Wallace and Vomit

wallace the west highland terrier


Meet Wallace. He is a happy little six-year-old West Highland White Terrier and he was presented to us because he was vomiting but still pretty happy in himself. This vomit was more like regurgitation, he was hungry but brought back any food or water pretty much immediately he swallowed it. This usually means there is a foreign body somewhere in the upper part of the digestive tract. In the early stages these dogs are still quite bright (unlike in a severe infection, for example).

X Rays

Radiographs showed there was something stuck just where his oesophagus enters the stomach. There is a natural constriction in the oesophagus here so it is easy for objects to get trapped in this spot. The problem we have is that anything stick here is difficult to get at. The oesophagus is a very unforgiving organ to do surgery on, it heals very badly and incising into it can often end up with complications which can be fatal.

wallace the westie's x-ray at withy grove vets

Wallace’s X-ray. The piece of bone is circled.


We tried to see and remove the object with our endoscope. We have a camera and some grasping forceps, we pass these through his mouth and down to where the blockage is, it looked like a piece of bone but it was too firmly wedged for us to remove without causing excessive damage.

wallace's endoscopy at withy grove vets

The piece of wedged bone as viewed down our endoscope


The next option was surgery, we operated on Wallace, opening up his stomach and trying to pull the bone through into the stomach from the inside. It was still firmly wedged, we eventually managed to get it out with one vet pulling from the stomach and another pushing it using a stomach tube passed through Wallace’s mouth.


Removal left a lot of damage to the oesophagus, we can see this with our endoscope so aftercare for Wallace was critical. He was fed and watered entirely intravenously for 2 days to give the damaged area a chance to recover. Pain relief is also vital and we usually use an anti-acid drug to stop stomach acid being refluxed into the oesophagus and causing more irritation to an already damaged area. Wallace has since made a full recovery.

wallaces throat after surgery


Bones and Dogs

Every year we see a steady stream of problems caused by dogs eating bones, they include constipation, stomach upsets, vomiting, gut blockages, broken teeth etc. Many can be sorted out but they can be fatal problems too.

Dogs love chewing on bones but they don’t need them. there are many safer chews out there. They also don’t do much to keep teeth clean. You should also remember that although ‘wild dogs’ eat bones, they are much bigger which means the chances of a piece of bone getting stuck are much reduced, they also chew their food differently from domestic dogs.

If you feel you have to give your dog bones then get the right sort, from a pet shop, don’t give bits of bone left over from cooking.

Anyway, we wish all our clients and pets a happy and successful 2018 from all of us at Withy Grove Vets!



Happy Christmas to all our cats. dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, degus, owls, budgies, parrots, snakes, fish, hedgehogs (apologies if I’ve missed any) and their owners.

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

withy grove vets - rogue the greyhound

Removal of a Rogue tooth

Rogue looking a bit worried before the operation.

Rogue is a two year old Doberman. She came to us recently because her owner had noticed that she had a fractured tooth. This tooth is the main chewing tooth at the back of the mouth, there is one in the upper jaw and one in the lower jaw and they are known as carnassials and are particularly useful for chewing meat. Dogs don’t look after their teeth like we do so tooth fractures are not uncommon if they chew stones and sticks etc. If the root cavity of the tooth isn’t damaged then we can often leave the tooth in place, it will always be more prone to future decay as the enamel has been damaged but as long as we keep an eye on it to spot early signs of progressing disease it can stay where it is.

In Rogue’s case she had opened the root cavity so we have to remove the tooth. It was probably painful but cats dogs and cats are remarkably good at disguising this sort of pain and keeping eating. If left the decay would have got into the gums and bone and caused more pain.

Tooth Removal

Rogue duly came in and the tooth was removed under general anaesthesia. The carnassial tooth is particularly well attached as it needs to be for it’s use, it has three roots, two at the front and one at the back. Taking out a three rooted tooth is extremely difficult and the chance of doing excessive damage to the surrounding bone, or worse of fracturing the root and leaving a bit behind is high. To get round this problem we cut the tooth on half with an air pressure driven burr and then take the tooth out as two teeth, one with one root and one with two roots.


After, the tooth removed.

Before, the offending tooth is the large one on the upper jaw.

It can still be difficult to remove but we have a very powerful air-driven dental machine that helps enormously. After we had removed the tooth we scale and polish the rest. We always do this after any dental procedure to keep the teeth and gums as healthy as possible, this is particularly important as we have to anaesthetise animals to perform a scale and polish (as they won’t sit still with their mouth open!).



Anyway, Rogue made a full recovery assisted by some pain relief and is now ready to resume her superhero duties.

The offending tooth, cut in two to remove. The front portion on the right has two roots and the back portion, one.

