Category Archives: General News

Helping to make Christmas special for pets in need

A leading Warwickshire vets is again appealing to generous people to help make Christmas special for animals in need.

Avonvale Veterinary Centres has launched its annual Christmas Shoe Box Appeal which this year will support Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue, Avon Cat Rescue, in Welford and Pawprints Dog Rescue, in Rugby.

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Tricia Shaw, a trustee of Pawprints Dog Rescue, with Bella.

There are three ways people can show their support for the appeal. They can purchase items from Avonvale which will be put into a box for them, they can donate items to go into a box, such as unopened bags or tins of food, pet treats, collars or toys, or they can fill a box themselves with suitable items.

All boxes and donations can be dropped off at any of Avonvale’s surgeries and will be delivered to the charities in plenty of time for them to be opened and their contents enjoyed on Christmas Day.

Avonvale’s group practice manager Kate Webb said: “Most of us spoil our pets but the animals we want to help through our appeal have very little, if anything at all, so we really want to do what we can to brighten up their Christmases.

“Last year we were truly overwhelmed by how generous people were and we hope that this year is even better.

“We have surgeries in Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford, Heathcote, Southam, Wellsbourne and Cubbington and they’re all taking part in this Christmas appeal, so you can just choose which is the most convenient for you to make your donation.”

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The B word….

The B word….by Penny Clarke

While we’re waiting for our politicians to wrap up their frustratingly long version of the ‘Hokey Cokey’, we thought an update on pet travel within the EU would be useful. It’s pretty certain Britain will be ‘out’ and therefore the current pet travel scheme will be ‘shaken about’. (Brexit is taking only slightly longer to complete than the time spent thinking of that pun!)

The current system

If you’ve already travelled to an EU country with your pet you’ll be familiar with the current passport system. A passport is issued by a vet once your pet has been micro-chipped and vaccinated against rabies. At each border crossing this passport and your pet’s microchip details are checked by an official. Your pet needs to be given an approved tapeworm treatment by a vet between 1 and 5 days before re-entry to the UK.

After Brexit

Once Britain has left the EU it will be classed as a third country. There are three categories of third countries within the EU pet travel scheme:

  • Unlisted
  • Part one listed
  • Part two listed

 

Unlisted (the very complicated option)

If Britain leaves the EU and no deal is in place then it will be classed as unlisted according to the EU pet travel scheme. Current pet passports would be invalid.

In order for your dogs, cats or ferrets to travel to an EU country they would need:

  • a micro-chip
  • a vaccination against rabies
  • a blood test proving immunity to rabies taken 30 days after vaccination
  • a certificate showing this positive blood test result issued by an EU approved laboratory
  • to wait 3 months from the date of the blood test
  • an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to be issued by your vet 10 days prior to travel
  • a new AHC each time you travelled with your pet

 

If your pet was up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations then a repeat blood test would not be necessary each time an AHC was issued.

Part one listed (the least complicated option)

Part one listed status allows the UK to be included in the EU pet travel scheme under similar rules to EU member states. This is how the current pet passport system operates. Your pet would still need a microchip and vaccination against rabies. Current EU pet passports would be invalid and a new, replacement UK document would need to be issued by your vet.

Part two listed (‘somewhere in the middle’ level of complication)

If the UK becomes a part two listed country, your pet would need to be micro-chipped and vaccinated against rabies. Proof of this vaccination along with your pet’s details would be needed by your vet who could then issue an AHC. As for unlisted countries, an AHC would be needed each time your pet travelled abroad. A blood test proving your pet’s immunity to rabies would not be required.

What should you do now?

While Britain is still part of the EU your pet’s current passport is valid. Your pet can travel to EU countries with an up-to-date passport. A vet must give an approved preventative tapeworm treatment between 1-5 days before returning to the UK.

If your pet doesn’t have a pet passport your vet will need to check their microchip (or insert one) and give a vaccination against rabies. We advise a blood test is carried out 30 days after this vaccination. The reason for this is to ensure your pet will be allowed to travel whichever category of country Britain is included in after Brexit. It’s a good idea to delay travel for 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken. If Britain becomes unlisted then your pet would already satisfy the criteria for travel.

