Animal Acupuncture




Did you know Jacqui Patersons offers animal acupuncture? 

Vet Renata Szwej at our Hartburn branch has been practicing acupuncture for over a decade!

Renata first became interested in this alternative treatment after seeing so many patients in chronic pain with conditions such as arthritis and wanted to be able to off an alternati

ve to medication for her patients and their owners.

Renata says: ‘Any patient can receive acupuncture treatment. According to sta

tistics less than 50% of human patients will benefit but in my experience anim

als respond better, I would say around 70% have a good response’

Renata mainly treats patients with chronic pain issues such as arthritis but spinal problems and muscle strains can also respond well to this therapy. Acupuncture helps manage the condition and means many patients can reduce their pain medication significantly.

Patients who have undergone an orthopaedic procedure may benefit from acupunctu

re post operatively to help increase healing and lessen pain.

Renata has also seen good results in some patients with skin conditions!

But what is acupuncture?. Acupuncture is an ancient practice of gently inserting special needles in to the surface of the skin at specific points around the patients body, along what are considered to be the energy or Meridian lines.

Many species can be treated using acupuncture but Renata reports that dogs, rabbits and some cats seem to tolerate the treatment the best.

What can I expect if I want to bring my pet for acupuncture? 

-Renata will firstly make certain that your pet is suitable for the acupuncture treatment. She will the explain what acupuncture is, and how she will carry out the therapy on your pet.

Does my animal need an anaesthetic for this procedure?

-No. The needles Renata uses are extremely fine and are only inserted in to the very surface layer of your pets skin and are tolerated well by most patients.

How many treatments will my pet need?

-Your pet will need a follow up treatment one week after the initial treatment and then treatment length varies from patient to patient. Renata recommends treatments every 4-6 weeks after your first two visits. Therapy can be carried on for as long as is necessary.

Will there be any after effects for my pet?

-No. There are no side effects after the treatment.

How long will it take for me to see signs that the treatment is working?

-You may start to see signs of improvement with as little as a week!

How much does the acupuncture treatment cost? 

-Your first consultation which includes a detailed chat with Renata about your pets needs is £47.40 and follow up visits are £25.20

To book an acupuncture appointment with Renata at our Hartburn surgery call 01642 587777 or any of our branches to book.




Interest Free Credit




We now have the facility to offer interest free credit to our clients for veterinary treatment! 

We believe that veterinary treatment should be avaliable to as many people as possible, thats why we have teamed up with Snowbird finance to be able to offer interest free veterinary treatment to our clients for any veterinary bill over £350.


Below you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions in relation to our treatment finance option:

How do I apply?

Jacqui Patersons team can discuss options avaliable to you at the practice. You quickly apply using the online portal or the details can be emailed to you to complete your application in the privacy of your own home. You will need to be over 18 years old, have been a UK resident for over 3 years and finance is subject to status.

What types of treatment can I use it for?

Most of the veterinary treatments we offer are avaliable on finance. Our team will be happy to discuss the options avaliable to you for your pets specific treatment.

How much can I put on finance? 

You can apply for treatment finance for procedures ranging from £350 to £25,000, the amount can then be spread over 6,9,10 or 12 months. You can also apply for subsequent treatments if needed at a later date.

Will I have to pay any additional fees?

With interest free credit, there are no hidden costs- you will only pay for the cost of your treatment.

What finance terms are available? 

Our practice offers a number of different options and together we can choose the option that best suits your specific needs.

How do I make repayments? 

Payments will be collected monthly by Direct Debit and will start one month after the loan agreement has been signed.

How quickly can my pet receive treatment?

The application process is quick and simple and you will receive a prompt response upon completion of the online application. Your pet can be treated as soon as agreed with the practice.

Speak to a member of the practice team or for more information visit






Healing Paws Zante



Sue Discovers a Fantastic Charity in Zante

Our receptionist Sue Little visited the Greek island of Zante this year for her holidays. Although it is her favourite island she is well aware of the stray dog and cat problem. On her last day whilst waiting for a taxi to the airport, a large black L came into the hotel grounds. It had severe injuries to its neck and one of its ears was badly injured, it was in obvious pain and was trying to get into the shade.

