Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Goddard Veterinary Group at the London Vet Show 2019

Have you heard of the London Vet Show? It’s one of the top veterinary conferences in the UK (maybe in the world), and we’re really proud to be exhibiting there! We believe that our family-focused approach to caring for your pets is as important today as it ever was. It remains at the heart of everything we do today, and we really want to showcase our ethos to the veterinary profession as a whole.


What is the London Vet Show?

The London Vet Show (or LVS) is Europe’s most important general veterinary conference and exhibition. Organised by the British Veterinary Association and the Royal Veterinary College (London vet school), the conference side brings together experts from all over the world to discuss advances in pet health, care and medicine, as well as farm animal and horse health, surgical and medical techniques, practice management and business. It’s a real one-stop-shop for vets and veterinary practices!

But of course that’s not all, as there will be over 450 exhibitors, showcasing equipment, medications, resources, techniques, educational establishments and veterinary practices.

All in all, there are nearly 6000 veterinary professionals expected to attend, leading to massive opportunities to share “best practice”, new ideas and traditional ideals. We think it’s just the place for us, in other words!


Why will we be there?

To showcase our ideals

In a world of identikit corporate practices, we’re proud to be the biggest family-owned veterinary group in the UK. We believe in the traditional model of veterinary practice – strong and long-lasting relationships between staff, patients, and animal owners, backed up with the very best medicine and surgery available today. This is a model that we believe works for you, the owner, and for your pets, our patients, and we want to shout about it!

To learn how to do things even better

All vets and nurses are obliged to carry out “Continuing Professional Development” (CPD, or lifelong learning) because the art and science of veterinary medicine are constantly advancing. By attending conferences like this, our vets and nurses can get state-of-the art updates from world experts, and bring it back into practice to support you and your pets. Even if it wasn’t required, we’d be there to learn!

To attract the best and the brightest

You may not realise this, but there’s a shortage of qualified vets in the UK. Practices across the country, and especially here in London, struggle to find enough vets to see all their patients in a timely manner. Now, while this isn’t a particular problem for us (our reputation goes before us!), we always want to keep an eye out for veterinary professionals who share our ideals and would be an asset to our team. By exhibiting at the LVS, we get to stand out from other practices and attract them! If you’re keen to see what vacancies we currently have, click here

Because we’re an educational establishment too!

We’re proud to run our own veterinary nursing college, training the next generation of vet nurses in accordance with “best practice” and our enduring values. As such, education is central to our identity as a practice, a group, and a business. However, in many veterinary practices there is a constant turnover of vet nurses, and with the role rapidly expanding, vet nurse education is currently at a premium. By exhibiting, we get to showcase a new model of vet nurse training – just as rigorous as in more traditional establishments, but tightly linked to the needs of nurses (and vets, and practices, and owners, but above all our patients – your pets) in the real world. This innovative model stands us in really good stead, and allows us to produce cohorts of veterinary nurses ready to step right into our branch practices, or even our flagship hospitals. Rather than having to translate “book knowledge” into “real world” skills, our nurses have learnt both together, and integrated them throughout the course, working within the systems that have made Goddard Vet Group the success it is.

And this is something else we want to shout about! We think this interlinking between education and practice is essential for producing effective and skilled nurses, and we’re really proud of it.


Can I find out more?

Of course — visit the London Vet Show website for more information! And, if you are attending the show yourself, pop along to meet the team on Stand R25!

 

Can I Share Food With My Pet?

Our pets love to share our food. The act of hand feeding itself is a reward because of the attention. Also, the foods we offer often have high-fat content, making them super tasty. Having their own food in a bowl is much less attractive than a higher calorie feast that has been making the kitchen smell amazing while it cooks. Fat makes food more palatable and as we need more calories, our food is often much more tempting than theirs! The focus in human nutrition is to move away from pre-prepared foods and cook from scratch. Fresh ingredients with as much variety as possible (eating a rainbow every day) are hard work but yields long term health benefits. So, as we improve our own diet, we may feel that it would be better to feed our pets in this way rather than open a can or bag.

Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as that. We know a lot about our calorie requirements, which nutrients we need, in what proportions and what vitamins and minerals are essential, but these are all different for our pets. All these parts of formulating a complete and balanced diet to promote health and long life are unique. If we feed a diet deficient in a specific nutrient this is likely to cause illness. For example, both cats and dogs need a protein called taurine in their diet, they cannot make it from other proteins as humans can. So, a human diet is likely to cause a taurine deficiency. Unfortunately, taurine deficiency, which used to occur more commonly before pet foods were generally fed, is now on the rise again in animals fed unbalanced diets. It is a devastating deficiency as it causes heart disease resulting in heart failure. Early cases can be rectified and then heart disease managed, it can often improve on a balanced diet. Taurine deficiency can also cause serious eye problems.

A balanced diet also varies within a single species depending on what age the pet is. An adult animal will be a lot better at compensating whereas a younger pet needs specific nutrients in exact ratios which feed the growth of muscle and bone. A trend to feed meat only without any other ingredients sometimes means that a growing animal does not have enough calcium to form strong healthy bones. Although diseases like rickets are in the past for humans, we see it in young animals fed on diets without enough calcium. These puppies and kittens develop deformed limbs or fractures of their back or limbs.

These are just two examples of the problems that can arise from a diet that is not designed for the animal concerned. In this blog, we will briefly review the differing diet requirements of pets. However, if you have any concerns about the diet or health of your pet, come and see us. Together we can discuss all the needs and requirements of your individual pet and find a diet that optimises their health and enjoyment.

