Posing cat.

Chips With Everything ( Particularly Cats )

Most dogs that come to us now are microchipped, but if you look at any lost and found website, the number of un-microchipped cats (as well as parrots, rabbits and tortoises) is still very high.

How important is microchipping my cat?Cat check up.

Unlike dogs there is no law to have your cat microchipped but it is still in the cats and your best interest. 

At Withy Grove we have many ‘strays’ brought in to us and the number that aren’t microchipped is still very high. This means we aren’t able to reunite these cats with their owners unless they’ve been reported missing to us thus enabling us to contact you in the hope it’s your cat.

It’s impurrtantSitting cat.

Cats that are brought in to us that are sick receive any urgent treatment they need and stay with us for a period of time. They are posted onto our Facebook page as appropriate but not everybody has social media. When that time has passed they are placed into one of the rescues’ care that we work with to find a new home.  Cats that don’t require any treatment we ask the member of public to put them back out here they were found with a paper collar on and a note to contact us. We also give out the Cats Protection phone number to enable finders to make them aware of a potential stray so they can take them into care if they genuinely have no owner. 

Cats that are brought into us deceased, often from road accidents, and not microchipped can be sent for cremation by us, but we are rarely able to notify an owner unless they have given us specific details of their cat that’s missing. We hold a record of lost and found animals and do our utmost to inform people if we think we may have their cat. 

Many people don’t see the point in microchipping house cats. They are, in fact, considerably more vulnerable if they have never been outdoors and escape, accidents do happen as they have less road and outdoor sense, than an indoor/outdoor feline! 

It’s not expensive

Cat in the woman's arms.Microchipping at Withy Grove is ONLY £8.95. Once the microchip is implanted it is your responsibility as the owner to keep the details up to date. The microchip companies do charge for changes in details but at least you can be contacted should your cat be found to be a ‘stray’ or injured. 

Neutering is impawtant too

If your cat isn’t neutered and you’re struggling with costs we are very fortunate that Cats Protection provide assistance with neutering costs. In turn we offer a discounted microchip rate when having your cat neutered via Cats Protection. 

Please get your cats microchipped and if they are already, then check your contact details are up to date. 

Cats are family too. 

Does Your Cat Have High Blood Pressure?

Did you know that cats can suffer from high blood pressure in a similar fashion to people?

Is your cat over 7 years old? Eleven human years are equivalent to one cat year so your cat can age very quickly! High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a common problem as cats get older. In studies, hypertension was diagnosed in more than 1 in 20 of apparently healthy older cats. Make sure that once your cat is over the age of 7 that he or she is getting checked annually against this silent killer. We can do this at your cat’s vaccination appointment or you can come in and request it separately.

Take the pressure

Taking a blood pressure reading for a cat is very similar to when your doctor or nurse takes your own. A small cuff will be placed around your cat’s leg or tail and depending the type of machine used the cuff will be inflated and deflated to determine the blood pressure reading. It only takes and few minutes, does not hurt and most cats do not object at all.

Having blood pressure measured.

Old cat problems

Older cats are more likely to develop kidney and thyroid disease, arthritis as well as high blood pressure. These problems are manageable and treatment will improve your cat’s quality and length of life. A quick visit to the vet can help identify problems like this and get life-saving treatment started as soon as possible.

Did you know that cats instinctively try to hide any discomfort they are feeling? This is because in the wild they are mostly solitary and need to protect themselves from other predators, so for protection they do not make it obvious that they are injured or unwell. Look out for any slight changes to your cat’s normal routine.

Signs of chronic illness in older cats can be very subtle but include;

  • Drinking more than usual
  • Eating less than usual
  • Is stiff or having difficulty jumping or getting in and out of the litter tray
  • Has lost any weight
  • Has any lumps and bumps
  • Is toileting in the house
  • Is less sociable than normal
  • Is less active than normal
  • Is more active than normal
  • Is vomiting
  • Seems disorientated or is unbalanced

The benefits of cat ownership

Owning a cat can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by a third, it can help to lower our blood pressure so it is only fair to look after your cat’s blood pressure too!! Return the favour and bring your cat in for a routine blood pressure check. Not only is high blood pressure a silent killer in cats over 7 but it can also warn us of other diseases your cat might be at risk of.

What are the benefits of owning me (or rather me owning you)?

Make sure your cat enjoys his or her twilight years in comfort.

Visit the icatcare website for information about the effects of high blood pressure in cats http://icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/hypertension-high-blood-pressure-cats

Hamilton has an F1 Fracture

Meet Hamilton, a seven year old black and white feline. He suffered (what was almost certainly) a car accident and fractured his tibia in two places. Spookily, Hamilton has the name of Lewis Hamilton and a mechanic at the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix this weekend also suffered a double tibial fracture.

