Only Vets may use this page, you can add any information you wish the public to be aware of, add photos etc for things you wish our members to watch for. However, we do not allow any selling or advertising on the site, whilst we allow vets to publish their name in the details we do not allow any other self promotion.


Pet care advice for winter

by PDSA | 7 December 2021#Lifestyle

Just like us, our pets might need a little extra TLC over the winter months! It’s important they stay safe, warm and active as temperatures start to drop, whether you have a dog, cat or a smaller pet.

As we go into the winter months the evenings are darker and the weather gets colder so it can be difficult to adapt for both us and our pets.

We’ve put together some of our top tips for taking care of your four-legged friends this winter, so you’re prepared whatever the weather.


Outdoor safety

As nice as it is to look out on a crisp frosty morning, winter comes with a fair few dangers for our four-legged friends! Take extra care and remember to watch out for some common winter hazards:

  • Salt and grit. The salt and grit we use on roads in winter can irritate pet’s paws. Wash your pet’s paws if they come into contact with salt and grit and you could apply a thin layer of paw butter to your dogs’ pads to help protect them from cracking.
  • Snowy paws. Snow can build up on dogs’ paws and cause them discomfort, so prepare paws by keeping hair between pads trimmed, so there’s less hair for the snow to gather on. If your dog will tolerate them, you may find boots helpful too. When you get home from your snowy walk, check in-between dogs pads for snow build up. You can soak any snow off in warm water, rather than causing more discomfort by pulling off lumps of snow.
  • Storms and floods. It’s best to be prepared for bad weather over winter. Storms and floods can cause havoc and really upset our pets. Take a look at our stormy weather advice.
  • Antifreeze and de-icer. These are used in car radiators and to stop cars icing up in winter but they are incredibly toxic for animals and can kill them. If you suspect your pet may have licked some antifreeze, tell your vet immediately so they can start treatment straight away, never wait for symptoms to appear. Keep antifreeze out of the reach of pets and clean up any spills really thoroughly – so no one is put at risk.
  • Provide shelter. Ideally on really wintry nights we’d advise that you keep your cat indoors, but if your cat is determined to explore the great outdoors come rain or shine, make sure they have somewhere warm and sheltered they can go, if the weather takes a turn for the worse. This is especially important if you don’t have a cat flap or if your cat flap has got blocked up with snow or frozen up!
  • Cars. Cats often shelter under cars in cold and wet weather, or even climb inside the bonnet to be next to a warm engine. Always check your car for visitors who may have climbed up inside, or knock on the bonnet before you start it.
  • Poisonous plants. Festive favourites like holly, ivy and poinsettia are all toxic to pets if they eat them. Keep them out of your pet’s reach or use artificial plants to decorate your home.
Infographic showing different ways to care for your pet in winter



Winter Walkies

Most cats will prefer to be inside when it’s wet outside but don’t use it as an excuse not to walk your pooch – many dogs still love the chance to explore during the colder months! There are things you can do to help them enjoy winter even more when they do venture outside.

  • Daytime walks. Our dogs enjoy walks in the dark about as much as we do! It can be more difficult to see hazards and if your dog doesn’t have great eyesight anyway it can be a bit unsettling for them. Where you can, try to walk your dog during the daylight hours.
  • Stay seen. If you can’t walk your dog during the light, take extra precautions to stay safe on those night time walks. LED collars, hi-vis leads and coats can be great ways to make sure both you and your pooch will be seen. A good torch is also a must-have to light the way for you both! Don’t let your dog off the lead after dark – there could be hidden hazards out there you can’t see.
  • Keep warm. Usually your dog’s fur will be enough to keep them warm when they’re out and about, but sometimes dogs with thinner fur or those who are older or unwell can feel the chill a little more. Investing in a good winter coat for your dog is an ideal way to keep them warm on cold walks.
  • Stay active. It’s really important you don’t let your dog become a winter couch potato! If they’re reluctant to go out in bad weather, wait until there’s a break in the weather to make sure they still get their outdoor fun. Walks might be shorter than normal outside, so enjoy a few extra play sessions inside, so that no one is missing out on vital exercise and remember that if the exercise level has dropped, so should how much you feed!
  • Icy surfaces. Just like us, our dogs can slip and fall on icy surfaces. Always be extra careful on walks particularly if your dog has leg problems such as arthritis as these slips can cause serious injuries. It’s also a good idea to check your pet’s paws if they’ve been out in the snow and ice as cold temperatures, grit and salt can make pads very sore.
  • Frozen ponds. Be really careful when out on walks in freezing conditions, frozen ponds and lakes are dangerous but also enticing for an excited dog, but they can easily fall through the ice and get into serious trouble in the freezing water. To keep your dog safe, keep them on a lead.
Person in cold weather hiking gear and large dog walking in-between snow-covered trees


