Orchard House Vets research

NOMV – Not One More Vet

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Laparoscopic keyhole spay 2021

“I would highly recommend this procedure for spaying your animals, as my dogs were almost back to normal with no signs of any pain within a couple of days.” – Miss Irving.

We are pleased to announce that we offer Laparoscopic keyhole spay clinics at our Hexham surgery. Our popular monthly service which began in 2020 made us realise how many of our wonderful clients would prefer a Laparoscopic keyhole spay rather than the traditional method.


The following dates are available:

February 3rd
March 3rd
April 7th
May 12th
June 2nd

A laparoscopic spay or neuter is an alternative to the traditional method. It is less invasive and allows faster recovery time.

To learn more about Laparoscopic keyhole spays please click here.

The cost for this procedure is £495.00 for any size of bitch. This includes a post-operative check up (worth £37.20) and is inclusive of medication (ie painkillers). If you are a Well Pet Club member, or indeed if you sign up to our Well Pet Club before your pet’s procedure, you will save 10% (£49.50).

If you are interested in your pet having a Laparoscopic keyhole spay, please book an appointment to see your vet or give your local surgery a call.

Alternatively, please email admin@orchardhousevets.com and we will answer any queries you may have.

Your pet’s first visit to the vet

Once you get your newly adopted pet home and start to get them settled, it’s time to get them in for a wellness exam at the veterinarian. Ideally, this happens within the first week of coming home. This visit is a great time to help your dog or cat have positive associations with trips to the vet so they don’t develop life-long fears.

Not only does this help to establish a positive association with the veterinary practice, but your veterinarian will check to ensure your newly adopted pet is healthy. They’ll establish a health baseline, which helps them to monitor your pet’s health and alert them early if something goes wrong.

What to expect at your pet’s first vet visit

The first visit is different than future visits because your veterinarian will take time to get to know your pet’s medical history, do a more thorough examination to help establish your adopted pet’s normal, and discuss ways to keep them healthy.

Review of medical records. Medical records can help alert your veterinarian to any preexisting conditions that your pet has, and any care that they have received before. Remember to bring their records to the visit if you have them!

Thorough physical exam. Your veterinarian will check your cat or dog’s eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and a whole bunch more. This helps to make sure your pet is healthy and establishes what’s normal for your pet. Because every pet is unique, this baseline will help with future vet visits, often saving you time and money.

Lifestyle discussion. Your vet will likely talk to you about your new pet, how best to take care of them, and how to integrate them into your home. This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have about your new dog or cat. Write them down before your appointment to make sure you don’t forget anything!

Parasite prevention. Preventing fleas, ticks, heartworms, and internal parasites will help to keep your pet healthy. Your veterinarian will recommend a parasite prevention protocol, which may include oral medication, injections, or topical applications.

Diagnostic testing. Your veterinarian may want to test your pet’s stool for evidence of intestinal parasites like worms, coccidia, and Giardia. Veterinary staff will let you know if you should bring a stool sample to the appointment. Typically a sample the size of your thumb is enough.

Vaccines. Depending on what vaccinations your pet received before getting adopted, your veterinarian may recommend additional vaccines to protect them from disease.

Spay or neuter discussion. If your pet wasn’t neutered at the rescue or shelter, or if they are too young, your veterinarian may discuss when to schedule the procedure.

First puppy vet visit

A puppy’s first vet visit may also include discussion about socialization and training in addition to the general items above.

Vaccine schedule. Depending on your puppy’s age and how many rounds of shots they’ve already received, your veterinarian will provide a schedule of remaining puppy shots they’ll need to keep them healthy.

Socialization discussion. Socialization is so important for your puppy to grow into a confident dog. Your veterinarian may talk with you about puppy socialization classes or give you ideas of things to expose your puppy to (like people, vacuums, floor surfaces, etc.) during their crucial imprint period.

Training discussion. Your veterinarian may talk about the important skills for your puppy to learn or offer suggestions for classes and dog trainers you can work with.

First kitten vet visit

The first kitten vet visit is a great time to start desensitizing them to their carrier and helping them have a positive experience at the vet practice. This visit may also include kitten-specific items in addition to the general list above:

Vaccines. Depending on your kitten’s age and how many rounds of shots they’ve already received, your veterinarian will provide a schedule of remaining vaccines they’ll need to keep them healthy.

Blood tests. If your kitten wasn’t previously tested for FeLV (feline leukemia virus) or FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), a feline retrovirus blood test will likely be recommended.

Socialization discussion. Your veterinarian may offer suggestions on how to socialize your kitten to new people, animals, and environments.

What’s coming in 2021 at Orchard House Vets?

2020 has been a strange year for everyone, that is for sure!

We hope 2021 will resemble something closer to “normal” and we want to share with you our exciting plans for 2021, including exclusive offers and monthly events!

So, what’s coming in 2021?

  • 12 months, 12 offers – that is right! Save money every month on procedures, consultations, nurse clinics, products and more!
  • Home delivery service for preventative treatment through our Well Pet Club! Not only can you save up to £120 a year through our Well Pet Club, coming very soon we will be able to offer a home delivery service!
  • Online repeat prescription requests! We understand that many of us lead such busy lives and it is often 9pm before we get to sit down and then realise we forgot to order “poppy’s” medication! Well, coming soon we will be able to offer online prescription requests (please allow 48 hours for your medication to be ready to collect)
  • Exciting in house advances! Our veterinary surgeon Dr Alex Hirst is making great progress in gaining his Orthopedic certificate which will mean we can take on more complex surgeries!
  • We will soon be able to offer daily Laparoscopic keyhole surgeries! Our popular monthly surgery will soon become a daily surgery. We know this is great news for many as this popular surgery has grown and grown over the last 12 months!
  • Tails and tales – our monthly blog and newsletter will be launching in January and we are very excited! If you are not signed up to our mailing list, we would highly recommend you do so! Next time you call us, ask to receive “marketing” emails, or if it is easier, then please fill in our form

Make sure to sign up to our newsletter or as ever, keep checking our Facebook page!


