May '24

Lots of news here at EVR as we start to see the Summer weather arriving! Firstly, our new Head RVN Jenny arrived & has taken over from Isobel. Welcome Jenny, and we hope you will be very happy as part of the EVR Team!

May is VNAM - Veterinary Nurse Appreciation Month, and EVR would like to thank all the dedicated nurses who work with us, for making EVR the amazing clinic it is. If you would like to know more about what it takes to train as an RVN, or what RVN's do in their role, please head over to

Finally, Practice Manager Debbie attended the annual VMG Congress

at the end of April, and was awarded her level 5 Certificate in Veterinary

Leadership & Management. Very well done Debbie, and good luck as

you move onto the Diploma!

April '24

Easter has seen a few changes for the EVR Team, and clients will have noticed some new faces amongst the staff. The team said a sad farewell to ANA Tara in early March, as she (like Vy!) headed off to a local GP practice to take up a student veterinary nurse position, and embark on her RVN training in September. We all wished her every success in her new job & studies, and hopefully will see her qualifying in a few years time. We had 2 new ANA's join us in February & April; Emily joined us just before Tara left, and Sarah-Louise on 2nd April. Both new ANA's have a wealth of experience in alternative areas; Emily as a hairdresser & Sarah-Louise working at Howlett's Zoo. We are delighted to have them on board, and hope they will be very happy as part of the team. To support our nursing team, we currently have 2 locum RVN's working with us, and Danielle & Tabetha have settled into our clinic very well. We are also recruiting for a new RVN to join the team, and so if you are an RVN who would like to explore what EVR can offer in terms of career progression, please feel free to look at our Facebook page , give our PM Debbie a call on 01303 840499, or email your CV & covering letter to

January '24

​Happy New Year! We hope all our clients & their pets had a wonderful festive season, and a happy & healthy start to 2024!

Change is in the air at EVR, as the end of 2023 saw us saying a sad farewell to vet Natalia,

who leaves us to pursue a dream of opening her own clinic, and also ANA Jasmin shortly

after New Year. However, on a positive note, following Isobel's appointment as Head RVN in October, former

Head RVN Debbie has taken up her new post as Practice Manager. We wish both a successful

onward journey at EVR! We are currently recruiting for new team members, so watch this space! 

​Friday 26th January saw us waving a sad goodbye to ANA Vy, and wishing RVN Millie a wonderful

wedding day! Read all about them on our Facebook page....

​Christmas 2023

We would like to wish all our veterinary colleagues, our staff and our clients

and their pets an enjoyable festive  season and the very best wishes for 2024. 

Click here to see our holiday season opening hours. 

June 2023

EVR has been a hive of activity so far this year! Firstly, ophthalmologist Bartek & ANA Tara joined the team in January, and in April RVN Camilla joined the team just as RVN Holly went off on maternity leave! We welcomed our new team members & hope they are very happy here at EVR.

May & June brought celebrations as Camilla & Debbie both celebrated success in their studies, and on Fathers Day in June Holly gave birth to her gorgeous little boy Henry. Congratulations Holly & family!

​Keep up with EVR news on our Facebook page: 

December 2022

Opening Hours

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our referring vets, clients and 

their pets a happy Christmas and best wishes for 2023.  Please click HERE to read our festive opening hours. 

July 2022

Welcome Lisa and her GALS!

Welcome to Lisa, our newest member of the team who joined us in March of this year. 

There are many remarkable things about Lisa, among them her unusual pets. 

Like all of us she has the more conventional cat and dog at home , but also she

acquired two Giant African land snails from her local primary school where they

had outgrown their tank.  Her GALS, hermaphrodites, are named Agatha and Arnold,

seen here in their tank and with Lisa in her garden.  She has been educating us about

them: they enjoy shallow warm baths, eat sweet potato and fish food and live to about

7 years old. Welcome, Lisa, a great asset to team EVR. 

June 2022

Queen's Platinum Jubilee

As you can see, staff and clients are really getting into the spirit of the Jubilee celebrations.

We hope the weather is good and everyone can enjoy their long weekend. 

We open as normal on Monday 6 June 2022.

Thank you to Toby for posing so patiently and so regally for the photo!

May 2022

Visitor from Finland

As the pandemic eases a little and some sort of normality resumes, we were

delighted to welcome Outi, a vet from Finland who is a real ophthalmology

enthusiast.  We loved hosting her and as you can see from her message below,

she had an invaluable experience too.

  " My two weeks of externship at Elham Valley Referrals are nearly over. These weeks were filled not only with wonderful learning experiences         and new ideas, but also with sharing the love for animals and ophthalmology.  I appreciated seeing how each patient at Elham Valley Referrals       is treated with such talent and gentle care in the hands of Rebecca Elks and her team. My most sincere thanks for having me as a part of the         team  for these unforgettable weeks and for guiding me  forward on my path towards becoming a veterinary ophthalmologist."  

We hope she will be able to visit us again in the future. 