Keep them cosy indoors

Dogs and cats often enjoy the chance to snuggle down indoors when the temperature drops. There are a few things you can do to take extra care of your pets this winter:

  • Make sure they’re comfy. A few extra blankets for their bed over the winter months will help your pets stay cosy and warm. You can also get raised beds for older dogs to keep them out of draughts and remember cats like high up dens so they can survey their world.
  • Hypothermia. If our pets get too cold, they can be at risk of developing hypothermia. Find out what signs to look out for and how to prevent it happening.
  • Litter trays. Even if your cat usually goes to the toilet outside, it’s a good idea to provide them with a couple of litter trays inside so they don’t feel like they have to go out when the weather is really bad or they can’t manage to dig themselves a little toilet hole in the frozen soil. If you have more than one cat, provide a toilet each plus one!
  • Extra playtime. It’s important to keep your pets active whatever the weather. Get them some new toys and make sure you play with them regularly, especially if they go out less over winter. Cats will be most active at dawn and dusk (prime hunting time) so try to make sure you play with them then.
  • Stay cosy. Your cat will really appreciate a few extra comfy spaces to curl up in around the house. Igloo beds are ideal for winter because your cat can really get cosy in them.
  • Take care of older joints. Pets can start to get stiff joints and arthritis in their old age and sometimes colder weather can make this a lot worse. Make sure you take good care of your older pet’s joints, especially in the cold.
  • Christmas safety. Christmas can come with its own dangers. Take a look at our Christmas survival guide.
tricolour dog lying underneath a cosy terracotta-coloured blanket


Caring for small furries

Our small pets (such as rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets) can really feel the cold and changes in weather. A sudden drop in temperatures can be a real shock to the system, but there are a number of things you can do to help them:

  • Bring them indoors. If your pets normally live outdoors, think about bringing them indoors or into a sheltered area, such as a shed or car-free garage out of the wind and protected from rain and snow – but remember they still need daylight, so make sure they have a window.
  • Keep away from draughts. If you can’t move small animals that usually live outdoors, indoors, then prepare their home by insulating the sides of their home with newspaper or carpet, cover open fronts to protect them from direct weather, but make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Make sure really small pets, like hamsters or mice, are kept indoors, away from any cold draughts. You might need to move their enclosure to a warmer part of the house and away from windows.
  • Keep them cosy. All small pets should have extra bedding over winter so make sure there’s plenty and it’s deep so they can snuggle right down.




Official definition of an XL Bully dog

How dog owners and enforcement officers can check if a dog is an XL Bully.

Applies to England and Wales


Official definition of an XL Bully dog (for enforcement officers)

Request an accessible format.


Use the official definition of an XL Bully to check if your dog is an XL Bully. You’ll need to check the dog’s physical characteristics such as its size and height. It’s up to the owner or keeper to self-identify whether a dog may be an XL Bully.

Defra recommends taking a precautionary approach. If you’re not sure if your dog is an XL Bully, you should prepare for the ban on XL Bully dogs. This includes puppies that may grow up to be an XL Bully.

The ban only applies to XL Bully dogs. There are other established breeds, such as those recognised by the UK Kennel Club, that may meet some of the characteristics of the XL Bully breed type. These are not within scope of the ban.

A suspected XL Bully breed type does not need to fit the physical description perfectly. If your dog meets the minimum height measurements and a substantial number of the characteristics in the official definition, it could be considered an XL Bully breed type.

