The return to lockdown means that all the bookings Vet Vicky had to work and compete her dogs have been cancelled until at least December. This means our diary is suddenly a bit empty.

We are not as restricted in the services we can offer during this lockdown so we would love to see some new patients for acupuncture, behavioural assessment, and holistic consultations. We are happy to offer phone or WhatsApp consultations for some behavioural issues, holistic consultations, and puppy support.

Email for information.

Use us or lose us!



Urgh, it’s that time of year again. Firework petition season. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have serious reservations about people with no pyrotechnical training being able to buy industrial fireworks to let off in their backyard, but I think the focus of pet owner’s energy is in the wrong place.

I fully support calls for fireworks to be restricted to organised displays. The event can be advertised in advance, animal owners (and those with babies, PTSD, or who just hate fireworks) can make arrangements, and let’s be honest the displays are just a whole lot better and safer. But this still leaves a problem; what to do with the pets who are scared of fireworks.


It might seem tardy to post this after Bonfire Night…but 5th November is just the start of the fireworks season (unless you live in East Sussex where we have a big display somewhere every weekend from September to December in normal years!). Fireworks are an important part of Diwali, Christmas, and New Year events. And this year, with organised displays likely to be banned, there will be more unpredictable home displays.


Walk dogs in the daylight and get cast indoors before dusk. Move outdoor caged pets inside.

Use curtains to muffle sounds and light and keep indoors well lit.

Mask noises with music or the TV.

Make your pet a secure snuggly den to hide in.

If your pet wants to snuggle up for a cuddle, let them. If they need to roam the house, let them do that instead.

Distract your pet with a game, tasty treats, or some training.

Contact your vet for calming pheremones, supplements, or medications.


This is where I get frustrated. Every November there are hundreds of posts about pets being scared of fireworks. Yet how many of these pets get help from a behaviourist? I have only worked with one noise phobia case this year (he’s doing really well with a combination of more interesting walks, medication when required, and a new surround sound TV!). Whilst I don’t promise your dog will react like my spaniels (bang = where is the thing to fetch) it is possible to reduce the fear felt by most dogs through counter conditioning and desensitisation, and to come up with medication protocols for those who remain distressed.


Look for a breeder who habituates their puppies or kittens to noise from an early age. I play my puppies CDs of fireworks, gunshot, traffic, babies….everything! This continues most days until they are at least 6 months old. I often play noises when they are eating or doing some training. As my pups get older I play the noise CDs less often, but often enough that they stay unconcerned. If they show any anxiety the volume goes down and I pair the noise with play or food. If a bang means sausage is coming it is much harder to stay worried about bangs!

Due to Covid-19 restrictions cancelling all our planned gundog work for November we now have extra appointments available. We are happy to do phone and WhatsApp consultations for noise phobias now which can be followed up with home visits next year.

Contact us at for a referral form and prices.




Most pet owners can notice obvious signs that their pet is in pain. These include limping, difficulty getting up after rest, and stiffness. Some animals may moan or yelp too.


Many pets hide their pain really well. Less obvious signs of pain include withdrawing from the family, changes in appetite and drinking, licking at joints, reluctance to jump, sleeping in different places, an anxious facial expression, behaviour changes including aggression, house soiling, and the vet’s favourite…just slowing down.


Your vet should do a very careful physical examination. This may start with watching your pet walk in straight lines, in circles, and maybe over obstacles. It can be very useful if you are able to video your pet at home to show how they jump (or don’t!) and move. This is especially useful for cats who often won’t move at the vet clinic!

Next your vet will feel all over your pet’s body and move all the joints. They may ask for dogs to be muzzled as the examination can be painful.

In some cases imaging of joints may be recommended, but in other cases a presumptive diagnosis will be made and treatment started.



Don’t be afraid of medications! Modern non-steroidal drugs have minimal side-effects and can be used safely for long periods of time. They may be required for a short period of time if your pet has an injury, or longer with chronic conditions like arthritis. Regular blood tests are recommended with most medications to monitor your pet’s health. Do not use human medications as many are toxic to pets.


Joint supplements are very popular. Few have shown any significant benefit in clinical trials, but most are unlikely to do any harm. Green lipped mussel is better supported by studies than other ingredients. Although most supplements are very safe it is advisable to speak to your vet before starting one to be sure it is suitable for your pet.


Everyone talks about turmeric, and it is a useful and powerful herb. But other herbs may be more suitable for your pet. Herbs can interact with conventional drugs so always speak to your vet before starting a herbal treatment (or ask for referral to a holistic vet!).


Acupuncture can be very useful for muscular pain and is tolerated well by most pets. Pets with chronic pain may need regular treatments to keep them moving comfortably.


Class 4 laser therapy (also called photobiomodulation) can aid wound healing, improve blood flow to injured areas, and seems useful for painful joint and muscle conditions. Many veterinary practices now offer laser therapy. Red light machines sold for home use are less effective as they don’t penetrate deep into tissues.


Hydrotherapy, osteopathy, massage, and physiotherapy can all help your pet build muscle and improve their range of motion. They can also be really useful for pets who need to lose weight.


These two are free and are maybe the most important things we can do! Your veterinary practice will be able to advise on safe weight loss and exercise programmes.


Don’t worry any more! Call your vet and find out. Then, if you want to include some evidence based complementary therapy, get in touch with us!




Our vet is taking a well earned break!

Four Seasons Holistic Veterinary Care is CLOSED until Tuesday 29th September.

For urgent pet health problems please call your primary care vet.

Email or text with non-urgent enquiries but be aware they will not be dealt with until 29th.


We aim to provide an affordable complementary veterinary service, but the prices of stock as well as fuel and insurance rise year on year. We have held prices for sometime, but now we need to make some increases.


Home Visit Acupuncture Initial Course £200

Acupuncture Subsequent Visits £50

Holistic Consultation £100

Repeat or Telephone Consultation £70

Herbal Tinctures from £15 for 50ml to £60 for 500ml

Behaviour Assessment and Treatment Plans £300


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 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!


We are finding ways to live with the threat of 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?


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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.