At Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd, we are proud to offer a variety of professional vet services to clients across Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. From the latest and best quality equipment to our cat-friendly clinic, we take every step and precaution to ensure your animals receive the best care possible. If you need any further information on the services we provide, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team to find out more.
Computed Tomography, or CT scanning, is a technique where X-rays are used to take thousands of pictures in cross-sections of the body. These can then be built up into a 3D image and used to create a detailed reconstruction of the patient. This is particularly useful when looking at complicated internal structures where X-rays are unable to provide enough detail, or when the problem lies under layers of different tissue or bone. The CT scanner at Tunstall is a large investment for Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd but will allow us to offer our patients better and faster diagnostic facilities.
As far as we know, this is the first permanent CT scanner for small animal veterinary use in the Staffordshire area. The vets at Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd perform complex soft tissue surgery, spinal, and orthopaedic procedures that are rarely able to be performed in a general practice setting. The new CT scanner will facilitate the diagnosis of more complicated diseases or injuries and provide a more complete onsite service to our clients, without the need for expensive referrals.
The first CT scan we carried out was done on Clive's dog, Brian's, nose. We found a sarcoma in his upper jaw, and successfully removed it. A CT was needed to ensure the surrounding area was in good health.
At Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd, we have a new piece of equipment imported from the US. It allows us to investigate cats and other small species, who may be in severe respiratory or cardiovascular distress, without having to sedate or anaesthetise them first.
Dyspnoeic cats (cats struggling for breath), may have a plethora of differential diagnosis, which requires different types of medical or surgical management. It is important to find out what is wrong with these patients while stabilising them at the same time. Handling these patients, and clipping them for radiography, ultrasound examinations, or thoracocentesis can send these patients over the edge into respiratory or circulatory failure. With the 'Mouse Trap', it is possible to investigate these patients in an emergency, without causing further distress. This allows the vet and client to make informed decisions about how to proceed with the case. Examinations can be carried out while providing oxygen therapy and intravenous support.
Clive Curry, the founding vet at Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd, has a special interest in ophthalmology and experience in dealing with a wide range of ocular conditions. Clive has undertaken several post-graduate certificates in ophthalmology, in addition to investing in state-of-the-art equipment. Clive can offer a full in-house service and performs complex surgeries, including cataract surgery (phacoemulsification).
The services we can offer include:
Direct and Indirect Ophthalmoscopy
Retrobulbar Investigations (CT & MRI)
Lens Luxation Evaluation and Surgery
Ocular Foreign Body Removal
Neurological Evaluation including ERG (Electroretinography)
Surgical and Medical Corneal Ulcer Management
Dry Eye Evaluation, Medical and Surgical Management
Adnexal Surgery and Reconstruction for Eyelid Disorders/Eyelid Tumours
Nasolacrimal Duct Imaging (Dacrocystography) and Treatment of Obstruction
At Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd, we have invested in keyhole (or laparoscopic) surgery. There is a movement within the veterinary profession towards non-invasive methods, and we want to be at the forefront of this, offering our clients the best possible service.
Keyhole surgery uses a camera inserted through a tiny hole in the abdomen and another small hole through which an instrument is introduced. Keyhole surgery has revolutionised human medicine since the early ’80s, and we feel that it is time that our animals benefited from these advances.
The main thing that we will be using keyhole surgery for is bitch spays. Our newest vet, Ted, has performed more than one hundred of these operations. He has found the surgery to be less painful for animals, meaning that your dog will be back to normal much quicker, usually by the next day. Your dog’s activity will not need to be restricted at all, compared to 10 days of rest after a conventional spay. The surgery is less invasive, as we only must remove the ovaries and not the uterus. Plus, it is safer as the surgical field is magnified, meaning that it is easier to prevent or stop bleeding.
The equipment needed to perform keyhole surgery has been very expensive to buy, so we will have to charge more compared to a traditional spay. However, for a one-off surgical procedure such as a spay, we think it is important to keep up with the latest developments in medicine.
In conclusion, keyhole surgery is:
Page 3 - Benefits of Keyhole Surgery
If you would like more information regarding keyhole spay, please contact our surgery. This procedure means that your bitch will be up and running the following day! At present, Ted Cutting will be carrying out this procedure at our Endon practice.
