Recent Posts

    More than a manicure

    Cats News and Comment

    There was some great news from the US last month – New York is going to become the first state to ban the de-clawing of cats – check the news here.

    De-clawing is illegal in the UK – yet I have still had requests for the surgery. Working in London there are many US citizens here and it is not uncommon to get a request for a cat to be de-clawed. This is usually in response to a cat causing damage to furniture by clawing it and supports the news articles’ statement that de-clawing is a ‘convenience’ surgery for the owner with no benefit to the cat.

    Read Post

    Cat claws

    Hot Cats!

    Cats News and Comment

    Summer looks like it has finally arrived and for many cat owners, this can be good news! But there are also some new problems that might crop up during the warmer months. Much of the information about the hot weather is focused on dogs, as they are more likely to be under our control for exercise or travel so it’s us owners who need the education! However, although cats are more free range than dogs they may still need a little extra help this summer.

    Read Post

    Hot cat

    Getting work experience in a vets


    It’s exam season right now for many… But for those in school or college and not taking exams, this usually the season for the wonderful ‘work experience’ week. Despite not being in school, this is still a factor in my life as vet clinics are popular places for people to come and have work experience.

    This all sounds lovely, but work experience in vet clinics is quite hard to get (as I’m sure some of you know). With this blog, I’m intending to break down some of the issues that can make it hard to get a veterinary work experience placement, how to maximise your chances, and what alternatives there are.


    The practicalities

    Vet clinics are always busy places, and some clinics really don’t have the space to take on work experience students, that’s not your fault. There are many people who need access to vet clinics, in particular, vet and vet nurse students who will be asking clinics to take them for important training placements. It may be that the time you are free from school is not a time that they can accommodate you.

    There is also the safety issue of age. Under UK rules on exposure to radiation it is advised that those under 18 are not allowed in a room with an X-ray. Even the safest of clinics may have their X-ray machine in their prep room, and thus if you are under 18 and looking for work experience some smaller clinics may not be able to take you.



    Apply in plenty of time, if a clinic knows you are coming they will have time to organise a rota (some places do a rota 6 months in advance) and ensure there are staff there to support you. They may also have you in for a few hours to make sure you really want to come and be a vet or vet nurse.

    You are likely to be asked to send in a covering letter and a CV and you may need to attend a short interview. These are all positive things as they are good experience for the future, and will ensure you are going to the right place for your work experience. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in clinics where one student didn’t want to be a vet or vet nurse but wanted to be an actor! Taking up a space I’m sure someone else would have loved and been very pleased with!



    Hopefully this isn’t sounding too off-putting as there are still many places that could take you – if you can be flexible. Although many schools have set weeks for work experience, there is nothing to stop you applying to volunteer in a vet clinic after school or at weekends. This can be a great way to see how the vet world works and I know some people have done this as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award.

    Check with your school if there is any flexibility in when you can attend. There may be options if the place you want to go can’t accommodate the pre-set times.

    It’s also worth looking at alternatives that might help you get some animal care experience. Kennels, catteries, stables and farms might not seem as glamorous as the vets, but might give you valuable experience.


    What to take

    Next, let’s think about what to do to get the most from your time at your placement. Before you go, find out what you will need to wear, if you need to bring anything with you and who you are meeting on your first day.

    You will mostly be advised to wear something comfortable. Make it something that you don’t mind getting dog hair on! It’s also really important to wear COMFORTABLE shoes! You will spend a lot of time standing so be prepared!

    I would also advise you to take a small notebook and pen. Questions will arise, often at times it is best not to ask, so make a note of what happened and what you’d like to know for later. You will also be given a lot of information about tasks you can help with, so writing down notes on what to do and how to do it will help. For some parts of your time you’ll be observing but there are many jobs you can help with.

    Most importantly – take an open mind! Veterinary care is quite unlike anything else you will have been part of. It will be odd seeing a patient anaesthetised or having surgery, so be open to how we improve animals’ welfare in a variety of different ways.


