April

National Pet Month 

1 April to 7 May 2018 is National Pet Month when animal welfare charities, professional bodies and other interested parties come together to celebrate the joy of pet ownership.  We hope this photo of our many and varied animals belonging to the staff at EVR gives some idea of how much we love our pets.  Click here for more information on national events. 













March

World Glaucoma Awareness Week

As we start World Glaucoma Awareness Week, let us remember that cats and dogs can suffer from glaucoma as well, but there are a few important differences between us and our pets.   Firstly, while as humans we can detect early changes to our vision (blurred or tunnel vision, presence of halos etc) and a strong headache will generally prompt us to seek medical attention, our pets cannot tell us that their vision is poor.  Sadly, by the time we detect a problem it is sometimes too late, as it only takes a few days of persistently high pressure to irreversibly compromise vision. 
There are many causes of glaucoma but the primary form is inherited in certain dog breeds such as the Basset Hound, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel and many other breeds. For reference to the most common breeds follow this link.

Animal Health Trust        

Early intervention is key to any attempt to preserve vision, so if you have a breed known to be susceptible to glaucoma that suddenly displays symptoms of ocular redness with an opaque cornea, or is dull and off colour and appears to have poor vision, you should seek urgent veterinary attention with your local GP vet.


January 2018

PRA

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, spring in the air, and bitches coming into season, you may be turning your thoughts to breeding your dog! A lovely litter of puppies is an absolute delight and at EVR we have the pleasure of seeing litters for eye checks on a regular basis, but it is wise to spend some time researching and testing for genetic disorders.

One of the inheritable conditions we see here at EVR is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) which exists in various forms, but is a condition where the retina (light detecting layer at the back of the eye) degenerates in early adulthood, leaving the dog blind.  Dogs confirmed as having a form of PRA should not be bred from, as this condition is passed on genetically. PRA can be tested for – a simple & cost effective swab taken at home from inside your dogs’ cheek can be sent for testing, and confirm whether your dog is a carrier or genetically clear – particularly important if you are planning to breed from them.

Whatever your breed, there are diseases that can affect them – research is key and the Kennel Club has a wealth of information.  If you are looking to purchase a puppy, it is wise to research and ask for evidence of testing of the parents prior to agreeing to buy. It can save the considerable heartache of seeing your dog develop an avoidable disease.

For further information, the following links to the Kennel Club & Animal Health Trust (testing lab) are useful:


Kennel Club                                               DNA Testing 




December 2017

‘The future is female’

The title for this news update comes for the November 2017 edition of the ‘Vet Record’ publication which explains that the vet workforce has moved from a male dominated profession to a female one.  At Elham Valley Referrals that is certainly the case – everyone who works here is female!  Furthermore two of our staff have recently gained new qualifications and we thought we would share their success with you.

Anna has recently upgraded her current certificate to a Post Graduate Certificate in Small Animal Ophthalmology which means that she is eligible to apply for Advance Practitioner Status from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.  We are excitedly awaiting the outcome of her application and confidently expect Anna to receive this highest level of certification early in the New Year. 

Danielle studied for a year to achieve a Certificate in Animal Nursing Assistance;

much of this was correspondence learning and through support from the staff team here. 

For Danielle this signifies her first step into the veterinary world and has given her an important

insight into what lies ahead.

It goes without saying that we are enormously proud of both Anna and Danielle. 

For us the future really is female!


November 2017

November – Pet Diabetes Month

November sees the start of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness among pet owners of the rising incidence of pet diabetes. 

 Visit diabetes.co.uk for information regarding diabetes in cats and dogs.


Visit petdiabetesmonth for an online assessment and more information on diabetes in pets


Meet diabetic Zac – Cinque Ports Rescue

Zac lost his vision due to cataracts that developed as a result of canine diabetes.  Diabetes in dogs leads to rapidly progressive cataracts and consequent vision loss. In order to remove cataracts (a surgery technique called Phacoemulsification) the patient must first pass a series of ocular tests to ensure they are a suitable candidate and will benefit from the surgery.  Luckily Zac passed with flying colours.  His post-op check the following morning went well and he is now truly enjoying life with his newly restored vision.

We are all looking forward to seeing his happy face at future check-ups!


Zac pre and post his phaco op.











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October 2017

Eye worm infection

There have been a number of articles in recent months about the eye worm infection which appears to be spreading to the UK from mainland Europe and we have received questions from concerned clients about this parasite.  There is, however, no reason to become overly concerned as, once diagnosed, the infection is generally easy to treat.

The UK is free of this parasite although if you are planning to travel with your pet to any of the areas where you may come into contact with the eye worm there is a risk that your pet may become infected.  Before you travel please make sure that you speak to your GP vet and arrange for appropriate parasitic control.If you suspect that your pet may have become infected following a trip abroad, please contact your local vet for a check up.  The signs can be similar to conjunctivitis i.e. redness of the eye, discharge, itchiness and on occasion the worms may be visible.


BBC Article


Telegraph Article






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September 2017

Animal boredom

A recent study by Charlotte Burn , a senior lecturer in animal welfare and behaviour science at the RVC, has concluded that animals can be as susceptible to boredom as humans.  Burn is of the view that animals will do anything to avoid boredom, including behaviour that may be out of character for them.  Pet owners are thus urged to take the matter seriously.  For the full article in Veterinary Times and tips on how to keep your pets stimulated and alert visit the following websites.


Vet Times article on animal boredom










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JULY 2016

New techniques available for the treatment and repair of severe corneal ulcers


We are delighted to be able to offer two new corneal surgery techniques - Omnigen biomatrix grafts for the repair of severe corneal ulcers and collagen crosslinking (CXL) to strengthen the cornea.  These techniques are used very successfully in human ophthalmology and we are now one of only a handful of veterinary practices with the expertise to be able to use them for our four-legged patients.  We have several patients undergoing successful treatment already and will be publishing some case studies soon.

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JULY 2016

Register your interest for our next Veterinary CPD Meeting: An Update on Managing Glaucoma


This will be an evening meeting held at the Spitfire St Lawrence Cricket Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3NZ.  To register your interest, please email reception@elhamvalley.com and we will send you details when they are available.

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DECEMBER 2015

RSA Group Pet Insurance - Client Information


If your pet is insured with Argos, Homebase, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, More Than or Tesco Pet Insurance, there may be some changes to your policy that you need to know about.


Their underwriters, RSA Group, have launched a "Preferred Referral Network" for pets insured with them.


Despite Rebecca holding the highest veterinary ophthalmology qualification possible; as a small, independent specialist practice we are not part of this.  The nearest "Preferred" practices are the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College (Hertfordshire), and the Queen's Veterinary School Hospital at Cambridge University - both of which are over two hours away.


RSA have given clients insured with these insurance companies two choices.  Either:

    1. Go to one of the "Preferred" referral practices on the list, or

    2. Have to pay an additional £200 excess on any insurance claim.

The only exception is for emergency cases (this includes sight-threatening as well as life-threatening) - in emergency clients are required to contact their insurance company for approval and they may waive the additional excess.


We're currently talking to RSA to try and find out more, especially to clarify:

   (a) What happens for existing patients already under treatment here;

   (b) What happens if the nearest "Preferred" referral practice is full or not taking any new referrals; and

   (c) What happens if an emergency is out-of-hours and the insurance company cannot be contacted for their approval prior to referral.


We would strongly recommend that any clients insured with the above companies talk to their insurer to see if the changes affect their policies.  We will inform our clients as soon as we have any more information.

Elham Valley Referrals

01303 840499

reception@elhamvalley.com

News

Veterinary Ophthalmology