1, Cat Hill, East Barnet, EN4 8HG Tel. 020 8440 5742  

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News 1

Baby Congratulations to both Kirsty & Rachel

Christmas Opening Hours

Friday 23rd December  -  8.00am - 6.30pm

Saturday 24th December - 9.00am - 12.00pm

Sunday 25th - Tuesday 27th - Closed

Wednesday 28th December - 8.00am - 6.30pm

Thursday 29th December - 8.00am - 8.00pm

Friday 30th December - 8.00am - 6.30pm

Saturday 31st December - 9.00am - 5.00pm

Sunday 1st & Monday 2nd January - Closed

Tuesday 3rd January - 8.00am - 8.00pm

    Our 24 hour Emergency Service will operate as usual throughout the holiday season.

Telephone 020 8440 5742

Congratulations are in order for 2 members of the Practice staff:-

Congratulations to Kirsty (Receptionist) & husband David on the birth of their son Max 8 weeks ago & to Rachel (Vet) & her husband Tim on the birth of their son Sam on the 8th November 2015.

They are both currently on Maternity leave, but we look forward to welcoming them back to the Practice next year.


East Barnet Veterinary Practice are pleased to welcome Vet Anat Shaltiel to our team. Anat is covering for Rachel who is currently on Maternity leave.

Anat qualified in 2004, she arrived in the UK in 2007 and joined the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Since then she has worked with small animals and in 2013 has gained a certificate in Animal Physiotherapy.

Anat's main interests are internal medicine and rehabilitation therapy.  

She lives with her husband (who is also a vet) 3 children, a disabled cat and a blind dog. 

New Vet joins our team





Congratulations are in order for Laura who has been studying hard and has now passed her City & Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species

The City & Guilds Certificate in Veterinary Nursing of Exotic Species, is the only such qualifcation open to veterinary nurses interested in furthering their career with exotic and wildlife species.

The course is divided into 4 main sections - avian, reptile/amphibian, small mammal and British Wildlife. Within each of these section students study biology/husbandry, nutrtition, handling/anaesthesia, fluid therapy, common diseases and their nursing care.

Passing the final examination results in the qualification being awarded. Students are then able to use the post-nominals C&G Cert VNES.

Congratulations to Veterinary Nurse Laura!

Looking back at 2015 at East Barnet Veterinary Surgery

This Coati Mundi came in with skin problems (alopecia, skin infections). We sedated him to examine him closer and take skin scrapes. He was put on antibiotics and given parasite treatment and made a good recovery. 

This Arctic Fox came in because she was not eating, lethargic, had a high temperature, had diarrhoea, and was slightly jaundiced. We found she had hookworm and capillaria worms, and also infectious hepatitis. She had fluids, antibiotics and liver supplements administered, and made a good recovery. We have seen her at the Practice in both her Summer & Winter coats as shown in the photos.

This is a Green Iguana which was presented with lethargy and inappetance. She was diagnosed with pre-ovulatory follicular stasis (meaning the ova did not ovulate & ovarian follicles just stayed in situ getting bigger. As the ovarian follicules are so large they take up a lot of room in the coelomic cavity and cause the affected reptile not to eat. This is a common problem in lizards. This iguana was speyed (ovariectomy) as shown in the photos and made a full recovery.

New Microscope for the Practice Laboratory

Also in 2015, we invested £3000 in a new GXML3200 microscope with camera & screen package for the Practice Laboratory to enhance our in-house diagnostic ability, and quicker  results for our clients.

We use the microscope for in-house haematology to check for anaemia and infections , urinalysis especially looking for crystals and infections in urine , faecal analysis (especially looking for gut parasites in reptiles), skin scrapings looking for external parasites and cytology of fine needle aspirates of tumours  to see if the cells are cancerous.

The screen makes case discussions much easier for our clients as we can show them images from the microscope and it also helps with teaching of trainee nurses and vet students.

We see lots of Bearded Dragons like the one above at the Practice. The most common problem we see with these reptiles is metabolic bone disease, due to poor diet or environment.

This tiny tortoise held in the owners hand was seen at the Practice and is a Sulcata Tortoise. It is hard to believe that will exceed 50 kg as an adult and will take two people to lift it. It is a sub-Sarahan species,  so unlike the Mediterranean species of tortoise eg spur thighed, hermans etc, it feeds predominantly on dry grass and hay and does not hibernate. This creates problems as owners will need to have an area the size of a small room that they can maintain at 70-80 'F overwinter and supply UV light to, once the tortoise is mature at about 8 - 10 years old.  