If you think your dog meets the minimum height measurements and has a substantial amount of the physical characteristics set out in the official definition, your dog may be in scope of the ban. This includes if it was not sold as an XL Bully.

Enforcement officers should use the PDF version of the official definition of an XL Bully dog.

How to measure your dog’s height

Blue Cross UK has created a video guide on how to measure your dog’s height from the ground to the withers.

XL Bully breed

The XL Bully breed type was developed through the crossing of various bull breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier.

The XL Bully breed type is a variant of the wider American Bully breed type. The XL Bully breed type is typically larger (both in terms of height and body shape) and more muscular than other Bully breed variant types such as the ‘Micro’, ‘Pocket’, ‘Standard’ and ‘Classic’.

Published 31 October 2023
Last updated 22 November 2023




Dog Poisoned by the Diffuser

Saturday night I got home late and my dog didn’t recognize me. Being a nanny I thought I woke him up and he was having a night terror. Sunday, he was still acting weird. I realized that I had been running my new diffuser and decided to turn it off. Sunday afternoon, he was feeling better.

Today at work, my dog sitter said that he wouldn’t come out from under the bed. It was very odd as he is a happy dog.

I came from work early and again, he was very confused about who I was.

So I took him to emergency vet.

It turns out that the tea tree oil I was using in the diffuser is toxic for dogs. Thankfully the test showed that his liver was ok but we weren’t out of the woods yet. He was given fluids under his skin to get the toxins out.

The vet and the poison control are saying that they see these cases often now that the popularity of essential oil is growing.

Please make sure that the essential oils you are burning are not toxic for your pets.

Here is a list of essential oils not to use if you have a dog at home

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Birch (Betula)
Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)
Boldo (Peumus boldus)
Calamus (Acorus calamus)
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
Cassia (Cassia fistula)
Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)
Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)
Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Mustard (Brassica juncea)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Red or White Thyme
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Savory (Satureja)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)
Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Please share this story as it may save someones precious furry family member!
Credit to the Owner




We understand that when pets get sick it can be financially daunting to afford care straight away, which is why we offer a 0% finance plan which can help cover the costs of treatment when money is a worry. 🐱🐶

Watch Dane our clinical director explain the benefits of the finance option, which is a way to spread the cost of unexpected petcare costs like:

✅ Dental procedures
✅ Orthopaedic surgeries
✅ Keyhole surgeries
✅ Diagnostics – X-rays, heart scanning

Please click the link below to find out more, because caring for your pet can’t wait, but payment can.💚💚

0% Finance


⚠️⚠️⚠️ SCAM ALERT ⚠️⚠️⚠️

Tonight someone has used the practice to fraudulently take money from an owner who is missing their pet cat. They have called the owner and claimed to be someone working at the practice, claiming the missing cat has been handed in as a stray. They have then asked for money over the phone to discharge their missing cat back to them before booking an appointment for the cat to be picked up from the practice.

A lot of money was unfortunately taken from the owners bank account and the cat was unfortunately not in our care so the cat has not been returned and is still missing.

Please note, we would never ask for payment over the phone to return a found pet. We do not charge to return missing pets to their owners.

Please do not fall for this scam. If you receive a call along these lines please hang up and call the practice directly.


Retractable Leads: Are they right for your dog?

Retractable leads can seem like a good idea as they allow dogs who may not be allowed off lead to experience some freedom.

However, there are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account when using retractable leads and they certainly aren’t appropriate for every dog.

When over one thousand veterinary professionals were polled a whopping 92% had experienced issues with retractable leads.

These issues ranged from:

▪️Burns to people from the lead
▪️Failure of locking mechanism, especially with large dogs
▪️Tangling humans and other animals in the lead
▪️Trip hazard to cyclists and pedestrians causing injuries
▪️Dogs being out of control due to length of extension
▪️Being allowed to walk around the veterinary practice waiting room and approaching other sick or scared animals inappropriately
▪️Sadly many people reported to have attended road traffic accidents where dogs had run in front of cars, buses and trucks as the locking system was too loose, failed or the dogs weren’t adequately controlled.

