s infected paw began to slough which is a term used to describe the falling away of dead and non viable skin from a wound. This skin would never have recovered and needed to be removed however this left a large tissue deficit in Bess’s foot.

Bess’s natural healing mechanisms allowed the deficit to be slowly filled with new cells and tissue but this took time and our role was to provide the optimum healing environment for this to take place.


The hair around Bess’s wound was clipped short and the area was cleaned thoroughly.  Bess then had daily dressings in order to provide the optimum wound environment. Bess also needed to wear her buster collar at all times. Unfortunately she was very good at removing her collar and kept the nurses on their toes! Bess was in with us for a total of two weeks and her wound healed really well. Due to her good progress, Bess continued her healing at home with strict rest, a collar, oral antibiotics and pain relief.

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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



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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

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


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