Practice News September 2019

Staff Changes

We welcome two new receptionists to Withy Grove, Steph and Louise. We’ve not had a dedicated receptionists role before, hopefully the appointment for these two will improve the experience for you are your pets. Louise is an experienced veterinary receptionist and Steph has a wealth of customer experience in other fields.

We had to say goodbye to our vet Fiona who has taken some time out to go travelling, but we are delighted to have replaced her with a local vet, Alice Pinder. Alice qualified from Liverpool university this year and has only been working for a few weeks but has settled in nicely and is very popular with staff and clients.

On top of all this, two of our vets are taking some time out to become mums! Zoe his already off on maternity leave and Regan will be going later this year. We wish them both a happy and healthy time looking after their babies. We will cover some of these two vets’ shifts by using locums this autumn and winter, Iliyan and Matteo are both locum vets who live in the Preston area and we also welcome back Catherine who has locumed for us previously.

Keyhole surgery

Suanne continues to perform a multitude of keyhole surgeries, particularly bitch spays. This method of spaying a bitch produces smaller wounds with a more rapid and less painful recovery. Please ask for more details of this procedure. Here’s what one happy owner said;

‘I just wanted to thank you, Suanne and the team for the great treatment you gave Pickle. She has made a full recovery now with no side effects and is actually a lot more energetic and brighter than she was before the operation! We are keeping an eye on her diet to ensure she doesn’t put on weight and she is having regular short exercise four times a day, although I think she would like to do more given the chance!’


We are investigating extending our building at the rear to generate another consulting room, more kennel space and another operating theatre. We will keep you posted on how this progresses.

And finally, some hedgehog photos

As always at this time of year, we have a steady throughput of hedgehogs that we care for, treat and either release back to the wild or send to charity care and rehabilitation centres. Our nurses and vets are building up useful experience in looking after these little creatures and getting them well enough to be released. We have a donation box in reception to help pay for the care of these animals.

Hedgehog in a blanket being held.

Hedgehog on the vets table.

Hedgehog being held in a blanket.






Many of our hedgehogs are infested with parasite such as worms, fleas and ticks, we make sure they are all treated before release, here is a picture of some worms (capillaria) from a hedgehog taken down our microscope this week.

Microscope image of hedgehog with worms.

How many ways are there to kill a flea?

Fleas are having a little population boom at the moment. Numbers increased dramatically when we had that hot dry spell. Now, as we all start turning on our heating, any eggs in the house are hatching and the fleas can multiply rapidly.


It has always been the case that you have to treat your pet, all the animals in the household and use a treatment to treat the house and bedding too. As the years have gone by the flea challenge has got worse with warm summers and warmer winters allowing the fleas to survive for longer. This has meant many traditional flea treatments have struggled. Because treatment has to be continuous it is vital to use a product that lasts until the next one is used.  Many shampoos only last for a few days as well as many pills. A lot of spot ons have decreased activity near the end of their treatment period too. Historically flea collars have not been very useful either.

The good news

There are a plethora of products that are effective, safe and long lasting;

Spot Ons

These have been available for some years, some of the older ones are not as effective as they used to be. Some of the newer ones treat some worms and ticks too and there is also one that lasts for 3 months.


Most flea collars are not very effective, there is one that is very good against fleas and ticks and it lasts for up o 8 months, (because of legal advertising restrictions, I can’t give you a brand name but give us a ring for details). Some of these products kill ticks too.

A female flea, you can see eggs inside her abdomen.


Giving dogs pills is generally easy and flea treatments given this way can’t be washed off, giving a cat a pill is some peoples preference as well. Many of the existing pills are effective but very short acting, however, a new pill gives a months cover against fleas and ticks, there is also a pill for dogs which lasts 3 months. Again, tick and some worm treatments are included in some of the pills.

You need to remember to treat the house, everywhere your pet goes.


There is an injection for cats only. It lasts 6 months.


Every pet is an individual and everyone’s situation is different. Feel free to discuss flea control with us.