As ever, 2015 was a busy year for East Barnet Veterinary Surgery. Although we see many Dog & Cats at the Practice, we are seeing an increasing number of exotics & unusual animals & thought we would share a few of these patients on the website.


Ralph was asked by one of client's to record a short video on the care of Chameleons. Click here to view her article & video featuring Ralph & one of our Practice Chameleons.


How to care for a Chameleon

This baby Red Eared Terrapin was also seen at the Practice. Common ailments with these pets are Soft Shell/Lumpy Shell due to poor diet & eye problems due poor diet & incorrect enviromental conditions. More than 85% of all diseases encountered in turtles are the result of poor husbandry or poor dietry mamagement.

Ticks & Babesiosis

There have been a number of news reports in the last week, concerning the diagnosis of Babesiosis in dogs in Essex. The disease affects dogs, cases in cats are very rare and humans are not affected.  Babesiosis is a tick transmitted disease that has been an issue for dogs  travelling abroad. There have been sporadic cases in the UK in dogs that have not been abroad but it may be that in the next few years that clinical cases will become more common. The disease has the following symptoms; fever, lethargy, anaemia (pale gums), jaundice (yellow gums), blood in the urine and vomiting.

Protection against Babesiosis is based on prevention of tick bites. In this area (Barnet) we do not have a major problem with ticks. Tick infestation is usually seasonal – peaking in late Spring and again in Autumn, with smaller numbers of cases throughout the summer. We have not yet diagnosed any tick related diseases (such as Lyme’ s disease) in our patients, even though they are common in other parts of the country where ticks are more prevalent, such as the New Forest or the Brecklands in Suffolk.

At present there is no single product that will provide protection against all dog parasites. Our focus at the East Barnet Vet Surgery is on protection against lungworm since we have seen a number of fatalities in this area. We also have a significant problem with sarcoptic  mange locally. All pets require roundworm and flea control. For this reason we advise the monthly use of ADVOCATE SPOT-ON in dogs, which protects against lungworm, mange , fleas and roundworms . We can provide treatment against tapeworms by administering a MILBEMAX tablet once every 3- 6 months.

To provide protection against ticks we advise the use of a SERESTO COLLAR  during the tick season (April to October). Since the winter this year has been very mild we would suggest applying a SERESTO COLLAR (which can be purchased at the Practice) straight away. The SERESTO COLLAR should be used in conjunction with ADVOCATE SPOT- ON.

If your dogs is showing any of the following symptoms, please contact the East Barnet Veterinary Surgery straight away;

   •     FEVER and LETHARGY






If you notice any ticks on your dogs please make an appointment so that we can remove them and set up a tick control programme for you.

East Barnet Veterinary Practice are pleased to sponsor the Companion Dog Show at East Barnet Festival again this year.

The Festival takes place on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd July 2016

at Oak Hill Park, Off Church Hill Road, East Barnet Village, EN4 8JS

East Barnet Festival Companion Dog Show

Saturday 2nd July 2016

Kennel Club licenced

Entries from 12.30pm. Judging starts at 1.30pm

Just come along and register

Pedigree, non-pedigree and novelty classes

Fee £2.00 per class

(all proceeds go to East Barnet Festival)

Dog Show enquiries 020 8440 5742

Festival Hotline email - info@eastbarnetfestival.org.uk

For more information about the Festival visit www.eastbarnetfestival.org.uk

East Barnet Festival 2016 - Companion Dog Show


East Barnet Veterinary Practice commissioned 2Stepmedia to create a "behind the scenes/fly on the wall" video of the practice.

This video shows behind the scenes at the Surgery, our facilities & how our team cares for all kinds of animals and pets.

To contact 2Stepmedia who filmed, edited & produced the video, go to www.2step.media or telephone 07779546865

Click on the the video opposite to view.

East Barnet Veterinary Surgery - Behind the scenes video


It's time to say bon voyage to our Veterinary Nurse Charlotte as she starts a new adventure in Australia! Charlotte will be continuing her Veterinary Nursing career in Queensland, Australia!

She has been part of our team for the last 5 years and she will be greatly missed.


A new adventure in Australia!



Charlotte nursing interesting animals in Australia

Charlotte is enjoying her new job in Australia & sent us some photos of the interesting patients she has been dealing with. The bird is a Tawny Frogmouth and the sleepy looking animal recovering from anaesthetic is a Common Bushtail Possum. Apparently the possum is not an animal to mess with when they are awake as they are mean & fast!

Congratulations to Sam who had a baby girl - Shaya - on the 17th February 2017.

Sam is currently on Maternity leave, but we hope to see her back at the Practice soon.

More baby congratulations at the Practice!