And finally….

As soon as it’s been decided which category of country Britain will be included in post-Brexit, we’ll issue exact instructions about how to travel with your pet.

Please speak to us if you would like individual advice for your pet. If you don’t fancy taking your pet abroad until after Brexit then we wouldn’t blame you one bit….Britain has some great beaches!  

 

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Leading Warwickshire vets giving a behind-the-scenes look during open day

If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a leading vets practice, now is your chance to find out.

Avonvale Veterinary Centres, in Warwickshire, is holding an open day at its Heathcote branch on Saturday, November 9, giving guests a unique insight into the work which is carried out to take care of people’s pets.

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Clinical director Gemma Lawton and senior vet Steph Hughes with Dolly the spaniel

As well as tours of the branch there will also be a tombola and cake stall, and Avonvale’s chosen charity for the year, Cats Protection, will have a stand at the event to promote the amazing work it does.

The event will also be a perfect chance for people to ask questions of Avonvale’s team members, including young people who may be interested in getting into veterinary care as a career.

Clinical director Gemma Lawton said: “It promises to be a great event, with people being given a unique insight into how a busy vets practice operates.

“We are delighted that Cats Protection are bringing a stand to the event so visitors can find out more about this wonderful charity, which helps approximately 200,000 cats and kittens in need every year.

“Our team will be on hand to answer people’s pet care questions, and we’d also love to give advice to anyone who is considering a future veterinary career.

“Visitors can also try their luck with our tombola and indulge in a sweet treat from our cake sale, with proceeds going to Cats Protection.”

The event takes from 1pm until 3pm.

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Nurturing a new generation of nurse dental champions

A leading Warwickshire vets is heading up the fight against dental disease by nurturing a new generation of nurse dental champions who are offering help and advice for pets and owners.

Avonvale Veterinary Centre’s nurse dental champions are qualified nurses with a special interest in dentistry, which they use to help educate their colleagues and clients about dental care and disease prevention.

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Nurse dental champion, Jasmine Legge, checks the dental health of a patient

Avonvale’s nurse dental champions receive career development and up-skilling via webinars and in-house training and also attend practical workshops.

They receive training from specialists at Eastcott Referrals, in Swindon, which is also part of the Linnaeus Group, and are given access to an abundance of support materials.

Nurse dental champion, Jasmin Legge, said: “We increase owners’ knowledge of what dental treatments can be performed at Avonvale and highlight the welfare benefits of dentistry to them.

“We give our patients a free consultation and take a look to see if they have any dental issues.

“If we believe they do, they will be referred to a vet for this to be confirmed and for them to assess what work is needed.

“We are also able to carry out scale and polishes on animals and we follow this up with educational post-dental checks, giving advice to owners on how to maintain good dental hygiene.

“Dental disease is a common problem and can cause misery for a lot of pets, which is why we want to do all we can to help alleviate the problem and to educate owners on how they can play their part.

“Here at Avonvale, when you have a particular area of interest, you are given amazing opportunities to help develop it. Nurse dental champions are a prime example of this.

“Nurturing clinical excellence in all areas is a priority across all Avonvale’s branches, so we can offer the very best care to our patients, and team members get the chance to develop their skills and knowledge.”

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Be prepared to help pets de-stress, urge Warwickshire Vets

Pet lovers are being urged to be well prepared for what veterinary experts have highlighted as a time of year which can be difficult to keep animals calm.

Noisy celebrations such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, Christmas and New Year are all identified as occasions which can cause stress for pets.

Help is at hand, though, as Avonvale Veterinary Centres in Warwickshire is running a “Comfort your Pet” campaign which is aimed at raising awareness of the challenges of the upcoming party season, while also providing advice, guidance and offers on treatment.

Kieran O’Halloran, of Avonvale Veterinary Centres, explained: “This is the most challenging time of year for pet owners as there are so many potential triggers of stress in animals coming up over the next few months.

“There are the bangs of fireworks, the noisy and hectic festive season – including unfamiliar faces and smells – and, of course, there’s the possibility of autumn thunderstorms and the earlier dark evenings.