Sadly many of these pets lost their lives despite the intensive care of the veterinary team who attended them.

So… Are they right for your dog?

This is a hard question to answer because circumstances are very individual. Given then number of issues seen it would suggest that many owners are making the decision to use a retractable lead when in fact they are not appropriate to their dog, reason for use or lifestyle.

Retractable leads should be used with extreme caution near:

❌Others dogs
❌Busy public places

And their use may not be sensible to use with:

❓Large dogs
❓Strong dogs that pull
❓Boisterous dogs
❓Reactive dogs that could lunge
❓Dogs on a loose retractable that could trip or tangle someone



A dog imported from Morocco had recently tested positive for rabies – if this doesn’t shock you, it should.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 59,000 human deaths annually.

According to Public Health England (PHE), human rabies is extremely rare in the UK, in fact, the last case of classical rabies acquired in this country was in 1902. The UK has been rabies-free since the beginning of the 20th century, except for a rabies-like virus in a small number of wild bats.

But it’s getting closer, and with the number of foreign imports exploding, including the number of illegally smuggled animals, we are now putting ourselves at great risk of zoonotic diseases including brucellosis and rabies. Since 1946, 25 rabies cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, all imported.

These dogs arrive directly to your house, it seems so convenient, so easy. But you may be putting your family at risk. Please stop and think.

Rabies is a fatal condition but it is preventable by vaccination, most of the UK population will NOT be vaccinated for rabies.






Huge spike in unregulated dog fertility clinics fuelling an ‘animal welfare disaster’, vets warn

25 Oct 2022

Huge spike in unregulated dog fertility clinics fuelling an ‘animal welfare disaster’, vets warn Image

BVA is urging vets to report unregulated canine fertility clinics to relevant authorities as it doubled down on calls for urgent regulation.

The move comes as BVA’s latest Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey reveals that more than 9 in 10 (93%) vets are either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ concerned about the boom in unregulated canine fertility clinics. Worryingly, among vets who work in companion animal practice, 30% said they were aware of such canine fertility clinics operating in their local area.

However, despite high levels of concern, most vets (78%) said they were not aware of the mechanisms for reporting such clinics. Among vets who were aware, less than one in twelve (8%) had reported any clinics, equating to just 2% of all vets.

BVA Senior Vice President Justine Shotton said:“Our survey reflects the magnitude of our members’ concern around canine fertility clinics popping up across the country with no veterinary oversight and should serve as a wake-up call for urgent regulatory action.

“While non-surgical procedures can play an important role in breeding programmes, we are clear that they must always be carried out under the advice and care of a vet and in the interests of dog health and welfare.

“We know that many fertility clinics often focus on the most in-demand breeds such as French bulldogs, which can struggle to mate and whelp naturally. BVA is very concerned about artificial insemination being used in such cases, as well as in cases where dogs with inherited diseases and conformation-related issues are used for breeding. We are also aware of worrying reports that some fertility clinics are advertising prohibited or dangerous procedures such as surgical artificial insemination.”

Vets responding to BVA’s survey emphasised the need for stronger regulation of canine fertility clinics. Many vets also said that clinics should be inspected and given tough penalties if found to be operating outside the law. BVA is highlighting the following reporting details so that vets can help authorities take relevant enforcement action:

Speaking about the vet profession’s important role in curbing down on unregulated clinics and prohibited practices, Dr. Shotton added,

“I’d encourage vets to develop a practice protocol for reporting concerns of this nature and to make a note of the country-specific reporting mechanisms relevant to them. The more information the authorities have, the easier it is for them to take enforcement action. Working together we need to send a strong message that these animal welfare breaches are unacceptable.

“As veterinary professionals, we also need to work with, and support, our clients who are breeding responsibly and re-double our efforts to reach prospective puppy owners to help them make the right decisions when they choose a new pet.”

Advice for dog owners

The recent spike in fertility clinics can be linked to the pandemic puppy boom and the demand for designer dog breeds. A Naturewatch Foundation report earlier this year uncovered evidence of at least 332 canine fertility clinics operating in the UK, a steep rise from the 37 known clinics found by a Vet Record investigation in 2020.