We are pleased to welcome our new Veterinary, Surgeon Magdalena Sadowska to our team.

Magdalena qualified in 2012 in Warsaw and joined one of the biggest round the clock clinics in Poland. For 4 years she consulted, taking care of hospital inpatients and providing emergency services to small animals. Her main field of interest was nephrology and she performed several haemodialysis on cats and dogs with kidney failure. In 2015 she joined the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and started work in the UK. She's focused on developing her surgical skills and continues her Small Animal Medicine Certificate post-graduate studies in Poland. Magdalena re-homed a stray cat Edgar - one of her patients saved from a road traffic accident. She's interested in fitness and traveling.

New Vet Magdelena joins our team


Rabbit Awareness Week

Monday 17th June marked the start of Rabbit Awareness Week, which is an annual event occurring one week every June. Rabbits are the UK’s fourth most popular pet, with 0.8 million rabbits being owned as pets, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association report carried out in 2016. In spite of this, rabbit welfare is widely misunderstood and many rabbits are not cared for as well as they should be. Rabbits are often bought as pets for children as it is thought that they are low maintenance and easy to keep. While rabbits can make fantastic pets for children and adults alike, they do have specific requirements and it is important for any rabbit owner or potential rabbit owner to be aware of what they need to do to keep their bunnies happy and healthy.

Rabbit Awareness Week, or RAW, aims to improve rabbit welfare by educating rabbit owners or anyone thinking about getting a rabbit on various aspects of rabbit care, including diet, housing and general health.

So what sort of things should rabbit owners be aware of?


Did you know? A rabbit’s diet should consist of 85-90% high quality feeding hay and fresh or dried grass (as much as the size of their body!), 10% vegetables, and 5% healthy pellets. Hay and grass make up such a large proportion of their diet as they contain fibre, essential to a rabbit’s dental and digestive health. Bunnies are unfortunately very prone to dental disease which is frequently due to a poor diet, although it can also be a hereditary problem.

Fibre aids dental health as rabbits have open-rooted teeth, which means they grow continually. The chewing motion performed when eating hay/grass combined with the abrasiveness of these foods helps to keep the teeth worn down, preventing overgrowth. Teeth that are not adequately worn down can form sharp points (known as spurs) which cut in to the tongue and cheeks, resulting in painful ulcers. Dental disease can be characterised by a range of symptoms, including excess salivation leading to wet fur around the chin and paws, reduced appetite leading to weight loss, reduced grooming, facial swelling and discharge from the eyes

Fibre is also crucial to a rabbit’s digestive health as it helps to keep the gut moving, stimulates appetite and maintains a healthy balance in the gut. A diet deficient in fibre can cause constipation, diarrhoea and colic, as well as a condition called ileus, or gut stasis, which is when the gut stops moving. Ileus can also be caused by stress, pain, dehydration or intestinal blockages. It can be fatal, so it is important to monitor rabbits closely to make sure they are eating well and passing faeces normally.

Besides eating their bodyweight in hay, and snacking on the odd carrot, bunnies also eat their poo! Well, caecotrophs, to be precise. There are two types of fibre in their diet – indigestible and digestible fibre. The indigestible fibre cannot be broken down so it is excreted as round, hard droppings. The digestible fibre on the other hand is moved in to an organ called the caecum, where it is broken down by bacterial fermentation to release stored nutrients. In order to absorb these nutrients, the fermented fibre is excreted as clumps of sticky droppings (caecotrophs) to be eaten by the rabbit directly after passing, usually at quiet times of the day or at night, which means it is unlikely for an owner to see any. If there are caecotrophs present in the hutch or stuck to the rabbit, this can be a sign of ill health, so it is important to know the difference between normal waste pellets and caecotrophs!

Another diet related issue commonly seen by us vets is the use of muesli type foods. With so much choice in pet shops these days, it can be difficult to choose which type/brand of pet food you buy. The problem with the muesli style foods is that bunnies usually select the tastiest and not so healthy parts (high in starch), and leave the healthy parts which contain that all important fibre (and who can blame them?!). However, over time, this can lead to dental and digestive issues, as mentioned above, but can also lead to obesity and a reduced water intake, which can make them more susceptible to urinary tract issues. For any rabbit owners whose rabbits eat only muesli, don’t fear! It is possible to wean them off, but it should be done gradually, slowly introducing hay and healthy nuggets and steadily reducing the amount of muesli offered.

Lastly, it is vital not to allow rabbits to become obese. This can occur due to too many sugary treats and a lack of fibre and can have serious implications for their joints and heart, increasing their risk of an early death. They also find it difficult to clean themselves when obese, so usually have a dirty bottom which attracts flies and can lead to a horrific condition known as ‘flystrike’, whereby flies lay their eggs on the rabbit, which develop in to maggots and eat the rabbit’s flesh. It sounds like the stuff of nightmares but unfortunately is a real risk for bunnies, especially during the summer months.


