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Good luck at last for Harry

Even though he’s only 11-months-old, Harry, a Romanian rescue dog, has already had more than his fair share of bad luck so Ashcroft Vets are pleased that they were able to help him back onto the road to recovery.

Harry, a Border Collie Lurcher cross, came to the UK courtesy of a rescue charity who then rehomed him. Unfortunately his new owners struggled to look after him so another charity – Helping Dogs Paws – stepped in to offer foster care. 

But when the charity was putting Harry into their van he became spooked and slipped his lead. He was then hit by a passing car and injured his leg before disappearing into nearby fields.

Following online campaigns, leafleting, search parties and tracker dogs, he was eventually found seven days later. His front leg was bent at a right angle and he also had deep lacerations and ripped skin on the leg. 

Rosemary Axon, from Helping Dogs Paws, said: “Even though it was a Sunday when Harry was found, Ashcroft Vets saw him straight away. They checked him over and treated his leg. Fortunately even though he was holding his leg at an unnatural angle it wasn’t broken. The follow up care from Ashcroft Vets has been fantastic.”

Vet Iain Etridge said: “We sedated Harry so that we could fully assess his injuries and dress the wounds to his leg. We put him on a course of antibiotics and he has been back for his leg to be re-dressed. He’s back on four legs and we expect him to make a full recovery.”

Blind Puppy Can See For The First Time

With cysts covering both eyes the future looked bleak for a blind puppy who needed expensive surgery if he was ever going to see again. Thankfully, eight-week-old French Bulldog Frank has now left his dark world behind him after being adopted by Ashcroft Vets nurse Dominique Wilson who then arranged for her vet and boss Iain Etridge to perform a complex operation to remove two rare cysts from his eyes and reconstruct an eyelid.

Dominique, said: “When Frank first came into our surgery I felt so sorry for him. He was owned by a breeder and a puppy like that would sell for £1500 so it would not have been commercially viable for the breeder to pay a specialist ophthalmologist £2,000 to cure Frank’s condition.”

“When the breeder said he would have to give Frank away I jumped at the chance to own him. The cost of the operation didn’t come into the equation when I agreed to take him on, as all I saw was a cute little puppy who needed surgery. Fortunately Iain Etridge offered to carry out the operation himself and to charge a special below cost rate,” she added.

Mr Etridge said: “Frank had dermoid cysts which are fairly rare and are patches of skin tissue that grow in the wrong place. In Frank’s case they were on both eyes, one was in the centre of an eye and the other was attached to the eye and his eyelid, keeping that eye stuck open. I thought the operation would be a nightmare due to its complexity but it went much better than I could have hoped for. It took me about one-and-a-half hours to remove both cysts and reconstruct the affected eyelid.”

Frank is now back home with Dominique and her other French Bulldog Bernarde, who adores Frank. Dominique said: “Frank is now able to see and he’s no longer bumping into things. He’s making really good progress and we are hopeful he will gain perfect vision in the future.”

Beware of discarded fishing hooks

Be extra vigilant if you are walking your dog near fishing ponds – Ashcroft  Vets recently had a case where a Border Collie was brought into their surgery with a fishing hook deeply embedded in the back of her tongue.

Four-year-old Eve had swallowed the hook and line whilst out walking with her owner near a local pond. When she came into the surgery, vet Charlie Bridges assessed her before giving her a general anaesthetic to investigate further. Whilst inserting the breathing tube into Eve’s throat, Charlie saw the hook in the back of her tongue and used forceps to remove it.

“The hook was really hard to remove as it had become firmly embedded but I eventually managed to prise it out.  I did attempt to split the hook into two pieces using bone cutters but they wouldn’t cut through the hard metal,” said Charlie.

“Eve was really lucky as it could have been so much worse, particularly if the fishing line had had a weight attached, which could have caused a potentially fatal blockage in her intestines. Alternatively if she had swallowed the hook it could have perforated her oesophagus or stomach, resulting in life threatening peritonitis,” she added.

Ashcroft Vets put Eve on a course of antibiotics and she has now made a good recovery, although she was off her food for the first two days after the operation, no doubt due to her having a very sore tongue!

Whilst Ashcroft Vets are urging pet owners to be vigilant when they are near ponds, lakes or on a beach, they also urge anglers to take extra care and make sure they don’t leave anything behind after a day’s fishing.

