Rabbits and Fireworks

Keep your Rabbit happy on Bonfire Night and beyond with our top tips…

  • Give your rabbit lots of extra bedding so they can burrow down in it and get cosy. You could put a cardboard box full of hay, with holes cut in for easy access and exit, in their hutch to give them an extra place to hide.
  • Bring your rabbits’ hutch or cage indoors. A quiet room is best, but an unused garage or shed is a good alternative if you can’t bring them into your house.
  • If you can’t bring your pets inside, turn their enclosure around so it faces a wall or fence instead of the open garden. This will help to stifle the sound and prevent them from seeing the flashes of light. Cover their hutch with thick blankets or a duvet to block out the sound of the bangs and the sight of the fireworks, but make sure your pet still has enough ventilation.
  • If you have a house rabbit or you are able to bring your pet inside, draw the curtains or black out the windows to block out the flashes of light in the night sky.
  • Close the windows to muffle the sound from outside. Switching the TV or radio on might help too, but make sure it’s not too loud – especially if your rabbit isn’t used to noises from the television.
  • Rabbits are social animals so keep them with the companion they’re familiar with to limit the stress of firework phobia.

Tim Pearson, MRCVS end of year message

Dear clients

Thank you so much for being a part of our Orchard House Vets family in 2019.

We have such wonderful clients and a particular thanks to those who brought us gifts and Christmas cards over the last few weeks! During the busy holidays we always reflect on the year gone by. For us, it has been another busy year and 2020 promises to be more of the same. We have exciting developments in the pipeline, so watch this space!

We wish you, your pets and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!

Kind regards

Tim Pearson, MRCVS, Director.

RCVS Practice Standards Scheme

We are delighted to announce that each of our three branches have been awarded PSS accreditation by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeries. We ask our senior vet Jill Crawford the importance of this award.

How does a veterinary practice become PSS accredited?
The RCVS have a set of standards which we have to meet. They cover every single area of the practice, in considerable depth. There are 17 sections, each with multiple standards within it. Preparation is key, and takes several months prior to the actual inspection day. Additionally the practice can be ‘spot checked’ with only 24 hours advance notice, so it is important that those standards are maintained consistently.

Why is being PSS accredited so important?
We joined the scheme in 2007, shortly after it was launched, because we felt it was important that people should have the reassurance that an external inspection can bring. In some ways it’s like OFSTED for vets, although not yet compulsory! We think it’s a good way of showing that everything is done to the highest standards, ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. It can be a very stressful time bringing your family pet to the vets and we hope it reassures pet owners to know that a practice has been rigorously inspected. It also ensures that all our staff are aware of the standards which are required, whether they’ve been with us for years, or have just joined the Orchard House ‘family’.

What does it mean to the practice and to our clients that we are PSS accredited?
It’s quite a nerve racking experience preparing for the inspection, as we want to make a good impression, and every member of staff is involved, both our clinical team of vets and veterinary nurses and our admin team of receptionists, branch co-ordinators and practice manager. I think it really draws us all together to ensure we work well as a team. For our clients, I hope, it helps them to feel that their pet is coming to a practice where all the staff are working to the highest professional standards.

 

2019 Star Of The Year

Orchard House Vets Star Of The Year 2019

Every pet under our care is a star in our eyes, however this year we wanted to award a “star of the year” for 2019, and Wilbur instantly came to mind.

Gentle giant, Wilbur, came to see Tim Pearson, MRCVS in 2018 with a slight limp. Tim had a high suspicion that it wasn’t just a strain or sprain. X rays showed a slight “smudge” on the bone of his forearm. Wilbur had a three dimensional X ray, a CT, and was diagnosed with a bone cancer. Jonathan Deacon at Moorview Referrals used a 3D-modelled titanium alloy bone to replace the bone in Wilbur’s forearm. Twelve months later Wilbur is still in remission. Early diagnosis and cutting edge orthopaedic surgery have given him an extra years of happy life with his family.

At the beginning of the year, Wilbur also starred in Graham’s video for the national veterinary awards, he was in the practice for 2 hours being filmed from every angle, which given his giant size, was many angles! We fondly remember when the videographers asked what a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was and summing up our description as “ah, like a fluffy labrador”. You can image the look of surprise on their faces when a 65kg “fluffy Labrador” walked through the door!

At the awards ceremony, when Wilbur appeared on screen, a room full of Veterinary surgeons, Registered Veterinary Nurses and Veterinary support staff all gasped in amazement over his beauty and of course his size! We, as a practice, were incredibly grateful for Wilbur’s mum to take time out of her day to bring him in, and of course for Wilbur to be so patient.

He is such a deserving Orchard House Vets “Star of the year” and we wish him a happy and healthy 2020!

 

Christmas present and red baubles.

Hexham Christmas Opening Hours

Festive opening hours

December 23rd      8.30am to 6.30pm

December 24th     8.30am to 1pm

December 25th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 26th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 27th    8.30am to 6.30pm

December 28th   9am to 1pm

December 29th   Closed (Emergencies only)

December 30th   8.30am to 6.30pm

December 31st    8.30am to 5pm

January 1st          Closed (Emergencies only)

 

Christmas present and red baubles.

