Category Archives: Southam News

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 or search for Avonvale Veterinary Centres on Facebook.

Posted in General News, Southam News | Tagged ,

Betsy’s sore paw

Betsy's sore pawThis is Betsy, who was seen at our Southam surgery this month with a painful foot.

Thorn from Betsy's sore paw

She had a swelling between her toes which hadn’t improved after a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Vet Mark was concerned that there might be something stuck in the wound stopping it from healing.

Betsy was given an anaesthetic so that Mark could have a really good look in her paw. The reason for Betsy’s poorly foot soon became clear- a thorn nearly 2cm long!

Betsy had a bandage on her foot for a few days to keep it covered. The bandage is now off and she is a lot more comfortable and happy with the thorn gone!






Posted in General News, Southam News |

Buddy’s off the hook

This is 15 year old Buddy who came in to see vet Mark at Southam for his check up after an unfortunate encounter with a fish hook and line at the weekend.

On Sunday morning, Buddy sneaked into the garage and helped himself to some fishing bait. Unfortunately, the tasty morsel happened to be attached to a hook and several feet of fishing line. The hook becamelodged in his oesophagus, between his throat and heart. With Buddy safely asleep and an hour or so of delicate manipulation using a flexible scope and graspers, Mark managed to remove the hook.

All is now well, but some terriers never learn… vet Russell removed a hook from Buddy’s stomach using the scope in the same month 8 years ago!!

Posted in General News, Southam News | Tagged , , ,

Petplan Vet Awards

Avonvale's nomination for the Practice of the Year award at the Veterinary Awards 2017We are very pleased to announce that we have received lots of nominations for the Petplan awards this year. Our Kenilworth, Stratford, Southam and Wellesbourne surgeries have all been nominated for “Practice of the Year”. Vets Kieran, Sophie, Penny B, Deborah and Becky have each been nominated for “Vet of the Year”. Maddi, Michelle and Anna H have been nominated for “Vet Nurse of the Year.” Jodie and Nicole were both nominated for the “Support Staff of the Year” and Liz K has been nominated for “Receptionist of the Year.”

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated us.

Posted in General News, Kenilworth News, Southam News, Stratford News, Wellesbourne News | Tagged , , ,

Teddy’s life saving donation

This is gorgeous Teddy who gave blood at Southam last week to donate to help save the life of a very poorly anaemic kitten.teddy

We sometimes see animals who require a blood transfusion to replace lost blood cells or volume, and usually these are emergency cases who require blood as soon as possible.

Finding a donor cat can be difficult. Unlike for humans and dogs there is no blood bank for cats as their blood is more difficult to store. This means we have to rely on generous owners of superstar donor cats to provide much needed blood in an emergency.

Not all cats are suitable to be donors- there are certain criteria to ensure that the transfusion is safe for both the donor and recipient.

Cats must be in good health, be between 1-8 years old and weight 4kg or more. Cats usually need to be given a light sedation to take the large blood sample needed, so they must be healthy. Before we perform a blood transfusion we must also ensure the cats share the same blood type.

Please give us a call to chat to one of our vets if you are interested in your cat becoming a life saving blood donor.

Posted in General News, Southam News |

Ronnie’s painful teeth

Did you know, guinea pigs have teeth that grow constantly throughout their lives?

Because they are always growing, if they start to erupt at an angle or are not being worn down properly they can start to cause problems.

This happened to Ronnie, who came into our Southam surgery to see Penny after he stopped eating his fresh food. Penny examined his mouth and found his back teeth had overgrown across his mouth and were causing discomfort.

Penny trimmed Ronnie’s teeth under anaesthetic and he is now eating completely normally. We will monitor his teeth closely as he may need his teeth trimming again in the future.

Posted in General News, Southam News |

Merlin’s sore throat

Merlin the cat was seen by Andrea at our Southam surgery because he had been coughing and retching at home. These signs are often caused by an infection, but can also be due to a foreign body. So when Merlin’s coughing didn’t stop, Andrea became worried he might have something stuck in his throat.

