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Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2011. News.

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Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2011


As we enter the end of 2011, all the new faces that have joined out team this year are settling & starting to become part of the furniture. Since CVS took over running the paperwork side of the business, it has freed us up to concentrate on the most important part of the job ... Our patients & clients.

Once again, we thank you for your continued loyalty & we all wish you a very merry Christmas

Recent additions to our team

Maisie Forward is currently training as our Veterinary nurse. She is thoroughly enjoying her training and loves getting to know the clients and their pets. Maisie has just taken her Maths GCSE as a refresher course, which will enable her to start college in September 2012 for her nursing qualification.

At home, Maisie is kept busy by her bouncy 8month old Labrador called ‘Hunter’, her cat named ‘Willow’, four leopard geckos, an African fat tailed gecko, some tropical fish and two turtles.

Emily Parton is our new receptionist & is joining us to replace Thelma for a few mornings a week.. Following a successful career in Advertising, Emily moved to New York where she ‘acquired’ her first dog, a Havanese called Fergus and studied photography. Moving back to the UK with Fergus, another Havanese soon appeared on the scene - Molly – as well as her son, Henry, a bunny (Bunny), two guinea pigs (Elvis & Norman) and various tropical fish! Emily has really appreciated her warm welcome from clients she has met and looks forward to meeting those she hasn’t.

Maisie & Emily have joined our existing teamof: Jackie Grant, Jacqui Matthews, Claire Devitt, Vicky Payne, Karen Casswell, Francesca Hawkins, Tina Boyden, Daniel Denness, Charlotte Cook, & Claire Simpson.

At the beginning of October I travelled to Croatia to volunteer for a charity that neuters stray cats. I spent three days at a vet practice in Dubrovnik working with two vets who neutered 40 cats and treat many more for cat flu related eye infections. It is tradition that unwanted cats are poisoned to control the numbers, if not cats and kittens are often dumped at one of the colonies on the outskirts of the city by the side of the road relying on two local women to feed over 100 cats! Because so many cats are in close proximity disease spreads easily and many cats may even lose their eyes. Neutering reduces the numbers of cats and the worming and flea treatments we gave them improve their overall health and we noticed a big difference in the cats that had been neutered the year before. I also got the opportunity to set up a temporary clinic in a studio apartment on one of the neighboring islands. The vet scrubbed up in the bathroom sink, the kitchen table was our operating table and all the instruments were scrubbed in the kitchen sink! Two volunteers spent the mornings working with some of the locals to catch 46 cats while we set up the clinic and started neutering. Every cat was also flea and worm treated using donations from drugs companies and from generous clients from back home.

There is no government funding in Croatia for animal charities and only one dog kennels in Dubrovnik with 300 stray dogs looked after by one dedicated local woman. There are no permanent charities working with cats there either. That is why this small charity, run by a very dedicated and passionate woman with no prior veterinary experience is so valuable in this area. She aims to get a team together every year so as to keep the stray cat numbers down but funds this charity almost entirely by herself apart from a few local women who have pledged to fund some more neutering while she is not there.

I made some good friends while volunteering and loved working with the strays and seeing the results from the last trip. I found it sad to see the cats suffering and how differently animals were treated out there compared to our pampered pets in the UK! I hope the charity will have enough money to return there next year and hope to be there myself to help them continue their hard work.

Charlotte volunteers in Croatia 01580 211 981



After 13 years with us at Goudhurst, our wonderful receptionist & practice manager, Thelma has taken the difficult decision to step back from the limelight & take it easier. We will all miss her hugely & wish her all the very best for her retirement. Both Claire & Daniel are still visiting Thelma on a regular basis so can pass on any farewell cards that you wish to drop in to us.


Recently our nurse Daniel Denness lost his doggy best friend ‘Sumo’ after a long battle with multiple health problems. At only 4 ½, Sumo’s life was short but fulfilled. Daniel adopted Sumo from Shar Pei Rescue, but as time went on, he found Sumo developing more & more problems.

Luckily, Sumo was insured, so Daniel was able to agree to all the necessary treatments to make Sumo’s short time with the family as happy, healthy & content as it could possibly be.

Daniel recently worked out that over the last 4 years he had claimed over £35,000 in veterinary fees for one thing or another, which Sumo would not have had access to, if it were not for the insurance. He is now making it a personal mission to make sure everybody insures their own dogs, so they do not have to worry about money at a time when difficult & emotional decisions have to be made.


Over the festive period, we often see dogs that have helped themselves to their owners’ food. The most hazardous of these is CHOCOLATE. Chocolate contains Theobromine, especially dark & baking chocolate. This can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, muscle tremors, cardiac stimulation & eventual seizures which may be fatal. If your dog does eat any chocolate, it is easier & cheaper to come straight down to the surgery so that we can make them vomit it up & prevent any further absorption.

Jarvis becomes a local celebrity

When Jarvis swallowed a baited fish hook from a local angler, he had to undergo emergency surgery to retrieve the offending article. Our initial attempts at endoscopic retrieval via a camera passed down into his stomach were unsuccessful as the hook was buried under a full lunch’s worth of biscuits. This then meant we had to revert to surgery to open up his stomach & take the hook out the old fashioned way.

The Kent Courier featured Jarvis in one of their August issues, & although he wasn’t quite front page news, his local newsagents in Horsmonden had his story plastered all over their billboard. I am pleased to report that Jarvis has made a full recovery & is still enjoying his walks, although now is kept well away from anglers & their tasty bait.

Maud becomes a mummy

Our Clinical Director, Francesca Hawkins’ beloved Welsh Terrier ‘Maud‘ is now proud mother of 3 adorable puppies. There were no problems with the delivery & all 3 puppies are growing nicely & getting into plenty of mischief at their new homes. Mum is doing well, although she regularly complains to Fran that these new small mouths keep stealing her toys, so she needs some new ones!

Fran gets engaged

Christmas opening hours

Congratulations to Francesca on her engagement to Geoff Taylor. No date has been set yet, but we are all very much looking forward to him making an honest woman of her.

Monday 19th – Fri 23rd Dec: normal opening hours 8:30am-6:30pm

Saturday 24th Dec: normal opening hours 8:45am-12:30am

Sunday 25th Dec: CLOSED

Monday 26th Dec: CLOSED

Tuesday 27th Dec: 8.30am-12am

Wednesday 28th – Fri 30th Dec: normal opening hours 8:30am-6:30pm

Saturday 31st Dec: normal opening hours 8:45am-12:30am

Sunday 1st Jan: CLOSED

Monday 2nd Jan: CLOSED

Tuesday 3rd – Fri 6th Jan: normal opening hours 8:30am – 6:30pm

If any of our clients are considering getting small furry/scaly/feathered additions to the family for Christmas, please feel free to pop in for some free advice with our nurses, especially for those who are just venturing into ownership of exotics, as these often require quite specific husbandry, and the majority of diseases that we see in these species are related to husbandry problems. 01580 211 981