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Anniematters Winter 2019

Going for Gold!

At St Annes we love client reviews! For us our lovely clients are an extension of our team, helping us deliver the best vet care possible. Reviews help us to monitor our service and adapt when needed. Our preferred review site is Vet Help Direct, and every year they total up the positive reviews for each participating practice. This creates the Best UK vet Award and thanks to your reviews we do very well! Initially we were ‘Top 25’, then 3rd best for a bronze award, and last year we came 2nd and reached Silver! It would be fantastic if we could reach the gold position this year and you can help to make it happen! On the 9th December we are having a review-drive. Please review us either online or at any of our branches and claim a Christmas gift for your pet as a thank you!

-The cold months are upon us and with it the festive period. Please remember before you get into your car, to bump on the bonnet in the cold, just in case a cat has crawled up inside the engine to make use of the heat.

-We’ve had 4 great client evenings this year on indoor cats, desensitisation, first aid and poisons and arthritis. We would like to thank everyone who came and hope you found them informative. We loved putting them on for you. We are looking into potential evenings for next year, any ideas would be great.

-This winter make sure when walking dogs on gritted surfaces that you wash their paws and dry them thoroughly. Salt can cause their pads to burn - anti-freeze and de-icer contain ethylene glycol which can be fatal if ingested, so please clean up any you have spilt to make sure pets and wildlife can’t walk through it.

-We will as usual be running our ‘Give a stray a Christmas dinner’ appeal, please bring in any pet food, treats or toys you would like to donate, into any of our surgeries from the 2nd December and we will divide it between local charities.

The story of Huxley

On the 17th August 2018 I went to pick up my first ever puppy, we named him Huxley. He is a chocolate Labrador and we were so excited. He was into everything straight away and causing mischief constantly, like most puppies do! Most days I thought “what have I done?”

I started to notice that he often would stick his front leg out at a funny angle. People would laugh at him and say “look at his penguin legs”. He never limped or seemed in pain, he just stood oddly! As a Veterinary Nurse I thought to myself that this wasn’t normal and had many thoughts running through my head. Without hesitation I took him to see Rob Rayward at Coast Veterinary Referrals and he gave Huxley a full clinical examination. He advised x-rays immediately to see what was going on.  Simon x-rayed Huxley’s elbows and hips and I anxiously awaited the results.

Sadly it was my worst fear, Rob told me that Huxley had early signs of elbow dysplasia, I was so devastated as I had been really careful in looking for signs when choosing Huxley.  Unfortunately it just couldn’t be helped.

Luckily for Huxley I noticed this in good time and Rob advised me that because he was under six months old, he could have an operation to take a part of his ulna (bone in the front leg) away to allow the elbow to move more freely whilst he was growing, which in turn would prevent rubbing of the bones and growing in the wrong way. This surgery is called a bilateral distal ulna osteotomies.

This operation could either help his condition or make no difference at all but it was worth trying to hopefully slow this disease down. So at five months old, Huxley underwent major surgery to both his front legs with the amazing team at Coast Vets. He was very sad for a few hours and then was up and about trying to walk with two large festive bandages on his legs!

After six weeks with just ten minutes exercise three times a day and no jumping, running or boisterous play! We were exhausted at trying to find ways to keep the little one amused. We used snuffle mats, kongs, puzzle feeders, lickii mats, taught him many new tricks and much more!








He then had x-rays two and three months later and the operation was a success in that the elbow disease had not progressed further. This was fantastic news for us all!


We then had to limit his exercise until he was fully grown and still have to be careful with him. Sadly he is unable to play ball or do any crazy running which for Huxley, if you know him, is extremely hard. He goes to hydrotherapy regularly and is on a special diet but is living a happy, currently pain free life.

This has been an eye opener for me ,it’s so important to look at our puppies closely to watch how they are developing and to pick up these problems as early as possible. Huxley could have been that 7 month old Labrador that was lame and had severe elbow dysplasia. Luckily for my great colleagues and friends he has so far never been lame, just stands different to other dogs. Follow Huxley on instagram to watch his story unfold huxleychops_the_choc_lab . Look out for him as you may see him around the practice!

Natalie Weston RVN



Toxic Time – Christmas Edition!

Let’s start with the items that are often thought to be very toxic but are actually considered to be of low toxicity. These include the little silica gel packets that come in lots of Christmas gifts to absorb moisture. Because they say DO NOT EAT on them, people think they’re highly toxic, when they’re more likely to cause mild gastro intestinal upset. That goes for candles also (as long as they’re not causing a physical blockage) and wrapping or crepe paper.  Christmas plants that are also thought to be highly poisonous but aren’t include Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), Holly (Llex species), Mistletoe (Viscum album), Christmas trees (pine needles are a mechanical irritant though) and ivy (Hedera species). These plants are generally considered of low toxicity and may cause mild gastrointestinal upsets. If you are worried about your pet after they have eaten any of these things, please give us a call and we can advise you of any action you might need to take. Lilies (Lilium species) are highly toxic to cats, including the entire plant and the water they sit in. If your cat has managed to ingest any then wash their mouth out as much as you can and call us immediately. The prognosis really depends on how quickly we can start treatment.

Christmas food - let’s face it, it’s one of the best things about Christmas but lots of our festive food is very toxic to our pets. Chocolate - never have this under the tree or hanging on the tree with pets around and keep those advent calendars out of reach too. The theobromine in the chocolate is the toxic element and can cause heart problems, seizures, coma and death. If your pet has managed to sneak some chocolate then do give us a call with the type and amount of chocolate they have consumed and we can calculate whether any treatment is necessary. Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies contain dried fruit including currants, sultanas and raisins (any type of grape), and any quantity of this is potentially toxic to both dogs and cats. There is no toxic level when it comes to this group of foods, one grape can put a big dog into renal failure and a small dog can potentially be fine. It’s a risk that isn’t worth taking so we encourage any pet that has eaten any quantity to come in for treatment. Onions (and garlic, leeks, shallots and chives) including sage and onion stuffing is poisonous. This group of foods causes the breakdown of red blood cells, causing anaemia and liver problems. Food with any of these items in should not be given to your pets at all – instead you could share some nice lean turkey with them as a treat. It goes without saying that you should never give your pet alcohol! Some people are surprised by the fact macadamia nuts are toxic, they cause vomiting, being unsteady on their feet, tremors, hyperthermia, weakness, abdominal pain and leg weakness leading to collapse. Do not give your pet leftovers, especially food that is mouldy which can cause tremorgenic mycotoxin intoxication which can be fatal.

If you would like to know more about what is poisonous please search for ‘Animal Poison Information’ on Facebook and like Menna’s (A.K.A Poison Girl) page. Or e-mail me at if you want to know if something you have in your garden could be a threat. If you’re worried your pet has ingested something toxic please do not e-mail me but call the surgery on 01323 640011 and we can advise you if anything needs to be done.


We hope you have a Happy, healthy Christmas and a wonderful New Year from all of us at St. Anne’s! Vets Now will be covering Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. We will also be closing at 6pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve and 6.30pm on the 13th of December. Please make sure you order any medication or food you might need in plenty of time due to bank holiday delivery restrictions. We would also like to gently remind you that we require 24-48 hour notice when requesting medication. Each prescription request needs to go through a series of checks and often needs to go to various branch surgeries too, so please make sure you still have a few days worth of the medicine before requesting more. We actually have a link on the homepage of our website where you can request medication that way.


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