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Pool House Equine Clinic 01283 799700
Armitage 01543 491149
Burntwood 01543 682305
Pool House Veterinary Hospital 01543 262464
Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield 0121 308 5555

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Services

Take a look at our services

  • 24 Hour Care
  • Acupuncture
  • Dermatology
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy Screening
  • Home Visits
  • Keyhole Surgery
  • Microchipping
  • Pet Passport Scheme

24 Hour Care

24 Hour Care

We provide on-site 24 hour patient care and an emergency service at our Lichfield hospital.

Should your pets require overnight hospitalisation or emergency treatment, you can be assured that they will be looked after by our own team of vets and nurses. We never leave your pets on their own, day or night, giving you that extra peace of mind.

24 hour emergency line – 01543 262464…you will always speak to a nurse never an answer machine.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture needles placed at specific points on the patient

Acupuncture involves the insertion of a needle/needles at acupuncture or trigger points on the body, with the aim to help treat a disease process.

What can acupuncture be used for?

One of the most common reasons for using acupuncture is to treat long term painful musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis or back pain. It can also be used to treat lick granulomas, urinary incontinence and and other conditions. When acupuncture needles are inserted various effects are triggered at that site and throughout the rest of the body. Needles are normally inserted close to a source of chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis. This chronic pain is recognised by the brain as a result of ongoing nerve activity. When the needles are inserted this creates a new stimulus which now overrides the ongoing (chronic) pain. The brain is effectively fooled into concentrating on this new, non painful, stimulus and less of the chronic pain is experienced.

Helpful local effects also occur within the vicinity of the needle, such as the promotion of healing. General effects on the body are the result of the stimulated release of substances such as endorphins. These effectively work as a form of strong natural pain relief

What are acupuncture points?

Acupuncture points used in Western veterinary acupuncture have been adapted from the human points described in Eastern acupuncture. It is not fully understood what makes these points significant but they are normally located close to nerves and nervous structures and are sites capable of stimulating the nervous system.

What are trigger points?

Trigger points are tender points, usually felt as knots, in a taut band of muscle. They can cause referred pain. They often occur in set locations which in dogs frequently coincides with known acupuncture points.

Is acupuncture painful?

Whilst the aim of acupuncture needles is to create a stimulus that is interpreted by the central nervous system as potentially damaging, the aim is not to create a painful stimulus. The needles used are very fine and in most cases animals fail to notice them being inserted. Many animals will become relaxed with acupuncture needle insertion and may remain drowsy for up to 24hours. It should be noted that some animals may initially be more painful with their condition following a treatment, this is often an indication that they will respond well to acupuncture treatment.

Is my pet a candidate for acupuncture?

Most dogs tolerate acupuncture very well, but the ideal candidate should be a calm individual who is happy with being handled. It is not ideal for aggressive patients. In most cases we ask owners to remain with their pets during the session which helps to keep the animal calm. Cats would need to be assessed on an individual basis.

PETS MUST HAVE CLEAN DRY COATS TO HAVE ACUPUNCTURE SESSIONS

Does acupuncture work?

The response varies. Many animals respond very well, improving their quality of life significantly. Others do not enjoy the same effects. Often we are using acupuncture in addition to medications which are no longer helping enough and we are concerned by the level of pain the pet is experiencing. In these cases owners often decide it is worth a try. Acupuncture should be approached with an open mind, and each case is assessed as an individual. Often the initial effects are short lived but tend to build up as the sessions continue, we ask owners to keep a diary to assess the response.

How many sessions would my pet need?

Initially sessions are carried out weekly for 4-6 weeks. If the animal has responded well we then aim to do top up sessions every 8 weeks, or sooner if a relapse is noted before.

How do I arrange an acupuncture appointment?

All cases are assessed individually and acupuncture is available to all our clients and those from other practices if your own vet is not trained in acupuncture.  Ian Thomas has completed the ABVA Foundation course and is happy to see clients. Alternatively we can arrange referral to someone with certification.