13575466_10153528312476883_1569372379_oMerlin was given an anaesthetic which allowed Andrea to have a look down his throat with the endoscope. She soon found the cause of Merlin’s problems- a large grass awn behind his soft palate which had been causing a lot of irritation.

13582449_10153528312346883_1601173806_oThe grass awn was expertly retrieved with the help of vet nurses Michelle and Kim. Merlin went home later the same day and is now feeling much better.

Grass seeds are a big problem at this time of year. They can get lodged in eyes, ears, paws and throats. It is important to check your dog after walks and remove any grass seeds lodged in the fur before they cause a problem.

Posted in General News, Southam News | Tagged ,

Peggy’s seasonal mistake

This is poorly pooch is Peggy. Peggy’s owner rang us because she had managed to snuffle her way into a variety box of chocolates and had eaten most of the box!

Chocolate is irresistible to dogs but the Theobromine it contains can be lethal. We have enzymes in our liver to metabolise it but dogs cannot break it down and it becomes toxic forming a poison which can be fatal.

Peggy had eaten well over the toxic dose so Southam vet Penny had to act quickly to prevent her becoming very unwell. She looks very sorry for herself in the photo as Penny had to give her an injection to make her sick to stop the toxin being absorbed from her stomach.

Happily, once the injection wore off Peggy was back to her normal self, and because her owner acted so promptly the chocolate won’t have caused any lasting damage.


We tend to see lots of dogs for chocolate toxicity at this time of year so be careful not to leave any under tree as dogs can sniff it out. Please also remember that raisins are toxic too, so be careful with mince pies and christmas pud too.

If you think your dog has eaten a quantity of chocolate or raisins call us immediately and our vet will advise you what to do next. Your dog may need to come in for urgent treatment to get rid of the toxin.

Posted in General News, Southam News |

Herbie’s sore neck

This is Herbie who belongs to Southam receptionist Liz. Liz became worried about Herbie when he didn’t eat his breakfast and didn’t want to go for a walk because that was very out of character for him. Then, when he squealed when he was picked up, Liz knew that something was definitely not right. She was worried that he might have eaten a stone while out on a walk.

Liz took him into our Warwick hospital to see the on call vet Steve. He found that Herbie’s pain was in his neck so his problem wasn’t caused by eating a stone. Steve was worried Herbie either had pain from trauma, an infection in the bones in his neck or a condition called meningitis which is caused by inflammation or infection of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Herbie came in for further tests the next day with Southam vet Mark. Mark took X-rays of Herbie’s spine as well as taking a sample of the fluid surrounding he spinal cord to look for signs of meningitis.
Herbies xrays were all clear, but he was running a temp and very
dehydrated. So he went on a fluid drip.
We decided to send him to Warwick for overnight care.
The results came through that evening to say it was Steroid Responsive Meningitis.
We got him on a course of steroids and some antibiotics.
By Tuesday he was almost completely back to his old self!!

Herbie has a long road ahead on steroids, and have to have all our fingers and toes crossed he doesn’t have a relapse!

Posted in General News, Southam News, Warwick News |

Cocoa’s eyelid surgery

Cocoa the 2 month old shar pei puppy came in to see Southam vet Mark recently.

He had a runny eye which Mark could tell was caused by the skin of his eyelid rubbing on the surface of his eye. This is a condition called entropion.

To prevent serious damage to the surface of Cocoa’s eye, Mark operated to place some stitches above each eye to pull the skin back and stop the constant rubbing.

Cocoa recovered really well and was soon enjoying lots of cuddles after his anaesthetic. We will have to wait to see if he grows in to his skin or if he will need further treatment in the future but for now he is no longer in pain and is enjoying life as a happy, bouncy puppy.




Posted in General News, Southam News |