Puppy Awareness Week

pupsPuppy Awareness Week (PAW) starts today and part of the aim is to educate people on buying a pup so they don’t get one that may have come from a puppy farm.  A recent survey was done by the Kennel Club and they asked how and where owners bought their pups and if the puppy had experienced any health issues.

The figures showed 17% of people who bought their puppy online, particularly from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, said it died within 6 months of being purchased.  Also, 12% claimed their puppy was in poor health and needed substantial medical treatment.

The figures are quite shocking and with more people buying pups online it is thought as many as 1 in 3 puppies are being bought over the internet.  The Kennel Club are asking for people to not buy from people selling pups on social networking sites and to use rescue centres or reputable breeders.

pupppsAt Cherrydown we have seen young pups that have serious health issues and in most cases it has stemmed from the poor treatment they, and their mother, received while with puppy farmers.

Typically, puppy farmers will separate the pup from its mother too early and it will not be socialised with other puppies.  They won’t follow guidelines regarding the maximum frequency of litters and won’t follow breed specific health schemes.  The pups are not wormed or immunised and in a lot of cases they are kept in poor conditions.   Also, the puppy farmer will meet you somewhere and will not invite you to their home so you can see where it was born.  If you are in the process of getting a puppy and the breeder wants to meet you in a car park or somewhere that isn’t their home, alarm bells should ring as it is more likely you will be buying a dog from a puppy farm.

If you intend on getting a puppy for yourself or as a gift, please use a reputable breeder. Alternatively, pop along to a local rescue centre as they will have lots of dogs looking for a forever home.

If you are going to go through a reputable breeder here are a few pointers:

Always go to a reputable breeder. Look for reviews,recommendations from others people or ask your vet for advice

When you speak to a breeder ask to see the puppy’s mother.  Also, take a look at the conditions of the kennels if the dogs and pups are not kept in the breeder’s home.

Ask the breeder for any certificates or documentation regarding the health of the puppy and its parents.

You may be put on a waiting list.  It will be worth it if you want a healthy puppy.

If you take the puppy home and things don’t work out a responsible breeder will let you return it.  It’s always best to check with them before you take the puppy away.

Overall, if something doesn’t ring true or feel right, don’t buy the puppy.

With our puppy package your pup can get :

1st and 2nd Vaccinations
One month of flea and worm treatment (inc Lungworm)
A microchip
An invitation to our puppy party

All this for £30 saving you £45.

Alternatively, if you know someone who is getting a puppy and might find our guide and offers useful please pass on the link to our website so they can download their own copy

Also, if you have a friend who is getting a puppy, refer them to us and if they take advantage of the £30 puppy package you will get £10 credit added to your Cherrydown account. You can download a referral form by clicking HERE

If you have any questions about any of this please contact us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page

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Boss and the Snake Bite Scare

Boss Wood is a lovely friendly two and a half year old Staffie. Helen Wood and her partner Max look after Boss while their son Gary is at work. Yesterday they took him out for a walk near the fishing lake at Lee Chapel Lane in Basildon. They were walking along a path near the lake with Boss off the lead when suddenly they saw an adder curled up on the path with Boss approaching it. In a split second the snake lunged at Boss but they were initially unaware that Boss had been bitten. They both had mobile phones and took photos of the snake as it disappeared off into undergrowth.

 Snake


After a few minutes Boss became woozy and they realised he had been bitten. Max picked Boss up & ran a mile or so with him in his arms while Helen ran ahead and got the car. They rushed Boss into us at Cherrydown Vets where our vet Kim Woods saw him immediately. Boss was a bit wobbly and his foot was beginning to swell. Because they had pictures of the snake we were able to confirm it was an adder bite rather than an allergic reaction which can present with similar signs. Boss was put on a drip & given steroids to reduce the inflammation as well as an antihistamine injection to prevent an allergic reaction to the venom. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Despite this treatment the leg continued to swell above the elbow, so it was decided to give him anti-venom. Anti-venom itself can often make an animal very ill by inducing an adverse reaction so it is only used if an adder bite can be confirmed & the animal does not respond to the initial treatment.