For many years, rabbits have been solely confined to small wooden hutches, without sufficient room to exercise or display normal behaviour. This is not only boring for bunnies, but can lead to skeletal and muscular problems, including fractured bones. One of the main aims of RAW is to increase awareness that ‘a hutch is not enough’, and to provide advice on what kind of accommodation is suitable for rabbits.

Hutches still have their place in rabbit accommodation, but as a resting area or somewhere to be protected from the weather! When buying a hutch, it is important to ensure that it is large enough – this means that all rabbits must be able to stand up fully within the hutch, lie down and stretch out in all directions as well as make 3 continuous hops from one end to the other. It is also important to make sure that the hutch is weatherproof, and adaptable to both summer and winter conditions. Bunnies cannot sweat like us humans or pant like dogs, so are susceptible to overheating, which can be fatal. It is advisable to move the hutch somewhere shady in the summer and if possible in to a shed/garage during the winter so that they are not exposed to the extremes.

Bunnies should be provided with a suitable substrate such as straw, hay, shavings or newspaper and access to food and water at all times. The hutch should be kept clean, which means that daily maintenance is required to remove any soiled bedding. This is especially important in the summer as there is an increased risk of ‘flystrike’.

Besides the hutch, rabbits should ideally have access to an outside run so they can exercise and perform natural behaviours like digging/burrowing and grazing on grass and other plants (although it is important to check that the plants they have access to are safe for them!). Being able to exercise keeps them trim and the sunshine is also good for them as it increases the amount of Vitamin D their body can make, which helps to keep their bones strong and healthy. It is essential to make sure both hutch and run are predator proof – this should be checked carefully as foxes can be very crafty!

Some people choose to keep their rabbits indoors and train them to use a litter tray. This arrangement is fine but owners of house rabbits must ensure that there’s nothing hazardous for the bunnies to chew on, like electrical cables!

Environmental enrichment

Wherever your bunnies live, it is vital that they are kept entertained and that their environment promotes natural behaviour. A variety of rabbit toys are available in pet shops, but again, they should be checked for safety reasons as bunnies like to chew! Tunnels are a fun thing to include in the run as well as boxes to hide in and platforms to climb on. If you’re feeling creative, it is easy to make your own enrichment tools using cardboard boxes for them to hide in/chew, or flower pots filled with soil for them to dig in, for instance. An all time favourite which is easy to get your hands on is an empty toilet roll tube! These can be stuffed with food which makes eating a more exciting experience and keeps them mentally stimulated

One bunny or two?

Always two (or more)! Rabbits are a social species, and definitely benefit from having a friend or two. Not any friend will do though – rabbits do have different personalities so it is important to introduce them carefully, and supervise them in case of fighting. It is possible to combine males and females as well as rabbits of the same sex, but it is vital that they are neutered to reduce the risk of aggression as well as the obvious benefit of preventing unwanted pregnancies! Females should ideally be neutered even if they are not living with males as they are prone to developing a malignant uterine cancer when they are older. Neutering can be carried out from about 4-5 months of age in males and 5-6 months in females.

Rabbits can form very close bonds with their living companions and don’t cope well when separated. We often recommend that bunny pairs are brought in together for vet appointments or when one needs to be hospitalised as it is less stressful for them. Sadly, bunnies will also mourn the death of a friend, so it helps to introduce a new friend as soon as possible.

Despite being sociable animals, bunnies do also need their own space (just like people!) so it is a good idea to create separate areas where they can hide away from each other, as well as having separate food bowls and toys.

Some people keep rabbits with guinea pigs, but this is not advisable as bunnies have a powerful kick and can easily injure a fragile guinea pig. There is also a bacteria that rabbits can carry in their airways which can cause pneumonia in guinea pigs.


Bunnies are a prey species so tend to hide signs of pain/illness as a protection mechanism. Once you get to know your rabbit, spotting signs of illness may become easier. Examples of signs that warrant a visit to the vet include inappetence, not drinking or drinking lots, weight loss, changes in droppings i.e. not producing enough or passing diarrhoea, problems urinating, bloated tummy, sneezing, eye discharge or changes in behaviour. This is not a comprehensive list, so if there is anything that concerns you, it is always best to get your bunny checked by a rabbit savvy vet.