If you would like to see Ian to discuss acupuncture please phone our Lichfield hospital.

The cost of an acupuncture session is £46.36 incl. Vat.

Will my insurance pay for acupuncture?

Many insurance companies will now cover complementary therapies such as acupuncture or hydrotherapy as part of a treatment regime. Your insurance company can advise you.

ACUPUNCTURE IN OSTEOARTHRITIS

As discussed above long-term pain as a result of osteoarthritis is one of the commonest reasons that acupuncture is performed.

Osteoarthritis is inflammation and destruction in the joints. It can develop either with wear and tear as animals age, due to a previous trauma, or sometimes as a result of a developmental condition.

The pain resulting from osteoarthritis  may be displayed in various ways. The pet may show lameness, stiffness when rising, a reluctance/difficulty jumping up and using stairs or a reduced exercise tolerance. The pain may result in a change in the animals demeanour.

Owners may often notice that they don’t want to interact with the family as much, aren’t keen to go out, become grumpy and generally loose their spark.

Traditionally we are very aware of osteoarthritis in dogs, because we actively walk them and take them in and out the car, it is easier to notice when walks are becoming slower and less enthusiastic or when we have to start lifting the dog into the car.  However recent studies have demonstrated that cats are commonly affected by osteoarthritis. The symptoms in cats are harder to spot as they will naturally reduce their own exercise. Owners should look out for changes like; a reduction in grooming, stopping jumping up to favourite hiding places/surfaces, a change in demeanour,  missing the litter tray, not going out as much and pain reactions when stroked.

There are various medications that can be used for osteoarthritis including non- steroidal anti-inflammatories like Metacam or Onsior, opiods like tramdadol and joint supplements. Often a combination of therapy is needed. Sometimes we may have concerns using these medications due to other health problems or medications may simply not be enough to try and control pain. Alternatively owners may be keen to try a non-medicinal treatment option. Acupuncture is often helpful in these situations. Hydrotherapy may also be useful and we can provide information on local hydrotherapy units.

If you think you are seeing any of these symptoms in your pet, arrange an appointment with one of our vets, you may be surprised how much we can do to help your pet in their elderly years and we certainly do not see ‘getting old’ as a disease process. Treatment of pain can often result in the return of the happy pet that you are missing.

Dermatology

Dermatology Referrals

Mark Craig is a veterinary dermatologist. Mark qualified as a vet from Liverpool University in 1985. After 5 years in general veterinary practice, he spent three and a quarter years as a resident in dermatology at the Royal Veterinary College, where he gained his certificate in small animal dermatology. Since leaving the college in 1993, Mark has built up Re-Fur-All Referrals, a veterinary dermatology referral service in the south of England and midlands. He is particularly interested in skin allergies and he regularly performs intradermal allergy testing.

Mark is dermatology editor for the veterinary publication, UK Vet, writes extensively on animal skin diseases, translates dermatology articles and text books from French to English, and has presented papers at national and international dermatology congresses.

Mark consults at Pool House Veterinary Hospital typically every 3-4 weeks.

Approximate length of an initial referral consultation is one hour and a quarter. Subsequent consultations are scheduled for between 20-30 minutes.

Mark sees mainly cats and dogs but welcomes all animals with skin problems, no matter how challenging!

To visit Mark’s website for Re-Fur-All Referrals, please click here.

Contact us for bookings

Dilated Cardiomyopathy Screening

Dilated Cardiomyopathy Screening

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart most commonly seen in larger breed dogs but especially breeds such as the Dobermann, Boxer, Cocker and Springer Spaniel, German Shepard Dog, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound and Irish Setter but any giant or large breed dog can be at risk.

The disease causes stretching and weakening of the heart muscle. The heart becomes dilated and unable pump blood efficiently resulting in poor circulation and eventually heart failure.

DCM is made up of two phases:

Preclinical phase – the long and silent phase. Changes to the heart have started but the heart is able to compensate and function adequately so your dog appears perfectly healthy.