Boss responded well and after staying with us overnight he was sent home on antibiotics. We will however need to see him regularly over the next few days as adder bites can cause tissue necrosis (cell death) in the immediate area surrounding the bite, which may require further antibiotics.

Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death. With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths. We usually see a few dogs each year that are bitten by snakes and we have a blog on our website for further information and advice

What to do if your dog is bitten by a snake – Click HERE

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Top Reasons to Let Cherrydown Vets Look After Your Pet

1) We guarantee to be there for you 24 hours a day 365 days a year. That means our own vets and nurses are on site caring for your pet when they need it most. Some practices outsource their care overnight or have no one on duty at the premises. We passionately believe in 24/7 continuity of care by our team to give your pet the best possible treatment.

2) A top European Orthopaedic and Heart Specialist available for consultations and operations. Having our own consulting specialists means your pet can get specialised treatment without having to travel to distant referral centres. Any post operative aftercare is also carried out here at Cherrydown making it easier for you to visit your pets.

3) We are one of the few surgeries in Essex to offer Laporascopic (Keyhole) Spays. The benefits are less trauma, faster recovery times, small skin wounds with no stitc

4) Direct Insurance – Let us take the pain out of paying for treatment. We can hold your bill until your insurance company pays us directly.*

5) Free Nurse Checks – you can book an appointment or just turn up. We also offer Free Nurse Clinics – Get advice on diet, dental care, diabetes, travel, rabbits & other small furries.

6) Three modern operating theatres with digital Xray facilities. Our modern sterile theatres greatly reduce the risk of infection and allow us to perform complicated procedures in-house. Digital Xrays allow us to quickly get specialist advice from anywhere in the world, they are quicker than conventional Xrays (so there is less radiation exposure to your pet) and the image is much better for more accurate diagnosis.

7) Air conditioned kenneling and waiting areas for the comfort of your pet. Keeping your pet comfortable reduces stress and makes for easier treatment.

8) We are really proud of our facilities and our staff really care. Why not come and let us show you round so you can see for yourself that to us, your pet is one of the family.

9) Over 11,500 people trusted us to look after their pets last year. We have an active Facebook site with nearly 6000 likes where we post information and answer your questions on pet health related subjects throughout the day. Why not visit it by pressing the button on our home page.

* Terms and conditions apply.

For more info see https://www.cherrydownvets.co.uk/pet-care

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Breaks and Fractures

At Cherrydown Vets one of the reasons pets are bought in to us is because of breaks or fractures to their bones.  It could be because of a car accident, a high fall, fighting, over exuberance or something more serious like bone cancer. There are two types of fractures, open and closed. An open fracture is when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin. A closed fracture is where the bone has broken but does not break the skin.

If your pet has had a heavy fall or an accident there are some things you can look out for to see if there is anything broken.

  • Your pet may hold the broken limb in an abnormal position
  • The limb will become very swollen
  • There may be an open wound with bone sticking through it.
  • You pet may be limping or is reluctant to put any weight on a particular limb
  • Your pet may hold up their limb and not put any weight on it at all
  • Your pet may not want the limb touched by anyone

Bones consist of an outer, hard portion known as the cortex and an inner area known as the marrow.  A fracture can range from a simple hairline fracture with little displacement of the bone to complex fractures where the bone has shattered into many pieces. If a fracture has taken place at a joint it can be even more serious.

If you believe your pet has fractured a bone you should take them to the vets immediately so they can be x-rayed. When the vet can see how serious the break is they can advise on the best course of action.

When it comes to transporting the animal, try to minimise movement of the affected area. If the bone is exposed cover with a clean, damp towel to protect the wound.  Also, be careful when moving your pet. No matter how friendly and soft they are, when animals are scared or in pain they may bite. If you have a dog it may be worth putting a muzzle on them.

The vet will do a thorough examination of the fracture and will also check for any other injuries. Once they have all the relevant information they will be able to decide what to do next. Each fracture is different but generally there are two types of treatment, depending on the fracture. The vet may recommend internal or external stabilisation.