X Ray and Surgery

Like many cats with severe fractures, Hamilton was limping but otherwise bright and happy. X ray, however, showed a double tibial fracture. This is a serious injury for any animal, but our Surgical Certificate holder, Suanne, repaired the break by using two plates and screws, one over each break, some wires around the fragments (called cerclage wires) and a pin down the centre of the bone to aid stability.
This all makes for an impressive looking X ray.

The fracture

The repair, view from the front

The repair, view from the side


Hamilton is recovering nicely, he has to be kept confined in a cage (we keep a few cages to loan out to cases like this) for a few weeks which he finds very frustrating. This is equivalent to a person being ‘signed off’ and advised to rest but once a cat feels OK they want to be out and about again and can’t understand why we won’t let them!
Once we are happy he is healing nicely, he will be allowed ‘room rest’ and then hopefully get back to a full and active life as soon as possible.

Road Accidents and Cats

If we let cats have free roaming outside then there is always a risk of being hit by a car. It is difficult to prevent this, you can keep your cat indoors all the time but some owners (and some cats!) find this unacceptable. Keeping your cat in at night helps too, at least in the day time drivers can see cats and try and avoid them. There may also be ways of altering your garden to make it difficult for a cat to access the road.

At the end of the day, it is a sad fact that if you want your cat to enjoy the freedom of outdoors and be around you when you are in the garden, then you have to weigh up the risks of road accidents (and other types of misadventure too – cats are naturally curious).

Shadow comes into the limelight

As you are probably aware, we do a lot of work for various local animal charities. One of these is the Preston branch of Cats Protection (CP). Any cats they are taking on to rehome come to us where they have a full health check, blood tests, neutering (if not already done) and anything else they need to start their new life as fit and healthy as possible.

Shadow and Pagan

Recently, we had two cats brought in, Shadow and Pagan. Shadow had his right foreleg missing from the elbow down and a lump on his abdomen. We initially thought he might have had an accident which had caused these injuries but when we anaesthetised him we could see his heart beat (and feel it) through his abdomen. This is very unusual so we decided to do some X rays.


X Rays

Radiography showed that his front leg is a genetic malformation which he had had from birth, you can see the bones of the leg (circled in orange) are very different from the other leg (which is in front of the abnormal one).

His heart is enlarged but he has a deformity in his sternum (circled in blue) and the swelling on his abdomen (purple) is a fat hernia which contacts directly with the heart so we can see (and feel) the heart beating. You can also see his microchip in the top of the image.

Shadow’s chest, plain X ray

Shadow’s chest, marked

The future

We had not seen before such a strange combination of genetic variations. Shadow seemed healthy and happy with his sister, Pagan, so no treatment was required and he will now move on to a new home.

Every day we see things that are a different from what we have seen before, there are always new challenges ahead. Shadow illustrates this very well and surprised all of us when we took the X rays!

Happy Christmas To All Our Animals!

Be Careful this Christmas

Watch out for potential hazards to your pets this Christmas, as findings released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) reveal that in the North West 80% of vets saw at least one case of toxic ingestion in pets during the last festive period.

Across the UK, chocolate poisoning in dogs remains the most common cause of toxic ingestion at Christmas, with 74% of vets seeing at least one case. Raisin or sultana poisoning is also prevalent (54%), with vets reporting a significant increase in cases over the last two years.

Several vets in BVA’s ‘Voice of the Veterinary Profession’ survey said that, despite owners’ best intentions, their pets had been poisoned after gifts or festive treats containing chocolate or raisins were placed under the Christmas tree, with the owner unaware of the potential peril for their pet lurking beneath the wrapping. Many cats also suffered toxic ingestion last Christmas, with a quarter of vets treating cats for antifreeze poisoning.

BVA President John Fishwick said:

‘Christmas is typically a fun and chaotic time for families, but the presents, treats and decorations can often prove dangerous for our pets if we are not careful. Many pet owners are aware of the risks of chocolate or other festive foods being toxic for their pets but, as our survey shows, it’s easy to be caught out by a kind gift left under the tree which curious animals can find hard to resist. Our advice is for present-givers to tell owners if there is anything edible in gifts and to keep such presents safely out of reach of your pet. If you suspect your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t, please contact your local vet immediately.’

