We are very pleased to announce that we’ve been nominated for the Petplan Veterinary Awards 2019. Both Sheena and Simon have been nominated for ‘Vet of the Year’ and the practice as a whole has been nominated in the ‘Practice of the Year’ category.
Nominations are open until 25th January 2019, so if you think someone in the team deserves a mention you can still vote here.
Changes to Pet Travel in the event of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has advised that should the UK leave the EU next year without a deal, there would be important implications for pet owners wishing to travel overseas with their animals from 30 March 2019.
Owners need to be aware of and potentially act upon these implications by 28 November 2018 at the latest.
What you need to know and do
You will still be able to travel to Europe with your pet after the UK leaves the EU, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. However, in the event of a no deal, you may need to take some additional steps to be able to travel with your pet to the EU.
If you are planning to travel after 29 March 2019 the Government will recommend you contact your vet practice at least four months in advance to check what you need to do.
If you wish to travel to the EU on 30 March 2019, for example, you should discuss requirements with your vet as soon as possible and by 28 November 2018at the latest.
The requirements for travel would include making sure that pets are effectively vaccinated against rabies before they travel. This involves having an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a blood test to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody.
The blood test would need to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination and a minimum of three months before their travel date. This means that you will need to talk to your vet about health requirements in good time to make sure you are are able to travel with your pet.
All of the dogs that Sheena and Donna met were absolutely lovely dogs. They have all learned to socialise well with other dogs as well as with people, as this is how they have managed to survive. It is heartbreaking to see these dogs struggling to live. The shelter organiser struggles to run the place with only one other full time helper and several volunteers who come and go. Between them they are trying to look after over 600 dogs, and the organiser never takes a day off, she hardly even takes a couple of hours off. She feels such a responsibility to help these dogs. When she does leave the shelter, it is to visit local schools to try and educate Greek children so that there can be a better future for the Greek dogs. In the meantime, all we can do is try to find homes for as many as possible, and encourage neutering programs to try and reduce the numbers of unwanted strays. A vet could spend several months there, just treating the injured and sick dogs.
We would like to send a huge thanks to our clients who donated a lot of money again, to help cover the cost of drugs for our trip. Sheena and Simon always make up any shortfall, and one kind client even gave 400Euros which helped locally in covering costs and they were able to leave enough money with the shelter to buy another large pallet of food. Sheena and Donna left Greece feeling both mentally and physically exhausted, but feeling it had been another worthwhile trip.
Things at the shelter have improved a little since Sheena’s trip in May. They have the new hospital block, and a few more donations have come in to help feed the dogs, but Sheena still noticed the dogs being fed stale bread from time to time when the dog food ran out. Fights frequently broke out when the dogs became hungry.
Very few of the shelter dogs are neutered, because the local vets are not particularly helpful, and the cost of neutering (even for a charity) is higher than here. This results in a lot of unwanted puppies being dumped, and local people often resort to poisoning or shooting the stray dogs, even though that is illegal. The dog shelter is officially full, but still receives daily calls about sick or injured dogs, which they cannot ignore.
Sheena and Donna concentrated on neutering the bitches, but also tried to help with general veterinary care. Just before they arrived, the shelter organiser was extremely upset, because two puppies had died overnight with haemorrhagic diarrhoea. They deteriorated so quickly, there was not even time to get them to the local vet. She was worried about two more puppies who had become unwell, luckily these two were treated by Sheena, and were doing well.
Sheena and Donna managed to neuter around 30 female dogs and two males. They also treated many sick and injured dogs. This was amazing, giving they were only in Greece for 4½ days. Donna was kept busy cleaning and sterilising kits while monitoring the dogs under anaesthetic. Everyone knows that veterinary nurses are true multi-taskers, and Donna certainly proved this.
Sheena last visited the dog shelter in Greece in May of this year, and had not planned to return until next year. However, when she counted the money raised, she realised that there was £300 left over. She contacted the shelter to offer the money to go towards food and veterinary treatment. The shelter organiser told Sheena that they were desperate for another veterinary visit, as so few vets come over to help, and the vet who was scheduled to visit in September had been taken ill and was unable to visit. Sheena asked around for help, and one of our nurses Donna very kindly volunteered her services.
