Feline brothers, Cheddar and Morris, visited Blue House following an overnight stay at Vets Now. Their lovely owner had come home after a long working day to find the little tinkers had found a way into the spare room … where a beautiful bouquet of lilies had been hidden away from them! This is because lilies are extremely toxic to cats and even a small exposure can be catastrophic. Cats can be poisoned through grooming – if they have brushed against the flowers or get pollen on their feet and then lick the pollen off their fur. All parts of the plant are toxic, so chewing on leaves is also dangerous.
The main effect of lily exposure is kidney failure. Cats will experience vomiting, inappetance, depression and as the disease progresses seizures, breathing problems and paralysis. If left untreated death commonly occurs within 3-6 days.
Thankfully, Cheddar and Morris’ owner was very prompt and got the boys to the vets quickly. Over the next three days both cats were hospitalised day and night to receive fluids and nursing care. We regularly took blood samples to check how their kidneys were recovering. Now two weeks on and all is well!
If you have cats, please do not have lilies in your house, however well hidden! Many cats are not as fortunate as this lucky pair!
Molly, a lovely little Jack Russel terrier has been suffering with very itchy and inflamed skin which became particularly bad in April this year. She came to see us in a sad state, she had stopped playing at home and the condition of her skin was really getting her down. Molly’s wonderful owners were doing everything they could for her but despite their best efforts her skin was still getting worse.
We performed a series of in house tests on Molly, taking samples from her hair and skin and examining them under the microscope. The cause of her trouble was soon discovered … Molly had some very unwelcome visitors!
Demodex is a mite found deep in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin (of both dogs and humans!) and an infestation causes severe hair loss, itching and secondary infection. Thankfully there is an effective treatment. Molly was given a tablet that kills demodex and a long course of antibiotics to clear up her infection. Her owners continued their dedicated routine of bathing Molly in medicated shampoo and soon we began to see an improvement!
Two months on and here we are! Molly runs in to see us and is back to the playful dog her owners know and love.
Scooby and Ella’s owner got a bit of a sinking feeling when he came downstairs to find that they had raided one of the kitchen cupboards. Among other things, they had managed to chew up and empty 2 bags of raisins and currants. After googling this, his heart sank even further when he realised how serious it could be.
After ringing ahead to confirm he was on his way (and that google had got it right!), Kay saw them immediately and proceeded to make both dogs vomit using an injection. Within 5 minutes, both dogs had brought up a large number of the dried fruit which can cause kidney failure from even small numbers, never mind the large quantity both dogs had consumed. They both looked very sorry for themselves as you can see…
After speaking to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service for advice, both dogs were admitted to go onto intravenous fluids for the next two days to protect the kidneys from any damage. They also had to be given activated charcoal to absorb any toxins that hadn’t been vomited up. This had the unfortunate side effect of making their poo black!
After checking their bloods to make sure no lasting damage had been done, both dogs were eventually discharged with a clean bill of health. Please keep raisins, grapes, currants and sultanas locked away in a high cupboard!
Ruby is a bit of a superstar—not only is she a gorgeous and loving dog, she also had a starring role in an advertising campaign for Virgin! Her Tuesday was well and truly spoiled when her owners noticed that she was becoming very unwell following a failed pregnancy. She was rushed to our emergency service where it was discovered that she was jaundiced (yellow tinge to her skin) and pale, and when the vets tested her blood she had dangerously low levels of red blood cells making her severely anaemic. She was at 12%, when normal would be 35-50%.
Ruby had developed IMHA—Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia—a condition where her own immune system was destroying her red blood cells. This is an extremely serious condition which can be fatal. Ruby needed a blood transfusion quickly. Vets Now called the Pet Blood Bank who delivered blood to the practice for a transfusion by courier within a few hours. With intensive monitoring and care Ruby soon started to improve and she was started on steroids to stop her immune system from attacking her red blood cells.
With regular check ups she is now doing really well and making a full recovery. Ruby’s survival was made possible by the blood she received, which had been donated to Pet Blood Bank by one of the many donor dogs around the UK (like Harry, our Hero Dog overleaf). We hold regular collection sessions at Blue House throughout the year, so if you have a fit and healthy dog over 25kg in weight, aged between 1 and 8 years and with a good temperament, your dog could be a lifesaver too! Ask us for more details or look at www.petbloodbankuk.org
Mack’s adventures down the rabbit hole...
Mack is a very bouncy 7 year old Border Collie who was injured whilst out on a run after getting his leg caught in a rabbit hole. He was limping quite badly so his owner brought him in to see us. He had a swollen joint that was very painful when it was touched. We did some X-rays and he was found to have dislocated his hock (the equivalent to our ankle joint).
Mack needed complicated surgery to stabilise his joint. Happily, we have a number of specialist surgeons who can visit the practice to perform more complex procedures. Gareth Harries, a local “Advanced Practitioner” and surgical certificate holder was on hand to fix the problem. A plate was screwed into the row of bones in the joint to encourage them to fuse together so it will not dislocate again. Mack had to be rested and have a bandage splint in place for 6 weeks after the surgery needing regular dressing changes—not much fun for him but he was the perfect patient.
We are pleased to report that he is now doing well and is slowly getting back to his normal running routine—just avoid those rabbit holes!
The 6th of January was an exciting day for the Murphy family as their two year old Pomeranian Fifi went into labour! Things seemed to be going well initially but by early afternoon there was still no sign of any puppies. Fifi was brought to Blue House and examined by Hannah the vet. She was diagnosed with uterine inertia - a condition that occurs when the uterus stops contracting as Fifi was too tired. It was decided that the best course of action for mum and pups was a caesarean section.
