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What can we do for your pet?

The list below is in no way exhaustive. We can do anything from consultations, vaccinations to microchips. Please browse below to learn more about some of the services we offer.


Click here for your dedicated Exotics page.

Cat Friendly Clinic

Here at Gatehouse we like to ensure all animals have a stress free visit to the vets.

We are an official Silver Standard Cat Friendly Clinic awarded to us by ICC (International Cat Care).

We have a dedicated cat waiting area which is Feliway infused, and has a carrier stand to place your cats on so they feel safer higher up. All our staff are trained to ensure visiting cats have a visit which is as stress free as possible. The Feline Advocate of Gatehouse Vets is Clinical Director, Sandra Sheils.

Our hospitalisation area is adapted to aid cats welfare, handling and restraint to keep stress to a minimum.

These are just a few of the things we do to help the cats visiting the practice!

Dental Care

Regrettably, a lot of our time is spent administering general anaesthesia to deal with dental disease in dogs. A little time spent on dental care could avoid a lot of anaesthetics, costs and illness. There are basically 4 options:

  • Commercial chews
  • Tooth-brushing
  • Specially designed diets
  • Food additives

Regrettably, most modern dogs are likely to have problems if given bones, primarily severe constipation and we would not advocate their use.

The key to any good dental care programme is cleaning of the tooth/gum margin and a lot of commercial chews do not last long enough to achieve any significant amount of cleaning. If they are of the tougher type such as pigs ears then they are of some use.

Tooth-brushing remains the most effective method of maintaining good dental health. This is very easy to perform and please ask in the surgery for a demonstration of how this should be done. But basically keep the mouth closed and insert the brush inside each cheek and just brush the outside of the teeth. Even cats tolerate this sometimes!

Please do not use human toothpaste as it has too much fluoride (animal toothpaste is available in surgery or in all good pet shops). But we would recommend a modern toothbrush – ideally one of the more modern brushes which are available in the surgery but a baby toothbrush can suffice as it has a small and soft head.

A specific dental diet is certainly of use but again tooth brushing remains the gold standard. Equally food additives such as ‘Plaque Off’ which is based on seaweed (which is now added to human toothpaste as it is shown to weaken plaque) are useful but again really only in addition to tooth brushing!



Once your pet is admitted he/she is:

  • Weighed - to allow for accurate calculation of any drug dosages.
  • Given a health check to properly asses the risk of any anaesthetic drugs which may need to be used.
  • Given a 'pre-med' - a drug combination to relax your pet and make the further administration of anesthetic drugs as stress free and safe as possible.
  • Allocated a slot in the days list of procedures based on the type of procedure required and in order of medical need.

Your pet is then put in a secure, clean and warm kennel or cage most appropriate. During your pets procedure he/she, if appropriate, can be:

  • Connected to an ECG machine to monitor heart rate and respiration.
  • Connected to a pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygen levels.
  • Have its heart and respiration monitored by a nurse.
  • Receive painkillers and antibiotics before, during and after its procedure.

Anaesthesia Information

The following information explains our practice policy about general anaesthesia. When you go into hospital you naturally expect the best and very latest treatment and we believe that your pet deserves a similar approach.

  • Pre-anaesthetic Examination: This practice routinely weighs and examines all patients prior to anaesthesia. If your pet is over 7 years of age a blood sample can be taken to asses his/her kidney function and so increase the safety of the forthcoming anaesthetic. The test will be performed in the hospital prior to anaesthesia.

  • General Anaesthesia: Your pet is to undergo a surgical procedure. We use the newer anaesthetic agents. These drugs are now used extensively for human anaesthesia. Animals anaesthetised with these agents go to sleep in a smooth and well controlled manner and wake up more rapidly, with very little 'hangover'. Furthermore, they have less effect on a number of vital organs including the liver, kidneys and heart. They are especially suitable for 'day case surgery' - where patients operated upon can go home on the same day. These agents allow us to return your pet in a brighter and more alert condition, even following anaesthesia just a short time before. We know that by using these agents, the anaesthetic experience for your pet is kept as short and as pleasant as possible.

