Absolute star of the month award has got to go to Merlin Harris and his owner for a rare achievement in the field of tooth brushing!

Merlin, a two year old cat, came in to see vet, Catriona Laird, back in June for a dental check.  Catriona noted some marked gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) which is one of the earliest stages of periodontal disease.  In some cases this can be reversed with a consistent, high standard of dental care.

We all want some figgy pudding...but it's generally not a good idea to share your yuletide feast with your pets, as many of the ingredients may be harmful to them.

Examples include:

  • Dark chocolates and milk/filled chocolates
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and spring onions
  • Coffee
  • Mouldy bread or cheese (often from raiding bins)
Download this file (Festive hazards guide.pdf)Festive hazards guide.pdf[ ]496 kB

The practice will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day over the festive period.  The full list of opening times is attached as a pdf to this news article and is displayed at the practice.  Other than the publicised bank holiday's we are operating our normal working hours including late clinics on a Tuesday and a Thursday evening.

Our normal out of hours procedure applies at any time when the practice is closed.  In the event of an emergency phone our small animal reception on 01572 722646.  You will be directed via a recorded message to the Duty Vet's contact telephone number.  If the line is busy or not answered please do leave a message, they will get back to you as soon as they are able to do so.

Please order any food or prescriptions needed for the festive period by Friday 15th December to ensure we have these in by Saturday 23rd December for collection.

Download this file (festive opening hours.pdf)festive opening hours.pdf[ ]404 kB

They say cats have nine lives - it's fair to say little Tilly Needham may have used one of these to overcome a huge setback at only nine weeks of age.

Tilly, a Norwegian Forest Cat, came in to see vet, Eve Tarleton, at nine weeks of age for her first vaccinations.  She was healthy but not eating very much and only weighing in at a tiny 0.95kg.  Tilly returned a few days later still with very little appetite and now very lethargic behaviour.

This lovely little pup, Murray Brown, a Hungarian Wirehaired Visla came in to see vet, Catriona Laird as an emergency case one Sunday afternoon.  Murray, who was only fifteen weeks old, had eaten a quantity of chewing gum (which contains Xylitol) while out on a walk.

Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, mints, sweets and toothpaste.  Ingestion of this substance in dogs can cause acute, life-threatening low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) within 15 minutes.  A larger ingestion can result in acute liver necrosis and ultimately, liver failure.

by Will Bayton BVMedSci BVMBVS


Most of us enjoy a good fireworks display, but as we move into Autumn towards the festive period many pet owners are unable to enjoy this time because of the effect fireworks have on their dog or cat.  Some pets seem genuinely traumatised by the loud bangs and crackles, or the flashes of light from the sky, and this can leave owners feeling distraught.  No one wants to see their pets so anxious but is there really anything we can do?  Are some pets beyond help?

Our nursing team has a reputation for providing gold standard patient care. As a result, we are able to recognise and reward our nurses’ skills, professionalism and dedication. Our clinical team is growing and we would very much like to hear from registered vet nurses, with at least three years’ nursing experience who are keen to contribute to and share in our success.

Enthusiastic, self-motivated and resilient, you will enjoy keeping pace with our wide and varied caseload and demonstrate strong communication skills.

A generous rota and package is offered. With lots of scope for personal development, CPD is encouraged and funded. Why wouldn’t you want to join us? Have a look at our website and Facebook page.

For more information please contact Helen Franklin, Head Nurse, on 01572 722646. Apply with CV and covering letter to Dawn Wright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In a recent client survey 93% of those who responded would like to use an online booking service for routine vet appointments.  VetBooker is a client interaction portal for veterinary practices which works alongside our Practice Management System to allow registered clients to book online appointments.

The system has now been live for a few weeks and we are delighted with the number of clients that have opted to book their pet's booster vaccination appointments online.  We have now extended the available appointment types to allow clients to book a routine vet consultation with any of our vets on weekdays.  Please note that the online system is not for booking emergencies, hospital procedures, nurse clinics, acupuncture or euthanasia appointments.  Our experienced team of reception staff are at the end of the phone to book in any services that you require, including those not covered by VetBooker.  One of our vets is available 24 hours a day to give advice over the phone or see your pet out of hours, if necessary.

To register with VetBooker you need to have the email address you want to use listed on your client records with us.  To do this you can give our reception team a call on 01572 722646 or alternatively send them an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Once your email address is set up on your client records go to:

https://www.vetbooker.com/login/index.html#/userlogin and follow the instructions to sign up - our clinic code is 244793.

Please contact Tina Edwards, our VetBooker Co-ordinator, for more details on 01572 722646.



In a recent client survey over 90% of those that responded chose email as their preferred method of contact.  We've taken this feedback on board and aim to use email as much as possible in the future for our client communication.

We already send out a monthly e-newsletter with seasonal advice, recent hospital cases, information on our monthly promotion and staff news.  If you have an active email address on your account you will already receive this automatically on a monthly basis.

In short, a lot less than we would like, Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) or, Alabama Rot, as it is more commonly known, continues to frustrate vets worldwide.

It was covered in the UK national news in recent weeks following a spate of confirmed cases seen across the country since the start of the year.  The disease was first diagnosed in America in the late 1980's, hence the nickname.

In a recent survey over 90% of our clients chose email as their preferred method of contact.  In light of this we would like to send out more of our client information via email.  This might be alerts about upcoming client evenings, our monthly e-newsletter or reminders about your pet's annual vaccinations.

If you don't currently receive our e-newsletter at the start of each month then we don't have an active email address for you on our system.

Please send your email address details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your full name and postcode.

Email addresses are held securely in our Practice Management System and are never passed to third parties.

Catriona recently saw a 13 year old Jack Russell terrier in clinic, Lottie Dickinson, who presented with an enlarged stomach.  Her owner had noticed no change in appetite or exercise and cutting down on her food had made no difference to the apparent weight gain.