Calorie requirements vary between species. We may need roughly 1500-2000 calories daily, but a cat needs only 250-350 a day and a small dog under 400. So, the volume of food and calorie density is important. Obesity is very common in our pets. This results in joint disease, osteoarthritis as they age and can lead to diabetes, and liver disease in cats. When we are investigating diets, it can be best to feed a low-calorie density food, so they feel full, especially if we are going to add in the odd treat. Sometimes our pets can’t get as much exercise. For example, if the weather is terrible our cat won’t go outside and exercise as usual, or if we have surgery and can’t walk our dog. In this case, we need to reduce the calories they eat for a short time.

Protein is an important part of any diet. Cats need twice the amount of protein in their diet that we or dogs do. They are called obligate carnivores as they need animal protein in their diet to supply all the amino acids they need. Vegetarian diets can be formulated for dogs, but it is important that the diet includes a source of every one of the amino acids they need. The proportion of amino acids varies with age – for example, a growing pup needs much more arginine than an adult dog, to avoid liver problems. Fat is essential in the diet for certain fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins which aid health and organ function. Carbohydrates need to be carefully considered in cat diets, some cats put on a lot of weight on high carbohydrate diets.

As cats are desert-adapted species, they have a low drive to drink. This can sometimes mean that they don’t feel thirsty and can become dehydrated or their urine becomes very concentrated. Some cats need some wet food in their diet to combat this. Otherwise, they can develop bladder stones. Many cats enjoy fresh water, and some will drink more if they have a water fountain.

Our small furry pets, rabbits, guinea pigs and rats love the odd high-calorie treat from us, but their dietary requirements are so different that we must take care not to make treats more than 10-20% of their diets. For rabbits and guinea pigs, it is important that the bulk of their calories comes from fibrous food so that their constantly growing teeth are kept in check. The small furry species have very small calorie requirements so can put on weight very easily, which prevents them grooming and can lead to skin problems.

We are always keen to provide the best preventative health care for your pet or pets and are always here to discuss their diet as part of keeping them well and happy. We can work together to choose the right diet that will contribute to a long and healthy life.

Veterinary nurses – why they are invaluable!

Here at Goddard Veterinary Group we are lucky enough to provide veterinary care to a large number of pets (and their owners) across our practices and veterinary hospitals. We have teams of amazing veterinary professionals working every hour of the day, every day of the year to cover for all your pets needs – from flea prevention to emergency care.

You might think this means we are reliant on vets for all our patient care – if it’s an emergency surely the vet is the key person to employ? While the vet is the face you may see most often, and are obviously very important, the real power behind the scalpel is the Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).

We are very proud to employ so many great RVNs and, as its Vet Nurse Awareness Month in May, we wanted to share all the great things about these cornerstones of the veterinary team. You may see #VNAM and #whatvnsdo and if you do, please click on them to see what vet nurses are up to. You see, we really value our vet nurses for the care they bring to you, your pets and the veterinary team.

What’s in a name?

Before we go on to all the roles the vet nurse undertakes we just want to clarify what we mean when we say ‘vet nurse’ or ‘RVN’ we mean someone who is registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) as a veterinary nurse. Just as all our vets are on the MRCVS register all our vet nurses are on the RVN register.

This is very important as the registration for vet nurses is relatively recent – it only became a compulsory register in 2015 – replacing the previous List and Register that had run alongside each other since 2007.

The RCVS have also protected the title ‘Veterinary Nurse’ meaning that those in a veterinary practice cannot refer to anyone as a ‘Veterinary Nurse’ or ‘RVN’ if they are not on the register.

We feel this is important as it provides the same level of protection as seeing a vet when seeing a vet nurse and as they do so much for your pets we know that peace of mind will be important to you. When we say vet nurse, we mean VET NURSE!

Different roles

As we mentioned earlier, you may find vet nurses appearing in a variety of roles across our vet practices. We like to make sure our vet nurses can follow their passion and expand their skills so you may find them undertaking roles in:

Theatre

  • “scrubbed in” to support the vet
  • Assisting with anaesthesia

Medical care

This list can be very long but vet nurses help with…

  • Administering medication
  • Feeding patients who can’t eat for themselves
  • Monitoring a patients progress after treatment

Hydrotherapy

  • Yes we have a hydrotherapy centre in Chingford and nurses can take further training to be qualified hydrotherapists

Puppy parties

  • Socialising new members of your family
  • Sharing helpful information on correct feeding
  • Advising on the importance of flea and worm treatments for young pets

Feline friendly

We’re proud to have our nurses push forward with making practices feline friendly

  • An accredited scheme, vet nurses make a real difference with helping your cat have a stress free vet visit

Nurse consults

A consultation is not just for seeing a vet. A space and time to speak to a vet nurse can help with:

  • Weight management
  • Behavioural help
  • Post-operative care

A vet nurse is not just for clinical work

Outside clinical work we like to keep our vet nurses busy and you might find them training our student vet nurses, helping with case administration and managing teams.

We hope you will agree that we are right to be proud of our vet nurses and we know that they bring an added value to the care of your pets. They bring the “added value” to our vet teams and to your pet care that is often hard to quantify.

This May, if you’re in one of our practices you’ll most likely meet one of our vet nurses and it would make their day if you asked about their valued role in your pets care and find out more about #whatvnsdo.