Canine fertility clinics offer a range of dog fertility and breeding services, from artificial insemination and ultrasound scanning to progesterone testing and semen extraction. While some non-invasive procedures can be carried out by unqualified people, all forms of artificial insemination and invasive acts involving intravenous blood sampling must only be carried out by a vet by law.

BVA is concerned that many canine fertility clinics are being run without a vet’s oversight, with unqualified people carrying out veterinary procedures. A BBC exposé last year also lifted the lid on some unregulated clinics offering courses on canine fertility to people with no veterinary or animal handling qualifications. The undercover footage showed illegal blood sampling, lay people advocating the unlicensed use of human medicines on dogs, and potentially illegal acts during artificial insemination.

Sharing advice for anyone who is looking to breed their dogs, Dr Shotton said:

“Figures from our latest survey are a stark reflection on our vets’ concerns around the boom in canine fertility clinics across the country.

“It is no coincidence that their rise over the past few years can be linked to unscrupulous individuals cashing in on the huge demand for certain fashionable puppy breeds, like French bulldogs and other flat-faced breeds, who can struggle to mate or give birth naturally and can suffer from a range of health problems.

“Rather than listen to sound veterinary advice around responsible breeding, these individuals are taking matters into their own hands, fuelling a potential animal welfare disaster. Anyone looking to breed their dog should always speak to their vet first. That’s because unsuspecting owners and breeders may not be aware that many canine fertility clinics are being run by people offering veterinary services without any qualifications.

“Our advice would be to think carefully before engaging with a canine fertility clinic and to ask the right questions before using their services. This includes questions around the staff’s qualifications and training, how they are regulated, and about relevant health tests to make sure the dog is fit to breed in the first place.”

Collaborative work to tackle the issue

BVA is engaging with organisations including Dogs Trust, Naturewatch Foundation, Scottish SPCA and the Canine and Feline Sector Group to explore options for regulatory change. Naturewatch Foundation and the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) will be hosting a panel discussion on the issueat the House of Commons today from 7-9pm.



We just love a happy ending, after almost 2 and a half years we have reunited this gorgeous girl with her Mum and Dad. She was stolen from their garden at 9 months old and found today, luckily she was microchipped so reuniting was made so easy.

Just goes to show the Importance of MICROCHIPPING.

Lots of cuddles for this little one tonight. ??


3 Weird Mistakes That Could Cause Joint Issues In Your Dog

When your dog has joint aches or arthritis, it can be tough to see them suffer. They cannot participate in the canine activities that bring them the most delight. Therefore, if you want to protect your dog from developing arthritis, you should attempt to avoid making these three blunders.

Bad Gut Health

Maintaining your dog’s digestive health is essential to your dog’s general well-being. If the digestive tract of your dog is healthy, then your dog will be healthier overall. Inflammation, such as that which may cause joint and arthritic discomfort in dogs, has been linked, according to ongoing research, to the health of their gastrointestinal tracts. They might be able to fight arthritis and joint discomfort with the support of a healthy gut.

Additionally, your dog’s weight is affected by their nutrition and food, which in turn influences their joint and arthritic discomfort. When your dog reaps the advantages of the high-quality fiber in any suitable food, it may be easier for them to maintain a healthy weight, ensuring that your dog’s joints and hips are not subjected to excessive strain. Your dog’s digestive tract stays in good health thanks to the fiber, which helps improve nutrient absorption. As a result, your dog’s joint inflammation and arthritic symptoms will be reduced to a greater extent.

When your dog’s microbiome is in tip-top health, there is an appropriate balance of beneficial bacteria, which keeps bad, pathogenic bacteria at bay. This bad bacteria is what triggers a defensive response from your dog’s immune system, and it’s also what can cause persistent inflammation, which can make joint pain and arthritis symptoms worse.

Spay/Neuter Increases Breed Joint Disease Risk

Spaying and neutering have both pros and cons that are worth discussing, especially in young dogs. The connection between spaying and neutering pets and joint problems is an issue that arises frequently.

