Protect your pet from the sun

As we head into the summer months, and temperatures start rising, we need to protect all family members (however furry they are) from the effects of the sun. Just like us, animals can develop sunburn, scorch their feet (paws) on hot pavements, become dehydrated or develop potentially fatal heatstroke.

Animals develop heatstroke if their core body temperature becomes dangerously high (hyper thermic) and they lose their ability to cool down. All pets are susceptible to developing heatstroke but some are more at risk than others. It’s a serious illness that requires urgent veterinary treatment.

Dogs and cats are more likely to get heatstroke if they’re overweight, have thick fur or are brachycephalic (have a short nose which can restrict their breathing). Here are some of the signs of heatstroke in dogs and cats to look out for:

  • Faster breathing or panting
  • Bright pink/purple tongue and gums
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Vomiting (being sick) and diarrhoea
  • Having a seizure (fit)
  • Stumbling around
  • Muscle tremors (shaking or twitching muscles)

Rabbits and guinea pigs
are at particular risk of developing heatstroke as their bodies are inefficient at reducing their own core temperature. They are more likely to develop it if they have long hair, are pregnant, overweight, or live in a hutch which is in direct sunlight.

As prey species, rabbits and guinea pigs often hide any signs of illness or distress as this makes them more vulnerable to their predators. It’s important to check your pets regularly to make sure they’re not masking signs of heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke in rabbits and guinea pigs include:

  • Salivating (drooling)
  • Drowsiness
  • Panting
  • Bright pink/purple tongue, gums or ears
  • Muscle tremors (shaking or twitching muscles)

If you think your pet has heatstroke, please call us immediately for emergency advice and treatment.

To help protect your pets during spells of warm weather, there are a few simple things you can do at home.


Ensure your pet always has access to fresh water. Like us humans, our pets become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough. Offer your pet plenty of water in a cool shaded area. You can freeze treats and add these to their bowl to encourage them to drink more. Avoid giving freezing cold water or ice cubes; these can cause your dog’s body to go into shock.

Don’t underestimate the power of the paddling pool to cool the entire family down! (So long as you’re happy to share with your four-legged friends!)


  • Beat the heat and take your dog out for walks during the coolest parts of the day; head out in the early mornings and late evenings.
  • Try to avoid strenuous exercise during hot weather. You might consider staying at home altogether during particularly warm spells, especially if your dog is overweight, elderly or has breathing difficulties. It’s safer for your dog to miss a few walks than it is to exercise in extremely hot weather.
  • Test the pavement with your hand; if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws!
  • Take drinking water and a small bowl with you on walks. If your dog shows signs of heatstroke while you’re out, take them to a shaded area, offer them water and dampen their fur. Call us, or your nearest vet, immediately for advice.

Time out

 It’s important that your pet has access to a cool, shaded rest area in your house or their hutch.  Ensure the area has an ample amount of airflow and remains well ventilated throughout the day. Some pets enjoy lying on a cooling mat which is designed to stay cool, however warm the room temperature is.

If your rabbit or guinea pig lives in a hutch, move it into a shaded area (or even a cool area in your house), during hot weather.

Sun Cream

 Just like us, our dogs and cats can get sunburnt if they are exposed to high levels of UV radiation (the harmful part of sunlight). Protect your pet with a pet-safe sun cream; focus on applying it to areas of pale skin covered by white, or thinning hair such as their ears and noses. If you’d like advice on which sun cream is the right one for your pet, please call us.

Cars, Caravans and Conservatories

  • Never leave your pet in a car, caravan or conservatory as inside temperatures, even on a cloudy day, can rocket to dangerously high levels within a few minutes.
  • If your dog travels with you in your car, ensure there’s a constant stream of fresh air circulating through the vehicle, either from an open window, or air conditioning. If you see a distressed dog in a car, the RSPCA, along with other animal welfare organisations, recommend you call 999 immediately.

