WHO IS TREATING YOUR PET?

Looking for pet health advice?

Where do you go when you want pet health advice? Google, the pet shop, a book, your dog groomer, the vets?

It has never been easier to look for information on pet health and care, but how do you know which sources to trust, and who is allowed to treat your pet?

Your vet is your pet’s second best friend!

Your vet really does have your pet’s best interests at heart. Your vet should be your first port of call if your pet is unwell. All veterinary practices in the UK will have a vet or veterinary nurse to deal with your queries 24 hours a day (though this may be via an emergency clinic at night or weekends).

Some insurance companies offer access to a telephone or video triage service which can advise you on how urgent the problem is, and Veterinary Poisons Information Service have a line for owners worried their pet has eaten something toxic.

Your veterinary practice website might also have pages on a range of illnesses and symptoms.

Online support groups can be useful

Your vet may suggest an on-line support group or website for your pet’s condition. When these are run by vets, nurses, or even drug companies you can be sure of getting great advice. Be more careful with owner run groups as sometimes these are sources of poor, unqualified advice.

Who can help me treat my pet?

ONLY A VET!

Only a qualified vet can make a diagnosis or supply medicines for your pet. Recommending supplements and diets is a grey area, and you should consult your vet before making any changes.

Vets will often work with paraprofessionals including hydrotherapists, physiotherapists, and behavourists. But the buck always stops with the vet!

What about homeopathy and zoopharmacognosy?

Yep, even those must be done by a vet or under the instruction of a vet unless you are treating your own pet.

There are many vets offering a natural or holistic approach to veterinary care.

Why? Is it all about big pharma?

No, it’s all about animal protection. Animals are not little humans. They can react to chemicals in a very different way to humans. They also can’t communicate their needs or consent to treatments. Vets are trained and entrusted to make a diagnosis and choose the best treatment paths with the pet’s owner. Despite concerns, the RCVS has not banned vets from using complementary treatments, it just expects us to have considered all options and to have discussed the evidence for each treatment with the owner. Informed consent. We are also not allowed to make wild unsubstantiated claims about treatments. We have to do 35 hours of extra training every year to stay up to date. We have to be insured and pay for the RCVS to regulate us. If we suggest an unproven treatment which harms your pet without explaining the risks (be that conventional or complementary) or make an avoidable error in diagnosis… you have some comeback against us. Try taking an internet supplier with no registered address to court…

Prove it!

https://www.rcvs.org.uk/setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-surgeons/supporting-guidance/treatment-of-animals-by-unqualified-persons/

THE NEW NORMAL

We are finding ways to live with the threat of Covid -19

HOLISTIC VETERINARY CARE VS COVID 19

Round One definitely went to Covid 19 as the government lockdown measures and BVA/RCVS guidance left us with no way of treating anything other than our most needy patients. For almost 8 weeks we have treated just one or two dogs with acupuncture because there was no conventional option for them and they were likely to deteriorate badly without treatment.

Round Two was declared a draw. We looked at new ways to support our clients by offering Facebook Pet First Aid and Gundog Training rescources. Unfortunately we learned that most people are not willing to pay for online content because they are so used to getting everything for free. That said, those who signed up for the groups have found them excellent value for money, and they will remain as a resource for us to direct people to in the future. We have had a great time chatting to new puppy owners and helping them through the first few weeks with socialisation and habituation ideas which were lockdown freindly. So why a draw? Our novel approaches have not generated our usual level of income and we have had to dip into savings to keep going. We are as yet unsure if we will qualify for government help.

Round Three. Ding ding. Round Three starts on Monday! Our opening hours are changing because our vet Vicky Payne also works at Companion Care Vets in Eastbourne, and they will be running two separate teams from Monday. Easing of lockdown restrictions means we can do a little more work, so maybe we can win round three?

COVID 19 ‘NEW NORMAL’

In all cases payment by BACS is preferred. Details will be provided with invoices.

We prefer enquiries by test or email to avoiding disturbing other patient’s treatment. We endeavour to reply to enquiries withing 48hours. We require all patients to be registered with a first opinion practice for emergency and out of hours care.

We are available for home visits and virtual consultations on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am-4pm.

Phone and Video consultations

These will continue to be offered for most behavioural assessments, holistic/herbal medicine consultations, and puppy support packages.

