We actively seek to give all our patients the best possible care and have strict practice protocols for in-house procedures and excellent standards of sterility. We adhere to standards outlined by our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), in their voluntary Practice Standards Scheme. Our main 387 practice is an RCVS Accredited Small Animal Practice, and we are inspected for reaccreditation every 4 years. Click here to find out more.
We strongly advocate vaccinating your cat annually to offer protection against several potentially fatal and often easily contractible diseases. The PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW)* Report in 2019 reported that uptake of kitten primary vaccination courses had fallen by over 20% since 2016 to 61%, and uptake on boosters had also dropped to 59% of cats. A drop in vaccination rates means a decrease in herd immunity (where a significantly high proportion of the population is immune to keep disease at bay). NOAH (the National Office of Animal Health Ltd) recommends minimum 70% vaccine coverage to ensure herd immunity. With this lower compliance, we could see a rise in unpleasant pet diseases that would ordinarily be kept at bay. The West Midlands has already been identified as a high risk area for Feline Calicivirus**, a contagious, unpleasant virus that causes nasal discharge, gingivitis and mouth ulcers in cats, and that can be very serious if contracted by kittens.
Our vaccine choice is Versifel/ Leukocell and this protects against feline infectious enteritis, feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline leukaemia virus. Click here for more information on our vaccination programmes and the diseases they cover.
*The PAW report is the largest annual assessment of cat, dog and rabbit welfare in the UK, with over 5,000 pet-owner adults surveyed in 2019
**From a map at https://www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/KBPH/vaccines/disease/cat-flu showing the relative proportion of PCR-confirmed feline calicivirus cases by region, submitted to SAVSNET-participating veterinary diagnostic laboratories over the last 3 years. SAVSNET (Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network) was created as a joint venture between the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and Liverpool University, and harnesses electronic health and environmental data for rapid and actionable research and surveillance.
Patient Care Plans
If your cat is admitted for surgery, we will go through a personalised care plan with you to make sure we know your cat’s routine, likes and dislikes to make their stay here as comfortable as possible. The care plan is also used to assess the patient’s health and clinical needs and is referred to and updated as necessary throughout your cat’s visit.
We do not anaesthetise cats without a pre-placed intravenous catheter. This massively increases the safety of anaesthesia by maintaining constant and immediate access to the blood stream should any problems occur.
During every feline anaesthetic we administer intravenous fluids via the catheter. This supports and maintains blood pressure for increased safety. Heat loss is a great concern during anaesthesia – warm animals recover faster and more smoothly from anaesthesia and in weak or frail cases heat loss can contribute to death under anaesthesia. Therefore, every procedure lasting more than 15 minutes, and every animal under 3kg in weight, is kept warm using a forced-air warming system (Bair Hugger®). Forced-air warming systems are the most efficient warming systems currently available.
All anaesthetised animals are connected to our pulse oximeter and capnograph, which aids accurate, safe assessment of the patient by telling us the heart rate, how much oxygen is in the blood and what level of carbon dioxide is breathed out at all times. This means we can respond rapidly and as necessary to any minor changes to keep your pet safe during treatment.
The anaesthetic gas system we use is Sevoflurane, which offers a big step forward in veterinary patient anaesthesia and care. Sevoflurane causes much less stress on the patient’s heart, lungs, blood pressure and body resulting in a smoother, faster and less stressful recovery. It is very sensitive to adjustment, so the depth of anaesthesia can be altered easily, and patients can be brought round quickly from surgery with much less grogginess and little, if any, after-effects.
Patients under anaesthesia are always monitored by a fully qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse, so you can be sure your cat is in the best of hands.
Pain Management During Surgery
All surgical procedures receive at least two different types of analgesia (pain killer), both administered before the anaesthetic commences to ensure maximum effect. We also use local anaesthetic at the surgical site and oral ‘blocks’ for dental procedures. There is evidence that effective pain management speeds an animal’s recovery from surgery. We have recently audited our protocols to check that we are meeting our own targets, and to identify where any improvements can be made.
Preventing Temperature Loss During Surgery
It is very important to maintain a good body temperature throughout surgery, as significant temperature loss leads to much slower recovery, wound infection and breakdown is more likely and, in worst case scenarios, pets may not survive. We’ll take your cat’s temperature on admission, when we start anaesthesia and when we finish, and at other intervals, to check body temperature is healthy throughout. During surgical procedures, pets are kept on a forced-air warming system (Bair Hugger®), we put socks on their paws to minimise heat loss, will cover in bubble wrap if necessary and always use intravenous fluids to maintain good blood perfusion throughout the body. We also cover pets in blankets post anaesthesia to ensure they keep warm as they come round. This is another area in practice which has recently been audited to enable us to check our own targets are being met and to assess if or where we can make improvements.
Our Sterility Promise
Sterility is key to successful surgery and we take it very seriously. We have installed a surgeon’s scrub sink which is necessary for thorough and proper disinfecting of arms as well as hands prior to surgery. We scrub using sterile, disposable disinfectant-impregnated brushes to further increase our level of sterility.
We have a dedicated operating theatre in addition to our prep room. This is used exclusively for surgical procedures and animals – and staff – are only admitted when fully prepped and ready for operating to ensure high sterility.
When operating, we wear hats, masks (when necessary), sterile gloves and surgical scrubs. For complex procedures where additional sterility is required (e.g. orthopaedic or abdominal surgery), we also wear single-use, sterile, disposable operating gowns.
Throughout the practice we have alcohol based anti-bacterial hand disinfectants (Sterilium®, as used in hospitals) to prevent contamination.
Our isolation room ensures the safe treatment of potentially infectious diseases with no risk to other patients.
We treat neutering procedures with the same standard of care as all other surgical procedures. Although we have reduced our neutering prices to make them as cost effective as possible we do not compromise on safety or sterility.