Cooling tips for rabbits and guinea pigs

  • Try wrapping a frozen bottle of water in a towel; rabbits and guinea pigs enjoy lying against these to stay cool.
  • Move hutches and runs to a cool, shaded area.
  • Dampen fresh vegetables with water before feeding them to your pet; this increases their water intake.
  • If your pet shows signs of heatstroke, wrap them in a damp towel and call us immediately for advice.

By taking a few simple precautions, you and your pets can safely enjoy the summer together. (And if it’s a typical British summer that will be all three days of it!)

Posted in General News |

Local Dog Walking during lockdown

Most dogs look forward to getting out of the house for their daily walk and now, more than ever, this is an important part of our routines. To make sure you (and your pet!) get the most out of ‘walkies’ we have put together some handy tips:

  1. Using the lead

The Government’s advice is to stay 2m apart which is tricky if your dog insists on meeting and greeting everyone you see on your walk! It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a lead when other people are nearby. If your dog finds it difficult to walk on a lead, try holding treats in your hand to give your dog something else to focus on. Some dogs enjoy carrying their favourite toy in their mouth while out walking; hopefully this isn’t a life-sized cuddly bear!

  1. Keeping the walk fun

To keep walks interesting for your dog, you could play fun training games using a long lead and their favourite treat or toy. Basic recall is an important skill for your dog to learn as it helps you control your dog when you meet other people and need to observe social distancing rules.

  1. Maximise opportunities for a walk

Government restrictions currently allow you to leave the house for one form of exercise a day. If your dog is usually walked more than once, and there are other adults in your household, you can share out the walks and fresh air!

  1. Going off the beaten track

It’s tempting to explore different walks and find quieter routes with fewer people and dogs. If you cross farmland, it’s important to observe the countryside code; stick to footpaths, close gates behind you and keep your dog away from livestock. Help protect farmers from coronavirus by using hand gel, or wearing gloves, when you open and close gates.

Be mindful that it’s tick season; if your walks take you near undergrowth or through wooded areas, make sure you check your dog and remove any ticks you find. There are special tools available to help you do this safely. We can provide you with products that repel ticks so please contact us if you’d like further advice.

But what if you’re walking someone else’s dog while they’re in isolation? There are also some other points to consider:

  • Agree beforehand with the dog’s owner when you’ll collect their dog and how long the walk will last to avoid any confusion.
  • Work out how to collect and return their dog so you can both still obey social distancing guidelines.
  • Where possible use a different lead; wash it in soap and water after you’ve used it.
  • Wash your hands before leaving home and again when you return.

More information on the above can be found on both the RSPCA and Dogs Trust websites.

Posted in General News |

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month

May is Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month. This campaign, led by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA), aims to raise awareness of the importance of the role of the veterinary nursing profession to the public.

Veterinary nurses are an integral part of the veterinary team at Avonvale, and are vital for the smooth running of any veterinary practice.  As well as providing expert nursing care for poorly animals, veterinary nurses also play a significant role in supporting pet owners in keeping their pets healthy.  They carry out essential clinical work and are skilled in undertaking a range of diagnostic tests, treatments and minor surgical procedures, with veterinary support.  Registered Veterinary Nurses have the technical knowledge and hands-on expertise to care for animals with skill and empathy.

The title of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) can be used by nurses who have undergone extensive training and education. Once they’ve passed their final nursing exams, nurses are entered onto the VN register and are regulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). They follow the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses, which includes requirements to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to keep their skills up to date.

At Avonvale, we are extremely proud of our veterinary nurses. We have an amazing team who are dedicated to supporting our clients and their pets.  Even during this challenging time, some of our nurses are still working in-practice helping to support emergency and urgent cases.

Click here to meet our nursing team at Avonvale.