“All of these can cause stress in our pets and while some owners will seek guidance and advice, we also know there are many others who just suffer through this period with their pets not knowing that help is available.

“The aim of our campaign is to raise awareness of the potential problems ahead, promote the numerous precautions and highlight the effective treatments which are available in a bid to ensure people are well informed and well prepared to cope with any potential problems.

“We’ll be handing out leaflets full of advice and guidance and providing offers on stress relieving treatments such as Feliway and Adaptil diffusers and collars, which help comfort pets and keep them calm.”

The comprehensive measures are all part of the far-reaching, proactive campaign by Avonvale Veterinary Centres which begins on Monday, September 30 and runs all the way through to Sunday, January 5, 2020.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice, Warwick News | Tagged

Warwickshire vet helps tackle stray cat epidemic in Cyprus

avonvets in cyprus

Veterinary surgeon Sarah Ives at the Paphiako

A Warwickshire veterinary surgeon has spoken of her experience working to tackle the “massive problem” with stray animals on the popular holiday island of Cyprus.

Sarah Ives spent a week at the Paphiakos and CCP Animal Welfare shelter, near Paphos, where she neutered up to five cats and dogs a day, as well as carrying out medicine work and operations.

The dedicated vet, 25, who joined Avonvale Veterinary Centres’ Heathcote practice six weeks ago, carried out the volunteering in her own time.

Sarah visited the sanctuary on the Mediterranean island with friend and fellow vet Natasha Jameson, who works for Vets4Pets in Oxfordshire.

kitten in care of avonvets in cyprus

CCP Animal Welfare shelter in Cyprus

She said: “Sadly, there is a massive problem with stray cats and dogs in Cyprus. They are treated more as pests, particularly cats.

“Dogs are often bred for hunting season and when that’s over they are just abandoned. It is very sad.”

The need for good-quality animal care on the island was highlighted by the variety of work which Sarah was asked to carry out.

This also included medicating animals and even removing an eye from another animal.

dog in avonvets care in cyprus

CCP Animal Welfare shelter in Cyprus

Speaking about her work at the sanctuary, Sarah added: “It’s the second time I’ve visited – the last trip was just after I finished university, two years ago.

“It is a trap, neuter and release scheme which is aimed at helping with the problem of stray cats in the area.

They take in all sorts of animals though, so I ended up neutering some dogs too!

“There were four of us there – Natasha, myself and two final year students from the Royal Veterinary College.

Between us, we were neutering around 25 animals a day.”

Both Sarah and Natasha adopted a dog from Paphiakos and CCP Animal Welfare when they first visited two years ago.

For more information on the centre, visit www.cyprusanimalwelfare.com.

 

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Avonvale Vets celebrating 10 years of offering hydro help with one of its water babies

A leading Warwickshire vet is set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a facility which has made a real splash with its doggy patients.

To mark the anniversary of the hydrotherapy unit at its Wellesbourne branch, Avonvale Veterinary Centres invited a very special guest to come and celebrate.

olly the superstar

Olly was presented with a certificate at his 200th hydrotherapy session

Olly, aged 12, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, has been going to the unit for treatment since 2015 and recently enjoyed his 200th session.

Olly seriously damaged his right knee in 2014 while chasing a squirrel and needed complex orthopaedic surgery.

Avonvale recommended hydrotherapy to his owner Alex Beaumont to help Olly regain and strengthen muscle in his injured leg.

Water buoyancy helps stabilise the body in a vertical position and encourages a normal walking pattern to strengthen muscles.

The temperature and level of the water can be controlled for each individual which allows thermal benefits – warm water assists with pain relief, while cooler water reduces inflammation.

Veterinary nurse Helen Reeve, who runs the hydrotherapy unit, which is also suitable for cats, said: “Not only is hydrotherapy good for physical health, it is also good for a dog’s mental health.

“For a dog who has undergone a major operation or who has arthritis and struggles with mobility, being in the water and being kept buoyant as they walk can be a huge relief and helps them regain both strength and confidence.