Clinical phase – short, heart failure phase. The disease has progressed and the heart can no longer cope and signs of heart failure are apparent. Once in the clinical phase the disease tends to progress quite quickly. In this stage your dog may show symptoms such as:

  • lack of energy
  • laboured breathing
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • swollen abdomen
  • fainting
  • sudden death can occur

Until recently, treatment was only indicated once your dog had reached the clinical phase but a recent study called the PROTECT study demonstrated that in Dobermanns, starting medication in the preclinical phase can significantly improve their life expectancy by delaying the onset of heart failure.

Although the study only looked at Dobermanns, its is thought that the results would be the same for all breeds suffering with DCM.

Watch this short video by Veterinary Cardiologist Mark Patteson MA VetMB PhD DVC Cert VR MRCVS explaining more about Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

DCM Screening

Screening aims to identify dogs with DCM whilst in the preclinical phase, allowing us to initiate early treatment and improve life expectancy.

We recommend DCM screening for dogs in one of the at risk breeds as listed above, or any giant or large breed dog over 3 years old.

Step 1 – Consultation with a vet. This will include a full examination to assess your dogs general health and to listen to the heart, checking for any abnormal heart or lung sounds and changes to heart rate or rhythm.

Step 2 – Pro-BNP blood test. Any dog considered at risk can have a blood test taken at the time of consultation which gives an indication of heart damage.

Step 3 – Any dog with a high pro-BNP result will be recommended to have further diagnostic tests performed. This may involve any of the following:

  • Echocardiography – an ultrasound scan of the heart provides an image of the heart to look for dilated heart chambers and reduced muscle function. It’s not painful and just requires the patient to lie still on our special padded table. The majority of dogs will allow us to perform echocardiography conscious.

Echocardiography may be sufficient on its own to make a diagnosis but in some cases we may recommend further diagnostics which may include:

  • ECG
  • X-ray
  • Additional blood tests to check general health status

If preclinical DCM is diagnosed then treatment can be initiated. This will be tailored to your dog and will be discussed with you by your vet.

To get your dog screened for DCM or to discuss further please phone us on 01543 262464 

Home Visits

Home Visits

We are able to provide both vet and nurse home visits if required. For routine visits we appreciate as much notice as possible, as this helps us to plan our day. We can provide home visits Mon-Fri between the hours of 10am-4pm. Visits outside of these hours, particularly at weekends and overnight, can sometimes be difficult to accommodate as we have reduced staff numbers at these times, please be understanding if we cannot immediately attend.

In some circumstances it may be beneficial for your pet to attend the surgery. On any home visit we are limited to the amount of equipment and medication we can bring with us. This may delay your pet getting the treatment it needs and could be detrimental in some conditions. We will advise you if we think your pet needs to attend the surgery and discuss options available for transportation.

Contact us for bookings

Keyhole Surgery

Keyhole Surgery

Pool House Veterinary Hospital is pleased to launch our laparoscopic service.

Jamie Newton BVMS CertAVP MRCVS leads our laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgical team at our Lichfield Hospital and is available for advice from clients and referring vets alike on 01543 262464. We have performed in excess of 150 keyhole procedures since launch and as such we feel comfortable in this technique.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Otherwise known as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, it is a gentle alternative to conventional open surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed using a tiny camera (known as a laparoscope) and long slender instruments that are placed into the animal’s abdomen through small incisions of 5 – 10mm.

Why laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery has become a major part of human surgery and only very recently is the evidence becoming clear that it has many advantages to our veterinary patients too.

  • Significant reduction in pain and stress after surgery
  • Faster recovery times for our patients and quicker return to normal exercise
  • Smaller incisions
  • Better visualisation for the surgeon

For sick animals where invasive diagnostics are required, a shorter, less painful procedure can often make a big difference and often mean hospitalisation time can also be shortened.

Pool House Veterinary Hospital are very keen for our patients to benefit from these advantages and therefore have invested heavily to offer this service to our clients and their pets.

Are all procedures best performed laparoscopically?