To find out more about role of RVNs in veterinary practice, or if you are interested in finding out more about a career in veterinary nursing, visit the BVNA website at

Posted in General News |

Celebrate our amazing team with us this World Veterinary Day

The Avonvale veterinary team is here for your beloved pets all year round, and despite the current circumstances, remain committed to quality and excellence in everything we do – which is why we wanted to ‘paws’ this World Veterinary Day to say thank you

By adapting our ways of working we’ve continued to provide the best level of care in these challenging circumstances, while keeping the health and wellbeing of patients, clients and teams our number one priority.

There’s one thing we can all agree on – our veterinary teams play an important part in your pet’s lives. Since World Veterinary Day was founded, 20 years ago, by the World Veterinary Association, we have recognised this day as a moment to stop and acknowledge all the care and treatment they provide for our pets all year round. There are many different people involved in running Avonvale – so we want to thank all of our members of staff, who help deliver the services and care for our pets.

Each World Veterinary Day has an associated topic, and this year’s theme is ‘Environmental protection for improving animal and human health” which applauds the contribution veterinary professionals have in supporting sustainability and protecting the environment. It also allows veterinarians to share their knowledge and raise awareness of how harmful actions towards the environments can affect both animals and humans too.

Over the last month, your continued support and words of encouragement have been really rewarding – thank you for respecting our teams as they continue to do their best for both our patient and clients.

Want to celebrate World Veterinary Day with us?

There are so many ways that you can join in with the celebration, to show how much you appreciate your vet, and team – you may even be able to include your pet in the celebrations too!

  • Share your story of how our veterinary team has played an important part in your pet’s life.
  • Leave us a review on Google – we love receiving your heart-warming reviews.
  • Spend some precious time with your pet(s):
    • Take your dog for a walk
    • Enjoy some cuddles with your cat
    • Try some agility with your horse
    • Reward your pet with some healthy treats.

We’re sure you’ll join us, and celebrate our amazing veterinarians!

Posted in General News |

Puppy Development during COVID-19

Are you wondering how to safely socialise your new puppy during the coronavirus lockdown? We’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.

As we all do our best to stay safe and comply with the government’s lockdown restrictions, puppies are likely to have their primary vaccination course later than usual. This delay means they’ll need to wait a bit longer before they can safely go out and explore the world. The good news is there are many ways you can help your puppy get used to new experiences without even leaving your house!

Normal puppy development

Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them ‘risk-assess’ new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs, who lack a memory bank of positive experiences, are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.

Separation and bonding

One positive aspect of lockdown is the extra time available to get to know and bond with your puppy. It’s extremely rewarding to watch their personality emerge. However, spending so much time with your puppy might make it harder for them to adjust to being alone when normal life resumes. If puppies are fearful of being alone, they could later develop separation anxiety. You could try the following to help your puppy adjust:

  • Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
  • Encourage independence- as your puppy gains in confidence, allow them to explore areas of the home alone, such as an enclosed garden
  • Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart


  • Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try dropping items, banging doors, singing and shouting.
  • Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
  • If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)


What better time to raid the dressing up box and try a new look? No one will see you and it will get your puppy used to the different things people wear, such as hats, sunglasses and veils. Allow your puppy to approach you in their own time and reward them when they do.

Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws.


Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practise in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.


If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.


Although it’s important to get puppies used to going out in the car at an early age, it isn’t possible to do this under the current circumstances and restrictions. If you have a travel crate in the boot now’s a good time to introduce them to it. You could sit the puppy in the crate in your car whilst stationary on your drive or outside your house, to get them used to being in the car. Alternatively, you could bring the crate indoors so that the puppy could get used to it by using it as their den. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car.

Posted in General News |

How to tackle ticks during the warmer months

Want to know the facts and how to avoid ticks this season? As we approach the warmer months, when ticks like to make an appearance, we wanted to give our pet owners a head start in preparing to tackle ticks!

Ticks live in tall grass and wooded areas such as trees, shrubs and leaf piles, particularly cool, moist, mature woods with thick undergrowth. They enjoy waiting in the underbrush for an animal or human to brush by, and then grasp the fur or skin and crawl up the leg. They don’t fly, jump or drop from trees. In the current circumstances, it may well be that people visit local areas of grassland and woodland in order to distance themselves from other dog walkers and come into more regular contact with ticks.

