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Services & Facilities

Our practices are equipped to offer a variety of state of the art veterinary care

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Laboratory
  • Therapeutic laser treatment
  • Other facilities
  • Nurses clinics
  • Weight management
  • Home visits
  • Out of hours provision

X-rays

X-rays

Radiography (producing X-rays) facilities are available at both Hadleigh and Brantham branches.

How do X-rays work?

X-rays are like light except they can travel through the body. For an X-ray, your pet will lie under the X-ray machine which sends a beam of X-rays through the body onto a photographic plate below. We use an automatic film developer to process the resulting radiographs quickly and efficiently.

What does taking an X-ray of my pet involve?

Normally, the animal will be given a general anaesthetic to ensure that it lies still whilst the exposure is made, or the final X-ray picture will be blurred. X-rays, when used to produce pictures of your pet, will not cause it side effects. However, exposure to high doses of X-rays, or over long periods of time can be dangerous and therefore the nurses and vets cannot hold all the patients as they take X-rays almost every day. This is why we anaesthetise or sedate them.

When will I know the results?

Results of the tests will be available the same day. However, in some more complicated cases, referral of the radiographs to a specialist for a second opinion may be sought before giving the owner a final diagnosis.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound

Ultrasound facilities are available at both our surgeries.

How does Ultrasound work?

Veterinary Ultrasound machines are the same as ones used in human medicine to scan babies in the womb. Ultrasound is a form of sound wave which can pass through skin and tissue into the body. The sound waves are directed through the area the vet wants to look at and some of them are reflected back like an echo. These echoes are detected by a special computer which uses them to produce an image on the screen for the vet to interpret.

What does an Ultrasound examination involve?

To ensure good contact between the Ultrasound probe head and the skin of your pet, the hair will be shaved off and ultrasound gel applied. It is not necessary to anaesthetise an animal for ultrasound examinations but they may need to be sedated if they resent being held still.

When will I know the results?

Results of the tests will be available the same day. However, in some more complicated cases, referral of the ultrasound printout to a specialist for a second opinion may be sought before giving the owner a final diagnosis.

The Ultrasound machine is also a valuable tool in our large animal work - for pregnancy diagnosis and fertility examinations of cattle and horses and for scanning tendons of horses.

Laboratory

Laboratory

Blood Testing

We have facilities In-house to perform Haematological and Biochemical analysis of blood samples to aid us in the diagnosis of a pet's illness.

The blood biochemistry tests provide an indication of the functional ability of your pet's vital organs (for example the liver and kidneys) and can be used to diagnose medical problems such as diabetes. Haematological tests look at the blood cells themselves. We look at the red blood cells monitoring the oxygen carrying capacity throughout the body; the white blood cells checking for signs the body is fighting an infection and the platelets which ensure the blood can clot sufficiently to stop bleeding when necessary.

Having the facilities in-house means we can obtain results rapidly in emergency situations but it also enables us to perform pre-anaesthetic blood tests to ensure we know of any pre-existing problem that may affect your pets ability to cope with an anaesthetic. This is especially important in more elderly patients as organ function may be decreased but not yet to an extent that clinical signs are apparent (For example, a pet can lose up to 75% of kidney function prior to showing clinical signs). If the results of the pre-anaesthetic tests are within normal ranges, we can proceed with confidence knowing the anaesthetic risk is minimised. On the other hand, if the results are not within the normal ranges, we may alter the anaesthetic procedure, provide medical support during and after the procedure (e.g. a drip) or postpone the procedure.

If we need a more in-depth analysis of your pet's condition, we may send the blood sample we've taken to a specialist veterinary laboratory which will provide us with a full report in the next day or so.

Other blood tests we can perform at the surgery include:

  • Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) and Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing in cats
  • Thyroid hormone testing
  • Pre-mate tests for bitches
  • Cortisol testing

Microscopy

Looking at samples under the microscope is a very useful aid to diagnosis:

  • Blood smears showing the morphology of the blood cells.
  • Cytology of Fine needle aspirates to help diagnose skin masses.
  • Dermatology - hair plucks, skin scrapes etc. looking for lice and mites, bacteria and yeast (we also have facilities to culture these organisms to identify them).

Therapeutic laser treatment

Therapeutic laser treatment

We're delighted to announce that as part of our continuous investment in new technology and equipment, we are now able to offer therapeutic laser treatment to our patients from our Hadleigh surgery. Therapeutic laser treatment has been described as a drug-free, surgery-free, pain-free treatment for inflammation and at Highcliff we believe it can compliment conventional medicine and surgery wonderfully well. The state of the art laser is a Class IV laser allowing treatment deep within the body (previous classes of therapeutic laser were limited to treating more superficial problems such as skin disease).

