Avonvale vets receive training from dentistry expert

A group of Warwickshire vets and nurses received specialist in-house training in x-rays and extractions from a veterinary dentistry expert as part of collaborative working between practices belonging to the Linnaeus Group.

The group of 12 vets and two veterinary nurses from Avonvale Veterinary Centres received a day of training from Andrew Perry, European Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry from Eastcott Referrals, in Swindon, and Alix Freeman, Resident in Dentistry and Oral Surgery.

avonvale dentistry expert

Andrew Perry demonstrates x-ray techniques

Eastcott and Avonvale are both part of the Linnaeus Group – a partnership of first opinion and referral veterinary practices which has more than 100 sites across the UK.

The training took place at Avonvale’s Wellesbourne site and comes at the perfect time for the practice, which has just invested £35,000 in four new digital x-ray systems.

Avonvale clinical director, Katie Wain, said: “Dentistry is only briefly taught at university when people do undergraduate courses because there is so much that has to be covered.

avonvale vets dentistry training

Andrew Perry demonstrates x-ray techniques for avonvale staff

“Most vets learn the finer art of dentistry through training once they have started the job, either through colleagues or courses.

“This is the first time we have had an expert from Eastcott come to do in-house training and it has been invaluable.
“The use of x-rays in veterinary dentistry is becoming more commonplace and is superb for diagnosing root problems and periodontal issues, so getting as much training as possible is vital.”

Andrew said: “Eastcott has always offered specialist led, in-house dental training, although we have recently started promoting its availability to our colleagues within the Linnaeus Group.

avonvale vets dentistry training by an expert

Katie Wain, Alix Freeman and Andrew Perry

“Training is always tailored to the specific practice’s needs. Avonvale’s was based around the fundamental skills of dental radiography and radiology and tooth extractions.

“We provided both theoretical and practical training in each discipline. At the request of the delegates, a review of gingivitis stomatitis complex and regional anaesthesia was also provided.

“There is often relatively limited access to high quality training during the undergraduate veterinary course but dental diseases are exceedingly common and can leave pets with significant debilitation. Additional training helps to provide general practitioners with the skills and knowledge they need to serve patients’ needs.

“I had a fantastically enjoyable day at Avonvale. The group picked up all of the techniques we covered really well and hopefully feel increased confidence to go and use these new skills as soon as possible.”

Avonvale plans another day of dentistry training from Eastcott Referrals later in the year for the rest of its vets.

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Avonvale Vet rescues abandoned kittens

Stray kittens Dobby and Darcie have found a new dream home after being cruelly abandoned in the Leamington Spa area – they’re now the new pets of the vet that helped rescue them.

abandoned kittens exploring avonvale veterinary surgery

Stray kittens Dobby and Darcie at play at Avonvale Veterinary Centres in Heathcote where they were cared for after being abandoned.

The abandoned new-borns were handed into Avonvale Veterinary Centres in Heathcote, after being picked up by the local branch of the RSPCA.

They were cared for around the clock by Stephanie Hughes, senior vet at the Heathcote practice, who has now decided to adopt them.

Stephanie explained: “We do a lot of work with the local branch of the RSPCA and they recently handed in these two kittens, who we named Dobby and Darcie.

“Dobby is a black and white male cat while Darcie is a tortoise shell female. I am hand rearing them both at the moment, which means they are following me everywhere!

avonvale veterinary centres kittens

Abandoned kittens Darcie and Dobby exploring at Avonvale Veterinary Centres in Heathcote where they were cared for after being dumped.

“Hand rearing means they need bottle feeding every two to four hours and they are on a liquid-only diet. They also need stimulating to go to the toilet, which is something else their mother would normally do for them.

“They are both adorable. I have grown very attached to them so they will be staying with me permanently now. They even come to work with me with the Avonvale nursing and reception staff helping me out with their care. It’s lucky there’s so many cat-lovers on the staff!”

