Dog and cat using a laptop.

Video Consultations

Starting 1st April 2020 we will be offering video consultations during COVID-19 for the vulnerable people in our community but also anyone who feels more comfortable having a consultation at home due to COVID-19 fears.

We have a FAQ and step by step guide on how to use this service. At the moment, we are asking clients to call us to arrange this service and to allow at least half an hour to book this appointment. Consulting times are 2pm to 3.15pm and that is Monday to Friday.


Can anyone use this service?

We are still only able to offer appointments for emergency or urgent appointments. A video consultation is a great way to visually examine your pet but of course there are limitations to what the vet can do. That is why we are recommending you call us so we can advise if a video consult is the best option.

Is this service free?

Our ambulance delivery service is completely free but unfortunately we cannot offer this video consulting service for free. We are charging our usual consultation price plus an additional fee to cover the cost of what we are charged. Consultations are 15 minutes and are £37.00.

How long does it take to register and how do I do it?

If we recommend a video consultation, we have steps below which we advise you read through for reference. It takes around 5 minutes in total and it is a combination of a telephone call and then email. In the first instance, you will be sent an email whilst on the phone to us prompting you to make an account. Once you have done this and confirmed, our team will leave you to finish your registration and they can make your appointment. Please see the guide below, it explains everything!

How to:

It couldn’t be simpler to sign up to our video consultations

Step 1 – call the practice to make your video consultation – a consultation time will be arranged between you and our team.

Step 2 – You will be asked your email address and pets name to register

Step 3 – Whilst on the phone to our team, check your email for the email to register

Step 4 – You will need to enter your name, phone number and create a password.

Step 5 – You will be sent a confirmation code via email which you must enter, as prompted.

At this point, please advise our team you have made your account. They will now leave you to it!

Step 6 – Complete your profile, you start by adding your pet!

Step 7 – You will need your pets name, date of birth, their species and their breed. You can even add a lovely photo!

By the time you have done this, our team will have booked your appointment with the vet!

Step 8 – Check your email for the booking confirmation from our vets

Step 9 – Confirm the booking through the link provided, you will then be prompted to pay.

Step 10 – Once payment is confirmed, you will be reminded 5 minutes before your consultation begins. Remember – you must be on a device with a camera and microphone. A smartphone or tablet is best but this can be done on a laptop.

Orchard House Vets van.

Essential medication and food delivery to high risk clients




We will be utilising our ambulance to provide a weekly delivery of essential pet medication and food to the most vulnerable clients in our community. We will be providing this service completely free of charge


Who does this service apply to?

We are ONLY offering this service to clients who are high risk or vulnerable and unable to leave the home. If you have family, friends or neighbours who may be able to collect your medication, please ask them to come to the surgery and call us on 01434 607677 when they arrive, staff will instruct them on what to do.


I am not high risk or vulnerable but am self isolating because I care for some who is, can I use this service?

Yes, following protocol and previously given information.


I am self isolating but not high risk, vulnerable or a key worker, can I use this service?

In short, no. We are reserving this only for those who are at most risk. This service is manned by only one member of staff who has volunteered their free time to do this for us. We recommend those self isolating that are not high risk to use the Royal Mail, as long as the post office remains open we will be able to post your medication. For food items, we would recommend asking family or a friend. If you have no other option, please call us and explain your situation and we will try our very best for you but at this moment in time we have to prioritise emergency appointments, surgeries and the highest risk clients.


I am a key worker, can I use this service?



I am one of the eligible reasons for delivery stated above. How do I organise delivery?

Please email us providing your full name, pets name, full address and a contact number. Please include your requested food or medication. A member of our team will give you a call back and you will be “screened” by our wonderful staff who will ask a few questions to see if we can deliver for you or if posting your items may be more suitable. They will confirm everything for you but please be patient, we have very limited staff who are working non stop. Please ensure you place your order no later than 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon.


I am not eligible for delivery, what are my options and how do I order?

Please email to place your medication or food order. If you wish for this to be posted to you, please include this in your email. You will be charged postage and currently we recommend you allow 7 days for medication to reach you. We aim to post first class within 24 hours of your request. If you are able to collect your items from the surgery, please call us to advise you are coming to collect your medication or food, if you have not paid then at this point you will be asked to. Please then call when you are in our car park. We will bring your item out to you.