Here’s to 2021….

Kitten reaching out to a dog.

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Veterinary Receptionists

Anyone who has ever worked in a Veterinary practice will testify that Veterinary receptionists are the glue that holds the practice together. They are the first voice a client hears, they are also the first face the client see’s as they walk through the door. That contact could be for a number of reasons and Veterinary receptionists are so versatile and provide the first line of care and comfort for all kinds of situations. Be it a very serious emergency and comforting a client who is understandably hysteric, to welcoming a puppy or kitten into the practice with cuddles.

We shout from the rooftops about how incredible our receptionists are and we get so much good feedback from our clients. So, what do veterinary receptionists do? We welcome you into the rewarding world of the Veterinary receptionist and give you an insight into a typical day! (Please note – we made this news article before Covid-19, our practices are currently not allowing clients into the building)

I started my shift at 8am and prioritised having the kettle boiled for the rest of the staff coming in! Next, I have to make sure our till is correct and the reception area is tidy for the first appointment at 8.30am. I then go through to see if the nursing team need any help with our medication order, or if I can set the consulting room ready for the Veterinary Surgeon. Once everything is ready to go, we open the door to the first client and welcome their pet into the practice!

By 9am, I have taken 25 phone calls which included a query on insurance, making appointments, a query regarding a passport and a serious emergency. This may seem like a varied morning but it is quite normal. By 11am, I have seen 15 clients and now have 8 insurance claim forms to submit!

We had a new client with their very nervous dog come in to the practice at 11.30am. I got cover for the reception desk and sat with the lovely dog, I even brought a few treats with me. I sat for around 10 minutes with treats in my hand and talked to the client about how they are finding a new dog, why is the lovely dog nervous and generally comforting them, as it can be equally stressful for a client if they have an anxious dog. After 10 minutes, the lovely dog came over and offered me a paw for the treats that he had been sniffing out. I gave him one treat and that seemed to spark a “best friend reaction”. He then wouldn’t leave me alone! I don’t know if I am a dog whisperer, or if they were just seriously good treats! I am happy, the client is also happy and hopefully next time the lovely boy will happily walk in and see us. If not, no problem – he can have another few treats and some time to settle in with us!

Our emergency has unfortunately turned fairly serious and we must refer her to a 24 hour care centre in Newcastle. My task is now to complete the admin work for a referral using an online portal and then liasing with the referral centre to confirm E.T.A. I have printed off directions and an insurance claim form for the client to take with them. I hope everything is okay!

1.30pm – Lunch! Not as exciting as it seems, I think I have a cheese sandwich and an apple..

3.30pm – We start consulting again and I am super excited because we have 8 puppies coming in for their first vaccination and at the same time we have a kitten and a puppy from the same household! They are joining the Well Pet Club, so I will have to remember the various amounts of benefits they get and also fill in the digital paperwork for them! The best part is when they need to read the declaration, 9 times out of 10 that means I “have to” hold their puppy or kitten 😀

6pm – Nothing but routine appointments this afternoon. 86 phone calls for me today and 22 emails! It has been fairly busy and I have just finished my 13 insurance claims Now it is time to close and get everything ready for the next day!

6.15pm – I spoke too soon! A poorly cat is coming down, so I am going to stay as we only have a vet and a nurse left and they may need some help, at least with cleaning!

7.25pm – The lovely cat is comfortable and we have just finished cleaning. Time for home!


There we have it! Tomorrow will be very different for our Veterinary receptionists, as will the next day. And as always, they will do it with a smile on their face and comfort in their voice. Veterinary receptionists – We salute you!


Kennel Cough

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is an airway infection that causes a dry hacking cough in dogs. Similar to human flu, kennel cough can be caused by a number of different germs (viruses and bacteria). It’s most common in areas where lots of different dogs gather (such as walks, kennels and dog events) and can survive in the environment for several weeks. Kennel cough spreads by direct contact between dogs, in the air and on surfaces (such as food bowls and leads). Dogs with kennel cough should be kept away from other dogs and public spaces while they are coughing, and for two to three weeks afterwards.

Coughing is the most common symptom of kennel cough, but in more severe cases, it can cause symptoms such as a high temperature or a reduced appetite.

Symptoms of kennel cough
Symptoms of kennel cough usually take 3-14 days to develop and then last for 1-3 weeks. Most dogs develop a hacking cough and stay otherwise quite well, but puppies, older dogs, and poorly dogs can develop more serious symptoms such as:

  • A reduced appetite
  • Low energy (lethargy)
  • A high temperature (fever).
  • Illustration showing spread of kennel cough
  • Kennel cough is highly contagious and can spread in the air. Click to enlarge.

When to contact your vet
There are many different conditions that can cause coughing so it’s a good idea to have your dog checked by your vet if they have a severe cough or have been coughing for more than a few days. We have to follow strict protocols when we suspect a pet has Kennel Cough but you will be advised of this when calling to make your appointment.

How much does the vaccine cost? 

Firstly, it is not a “vaccination”. We can administer and oral solution or a nasal spray, depending upon what your dog may tolerate better. For members of our Well Pet Club, the cost is £28.01. For non members the cost is £35.00. Just like the booster vaccination, your dog will be protected for 12 months.