The good news is that with this type of spay, Freya was able to get up to her usual mischief in no time. This cut out the prolonged rest period that is required with a traditional spay and is especially great for Freya as she is so playful and full of life! After lots of cuddles from all our nurses, we reluctantly let her owners take her home.
Freya’s proud owner, Wendy Wild, was thrilled with the results.
"She was ready to play by 9 o'clock the same night! You certainly wouldn't think she had just had an operation. No after effects at all."
If you would like any information about spaying and the different options available, please give us a call during surgery hours.
The term “cataract” refers to opacity within the lens of the eye, which should be clear to allow clear vision. Chemical changes within the lens can cause a loss of clarity, which would first be apparent to the sufferer as a fogginess to the vision, followed by an increasing loss of vision and eventual blindness. To an observer, the lens becomes increasingly milky or blue coloured.
The removal of cataract material within the lens is known as Phacoemulsification, whereby a specialised instrument is inserted into the lens of the eye. It combines ultrasonic energy with flushing saline and suction, to break down and remove the old lens material. A new plastic lens is then inserted into the lens capsule, the eye is flushed, and the corneal incision is sutured closed. This surgery must be undertaken with an operating microscope and requires large amounts of specialist equipment, surgeon training, and experience.
The post-operative care is very involved for patients, as often the eye undergoes a period of glaucoma, or high-pressure within the eye, which can lead to loss of vision. Patients often require lifelong anti-inflammatory eye-drops. We have offered this procedure for cataract sufferers at the practice for the last 5 years. We are happy to discuss expectations and outcomes with any client. As we are a general practice, we endeavour to provide a high standard of care at a reasonable price, which can restore sight to otherwise blind animals.
At Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd, we constantly invest in training and equipment to keep our service up to date. Founding vet, Clive Curry, currently performs our cataract operations and holds post-graduate certificates in the field of veterinary ophthalmology. We have specially trained ophthalmic nurses, Lisa Hawkins RVN (who is currently undertaking a modular course in ophthalmology), and Nicole Leighton RVN, who regularly assist Clive with his ophthalmic surgeries. Clive also undertakes cataract surgeries in other practices, nationally.
We are proud to announce that Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd has recently received Bronze Cat-Friendly Clinic status at our Endon branch. This is a scheme run by the International Society of Feline Medicine (the veterinary division of International Cat Care), to help veterinary practices cater to the unique needs of cats. We aim to provide an excellent standard of care to all our feline patients, whilst also adhering to the principles of the scheme.
One of the main aims of the scheme is to reduce any stress that cats may experience during a visit to the vets. We vow to handle cats with gentleness and respect, to minimise fear and anxiety during handing, examination, and procedures. We also ensure that cats that need to stay with us in the clinic are hospitalised in a cat-friendly environment.
Plus, we can offer cat-only appointments for nervous cats. If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact the surgery and speak to our Cat-Friendly Advocate, Janet Carroll. Alternatively, please visit www.icatcare.org to find out more.
Janet is our Cat Advocate for the ISFM Cat-Friendly Clinic scheme, ensuring that all cat's needs are met by the practice. We are proud to have a nurse with the ISFM DipFN qualification in our nursing team, and we're sure that our feline patients will appreciate her skills and expertise.
Although kidney disease also affects dogs, it is seen about three times more frequently in cats. Unfortunately, this is a progressive disease and clinical signs only appear once the kidneys have already lost most of the normal function.
Signs can include:
Page 3 - Kidney Disease
Poor Coat Condition
Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Although there is no cure, early diagnosis enables supportive treatment to be administered, which can help to arrest the progression of the disease, giving your pet a better quality of life.
Did you know that just one 500mg paracetamol tablet is enough to be toxic and fatal to a cat? This includes flu capsules that contain paracetamol.
Occasionally, a curious cat will play with and chew a tablet or capsule that hasn't been stored out of reach. On other occasions, it has been a well-meaning owner that has given the tablet. Cats are very sensitive to paracetamol, much more so than humans and dogs. When the drug is broken down by the liver in a cat, a toxic chemical is produced which results in several complications.
These include severe liver damage and a reduction in the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body.