Not all procedures can be performed through tiny incisions. For example open surgery is often best placed to remove foreign bodies (stones, socks etc.) from the gastrointestinal tract or for the removal of diseased organs (spleen, uterus etc.).

However there are many procedures and particularly elective procedures that are ideal for this type of surgery- for example bitch neutering, undescended testis in male dogs, preventative surgery for stomach twists (GDVs) or even exploration of the abdomen or thorax for biopsies.

Are there any side effects from this procedure?

The most common side effect seen in humans is shoulder pain, however this is not experienced in our patients.

Nevertheless, no surgery (laparoscopic or traditional) or general anaesthetic, is without its risks and these will be discussed with you prior to admission to the hospital.

Are laparoscopic procedures covered by pet insurance?

Yes, in the majority of cases this surgery is covered by your policy. As always it is always best to check with your insurance company regarding your individual policy. Please note that routine neutering is not covered by your insurance including laparoscopic neutering.

Laparoscopic Spays

What to expect from a laparoscopic spay

Laparoscopic spays (also known as “keyhole spays” or “lap spays”) involve placing a camera (laparoscope) and a long slender instrument into the abdomen via 2 small incisions. Due to the positioning of these instruments, a large diamond shaped clip of fur is clipped to ensure the area is sterile. In a laparoscopic spay only the ovaries are removed, compared to a conventional open spay, in which the entire uterus and ovaries are removed together. Removing only the ovaries is still completely effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies and pyometra (infection of the uterus).

Your dog is discharged the same day as surgery, 2 small incisions will be visible on the midline of her abdomen but usually no Elizabethan collar is required.

We understand how difficult it can be to rest young bouncy dogs. Following a laparoscopic spay your dog will be sleepy that night as with any other dog who has had a general anaesthetic but are usually back to normal the next day. Only 2 days of lead restricted exercise is required compared to 2 weeks with a traditional spay.

We recommend a post-operative check of all patients who have had a general anaesthetic normally 3 days after surgery with a final check at day 10 to check the wounds have healed well.

Advantages

As per other laparoscopic procedures the advantages are very similar.

  • Less pain after surgery
  • Exercise restriction of 2 days rather than 2 weeks
  • 2 small incisions
  • No sutures to remove

Cost

The cost is an additional £144 (inc. VAT) to the cost of a traditional spay.

How do I arrange to have a laparoscopic spay?

Laparoscopic surgeries are only available at our Lichfield hospital so if you wish to book please phone the hospital on 01543 262464. If you would like more information on this service or have questions regarding laparoscopic surgery then please do not hesitate to ask your vet, or call any of our branches, and we will ensure you get to speak to someone who can help you.

Prophylactic Laparoscopic Gastropexy

What is a Gastropexy?

A gastropexy is the permanent fixing of the stomach to the abdominal wall. This is performed specifically to help stop the twisting that is fatal in GDVs (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus).

Prophylactic (i.e. to prevent disease) gastropexy is indicated particularly in at-risk breeds and/or for animals who have a first-degree relative with a history of GDV.

It should be noted that bloating can still occur but this is not life-threatening.

What breeds are at particular risk?

  • Great Danes
  • Weimaraners
  • St. Bernards
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Setters
  • German Shepherds
  • Dobermans
  • Standard Poodles
  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Shar Peis

Prophylactic Surgery

Gastropexy surgery is normally prophylactically performed during a neuter (female or male) but can be performed as a stand-alone surgery.

Gastropexy can be performed as an ‘open’ traditional surgery or as a laparoscopically-assisted approach (keyhole). Keyhole is out preferred surgical technique due to the less invasive and less painful nature along with a quicker return to normal function.

As per a keyhole spay, there are no external sutures to be removed.

Can a dog with GDV have a laparoscopic gastropexy?

Unfortunately, due to the emergency nature of a GDV the stomach needs to be physically and rapidly untwisted via an ‘open’ surgical approach. In addition, there are often other pathologies encountered (e.g. splenic torsion, gastric wall necrosis, vascular thrombi) that have to be surgically dealt with.