As usual, Sheena and Donna brought two suitcases full of medical supplies in order to be able to perform as many operations as they could. They landed late morning, and decided it would be best to spend as much time as possible at the shelter, so they changed into their scrubs at the airport while they waited for their lift.
Upon arrival, they discovered that volunteers had helped to build a whole hospital block with essential shelter for the sick and injured dogs who are taken in on a daily basis. This block was already full of dogs waiting for Sheena and Donna to arrive, and carry out their daily ward rounds. Sheena also said hello to a few of her favourite patients from May, the lovely Patsy, who was brought in on the point of death, and Jack her favourite (now three legged) dog. The shelter has also been donated two bicycles which Sheena and Donna used to cycle the 40km round trip from their hotel each day.
The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) is a voluntary initiative run by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to accredit veterinary practices in the UK. Through setting standards and carrying out regular assessments, the PSS aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care. It offers peace of mind to clients of accredited practices and is similar to an Ofsted inspection for schools.
In addition to existing accreditation, practices can also demonstrate the specific areas of practice in which they excel through achieving 6 optional Practice Standards Scheme awards. Last year we achieved ‘Outstanding’ status in 4 out of 6 awards and have recently been inspected for the final 2: Client Service and Patient Consultation Service.
We can proudly announce that we are now 1 of 4 practices in the entire country to achieve outstanding status in all 6 awards!*
We would like to say a very big thank you to all of our clients who completed a whopping 265 feedback questionnaires. This questionnaire was vital to us achieving our client service award so we really can’t thank you enough.
The main aim of trips to Greece is to perform neutering of stray dogs in order to try to reduce the number of unwanted puppies. In all, we managed to perform 28 spays and 12 castrates. Some of the dogs, however, were being brought in too poorly to undergo surgery. They were sick or suffering from starvation. Some of them had to go onto a drip and spend a few days in our hospital. A lot of dogs also suffer from Leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease which affects the whole body. Thankfully it is treatable with daily medication which is not expensive, but these dogs cannot survive on the street. The shelter is so full that they can only admit sick or injured dogs. Sadly there were plenty of those, and my respect goes to the shelter workers who deal with this on a daily basis.
At the end of the second day, a dog was rushed in. He had been shot in the leg and the bone was completely crushed. It was not possible to stabilise the leg overnight so Sheena and Emma got back to work. Sadly they weren’t able to save the leg, which resulted in amputation. Photographs were taken as evidence because the police had been informed and the shelter workers were going to try have the culprit prosecuted. Attitudes will only change through successful prosecution for cruelty. They named the dog Jack. He is such a lovely dog with not an ounce of aggression. If anyone has room for a large dog who doesn’t need much exercise……
Sheena and Emma also met this lovely dog who was living rough at an airfield where local people were feeding her. She is a very beautiful, happy and calm dog…
This year Sheena decided to visit a different shelter in Greece. It is also supported by the same charity, but has a much greater need. The shelter is in apoorer, rural area and currently houses approximately 600 dogs. It is seriously overcrowded. Sheena was expecting a much busier workload so she decided to take a Veterinary Nurse with her (and Tim had a year off). Emma worked for us earlier in the year, and was keen to try charity work so she came along. Their two suitcases were full of essential drugs and supplies so they took clothes in their hand luggage.
On arrival, they went straight to the shelter to unpack the drugs and prepare for the next day. The shelter coordinator asked Sheena to take a look at one dog she was worried about. She had not eaten for the past 3 days and had been to the local vet. He wanted to take X-rays and perform ultrasound but this would have cost over €200. The shelter does not have funds for this and it would have meant the other dogs going without food so she was prescribed painkillers and antibiotics. Sheena immediately realised that the dog was likely to have an obstruction and decided her only chance was emergency surgery, so they abandoned their unpacking to operate. The poor dog had swallowed some material with string attached. The string had lodged around her tongue and cut through a portion of her intestine which had to be removed.
Nobody expected her to pull through but she was given plenty of pain relief and antibiotics. Amazingly, she ate within 4 hours of her surgery and was guarding the hospital room from all other dogs within a couple of days. These dogs are amazingly hardy.