Signs of paracetamol toxicity include:
Page 3 - Steer Clear of Human Medicines
Gums Becoming a Bluish Colour
A Very Fast Heart Rate
Becoming Very Quiet and Depressed
Difficulty in Breathing
Passing Dark Brown Urine
Skin May Start to Look Yellow
Swelling of the Paws and Face
Prognosis depends on how quickly the cat is taken to the vets and how much paracetamol has been ingested. Unfortunately, due to the toxic effects on cats, it is highly possible they may not survive.
By nature, cats are independent, territorial animals that need to be in control of their surroundings. They are sensitive to different smells, sounds, and sights. All these different senses can make bringing your feline friend to the practice a very stressful experience.
Tips to help reduce stress can include:
Page 3 - Bringing Your Cat to the Practice
Making Sure You Use a Good Pet Carrier; Top Opening Ones Are Easier as the Cat Can Be Lifted Out Gently
Familiar Smells Can Help, Keep the Carrier Out at Home, so the Cat Can Use the Carrier as a Bed and Feel at Ease Around it
Don't Introduce the Carrier Only When There is a Visit to the Vet
Place Bedding or Clothing That Smells of Home into the Carrier
Spray the Carrier with Feliway, a Pheromone Calming Spray, 30 Mins Before Using
If Your Cat Becomes Very Stressed, Try Wrapping Them in a Thick Towel Before Placing Them into the Carrier
When travelling, avoid loud noises such as the radio. Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel during the journey to make them feel calmer. Secure the carrier in the footwell, so that it isn’t likely to move, or hold the carrier carefully and securely to avoid swinging. Finally, take your cat to a veterinary practice that has been recognised as Cat-Friendly, like Willow Veterinary Clinic Ltd.
Until relatively recently, arthritis in cats was not commonly recognised or treated. Cats are masters at disguising pain, due to their natural survival instinct. However, a recent study showed that 90% of cats, over 12 years of age, had some form of arthritis.
How to tell if your cat is affected:
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Hesitant When Jumping Up or Down
Jumping from Lower Heights
Difficulty with Going Up or Downstairs
Stiffness, Especially After Sleeping or Obvious Lameness
Difficulty Using the Litter Tray
Difficulty in Getting Through the Cat Flap
Sleeping in Different Places, Usually Easier to Access
Increased Grooming Over Specific Places, or Inability to Groom
Irritable and Grumpy When Stroked or Picked Up
If you suspect your cat could be arthritic, they must have a full check by a veterinary surgeon, so that treatment and medication can begin.
To help at home:
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Place Food and Water in Easily Accessible Places
Provide Easily Accessed Comfortable, Warm Beds
Ensure Cat Flaps Are Easy to Open
Use Lower Sided Cat Litter Trays for Easier Access
Spend Time Grooming Them If It Has Become Difficult for Them
Regular Clipping of Any Overgrowing Nails
As the weather grows colder in the winter months, antifreeze poisoning in cats becomes more common. The toxic substance is ethylene glycol and is found in products such as screen washes and de-icers. Cats are attracted to the 'sweet' taste in this product, and even a small amount can cause severe kidney damage and be fatal.
Clinical signs you may see, include:
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Unsteady on Feet
Excessive Urination or No Urination
If not treated promptly, this can be fatal. If you think your cat could have ingested antifreeze, contact your vet as soon as possible.
We have recently finished our brand-new cat ward in our Endon practice. This is a room that has been designed following the ISFM feline-friendly guidelines, to provide the very best accommodation and stress-free environment for our feline patients.
We have spacious kennels, allowing plenty of room to keep the sleeping, litter, and food/water areas separate. For long-stay patients, we can open a ‘cat flap’ between the kennels, providing double the amount of space. The fronts are made with tinted glass, allowing the patients to watch the goings-on without looking through bars. With the rest of the kennel made from a specialised plastic, this keeps them warmer and without any reflections, which can cause stress.
We have also recently purchased some ‘cat hides’ that allow our patients to hide under them or sit on top, helping them to feel secure and safe.
Not only is this room used for accommodation, but we also take blood samples, perform full clinical examinations, take blood pressures, and take temperatures solely in this room. This also helps our feline patients stay calm and relaxed, as they are kept in one location instead of being moved from room to room.
We understand the importance of providing the best possible care, and we’re always striving to improve our facilities to achieve this.
For help or advice with any feline problems, we provide feline nurse clinics with our cat-friendly nurse, Janet. Please ring the surgery to book an appointment.