External stabilisation – If your pet has a hairline fracture or something minor, the vet may choose to use splints, casts or padded bandages to keep everything in place.

Internal stabilisation – This involves surgery and your pet will be anesthetised It can be anything from inserting a metal pin lengthwise into the centre of the bone (like an internal splint) to metal plates, pins, screws and wires to hold together various pieces of bone or to fix a joint.  If it is a serious fracture your vet may refer you to an Orthopaedic Specialist.

There is no strict rule on the amount of time it can take to heal a fracture but generally, the younger the animal the sooner it will take.  You need to make sure you limit the amount of exercise your pet does during the healing process to ensure the bones stay aligned. If your pet has too much activity it could refracture the bone and delay the healing or your pet could have a deformed limb due to stress on a weakened bone.  During the healing period your vet may take further x-rays to ensure it’s healing properly and let you know when your pet’s limb is back to normal.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to discuss this with you. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page.

Owning a Rabbit – Part 1

Did you know there are approximately 1.7 million rabbits kept as pets in the UK? This makes them the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. There are many different breeds all varying in size, shape and personality.  It is generally thought owning a rabbit is easy. However, as they need daily attention, have quite complex needs and can live for a long time (typically 8-12 years or even longer) keeping a rabbit is a major commitment.

Buying a rabbit

If you are looking to get a rabbit, going to a reputable breeder is a good option.  They will have planned the breeding carefully and the baby rabbits should have a good temperament. They will have handled them from a young age so they get used to being picked up. You will also know the exact date of birth which will give you peace of mind that you are not taking the baby rabbits away too young.

Another option is to go to a rescue centre. Every year many rabbits get abandoned because the owners either lose interest or can’t look after them properly.  If a rabbit goes into a rescue centre they will receive a vet check to ensure it’s healthy before being put forward for adoption. The rabbit’s temperament will be checked to ensure they will be safe for children to handle.  Also, many centres will ensure the rabbits are micro-chipped and neutered before you take them home.  You may need to fill in forms, have an interview and possibly have a home visit. This is done to ensure you are able to look after the rabbit properly.

A lot of people will get their first rabbit from a pet shop. However, very few of them will get their rabbits from private/reputable breeders. They will more than likely get them from commercial breeders and the rabbits have been born as part of a mass breeding programme.  These types of breeders are aiming for quantity rather than quality.  Also, the baby rabbits won’t have been handled before reaching the pet shop which means they may be more afraid of humans.  If you do go to a pet shop, ensure the staff know what they are talking about and are able to provide you with all the information you need.

When getting a rabbit there are a couple of other things to consider:

Rabbits are very social animals and do not like to be alone.  If possible you should keep your rabbit with another friendly rabbit unless your vet has told you otherwise.  Rabbits can get bored very easily and can suffer if they have no company or nothing to do. If you have been told to keep your rabbit on its own make sure you interact with it every day.

If you already own a rabbit and you are getting another one, introduce them gradually and do not leave them on their own at first. It may be a good idea to put them in a space that is new to both to them.  Normally, young rabbits that are bought up together will get on, but if they are introduced as adults they may fight.

If you have other pets, a cat or a dog, do not leave your rabbits unsupervised when they are around. Even if you know they all get on. It’s better to be safe than sorry

Finally, unless you are planning on breeding it would be advisable to get your rabbits neutered as this can reduce the likelihood of fighting in both male and female rabbits. Another advantage is neutering female rabbits also stops them getting uterine cancer.

In the next part of our blog we will look at diet and advise on where to keep your rabbit – indoors or outdoors.