    Overall – good luck! While most people find themselves inspired to go on and qualify as a vet or a vet nurse, remember, there’s no shame in deciding you don’t want to join our world once you’ve seen it – it certainly isn’t for everyone!

    Dog being checked over

    Wildlife in Spring


    As the seasons change, so does the veterinary case load! You may not have thought about it, but now it’s spring we see an increase in cases of stray animals and wildlife. With wildlife this is mainly for two reasons. Firstly as the weather gets better people are outside more and so see more wildlife that may be having an issue – and as it’s spring much of that wildlife is young and finding their own way around, which can lead to us humans thinking they need help.

    While vets do see wildlife casualties, we aren’t generally set up to rehabilitate them back to their healthy state to be returned to the wild. Therefore we often work with rescues and charities, both locally and nationally, to ensure we give the best care to wild animals when they are in our care. I’ve met many grateful clients who have been amazed at staff driving wildlife to rehab centres after work or at weekends to ensure they get good care. I’ve even had some clients take their foundlings themselves to wildlife centres. Working with the public to get wildlife well again is a really great feeling!

    Yet, we see each year the campaigns about how to handle wildlife – if at all. For example, what to feed hedgehogs and what should you do with the juvenile seagull that has two adults flying around it? Well, read on to find out more!



    Baby birds cause more than their fair share of worry in spring! They seem so tiny and helpless that it’s easy to see why people pick them up and bring them to the vets. Yet in many cases this is the worst thing to do. As the RSPB says ‘it’s perfectly normal to see a baby bird on its own’ so that is not a cause for concern in itself. There are also different stages of development that alter what you should do if you see a bird, so it’s worth reading more from the RSPB – click here to read more. If you’re looking for an easy visual way to help then the RSPCA flowchart helps a lot too – click here to read it.

    The RSPCA also has advice on ducklings and these are commonly seen in urban areas. Ducks aren’t the best at choosing a safe nesting site, so it’s not unusual to find them nesting on roundabouts or balconies and when the ducklings hatch these can be quite dangerous places – read more here


    Other wildlife

    If you see other wildlife injured, or in a dangerous situation, then the RSPCA has some good common sense information. This includes guidelines and their phone number to call to see if they can help (0300 1234 999) so read more here. If you find baby wild animals that appear to be orphans, it’s worth reading about what to do with specific species. Baby deer (fawns) and baby hares (leverets) are often left alone so observing from afar to see if the mother returns is the best first course of action.  


    Marine wildlife

    Seals and seal pups both spend a significant period of their time on beaches or rocks. It isn’t unusual to find them and they are much more dangerous to try and handle. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) work across the UK to rescue marine mammals so they are worth a call to get some good advice – read their information here – and if you spend time around the beach, storing their phone numbers in your phone is a good idea! I’ve got them stored in mine for any marine emergency!

    BDMLR rescue hotlines:

    See their website for details
    01825 765546 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
    07787 433412 Out of office hours and Bank Holidays



    Finally onto the gardeners favourite… hedgehogs! Hoglets are very cute! Feeding them at any time of year is welcome, but bread and milk is not the right diet – it’s a dangerous myth, and I’ve no idea where it started! Hedgehogs need a protein based diet, so dog or cat food – either tinned or crushed up biscuits – are both suitable diets. They need to not be a fish based food as this causes diarrhoea that can be fatally dehydrating. There is specialist hedgehog food available if you are keen to provide the best for them.

    If you find a hoglet then do read about how to monitor them and handle them safely if you need to. There’s also good info on caring for hedgehogs all year round, as their numbers are declining and they need all the help they can get –  read more here.


    We are truly lucky that in the UK we have a wide variety of wildlife that lives happily with us in rural and urban areas. Living in close proximity to wildlife that we don’t always see means we don’t always know the best ways to help but hopefully you will be inspired to help – even if it means leaving them alone!