Stocksfield Christmas Opening Hours

Festive opening hours

December 23rd      8.30am to 6.30pm

December 24th     8.30am to 1pm

December 25th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 26th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 27th    8.30am to 6.30pm

December 28th   12pm to 3.30pm

December 29th   Closed (Emergencies only)

December 30th   8.30am to 6.30pm

December 31st    8.30am to 5pm

January 1st          Closed (Emergencies only)

Christmas present and red baubles.

Bellingham Christmas Opening Hours

Festive opening hours

December 23rd      8.30am to 6.00pm

December 24th     8.30am to 1pm

December 25th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 26th    Closed (Emergencies only)

December 27th    8.30am to 6.00pm

December 28th   Closed (Emergencies only)

December 29th   Closed (Emergencies only)

December 30th   8.30am to 6.00pm

December 31st    8.30am to 5pm

January 1st          Closed (Emergencies only)

12 Day(ngers) of Christmas – Day 12

Dog

On the 12th day of Christmas, my owner happily gave to me …

Which Christmas leftovers can I give my dog?

Providing your Dog is healthy and is not allergic to the following foods, these are safe to give them a titbit of at Christmas:

  • Turkey meat (no skin or bones)
  • Salmon (fillets or cooked in spring water are preferable to smoked salmon)
  • Lamb meat (no bones)
  • Scrambled egg
  • Green beans
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Parsnips
  • Carrot
  • Peas
  • Swede
  • Mash potato (best without additional butter)
  • New potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yogurt (but check the ingredients and don’t feed if xylitol is listed as this is toxic to dogs)

Cat

On the 12th day of Christmas, my owner happily gave to me …

Providing your Cat is healthy and not allergic to the following foods, these are safe to give them a little bit at Christmas:

  • Skinless Chicken (The best!)
  • Cooked or steamed
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Tuna
  • Salmon

 

Rabbit

On the 12th day of Christmas, my owner happily gave to me …

Weeds such as dandelions always go down well, and a handful of fresh grass sprinkled in with their hay is delicious too.

Ideally, just give them a nibble more of their favourite food or suitable snacks! Very small quantities of fruits are okay too.

 

12 Day(ngers) of Christmas – Day 11

Dog

On the 11th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Other hazards

Silica gel

Silica gel comes in small sachets and is often found in the packaging of new shoes, handbags, cameras or electrical equipment which we unwrap over Christmas. Although it is labelled “Do not Eat” it is considered to be of low toxicity.

Candles

Although candles, even scented ones, are considered to be of low toxicity, ingestion could potentially block the intestine or cause choking.

Potpourri

When eaten, potpourri can cause significant gastrointestinal effects in dogs. These may last several days even after the material has passed through the gut.

Cigarettes

Nicotine is toxic to dogs, and cigarette butts are especially dangerous – so it’s important not to leave any ashtrays in reach of dogs over Christmas, or dropped on the floor where they may eat them. Nicotine replacement patches and e-cigarette refills can also pose a risk. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, excess saliva and hypertension.

 

Cats

On the 11th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Batteries

Ingestion of batteries is common at this time of year.  If the battery is chewed and pierced it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. If swallowed whole it can also lead to an obstruction.

All batteries are potentially toxic so if you suspect your cat has chewed or swallowed one speak to your vet

 

Rabbits

On the 11th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Chocolate and sweets

It’s important to keep chocolate out of reach of your rabbit. If your rabbit only eats a small piece then you could be lucky and no harm may come of it. But if your rabbit eats a large amount of chocolate, then this could be quite serious and result in an emergency visit to the vets. Sugary sweets are also bad for rabbits and if left out may cause harm, alongside this if the wrappers are eaten they can cause issues.

12 Day(ngers) of Christmas – Day 10

Dog

On the 10th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Christmas decorations

Decorations made of plastic, paper or foil are of low toxicity although may obstruct the stomach. Glass decorations could pose a risk if chewed or swallowed.

Wrapping or crepe paper

Ingestion may cause staining in the mouth which may look alarming, but the toxicity is considered to be low. But if your dog eats a large amount, it may cause an obstruction to the stomach.

 

Cat

On the 10th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Paracetamol

Cats are extremely sensitive to paracetamol toxicity. The feline toxic dose is 50 to 100 mg/kg. One regular strength tablet may be toxic to a cat, and a second ingested 24 hours later may be lethal. The signs of toxicity are brown gums, difficulty breathing, blood in the urine, jaundice and swelling.

 

Rabbit

On the 10th day of Christmas, my owner accidentally gave to me … 

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a risk for rabbits in winter. It occurs when the body temperature falls below normal (38.5-40°C). This can be even more dangerous than a fever. Rabbits suffering from hypothermia will become lethargic and their extremities, such as their ears and paws, will look pale and feel cool to the touch.