Rainbow dog paw.


In response to the UK Government extension of the Coronavirus “lock-down”, vets have had new guidance from The British Veterinary Association and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons regarding the patients we should now see as “urgent”.
We have been told that we can now start new Primary Vaccination courses in Cats, Dogs and Rabbits. We should also carry out the First annual vaccination (i.e. at 15 months old) in Cats, Dogs and Rabbits on time.
It has been recommended that dogs due Leptospirosis vaccination should be vaccinated and can have other core vaccinations (Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis) at the same time. Rabbits should be vaccinated for Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease as these are an immediate seasonal risk. Cats can receive annual booster vaccinations if approaching 15 months since their last vaccination. Rabies
vaccinations can also be given. In accordance with the guidance we will start sending you reminders for due vaccinations.
With most cases we are instructed to assess whether a pet should be seen during a telephone or video consultation. We want to ensure that pets are seen when they should be.
Sometimes we may be able prescribe medicines without a physical examination. Always telephone the practice for advice as to whether your pet should be seen.
There are still a few non-essential things that we are instructed not to do: six monthly healthy pet consultations, weight checks, routine nail clips, kennel cough vaccinations and puppy parties.
We will continue to use telephone and video consulting where we can, take payments over the phone and post out medicines to reduce the need for clients to come to the surgery in Hexham. And we are still offering weekly delivery of prescription foods etc. to clients who cannot get to the surgery.
Orchard House remain committed to maintaining the health and welfare of your pets, but we are working to social distancing guidance for our clients and staff to help protect our
NHS and save lives.
Stay safe.
Tim Pearson
Vet and Clinical Director

Easter Dangers For Your Cat

Are Lilies Poisonous to Cats?

Easter lilies are extremely poisonous to cats, and just 1-2 leaves (or even the pollen) can kill a cat! Even small ingestion’s can result in severe kidney failure.

Just 2-3 leaves, or even the pollen groomed off the fur, can result in poisoning in a cat. If untreated, acute kidney failure will develop and be fatal. Thankfully, lily poisoning doesn’t cause kidney failure in dogs, but if a large amount is ingested, it can result in some gastrointestinal signs in our canine friends.


Symptoms of poisoning often develop within 6-12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, inappetance, lethargy, and dehydration. Untreated, signs worsen as acute kidney failure develops, and signs of not urinating or urinating too frequently, not drinking or excessive thirst, and inflammation of the pancreas may be seen with lily poisoning. Rarer signs include walking drunk, disorientation, tremors, and even seizures.


There is not “antidote” for lily poisoning. That said, prompt veterinary attention is necessary. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning.

Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving drugs like activated charcoal to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis. IV fluids need to be started, ideally, within 18 hours for the best prognosis for your cat.

If you suspect your cat has eaten a lily, call us immediately on 01434 607677. Time is critical so even if you only suspect your cat has eaten a Lily, call us for advice.

Close up of a cat.

Cats and Coronavirus

This morning the President of the British Veterinary Association has recommended that cat owners keep their cats indoors all the time. There is a tiny risk that Covid-19 could be spread on a cat’s fur if an owner had the infection.

The BVA have released a statement since, which you can find here. The article clarifies that cats from an infected household should be kept indoors. The original article has caused much panic among cat owners and media headlines state all cats should be kept indoors. We urge you to read the BVA statement and read Tim’s advice below.

There is the risk that cats forced to stay indoors can get very stressed, leading to urinary tract and other illness.

Whilst the advice could be sensible in city cats which may be more “shared” between households, the risks in this area would be significantly lower.

The best advice is to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any pet, and don’t stroke other people’s cats or dogs.

The risk of catching Covid-19 is much much higher from other people, and from things people touch. Unless you own a bat or a pangolin, please don’t panic!

Stay safe.


Veterinary team .

COVID-19 update

Hello fellow lock-downers.

The Government have designated veterinary care as an essential service. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Surgeons have given us some guidance on what patients we should and should not see here.

I thought that it might be useful to share this with our clients.

We are not permitted to see pets for booster vaccinations, Well Pet Club six-monthly health checks, nail clips, weight checks or non-urgent investigations. We have also been told not to start puppy or kitten vaccination courses but we can give second vaccinations where a course has been started.

The recommendations may change if lock-down is prolonged beyond the initial 3 weeks. We can note on our records to contact you after the restrictions are lifted – please call or email if you would like to be on the list. We will contact owners of pets needing their vaccinations as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

For many cases we are advised to conduct telephone or video telemedicine consultations. We are, temporarily, permitted to prescribe medicines after such a “non-contact” consultation. Examples where this is appropriate include: mild trauma (such as a torn nail), skin and ear problems, post-operative checks, medication checks, small wounds, lameness or lumps. In some cases the vet will recommend that the pet should be seen and we will arrange for an examination at the Hexham surgery.

There are some cases where we will always want to physically examine and treat the pet. These cases include: severe trauma, seizures, significant bleeding, difficulty breathing, a persistent cough, retching, vomiting or diarrhoea associated with being unwell, straining to poo or wee, toxin ingestion, and ongoing treatment for Diabetes or Addison’s disease.

In short, if in doubt then please telephone the practice for advice. We would always prefer a telephone call than to not be asked for advice or not see a pet and have their health deteriorate.

Stay well… and we will help your pets stay well!

Tim Pearson, Vet and Clinical Director, Orchard House Vets