    A curious hedgehog

    Feel the love, see the value

    News and Comment

    Trips to the vets are emotional, for many reasons. We are deeply attached to our pets and even going for a routine appointment we worry that on exam a vet may find something that causes concern.

    It can be stressful as your dog may not like going, or your cat or rabbit is hard to get into a safe travel box.

    Then there’s the financial side of things, always an area of emotional stress. We need to pay for our pets’ care at the time we access it, so as clients we often feel that we need to have value from the trip.

    Read Post

    Card readers on a desk

    Getting the most from the veterinary consult

    News and Comment

    Have you ever left a veterinary consultation and then realised there were some questions you wanted to ask, or something you didn’t fully understand about treatment options or medication?

    It’s happened to me so I’m sure it’s happened to you too, but it got me thinking about ways we could all get more out of the veterinary consultation. While vets and vet nurses get great training in communication and consulting skills, we know that a focussed client who asks questions can really help the communication process.

    However, if you aren’t sure what to ask how can you be an active part of the consultation process?

    Read Post

    Kitten being examined by vet

    Small pets for small people – how to you choose the right one?

    blog News and Comment

    Surprise, surprise, it’s my day off and guess what I’ve been doing?

    Well, writing, as is my usual way to spend a day off, but also at the vets. Not working but taking the dogs in for a few things. While we were there myself and the vet chatted about pet shops.

    Read Post

    Girl with cat

    Town vs Country – where is best for pets?


    Crufts has come and gone for another year and during the 4 days there is a lot of information shared – about different breeds of dogs, their needs and lifestyles and where they are be st suited to be in a home. It appears that many dogs are still chosen on looks, and the dog’s physical and emotional needs are a secondary consideration.

    Read Post

    City and countryside

    Defrosting Pets

    News and Comment

    It’s sometimes hard to believe that, after writing hundreds of blogs over the 7 years, there are still some things that we do as vet nurses that are such A Thing that we don’t even know they are A THING for other people.

    Read Post

    A hairdrier

    It’s Confession Time

    blog News and Comment

    I’ve had a dog and a cat that I rehomed. By rehomed, I mean that I owned them and I found them another home that wasn’t mine.

    Not via dubious online adverts or anything substandard for the pet – but I found them a better home through appropriate means, as they weren’t getting the best out of life with me.

    Read Post

    Shelter cat

    Multiple owners for pets and the issues


    We often talk about the impact of multi pet households with our clients for many good reasons. Integrating new pets takes time and patience and particularly for cats there needs to be some spent on increasing the available resources (water bowls, feeding stations, litter trays etc). We know that cats aren’t the best at sharing so extra attention is needed. While dogs are more traditional ‘pack’ animals, we’d always advise pet owners to consider exercise and feeding needs; and rabbits…  another world entirely so let me get onto the point of this blog.

    Read Post

    Because I don’t like people?


    I’ve always wondered when human nurses get asked ‘why did you want to become a nurse?’ if they ever answer ‘because I don’t like animals’? This type of reasoning can be some people’s answer about why they might like to be a vet nurse or vet. For us in the industry it goes without saying that stating ‘I don’t like people’ in a job or college interview isn’t going to get you in there, but for others it might not be quite so obvious to see. For anyone considering a career in the veterinary or related animal focussed industries you might want to consider the humans that come attached to every type of patient.

    Read Post

    Dog and Owner

    Here for a good time, not a long time

    blog Cats Dogs

    It’s with a heavy heart I share with you that my beloved Hollie has passed away. She was only 11½ years old and while she was very unwell there’s a bit of me that feels robbed of sharing a longer life with her. I especially feel this as I rescued her five and a half years ago when she was 6 and I felt I needed to give her at least the same amount of time with me as she had spent in her previous life.

    This all feels even worse as she took matters into her own hands at the end and passed away on her own terms. I had planned for euthanasia but not in enough time for her, so I’m even more distraught. Euthanasia is such a hard decision to make and we focus so much on the future it can sometimes be hard to be in the present, and in particular our pets’ present.