Not surprisingly, as with most technological advances, these anaesthetic agents are more expensive than some of the older agents, and we recognise that for the more routine operations and procedures, the extra cost appearing on your bill may not be particularly welcome. We hope you're reassured that we are committed to the very best anaesthetic practices. Please feel free to question us about the forthcoming procedure.

  • Anaesthetic Monitoring: All our patients are monitored by a trained veterinary nurse until they are fully recovered. Furthermore, we use anaesthetic monitoring devices including an ECG/Respiratory monitor on our anaesthetics. This is state of the art technology again used in human anaesthesia, which can provide early warning of cardiac and respiratory dysfunction during anaesthesia. We hope you will agree that the increased safety provided by such monitoring is well worth any extra cost.

All anaesthetics carry some risk. We strive to reduce that risk to the smallest possible.

The procedure on the day for an x-ray is similar to that for most operations so please see the above information. However, we would draw your attention to the following specific points:

  • You are provided with an opinion on the x-rays taken as that is what you are invoiced for. But, the x-rays themselves remain the property of Gatehouse Veterinary Centre and may not be taken away from the premises without our consent.

  • As the discussion of the results can be quite involved you may be asked to make an appointment to discuss them at a later date as time may not be available to do so when you collect your pet.

Pre-anaesthetic Blood Tests

Before your pet undergoes an anaesthetic we would always recommend a pre anaesthetic blood test to help determine the health of your pet, in young animals as well as older patients. We clip a small patch of hair either from the neck or front leg and take a small sample, usually 1-2mls of blood for analysis. What we test:

Liver function: The liver is an important organ involved with metabolising anaesthetic drugs. If the liver function is compromised it can interfere with your pet’s recovery following their anaesthetic. It can also determine which drugs the surgeon may choose to use. Elevated liver enzymes can be the result of cancers, infections, hormonal imbalances, circulatory problems, inflammatory conditions and congenital conditions. Young animals showing no clinical signs can be born with a birth defect, early detection can mean that the problem could be rectified before it results in any long term health problems.

Kidney function: The kidney is another organ important in the filtering of anaesthetic drugs from the body. The kidney is sensitive to any blood pressure changes that are the result of dehydration and anaesthetics. If the kidney enzymes are elevated this indicates that the kidney waste level is high, we can support the kidneys with fluid therapy throughout the procedure or even delay the surgery.

Blood glucose level: Elevated blood glucose levels indicates diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is rare but can have detrimental effects if not detected early on. Young animals are less able to control their blood sugar levels, usually an overnight fast will not cause a problems but very young or small animals may need more support. It can be a useful measure in older patients.

Protein levels: Protein is vital for healing post surgery so it is important that these levels are not depleted. High levels of protein can be indicative of serious inflammatory disease or cancer.

Electrolyte levels: These include sodium, potassium and chloride; these tissue salts are used in normal muscle function (including the heart). Changes in the levels of these salts can cause upset tummies, dehydration, hormonal abnormalities and kidney disease.

Red blood cell count: Red blood cells transport oxygen to the cells around the body. Too many red blood cells can indicate dehydration or lung disease. Too few blood cells (anaemia) could mean that the surgery be delayed, particularly in cases where large blood loss is expected. In some instances a blood transfusion may be required.

White blood cell count: Increased levels of white blood cells indicates infection within the body.
If an abnormality is detected the anaesthetic protocol may need to be adjusted or the surgery postponed until the abnormality has been addressed.

If nothing is wrong, this is great news! You have not wasted your money; you have been given good news and have a better understanding of what is normal for your pet. For future blood tests we will have a record of a good baseline of what is normal for your pet.

We would always recommend a blood test for every anaesthetic, even if your pet only had one a year or so ago. Pets age much quicker than humans, so a year for us can be as much as 7 years for them! Imagine having a test at 70 and then not again until 77, many changes can occur in that time.


Sometimes your pet may need referring for complex surgery or medical attention to provide the best possible diagnosis or care for your beloved pet. There are a number of local referal hospitals we can access when neccessary which will be organised by a member of staff.

If you feel your pet would benefit from a second opinion, we are also happy to accomodate this and we will pass your pet's records on to a vet of your choice.