Although tick bites are often harmless, they can cause allergic reactions and certain ticks can pass diseases onto humans and pets when they bite, which can be dangerous.

Dogs and cats pick up ticks very easily, and dogs in particular are susceptible to tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t prevent your dog from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Ticks and their bites may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behaviour or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

Currently we are open for urgent or emergency consultations, but are still able to provide advice regarding:

  • The best tick prevention products for your dog
  • Tickborne diseases in your area

To further reduce the chances that a tick bite will make your dog sick:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away

In these worrying times, we can arrange to dispense tick prevention products for you, whilst maintaining stringent social distancing to protect you, our colleagues and the most vulnerable people in our society.

How to remove a tick

Step 1: Put on some gloves

There is little risk of the tick affecting you, so thoroughly washing your hands first will be adequate. Wearing gloves can prevent any infectious germs from the tick affecting you or your furry friend so if you have gloves available, wear them.

Step 2: Keep your pet calm

It is important to keep your pet calm and if somebody is available to help, they can keep your pet relaxed whilst you remove the tick. Perhaps distract them with some treats?

Step 3: Tweezers at the ready

It is also important not to squeeze the body of the tick, as this could force potentially harmful germs from the tick into your pet’s bloodstream. The best instrument to use is a “tick removal hook” which is passed under the tick and then turned gently around until the tick releases comes away. Failing this, take a pair of tweezers and grasp onto the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Grabbing close to the skin is the best way to get a tick head out but be careful not to pinch your pet’s skin!

Official tick removal advice can be found at

Step 4: Pull out the tick.

If using a tick hook, keep turning the hook using the instructions included in the pack until it releases. If using tweezers, gently pull the tick straight out taking your time and remaining steady. Do not twist or suddenly pull as you don’t want to leave the tick’s head or mouth behind. After removing the tick, examine it to make sure the head and mouthparts were removed. If not, please call your vet for advice on removing any remaining tick parts.

Step 5: Get rid of the tick

Kill the tick by placing it in a container with rubbing alcohol. Once the tick is dead, we recommend keeping it in the container with a lid in case your pet begins displaying symptoms of disease. There are many types of ticks, and each carry different kinds of diseases, so keeping the tick can help your vet make a proper diagnosis should your pet become poorly.

Step 6: Disinfect the bite.

You can use triple-antibiotic spray or wipes to disinfect the bite site, or you can use over-the-counter chlorhexidine solution to clean the area.

Keep an eye on it for signs of infection. If the skin remains red or becomes inflamed, please call your vet for advice.

Posted in General News |

The weekend of chocolate & treats – keeping our pets safe

The majority of the nation gets excited to be eating Easter eggs or chocolate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – or perhaps all three! But we need to careful and ensure our pets don’t get a hold of any, as chocolate could be dangerous for our animals, especially dogs!

What should you look out for this Easter?


Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’, which is toxic to our pets. Even small amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures (or fits), heart problems or, in severe cases, death. So be careful where you keep your chocolate!

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins – and all of these are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they could suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal. Sharing just a little bit with your dog isn’t worth the risk – please keep them away from hot cross buns altogether.

What should I do if I think my dog has been affected?

If you think your dog has been affected by any of the above or other treats/hazards, it is advised you act quickly. Contact your vet in an emergency as soon as your pet shows signs of being ill or if you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t – we are available 24/7 for emergencies.

It’s a good idea to write down the details of anything you think your dog has ingested, when they ate/drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they have been experiencing. If your pet needs to be seen, bring any containers or labels which will help the vet choose the best course of action.

Posted in General News |

Easter Opening Hours

With Easter coming up, our opening hours may vary from our usual times.  