Can I thank your “delivery drivers”?

Please do feel free to give a wave at the window, give us an email or if you are on social media, leave a review or message mentioning them, this is the best way to communicate as we can pass your message on! We would strongly advise against any contact for both your safety and our staff.


Who will be delivering my items?

Hexham and Stocksfield clients, your delivery driver is our Assistant Practice Manager – Graham Skelton.
Bellingham clients, your delivery driver is our Registered Veterinary Nurse and Bellingham resident – Nalda Ferguson.
Graham will be using our practice ambulance but Nalda be using a Blue RAV 4 so please be aware this will be Nalda pulling up outside your home!


Do I have to pay before delivery?

Yes. Delivery is free but you must pay for your medication or food before we deliver. You will not be able to pay when placing your order as the vet must dispense your medication, you should be able to pay for food when ordering. A member of the team will call you back for payment or as soon as they possibly can.


What precautions are Orchard House Vets taking and what information should I know?

We are following government guidelines and advise you do the same. Ensure no-one comes to greet our staff, ensure pets are inside your home or secure from our staff. Please do not leave any kind items like chocolates or cards for our staff, as grateful as we are, these could become a health risk to our staff. (Feel free to keep them in reserve for a later date!) Our staff will be wearing appropriate PPE for each delivery. All medications and food will be kept separate and after each delivery, our staff will take the correct precautions before the next delivery.


Can I order in bulk?

Under RCVS guidelines, we have legal limitations on how much we can dispense to one client and this will be explained when you order your medication. Whilst food can be bulk bought, we need to ensure all our clients have access to food so will limit where we feel we must.

Finally – we are so grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we have received in these ever changing, unpredictable times. Whilst we never turn chocolate away please kindly do not try to say thank you this way for the time being. If you would like to show your appreciation, we would ask you leave reviews for others so they know what we have done for you and what we are about. We are on all platforms but Facebook and Google are the most popular choices! Thank you for your understanding and we encourage clients to email us on if you have any non urgent queries or a query regarding delivery.

Veterinary team .

Covid-19 important statement

Awards winners.

Paws For Thought – Spring Petcare Roundup

White dog sat in a fieldSpring is here at last! 

At least, it’s close enough around the corner for us to get excited by the prospect of brighter weather and longer walks in the woods with our four-legged friends.

As the days get longer, the sap rises and the leaves get greener, we reckon it’s the perfect time for a roundup blog with exciting news on seasonal pet health issues, surgery services and special events and campaigns which will make March 2020 a month to remember.

Let’s get cracking! 

Pet Theft Awareness Week (14 – 21 March)

Each year, Pet Theft Awareness Week aims to spread the word on the budgie burglars, rabbit raiders, canine crooks and feline fraudsters that spread misery by pilfering pets from their happy homes.

Held between 14-21 March, this year’s campaign materials make for miserable reading, but they’re worth taking note of if you don’t want to see your beloved animal swiped, stuffed in a swag bag and sold on to someone who doesn’t know how to love or care for them appropriately. 

Pet theft is more common than you might think – figures from the police reveal 5-6 dogs are stolen every day in England and Wales. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because figures for ‘Theft by Finding’ are never included in official statistics and this could compound the problem even further. 

Remember that pet theft is a martini crime – it can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere and dogs and other animals are stolen from gardens, houses, parks, kennels, outside shops and cars 24/7. Nowhere is safe and thieves are shameless. 

Furthermore, any breed can be targeted, but designer toy breeds and gun dogs are particularly attractive to sticky-fingered criminals. Incredibly, thieves even steal entire litters of puppies – causing untold heartbreak to the mother and her human carers.

Reward or ransom for return can be demanded, but most dogs are sold on to unsuspecting new owners, with some being used for breeding and worse, dog fighting. 

And although compulsory microchips mean dog owners can be traced, these devices aren’t in dogs GPS trackers. You can buy specific collars with integrated GPS which reveals your pet’s activity, but the following tips could stop your pet falling into the wrong hands in the first place – when it comes to pet theft, prevention is better than cure.

  • Don’t leave your dog outside a shop or supermarket
  • Don’t let your dog out of sight when it’s exercising
  • Never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle
  • Make sure your garden, house and outside kennels are secure.
  • Regularly check gates and security lighting
  • Be careful who can see your pet’s photos on social media – make your account settings as private as possible.
  • Change your routine regularly – unpredictability makes you and your pet tougher for crooks to track.