“Ten minutes on the hydro treadmill is the equivalent of a 40 minute walk. Dogs are supported by the water but they are still working hard, so it can also help increase their cardio abilities.

“Sometimes there will not be huge physical changes, but it’s often the little changes which can make a huge difference to the life of a dog, and its owners.

“It also makes a lot of dogs lose their fear of attending the vets. They no longer associate going with needles and examinations, they associate it with how wonderful they feel in the water.”

olly with his owner

Olly with his owner, Alex Beaumont, and Helen Reeve, who runs the hydrotherapy unit.


Olly has had numerous health issues over the years, including a spinal infection, and now has arthritis, but owner Alex says the hydrotherapy sessions are not only brilliant for his health but also a huge source of enjoyment.

She said: “Olly has had a lot of issues over the years and the hydro sessions have been wonderful for him. He just loves them.

“When hydrotherapy was first suggested by Avonvale I was initially reluctant as he had always been averse to going near water. He’d avoid going near a shallow puddle if he could, but now he pretty much drags me up the path to the vets.

“If I try and walk in a different direction we have a bit of a stand-off and he has a sulk.

“When he is there, he gets so much fuss, he revels in it. He’s a little dog who has been through a lot and a combination of the hydrotherapy and the way Helen and the rest of the Avonvale team treat him has done him the world of good.”

Posted in General News, Wellesbourne News | Tagged ,

Vets throw open their doors for anniversary celebrations

A leading Warwickshire vets will be throwing open its doors and inviting friends old and new to help celebrate the fifth anniversary of one of its branches.

Avonvale Veterinary Centres’ Stratford branch is celebrating its fifth birthday in September and is holding a special event to mark the occasion.

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Vet Esther Daniell and senior vet Connor Carson are inviting people behind the scenes during the open evening.

The branch, which was the first surgery in the town to win accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2015, will be holding a celebratory open evening on Monday, September 30 from 6.30pm until 8pm.

Visitors can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the practice, look at the state-of-the-art equipment, and see how a surgery operates and cares for people’s pets.

There will also be an interactive quiz, games and a tombola to raise money for Avonvale’s chosen charity, Cats Protection, and younger visitors will get the chance to dress up as a vet.

Head vet Connor Carson said: “We are looking forward to welcoming people to our celebratory open evening, whether they are existing clients or new to the surgery.

“It has been a hugely successful five years for us and we can’t wait to mark our anniversary.

“The event will give people the perfect opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes of a vet practice and they will learn a lot of really interesting things during the course of the evening.

“Our interactive quiz also promises to be a lot of fun.”

Posted in General News, Stratford News | Tagged ,

Vet ready to show her pedal power for Team GB

ella-steel-avonvale-vetA sporting vet from Avonvale Veterinary Centre’s Southam branch will be putting the pedal to the metal when she represents Team GB in a world cycling championships in Poland.

Ella Steel has been selected to represent the British squad at the UCI Grand Fondo World Championships, which features amateurs and masters, and will race this Sunday, September 1.

The 35-year-old started training for a triathlon at vet school, and an interest in cycling grew as part of that.

Unfortunately, Ella injured her calf muscle while training for an Ironman duathlon a few years later and had to stop running, so cycling took over.

ella-steel-avonvets-cyclistShe did sportives – long distance cycling events – with her husband Adam until they had their son, Bronson, three years ago and started focusing on cycle racing as it was less time consuming, although, she admits, far more intense.
In May, s

he invested in a cycling coach through Dig Deep Coaching and says after that she saw her performance improve dramatically.

Ella qualified for the world championships during the Tour of Cambridgeshire in July by finishing in the top 25 per cent of her age group, the 35 to 39 category.

She said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be representing Team GB. When I put on the kit for the first time, wearing the Union Jack, it was such a proud moment.

cycling-vet-avonvale-vets“I am very nervous. It’s a much longer race than the others I’ve done this season and of course there’s the extra pressure to perform well when you have the honour of representing your country.”

Ella, who lives in Bishop’s Itchington, trains five or six times a week. On weeknights she does two or three interval sessions, often on her indoor trainer, then does longer rides or races at weekends. On average she does eight to 10 hours a week on the bike.