We are very excited about this technology that helps to create an optimal healing environment whilst reducing inflammation, swelling, muscle spasm, stiffness and pain. This is achieved by the laser promoting increased blood circulation in the treated area, drawing increased oxygen and nutrients with it, and actually allowing the cells within the treated tissue to "work" harder. A number of clients and their pets have already experienced the benefits of the laser which can be used for a huge variety of condition such as osteoarthritis, after operations to aid recovery, ligament and muscle injuries and burns to name just a few.

No sedation or restraint of the pet is required and the experience is usually pleasant and comforting. Usually a course of six treatments would be given over a three week period, with each session lasting 2-8 minutes depending on the area of the body being treated and the reason for treatment. A course of six treatments at the time of writing in February 2015 costs just £97.20.

Matisse received laser treatment and his owner has been delighted with the results:

"On Christmas Eve, Matisse struggled to get up after a short period of lying down and we thought that he was heading for serious problems - we contacted our vet who recommended we try laser therapy. We have been really pleased with the results - he has moved much easier since the second treatment, is happy to walk each day for 20-40 minutes and overall seems much more mobile. He is even trying to jump in the car again! We are under no illusions with a 15 year old dog but we wanted him to have comfort and laser therapy has given him just that. We are so grateful to the staff at Hadleigh for their help and guidance."

If you think that therapeutic laser treatment could help your pet, please contact one of our surgeries to discuss suitability with one of our vets. If you are not actually a registered client of Highcliff Veterinary Practice, we can still offer you pet laser treatment but would need the permisson of your usual Veterinary Surgeon to do so.

Other facilities

Other facilities

Electrocardiology (ECG)

A modern, portable ECG machine is shared between the practices to enable us to diagnose complicated heart conditions more accurately. The practice also has Dopler blood pressure monitoring equipment.

Dentistry

We have advanced ultrasonic descaling and polishing machines for small animal dentistry along with a comprehensive selection of equiptment for rabbit dentals.

We have modern equine tooth rasps and equipment for routine horse dentistry.

Endoscopy

We have endoscopy equipment which is especially helpful in gastro-intestinal cases where our other diagnositic facilities may not provide us with a definitive diagnosis.

Nurses clinics

Nurses clinics

Our nurses clinics are very popular and offer an easy way for you to have your pet seen for some of our more routine procedures during the middle of the day. Please contact the relevant practice to make an appointment.

Brantham

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30am to 1:00pm

To make an appointment call 01206 391511

  • Post-operation checks
  • Suture removals
  • Six month puppy and kitten checks
  • Weight clinics (including six weeks after neutering)
  • Micro-chipping
  • Flea checks
  • Sexing small animals
  • Nail/claw clipping

Hadleigh

Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00am to 1:30pm

To make an appointment call 01473 822704

  • Behaviour and neutering
  • Fleas and worms
  • Feeding
  • Micro-chipping
  • Weight checks
  • Nail/claw clipping

Weight management

Weight watchers

The Weigh-In Club is a free, nurse-run service to help you manage and maintain your pet's safe weight loss, for a healthier and happier life.

Before commencing with any weight loss programme, your pet will need to see the Vet for a health-check and then, so long as all is well, a nurse will assess your pet's weight. At this stage you will learn what the ideal weight for your pet is, and how this can be achieved. In all cases it will be a combination of diet, exercise and time. You will be given a Weight Record Chart where the progress of your pet's weight loss will be noted at every Weigh-in (usually about once a fortnight) and an advice pack which includes a calorie counter to remind you just how easily those little snacks and treats can pile on the calories!

It is very important that any purposeful weight loss is achieved with a diet that provides the correct balance of nutrients (protein, fat, minerals and vitamins). If you were to reduce the amount of your pet's usual food for each meal, this would also reduce the amount of nutrients your pet receives, which could result in deficiencies and health problems. You can avoid these problems by feeding a diet especially designed for weight loss. The nurse you see will probably recommend a prescription diet from the Purina Diet Range. These diets have been developed to provide all the nutrients required for health but with a reduced calorie content.

As your pets weight changes, so will the recommendations your nurse makes, regarding feeding and exercise. You make a note on your chart of any changes you have made to your pet's recommended diet and activity, such as if you have given extra treats in the week or fewer/extra walks than normal. And be honest!

Changing feeding habits is not always easy and you must expect it to take time and not happen overnight! But with the support and advice of the staff at Highcliff Veterinary Practice it can be achieved.

Home visits

Home visits

Home visits are available at any time but please telephone early in the day where possible. House visits do take much longer than a consultation at the surgery, and are therefore more expensive. For a more thorough examination and often more speedy service, it is generally better to bring your pet into one of the surgeries where the necessary equipment and drugs are available. This is particularly true for road traffic accidents, when prompt attention can often be life saving.

Out of hours provision

Out of hours provision

Outside of our normal opening times our services are covered by Vets Now. You can contact either:

Vets Now Ipswich

Call 01394 548484

1 Tommy Flowers Drive
Kesgrave
Ipswich
IP5 2BZ

or

Vets Now Colchester 

Call 01206 842224

70 Brinkley Lane
Highwoods
Colchester
CO4 9XER