Hopefully you won’t have to visit the vet too often, but it is a good idea to go at least once or twice a year for a general check, and to get your bunny vaccinated. There are two main serious infectious diseases to be vaccinated against: myxomatosis, which can be spread by fleas and biting insects such as mosquitoes, and viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD), which can be spread from rabbit to rabbit, via insects or indirect contact via clothing and shoes, for instance.

Flystrike, which has already been mentioned, is a condition to look out for particularly in the summer. The condition can advance rapidly, so bunnies should be checked regularly for evidence of fly eggs and maggots. Prevention is key though – bunnies should be kept clean and dry to try and prevent it happening in the first place, and there is also a product called Rearguard that can be applied to a rabbit’s back end to prevent the fly eggs from developing. If eggs have already developed, it is best to take your rabbit to a vet straight away.

So as we can see, rabbits do have some specific requirements, but the main things to remember are vaccinating, keeping their accommodation clean and dry, feeding the correct diet for optimum digestive and dental health, and providing them with a spacious, enriched environment to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. By following these guidelines and understanding your bunnies’ needs, you will be well on your way to becoming a rabbit pro in no time, and your bunny will love you for it! For any more information or advice regarding rabbit welfare, please visit the RAW website at www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk.


Easter Eggs - Dangers of Chocolate!!

Chocolate contains a harmful chemical called theobromine. The amount of theobromine present depends on the quality and type of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk or white chocolate, so a dog would only have to eat a small amount of dark chocolate for it to have an effect whereas white chocolate would be less harmful. It mainly affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys, causing agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions, and heart disturbances



That time of the year is rapidly approaching and with Diwali this week and Halloween thereafter we can expect a month or so of intermittent fireworks (here’s hoping for a rainy start to November!). What used to be ‘Bonfire night’ is now  ‘Firework season’.

For advice on how to make your Pet feel safe, we have included a link to the RSPCA website which has an excellent section of general advice on managing pets that are anxious when exposed to fireworks. Click here

We are often asked about medication to help with reducing anxiety during this period. The following information is focused on dogs. Cats should naturally be kept indoors at night during the firework season.

Managing anxious Pets during Firework Season

It is important to differentiate between sedation and the effect of anti-anxiety drugs. The classic drug that has been used for many years is ACP. This is a profound sedative which if given in sufficient doses will make your pet sleepy. However, the effect is unpredictable, with the same dose causing variable responses, even in the same animal, depending on the level of excitation when it is given. .It’s use can often lead to prolonged sedation (>24 hours). It can also cause a fall in blood pressure and so is not safe to use in old animals or those with heart or kidney problems. For these reasons it is also not suitable for use for several days in a row

Our preference at East Barnet Vets is to use an anti-anxiety drug, such as Clomipramine or Diazepam. These drugs do not cause sedation and are suitable for use for consecutive days. They reduce the level of anxiety while still allowing the animal to function normally. However, in some animals they may not be sufficient to stop all excitation. Diazepam is a human drug , that is not licenced for use in animals. However, we have many years experience in using this drug for firework related anxiety. Our preference though is to use Clomipramine (Clomicalm), which is licenced in animals.

Whether using ACP, Diazepam or Clomipramine it is vital that the medication is administered BEFORE the dog is agitated. Ideally the first dose is given at least an hour before the expected start of the fireworks. In the case of Clomipramine the drug is administered twice daily throughout the firework season. Once the dog is already frantic, none of these drugs will have the desired effect.

There are a number of other products which may be of benefit;

Adaptil (formerly DAP); a plug-in device (or Feliway for cats), which releases Dog Appeasement Pheromone which encourages relaxtion. This should be used throughout the firework season. It is undetectable to humans.

Nutracalm – this is a natural product containing B vitamins and Amino acids such as Tryptophan (the amino acid in milk that makes you relaxed – hence a glass of milk before bed), passion flower extract and GABA (a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes relaxation). We recommend using Nutracalm throughout the firework season  - the best practice is a once daily dose during this period.

Skullcap & Valerian– an old fashioned herbal remedy , largely superceded by the products listed above – still there are some people who swear by it ! This is available at the practice.

Thundershirts  - there is some evidence to suggest that a close fitting ‘coat’ can reduce stress in firework related anxiety. We do not stock these items but there is more information on the Thundershirt website.

Sounds Scary CD – this is a CD  with noise effects which allow you to acclimatize your dog to firework noise (as well as other noise stressors) in a safe controlled environment. Naturally, it is most suitable for use in the weeks or months BEFORE the onset of firework season. I believe this CD (or something similar) is available on Amazon. We have a small number of CDs available at the practice.

If you have any queries about these products or would like advise relating to firework anxiety in dogs & cats , please give the practice a call on 020 8440 5742.