She said: “It’s been hard work fitting the training in around a 40-hour week, especially with our son Bron and our dog Cosworth to look after too.

“Thankfully, my husband Adam has been incredibly supportive and taken all the slack when it comes to Bron’s teatimes and bedtimes so I can sweat it out in the garage.

“Everyone at Avonvale has also been so supportive and really encouraging.”

For more information on Avonvale Veterinary Centres, which has branches in Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford, Heathcote, Wellesbourne, Southam and Cubbington, visit www.avonvets.co.uk or search for Avonvale Veterinary Centres on Facebook.

Posted in General News, Southam News | Tagged ,

The Long and the Short of it…

Spot the difference…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Images taken from University of Cambridge BOAS research group website)

These images are both CT scans of dog heads. The dog on the left is a Labrador Retriever and the dog on the right is a Pug. Both dogs have the same anatomical structures except the Pug has them packaged in a much more compact skull. Pugs are just one type of dog classed as a brachycephalic breed. The term ‘brachycephalic’ literally means ‘short head’. French bulldogs, Bulldogs, Boxers and Shih-tzus are also considered to be brachycephalic breeds.

The black areas on the scan pictures represent air within the skull making it possible to compare the airways of these two dogs. When dogs inhale, air is sucked into the nostrils and flows over the nasal turbinate bones. It then passes through the naso-pharynx (throat) and continues into the trachea (windpipe) before reaching the lungs. The scan of the Labrador’s skull shows the airways are relatively wide and unrestricted. The scan of the Pug’s skull shows a much shorter nose with a narrower airway which becomes almost completely constricted around the throat.

Trends in the popularity of specific dog breeds are not uncommon in the UK. According to The Kennel Club, Labradors were the most popular breed in the UK for nearly 30 years before being nudged into second place in 2018 by French Bulldogs. The popularity of all brachycephalic breeds has soared in recent years. Images of these dogs have been widely used in many advertising campaigns promoting products ranging from insurance to mobile phones.

The more demand there is for these dogs the more intensely they are bred and this can lead to a higher rate of breed-related health problems. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is a condition affecting a large number of these animals. Some dogs have severely deformed airways which can lead to serious breathing problems.

The main physical features seen in dogs suffering from BOAS include: narrowed nostrils, excessive soft tissue inside the larynx, an over-long soft palate,a narrowed trachea.

Dogs suffering from BOAS display symptoms that include: noisy breathing and snoring, reduced exercise tolerance (including collapse in severe cases), sleep apnoea, swallowing problems, reverse sneezing.

Environmental factors can contribute to the severity of the disease. Hot weather is particularly difficult for brachycephalic dogs; they can overheat very quickly and may develop life threatening hyperthermia. Dogs who are overweight carry excessive fat around their throats which can exacerbate the symptoms of BOAS.

The severity of BOAS varies between individuals; a grading system has been produced by Cambridge University to help identify dogs in danger of developing life threatening breathing difficulties.  Brachycephalic dogs who score Grade 0 are entirely unaffected and can breathe normally. Dogs who fall into the Grade 3 category are severely affected and will require surgical intervention in order to lead a normal life.

The Kennel Club is funding a research project led by the University of Cambridge into BOAS as there are concerns that unless responsible breeding programs are introduced the number of dogs suffering from BOAS will continue to rise.

Dogs who are affected by BOAS may lead a better quality of life if they undergo surgery to widen their nostrils and reduce the amount of soft tissue obstructing their airways.

At Avonvale we support responsible breeding and therefore feel it is important to highlight BOAS as a potential concern associated with brachycephalic breeds. We see many brachycephalic patients and enjoy getting to know these fascinating dogs with huge personalities; they can make wonderful family pets.

Before buying a puppy it is worth doing a bit of research to ensure that breeders have considered BOAS and are only producing puppies who are not affected by this syndrome. It is a good idea to view both parents and also any offspring from previous litters.

If you would like any more information about BOAS or are worried about your dog please contact us at any of our surgeries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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