Hillcrest Animal Hospital, Chorley

01257 262448

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Our News

April 08, 2020

The British Veterinary Association have released a statement to put peoples minds at ease regarding Covid-19 and cats. Please see the below statement and remember that we are here for you should you need us on 01257 262448.

“It’s incredibly important that information and advice for the public is clear and we regret that this news story will have caused worry and upset amongst cat owners.

“We are not advising that all cats are kept indoors. Only cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.

“There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in animals and in all cases, it is likely that the transmission was human to animal. There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners.

“From the small number of cases it appears that dogs do not show symptoms, but cats can show clinical signs of the disease.


March 24, 2020

Please be aware that we are changing the way we operate appointments during this challenging time.  We are really sorry that we are not able to offer our usual service, this is to protect you and our staff, to make sure that we are still here to see your pets when you need us!  

We are no longer offering routine consultations with the vet or nurse. We are operating on an EMERGENCY or URGENT consultation basis only.

Please call us on 01257 262448 to book a phone consultation with a vet. If we need to see your pet the vet will arrange to collect your pet from the car park, whilst you wait outside.  We will communicate with you via telephone, please ring when you arrive to let us know that you are here.  Payment for medication and appointments will be taken by card over the phone.

We are still operating as normal for EMERGENCIES.  Please call to let us know if you...

April 03, 2019
During in the month of April, RVN Amber is running £5 exotic health checks, if you would like to book in any reptile, please contact the practice.


Although, rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents, birds and reptiles are becoming increasingly popular, they do still count as exotic species. As exotic pets are often less domesticated than cats and dogs, they require the same needs as they would in the wild. Environmental, dietary and behavioural requirements can be challenging to maintain.

We urge anyone considering an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re a realistic pet. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that their needs are met and meet the Animal Welfare Act standards. The Animal Welfare Act ensures that animals are provided with the five welfare needs, which includes:

Need for a suitable environment
Exotic species often require a carefully controlled environment that mimics their natural habitat....

February 27, 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot say for certain what the laws and regulations regarding pet travel within the European Union will be after the 29th March 2019. It is recommended to treat all countries, regardless of their membership to the European Union, as outside of the European Union.

The current requirements for pet travel as outlined by the Government are as follows:

  • You must get your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
  • We must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory which has a minimum turnaround time of 2 weeks.
  • The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (Your pet must have a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
  • You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel.
  • You must get an appointment with one of our Official Veterinarians (OV), ...

February 12, 2019

If you have a dog or puppy, or plan to get one, it’s important that they have the correct environmental and exercise enrichment. Providing the correct enrichment is essential for their physical and mental health. Exercise enrichment allows puppies to socialise with other dogs and people, which is crucial to their behavioural development. What’s more, exercising with your dog or puppy is a great way for the two of you to strengthen your bond and be active together!

Prior to exercising with your puppy, here are some things to consider:

  • Assess the exercise needs and fitness level of your puppy. Dogs have different exercise requirements depending on their individual needs. Puppies need much less exercise than fully-grown dogs. Although, it can be tempting with a bouncy puppy, over-exercising your growing puppy can overtire it and damage its developing joints.
  • A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age, up to twice a day, until your puppy is...

December 04, 2018

As the year turns, the leaves fall, and the weather gets colder, it’s really important to make sure we’re prepared for the winter - especially as many forecasters are predicting another cold spell again this year. Our dogs and cats are mostly snuggled up warm indoors - but had you thought about the impact of severe cold weather on smaller pets? In this blog, we’re going to look at what you can do to help them make it through the winter in comfort and health.


What do we mean by small pets?

Also known as “small furries”, the term is mainly used to describe smaller pet mammals - rodents (such as guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, hamsters, gerbils) and sometimes lagomorphs (rabbits). In this blog, we’re not going to be focussing on the needs of small pet birds, although their requirements are similar.



Protection from the cold and the wet is absolutely essential.

Many small pets are fairly well adapted to deal with cold...

October 16, 2018

At this time of year, there’s loads of information out there for dogs who are scared of loud sounds, or cats who are afraid of fireworks… but what about the “small furries”, all those other pets? Are they immune to stress and alarm? No, they aren’t - so this blog is dedicated to them and their loving owners. Remember, size doesn’t determine how scared you get!

What do you mean by “small furries”, and why do they get scared?

This is a vet term, sorry! In general, we mean small pet mammals. For the purposes of this blog, it means rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, and any other more exotic small mammal (such as a tenrec or chinchilla) that is kept as a pet.

We can group these animals together because (with the honourable exception of the rabbits!) they are all rodents; and tend to have basically similar biological and emotional needs. While some are social and some are solitary, and their dietary requirements are...

May 23, 2018

As you are likely already aware (from the tens, if not hundreds of emails in your inbox) there is a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on the 25th May 2018.

