Dental disease in dogs, cats and rabbits is very common. Indeed, one survey has suggested that 85% of dogs over four years of age has periodontal disease. This condition results in loss of gum, resulting in root exposure, infection, chronic pain and the resulting bad breath with which we are all too familiar!
It is less well known, that the toxins from these mouth infections can cause damage to internal organs such as kidneys, liver and the heart by travelling round the blood stream. You can see how important it is to regularly check your pet's teeth and, indeed, we will carry out this examination ( where possible! ) at the annual booster vaccination.
It is, on the whole, a preventable disease with modern animal toothpastes, brushes, special diets and chews etc, however, when your pet needs attention we can provide the type of dental treatment you would expect from your dentist. We use both ultrasonic and air-driven equipment allowing scaling, polishing, tooth extraction and dental radiology to be carried out.
Dental health products
At Ashbank vets, we offer a comprehensive range of products to help you keep your pet’s teeth in tip top condition, including pet friendly toothpaste (beef and chicken flavoured), special cleansing food and chews. Homecare is essential, if you don’t want your pets to suffer from the dreaded “dog breath” and the pain and discomfort which inevitably comes with it.
We use a very advanced fully digital x-ray unit. This means we have excellent quality images instantly. There are no films and processing delays, as you may have seen in the past; radiographs are sent quickly to a computer screen in our control console.
We can adjust exposures instantly and easily to obtain the best detail from all different parts of the body. Because the images are instantly available, it means patients who are sedated need only be for the minimum of time.
X-rays are used to image both soft tissues, such as the heart and liver, as well as the usual bony tissues looking at fractures and joint or spinal disease. The image below was taken with our machine and shows a fractured dog pelvis.
We can also use special dyes in some cases, to obtain a clearer picture or highlight particular organs and structures.
Electrocardiography is a technique used to measure and record the heart’s electrical activity. It is used to determine rate and rhythm disorders that can sometimes be fatal unless treated appropriately. Hearts are normally checked when your pet is in for it’s annual booster and this is often when the problem is first detected. As with all medical problems, early recognition and treatment is best.
In some cases it may be necessary for us to send the ECG to a specialist cardiologist for interpretation. This can be carried out quickly and effectively with results normally being back with us in 24 hours.
Frequently, we will use endoscopy to look down a wind pipe to see why a dog is coughing or into a cat’s stomach to see why it is being sick. The endoscope provides real visual information which would not be available by any other method.
Professor J Simpson, our visiting specialist in internal medicine, also frequently uses endoscopy, colonoscopy or rhinoscopy to diagnose and treat some of our more challenging medical cases.
Free Nurse Clinics
We run free nurse clinics for all our registered pets at our Laurieston Surgery.
As a free service to our clients, we offer appointments with our nurses throughout the year to suit you and your pet. These are a great opportunity for both you and your pet to get to know the team at Ashbank better and also take advantage of a free check up with one of our highly skilled veterinary nurses!
They are particularly valuable times for puppies, kittens and older dogs and cats as well as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, all creatures small and furry but all pets are welcome!
Our nurse clinics are organised and overseen by our head nurse – Emily Wallace RVN who has been running clinics for several years now.
For more details, speak to Emily, Ashleigh, Jodie or Gillian or to make and appointment call us on 01324 623359.
Welcome to our home visit service which allows owners to have their pets seen in the comfort of their own home whether they are cats, dogs or rabbits. House calls can help to reduce the stress for pets who hate the car or the dreaded cat carrier and are sometimes more convenient for pet owners too.
It is often the case that a visit to the clinic is more appropriate where we have, for example, much more equipment and facilities than can be brought to the house. However, there are many circumstances in which we find a house call to be appropriate such as:
- Vaccinations and boosters
- Some pets with reduced mobility
- Euthanasia of pets
- Non urgent illnesses
- Clients who find it difficult to visit a veterinary clinic for health or transportation reasons
We request advance booking for home visits as house calls are not always available. We must prioritise the care and safety of our inpatients and, therefore, we cannot guarantee an urgent or same day service (we will try where we can however, to accomodate).
Our out of hours emergency service is run by Vets ER who, for logistical reasons, are unlikely to be in a position to leave their premises for home visits.