Sadly, not all dog owners are aware of the potential dangers that come with spaying and neutering their pets.

  • Unusual or Abnormal Growth

The impact that spaying or neutering has on your dog’s hormones is the primary concern here.

The sex hormones that are produced by a dog’s reproductive organs are eliminated in spaying/neutering. Sex hormones are involved in more than simply the activities associated with sexuality. They are responsible for managing development as one of their tasks.

Breeders can easily distinguish between an intact animal and a spayed dog. Neutered canines have longer limbs, smaller skulls and bodies, and lighter bone density than intact dogs.

Studies have revealed that when the sex hormones are withdrawn, critical regulatory input for the growth hormones is lost. So, as a result, the bones continue to develop longer than they should.

  • Hip dysplasia

Dogs neutered before the age of 5-6 months have a chance of getting hip dysplasia that is seventy percent higher than intact dogs.

Of course, neutring is a complex topic with many pros and cons with should be discussed with your vet

Over Vaccination Leads Your Dogs To Arthritis

Vaccination, and particularly vaccination against distemper, has been implicated in several studies as a primary factor in the development of joint problems in canine patients.

Additionally, getting your pup vaccinated more than once is pointless and unneeded when it comes to the distemper virus.



⚠️We are commonly called about animals who have been intentionally given ibuprofen by their owners who are completely unaware of the dangers it may pose – we hope this post highlights those risks⚠️

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is commonly used in people for the relief of pain and inflammation associated with aches and pains, headache, cramps and for the relief of mild fever.

Dogs are particularly sensitive to the effects of ibuprofen, although other animals can be just as affected too. Ibuprofen can affect the gastrointestinal tract and the kidneys and can cause neurological signs and liver damage too dependent on the dose. The clinical signs of ibuprofen poisoning can include:

❗Vomiting (may be bloody)
❗Diarrhoea (may be bloody)
❗Black, tarry stools
❗Abdominal pain

?If you suspect your pet has been exposed to ibuprofen, call the Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 for advice. Please ensure you have an up to date weight for your pet. Veterinary professionals can call VPIS on 0207 305 5055.




Most of the time, if your dog is stung by a bee or wasp, the worst they will end up with is a swollen face or paw and some localised pain and irritation. Though your dog might appear distressed when they’ve been stung, this pain should go away after a short period of time.

In some cases, however, your dog may be allergic to the poison that is injected by the bee or wasp sting. If not treated this could result in a severe reaction or even death. If your dog is stung somewhere like the throat or mouth, or stung several times in one go, contact your vet as soon as possible for advice. Your vet will most likely ask you to bring your dog in straight away.


  • Biting or giving attention to the place they have been stung
  • Whining
  • Swelling in a specific area
  • Holding up the affected area e.g. their paw
  • Pawing at the affected area e.g. their face, mouth or throat


  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Weakness or collapsing
  • Pale gums
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive swelling around the sting and spreading away from it

If your dog is displaying any of these signs, you should contact your vet immediately and make arrangements to take your dog in for emergency treatment.


Quickly remove the sting using a credit card or something similar to scrape it out. Be careful to scrape from below the venom sac and don’t squeeze or pull the sting out as this can release more venom and prolong the irritation.

Once you’ve done this, run a clean tea towel or cloth under the cold tap and hold it against where your dog was stung to reduce the swelling. Ice is good to quickly soothe the site of the sting but be careful not to shock your dog with the sudden temperature change and sensation.

Your dog is likely to be agitated and irritated by the sting, so as much as possible try to calm them down and keep them cool. It’s important that you try to remain calm too.

Keep an eye out for any signs of an allergic reaction that might develop within the first few hours.

Some people recommend over the counter antihistamines when your dog has been stung, but certain ingredients in different brands can be fatal to animals. If you choose to do this, you should always check with your vet to make sure you are giving the right drug, and in the right quantity for your dog’s size and weight.


If you are a client of one of the local vet practices signed up to our Out-of-Hours pet emergency care service, or the RVC’s veterinary practice in Camden, you will automatically be redirected when you call their number.