January 2021

Petplan Awards 2021

Following on from last year when Rebecca (Vet of the Year) , Barbara (Vet of the Year) and Debbie (Nurse of the Year)  were all nominated in the 2020 Petplan Awards, we were absolutely delighted to be nominated again this year but this time in the category of Practice of the Year.  Surrounded as we are by very bleak news currently, this nomination has lifted all our spirits and made us very proud of what we do here at EVR. Thank you to all our clients who have recognised the hard work, commitment and professionalism of our staff together with their evident love of what they do.  

We hope you are all keeping safe in this pandemic which is requiring us all to make such sacrifices.  We continue to be open although we are sometimes short of staff so please bear with us if we we cannot see you as quickly as we would normally be able to do.  

February 2020

Staff exam success

This month we were very pleased for our Head Nurse, Debbie, who received her ESPVS Certificate in the post.  This followed the successful completion of her Nurses Certificate in Anaesthesia in November 2019. Debbie studied all aspects of anaesthesia for a year and was able to bring back practical tips to EVR to enhance our patients’ experiences.  Debbie loved the course, heading off to Swindon ten times over the course of the year and returning brimming with new knowledge and ideas to implement.  Debbie loves learning and thus her favourite part of the experience was deepening her understanding of a complex topic and the most challenging was fitting revision into a busy personal and professional life to successfully get through the final exam.  She can now add NCert(Anaesth) to her string of qualifications. Well done Debbie! We are all very proud of her.  

December 2019

Festive Opening Hours

As we edge towards Xmas and 2020, we would like to take the opportunity to wish all our clients and referring vets and colleagues a happy Xmas and the very best wishes for 2020.  Click here to see our opening hours over the festive season. 


November 2019

Purple Poppy Appeal

 Millions of animals played their part in the First World War, particularly horses, donkeys and dogs. Military platoons also adopted animals as a mascot, the more unusual examples including a black bear, fox and a baboon.  Pigeons were the most reliable means of communicating messages.    Our animal friends played a hugely significant role in the war and this year we decided to honour their sacrifices by selling purple poppies at reception.  Thanks to the generous contribution of our clients we are able to send off a cheque for £57 to the Purple Poppy Appeal.  Thank you to everyone who donated.

 Please follow this link to find out more about the Purple Poppy Appeal.  

September 2019

Welcome to Kayleigh

Last month, we welcomed our newest member of staff, Kayleigh Moss.  Kayleigh, pictured here with her six month puppy Roy, is a veterinary nurse awaiting registration with the RCVS. We are delighted that she has come to join us at EVR and she is looking forward to meeting all our clients, old and new. ​

July 2019

New staff at EVR
This month we welcome Gina Patfield to the EVR team.  She is an experienced RVN with a particular interest in canine behaviour and anaesthesia.  She is also an ex-client and first came to know us when we treated Willow, one of her beloved dogs. Gina is an enthusiastic animal lover and spends her free time with her three dogs, four parrotlets and two ferrets.  Gina has already brought Astra to see us (photographed in the garden) and we are very excited at the prospect of the arrival of her litter of puppies later this year. Gina likes to be busy and is already having an impact at EVR!

National Pet Month 1 April to 6 May 2019.
This year National Pet Month is celebrating its 30th anniversary and the theme for 2019 is the value of our pets to our mental health.  At EVR we are in complete agreement with the notion that our pets are good for us in all sorts of ways, including our physical and mental wellbeing. 

If you wish to get involved with National Pet Month 2019 activities up and down the country, please visit their website. 

January 2019 

World Braille Day & Blindness in Dogs

January honours World Braille Day on the birthday of Louis Braille, the teen inventor of the braille alphabet.  This turned our thoughts to blind dogs and what we can do support them.  Our vet, Ria, has compiled the following advice. Blindness in Dogs 


​We are 10 years old!

We are delighted to be celebrating our 10th birthday this November.  From humble beginnings back in 2008 when our clients numbered a mere 7, we now see well in excess of 200 clients each month. In our ten years, we estimate that we have treated over 4,000 pets, most of whom are dogs (77%), some cats (22%) and the remaining 1% a mix of horses, rabbits and one hamster. So a BIG thank you to all our loyal clients - it has been a pleasure to look after your pets.   Thank you also to our referring vets, most of whom are based in Kent but we also work with vets from as a far afield as London, Sussex and Essex. We could not have been successful without your support, so thank you to everyone.  

October ​​

​With the firework season approaching, it is important to make sure that our pets are safe and stress-free.  Whilst we generally  enjoy fireworks, animals do not!  For advice on how to support your pet, please visit the following websites. RSPCA         Blue Cross 


Thank you to our appreciative clients who take such good care of us!  Rebecca, Kate, Danielle and Jo enjoying a cake that was almost too pretty to eat!


Good news for Bassets!  


National Nursing Month 

May sees the arrival of the national Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month (VNAM).  At Elham Valley Referrals we are enormously proud of our highly skilled and dedicated team of veterinary nurses. They work tirelessly to deliver high quality pet care and it is our pleasure to join fellow colleagues in highlighting their vital role in the veterinary world.  We simply could not manage without them!!

Danielle, our Nursing Assistant, has turned her talents to producing this photo to show you who they all are but also the vital roles that they play at EVR.  Thank you to our nursing team.

Click this link for further information  on VNAM


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. 


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


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 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.


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


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


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.


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 and we will send you details when they are available.



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

Veterinary Ophthalmology


01303 840499