Puppy Support Package £50

Holistic/ Herbal consultation £50 (£40 repeat)

Behaviour Assessment/ Treatment Package £240

Home Visits

These are only available where the consultation can take place in the open air (garden, patio, airy outbuilding etc). Social distancing will be maintained, and you may request we wear a face covering.

Acupuncture Initial Course £180

Acupuncture Repeat Visits £40

(Discounts for additional animals treated at the same time)

Puppy Health Check and Microchip (Breeders only) £20 per puppy plus mileage based visit fee.

Gundog puppy services – please contact us by text or email.

Facebook Groups

Garden Gundogs! (Over 20 videos for all ages and experiences to start or polish up your pet gundog’s training) £40

Pet First Aid Plus (Everything from our popular First Aid Courses plus a whole lot more.) £40

STILL COVID 19

Just a short update on how Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care is coping with Covid19.

We are offering holistic consultations and behavioural assessments by phone or WhatsApp video call. We also have a special price puppy support package for anyone who has got a puppy recently and is worried about socialisation and training because puppy classes are closed.

We are doing acupuncture visits where pets have no other options and are starting to become painful. These can only happen outdoors so we’ve been lucky not to have any booked this week! Our patients have been very trusting allowing treatment while their owner stays a safe 2 meters away.

Our Facebook page is busy, with a Facebook Live due to start in 5 minutes, as well as some excellent home pysio videos made by our friend Lucy Bassett at Star Pups and some ideas on how kitchen herbs and garden weeds can be used medicinally

We are also offering two Facebook groups.

One is our very popular practical first aid course broken down into bite sized videos. It has been expanded to include helpful information for cats and small pets as well as having bonus pet care tips. The second is a growing collection of short gundog training exercises to replace the training courses and days we had planned for this year.

We can’t pretend this lockdown hasn’t hit us very badly financially, just as it is hitting many of our clients. Although our Facebook page does contain lots of handy hints and free content, we can’t offer all our work for free just because we can’t visit in person.

PRICES

Holistic Consultation by phone/WhatsApp £50

Follow up £35

Behaviour Assessment and Treatment Plan £100

2nd and 3rd Behaviour calls £70

Ongoing behaviour support £50

Lockdown Puppy Support £50

Pet First Aid Plus group £40

Garden Gundogs Group £40

Pocket First Aid Kit (inc post and packing) £15

COVID 19 – LOCKDOWN

We are heartbroken that the government advice on what is and is not essential means that we can’t offer home visits for the next three weeks (at least) except in exceptional circumstances. Human health and wellbeing outweighs animal welfare (their words).

We would ask our clients to be kind to us at this difficult time. We will be asking clients with stable pets to delay their home visit until such a time as it is deemed safe for us to visit with precautions. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, please text or email and we will do our best to help and advise. If your pet is under our care and deteriorates during the lockdown and is unable to have conventional medications, or is already on all the conventional medications we may be able to provide treatment if the other option is euthanasia.

TEMPORARY SERVICES

Email, messenger, or telephone advice: £35

Email behaviour assessment at treatment plan (Includes assessement, plan, and 2 weeks follow up): £100

Subsequent email behaviour assessments/ treatment plans : £50

Payment is by bank transfer only: Co Op Bank, Sort Code 089250, Acc. 68066879, V Payne

COVID 19…

Yep, sorry, we have to do a post about this…

CAN MY PET CATCH COVID 19?

Short answer: No.

There is currently no evidence that pets can catch the Covid 19 strain of Coronavirus. At least one dogs has tested weakly positive, but this has been put down to environmental contamination. Sadly the dog died after release from quarantine, but he was 17 years old and vets say that age and stress were the most likely causes. It is important to remember that we have all lived with other Coronaviruses. The common cold is a Coronavirus! Dogs can suffer from two Coronaviruses; one caused mild gastrointestinal symptoms, while the other causes respiratory symptoms. Cats also have a Coronavirus. In most cats this causes mild diarrhoea, but can mutate in some cats (especially pedigree cats) to cause a serious peritonitis and often death. None of these strains are dangerous to humans.

CAN MY PET SPREAD COVID 19?

Short answer: Maybe.