Because Sue was leaving, it gave her no time to try and seek veterinary help for the dog. When she returned to England she googled ‘Zante pet rescue’ in the hope that there was such a charity. She found ‘Healing Paws’ and emailed them about the Labrador. Within 24hrs they replied and after visiting Alkes beach where the dog was last seen, they took him to the vets where his injuries were treated. He is now in a foster home and the charity are hoping to re-home him.



The lady who runs the charity Sue Smith is self funded and relies on donations, the charity is now registered and with Jacqui permission, our Sue is hoping to raise funds for this worthy charity.




Sue and her partner are going back to Zante in September and will be meeting up with Sue Smith and hopefully the Labrador as well!






If you would like to donate, please follow the link to the Healing Paws website where you find details of the charities PayPal account or you can drop into any of our branches where you will find donation boxes at the reception desks.


Any donation, however small will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Live Food Care




Live food is generally transported in plastic tubs or sacks which are certainly not suitable for long term housing.
We aim to offer some practical advice on the correct care of a variety of commonly used live food and also the correct methods of gut-loading.

panther-chameleon-1161340_1920Gut-loading is the process of providing adequate nutrition to the live food ensuring that your pet receives the maximum amount of goodness from its food source. If you fail to adequately gut-load the feeder insects it is much like making a sandwich with no filling so lacking, nutritionally. Our reptiles are deserving of high quality food and if we don’t care for our live food correctly we are failing them.
We must make it clear this is merely our opinion on the best methods to use and there are differing viewpoints on this topic.
One thing worth mentioning here that few people are aware of when it comes to caring for crickets and locusts, is the issue of temperature. If they are kept at too low a temperature then the food they eat is not able to digest properly in their gut. They are therefore not ingesting the correct nourishment and the undigested food will rot in their stomachs.
Crickets should be kept at approximately 80-85f(26-29c) and Locusts at 90-105f(32-40.5c). This is essential to ensure the insects digest their food correctly. This can be achieved by the placement of a small heat mat under one third of the base of the insects enclosure and by using a mat thermostat to set the correct temperatures. Failing that, if you have a suitably warm place such as an airing cupboard that may prove adequate.
In cold weather you may find that your live food appears lethargic and sluggish when you purchase it from the shop or it arrives in the mail. This is nothing to worry about as they can cope with low temperatures for a considerable length of time and once warmed up they will return to normal activity.


When it comes to housing, any plastic or glass tank will do but its vital that it has a well ventilated lid. One of the biggest killers of crickets and locusts is too much moisture. An ideal enclosure would be the Exo Terra Faunarium which is commonly available at reptile shops and online. A general rule when keeping live food is the larger the enclosure the better.
Egg cartons should be placed vertically in the tank for the insects to hide and live on. Wheat or oat bran should be fed as a staple diet and they also should be given salad greens and fruit daily to feed on. Feed just enough to be eaten in one day and this will help them in the shedding of their skin and also to ingest moisture. Good food examples are apples, leafy cabbages, spring greens, cucumber and romaine lettuce. All leftover fruit and veg should be removed at the end of each day to ensure the enclosure does not get damp or mouldy, which would cause  problems. It is also very important not to overcrowd your live food, especially crickets, as you may find a lot die off as a result.

Mealworms will last much longer if kept cold at all times. When they are warm they very quickly start to morph and pupate. It is not uncommon for people to keep them in their fridge but of course that is not for everyone. They must be kept dry as any moisture will kill them. They can be fed on bran and readily take slices of carrot or root vegetables. It is advisable to allow them to come up to room temperature before feeding to your pets though, as this will make them more lively and appetising. A suitable dusting powder such as Nutrobal should be added to the bran to ensure the worms are correctly gut loaded and more nutritious as a food source.
Super Morio Worms

These worms should be kept at room temperature in an open topped container. They are long lived and do not morph as frequently as their smaller mealworm counterparts. They should be fed on bran and pieces of vegetable or leafy greens. These worms can even be fed on pinkie mice or meat scraps if you are wishing to load them up with protein before feeding to your reptiles. These worms can nip a little so its not uncommon for some owners to pinch off their heads before feeding them to their pets.
Wax worms