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


Lead The Puppy Party Pack

You won’t be surprised that the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors believes that sociable puppies grow into well-behaved dogs.

And the confidence puppies gain from socialising at an early age means they can mix well with other pets in a wide range of environments.

But agreeing puppy play dates can be a challenge for busy owners — that’s why our Puppy Party Pack promotion makes all the arrangements for you.

Puppy Party Pack

Our Puppy Party Pack sets your pet on the fast-track to fantastic health and development.

Here’s how it provides peace of mind for just £21.95:

  • First vaccine — make sure it’s safe for your puppy to leave the house and start making friends.
  • Flea and worm treatment — keep your pet free from painful parasites.
  • Four weeks free health insurance — pet healthcare problems won’t catch you unprepared.
  • Full health-check — top-to-toe check ensuring your pup’s in perfect health.
  • Access to a bespoke puppy nurse you can trust to provide excellent advice.
  • Free entry to two puppy parties for pets who have had their first vaccine (up to 11 weeks old)

You and your puppy can relax in the comfortable surroundings at Withy Grove Vets and mingle with fellow pet owners and trusted professionals.

It’s the perfect way to mix with knowledgeable staff and pet owners.

And it boosts your puppy’s confidence so future vet visits are much less anxious affairs.


Puppy parties help you fulfil the Animal Welfare Foundation’s five foundations for happy pets:

  • Environment
  • Diet
  • Behaviour
  • Company
  • Health

Our puppy nurse will provide personalised advice on the health and training your puppy needs to develop into a dog that delights friends and family.

And you’ll receive the best advice about responsible pet ownership that fits around your lifestyle.

We’re sure you and your puppy will love our pet parties — they bring you right to the heart of the Withy Grove Vets community.

Our puppy party pack promotion lets you set a firm foundation for lifelong pet health and happiness — grab the opportunity it offers today.

Call us today to find out more about our puppy parties, or click here to send us an email.

mixed pet foods - withy grove vets preston

What is Raw Feeding and is it healthy and safe?

Raw Food feeding for cats and dogs is becoming more popular and getting more attention.

The theory is that a dog or cat’s diet in the wild would be raw and not contain preservatives. Opinions about Raw Feeding vary and can be very strong but many pets are fed this way with little problem. As vets we have to listen to our clients, take note of these type of changes in society and, above all, care for the animals. Everyone has their personal opinion, below are some pros and cons of Raw Feeding;

Potential advantages of Raw Feeding

It more closely mirrors an animal’s natural diet.

No preservatives or additives.

You are in control of what your pet eats. You can match your ethical diet choices to your pet’s.

Potential disadvantages of Raw Feeding

Pets have been changed much as we have bred them and they no longer match their natural ancestors, both in dietary requirements and in how they eat (and the teeth they have!).

Bacteria and parasite contamination of raw food is more likely. This could potentially make your pet or the humans around him of her ill both from handling the food and some bacteria may be passed in your pet’s faeces.

Raw Feeding may not provide enough vitamins, minerals etc.


Other issues

There are lots of other issues which are arguable, these include, stool consistency, calorie and protein intake, food allergy, immune system, cost, tooth care, skin and coat quality and humans generally eat prepared ‘unnatural’ food. As a vet, I have seen good and bad of all these things in Raw Fed and commercial pet food fed pets. It is important that you tell your vet what your pet eats so if we believe we need to make a change for health reasons, we know where to start.

If you want to consider Raw Feeding, there are some commercial Raw Pet Foods that are complete and balanced, the label has to state that the food is complete for the life stage of your pet for this to be the case. If you want to make your pet’s food at home you should take advice from a nutritionalist to make sure it is balanced for your pet. There are many websites that can help with this. To balance the arguments, the same applies for commercial pet foods!

Introducing our new and improved practice

It’s been business as usual for our team of expert vets and nurses, but the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that there have also been a few changes happening at Withy Grove Vets recently.

Finally, after an exciting but busy couple of months, we’re very happy to reveal our new and improved practice!

And it comes with a slightly different address…

Welcome to Withy Grove Vets, 37-39 Station Road

We’re proud that so many loyal clients trust us to look after their beloved pets, so to keep up with demand, we’ve expanded our practice and taken over the building next door.

We’re taking full advantage of all the extra room that’s now available to us and using it to improve our pet-focused veterinary care.

To start, we’re continuing our efforts to create a warm, comfortable and welcoming environment for all visiting pets. It’s something we’re already well versed in, with our current standards winning us an RWAF Rabbit Friendly Vet (Silver Award), an ISFM Cat Friendly Award and an RCVS Practice Standard.

Now we’re going one step further by opening a cat’s only waiting room, designed purely with nervous felines in mind as well as a rabbit specific hospital ward, new nurses clinics, dental room and enlarged waiting room as well as improved isolation areas for infectious pets. We will also have space to re-introduce our popular Puppy Parties which we had to stop a few years ago. You can find out more information about these great services by calling our friendly team on 01772 330103.