As always, if you have any questions you can call us at the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page. Also, you can pop in to get a free check up with one of our rabbit nurses who can give advice on diet, dental, neutering, vaccinations, housing and boredom breaking activities to help keep your bunny happy

Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Like us, dogs have knees and there are two ligaments that help to hold and stabilise the knee joint. These ligaments are the cranial (anterior) cruciate and the caudal (posterior) cruciate and they cross over one another within the knee joint helping to secure the thigh bone, knee cap and shin bone together. Sometimes these ligaments tear and this is called a rupture.  When the tear occurs the tibia moves freely from under the femur and it is this movement and rubbing that causes the pain. You will probably have seen athletes or sportsmen or women pull up suddenly and be in considerable pain after a ligament has ruptured. It is very similar for dogs and they will usually show lameness in a rear leg.  Whilst not life threatening, it is extremely painful and needs immediate veterinary treatment. Failing to get treatment can cause arthritic changes that can lead to long term lameness.

So what causes a cruciate ligament to rupture and what can you do to help prevent it?

Sometimes it is just their sheer athleticism and over exuberance that can cause the tear. Healthy dogs might land wrongly from a jump, turn too quickly or just over stretch. Overweight dogs are at greater risk due to the excess weight carried and weakened joints. Over time degenerative forces acting on the knee joint can also lead to a tear.  Certain breeds are more prone to cruciate rupture so it is likely genetics play a part too.

So what will your vet do?

Initially your dog will be examined in a consultation and the vet will manipulate the leg to try to establish exactly where the pain is happening. Watching how your dog walks (its gait) will also assist in making a diagnosis for a cranial rupture. If your vet thinks it is a cranial rupture they will likely manipulate the femur and tibia to check for instability. Something they will look for is a cranial draw sign where the tibia moves forward independently of the femur. Also, a test called the tibial thrust will be performed. If the signs are not clear then your dog may need to have x-rays .

In the majority of cases cruciate injuries will require surgery, but your vet may consider a more conservative option first  with pain relief, anti inflammatory drug medication and a number of weeks of cage rest. The most common surgical treatment at Cherrydown is a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) which is conducted by our orthopaedic specialist J.B. Lefebvre. It is a complex operation and involves altering how the knee joint works to allow it to function without the cruciate ligament. During the operation the tibial plateau is rotated and a metal plate inserted to keep the bone in its new position. Over several weeks and with the dog restricted to cage rest only, the bone will heal into the new position. Following cage rest, further examination and x-rays will be required to make sure the surgery was a success and the joint is healing properly. Successful surgery is usually long lasting and dogs can go on to lead a normal active life.

What are the costs?

Where surgery is required there are considerable costs involved due to the complexity of the operation. If complications occur this will add to that cost. At Cherrydown we aim to cap surgery prices in advance and you will be given a fixed price to better enable you to manage your finances. If you are a client of Cherrydown and your pet is insured then you may be eligible for Direct Insurance* where we will foot the bill until your insurance company pays out. Typically a TPLO operation will cost between £2500 and £3000 and this is one of the reasons we strongly recommend that pets are insured and that the policy will cover at least this amount. Cruciate ligament ruptures, hip and elbow dysplasia and fractures are fairly frequent occurrences among dogs and each of these can cost a significant amount for treatment. Without insurance would you be able to meet the cost to give your best friend the best chance of a full recovery?

Looking after your pets during the winter months.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. We are heading towards winter and it’s the time of year where you will be wearing your big coat, plus a bobble hat and scarf to keep warm.  Even though your pets are covered in fur, they will need a bit of help to keep warm too -especially if they are very young or very old. Also, dogs such as whippets, greyhounds and other dogs with low body fat or thin coats will need help keeping out the cold.

Below are a few hints and tips on looking after your pet’s health during the winter months.

Firstly, we recommend you read our blog about the dangers of anti-freeze poisoning. Click here to take a look. Antifreeze can be harmful to pets so care needs to be taken. Ethylene glycol is a constituent of antifreeze and is toxic causing acute kidney failure. It is sweet tasting and attracts cats, dogs & children for this very reason. 

If you have a dog, no matter the weather, it will still need a walk. It’s worthwhile remembering that if you are cold there is a good chance your dog will be cold too.  If there is a lot of snow , remember that the smaller breeds of dogs that are trudging belly deep through the snow will feel the effects quicker than a larger dog.  Another thing to be careful of is hidden dangers below the snow. There could be broken glass, barbed wire or other sharp objects. Try and stick to well know routes to minimise the risk of your dog getting injured.

