Facilities

We are fully equipped to cater for almost all requirements, with lots of pertinent equipment, separate dog and cat wards, 2 sterile operating theatres, a dedicated dental theatre, a diagnostic imaging room (ie xray, ultrasound and endoscopy) and a modern lab. We have gold standard anaesthetic systems and monitoring equipment to minimize the risk inherent with any general anaesthetic procedure. We also have qualified nursing support to further decrease any risk and enable everything to run smoothly ‘back of house’.

Consulting Rooms

We have purposely built large enough consult rooms that patients do not feel trapped or claustrophobic, and then very rarely put dogs on tables.   This means that we can usually watch them move around freely, and that they are significantly more relaxed and happier.  It also allows the nervous patient to have the ability to choose to come to us, rather than increasing their stress levels by forcing contact immediately.  Unless coming in for an anaesthetic, the sweetie boxes are regularly demolished and replenished, with chicken/duck/fish, which are great favourites.  We also have toy boxes to further relax our furfriends.

For our feline friends, we have a dedicated cat/rabbit waiting room and consult room, so although they do need to come in through the general waiting room to the reception desk, they can then go straight into their own calm area without being stressed by any dogs, well-meaning as they may be. Cat guardians (or are we their servants?) can then either sit in with their cats or come out to socialize with anyone else waiting.  Within the cat only areas, there are usually Feliway diffusers permanently plugged in.

In 2021, this will be being further enhanced by moving our feline friends upstairs, to their own dedicated suite of rooms, with a cat only clinic including waiting, consulting, hospitalization and surgery areas.

Wards

We have separate dog and cat wards, to keep everyone as calm as possible. Our cat ward has glass fronted kennels, keeping the cats warmer and happier.  Dogs have wire mesh or frosted glass topped by mesh, as any panting otherwise causes the humidity to rise and cause problems.  There are Adaptil and Pet remedy diffusers permanently plugged in to further generate a feeling of calm.

Dog kennels vary in size to full large walk ins, big enough for the largest patients to stretch out fully.  Smaller patients can cuddle down in appropriately sized heated beds.

In 2021, our cat ward will be moving upstairs to keep them even calmer and further away from the dogs.  It will further enhanced and enlarged to keep all of our feline rulers as stress free as possible.

All kennels in both wards can have CCTV camera coverage so that we can monitor patients where required without disturbing them, and can quickly get advice from any of our vets, whether on the premises or not.  Most of the kennels can also be transformed into oxygen tents when necessary.

Prep Room

We have a large central prep room, which really is the hub of the working area in the back.  All of the other rooms lead off this, and it is fully stocked with all necessary drugs and equipment for us to do the best possible job that we can for your pet and yourselves.  It also has a supply of immediate access emergency supplies, to minimize any delay in treatment when time is of the essence.

On admission, almost all patients will go into the prep room at some stage to have their procedure, be that blood sampling, fluid set up or major surgery.  We work hard to keep prep as relaxed as possible, whilst keeping organized and efficient.

Operating Theatres

We currently have 2 sterile theatres opening off the central prep area, along with a separate dental theatre.  These are fully equipped with monitoring equipment, surgical tables, lights and anaesthetic stations.  Horizontal surfaces and extraneous equipment are kept to a minimum to prevent dust traps and any build up of bacteria.  Even the walls are painted in special paint so that they can be thoroughly disinfected, and the floors are impregnated with antimicrobials as well as being scrubbed thoroughly.  The sterile theatres are reserved for any clean procedure, after surgical preparation.  Any dental or dirty procedures have their own theatre, opening from the other side of the prep room, to minimize any chance of infection.

These theatres are fully equipped with multi parameter monitors for continually checking patient status during anaesthesia, fluid pumps for accurate dosing of continuous drugs (CRIs), mono and bi-polar electrocautery, suction and many other instruments to improve the safety and accuracy of surgery.  Anaesthesia is provided by either intravenous and / or gaseous means, with oxygen generators providing a constant source of oxygen and either sevofluorane or isofluorane vaporizers for the utmost in flexibility and safety.

Laparoscopy and thoracoscopy instrumentation was ordered before lockdown to enable minimally invasive procedures where suitable.  Be aware that lap spays are not suitable for most patients less than about 15kgs – they can be done, but the incisions are larger than our normal ones and are not advised by the specialist boards.

The theatres are very much Cara’s happy place.  She has built on her years of advanced surgery to design, equip and build these to the optimum standard. Cara has her Certificate in Surgery, Advanced certificate in Soft Tissue Surgery and has recently completed her GP Diploma in Soft Tissue Surgery.  She is regularly joined by Mr Hannes Bergmann for orthopaedics.  Hannes is a ECVS Diplomate and RCVS recognized Specialist in Orthopaedics, and has chosen the facilities at Whiteley to be one of the few places which he operates from. When required, he brings a multitude more equipment, including arthroscopes, jigs, hip replacement equipment etc.

