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.
Sasha is a lovely black lab who has a rather long and varied medical history. She has an appetite for things she shouldn't eat (including nectarine stones, socks and cooked bones) which mean that we have seen her insides far too many times! She is also an active dog and gets into scrapes every so often so she is a regular visitor.
Recently Sasha has been struggling with one of her back legs after injuring her Achilles tendon a few years ago. She has a very sensitive tummy and could not tolerate the usual anti-inflammatory drugs that we wanted to use, even when we used gut protecting medication. As she wasn't improving, we decided to try acupuncture along with joint supplements to see if we could improve her lameness.
Sasha had weekly acupuncture sessions initially with Jon (our Locum vet) and then with Kay when she came back from maternity leave. The sessions involved examining Sasha carefully for signs of muscular discomfort (trigger points) all over her back and legs, and then carefully placing needles in the affected areas using Western Veterinary Acupuncture techniques. Sasha doesn't mind having the treatment and even starts to go sleepy after a while. She has gradually improved to the point where she is much more comfortable and well on the way to recovery.
Acupuncture is a proven medical treatment that we are increasingly using for a variety of mobility and muscular issues, usually alongside other treatments such as medication, exercise, hydrotherapy and weight loss. If you would like any additional information please speak to Kay or have a look on our website www.bluehousevets.com
Genie is a lovely bouncy 6 year old Springer Spaniel. Whilst on her holidays in France earlier this year she became unwell with what was thought to be a tummy bug. However once she was home it was clear to her owners that she still was not quite herself and was still being sick from time to time. After a check up she was found to have a very swollen tummy, and was much quieter in her self than normal. Neil also thought he could feel something unusual...
An x-ray was recommended and we found that she had a lot of fluid in her stomach that should not have been there. Whilst she was under the anaesthetic for her x-ray we were able to examine her tummy more thoroughly and could feel something hard in her abdomen.
Kay performed surgery to investigate, and found a piece of rubber from a toy in Genie’s small intestine! It was found just in time as the intestine was at the point of nearly bursting open, which would have caused peritonitis and a very poorly dog. The offending article was removed and the intestine carefully stitched back together.
Genie is now recovering well at home and has decided to just play with her toys from now on rather than eat them!
Some lovely news this week - we have had lots of nominations for the Petplan Veterinary Awards again this year! The practice has been nominated for Practice of the Year, Kay and Neil for Vet of the Year, Kate, Joel and Lucy for Veterinary Nurse of the Year, and Marcia, Lucy and visiting surgeon Catherine Sturgeon in Practice Support Staff of the Year. We are now waiting impatiently to find out if we will be shortlisted again this year!
Just before Christmas, lovely but greedy Woody the Labrador decided to have a munch on some mince pies. Knowing that raisins can be very toxic to dogs, his owner sensibly brought him to Blue House where we gave him an injection to make him vomit everything back up. He had a blood test the next day to make sure his kidneys were OK, which happily they were. However we noticed that his calcium level wasn’t normal.
Increases in calcium aren’t very common in dogs, so we decided to do a further test measuring the calcium in a different way and looking at the level of parathyroid hormone – which controls calcium levels. These showed that both were high. This indicated that the most likely issue was a tumour in one or more of his parathyroid glands. The parathyroid glands are four usually very small glands in the neck near to the two thyroid glands. Left untreated, Woody would have become weak, sluggish and could have fallen into a coma and potentially died.
To diagnosetreat Woody’s tumour, he needed specialist ultrasound and then specialist surgery. We looked at the options for referral but they all meant Woody having to stay away from home for around a week, and two separate anaesthetics (one for the scan and one for the surgery). Luckily Kay was able to call on the services of Visiting Vet Specialist Catherine Sturgeon who was able to provide a specialist ultrasonographer – Jerry Shimali - to locate the tumour, and then to operate and remove the tumour herself (aided by Kay) on the same day.
The ultrasound scan showed a single tumour of around 1cm within the neck tissue. Catherine and Kay performed the delicate surgery to remove the tumour without disturbing the other glands and vital structures in the neck. Joel and Lucy monitored Woody to ensure his anaesthetic went smoothly. Catherine then placed a cannula into the jugular vein on the neck to allow regular blood sampling, and to give intravenous calcium if the levels dropped too low after surgery. This can be a life-threatening complication after this type of surgery (as the body adjusts to losing a very overactive hormone), so Woody would need very close monitoring over the coming weeks. Woody was able to go home on the same day as his surgery, and left with his tail still wagging!
Woody recovered well from his surgery and soon became used to his owner having to flush the catheter in his neck four times a day (a tricky task but one she coped with admirably), and to Kay taking daily blood samples. His calcium levels stabilised over 2 weeks and he was able to have his jugular cannula removed – much to his and his owner’s relief!
The tumour was sent off to the pathologists who reported that the tumour was benign so we all breathed a sigh of relief! Two weeks post-surgery and Woody has been showing energy levels that his owner hasn’t seen for around 6 months – he is back to being the dog he was, playing with toys and his friends. He also sent us an amazing cake (veterinary staff are like Labradors – the way to the heart is through the stomach)!
Our new design Blue House jute bags have arrived! Beat the carrier bag charge, be environmentally friendly and fit in lots of shopping. Free to all clients, new or old, with any purchase. Ask for yours at reception today! (One per customer, whilst stocks last).
Here is Shosh's cat Bagpuss inspecting his!