Ice Balls – Now this isn’t a big danger but if not checked it can cause discomfort and pain. If you have been out with your dog in the snow, check their feet for ice or compacted snow.

If it’s icy it may not be a good idea to throw balls or sticks as your dog may slip and injure itself. Take it easy unless you know the ground is ok to run around on.

Every year there are a number of reports where dogs fall through thin ice and either drown or suffer from hypothermia. If you walk your dog near large ponds or lakes, do not let them go onto the ice as you will not be able to tell how thick or safe it is.                                                                                                                                

If you are out walking your dog in the dark, you will be seen a lot easier if both you & your dog are wearing something reflective.

Don’t leave a dog or a cat outside for long periods without providing access to shelter and warmth.  As they could  suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. The most common cause of hypothermia is when a pet has been outside  for too long in freezing rain or snow.

During the summer months you are advised not to leave pets in your car as they could suffer from heatstroke.  When it’s cold you should not to leave your pets in the car as it can get very cold.

Could you spot the signs of hypothermia?   In severe casesyour pet might not show typical signs such as shivering, but it may become lethargic, disorientated and will have a slow heart rate and problems breathing.  Also, it will have cold ears and feet.  If you believe your animal may have hypothermia you should dry off your pet as quickly as possible (if it’s wet), wrap it up in warm towels together with a coveredhot water bottle to help raise the body temperature. Also, contact your vet for advice.

If you have an older cat or dog, it’s a good idea to keep them away from cold drafts and make sure they have a warm bed especially if they have arthritis.  If they are going out for walks, older dogs will appreciate a warm jacket when they go outside.  If you are going out and leaving your pet at home make sure the house is warm. Older pets will feel the cold in their joints and will be uncomfortable.

Cats are happy to sit inside and keep warm, however, if you cat normally goes to the toilet outside they may have second thoughts about going out in the cold and will hold onto their urine to the point where it is dangerous.  By holding it in cats may run the risk of infections and blockages.  To make it easier for them, leave a litter tray out for their use. If that doesn’t work you will have to be cruel to be kind and take them outside to do their business.

Small Furries

If you keep guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, they can be kept outside but it’s advisable to move them indoors. Keep them in a warm shed or a car-less garage (fumes from the exhaust can be harmful to your pets)

Cover the hutch at night with a blanket or an old piece of carpet making sure it is still well ventilated. Also, add some extra bedding for warmth.  Remember to keep an eye on your pet’s water bottle to make sure it isn’t frozen.

Fish

If you have a pond that contains fish and it freezes over it is important to remember to put a hole in the ice. By doing this it releases the toxic metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide.  Do not break the ice by force as this could cause distress to the fish.  Use a saucepan of hot water to gently melt a hole in the ice. Do not tip boiling water straight onto the pond as this could harm the fish.

A lot of the tips we have given are common sense but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.  If you have any questions about pet care please call the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will reply to you as soon as they can.

Pets – Legal Obligations

Recently, on our Facebook page, someone asked us for advice on the legal obligations of owning a pet. Rather than just let one person know we thought a blog would be a better idea

Firstly, have you heard of the Animal Welfare Act 2006? It goes into a lot of detail and if you want to read all of it we will add a link at the bottom of the blog, however, on a basic level it states:

Anyone who is responsible for an animal has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure that the animal’s needs are met.  This means that the person has to look after the animal’s welfare and ensure that it does not suffer.  The act states the animal’s welfare needs to include:

A suitable environment

A suitable diet, including fresh water

The ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

Any need it has to be housed with or housed apart from other animals

Protection from pain, suffering, injury or disease

If you have a dog there are certain laws you need to be aware of.  It is against the law to let your dog be dangerously out of control in a public place or in a private place where the dog isn’t supposed to be (in a neighbours house or garden for example)

Your dog is considered out of control if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.  Also, a court may decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if it injures someone elses animal or if the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

There is a lot of information relating to owning a pet on the government website such as banned dogs, DCO’s (dog control orders) , banned dogs and dog fouling. Also, it may be worth checking your local council’s website for information.