Friday 10th:       CLOSED (Emergencies at Warwick practice only)

Saturday 11th:   08.30 – 11.00 (Heathcote, Southam, Stratford)

08.30 – 17.00 (Warwick)

CLOSED (Kenilworth & Wellesbourne)

Sunday 12th:     CLOSED (Emergencies at Warwick practice only)

Monday 13th:    CLOSED (Emergencies at Warwick practice only)


Our Cubbington practice is currently still closed until further notice.


Thank you for your continued understanding and support


Posted in General News |

COVID-19 & Pets

COVID-19 is much in the news, and some reports are based on fact, others speculation. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have some advice for you as a pet owner – or someone who spends a lot of time around pets – here’s what you should know:

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person to person contact. – OIE (World Organization for Animal Health –

While COVID-19 is still very much a predominantly human disease, the evolving scientific information around this new disease and the virus that causes it reinforces the need to treat pets as we do our family members; separating them from other infected individuals when possible and practise good hygiene when handling them, including proper hand-washing.

Specifically about cats, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organisations continue to agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that, in natural settings, pets spread COVID-19 to people. At this point we know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is most efficiently spread via human-human contact. We understand that there may occasionally be human-to-animal transmission of the virus (albeit without significant illness), so it’s important to treat pets as we would any family member and help keep them virus-free.

Additionally, there is currently no guidance to keep cats indoors. Only when cats are from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and the cat is happy to be kept indoors, should this be considered.  Further information is available at

Posted in General News |


In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have pulled together a list of the frequently asked questions – which provide further information about the precautions all veterinary practices are taking to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Q: Are all existing appointments cancelled?

A: Following advice from the UK government, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA), we are currently only seeing urgent and emergency cases as face-to-face consultations, so routine and non-urgent appointments need to be postponed.  Rest assured that these appointments are those that can be delayed safely so please call us to discuss any queries you may have.  We will regularly review these appointment recommendations in line with government advice.

Q: What is classed as urgent or an emergency?

A: An emergency is when there is immediate threat to life or where there is likely to be a significant impact on an animal’s health and welfare if left unmanaged. Urgent cases are usually more stable, but still with significant health and welfare implications and a risk of deterioration.

If your pet is showing signs of being unwell or you have any concerns over their health, please contact the practice to discuss their signs and next steps, so we can guide you as to what type of care is required and when.

Q: Can I still get a repeat prescription?

A: Of course. We are here to ensure the continued health and well being of your pet and are still dispensing their current medications used to treat ongoing medical conditions. Please bear with us as we may need more notice for repeat prescriptions than you are used to, and the process may be different in terms of collection or delivery. We may also require a telephone or video consultation in order to proceed with the repeat prescription. Please call us if you require further information.

Q: Can I still get worming tablets and flea treatments?

A: Absolutely. It is important that these treatments are administered regularly for the health of your pet and we will work with you to get your order prepared and ready. As with prescriptions, please bear with us in terms of changes to collection or delivery.

Q: My pet’s vaccinations are due. What shall I do?

A: In support of the government’s instructions for people to stay at home, we are postponing vaccinations during the current lockdown period. This is in accordance with instructions from our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, as well as other professional organisations and major charities. For adult dogs, there is some leeway on vaccination dates. It is advisable to limit dog-to-dog contact and their range of outdoor walks during this period. Keeping dogs away from areas which might harbour disease such as water courses or areas with a high rodent population such as farms and stables is also recommended. Puppies and kittens should, as far as possible, be kept indoors and away from other animals until we are able to start or complete their vaccinations. More information from the British Veterinary Association on vaccine postponement can be found here.

Q: My cat or dog needs neutering, what shall I do?

A: As planned neutering procedures are not classed as urgent or emergency, we are unable to offer these in the short-term. In the meantime, it is important to separate males and females entirely and to keep cats indoors if possible. Please call us if you need more advice on the practicalities of this until we are able to neuter your pet.

The information and advice contained here will be reviewed and updated in line with future government advice and guidance from the BVA and RCVS. Therefore, please visit regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Posted in General News |