The service operates 7:00pm-8:30am weeknights, weekends and all bank-holidays.

What you can expect

Participating veterinary practices have arranged for the QMHA to provide a pet emergency service on their behalf. This might be during your practice’s normal working hours, or it might be at night, weekends or at any other time when your usual practice is closed.

In an emergency, call us on 01707 666399. Your call will be taken by one of the Out-of-Hours Emergency Care team, who will take your details and advise you on what to do next. You will be given an indication of the relevant consultation fees.

We will triage your pet as soon as possible after arrival

  • Pets are seen and treated by a qualified vet, usually assisted by a final-year veterinary student
  • Animals that require the most urgent and immediate treatment will be seen as a priority
  • In most cases, our primary care team will be able to treat your pet and provide all the veterinary care required
  • We will contact your usual vet with an update of your pet’s progress as soon as possible during normal opening hours
  • If your pet is critically ill, or requires immediate specialist attention, with your consent they will be transferred to our ECC Service or one of our other specialities.

Upon arrival

Important – Clients who have symptoms of COVID-19 (Fever, persistent cough, loss of taste/sense of smell) must NOT come onto site. Please ensure that you always wear a face covering on site and inside our buildings.

Please enter via security who will direct you to the hospital, please park in the carpark directly outside. Check in with the reception team or if after midnight please use the handset located in entry way to inform us you’ve arrived. Your pet will then be triaged by a vet/vet nurse/final year vet student to assess their condition and take them into the hospital for stabilisation if required. You should have received a link via SMS or email to complete our admission forms, please complete these and return promptly. If you have not received this or do not have a mobile, please alert a member of the team who can provide a paper copy.

For life-threatening cases or patients requiring a trolley please use the Emergency Drop Off point, and alert reception. (You can also inform our Security Team at the entrance barrier if your pet is in a life-threatening condition, they can then call ahead to anticipate your arrival.) Your pet will then be triaged by a vet/vet nurse/final year vet student to assess their condition and take them into the hospital for stabilisation if required. Once your pet has been admitted into the hospital please then move to a standard parking space. You should have received a link via SMS or email to complete our admission forms, please complete these and return promptly. If you have not received this or do not have a mobile, please alert a member of the team who can provide a paper copy.

Consultation and treatment
In most cases this is a consultation with a member of the veterinary team, during which a treatment plan and any further associated costs will be fully discussed.

After the consultation your pet may be admitted to the hospital for treatment. At this stage you will be required to pay a deposit before you leave. We can offer two ways of claiming via your insurance, if your pet’s treatment exceeds £500 then we can process a ‘Direct claim’ for you, meaning that we will invoice your insurance company directly. To do this, we will require a copy of your current insurance policy and any required claim form to be completed by the policyholder, plus a deposit of £100 and a direct claim fee of £25. Alternatively, if your invoice is below £500 or should you prefer to settle the invoice with us yourself first, we will still process your claim as an ‘Indirect claim’ there will be no direct claim fee for this. The insurance company will simply settle with you rather than us.

If your pet is not insured, you will be required to pay 50% of the estimated cost of treatment on admission of your pet and the remainder upon discharge. Our online payment portal is available at:

How to reach us by car

Clients are advised to approach the Royal Veterinary College along Hawkshead Lane from the A1000.

From the M25, leave at Junction 24 and take the A111 (Southgate Road) to Potters Bar. At the first main junction and traffic lights, turn right onto the A1000 towards Hatfield. Follow the A1000 through Potters Bar, past the bus garage and after two sets of traffic lights, turn left onto Hawkshead Road and then fork left onto Hawkshead Lane.

From the A1 take the A1001 Eastbound and then take the A1000 Southbound and follow the signs to the Vet College (a right turn onto Hawkshead Road and then into Hawkshead Lane).





Rabbits can be wonderful pets but they need more than carrots and cuddles to keep them healthy. Owners should remember that they have complex needs and require just the same amount of time, love and care as many other larger animals.

