History of The Practice
Hillside Vets was originally set up in the front parlour by Keith Ward in 1966 as a mixed Practice. The Practice moved to its present position in 1992. When Keith retired in 1998 Anne and Richard Pescod took over the surgery.
It now concentrates on companion animals, household pets and exotics.
The current building has a purpose-built extension with off-road parking comprising a generous waiting room, two large consulting rooms, pre-operation preparation room with ultrasonic dental equipment, operating suite, separate dog and cat kennels, walk-in kennels, and isolation ward. We also have ultrasound, radiography and laboratory rooms.
More importantly it is staffed with dedicated veterinary nurses, nursing assistants and receptionists that really enjoy their job. The vets love animals. Simple really. No wonder the atmosphere is great.
The out-of-hours service is manned by the Practice vets. Ring the Practice (01270 625310) and an answer machine will give you the mobile telephone number of the duty vet.
We are continuing our dedicated emergency service based at Hillside. The temptation is to follow others in using a service based in Stoke-on-Trent. This would take the strain off the vets working day and night shifts and provide access to vets working solely with emergency care. However, it would mean further travelling, possibly in an unfamiliar area, to unfamiliar vets without access to case histories; and the fees would be higher.
Please be aware that whilst it may be emotionally better to have a vet race out to your house, it is unlikely to be of benefit to the patient. It will take us significantly longer to attend; and we can only provide a basic level of first aid at home. There is rarely a reason that precludes moving an animal to the practice, where a much higher and prompter level of aid can be given.
Emergency consultation starts from £80: emergency visits from £140.
We are willing to do non-emergency home visits which can be organised for mid-morning during the week. But again please be aware that we are limited in what we can do in the home, though we do appreciate that this may be the best option for the final visit.
Home visits start from £60.
What does this Practice do?
Obviously the staff's main concern is the welfare and well being of the patients, whether it be telephone advice, well - animal advice, preventative treatments, veterinary examination or treatments.
The veterinary nurses have studied for two years through a heavy portfolio, practical examinations and written assessment to a standard that is set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the educational authority. They are able to advise about diets, medications, housing, and behaviour. They are able, under instruction, to administer drugs, bandage, tube feed, and perform minor surgery. They can monitor anaesthesia and give emergency treatment. They maintain sterility, they barrier nurse, and make sure that your animal is getting the best treatment and care possible.
The receptionists and nurses have years of experience between them and are able to give advice, reassurance and recognise the signs that require immediate veterinary aid. They provide great support to the veterinary surgeons.
Many of the staff have special areas of behind-the scenes responsibility. Be it managing pet insurance claims, dealing with DEFRA paper work, laboratory maintenance, laboratory results, maintaining drug stocks, health and safety issue, radiation protection monitoring, surgical equipment, chasing debts and sending out health reminders.
Are making animals better all we do?
No, preventative health care is also important. Like people, the effect of better sanitation, diet and prevention of disease has enabled our companions to live a much longer, pain-free life. This is why we have annual health checks and like us, becoming overweight is now one of the major threats to a long active life. Diabetes mellitus is more frequently diagnosed. Poor skin, over strained joints and circulation are all more likely as the pounds go on. Just living longer is also a risk. Overactive thyroid occurs more commonly as cats' age. Cushing's syndrome increases in frequency as dogs' age. Heart disorders, kidney and liver damage all increase with age. And of course, wear and tear of the joints leads to osteoarthritis. All these conditions can be controlled or made easier to live with.
You are always welcome to pop in to weigh your pets.
Then there is teaching. Informal teaching of work-experience students. Structural practical teaching of veterinary students. NVQ teaching of nurses. Education of overseas vets to Royal College standards of knowledge and practice. Outside talks to play-groups, schools, and organisations. And teaching ourselves though continuing professional development and exchanging of ideas. And making you aware as an owner of what can be done, and what should be done.
We liaise with the local Dog Warden through care of stray dogs. We aid the police with entrapments and road casualties. We are involved with providing evidence for RSPCA and police for prosecutions of people committing or failing to prevent cruelty and suffering to animals. As Local Veterinary Inspectors we provide the ground support to DEFRA, helping with epidemic control, import/export, inspections and disease surveillance.
We are also, to many, part of the local community; a friendly face to talk to.