Replacement Fire Investigation Dog Proves Her Worth

Etta the Labrador has proved to be a star fire investigation dog after stepping in as a replacement for a dog that did not take to the specialised training.

The recently-formed community interest company K9 Fire Investigation began with Lexi, a Cocker Spaniel, and Aston, a Springer Spaniel, both sponsored by Ashcroft Vets of Scunthorpe.

However, Lexi did not progress quickly enough during the six weeks of training and had to be withdrawn. Then K9 Fire Investigation ran into further problems when Aston needed major surgery after rupturing his cruciate ligament.

Mike Shooter, a Director of K9 Fire Investigation, said: “We were all ready to start work but we didn’t have a dog. Fortunately the South Yorkshire Police Dog Training School gave us Etta and she has been brilliant.

“She has been on six cases so far. In one of them she indicated that an accelerant had been used, and the investigation is ongoing. In the other five cases she was able to confirm that flammable liquids were not present, allowing the police to leave the scenes much earlier than would otherwise have been the case.”

Aston is now recovering well from his cruciate ligament surgery, which was arranged by Ashcroft Vets, and Ashcroft are also providing vaccinations, flea, worm and tick control, medical care and food costs for the dogs.

Mike has not given up hope yet of Lexi still making the grade in the future as a third fire investigation dog for K9 Fire Investigation and is keeping her as a pet.

Aston and Etta can detect up to 14 different fire accelerants. Although there is equipment to detect accelerants, nothing can match the abilities of a dog.

They wear special boots to protect their paws from cuts or scratches when they are working at the scene of recent fires. They can detect accelerants for up to two weeks after a fire and can also detect them on the clothing of any suspected arsonist.

Weimaraner eats a whole chicken

Sadie, a 10-year-old Weimaraner, is making a good recovery after Ashcroft Vets had to operate on her to remove the contents of an entire chicken from her stomach!

Her owners, Diane and Drew Martin, brought her straight into our surgery after seeing that her body had ‘blown up like a balloon’ after she had helped herself to the chicken.

An X-ray showed that her stomach was full of chicken and bones and was hugely dilated with air. Vets Suzy Hunt and Iain Etridge operated immediately to remove the chicken. The two-hour surgery involved opening the abdomen and making a large incision in the stomach wall to enable the chicken to be carefully removed.

Suzy Hunt said: “This was by far the worst case of bloating that Iain and I have ever seen and the outcome would have been very different if Sadie’s owners had not acted so quickly. Without veterinary intervention her stomach could have burst and she would have died from infection, pain and shock. Fortunately for Sadie, her stomach had not twisted which does happen in some cases, as this would have been much more serious.”

Cat’s miraculous recovery after twig goes
through its eye

Dolphie the cat has amazed local vets by coming out unscathed after a twig went straight through her eye. Ashcroft Vets said it was a miracle that the three-year-old black and white cat hadn’t lost her eye.

Veterinary nurse Emma Snowdon said: “Fortunately the twig had gone in at the edge of the eyeball so it didn’t damage the eye itself or the socket behind it. If it had gone millimetres the other way Dolphie could have easily lost her eye.”

“The twig was pushing her eye out of the socket but once we removed it the eye moved back into place. I have been in veterinary practice for 25 years and I have never come across anything like this before,” she added.

Dolphie’s owner Christine Camp, who lives in Willowmeade Close, Scunthorpe, said: “When Dolphie came home late one evening I could see that there was the end of a twig sticking out of her eye, so I took her to Ashcroft Vets.”

“When Ashcroft Vets operated to remove it they were amazed as they kept pulling more and more of it out. It was two inches long and virtually all of it had gone in. Dolphie was able to come home the next day and fortunately she has no lasting damage. Ashcroft Vets did a brilliant job and I’d like to thank them for saving her sight,” she added.

No-one knows how Dolphie came to get the twig in her eye but Mrs Camp thinks the most likely explanation was that she had been foraging in undergrowth or climbing a tree when the twig become embedded.

Ashcroft Vets sponsor fire investigation dogs

Ashcroft Vets has become the first company in the region to sponsor a new community enterprise company set up to provide specially-trained dogs to investigate the causes of fires.