It may be a happy ending for Dobby and Darcie but Stephanie says the problem of unwanted kittens being dumped is a continual challenge for the practice.

steph from avonvale vets with her adopted kittens

Stray kittens Dobby and Darcie with Stephanie Hughes, senior vet at Avonvale Veterinary Centres in Heathcote, who has adopted them.

She added: “We take in a lot of strays here and we always try to help but the best way to cope with the number of strays is for owners to have their pets neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”


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Water safety

Just a quick reminder about how to let your dog enjoy water safely this summer…

  • Dogs can become very unwell if they drink too much water; it may cause a condition called Water Intoxication. Swallowing small amounts of water over a long period of time (e.g. when playing ball) can put dogs at risk. Symptoms include: vomiting, bloating, tiredness, loss of coordination, pale gums.
  • Drowning- Many dogs are great swimmers but even the strongest paddlers can be caught out by tides and currents. Discarded waste and other underwater obstacles may also pose a threat. Contact a vet immediately if your dog is unwell after swimming or has inhaled water.
  • Human safety- There have been instances of owners drowning when trying to save their pet. Don’t take the risk.
  • Take plenty of fresh drinking water to the beach- saltwater can make dogs vomit.
  • Wash your dog’s coat and paws after playing on the beach. This removes salt and also prevents sand and saltwater drying and irritating the skin.
  • Avoid freshwater lakes, canals, ponds and rivers that are contaminated with blue-green algae; this can make dogs very ill. Check that the water looks clean before allowing your dog to jump in. If your dog has been swimming in contaminated water and develops

    Blue-green algae can cause a serious, fatal bacterial infection in animals. It can appear as foam at the edges of non-flowing water.

Make sure your dog can enjoy the water safely.


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Protect pets from ticks and fleas

Ticks and fleas are much more prevalent in warmer weather

Protect pets from ticks and fleasWith improved summer weather just around the corner, leading Warwickshire vets are reminding cat and dog owners to protect their pets from the misery of fleas, ticks and worms.

Although they are a year-round concern, parasites such as ticks and fleas are much more prevalent as the weather gets warmer and pets begin to spend more time outdoors, warned Avonvale Veterinary Centre’s clinical director, Simon Davies.

Ticks can cause significant discomfort and can, in some circumstances, infect animals and their owners with diseases such as Lyme disease, a bacterial illness which causes flu-like symptoms.

Pets can also get tapeworms from fleas, while roundworms and hookworms can travel from pets to their owners and have potentially serious consequences for both.

Simon is now urging owners to check their pets carefully and make sure all preventative treatments are up-to-date, to combat the risk of potentially serious health problems.

He said: “It is really important owners protect their pets from fleas, ticks and worms as we head into summer and the risk of getting bitten increases as animals, like us, spend much more time outdoors.

“Owners should regularly check their pet’s coat for any signs of ticks by running their fingers through the fur and for fleas by close inspection or by using a fine-toothed comb.” 

“They should also be on the look-out for any excessive scratching, itching and biting, which are classic signs of a problem, along with scabs, hair loss or allergic reactions.”

“We’d encourage anyone who hasn’t already got preventative care in place to book an appointment with one of our vet nurses. This will ensure they get expert advice and information about appropriate treatments to keep their pets in the best possible health this summer and beyond.” 

“For animals travelling abroad, it is essential they have robust worm treatment and tick prevention to protect them from more serious tick-borne diseases which are prevalent in Europe.” 

Avonvale has branches in Kenilworth, Stratford, Warwick, Heathcote, Southam, Wellesbourne and Cubbington, search for Avonvale Veterinary Centres on Facebook.

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Rabbit Awareness Week 2019

Did you know that rabbits are the third most popular pet in the UK? The RSPCA estimates there are 1.5 million of them living in our houses and gardens! Rabbit Awareness Week 2019 is being held from 1st to 9th June. This year’s theme is ‘Protect and Prevent’ highlighting the importance of vaccinating domesticated rabbits against myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD). These diseases are prevalent in the UK and affect both wild and domesticated rabbits.