What is the cost and how do I arrange to have a laparoscopic gastropexy?

The cost of the procedure depends on the size of the animal and if the procedure is undertaken as a stand-alone surgery or alongside a neuter. Our team at Lichfield or at any of our branches are more than happy to discuss the costs in detail and to book the procedure for you.

Please do not hesitate to phone us if you would like to discuss this service in detail with any one of our vets.

Microchipping

Microchipping

As of April 2016 it is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped! Owners found to have a dog that is not microchip could face a fine. Don’t get caught out, get your dog microchipped today.

Everyday animals across the country go missing from their homes and end up in the care of the local veterinary practice or dog warden. Many owners will use collars to identify their pets, but what if your pet loses their collar or if they aren’t wearing it when they go missing? Often in these cases there is no way for your pet to be traced back to you and sadly many pets are never reunited with their owners.

This scenario can be easily avoided by having your pet microchipped. This is a simple procedure which can be done quickly and without anaesthetic.

The microchip is implanted under the skin at the scruff of the neck, using a sterile loaded needle. It takes seconds to do and lasts a lifetime.

 Only £16.50

How does it work?

Every microchip has its own individual number which can be read using a special scanner. Once inserted, we complete with you the necessary paperwork which then links all your pets details to this number. Should your pet go missing, the vet, rescue centre or dog warden will scan to check for a chip number and this can then be checked on the national database to obtain your details so we can contact you.

To have your pet microchipped, just phone to book an appointment with your vet or nurse.

Pet Passport Scheme

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has been running since 2000, and has made it increasingly easy for people to take their pets abroad with them when, either going on holiday, or moving away for longer periods. The regulations have been refined a number of times, and travel around Europe, in particular, is very easy.

  • The rules currently apply to dogs, cats and ferrets.
  • The scheme applies to an increasing number of countries (listed at the end).
  • You must travel with an authorized carrier on an authorized route.
  • Further advice can be obtained from the DEFRA website (www.defra.gov.uk) or helpline 0870 241 1710.

The Scheme – Pet Passports and Holiday

To take your pet from the UK to a Pet Travel Scheme country:

  • First, your pet must be fitted with an approved microchip so that it can be properly identified. This is a simple and quick procedure (see ‘microchipping’  under the ‘Services’ tab).
  • Secondly, your pet must be vaccinated against Rabies and those vaccinations kept uptodate.
  • Thirdly, your vet will complete a Pet Passport for your pet, containing all relevant information for travelling within the Pet Travel Scheme.
  • At Pool House Veterinary Hospital, all three of the above steps can be completed in one consultation if necessary.
  • Once 21 days have lapsed since Rabies vaccine was administered, your pet can leave and re-enter the UK as often as you like.

To return from a PETS country to the UK:

  • All of the above criteria must be met and an in-date Passport carried for your pet.
  • FOR DOGS ONLY – your dog must see a vet (between 24 and 120 hours prior to arriving in the UK) to be treated for Tapeworm. There is no longer a requirement to treat for Ticks. If your visit abroad is less than 5 days, this treatment can be performed by your own vet before you leave the UK.
  • DOGS returning from Finland, Ireland or Malta do not require Tapeworm treatment.
  • CATS – there are no longer any required treatments or checks for cats returning to the UK.

Should you miss a Rabies vaccination booster, then the Passport lapses and your pet’s ability to travel will be suspended. To re-instate the Passport, your pet must be vaccinated for Rabies again and then a further 21 days lapse, after which time travelling can be resumed. 

Emigration and Export 

The requirements for moving pets to other non-PETS countries are wide and varied, and some are very time-consuming. These measures may involve applying for an Export Health Certificate from DEFRA, acquiring Import Permits from destination countries, arranging Quarantine Kennels at some destination countries, running multiple blood tests at predetermined times and intervals, and performing Health Checks to qualify for export. As soon as you think you may be taking your pet abroad, please contact Alex at the practice or DEFRA, to allow as much time as possible to organize all of the required elements for the export.