Keeping your pets safe

To keep Christmas merry for the whole household, Withy Grove recommends you ensure your home is safe for four-legged friends by following these five simple tips:

  1. Protect your pet from poisons – a number of festive treats and traditions are toxic to cats and dogs. They include;
  • Chocolate and liquorice (common Christmas gifts)
  • Raisins and sultanas (used in Christmas cake recipes)
  • Certain nuts (especially peanuts and Macadamia nuts)
  • Xylitol-sweetened foods
  • Onions, avocados and grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Plants including poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, lilies (and daffodils)
  • Cleaning and DIY products such as white spirit and lubricating oils
  • Car anti-freeze
  • Human medicines

Substances with low toxicity that could cause drooling, vomiting or diarrhoea include:

  • Blu-tack or other similar adhesives (used to put up decorations)
  • Charcoal and coal
  • Cut-flower and houseplant food
  • Expanded polystyrene foam (used for large present packing)
  • Matches
  • Wax candles and crayons
  • Silica gel (found in packaging)
  1. Keep decorations out of reach – ribbons, wrapping paper, baubles, tinsel and tree lights can all prove irresistible to cats and dogs but can be very dangerous if broken, chewed or swallowed. Batteries for Christmas gifts also need to be kept safe as, if ingested, they may cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.
  2. Forget festive food for pets, we all enjoy a richer diet over Christmas, but fatty foods and Christmas dinners shouldn’t be shared. They can trigger, sickness and diarrhoea or other conditions from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis, so try to stick to your pet’s regular diet and routine. Bones including turkey bones should not be given to pets as they can splinter and puncture the digestive tract (see my next blog for an example!). Make sure any bones are disposed of in a bin that your dog won’t be able to access.
  3. Give toys not treats, we all want our pets to share the fun and many of us include a gift for our pet on the shopping list. But too many treats can lead to fat pets which can have serious consequences for their health, so consider opting for a new toy, or a long walk (usually enjoyed more by dogs than cats!) if you want to indulge your pet this Christmas.
  4. Know where to go, even with all the care in the world, animal accidents and emergencies can still happen. Make sure you’re prepared, all vets must have a 24 hour emergency cover, phone our normal number , 01772 330103, if you need assistance and you will be put through to our on call service. The only two days we don’t have a surgery at Withy Grove are Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If you are away from home, use the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ‘ Find a Vet’ facility at www.findavet.org.uk

For more information on pets and poisons download the free Animal Welfare Foundation ‘Pets and Poisons’ leaflet at www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet-care-advice/pets-and-poisons

cat on car roof

Remember, Remember the 5th of November (and other days too!)

Pets can experience stressful episodes in the same way we do. Fireworks are an obvious example but moving house, going to a kennels or cattery, building work etc can be stressful to our pets. Cats and dogs like their home life to be ‘the same’ much like ourselves!

How to Spot Signs of Stress in Your Pet

You know your pet better than anybody and will often notice changes in behaviour in traumatic situations, such as Bonfire Night.

Symptoms to look out for include:


  • Trembling and shaking
  • Clinging to owners
  • Barking excessively
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Pacing and panting
  • Refusing to eat


  • Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

Noise Anxiety

Specifically on Bonfire Night your pet may have ‘Noise Anxiety’.

This is anxiety to sudden or sustained loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms, parties, gunfire, engine noises and construction work. The reaction can be to the first time the noise is heard or repeated exposure which can make the situation worse each time.

Anxiety is a reaction to an anticipated danger. Anxiety includes physiological signs (e.g. increased respiratory and heart rates, trembling or paralysis, increased salivation or sweating, gastrointestinal disturbances) and behavioural sign which may include changes in activity (e.g. immobility, pacing, circling, restlessness); changes in distances to supportive stimuli (e.g. remaining close to a person); or changes in appetite.

Fear is an emotional response caused by a specific stimulus (e.g. an object, noise, social situation) that a pet perceives as a threat or danger

Even low levels of triggering stimuli almost always provoke an immediate behavioural response which may take the form of a panic attack.

Regardless of the triggering stimulus, the perception of fear and anxiety is equally negative for the dog (or cat) that experiences it and, if it does not have an adequate coping mechanism, its welfare may be compromised.


What Can You Do?

As we approach bonfire night, if you know your pet gets stressed you need to start thinking about what to do now.

There is a wide range of advice available, some things you can manage at home;

  • Make your pet a safe, warm den
  • Keep curtains closed and family present.
  • Soundproof the room as much as possible
  • Have the TV or radio on.
  • There are desensitizing programs that expose your pet to gradually increasing noise in a controlled and comfortable way, this again has to be started some weeks before Bonfire Night.
  • Have your pet microchipped in case he or she does run away.