Myxomatosis can be caught from infected rabbits, fleas and bites from flying insects. It is a rapidly progressing disease that causes a high temperature and swelling of the eyelids and genitals. Unfortunately there isn’t a cure and most rabbits are put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

There are two strains of RVHD; both are highly contagious. The viruses are passed on through contact with infected rabbits or their faeces, bird droppings and insects.  Rabbit owners might unknowingly infect their own pets after walking through countryside that is populated by wild rabbits. The RVHD viruses can survive on hands, shoes, clothing and car tyres. Stringent hygiene is vital to protect rabbits who aren’t vaccinated and bunnies who are too young to start their primary vaccination course.

Type 1 RVHD causes rabbits to become unwell very quickly. Sometimes blood is seen around the nose and other orifices but often no symptoms are seen and sudden death is the first sign that the rabbit had contracted the virus.

Type 2 RVHD also causes serious illness in rabbits but progresses more slowly than type 1. Rabbits may appear generally unwell; a temperature and lethargy are often noticed. If given supportive treatment it is possible for rabbits to survive this infection. Approximately 50-75% of infected rabbits will recover. 

Rabbits can be vaccinated against myxomatosis and RVHD types 1 and 2. The vaccine against myxomatosis and RVHD type 1 is a combined formulation. It can be given from 5 weeks of age. Rabbits need annual boosters to maintain a protective level of immunity. The RVHD type 2 vaccine is a separate injection that should be given at least 2 weeks after the combined myxomatosis/ RVHD vaccination. This is to avoid any interaction between the vaccines.

If you would like to arrange an appointment for your rabbit to receive a full health check and vaccination please contact your nearest Avonvale surgery.


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£120,000 Investment in Kenilworth Vet Practice Refurbishment

A leading Warwickshire vets has invested £120,000 in an extensive refurbishment of one of its surgeries.

Avonvale Veterinary Centres has completed the refit at its Kenilworth branch, which boasts new treatment and X-ray rooms and a total overhaul of its existing theatre facilities.

There is also a new ward specifically for the treatment of cats and new heated kennels to make sure Avonvale’s feline guests are kept warm and cosy during their stay.

These additions for cat patients mean the surgery can apply to the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) to become a registered Cat-Friendly Clinic.

Staff have not been forgotten, as the work also includes improved office and rest facilities, to make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

Clinical director Kieran O’Halloran said: “This was an extensive refurbishment and we are all immensely proud of the additional support and care we can now give to pets and their owners when they come to us for help.

“We have always offered the very best treatment to animals and we now have even better facilities to help us carry out our work.

“The world of veterinary care and treatment is advancing all the time which is why we are consistently improving the service we offer.

“We hope people will be as impressed with the refurbishment as we all are.”

vets in warwickshire

The new cat ward, consult room, kennels, prep room, reception and X-ray suite at Avonvale’s refurbished Kenilworth practice


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Pet Anxiety Month.

March is Pet Anxiety Month. This is an initiative that has been launched to raise awareness of anxiety related behavioural issues affecting dogs, cats and rabbits. This nationwide campaign is partly in response to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2018 that revealed half of the veterinary professionals surveyed reported they have seen an increase in dog behaviour related issues over the last two years. Of the pet owners questioned, three quarters of dog owners reported they would like to change at least one anxiety related behaviour displayed by their dog and 90% of cat owners reported their cat was afraid of at least one thing. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/media/4371/paw-2018-full-web-ready.pdf

Many pets display anxiety related behaviour when exposed to common triggers such as loud fireworks, meeting strangers and new animals joining the household. Sometimes, however, their anxiety can be related to not having their basic needs met. The Animal Welfare Act was passed in 2006 and advises that all animals should have five basic welfare needs met including the freedom to display normal behaviour patterns. Sometimes it can be difficult for animals to adjust to modern lifestyles and this can cause them to express a variety of behavioural issues which can consequently affect an animal’s health.