    What do our pets know?

    Focussing on how, when and why we euthanize pets brought back a conversation that pretty much sums up my attitude towards the pressure we put ourselves under to prolong our pets’ lives as much as possible.

    Our elderly cat LB was very arthritic and needed to start some painkillers. These were known to be a factor in kidney disease, so my vet and I had a discussion about starting them as LB was 17 years old and had very early renal disease signs. From an owner point of view that was scary because if I chose to start her on medication was I hastening her towards her grave? If I didn’t medicate her though, she was living in pain daily.

    Unlike us our pets aren’t planning for a long-term future. She wasn’t struggling in her litter tray thinking that if she rested more and didn’t start painkillers she’d see her grandchildren grow up. Our pets live in the present much more than we do. I respected that and I started her on painkillers and in my vets words “she’s here for a good time, not a long time”.


    They don’t always follow the plan

    LB didn’t agree with that and refused to succumb to any renal issues and lived another 5 years on the painkillers, and in the end it was the arthritis that became too much, rather than the renal issues. She had lived a pain free and happy existence and I was so happy with the choices we made.

    Hollie also didn’t follow my plan (I see a theme from my pets). I had decided that there wouldn’t be any further diagnostics, she was doing OK in hospital and so I’d take her home for a night then euthanize her at home the next day. The vets agreed with this plan and so we were all set for the next day. Only Hollie didn’t know this and decided it was time to go. She always was an independent and stubborn dog and stayed true to this until the end and I have to accept that.

    She was here and had a fabulous time with me so I can’t be sad over this extra 6 months I hoped to give her for my own well-being rather than hers. Enjoy your wings my little angel, you are much missed.



    Veterinary medicines – You get what you pay for…

    News and Comment

    After writing a few times about some of the issues around veterinary medicines and online pharmacies, I felt I couldn’t ignore the recent BBC Watchdog TV programme that showed the varying prices of veterinary medicines across online suppliers. Read Post

    The perfect London cat?


    Living in London can put different strains on owning a pet. The stress of living in close proximity with a lot of other people affects us and our pets. In vet practice we see many cats in particular having issues with stress due to sharing their outside space with other cats. Read Post

    This Christmas – a phone call to the vet is free


    This might be stating the obvious but in the current world of telemedicine and video consults and searching Google for the answer, it’s good to know that a phone call to a vets 24/7, 365 days a year is free. Yes, FREE! Read Post

    Pet owners – Don’t have a costly Christmas!

    News and Comment

    I’m hoping that you don’t have to have a festive visit to an emergency vets this Christmas, but there are a few more hazards around at this time of year… and so sadly you may well end up having one of the 1:3 pets that will need vet treatment. You may be lucky of course – I think I have always owned the 2-3 pets that think we have a frequent flyer pass at the vets, so statistically speaking I must be saving someone’s pets somewhere a trip to the vets – I hope! Read Post

    Preventative health care – why and how – an easy guide!

    News and Comment

    As a pet owner I know I need to ‘flea and worm’ my pets, I hear it at the vets, I see the adverts on TV and in the press, but what does this mean, how important is it and where can you buy what you need? Read Post

    Hot cats in heat


    The weather predictions on our summer heatwave lasting until October seem to have been true (at least where I live in London!) as I’m still in sandals and I have no idea where I have stored my winter coat. Read Post

    What is the best food to feed my pet?

    News and Comment

    What we feed ourselves and our pets has never been a hotter topic. Should we humans be vegan? Should our pets be vegan? Should we feed our pets grain free diets? Is raw feeding the best option? Read Post

    I was only trying to help…

    News and Comment

    It can be very hard when a pet passes away and as a vet nurse I know we all try very hard to ensure that this is as smooth a journey as possible for you, the owner. We try to make sure you have support for all the hard decisions and difficult questions from where and when euthanasia should take place, to cremation casket choices or where and how to bury a beloved pet. Read Post

    All shapes and sizes


    Just like people, pets come in all shapes and sizes and with different levels of ability at most things in life. I have limited flexibility and it’s probably quite amusing to watch me in yoga classes attempting ‘sun warrior’… essentially I’m just standing upright looking at the ceiling, and people say yoga is hard! Read Post

    Cat feeding – can you handle the responsibility?