There are also other ways to manage the noise of fireworks (and stress generally);

  • You can use calming pheromones for cats (Feliway) and dogs (DAP), these can be plug in diffusers (like air fresheners), impregnated collars, or sprays. These products need to be started several weeks before they are needed.
  • There are calming medicines, some can be provided without having to see your pet, these also need to be given for a few days before November 5th for best effect.
  • Stronger sedative medicines are very effective but we need to see your pet and discuss their use with you. These are generally just given on the night.
  • There is also a calming diet which can be fed instead of your pet’s normal food during the stressful period.
  • We have a noise desensitizing gel which you apply to your dogs gums. Again you give for a few days prior to the night.
  • Tellington TTouch, a kind and respectful way of working with dogs which can be used to help them overcome a variety of health and behavioural issues such as; fear & shyness, noise sensitivity, excessive barking, excitability. nervousness, leash pulling, car sickness and jumping up.

TTouch recognises an inextricable link between posture and behaviour and uses body work, ground work exercises and specific equipment to release tension and to promote a feeling of calm and well being. This in turn helps dogs develop self confidence and self control and enables them to move beyond their instinctive and, often fearful, responses.

It helps to increase trust and understanding between both the dog and owner and benefits both the giver and the receiver giving us a greater appreciation for our animal companions.

TTouch workshops are run at Mucky Paws Pet Shop, the next one is on Sunday 22nd October. Places are limited, if you are interested contact: Mucky Paws Pet Shop & Mutz Cutz Grooming – 01772 339794

As you can see, there are several steps you can take to help your pets over this stressful time. Every pet and situation is different so it is important to plan ahead so please contact us now to discuss any of the above.


Feline Facts: Your Cats Behaviour Explained

Cat Behaviour Explained

We all see our cats every day doing the things they do, we often interpret them as ‘loving us’ (which of course they do!) but there are reasons behind their behaviour.

A cats mood can be told from his or her facial expression; ear position, pupil dilation, lip licking and tail position. However, they communicate mainly by scent and have few facial expressions compared to dogs. When a cat rubs against your legs they are rescenting you to smell right. If you’ve just come in from outside, your legs no longer smell ‘correctly’ so he or she has to rub scent onto you. Of course to us this is a ‘loving’ gesture.

Scratching posts also help cats scent, some cats like to stand on their hindlegs so posts should always be as tall as your (extended) cat. We can help cats with scenting in the surgery if we give them two beds and wash one at a time, it means your feline friend always has something that smells ‘right’ in their hospital cage.

Solitary Felines

In the wild (and domestic cats look very like their wild cat ancestors, unlike dogs which we have changed a lot in many cases) cats are solitary animals, they don’t have a pack or a hiearchy like dogs. So when they meet other cats they often don’t know how to react, which is why they fluff up their tales and stand looking at each other deciding what the best course of action is. Even cats that live together may not accept each other, if they fully accept one another they will groom each other and curl up together. Infact any touching of another cat is an acceptance, otherwise they are just tolerating each other. In the same house, two cats will often sleep and inhabit different areas to keep their ‘solitary status’.

Food and Water

Wild cats, when eating like to be able to see what is going on around them, so they prefer not to eat from a bowl whilst facing a wall. They will hunt more or less all the time as they don’t want to be hungry and never know when the next meal is going to arrive. When hunting and eating, they get a feline ‘high’ so giving cats hunting games with toys, searching through cardboard boxes, toilet rolls or egg boxes (for food) keeps them very happy. Cats have poor long distance vision so like these ‘toys’ to be close and a cat that is bored or frustrated is more likely to be aggressive.

Drinking is usually done from running water, again in an open area so they can keep watch. They also prefer the water bowl to be away from the food bowl area.


Sleeping (cats do this a lot)

Wild cats sleep up high and rotate from one place to another, this helps to stop parasite build up and is repliacted in our homes. Cats also like to hide (they are prey as well as predator in the wild) so a den is appreciated but in places where they have more than one exit so they can escape if necessary.

Toilet Behaviour

Toileting is done at the edge of their territory, naturally this would be in sand so this is a good material to use on the home too, but it must be the child safe sand, builders sand can be very sharp. They do like to be in a secure place for this. Some cats are not comfy having a roof on their litter tray, or don’t like a steep step in, the wrong type or litter of the tray in the wrong place. Multi cat households should have one tray per cat and one extra.

Does Your Cat go to the Toilet in Strange Places?

This syndrome is known as ‘Inappropriate Elimination’ and can be exhibited by both male and female cats.

Sometimes Inappropriate Elimination happens because your cat is confused about house training or is using the faeces or urine to communicate with other pets or humans. It can also occur if the cat is stressed about, for example, new pets or babies, tradesmen working in the house or the owner has been away on holiday.