Lungworm, a real and present threat

Most of us will have heard of lung worm in dogs (there is also one in cats although it doesn’t cause as serious a disease).

The worm

Dogs catch lung worm from snails and slugs, they can pick these up just from general rummaging around in the garden, but also they can swallow them from drinking dirty water, eating grass or because the snail or slug is on one of their toys. We think of slugs being those big horrible slimey things we see after rain but many are very tiny so we don’t notice them, but they are just as infectious to our dogs and much easier to be swallowed by mistake. It has also been shown that the lung worm larvae can be in the slime trails left by snails and slugs making this another potential route for infection.


A cough or some breathing diffculties are the most common signs but there can be no signs at all or in the worst cases the parasite can cause a bleeding disorder which can be fatal. The worst symptoms are usually in young dogs, partly because their lifestyle makes them more likely to pick up slugs and snails and partly because as dogs get older they develop an immunity to infection.

Treatment and Prevention

There are currently very few effective treatments available. Most routine wormers DO NOT cover against lung worm. There is a pill and a ‘spot on’ that do both work, they are both used monthly. We would treat most coughing dogs with one of these products routinely just in case the cause is lung worm. Obviously your dog’s lifestyle will make it more or less at risk from this nasty parasite so we always tailor our anti parasite treatments to the individual pet. There is a map of where lung worm has been positively identified available here. You will note that  there aren’t any immediate positives in Preston, but remember, the problem is nationwide and this map is only of laboratory tested positives. Many coughing dogs will be given treatments and get better without ever being tested!  The big worry for us is the small number of dogs that can die from this condition.


As ever, please ask us for more information about preventing lung worm in your dog. More information is also available at


Special Offer – Rock Solid Flea and Tick Protection- 4 treatments for the price of 3!

Parasite protection can be confusing, there are different worms; roundworms, tapeworms and lungworms for example, and different external parasites, fleas, ticks and assorted mites. Amongst these there are different subsets of fleas, ticks, worms etc. Some of them transmit other diseases, for instance fleas can spread tapeworms and ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme Disease which is infectious to humans. On top of this different pets’ lifestyles will change their risk. Cats that hunt, for example, are much more likely to get worms and fleas than cats that stay at home. Fleas can also infest the home so any treatment may need to cover this aspect too.

More Variables

We also have to consider the age of the pet. Both cats and dogs are born with worms they get from their mothers in the womb and from the milk and this can happen even if the mother is regularly wormed. So kittens and puppies are wormed more frequently than adults and usually there is little chance of them picking up fleas, ticks or tapeworms so we don’t treat for any of these. Yet another factor is the humans around the pet. Children have a very small risk of being infected by dog roundworms which can occasionally lead to blindness so dogs around children need to be wormed for roundworms at least every 4 weeks.

The list goes on, your pet’s weight is important. All the parasite treatments have a weight range they work in and if you don’t use the appropriate product it may not be effective, At Withy Grove we can weight your pet accurately, you don’t need an appointment for this, just turn up and one of the nurses will help you weigh your cat or dog.

The best care for your pet

So, we try and match the best and most effective treatment to the lifestyle of your pet. You can’t really over treat for parasites (within reason, of course), but treatments that are not necessary should be avoided. There is also some evidence that some of the spot ons used on dogs can get washed off into streams and can add to pollution levels.

Our special offer

This spring we are giving you four treatments for the cost of three. This offer only applies to two products, a pill for dogs and a spot on for cats (we can’t name them in a public forum like this blog owing to advertising restrictions, but give us a ring if you want more details).


The pill we recommend treats for ALL species of fleas and ticks your dog is likely to come into contact with. We can combine it with a worm pill to give you full cover against parasites.


This is a spot on, it gives probably the best available cover against fleas, also helping treat any that have got into your home also treating tick infections AND round worms for a full 4 weeks. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, he or she may also need cover against tapeworms which we can provide with either another pill or a spot on.

4 months treatment for the price of 3, get in touch with us today!