The virus can live on surfaces, including your pet, for a short time. Wash your hands after touching animals, and if you are asked to self isolate, your pet should also be isolated and avoid contact with other people.

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY PETS IF I AM TOLD TO SELF ISOLATE?

Keep your pets in your home and garden. You can maintain their physical and mental wellbeing by playing indoor games and active feeding. Ensure you have an emergency plan and someone to care for your pets if you are hospitalised or if your pets need urgent care. If you have symptoms DO NOT attend the appointment yourself and ensure your practice knows that they may need to take extra precautions after handling your pet.

Please keep a 2 week supply of food and medicines for your pets, but DO NOT PANIC BUY.

ARE VETERINARY SERVICES STILL AVAILABLE?

At the time of writing veterinary practices, including Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care are still providing healthcare for pets. Practices may be adopting different protocols including phone triage, limiting the number of people who can attend a consultation, or asking owners to stay in their cars until their appointment.

Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care offers a home visit service, and our services can’t be performed by Skype! If clients wish to cancel we would ask for at least 24hours notice (otherwise a £20 fee will be applied). If clients have any symptoms of Covid 19 they MUST cancel their appointment (no fee applied).

Vets practice excellent infection control at all times… there is a lot you can catch from pets so we wash/santitize our hands between patients even when there isn’t a global pandemic!

Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care does not offer emergency out of hours treatment so please ensure you know the arrangements of your Primary Care Practice.

Limited advice can be given via email, but we will be asking for a fee for email advice as it is unlikely our small business will qualify for any government support.

ANNUAL HOLIDAY

CLOSED 13TH-22ND MARCH 2020

Our vet Vicky is in need of a holiday so we will be unable to take calls or answer emails from 13th-22nd March.

For non-urgent enquiries please send an email or a text message.

Remember that all patients MUST be registered with a Primary Care Practice and that this should be your first port of call in an emergency or out of hours.

OUR TRIP TO CRUFTS!

CLOSED MARCH 5TH-8TH

What is our vet Vicky doing in this photo? She is training working gundog Gadget for her trip to Crufts! That’s also why we won’t be available from the 5th-8th March.

Crufts is a must-visit for all dog-lovers. Not only can you watch showing classes, but there are activity rings where you can see flyball, agility, obedience, grooming, gundog demonstrations, and much more.

If you are thinking of getting a puppy visit the Discover Dogs area to find out which breed would be suitable for you. Or if you are interested in a rescue dog, several of the big rehoming charities have stands.

If you need a new lead, bed, dog coat…well, there are hundreds of stalls! The number of dog foods on show is bewildering, but you might find something new that suits your dog.

Dog health is well covered too with companies offering genetic testing, wellbeing products, worm egg counts and more.

We hope to see some of you at Crufts, it really is a celebration of all dogs, not just the purebred show dogs. But please remember only dogs entered for the show or invited by the Kennel Club can attend.

WEBSITE WOES!

Our website and email have been down since Monday, but are now up and running again.

Please resend any emails as everything from Monday lunchtime has gone AWOL.

Thank you and apologies.

PUPPIES AND KITTENS!

A bundle of fun…or trouble?

PLANNING A PUPPY OR KITTEN?

As the days get longer and the weather gets better, the idea of getting a new puppy or kitten may become appealing. Kitten season starts in the spring and many dog breeders prefer spring and summer litters so their puppies can enjoy some time outdoors.

SHOP OR ADOPT?

Taking on a pet from a rehoming centre can be very rewarding, but it isn’t always the right option. Rehoming centres may have puppies and kittens available, but information on their parents health and temperament will usually be unknown. If you rehome an adult animal, you will know much more about its size and temperament and you might be lucky enough to find yourself an instant pet with no need for housetraining. However, many pets in rehoming centres will need time and sensitive handling to manage behavioural problems. If you plan to compete or work your dog, then buying a puppy will give you a blank slate to work with, but many rehomed dogs can be trained to a high level and the police, support dog charities, and agility competitors often choose rehomed dogs.