Cats sometimes spray, usually near doors or windows to communicate with cats that may be wandering through the garden.. This ‘spraying’ is normal cat behaviour, although humans are not usually impressed by it!

What to do about Inappropriate Elimination?

The first thing to do is have your cat checked by a vet, there are medical problems that can produce this behaviour, such as diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid illness, bladder stones or cancer, old age (a form of dementia), epilepsy, incontinence, arthritis (this can make it painful for a cat to climb into the tray). or other painful conditions, constipation to name a few.

There are also lots of behavioural causes; your cat may have a problem with the litter tray – its cleanliness, location, type of litter, getting in and out of the litter tray or sharing the tray with other cats. General stress or poor house training can also play a part as well as territorial marking.


We would always get a full history, this can often give us clues as to the cause, but laboratory testing, X rays and other procedures for the problems mentioned above will also be used. If we can rule out a medical problem then the cause is likely to be behavioural and we can address that.


Obviously if there is a medical issue we will treat this appropriately. If not we look at behavioural solutions. these include;

  • Neutering (if not already done)
  • Cleaning areas well (washing powder and alcohol are a good combination)
  • Stopping the cat access previously used areas
  • Reducing stress using pheromones or medicines
  • Deterring other cats from entering your cat’s territory
  • Providing a safe escape area in your home for your cat where it can be entirely on its own
  • Chaning litter tray arrangements (see above)

Cats that ‘Inappropriately Eliminate’ can become resented by their owners and it is a not uncommon reason they are euthanased. If your cat exhibits this behaviour, click here to contact the team at Withy Grove, and let a vet check it over as soon as possible, many causes can be successfully treated.


veterinary hmp stockist preston

We Are Now Stocking a New Diet for your Feline or Canine Friend: HPM Veterinary

Part of caring for your pet is making sure they have the right diet. There are masses of diets out there, wet, dry, raw etc and it is difficult to be certain you have chosen the right one. After much consideration at Withy Grove, we have started stocking a food called HPM. It is a diet based on what a cat or dog would eat naturally if they were hunters. I like to think of it as raw feeding but as a packaged diet.

Cat-On-Step-HMP-VeterinaryDid you know that 46% of adult cat foods contain a vegetable as their number one ingredient?

Cats are obligate carnivores and in the wild would eat very little if any vegetable matter. They require a low carbohydrate high protein diet which they would get as wild meat eaters. HPM is specifically developed to match these needs as close as possible. This matches your cat’s needs as well as being highly palatable.

This food naturally helps keep healthy weight, skin and coat, bladder and kidneys as well as supporting the immune system and being low allergen.

And, 66% of adult dog foods contain a vegetable as their main ingredient.


Although wild dogs eat a more varied diet, they are still carnivores and their diet should reflect this. Again, HPM is very palatable and with the main ingredients being pork, poultry and pea, balanced and low allergenic too.

Life Stages

For both cats and dogs there are different life stage varieties and for dogs large and small breed versions.

Both these diets we have offers on, puppy and kitten bags can be bought as ‘buy on get one free’ (small bag size only) and for the other life stages we have loyalty cards that get you a free bag after several purchases.

As with the other diet we sell (Hills) if your pet doesn’t like it then return the bag for a full refund!

Pop in and pick up a bag and give it a try, it could be just what your pet is looking for.

cat waiting area at vets in preston

Withy Grove Vets Open Evening — the hottest ticket in Preston

We’d love you to pop into the Withy Grove Vets Open Evening on Thursday 14th September 2017 from 7-9pm.

Premium pet healthcare has always been our priority.

But you have to see our superb new facilities before believing the best vets in Bamber Bridge just got even better.

You’ll be sure of a warm welcome — we’re excited to show off all the improvements we’ve made.

We’ve organised lots of exciting activities so you’ll definitely have a night to remember:

  • Goodie bags for all guests
  • Practice treasure trail
  • Guess the weight of the dog (without lifting it up)
  • Charity raffle — all proceeds go to worthy local causes
  • Refreshments — quench your thirst while you roam around
  • Meet friendly staff — including our awesome animal therapist Donna

Mix and mingle

You’ll rub shoulders with fellow pet owners and meet the cream of local pet businesses like Mucky Paws pet shop, Mutz-Cutz groomers and the K9 club.

So by the time you leave you’ll be plugged into Preston’s premier pet healthcare network.

Get the date in your diary today, we can’t wait to see you.

We’re sure our launch night will be a fantastic and informative night out— miss it and miss out.

Call 01772 330103 today for more details

If you know you and your family are going to attend, feel free to let us know so we can make sure you get a goodie bag! Email us at info@withygrovevets.co.uk

See you soon!

Contact us