Jasper Hodgett’s Story

On the 2nd April 2013 Jasper Hodgetts was in a road traffic accident while his owners were away.  He was bought into us and we were able to identify him by his microchip which meant we were able to contact the owner straight away and let them know what had happened.  Jasper was treated by our vet Hayley Giles and this is what she had to say:

“Jasper was brought in to me after being found huddled in a hedge in Billericay by a passer-by. At presentation he was in shock with a swollen jaw and his breathing and heart rate were very elevated. We immediately stabilised him with fluid and oxygen therapy and administered pain relief. We scanned him and luckily he had a microchip which enabled us to contact his owners without delay. After a little while we took a catogram – an xray of the entire body to highlight any injuries. It was clear to see that he was suffering from a mild pneumothorax, a collection of air outside of the lung tissue which, if it accumulates to a large amount, can prevent the lungs from being able to expand and contract for normal breathing. This however was a very mild pneumothorax that would resolve with cage rest over a few days. Jasper’s left hip was also luxated, meaning the ball of the hip joint was not sitting nicely in the cup joint. This required surgical correction which was carried out a few days after when Jasper was feeling much better. Luckily Jasper’s swollen jaw was not due to any fractures or dislocations; he had however fractured one of his teeth. Jasper has made a brilliant recovery from his injuries and I and all the staff at Cherrydown are pleased to hear how well he is doing at home” 

Since the treatment we have heard Jasper is recovering well and his owner, Emma Hodgetts, has been kind enough to tell us her side of the story:

“Two years ago my friends cat had kittens, 2 ginger toms, 1 long haired and 1 short haired- Jasper and Ralph, I decided to have both. I brought them home at 12 weeks, registered them with a vet and got them insured. At 6 months old I got both the cats micro-chipped and neutered, both cats go out regularly especially during the summer when they enjoy playing in the garden and sleeping in the sun.

On Easter Monday I got home from a long day at work to a voice-mail saying that Jasper had been taken to Cherrydown after being run over by a car and was receiving treatment. I called straight away and the nurse who took my call explained the situation, current treatment, what was going to happen over the coming days, she was able to reassure me while being honest about what to expect when I visited the next day.

I was upset to see Jasper looking how he did but the nurse had prepared me well and it was obvious he was in good hands. All the staff were exceptional in their care not only of Jasper but of myself whilst I was there. Everything that was going to happen over the coming days was clearly explained, as well as what would happen depending on the outcome of the investigations.

Staff made visiting as easy as possible offering flexible visiting when needed as well as showing kindness, compassion and an obvious love for the animals in their care, I was happy to leave Jasper there knowing he was in the best possible hands.

Thankfully Jasper is micro-chipped meaning I was contacted soon after the incident, and being insured the whole process was made even easier by the direct insurance scheme which meant the cost of insurance will be collected directly from the insurance company, meaning I could concentrate on Jasper’s recovery rather than worry about covering the cost of treatment. After spending 8 days at Cherrydown Jasper is now at home and recovering well.” 

It’s not often we get the chance to hear both sides of story, but it does show the importance of getting your pet micro-chipped and insured.  Also, with our Direct Insurance service, a lot of stress was taken off Emma so she could concentrate on Jasper.  If you would like more information on Direct Insurance please click HERE to visit our website or call us at the clinic on 01268 533 636

Below are a couple of pictures of Jasper looking a lot better after his ordeal.  We would like to thank our vet, Hayley, and Emma for telling their story.

If you have a story about your pet and your experience at Cherrydown and you would like to share it, please send it to Shaun.Plunkett@cherrydownvets.co.uk and it might be published on the website and shared on Facebook



In the news recently there was an item regarding the compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs in England. The government are hoping it will help cut the growing number of strays.  Every dog owner will need to comply with this by 6th April 2016 and anyone that doesn’t could face fines of up to £500.

At Cherrydown we think it’s important for cats and dogs to be chipped so if you haven’t already done so you should seriously consider it.  If your pet gets lost they could end up in an animal welfare shelter. Normally the staff at the centre will scan the animal to check for a microchip. If they find one the owner will be contacted and will be reunitedwith their pet.

What is Micro-chipping?

The microchip (geek fact – also known as a RFID – Radio Frequency Identification Device) was introduced in 1989 and is the most effective way of permanently identifying a pet.  It’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains your information about your pet and your contact details.  The chip is inserted between the shoulder blades of a dog using a sterile needle.  The procedure only takes a few seconds and the dog doesn’t need to be anesthetised as it is no more painful than having a vaccination. Once inside the chip fuses with the dog’s bodily tissue to ensure it doesn’t move around.