Ashcroft Vets will provide vaccinations, flea, worm and tick control, medical care and some food costs over three years for Lexi, a Cocker Spaniel, and Aston, a Springer Spaniel, who will be sent on detection operations by the newly-formed K9 Fire Investigation company, formed in partnership with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.

Mike Shooter, a Director of K9 Fire Investigation, said: “Nationally 46% of all fires are caused by arsonists, and in the Humberside area it’s 63%, costing the local economy £235 million. In other areas of the UK where dogs have been used to investigate fires the arson rate has dropped because people know they have an increased chance of being convicted.

“Lexi and Aston are now undergoing six weeks of training at the South Yorkshire Police Dog Training School in Sheffield. When they return to us they will be able to detect up to 14 different fire accelerants. Although there is equipment to detect accelerants, nothing can match the abilities of a dog.

Iain Etridge, of Ashcroft Vets, said: “We are delighted to have become the first company to sponsor this very worthy new venture. K9 Fire Investigation will be carrying out extremely important work and by supporting them we are able to put something back into our local community.”

Lexi and Aston will wear special boots to protect their paws from cuts or scratches when they are working at the scene of recent fires. They will be able to detect accelerants for up to two weeks after a fire and will also be able to detect them on the clothing of any suspected arsonist.

When “off duty” the dogs will be cared for at home by Mike and his fellow Director, Jon Willingham, who are both serving fire fighters.

Janet the chicken causes quite a flap

When Ashcroft Vets began to operate on a Brigg woman’s pet chicken they thought that a large lump on its neck would turn out to be a cancerous tumour.

But further investigation revealed something completely different – a mass of dog fur in a ball the size of an orange that was blocking the bird’s food pipe.

Vet Iain Etridge said: “It was very surprising to discover that the chicken had an impacted crop. It’s something that I have never seen before. The crop was full of fur and some hay and it would have been there for some time. As a result it was heavily contaminated.”

The six-year-old chicken, affectionately known as Janet, is owned by Karen Neall and lives in the garden of her Brigg home with fellow chickens Freda, Vera and Mo.

“I’m very fond of my chickens and I didn’t want it to be the end for Janet. I was happy for Ashcroft Vets to operate in the hope that it could give Janet a few more years, and I’m delighted that the operation was a success.” said Karen.

However, all four chickens will soon be moving to pastures new. Karen said: “I started with 22 chickens but I’ve had a lot of bad luck, losing many of them to red mite, respiratory illnesses and other problems. Now that Janet has recovered I’ve decided not to keep chickens any more and have found a new home for Janet and her friends in the Lincolnshire countryside.”

Abandoned Kittens

Looking after animals is currently a 24 hours a day commitment for Amy Hoggins, one of our veterinary nurses. During the day she cares for customers’ pets at our Scunthorpe surgery, then as soon as she gets home she’s kept busy hand rearing two abandoned kittens, who need feeding throughout the night.

Amy first came across the kittens when they were brought into our surgery after being abandoned in Burton Stather. When she heard about their plight she offered to step in as a foster mum.

Amy said: ““I have been hand rearing them on special kitten milk and feeding them every three to four hours, which means that apart from having to get up during the night I also have to bring them into work with me. The kittens will soon be ready to go onto solids and I will then be looking to find permanent homes for them.

“I strongly urge people to contact an appropriate animal charity if they cannot care for their animals rather than just dumping them in the hope that they will be found.”

The black and white male and all black female kittens have been named Tribal and Shadow. If you can offer them a permanent home please contact Amy at Ashcroft Vets on 01724 860045.

Take care during harvest time

We are advising dog owners to be cautious when walking dogs in fields during harvest time – we recently had to operate on a dog to remove a sharp piece of straw and a grass seed that were deeply embedded in its tongue.

Alfie, a four-year-old Spaniel Cross, is owned by one of our veterinary nurses, Rachael Drury.

She said: “Alfie had gone exploring during a walk in the countryside and when we got home he was lethargic and off his food. His tongue was swollen but I didn’t know why at the time. 

“Despite Alfie having antibiotics he didn’t get any better so Ashcroft Vets operated on him and eventually found not only a grass seed but also a really sharp piece of straw.”

After several hours in surgery, Alfie is now back at his home and making a good recovery. Vet Suzanne Hunt said: “It’s very unusual for a dog to get something in its tongue that’s as long as the piece of straw that we found in Alfie’s. 