With our new facilities behind us, we’ll be able to treat our furry patients much quicker and welcome lots of new clients and provide new services.

Keep an eye out for future developments…

The extra space is already coming in handy, but it also means we’ve got plenty of space to introduce further services in the future.

We’ll make sure to update you as and when they fall into place.

Until then, pop in next time you’re passing by to check out our fresh, modern and welcoming practice for yourself – we look forward to seeing you soon!

heart disease in pets feature imae

Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats can suffer from heart disease, usually as they get older. They don’t suffer from blocked arteries along the lines of humans but basically heart disease in our pets can be split into two areas.

The first is disease of the heart valves.

Heart valves make sure the blood flowing through the heart chambers always flows in one direction. Sometimes these valves become leaky which means blood flows back the wrong way between each heart beat.We can hear this rush of blood with a stethoscope and it is called a heart murmur.  In the early stages the heart just beats faster to take up the extra work and there can be few signs. However, as the leaky valves get worse with time, the heart can struggle to keep up and this can result in the animal becoming quieter, more lethargic and in some cases a cough can develop as well as fluid builds up on the chest because the heart can’t clear it. In cats this form of heart failure can be very difficult to pick up as the cat just sleeps a bit more, however, in this species blood clots (thrombi) can form around the damaged heart valve and these can break off and get stuck in smaller blood vessels which can be very serious.

The second form is an abnormality of the way the heart generates a beat.


Canine Heart Model


Inside Canine Heart Model

We hear this as an abnormal rhythm and this can lead to heart attacks which can be fatal. Pets with this condition will often be lethargic. This ‘cardiomyopathy’ can be associated with hyperthyroidism in cats.

Heart disease affects the whole body as organs may not be getting enough blood or blood pressure can be too high (or low in some cases).

Regular check ups help us to pick up these problems, every time your cat or dog has a vaccination booster or a check up, we will listen to your pet’s heart and if we pick up any problems we can treat them. Obviously we may need to do further tests such as an ECG, X rays or a blood pressure measurement to determine the most appropriate treatment. We also have to be aware that we must make sure there are no other problems, in any animal there may be other disease processes going on and we need to address these as well to keep your pet as healthy as possible.


Make sure your pet has regular check ups and vaccinations to help us pick up these potentially life threatening conditions early.

To book your appointment, click here.

Hyperthyroidism in cats

Hyperthyroidism is a relatively common disease of older cats.


The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats are; weight loss, a good appetite, increased thirst, poor coat condition (matting and increased shedding), changes in behaviour (restless or more grumpy) and some vomiting or diarrhoea. Some cats may have poor appetite.

This disease is sometimes been overlooked because the changes are similar to the cat ‘just getting old’. It is important to realise, however, that by treating this disease you can improve both your cat‘s quality and length of life.

Hyperthyroidism is caused by a (usually) benign tumour of the thyroid gland producing excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. The thyroid glands (there are two) are situated in the throat region and the hormone they produce is important in the regulation of the body’s metabolism. Increased amounts of thyroid hormone increases the metabolic rate of the body so that energy from food is burnt off more quickly, hence weight loss and a good appetitie.

There are other effects from this over production of hormone which are not immediately apparent. The most important of these is over activity of the heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). The heart beats faster but less efficiently causing high blood pressure, damage to the kidneys, production of blood clots (thrombosis) and, ultimately, heart failure.

Old cats can also suffer from many other problems such as kidney failure, arthritis, dental disease etc. It is vital that we examine and test to make sure we address all the problems together.


This is by blood test when we will test for any other problems as well as give a full examination.


Medical. Pills, an oral liquid or a solution that is absorbed through the skin of the ear can be used. They all suppresss the thyroid gland‘s production of thyroid hormone. Medical treatment is relatively inexpensive and avoids the need for surgery. However, some cats are not easy to give medicines to and some cats require multiple blood tests to get the dosage correct.

Surgical. The affected thyroid gland can be removed. The unaffected gland left behind takes over the work so the cat suffers no ill effects. The advantages of this approach is that you do not have to give pills or have blood tests and the results are nearly always good. The disadvantages are that it is an operation and the cost of surgery has to be balanced against the cost of pills.

Chemotherapy. Radioactive Iodine can be given to the cat, this collects in the thyroid gland and destroys the cancerous tissue. It is usually very effective but is only carried out at specialist centres and will involve your pet being hospitalised.

Diet. The thyroid gland is dependant on Iodine in food to function and if it is severely restricted the hyperthyroidism can be cured by dietary change alone!

If you have any questions about hyperthyroidism in your cat, don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here