It costs us more to provide services outwith the practice, so we must charge more for this, however, we try to keep prices very competitive and most of our clients, to date, have been surprised that we don’t charge more. We will only charge one house call no matter how many animals we see at the address that visit!
We currently charge £30+VAT per house call (in addition to our normal ‘in clinic’ fees).
FK1, FK2, FK3, FK4, FK5
The laboratory allows us to carry out a large number of in-house blood tests including red and white cell counts, kidney and liver function, thyroid function etc. Having this equipment on the premises means that we can usually run tests on the day they are taken, avoiding the inevitable delays in transportation and processing.
We are now able to perform an additional range of in-house tests, such as bile-acid stimulation tests, ACTH response tests, low dose Dexamethasone suppression tests, drug monitoring and others. We are proud to be able to offer inhouse testing for SDMA. This is a very modern test that can detect kidney problems in dogs and cats at much earlier stages than conventional lab tests!
We can also run pre-anaesthetic blood screens in which, as the name suggests, blood can be tested before animals have their anaesthetic to provide valuable information that can be used to reduce anaesthetic problems. These screens are particularly useful in older or unwell animals.
We also carry out tests on skin, hair, joint fluid, spinal fluid, urine and faeces using microscopy and special stains to look for parasites, yeasts, bacteria and fungi.
What is a laparoscopic spay?
A modern, minimally invasive approach to neutering
Using two 5mm incisions in your pet’s tummy, we can insert a camera and instrumentation to safely identify, seal and remove the ovaries. Avoiding the pain and lengthy recovery associated with an ‘open’ spay wound of 50-100mm.
Laparoscopic spays are shown to be considerably less painful (65% reduction in post-op pain) than traditional ‘open’ spays (Hancock et al, 2004; Devitt et al, 2005; Davidson et al 2004). By minimising the size of incisions into the abdomen and reduced tissue handling, dogs are much more comfortable after laparoscopic spays than ‘open’ spays.
Recovery is typically around 1 day for laparoscopic spays compared to 14 days for ‘open’ spays. Licking and self-inflicted wound trauma is significantly reduced too with no need for a buster collar! “Sixty-five percent less pain than a traditional ‘open’ spay…” – Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association.
Less risks and complications
While any surgery carries a degree of risk, laparoscopic techniques reduce the risk of:
- Wound breakdown
- Ovarian ‘remnant’ syndrome
Who can have a laparoscopic spay?
- Any sized patient
We use high quality state of the art Karl Storz® instrumentation and camera systems. Robert has undergone intensive external training in laparoscopic techniques and carries out laparoscopic surgery on a regular basis in the practice.
How much does it cost?
As you would expect, it costs a practice a lot of money to invest in the equipment and training required to provide laparoscopic surgery. We have kept the cost to our clients as low and simple as possible.
We add a charge of £120 inc. VAT to each neutering procedure carried out under laparoscopy.
Please ask any of our team for current base prices.
Ashbank is proud to have a fully refurbished surgical suite of theatres, including a dedicated prep area for surgically preparing patients before going to theatre, as well as two purpose built sterile surgical theatres.
These allow Ashbank to provide gold-standard surgical care of your pet when they need to undergo surgery. We have also invested in a dedicated dental theatre, which further enhances our ability to maintain the highest level of sterility.
We use pre-packed surgical instruments using the practice’s modern vacuum autoclave, allowing us to have a large range of specialist instruments ready for a variety of routine and complex procedures including orthopaedic, soft tissue, neurological and cardiovascular procedures. We use single packed swaged suture materials which again represents best practice.
Modern drugs and anaesthetic protocols are used at Ashbank to mimimise risk to our patients. During anaesthesia, patients are monitored by qualified nurses, ECG, pulse-oximeters and respiration monitors.
We also have a range of modern single packed swaged suture materials suited to all different types of veterinary surgery.
Ultrasound equipment uses very high frequency sound waves to produce moving images of parts of the body and as such is completely harmless to tissue and organs.
We are using this imaging technique more and more frequently to look at internal organs such as liver, kidneys and the heart, as well as the usual reason everyone expects us to use it – to determine if puppies or kittens are present.
We have two ultrasound scanners.
The major advantage of ultrasound is that it is safe, relatively quick to perform and is usually done in the conscious patient. We normally have to clip some hair to enable good probe contact though.