For more information about the animal welfare act , please click here 

Information about controlling your Dog, DCO’s, banned dogs and dog fouling, please click here

Information from about animal welfare from Basildon Council, please click here

If you have any questions about this please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Pet Passports

If you want to travel abroad with your pet you need to get a Pet Passport as this will help you avoid long quarantine periods when you return.  The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is designed to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases while still allowing your pet to travel.  From 1st January 2012 all pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the scheme criteria.  Rabbits or rodents that are travelling around the EU do not need one as they are not subject to any requirements with regard to rabies.

The criteria for your pet cat, dog or ferret is:

They must be fitted with a microchip and once this has been done they need to be vaccinated against rabies.

Your pet will need to be issued with a Pet Passport

There will need to be a gap of at least 21 days from the date of the first rabies vaccination before re-entering the UK or travelling to another country.

If you are travelling with a dog you will need to ensure it is treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before returning to the UK.

Finally, your pet will need to travel into the UK on a PETS-approved sea, air or rail route.

When you get your Pet Passport it will contain the details of you (the owner), the pet, including the microchip number, rabies vaccination and blood test details.  There are also sections to record the tapeworm treatments required for entry to the UK.  You can even have a scary passport photo of your pet included although this is optional.

If you do plan to go abroad with your pet, one thing to remember, you must book your return journey home with one of the PETS approved carriers on a PETS approved route.  There is a limited amount of space and it is allocated on a first come first served basis.  Make sure you book in plenty of time or your pet won’t be able to travel. Also, when returning to the UK the Pet Passport will be checked and if there is any paperwork missing or the pet has not had the correct checks and vaccinations, it could be taken into quarantine

If you would like more information about the approved carriers and routes, please click here

Finally, if you are taking your pet abroad you need to ensure it will be comfortable during the journey. Here are a few tips:

Make sure you get a carrying container that is big enough for your pet.  Before the trip, let your pet try it out and get used to it.  Put a familiar cushion or blanket in there as this will help your pet to settle.  The carrier should be well ventilated and there should be enough room for the animal to move around.  Also, ensure it has enough food and water for the trip with easily refillable containers for longer journeys.

If it’s going to be a long journey make sure your pet is fit and healthy enough to do it.

Make sure you feed your pet about 2 hours before the trip.  Nothing too heavy.

Make sure your pet has had a walk and been to the toilet before travelling.

Below are more links to the Defra website where you will find lots of other useful information about travelling with your pet.   If you have any questions about getting a passport for your pet please call us at the clinic, email at enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk or post a message on our Facebook page 

Traveling with your pet – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/

List of countries and territories – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/countries/

Bringing pets into the UK – http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/06/30/pb13582-bringing-pets-into-uk/

A True 24 Veterinary Service

At Cherrydown Vets we treat your pets how we would want our own pets to be treated. Their health and wellbeing is our number one priority.   Whether it’s a cat, a dog, a ferret, a hamster or a rabbit, whenever you bring your pet to see us we will give them the best possible care no matter what time of day or night.  We can promise this as we offer a TRUE 24 hour veterinary service.

By this we mean, if your pet is seriously ill outside of normal opening hours you can call our Basildon clinic and arrange to come in and get your pet examined.  Also, if your pet has to stay with us overnight, they will be cared for by our own vets and nursing staff.  There is no need for you to travel across Essex trying to find an emergency vet who you and your pet have probably never met before.  Your pet will be kept at the Basildon clinic for as long as they need to get well and will not be sent to another vets for them to be looked after while we are closed. We do it all in-house.

We also have a 24 hour resident nurse who looks after your pets throughout the night making sure they are not lonely or afraid.  If you want to call us in the middle of the night to check up on your pet, there will be someone on the other end of the line to reassure you and tell you how your pet is doing.  We are one of the only practices in the area to offer this.  If you need us we will be there for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  To us your pets are like one of the family.