At Cherrydown vets we choose to use Petlog, the UK’s largest Microchip Registration and Reunification Database, as we want to ensure our Clients and their pets get the best possible service.

After 6th April 2016 it will be down to the local authority and the police to enforce the law and vets will no doubt be regularly reminding dog owners to get their pet chipped.

As always, if you have any questions about this subject or if you would like to get your pet micro-chipped please call us at the clinic. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page.

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.

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.


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

The Siamese Cat

The Siamese is one of the most popular domestic cat breeds across the world. Their distinctive head shape, striking eyes & slender body make them easily recognisable. They are thought to be one of the oldest existing breeds of cat and to have come from Thailand (formerly Siam). The Siamese was much revered and for a time, only the Siamese Royal Family were allowed to have them. Their history in Siam can be dated back to the 1400’s. They were known as Moon Diamonds in Siam and thought to be able to ward away evil spirits. When the breed travelled to the West is unknown exactly, however, In 1880 the King of Siam gave two pairs of Siamese cats to the English consul-general in Bangkok, and he brought them back to England.

Siamese cats are very vocal and some owners remark on how their cat talks to them. This is usually a sign that they want something, and they will often keep on until you have worked out what that is. Some can be very loud and cry a bit like a baby, others have a harsher squeaky voice. They are intelligent, and very much enjoy human companionship. They are very affectionate cats and form a close bond with their human family. They are tolerant of children and make good lap cats for the elderly. A bit like Ragdolls they will often follow the owner around as their little shadow. They will also try to be the centre of attention and their ‘talking’ makes sure they are hard to ignore. They are sometimes described as the most dog like of the cat breeds or that they think they are human.

They are very intelligent cats and can be trained to do tricks, but watch out though as they will learn how to open doors and latches to sate their inquisitive nature. They do well in cat agility competitions and love challenges. They tend to be exaggerated in all they do, eg. If in a good mood they will give a huge amount of love and affection, but if in a bad mood, then its best to give them space. They are very energetic and love climbing and jumping. They can often be found on the tallest things in any room and spending time playing with them is a good idea to keep them out of mischief.

The breed has two common boy shapes known as the Traditional (applehead) Siamese and the Extreme (wedgehead) Siamese. The wedgehead is the most distinctive with its angular face and long, slender lean body. The neck & tail are more elongated and the wedge shaped head is smooth with large ears. The eyes are slanted and piercing. The Traditional Siamese has a much rounder body and face and is usually heavier than its counterpart. The bright blue eyes however are still a prominent feature, though not slanted.

All Siamese cats have a creamy coloured coat with coloured areas known as points. The colouring is from a genetic mutation in the coat colour. The points come in a number of colours, these being known as chocolate, seal, blue, lilac, cinnamon,fawn, red, apricot and caramel. The coloured points are usually the face, ears, feet & tail.
The Siamese will usually live to the age of 15 or more with 20 not being uncommon. Kidney disease, otherwise known as Chronic Renal Failure is a common cause of death in elderly Siamese cats. They are prone to a few medical conditions, these being…

Heart conditions:

Dilated cardiomyopathy- affecting the heart muscle and causing heart failure

Skin conditions:

Allergic skin disease including flea and food allergies
Vitiligo- loss of pigment from the skin
Psychogenic hair loss and tail sucker- believed to be stress related

Gastrointestinal Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease that causes diarrhoea. Often occurs as part of a condition called “triaditis” which includes inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis and hepatitis
Small intestinal tumours called adenocarcinoma
Portosystemic shunts- where an abnormal blood vessel develops in the liver

Musculoskeletal conditions

Hip dysplasia- rare in cats generally
Congenital myasthenia gravis

Tumours including

Skin tumours such as mast cell tumours
Nasal cavity tumours
Insulinoma- tumours of the pancreas
Mammary tumours

Eye problems:

Corneal sequestrum
Retinal degeneration

Respiratory conditions

Feline asthma

“The Vet Says……” – Antifreeze Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

As this glorious summer comes to an end, no doubt many of you will be making things are ready for winter. Salt for the path, carrot for the snowman’s nose and of course antifreeze for the car. But beware, antifreeze can be harmful to pets so care needs to be taken. Ethylene glycol is a constituent of antifreeze and is toxic to cats causing acute kidney failure. It is sweet tasting and attracts cats, dogs & children for this very reason.