8 weeks later and here we are! Princess, Fifi's beautiful puppy, has come back to Blue House for her vaccinations and is reunited with her "midwife" Hannah! She is as friendly and fluffy as her Mum!
Day in the life of a vet student on placement
An average day on placement at Blue House starts at 8am when I arrive at the practice and start making the morning tea, if one of the very efficient receptionists hasn’t already beaten me to it. I then watch any interesting morning consults before heading over to the surgical building to assist the nurses with prepping the in-patients for surgery and settling them into their kennels. Once the patients are asleep I scrub in to assist the vet on their procedures where I can. It’s really good to see the operations as a student because things look very different in real life compared to the pictures in textbooks! I also help with any emergencies that come in; while I’ve been here we have had a collapsed dog, a dog with a stick stuck in the roof of its mouth and two caesareans! The rest of my day consists of watching consults, trying to avoid getting quizzed on cases by Neil and lots of dog and cat cuddles of course.
Alfie, a lovely 4 year old border collie, had only been with his new owners for 2 weeks before an unfortunate accident saw him visiting Blue House sooner than expected. Alfie was chasing a ball in the garden and suddenly pulled up lame, unable to put one of his back legs down.
Alfie was examined and x-rayed by Hannah which showed that the ball of Alfie’s hip joint had popped out of its socket. Unfortunately Alfie was suffering from a condition called hip dysplasia whereby his ball and socket joint is malformed making it easier for the ball to pop out.
It was decided that surgery was required to remove the ball of the joint. In time, a fibrous “false joint” then forms in its place and will allow Alfie to not only be pain free but have good movement in this leg. Alfie was extremely brave and left the practice the same day wagging his tail and giving kisses all round!
Alfie has made fantastic progress. His owners are doing a wonderful job with daily physiotherapy at home and he is currently enrolled in a hydrotherapy course at a local centre to build up the strength in his leg.
Teko, a very friendly 4 year old black cat, was brought to see us by his owners following a horrible road traffic accident. Unfortunately Teko sustained severe injuries to his face and needed our help to reconstruct his lower jaw. Due to the extent of his injuries Neil had to perform several operations and with his regular visits, we got to know Teko very well! Despite this, he remained cheerful and purred throughout!
Teko is now fully healed but has a shorter lower jaw as a result of his injuries. He is able to eat and drink but his owners feed him separately from their other cats as it takes him a little longer to finish a meal and he gets an extra sachet of food (which his siblings are not too happy about!) He now has a permanently stuck out tongue which we think makes him look cuter than ever!
Blue House Veterinary Centre is a small animal only practice in Biddulph. We have four vets, a nursing team of four (head nurse, and 3 other RVNs) and a reception team of five. We pride ourselves on a very personal service with good client continuity and attention to detail. We are a progressive well equipped practice with a strong belief in excellent client and patient care within a friendly, welcoming environment. We’re proud that Blue House is an accredited Cat Friendly Clinic.
We believe in complementing clinical excellence with a good work : life balance and so we use Vets Now for our out of hours care.
Our facilities/equipment include digital x-ray and dental x-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy, ECG, capnography, PDO blood pressure, tonometry and pulse oximetry. We also have in house lab facilities including wet chemistry bloods. We have 2 well equipped primary consulting rooms, a dedicated nurse consultation room and a separate bereavement/euthanasia room. The surgical wing has separate dog, cat and rabbit wards including an isolation kennel, a dental theatre, a surgical theatre and a prep area. All patients undergoing an anaesthetic have intravenous cannula placement, receive intravenous fluids if necessary and are offered pre op bloods.
We aim to provide something extra special: long appointment times (15 or 30 minutes), tea and coffee for clients (and cake if we haven't eaten it all), a relaxed non-sales led environment (no posters on the walls), continuity of care and knowing our clients by name when they come in the door whenever possible.
One of our lovely nurses is sadly leaving us due to family commitments, so we are currently recruiting for a qualified veterinary nurse to join our team. The ideal candidate will be a friendly, motivated, well presented individual with excellent communication skills and a compassionate, caring nature. Possessing practical and organisational skills, you should be equally happy to work as part of a team, following direction, or under your own initiative. Some sole charge will be required.
We are offering a nursing role with a direct input into the very high level of veterinary care we provide for our medical and surgical patients. Assistance with surgical dentistry including dental imaging will also form part of your role (training will be given if needed). You will complement our veterinary team in addition to occasionally assisting consultants who visit the practice. We are a small practice and as such our case load is varied – some days will be spent primarily in the operating and dental theatres, some days consulting and some will be spent doing the important task of catching up on cleaning! We also expect all members of staff to contribute to improving the practice and are happy to listen to any ideas and initiatives you may have.
A high degree of contact with our clients is expected via our dedicated nurse clinics and appointments. These include:
- Post-operative checks
- Nutritional /weight clinics
- Dental Care clinics
- Rabbit husbandry
- Adolescent checks
and general healthcare such as blood sampling, anal gland expressions, stitches out, dressing changes etc.
Triage of emergencies will also be required, as well as frequent telephone advice to clients.
First impressions count and we take great pride in the appearance of our practice. Maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene standards within the surgery unit is an important part of the nursing role.
The position is full time with 1:3 to 1:4 Saturday mornings (rota basis), no OOH, 20 days annual leave plus Bank Holidays. Flexibility in working hours would be appreciated. CPD funded and encouraged.
Apply to Kay Abbott or Neil Brogan via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org attaching your CV.