I WANT A PUPPY

The advantage to choosing a puppy from a breeder is that you should be able to get all the information on the parents (and maybe several generations back) and to see how your puppy had been reared. Ideally choose your breed after researching breed club websites and meeting the breed. Crufts Dog Show in March has a Discover Dogs area where you can meet all the KC recognised breeds as well as areas where you can talk to experts about dog sports and training. Once you have chosen a breed which suits your lifestyle, look for a breeder. If you can find a breeder before the pups are born you will be able to follow your pups progress and the breeder can start to get your pup ready for their new life.

The best dog breeders are passionate! Expect to be shown health test results for mum and dad, as well as hearing about why their dogs are wonderful. This might be show or competition wins, their working prowess, or (most importantly) just why they are fantastic companions. Expect to be asked a lot of questions; breeders can be (and should be) very picky about where their puppies go. Good breeders offer lifetime support, and will help with rehoming if you can’t keep your puppy (at any age), but they really want you to have a long and happy time together. Look for a puppy which is reared in the home and where the breeder is introducing the pups to the sights, sounds, and smells they will encounter when they leave home. Expect to sign a contract when buying, and to be given an information pack all about your new puppy.

Be on the lookout for bad breeders. They can be very hard to spot! Increasingly puppies from puppy farms are presented as being raised in a family home. If you are not visiting until puppies are ready for sale ask to see photographs and videos of the puppies as they have grown. Good breeders are going to take loads of photos and videos! Be very suspicious if you can’t see mum. Mum might not be living in with the puppies at 8weeks as they should be fully weaned before sale, but you should be able to meet her and see the puppies interact with her. Never be rushed into buying a puppy, and never buy a sick puppy or because you feel sorry for it. Consider taking some photos and report to Trading Standards and the RSPCA if you have any concerns.

I WANT A KITTEN

If you are looking for a pedigree kitten, similar advice applies as for puppies. GFC registered kittens can’t be sold before 15 weeks. Most kittens are not pedigrees and are the result of accidental matings of domestic cats. Farm kittens can have more independent characters and some remain resolutely feral so these may not be the best option for a city home.

Again, you should feel good about the home you are buying a kitten from. It should be clean, but show evidence that cats have lived there! A friendly mum increases the chance of friendly kittens, but remember that cats are often more shy with visitors than dogs. Do not buy a kitten if it or the mother show signs of diarrhoea or respiratory disease and avoid skinny sick kittens with pot bellies and a host of fleas!

CONGRATULATIONS…NOW FOR THE HARD WORK!

Having found your perfect pet partner, the hard work begins. Book in with your vet in the first week to discuss vaccinations and parasite control. Keep in touch with your breeder as they really love to know how their ‘babies’ are doing. Book classes for your puppy to learn basic obedience and socialisation, or provide indoor entertainment for your kitten! Spend time getting them used to handling and grooming…take lots of photos and enjoy your new arrival.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

RESOLUTIONS?

Have you made any resolutions? Lose weight, get fit, read more, take up a new hobby? Ours is to write a blog post once a month! And to upgrade the website over the next few months.

BETTER PET HEALTH IN 2020!

What could be a better resolution that to commit to improving your pet’s health in 2020?

Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care is here to help you every step of the way!

MOBILITY

We offer acupuncture, physical therapy, herbal medicine, and weight loss advice to aid mobility in all pet species. This is Vicky’s main area of work and one of the most satisfying. She loves working with sporting dogs as well as the golden oldies. Email health@holisticvetsussex.co.uk for a referral form.

CHRONIC ILLNESS

Would you like to manage your pet’s diabetes, epilepsy, liver problems, kidney problems, skin issues, or other chronic disease using changes to diet and holistic therapies alongside conventional treatments? Email health@holisticvetsussex.co.uk for a referral form. We work alongside your vet to improve the health of your pet.

PROBLEM BEHAVIOUR

Our vet Vicky Payne is one of a small number of behaviourists to hold a level 6 qualification in companion animal behaviour and training from COAPE. She backs this up with many years of practical experience working with dogs, cats, and small pets. Unlike many behaviourists, Vicky can assess your pet for pain and understand the behavioural side effects of illnesses and medications. She can prescribe herbal or conventional medications where pets need a helping hand to start their behavioural recovery. Email health@holisticvetsussex.co.uk for a behavioural questionnaire and a referral form.

We wish you a very happy and healthy 2020, but we are also looking forward to helping more animals and their owners when things go wrong.