    If you’ve failed to notice, it’s summer! It’s been will may still be properly hot, there are (sometimes) beautiful blue skies and ironically it’s this time of year when we often leave our lovely country and go on holiday abroad! Read Post

    Giving a cat a tablet – without losing your hand!


    I’ve got skills, they’re multiplying…

    Occasionally my vet nurse skills come in handy but sometimes they are of no help to me at all. One of these situations is when giving my own pets tablets. Yes, at work I give tablets to even the most ferocious of cats, but at home I’m making up ham cheese and tablet swirls to get Tillie to eat her medication. In fact recently Hollie has grown wise to the tablets in her sliced ham and I’m reduced to buying pate just for her!   Read Post

    Hay versus Straw! Which is best?


    As a vet nurse who occasionally lectures student vet nurses, you realise you learn amazing things from your students. Every summer I recall one particular exchange that led to much debate in the classroom. Read Post

    The Mortgage of Love

    News and Comment

    With a name like VetHelpDirect you can probably guess that we are going to be supportive of vets and the vet industry and yes, even supportive of the fees vets charge. We know that paying for healthcare for pets can sometimes be costly and in an emergency the cost of treating your pet can be the last thing you want to consider, but it’s an important part of caring for your pet. Read Post

    Using the internet safely

    News and Comment

    This might seem an odd piece to write for a pet website – you’ve successfully got to this website so surely you’re doing ok when it comes to using the internet? Read Post

    April showers


    April was a sad month for us at home as we lost our beloved Tillie cat. It’s been an odd time as we feel very guilt free about putting her to sleep. It feels like we had good communication between both myself and my husband and the vet team caring for her. She was determined to ignore her non-working kidneys and keep on living but we knew it was the end and as she always liked a Bank Holiday trip to the vets we gave her one last trip on Good Friday. Read Post

    Fleas – unwelcome guests


    As it appears Spring has finally Sprung! Of course, it affects us all in different ways and for my husband (G), the DIY fairies visited and he has completed the last piece of DIY that was needed to be done since we moved in, 8 years ago. Read Post

    Language of the Vet Practice…


    It’s been a rough month: Tillie isn’t well, Hollie has a spot on her bottom and my car is in the palliative care stage of life.

    Of these three things it’s the car I find hardest, emotionally. I’m not great when my pets are ill, but I know the vet world and its nuances. I don’t know the car world quite so well, despite caring for my car just as well as I care for my pets. Read Post

    ‘Lead’ership skills


    As a dog owner and vet nurse I’m often caught between the two worlds. I know there are things I do as a dog owner that I wouldn’t advise as a vet nurse, and vice versa – for now I’ll save the really juicy ones for another time but today I’m pondering the practical issues around the retractable dog lead. In fact I’ll go as far to say I’m speaking out as a dog owner in defence of the retractable lead. Read Post

    Best UK Vets Awards 2018

    News and Comment


    You may wonder why we run this directory… well, there are two reasons. Firstly, we think it’s really important that every animal owner can access a user-friendly list of vets in their area! However, there’s another thing that we’re passionate about here at Any-UK-Vet – and that’s customer service. Read Post

    The trouble with Pekes…


    Yes, I’m a vet nurse and a Pekingese owner. In fact Hollie isn’t even my first Peke, we had Wilson before her. Both are rescue dogs and I will always encourage people to #adoptdontshop and in particular to adopt a golden oldie – they have so much to give.  I adored the personality of the breed, and Hollie and Wilson individually, so much they have turned me into a Breed Specific Owner – a BSO. Read Post

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