“It’s much more common for them to get grass seeds, straw or stubble in their paws or their ears. If these foreign bodies are left inside a pet it can lead to many problems, including septacaemia. Prevention is always better than cure, so we would advise people to be cautious when walking dogs in fields during harvest time to eliminate the possibility of this happening.”

Scunthorpe Vets Announce £1.5 million Expansion

Ashcroft Vets have announced plans for a £1.5 million expansion to create Scunthorpe’s first animal hospital, which will create 10 new jobs.

Vet Iain Etridge revealed the plans as he took over sole control of Ashcroft Vets following the retirement of his business partner, Simon Maddy.

Mr Etridge said: “We have outgrown our current headquarters at Calcot House on Winterton Road and are now in the final stages of completing the purchase of additional premises where we plan to create the animal hospital. We will be seeking Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons status as a fully accredited veterinary hospital as soon as the work has been completed.”

As well as the latest surgical suites and equipment, the new premises will also feature hydrotherapy and physiotherapy facilities, together with the area’s first ‘doggy day care’ centre for owners who don’t want to leave their pets on their own while they are out for long periods.

Mr Etridge said: “This is by far our biggest expansion since the practice was formed almost 30 years ago. The investment highlights how we are determined to provide services that are unsurpassed in the region and will meet an increasing demand for pet care. For example, I read recently that about 6,000 houses are to be built in the Scunthorpe area – that also means there will be thousands of additional pets requiring veterinary services.”

Already one of the largest practices in the area, Ashcroft Vets has 38 staff working in three practices – Winterton Road; Eton Court, Bottesford; and Bridge Street, Brigg.

As well as its plans for the new building, Ashcroft Vets is due to begin a £65,000 refurbishment of its Winterton Road premises in November. The work will include refurbishing the operating suites and preparation areas and installing a new digital x-ray system.


Ashcroft Vets And Jerry Green Dog Rescue Provide Round The Clock Care For 14 Puppies

Ashcroft Vets and Jerry Green Dog Rescue have joined forces to provide round the clock care for a litter of 14 puppies which were born after their mother was brought into Jerry Green’s because her owner could no longer look after her.

Two of the German Shepherd cross puppies are being fed day and night by Ashcroft Vets receptionists Hannah Birkley and Natalie Schaffer and the others are being looked after at Jerry Green Dog Rescue centres in Broughton, South Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.

Shelley Wooding, Head of Welfare and Development at Jerry Green’s, said: “A litter of 14 puppies is a very large one and we have been delighted with the support from Ashcroft Vets who have been caring for two of our puppies and also to our own extended teams who have worked tirelessly to ensure that all the puppies are reared safely.”

Hannah Birkley said: “At first we had to give the puppies their baby milk every two hours, which then increased to every three hours and now every four hours. They will be opening their eyes soon but it will still be some weeks before they can go onto solids.”

If you would like to give a home to one of the puppies, contact Jerry Green Dog Rescue on 01652 657820.

Off The Shelf Repair For Shell-Shocked Tortoise

A tortoise that was attacked by his owner’s dog is now coming out of his shell again after Ashcroft Vets resorted to some highly unusual treatment – they patched him up with a glass fibre body repair kit from Halfords!

Tommy the tortoise’s shell was punctured in several places when Dominic Avison’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, Buster, decided to chew it.

Mr Avison, who lives in Woodbine Avenue, Brigg, said: “I got distracted by someone knocking on the door and when I came back, Buster had brought the tortoise in from the garden and was chewing his shell. I thought he’d be OK but a week later I noticed that one of the holes had got bigger and had become infected so I took him to the vets.”

Vet Iain Etridge said: “I’d come across a similar case 10 years ago so I knew what treatment would be best. We got a glass fibre kit from Halfords with a two part resin and glass fibre matting. We anaesthetised the tortoise, attached the glass fibre to his shell and used a dental drill to shape it. It was important that we didn’t put the resin on too thick because it gets hot during the curing process and if we had used too much it would have burnt the tortoise. We kept him at the surgery for a few days to make sure that he was eating again and then he was OK to go home.

“Quite appropriately, Tommy is now making a very, very slow recovery – after two or three years his shell will have regenerated and the resin will then wear off, so he will then look like any other tortoise. Meanwhile he’s got his very own go faster stripe.”