It can also be found in some cosmetics, some plants, radiator coolant, decorative snow globes & air conditioning coolant. Ethylene Glycol  quickly breaks down once ingested and although the kidneys will deal with some of it, the remainder forms Calcium Oxalate Crystals that block the kidneys causing necrosis. It is the metabolic processes within a cat that form the by-products that are highly toxic to cats. As little as a teaspoon can be fatal in cats or two tablespoons for dogs. Ingestion of even the smallest amount should be treated very seriously and requires immediate veterinary treatment. Cats are about four times as sensitive to this poison as dogs and their smaller size adds to the risk they face.


Within 30 minutes to 12 hours of ingestion,  a cat will show the following….

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Will appear intoxicated, may stumble &  appear dizzy.
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Not eating
  • Excitability

After a time, these symptoms may pass, but your pet is not out of danger as the next stage will set in without treatment. The second stage is usually 12-24 hours after ingestion and symptoms may include

  • Rapid breathing & heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Lethargy

The third stage symptoms include

  • Kidney failure
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Coma


It is important that if you can identify the source of the poison, you take it with you or take details of the product including chemical composition. Your vet can do various tests including blood & urine to evaluate toxicity and the extent of damage to the kidneys. The sooner the cat gets treatment, the better it’s prognosis. Early treatment may include inducing vomiting to try and reduce the absorption of the antifreeze.  Further treatment will be to support the kidneys  and sometimes chemicals can be administered to reduce the effect of antifreeze on the kidneys. As well as damage to the kidneys this poison can also affect the central nervous system and it is not possible to reverse this damage.


As always, prevention is better than cure. The following simple steps can be taken to reduce the risk…

  • Keep antifreeze sealed and away from pets.
  • If you change the antifreeze on your car, make sure all spills are thoroughly washed away.
  • Do not let your pet drink from puddles.
  • Do not let your pet into your garage or any others.
  • Check your car regularly for leaks.

Paws, the Vet’s story

Paws back for a check-up

Continuing from our last post, vet Kevin Wood tells us more about Paws’ emergency visit to the clinic. Paws presented out of hours as an emergency after vomiting for the previous 24 hours. He had managed to bring up two small balls of what appeared to be part of a toy, although it was difficult to be sure what they were. In kittens, both diarrhoea and vomiting are potentially very serious conditions, just as they are in human babies and infants, due to rapid dehydration and changes in blood chemistry.

After feeling his belly, I was unable to find any obvious obstruction and so admitted Paws for x-rays and to put him on a drip to reverse the dehydration. The x-ray showed a very strange pattern in his stomach, and at this point I suspected that he had swallowed string. I decided to pass a camera into his stomach to retrieve the string but, whilst carrying out the procedure, felt a small mass in his intestines.

It seems that another of the small balls had become lodged in his guts, initially too far up for me to feel, but now within easy reach. I immediately took Paws to surgery where I removed the foreign body and stitched him up. He recovered well and was eating that night!

After another few nights in the hospital, it was decided that he was ready to go home where he continues to make a good recovery.

Kevin Wood

Small toys are best off the menu for kittens: The lucky Paws Marney!

This is the story of a young Mr Paws Marney. The very cute 12 week old (or thereabouts!) black & white kitten came to us after having somehow managing to swallow what appeared to be parts of a toy! Unfortunately Paws had to be operated on to remove the offending toy parts, luckily though Paws came through and is doing very well now.  His mum, Clare Marney wrote us a lovely letter: “Paws and Paddy arrived at the Marney household on Thursday May 26th 2011 from The Cat Protection League. They settled in very well and took over in the style any respectable kittens would do! Causing havoc and providing endless amusement. It wasnt long before my curtains had to be tied up over the rail as they thought they could use them for their Tarzan impressions! “Everything seemed to be going rather nicely until Paws feel ill on the Sunday morning, vomiting and looking rather sorry for himself. I called you guys and was told to monitor him and make sure he drank and offer him some chicken or fish later on in the day and see if he improved. Despite following these instructions, he was still suffering on Bank Holiday Monday and so I bought him in to see the vet. You guys know the rest! “With regards to what he swallowed, as I have already told you, I have no idea what it could have been. They were bought 2 toys and upon inspection they were in tact. And my Daughter is 11 so there are no other toys laying around for them to get hold of. I can only assume it is something he discovered before he came to us. “Anyway, he is home now and doing very well. He is taking his antibiotics like a good boy and loves cuddles and kisses. I just can’t wait for him to have his stitches out! “Thank you all for making him better and looking after him so well. It was awful to see the poor little mite suffer like that but your kind care and attention made it easier to cope with as I knew he was in very safe hands.” Kind Regards Clare Marney