These should be kept at room temperature but not too hot or they will start to pupate. Any wax worms that darken or turn black should be removed as these can ruin the others. Wax worms do not require feeding as they are already at the stage where they no longer feed by the time purchase them.
Fruit Flies
Fruit flies should be kept at a temperature of approximately 75-78f(23.8-25.5c). Ordinarily the tubs you buy contain flies at the larval stage and if kept at the correct temperature they will hatch in a matter of days. If kept too hot the tubs will produce a lot of moisture which will kill the larvae so ensure you keep at the correct temperature.
Dubia Cockroach
Cockroaches are best kept in large plastic crates. With Dubia Cockroaches a lid is not strictly necessary but with other species such as Lobster and Turkistans a well ventilated lid is essential. A good tip is to smear Vaseline around the inner rim of the tub to ensure you have no escapees.
Cockroaches are best kept at temperatures of 75-80f(23.8-26.6c). A heatmat can be placed underneath or they can be kept in an airing cupboard.
Egg cartons are ideal for Cockroaches, as is screwed up newspaper as they appreciate hiding places as they are very secretive insects. No substrate is required which makes cleaning the Cockroaches a lot simpler.
Good food for Cockroaches include fresh greens, fresh fruit such as slices of apple or orange, grapes or banana. Wheat bran is a good staple food. They must be fed daily and each day any old food must be removed to prevent mould and dampness as this will kill the Cockroaches.

All of these feeder insects if well fed and kept at the correct temperatures, provide excellent nutrition for your reptiles. It is important that all insects are dusted with a suitable calcium/multivitamin powder before every feed. A great example of a good calcium/multivitamin powder to use is Nutrobal. Proper supplementation is discussed elsewhere on the site.

If you have any questions with regard to feeding your reptile live food, please contact a member of our nursing team who will be happy to advise you. 


Written by Lee Biagi- Veterinary Care Assistant

Metabolic Bone Disease




Metabolic Bone Disease
Reptiles that mainly eat insects or plants are most at risk of developing metabolic bone disease or MBD, which is  an imbalance in levels of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D in their system.

Snakes and other carnivorous reptiles that eat whole prey such as mice or rats generally get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diets and so MBD is not often a big issue for these species.
Symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease
Common symptoms of metabolic bone disease include

-Decreased appetitebearded-dragon-1302397_1920
-Flexible and soft jaw
-Bent or bowed legs
-Problems in raising the body off the ground
-Hard lumps felt along the jaw, legs or spinal column
When calcium levels in the blood stream become too low symptoms such as weakness of the back end, lethargy, twitching, tremors, depression, seizures and even death can occur.
The spinal column of snakes with MBD may feel very ridged and their general body shape can be quite obviously misshapen effecting the way they move themselves around their environment. MBD often shows itself in lizards such as Leopard Geckos in an inability to raise themselves from the ground properly and again with obvious deformities in their leopard-gecko-686071_1920body shape and in some cases softening of the jaw bone.
In turtles, terrapins and tortoises, shells may become unusually soft and flare up at the edges or even point downwards towards the rear of the shell. Metabolic bone disease would certainly be suspected if the large scales of the shell, known as scutes, have a peculiar pyramid shape.
Causes of Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease generally occurs when dietary levels of vitamin D or calcium are too low or phosphorous levels are too high and/or when there is insufficient access to ultraviolet – B wavelengths (UVB). This lack of access to the correct amount of UVB hinders normal vitamin D production and the metabolism of calcium within the reptiles body leading ultimately to metabolic bone disease.
Correct Diagnosis
If you have any suspicion that your reptile or amphibian may be suffering from early stage or acute MBD then it is vital that you bring them to see a qualified and experienced exotics veterinarian.
The Vet will diagnose MBD based on the animals clinical signs, access to UVB, diet and body condition. They may also take x-rays and/or a blood sample, checking in particular the calcium levels.

Please contact the surgery if you have any concerns with regard to MBD in your reptile.

Written by Lee Biagi-Veterinary Care Assistant