VETS – how to choose

Choosing the right vet for you rabbit or guinea pig is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your pet gets the best possible care when it is needed most. 

In this section of the website I would like to invite you to put forward your choice of vet, together with a paragraph or two about why you are nominating them, how to contact them, and what part of the country they are in.   It would also be important to keep the details up to date, as I know very well that a practice can alter drastically when a particular vet leaves to practice elsewhere, so any constructive comments on the list would be most welcome. 

For obvious reasons, vets who maybe do not score so highly with small pets will not be listed, as the intention of the list is a positive one, and not to go upsetting anyone!

You can send your nominations for the list via the email link, which you will find under the “Find Us” section, or alternatively you can contact me by phone or post. Here are some general points to consider when choosing a vet: 

  • It is best if you can find a good vet in your local area if at all possible to minimize stress with travelling and also for quick access when fast treatment is needed.
  • It is really important to find a veterinary practice that makes you feel welcome.  In times of emergency, you need to feel confident that the correct decisions are being made, and that the staff will give you the support you need at difficult times.
  • It is important to find a practice where the staff are willing to spend time explaining procedures, treatments and any other issues, and not try to keep you in the dark or become defensive if you would like to find out more.
  • You need to be confident that the practice is up to date with recent advances in veterinary medicine in the species of animal you have.  Sadly, for example, some vets are still using the old-fashioned method of external stitches with rabbit spays, and by doing so are risking lives.  A routine spay should have adhesive as the very last layer so there are no external stitches to pull and niggle at.
  • Early neutering of rabbits is an excellent idea (see article on this subject elsewhere on the website), so make sure your vet is aware of the advantages and is happy to comply with your wishes on this subject.
  • You need to be able to develop a relationship with the vet, and he/she with you and your pet, so it is important to find a practice where you will be able to see the same person throughout the course of treatment (except for emergencies) rather than taking pot luck as to who you will see.  A practice that regularly uses locums will not be ideal from this point of view.
  • A mutual feeling of trust needs to be developed, and this means that the owner too needs to try hard and listen to what they are being told and why!  An owner who will not listen to good advice is a nightmare for all concerned.  Do not let this be you! A good practice will make sure that rabbits and guinea pigs are kept away from dogs and other animals that would distress them – ideally to be kept in another area altogether.
  • A good practice will make sure that rabbits and guinea pigs are kept away from dogs and other animals that would distress them – ideally to be kept in another area altogether.
  • If the rabbit or guinea pig usually lives as part of a bonded pair, a good practice will allow the partner to come in with the patient so long as procedures allow.  Use of a drip would naturally make the presence of another rabbit or guinea pig impossible. If your rabbit or guinea pig has to be hospitalised, make sure you take their usual food with you, and take any special toy (or house/tunnel if a guinea pig) as this will help them to settle in.
  • Check that nursing staff are available during the night should your pet be hospitalized   Not all veterinary practices do this, and some animals are left totally alone all night with no support staff whatsoever!  

To start with, here are a few nominations for vets that I know are excellent with small pets (not in any special order), to start off the list.  It is still always best on the day to ask to see the vet who specializes in rabbits and guinea pigs, as there will likely be one or two individuals within a practice who are that bit more knowledgeable … 

RSPCA Bristol Vet Clinic,

48 Albert Road, Bristol.

0117 9724567

http://www.rspca-bristoldogsandcatshome.org.uk/

I have only praise for this veterinary practice, as they neuter all our rabbits and male guinea pigs and without their help, CottonTails could not continue. Their standards are extremely high and their knowledge is superb.  As with all RSPCA vet clinics, to qualify for treatment you need to live within the Bristol area and have proof of receiving a means-tested benefit.   

Manor Farm Veterinary Surgery

New Road, Codford, near Warminster, Wiltshire 

01985 850752

http://www.manorfarmvets.co.uk/

Excellent friendly practice, and the reception staff, nurses and vets alike form a competent team who take a genuine interest in the animals.   Supports CottonTails by provision of medications as required. 

The Downs, Bristol, BS9

http://www.downsvets.co.uk/   I was given this contact by an owner who was very impressed with how vet Penny preformed the castration operation on a guinea pig and the care he was given afterwards.  I can vouch for the fact that there was no post-op infection of any kind, quite a feat as this op is very tricky to keep the guinea pig infection free.

Emersons Green Veterinary Practice

This practice has been nominated by Hayley:  I had both rabbits neutered on Monday at Emersons Green veterinary surgery. I’m not sure whether you’re aware of them, but I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They do a lot of rabbit neutering for the Littlest Rescue and are used to operating on rabbits younger than 5 months. It’s a bit of a distance, but my sister takes all her pets there including rabbits who’ve had various surgeries, so I know they are good. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know in case anyone else is looking for a rabbit savvy vet in that area.  http://www.emersonvet.co.uk/.  I saw Martin for the consultation but I think it was another vet who performed the ops. Anyway they all seem lovely there. Very helpful and caring.

Endell Veterinary Group

I use a vet named SAM CUTLER at ENDELL VETIRINARY GROUP.  Sam  is a very experienced vet who has a special interest in rabbits and other small furries.  She is a vet through and through and as a child never thought of any other career.  She is very knowledgable and keeps up with the latest information.  I love visiting Sam because I ask lots of questions and she has lots of good  answers.Sam also does school visits to promote proper pet care and to educate us all.  She also likes to educate her veterinary students in good rabbit welfare and has on occasion used my laid back bunnies to give the students a little practice of a good bunny examination.

There are a number of vets who work at ENDELL all with specialist areas and all my pets have recieved first class treatment, some of it quite specialised, from the team.

49 Endless St
Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3UH
01722 333291
[email protected]

The Beeches, 4 Semington Road, Melksham, Wiltshire

01225 793335

http://www.beechesvetcentre.co.uk/

This practice is building up a very good reputation for their knowledge and skill, including rabbits.   

Rosemary Lodge Veterinary Hospital,

Midford Lodge, Wellsway, Bath.

01225 832521

http://www.bathvetreferrals.co.uk/

A guinea pig owner contacted me to recommend vet Karen Clothier at this practice as she is apparently knowledgeable in guinea pig care, especially in diagnosing jaw problems.

Katie has nominated the following:

Great Western Referrals in Swindon

is FANTASTIC! They have rabbit and guinea pig specialists there and have become a sense of security with our rabbit. We hold a lot of trust in them, and although they can be pricey they have top of the range facilities including  bunny ward and you know the job will be done correctly. 

Below is their address and a link to their website, fantastic place to be recommended!

Neil A Forbes DipECZM(avian)FRCVS and colleagues
Great Western Exotic Vets
10 Berkshire House, Shrivenham Rd, Swindon
SN12NR 
email:

[email protected]
www.gwexotics.com    

01793603800

Despite the name it isn’t just vet referrals here, you can take your pets on your own accord.

Ashman Jones Veterinary Surgery, Bath 

I can strongly recommend Ashman Jones vets in Bath. They promptly diagnosed ovarian cysts in two of our guinea pigs (about six months apart). The surgery and post-op care and advice and information we were given were excellent and both piggies recovered very quickly. A lovely team of vets, nurses and receptionists who really care. They have also been brilliant with our rabbit who has a chronically blocked tear duct.