The principles of the GDP regulation is to ensure that businesses such as ours safeguard our clients' information and that we use that information responsibility and legally.

We have updated our privacy policy to outline what data we store, how we use it and what right you have to access your own data.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

January 12, 2018

Canine Parvovirus (more commonly known as “parvo”) is a highly infectious, potentially lethal infection of dogs. We tend to see it in puppies causing severe intestinal disease, but any unvaccinated dog is potentially at risk.

What causes it?

A virus called (unsurprisingly!) the parvovirus – more specifically, Canine Parvovirus 2. There are a number of different strains out there, but CP2b is probably the most common. The virus attacks the intestinal tract and the immune system; some strains also attack the heart muscle (although this is relatively rare).

How is it spread?

The virus is very resistant, and can live in the environment for a very long time (perhaps as long as a year in some situations). It can be spread directly from dog to dog, but more often a dog contracts the virus when they come into contact with faeces from an infected dog – either directly or even on someone’s shoe. The virus is relatively difficult to destroy as well, so if you...

December 14, 2017

RHD stands for Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease; it is also sometimes known as VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) or RCV (Rabbit CaliciVirus). Whatever it’s called, it’s a really unpleasant disease and is usually fatal. In recent months, the disease has been in the news as a new strain (RHD2) has recently arrived in the UK.

What causes it?

It’s a virus, technically part of the Calicivirus family. It’s a pretty tough virus too; it’s able to survive being frozen and remains in an infective state for up to 3 months at room temperature! As a result, it easily spreads from wild to pet rabbits, being carried on clothing and shoes, or even hiding away in hay or bedding. This means that all bunnies - even house-rabbits - are potentially at risk.

What are the symptoms?

As the name suggests, the disease causes haemorrhages (bleeding). This is because the virus invades the cells that line the blood vessels, the endothelium. Once inside the cell, the virus hijacks the...

November 21, 2017

While it’s a big day for him, it’s important to remember that for us, this is a very routine procedure - in fact, it’s the most common surgery we perform! As a result, it’s something we’ve got very good at and there’s a very, very low risk to your pet. In this blog, we’re going to look at neutering dogs, why, how and what to expect.

What is neutering?

Neutering, or “Altering”, a dog is a procedure where we permanently render him infertile (unable to sire puppies), and also remove his ability to produce the male hormone, testosterone. The technical name for the operation is “castration”, and involves surgical removal of his testicles.

Why neuter?

There are three main reasons:

  1. To prevent overpopulation - there are many stray or feral dogs in the world, sadly, living a short, and often painful, life running wild, prey to all manner of diseases. All of them had to have a father, so by removing the number of potential...

October 09, 2017

First of all, take it seriously! Cats do not cope with long-term (chronic) stress very well, and it can significantly harm their mental and physical health. The other thing to remember is that things that we often find relaxing (having friends and family around, or eating a meal together) are innately stressful to cats. In this blog, we’ll look at how to recognise stress in your cat, some of the the possible causes of stress, and finally how to manage it.


How do I know if my cat actually is stressed?

Acute, or sudden, stress is easy to identify from a cat’s body language:

  • Freezing and a fixed stare at the stressful object, animal or person
  • Crouching down with belly protected, tail close to the body and head low down, ears flat back and often hissing or snarling
  • Rapid breathing, wide open eyes and dilated pupils, sometimes involuntary urination or defecation.

This is sometimes characterised as the “fight, flight or fright” response - the cat is...

September 26, 2017

If you want to travel abroad, you need to take a passport - to identify you, and confirm that you have the right to travel. The same goes for your pet - if you want to take them abroad, they need a Pet Passport, or they won’t be allowed back into the UK at the end of the holiday!

Why do animals need a Pet Passport?

Essentially, to minimise the risk that they will bring dangerous infectious diseases into the UK. At the moment, the Pet Passport Scheme is focused primarily on preventing the entry of Rabies and the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis.

Rabies spreads easily in saliva from carnivores (e.g. dogs or cats) to other animals (especially humans), and although there is a human vaccine, once symptoms appear, the disease is virtually 100% fatal. 50,000 people die each year from rabies - we are lucky not to have it in the UK, especially as it’s a really nasty and gruesome death. In all of medical history, only three people are known to have survived clinical...

June 30, 2017

This is a really common question, and (as usual…) the answer isn’t straightforward. In general, however, neutering will have no effect on your dog’s personality, but it may influence his mood and make some behaviours more or less likely.

What are the effects of neutering?

Castration (surgical neutering for male dogs) involves the removal of both testicles. This obviously eliminates the dog’s fertility (as he can no longer make sperm), but it also stops him from making the male hormone, testosterone. Testosterone has a wide range of effects, including producing of secondary sexual characteristics during puberty (such as a deeper bark, increased muscle mass, bigger bones, and larger head - just like in humans!). However, the effects of testosterone on behaviour are much more subtle.