Dental Theatre

The dental theatre is adjacent to the prep room, on the opposite side to the sterile theatres.  This is equipped with a full ‘tub table’, allowing all water to drain directly away.  It can also double up as a bath or cooling area in case of heat stroke.  Apart from the surgical facilities, there are a full range of dental instruments and a stand-alone dental unit for air drills, polishers, scalers etc.  We have a mobile dental x-ray machine, together with a wide range of plates and an iM3 CR7 digital processor as well as our larger processor.  For extractions, apart from the standard hand equipment, we are now using a ‘Vet-Tome extraction system’, which is a very special tool for sliding between bone and teeth, allowing extractions with a minimum of trauma. 

Miss Max Tuck is in charge of all things dental, having been doing advanced dentistry for many years.  Max is a member of the Veterinary Dental Society and continues to progress in her chosen field.

Imaging Room

Imaging, or the Toy room, as Cara calls it, is where we have our BCF DR digital radiography set up, complete with ‘bucky table’, allowing us to take x-ray pictures without moving a patient repeatedly.  These are sent directly to the computer system, so that we can either view them anywhere, or send them for further study.  We have the ability to digitally radiograph a wide variety of sizes ranging from individual cat teeth to the largest dog.  For this, there are actually 2 different x-ray generators; the main one for standard applications, and a mobile dental x-ray for small, detailed pictures, primarily for dental purposes, but also for noses, small bones, toes etc.

This is also the home of our video-endoscopy system, enabling us to put cameras into most orifices to investigate problems and potentially extract biopsies or foreign bodies.  Our flexible scopes range from 3.5mm to over a cm in size, and have been used in lungs, noses, bladders and of course lots of stomachs. We also have a 3mm rigid scope for areas which are too small for the flexible scope or which need micro-biopsies.  This is particularly useful for noses and bladder.

The Esaote MiLab Ultrasound with its multitude of probes has lots of uses from pregnancy diagnosis to detailed examinations of the hearts of the smallest kittens, measuring blood flow across the valves in glorious technicolour.  We can also look for foreign bodies or ligaments using the linear probe or detailed abdominal investigations of guts, livers, adrenals – whatever we need to do.  This is performed by Mr Robin Peal – our Advanced Practitioner in Cardiology and Diagnostic Imaging, although for basic scans, we can all use the equipment when required.

The toy room also contains ECG machines, blood pressure measuring equipment, tonometry (eye pressure measurement), video otoscopy and lots of other ‘toys’ used in the day to day diagnosis and treatments of our patients.  It is regularly being added to – so there is probably already something more……………..

Laboratory

The lab is tucked off a corner of the prep room and is full of flashing lights and spurious equipment.

Apart from the standard microscope, slides, stains and tubes, we have a full ‘Idexx’ in house lab, with biochemistry, endocrinology, urinanalysis and cytology and Procyte haematology.  We also have an EPOC blood gas and critical care analyser, blood clotting parameter measurement and a HealVet endocrinology analyser, to measure other hormones that the Idexx system does not cover.  There is an in-house incubator, allowing us to do culture and sensitivity tests quickly and easily where required, rather than delaying by sending them out – although this may also be done for certain samples.  There are also a multitude of other tests run here, including blood typing, viral antibody testing, SNAP tests and Titre testing to measure antibody status and therefore assess the need for vaccination.  Other more specialized samples may be sent to an external laboratory – this is also where we keep all the necessary paraphernalia for this.  (for the professionals- Idexx Catalyst, Procyte, Sedivue, EPOC, Healvet, Micropoint).  We also keep equipment for both obtaining and giving blood transfusions, or related products when clinically necessary.

MRI

The MRI machine turns up approximately every 6 weeks or as required, in a large, noisy lorry which takes over the lower car park.  Patients are anaesthetized in the prep room as normal, and then transported into the machine for their imaging.  We are in constant contact with the anaesthetic nurse monitoring the patient, and a vet accompanies any higher risk patient throughout.

This facility is available for any of our own patients, and for out-patients referred for scanning from other practices.  Please call or email for more details.

Plans

In 2021, we are expanding to take over the upstairs of our current building.  We will be moving all the administration and staff quarters upstairs, together with the lab, cat ward and cat consulting areas.

This means that upstairs, we will have a dedicated cat waiting room, hopefully 2 further consult rooms, 2 normal cat wards and an isolation ward (in case of infectious diseases such as cat flu), another prep room and theatre. 

We will also have space for a dedicated rabbit/ small pet ward.

We will also put in overnight facilities for the staff, allowing us to have routine 24-hour nursing on site rather than the ‘as and when necessary’ which we currently have. 

This means that we will have an extra dog consult room and ward downstairs.  It also gives us room for a separate scanning room and dog isolation facility. We are also aiming to put in a quiet, ‘goodbye’ room, with a separate exit so that bereaved clients can leave without interruption or meeting anyone else.

The intention is then to add a CT to the inventory, however this takes lots of money.