Fitness to Travel 

Depending on destination and route taken, your pet may require a final Health Check immediately prior to travelling (usually within 5-7 days of departure). Certification may take the form of signing the appropriate section in the Pet Passport, or a separate Export Health Certificate.

Disease Awareness when traveling 

Rabies is not the only ‘foreign’ disease which your pet may be exposed to on holiday. Heartworm, Leishmania, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis are a similar threat to the traveling pet. These diseases are transmitted by insects, and are all potentially fatal. We are very lazy about parasite control in this country. Taking care of parasites is much more important on the Continent, particularly the warmer areas. Ask your vet (either in UK or at destination) for advice on appropriate tick, flea, worm and fly treatments.   

Countries eligible for the Pet Travel Scheme 

UK-resident pets can travel to any of the countries below and return to the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. Pets coming from any of these countries can also enter the UK under PETS, providing they have not been outside any of these countries in the 6 months prior to travelling to the UK.   

EU:

Austria Estonia Hungary Netherlands
Azores Faroe Islands Ireland(3) Poland
Balaeric Islands Finland Italy Portugal
Belgium France Latvia Reunion
Bulgaria French Guiana Lithuania Romania
Canary Islands Germany Luxembourg Slovakia
Ceuta Gibraltar Madeira Slovenia
Cyprus(1) Greece Malta  Spain
CzechRepublic Greenland Martinique Sweden
Denmark Guadeloupe(2) Melilla  

(1) Pets entering from Northern Cyprus will be subject to non-PETS entry requirements.

(2) Includes St. Barthelemy and St. Martin (French part of the island).

(3) Pets travelling between UK and the Republic of Ireland now require a passport.

Non-EU:

Andorra Cayman Islands Malaysia St.Pierre & Miquelon
Antigua&Barbuda Chile Mauritius St.Vincent & theGrenadines
Argentina Croatia Mayotte
Aruba Curacao Mexico San Marino
Ascension Island Falkland Islands Monaco Singapore
Australia Fiji Montserrat Switzerland
Bahrain French Polynesia New Caledonia Taiwan
Barbados Guam New Zealand Trinidad & Tobago
Belarus Hawaii Norway UAE *
Bermuda Hong Kong Russian Federation* USA(mainland)
BESIslands* Iceland Saint Maarten* Vanuatu
Brit.Virgin Islands Japan St.Kitts & Nevis Wallis & Futuna
Canada Liechtenstein St.Lucia  

Fees

(All prices are incl. VAT and were correct on 30.10.18)

Microchip (incl. lifelong registration)                        £16.50
Rabies vaccination                                                             £54.22
Health Check and issue Passport                                   £87.60
Rabies booster vaccination                                         £54.22

Rabies vaccination intervals:

Rabisin (Merial)                     1 year after first vaccine then every 3 years
Nobivac Rabies (Intervet Dogs and cats every 3 years
Quantum Rabies (Schering Plough) Dogs and cats every 3 years
Canigen Rabies (Virbac)        Dogs and cats every 3 years

Pool House Veterinary Group currently uses Rabisin (Merial). In Europe many Rabies vaccines require 12-monthly boosters, and clients should be aware of this if their pet has a Rabies vaccine whilst abroad.   

Pet Insurance 

Not all pet insurance policies extend the cover for your pet whilst travelling abroad, but some do. It would be wise to check whether you have cover for your pet whilst on holiday, before departing.   

General Considerations

It is the responsibility of pet owners to ensure that the correct regulations have been complied with, when travelling abroad, NOT DEFRA OR YOUR VETERINARY SURGEON. Failure to do so could result in your pet being quarantined or refused entry into the UK. 

Alex England is the clinical director responsible for Pet Passports and Exports at Pool House Veterinary Hospital and, if possible, deals with every single case at the Practice. The paperwork, timings, and individual requirements of each country are very complex, and we at Pool House find that continuity is crucial in eliminating mistakes. Tips and advice on Pet Travel – www.petsandtravel.co.uk