Across the Avonvale Surgeries we have a wide range of expertise in dealing with common anxiety-related issues and we can advise owners how to recognise and tackle these problems. Cats often display stress by inappropriate toileting, over-grooming or becoming withdrawn. Often simple changes can be made to restore happiness to our feline friends. Dogs can show anxiety by increased vocalisation, increased aggression or destructive behaviour. Subtle changes in a dog’s body language can indicate they are suffering from high levels of anxiety. Sometimes small tweeks in their environment and routine can make a huge difference.

Rabbits and ‘small furries’ can also exhibit anxiety if their basic needs aren’t met. Our vets and nurse are happy to offer advice regarding environmental enrichment and best husbandry techniques for providing the happiest possible homes for these pets.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |


You may be aware that there has been a recent increase in the number of parvovirus cases reported locally. Parvovirus is an illness that can cause severe gastroenteritis and can even be fatal in extreme cases.

If your dog has had their annual vaccination they will have been vaccinated against parvovirus and will have protection against the illness under normal circumstances. However, when faced with an increase in the number of cases locally the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) recommend giving an additional dose of parvovirus vaccine to dogs between 4 and 12 months of age. Whilst the vast majority of puppies will have protective immunity following their puppy vaccinations, there will always be a very small minority for whom immunity is reduced. This is because Maternally Derived Antibodies from the puppy’s own mother can prevent a full immune response to a vaccine in a very small number of puppies. The additional parvovirus vaccination from 16 weeks of age will give greater assurance of protection for all dogs.

If you would like your puppy to have this additional vaccine please contact your local Avonvale surgery for details.

Posted in General News |

Act now if taking pets abroad after Brexit

We’re advising pet owners they have until the end of the month to act if they intend to travel to the European Union (EU) with their furry friend from the end of March.

Currently, dogs, cats and ferrets can travel anywhere in the EU as long as they have a pet passport, which sees owners take their animals to an Official Veterinarian (OV) three weeks before a trip to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

However, last month, the Government issued a paper preparing for a possible No Deal Brexit, in which it advised pet owners wanting to go abroad after 29th March 2019 that they have to take their pets to an OV at least four months before travelling – meaning the end of November deadline is fast approaching.

Our advice

The turnaround for organising microchipping, vaccinations and a pet passport has always been relatively short but the Government has now warned that, with no EU deal, pet owners may have to visit their OV as early as the end of next month for an April trip abroad.

The pet could have to have a rabies vaccination, followed by a blood test at least 30 days after the date of vaccination to show the pet has become immune. Once that is completed, the pet would then have to wait at least three months from the date of the blood test before they can travel.

This process takes at least four months in total. Owners would then have to visit a vet to obtain a health certificate, which can’t be done more than 10 days before travel.

It’s certainly worth being organised ahead of any planned trips abroad with your pets early next year and with time ticking until the November deadline, I’d recommend getting your animals booked in to see an OV as soon as possible to avoid any undue or unforeseen delays.

More information

Please call to speak to one of our OV vets if you need any help or advice on pet passports.

Further information on the issue is available via the GOV.UK website.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Top tips to help protect pets around fireworks season

It may be hard to believe but it’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about how best to care for our pets as fireworks season gets under way.

We know this can be a very tough time of year for pets, who can become stressed and unsettled as fireworks are used ever more frequently – not only for the traditional November 5th bonfire night but also in celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of top tips to ensure your pet stays safe during fireworks season:

  • Always keep cats and dogs inside when fireworks are let off
  • Some pets like to hide in the bathroom. Make sure toilet lids are down if you have a small dog or cat. Beware if you have the older style of toilet with the exposed U-bend as some dogs can wedge between the pipework and become stuck
  • Close all windows and doors, draw curtains and seal up cat flaps
  • Let your pet pace around, whine, mew and hide if they want to. Don’t try to coax them out – they are trying to find safety and should not be disturbed
  • Hutches and cages should, if possible, be taken into a quiet room indoors or into a garage or shed. If this isn’t possible, turn them around to face a wall, creating a black-out from the flashes of fireworks
  • Give your small pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe
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