As well as fresh food and water, rabbits love company so it’s better if they live in pairs. As they are preyed upon in the wild, they ideally need somewhere in their run where they can hide if they feel threatened.

Find out more about caring for your rabbit:

Rabbit fun fact: Did you know that a rabbit’s top front teeth can grow 3mm a week?


Disclaimer: As far as possible we have taken all due care to ensure that the information and advice given here is correct. It must, however, be understood that advice can differ in different circumstances. We can therefore accept no responsibility for errors and always suggest seeking direct professional advice whenever there is any doubt.



The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued its annual warning to pet owners to take extra precautions when walking dogs around freshwater bodies, as warm weather conditions spark concerns about an increased risk of toxic blue green algae growth over the coming months.

Although there have been no reported cases in Devon and Cornwall in the past twelve months there have been two confirmed cases in Somerset and Wiltshire and a suspected case in Swindon.

Across the UK there have been algal bloom sightings in lakes, ponds or rivers in around 50 locations, as identified by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s (UKCEH) Bloomin’ Algae app.

Pet owners should be particularly vigilant if taking their dog on holiday with them to other parts of the country. In late April, a cocker spaniel died of suspected blue green algae poisoning after a swim in Anton Lakes, Hampshire.

Blue green algae, or cyanobacteria, are a group of bacteria that can contain dangerous toxins which can be harmful and potentially fatal to pets, livestock and birds if ingested even in small quantities.

The algae may appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water. Dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected lake, river or pond or while licking their fur after going for a swim. It’s possible for dogs to come into contact with the bacteria even if they don’t go into water for a paddle, as toxic blooms are often blown to the edges of water bodies.

According to trend data supplied by Professor Alan Radford and his team at SAVSNET, University of Liverpool, suspected or confirmed cases reported by veterinary practices peak in July and August, at the height of the summer season, and aren’t restricted to any one part of the UK.

British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton said:

“Many dogs love nothing more than a paddle in a lake to cool off in this weather, but we’d urge pet owners to keep them on a lead during walks near water bodies confirmed to have algal blooms this summer. The majority of blooms are toxic and it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

“It is also important to be aware of the symptoms of exposure. These commonly include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures, and blood in faeces. They can appear within a few minutes or hours of exposure, depending on the type of toxin ingested, and can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal if left untreated.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so dog owners should seek prompt veterinary treatment to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for their pet.”

Dr Linda May, a freshwater ecologist at UKCEH, explained: “All reports of suspected blue-green algae are rapidly available to view via the Bloomin’ Algae app, so by submitting records, people are providing a useful early warning to pet owners and watersports enthusiasts.

“A photograph must be included with all reports so we can quickly check if the bloom is blue-green algae or something harmless.”

BVA has issued the following advice for pet owners:

(1) Look out for any warning signs put up by the responsible national environment agency or local authority near water bodies.
(2) Keep pets on a lead and by your side around water bodies known or suspected to have a blue-green algal bloom – don’t let pets swim in it or drink from it.
(3) If your dog has been swimming outside, wash its coat thoroughly with clean water afterwards.
(4) Seek emergency veterinary treatment if you’re concerned your pet may have ingested toxic algae.
(5) Report sightings of suspected blue-green algae with a photograph via the Bloomin’ Algae app. You can also set up notifications for confirmed sightings in your area.

Pictured: A confirmed case of blue green algae at one UK location.




Mina was rushed into us after she was bitten by an adder at the far end of Hannafore beach in Looe.

She had stuck her head in the long grass and then came back to her owners drooling and crying. When they went to investigate they saw the adder.

Adder bites in dogs are considered an emergency and should be treated by a Vet ASAP.

Adders will generally only bite in self defence. Bites occur when an adder is stepped on or disturbed.

Most bites occur on the legs or the face (you can see the swelling on Mina’s face in the photo)

Adder bite symptoms include

Swelling (2 puncture wounds may be seen)
Appearing Nervous
Pale gums

If you think your dog has been bitten by an Adder

Contact your Vet ASAP this is considered an Emergency

Carry your dog if possible to minimise the spread of the adder’s venom around your dog’s body.



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