As a puppy, before and just after birth, testosterone levels are quite high, “pre-programming” the brain for certain characteristics, before dropping off to virtually...

June 06, 2017

Lepto is carried by river rats

Leptospirosis, or “Lepto”, is an infection (primarily of dogs) caused by a group of spiral bacteria called Leptospira. There are many different types (or “serovars”) of Lepto, including canicola and icterohaemorrhagiae (which were historically the most important ones) and newer types such as bratislava and grippotyphosa which have only recently been recognised as causing disease in dogs.

The bacteria are spread in urine - from infected dogs, foxes, cattle and, importantly, rats; they are also zoonotic (in other words, they can infect humans). Unfortunately, after infection, some dogs become carriers - they may appear healthy, but they are spreading the bacteria every time they go to the toilet.

Most dogs will have a high fever, but the disease can cause a wide range of other symptoms, depending on what organ system(s) are most badly affected:

  • Kidneys - the most common site of infection, leading to acute kidney failure. Symptoms include:
    • Lethargy,...

April 20, 2017

It is perfectly possible to formulate a healthy diet for a dog - but it’s not as easy as most people think! For example, if you just feed raw meat and bones, your dog will get some potentially serious nutrient deficiencies, because dogs are adapted to eat a mixture of whole animals, roots and berries - unlike cats they aren’t true carnivores, but facultative omnivores like us.

Can’t dogs just eat what we eat?

Usually - but not entirely. For starters, there are many foods that, although perfectly safe for us, are potentially lethal to dogs. Most people know about chocolate, but there are a range of foodstuffs - including coffee, onions, garlic, leeks, chives, raisins, grapes, peanuts, and macadamia nuts - that are toxic to dogs.

The next problem is that, although their digestions are very similar to ours, their metabolic and nutritional requirements are very different - especially in terms of their protein and fibre requirements.

commercial dog foodSo what do dogs need in their...

March 02, 2017

In the practice, we’re always recommending people to take out pet insurance - but sadly, the Association of British Insurers reports that only 25% of dogs and 14% of cats are insured. When we talk to people about it, there are three different reasons they give for not insuring - are they being sensible or not?

pet insurance

1 - The vets will bill me more if I’m insured.

This really, really isn’t true - but we keep hearing people claim it. In fact, it’s illegal for us to charge more if you’re insured, and the vet who actually did the work has to sign a legal document confirming that they didn’t bill the work any higher than usual. The difference is that if the patient is insured we can do a better job - the tests and treatment that should be done, rather than only those that must be done.

In some ways, we can compare this to a building job - if the roof of your house leaks, you can either put a tarpaulin over it (nice and cheap, and will keep you waterproof)...

January 24, 2017

We are delighted to offer new puppy training courses. Our First one will start on the 7th of February for 5 weeks. If you have or are getting a puppy, please contact Hillcrest to put your name down on this course or a future one. We look forward to meeting you and your puppy soon.

January 23, 2017

Simple answer - no. Although human medications are often cheaper than the veterinary equivalents, it’s often really unwise to use them - not only is it illegal, but it is also dangerous to your animals.

How can it be dangerous if it’s a proper medicine?

Just because it’s a proper medicine that’s safe for humans, doesn’t mean it’s safe for animals! There are two reasons for this:

  • Body size. The safe dose for any drug in any species (including humans) depends on how big the animal is. The larger they are, the higher a dose they will need, but also the more efficiently they'll break it down. Giving a small animal the same dose of a medication as a large one will result in overdose, which can be harmful, or even fatal. The average human weighs about 70kg; the average dog weighs about 25kg, while most cats come in at roughly 4kg. So, giving a dog or a cat a human-size dose is always going to be potentially dangerous!
  • Species differences. Different...

November 17, 2016

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November 15, 2016

We wish to make wholesalers, veterinary surgeons, retailers and pet owners aware that the VMD has been notified that Bio-Tech Solutions Ltd has issued a recall of:

Armitage Pet Care Flea and Tick Drops for Dogs 702 mg spot-on solution (Vm 20205/4003)
Armitage Flea Drops for Cats and Kittens
An unknown quantity of the Armitage Pet Care Flea and Tick Drops for Dogs containing permethrin has been distributed in packaging labelled Armitage Flea Drops for Cats and Kittens.

Exposure to even small quantities of concentrated permethrin can cause severe and fatal poisoning in cats.

If you have one of the products, do not use it on your cat.

Return the product to the place of purchase or contact the company:

John Tharratt, Bio-Tech solutions Tel 08704 450154 or email [email protected].

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/armitage-pet-care-flea-and-tick-drops-for-dogs-and-armitage-flea-drops-for-cats-and-kittens-product-defect-alert