Follow these tips and you can look forward to keeping your pet at the heart of your family for years to come – forewarned is forearmed!

National puppy dayVet is hugging a puppy

Wet noses, fab furry coats and cheeky personalities combine to possibly make puppies the most adorable denizens of the domestic animal kingdom.

So National Puppy Day on March 23rd is the perfect excuse (as if you need one) to celebrate everything that’s amazing about the junior canine in your family.

But did you know that we offer FREE puppy health checks? They’re always conducted by one of our vets and you’ll also be offered 4 weeks free pet insurance with Pet Plan. 

We’re also always happy to enrol you in our Well Pet Club, which spreads the cost of your pet’s booster vaccination, preventative health care and nurse clinics (nail clips, anal glands), as well as exclusive member benefits.

Did you know?

Did you know that we can check your pet’s microchip details for you? 

We offer this super service completely free and it only takes 5 minutes. 

Here’s how it works:

  • We scan your pet, enter their details into the national identibase and confirm that

 your details are correct. This ensures that our internal records match with those held by authorities.

  • Call us, email or pop in while you’re passing and ask if we can squeeze in a pet scan there and then or arrange one ASAP. If your pet was to go missing and your details were wrong, it is significantly more difficult to find you – this is a stitch in time that prevents untold heartache.

Having the following info on your mobile can fast-track finding your missing pet:

  • A clear photo of your pet, showing any distinguishing markings.
  • Your pet’s microchip number (If you don’t know this, just ask! As we’ve explained, scanning is swift and simple).
  • Local Animal Warden’s phone number.
  • Your vet’s phone number
  • Your dog’s microchip database phone number.

We’re not in the scaremongering business at Orchard House Vets – we’re sharing this advice with our customers because it’s our business to care about animals as much as you do. 

And if there’s anything we’ve missed, please let us know – we encourage all of our client community to share ideas and tips and we’ll publish the best in our blog.

Flea and Ticks

April isn’t just about Easter eggs and cute bunnies – unfortunately it’s also when we see a spike in flea and tick activity. Dog with a tick.

But luckily for you and your pet, we provide the very best flea and tick treatment – and with our Well Pet Club, you can spread the cost over 12 months.

Fleas can lay up to 1,500 eggs in their short lifetime (which ranges from 14 days to 12 months), they enter your house various ways and don’t even have to directly attach to your pet – they can simply be attached to your clothes!

Ticks are also rife at this time of year and we have already seen a number of pets presenting with them.

If you’re a member of our Well Pet Club and see a tick on your pet, pop into the surgery and a nurse will remove this for you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail – yet another great membership perk.

Ticks can cause serious health problems – it’s well documented by organisations like RSPCA that they can cause Lyme disease and that’s why it’s so important to keep up to date with preventative treatments.

National veterinary awards.

National Veterinary Awards

You may remember last year that our Student Vet Nurse Zoe Pickering and our Assistant Practice Manager Graham Skelton were both finalists in the prestigious national veterinary awards.

We’ll soon hear if we have any finalists for 2020 but regardless, we are overwhelmed at the number of nominations we have received this year – 20 in all, which beats our previous practice record of 19.

Thank you so much for your nominations and fingers, toes and paws crossed that we can report more finalists for 2020 soon!

Final thought

Remember that you can book a pet care appointment online – if you’re on the move, it’s often more convenient than calling and takes a few seconds to complete.

Whew! That’s all the news from the pet health frontline here at the moment, but we can’t wait to catch up with you all again soon.

Need to chat about any pet health issues? Contact Us today!

Dog covering it's nose with it's paw.

Coronavirus in dogs

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!

This is just a brief message to reassure you that the alarmist headlines in some of the newspapers this weekend are just that, alarmist. There is no evidence that dogs transmit the Covid-19 virus.
A dog in Hong Kong belonging to an owner with the infection had the virus in its nose and mouth. It had no symptoms. It probably licked up or sniffed its owner’s sneeze – you know what dogs are like!
For proper, informed information on Covid-19 and your pets, go to the WHO website or WSAVA. 
Be informed. Feel free to telephone the practice if you have any concerns. And wash those hands!
Tim Pearson, MRCVS