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For Pet Owners

Information and advice for pet owners

If you have been referred to Rowe, your vet will have made the decision for your pet's treatment to continue with us. At Rowe we have a number of highly qualified clinicians and specialist equipment which allows us to carry out more detailed investigation and procedures that may not be available at your own practice.

If your pet is insured, then our experienced team will guide you through the process. If you don’t have insurance – don’t panic! We realise that getting your beloved pet the treatment they need is the most important thing. We offer an interest-free loan scheme with our partner Carefree Finance if the cost comes to over £250 – a credit check is required, please speak to the Reception Team for more details.

Information for clients with pet insurance

Here at Rowe we understand that when your pet is ill it can be an upsetting time. That’s why we are here to help you – not just in getting your pet the right course of treatment, but also to understand the financial impact that this may have.

The first time you see one of the Rowe Referrals vet team your pet will have a full veterinary assessment and then the vet will offer the best treatment plan and an estimate of the expected costs. 

If your pet is insured, we are happy to deal directly with most insurance companies if the estimated treatment is going to be over £400. There is a charge of £40 for this service. We will need to see your up to date insurance certificate, and ask that you fill out a Financial Services Agreement form for our records which includes leaving us with card details and your national insurance number. Unfortunately we are currently not able to do direct claims if your policy is underwritten by E and L or Perfect Pets. 

If your pet is insured but the treatment is under £400, or if you would prefer not to do a direct claim, we will ask for you to pay in full at the time of the consultation but we will send off your claim form to your insurance company for you with the relevant invoices. There is no charge for this service. 

Insurance policies vary widely and offer different levels of cover. All of them will ask that you pay a fixed excess at the beginning of the treatment, but some also ask for you to pay a co-payment towards the treatment cost that can be as much as 50%. Please look carefully through your insurance policy before coming to see us so that you don’t get any nasty surprises! 

If you have any questions or are concerned at all about the cost of your pet’s treatment, please speak to one of the Rowe Referrals Team on 01454 521000 and we will offer support and guidance. 
 

Information for clients without pet insurance

Here at Rowe we understand that when your pet is ill it can be an upsetting time. That’s why we are here to help you – not just in getting your pet the right course of treatment, but also to understand the financial impact that this may have.

The first time you see one of the Rowe Referrals vet team your pet will have a full veterinary assessment and then the vet will offer the best treatment plan and an estimate of the expected costs.

We ask for payment at the time of consultation or discharge if you pet is staying for treatment - we will inform you of the cost of the consultation at the time that the appointment is booked but please note this will not include any procedures or medications. A full statement outlining the costs of the treatment that your pet has received can of course be given to you.

If your pet requires a specialist procedure or surgical intervention – don’t panic! We realise that getting your beloved pet the treatment they need is the most important thing. We offer an interest-free loan scheme with our partner Carefree Finance if the cost comes to over £250 – a credit check is required, please speak to the Reception Team for more details.

If you have any questions or are concerned at all about the cost of your pet’s treatment, please speak to one of the Rowe Referrals Admin Team on 01454 521000 and we will offer support and guidance.

Local Area Information

Rowe Referrals has a large on-site car park at both the Bradley Stoke and Wotton-Under-Edge locations. 

For details of where we are, please see the Contact Us page.

If your pet is staying with us for a few hours or even a few days, the following information may be of interest to you.

Places to eat and drink in Bradley Stoke

The Hollow Tree – located just across from the hospital car park.

Costa Coffee – Located in the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke, a 5 minute drive away. 2A, Willow Brook Centre, Savages Wood Rd, Bradley Stoke, Bristol BS32 8BS.

Vee’s Kitchen – Located a 5 minute walk from the hospital in 4 Pear Tree Rd, Bradley Stoke, Bristol BS32 0BQ.

The Mall at Cribbs Causeway is just off Junction 17 of the M5 – you can find a wide variety of shops and restaurants here - BS34 5DG.
 

Accommodation

Double Tree by Hilton Bristol North - 01454 201144 Located in Aztec West a 5 minute drive away.

Travel Lodge Bristol Filton - Concorde Roundabout, Hayes Way, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5GN • 0871 559 1883 Located in Aztec West a 5 minute drive away.
 

Useful Info

Cataract Surgery

What is a Cataract?

Like a camera, eyes have a clear lens inside them that is used for focusing. A cataract is any opacity within a lens. The opacity can be very small (incipient cataract) and not interfere with vision. It can involve more of the lens (immature cataract) and cause blurred vision. Eventually, the entire lens can become cloudy, and all functional vision lost. This is called a mature cataract.

What is not a Cataract?

All geriatric dogs develop a hardening of the lens (Nuclear Sclerosis) that causes the lens to have a blueish-grey appearance. This does not usually interfere with vision. This is commonly confused with a true cataract but is a normal part of the ageing process.

Why did my dog develop a Cataract?

  • Most cataracts in dogs are inherited. The cataract may develop rapidly over weeks, or slowly over years, in one or both eyes.
  • Like humans, dogs also develop cataracts with age (often after 8 years of life).
  • Cataracts can also develop in dogs with diabetes mellitus or in orphan puppies on an artificial milk replacer diet.

How are Cataracts treated?

Once a lens has developed a cataract, there is no known method to make the lens clear again. There are a number of products marketed on the Internet for treating cataracts - despite the claims made there is no evidence that these expensive medications are useful. Immature and mature cataracts can be treated by surgically removing them.

The procedures and equipment used to remove cataracts in dogs are the same as those used in humans. A small incision is made in the eye and a hole is made in the capsular bag that holds the lens. Phacoemulsification is then performed, in which a special probe ultrasonically emulsifies and removes the cataract. After the entire lens is removed, an artificial replacement lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is sometimes placed in the bag. The eye is closed with extremely small sutures. Because even the slightest damage to structures in the canine eye can have disastrous effects, the surgery is performed under high magnification using an operating microscope. If both eyes are affected, both eyes can often be operated on at the same time.

How well will my dog see after Cataract surgery?

After successful cataract surgery dogs can often see close to normal. However, we cannot give dogs perfect vision. This is because only a handful of different IOLs are available for dogs and an exact replacement of the original lens is not possible. Furthermore, dogs have more inflammation in their eyes after surgery than humans and therefore have more scaring. This scaring may slightly decrease vision. Most owners notice a tremendous increase in their pets vision after cataract surgery, but they can still detect certain visual difficulties. These are particularly close vision and are more marked where it has not been possible to place an IOL.

After surgery, cataracts cannot recur. However, some dogs can have decreased vision years after cataract surgery due to formed scar tissue, glaucoma, or retinal detachment. In those dogs where it is not possible or advisable to use an IOL these dogs still see better, but are more far-sighted and close objects are more out of focus. The cornea does two thirds of the focusing of the eye, so vision is still present but not perfect if the lens (which does one third of the focusing) cannot be replaced.

Why is Cataract surgery so expensive?

Cataract surgery can cost as much as £2000-3000 per eye. The total cost depends in part on any complications present prior to surgery or arising after surgery but also on how quickly the eye recovers from surgery. Some patients will be off of all treatment by one month after surgery whilst other patients may require treatment for the rest of their lives. The surgery requires specialized, and expensive, equipment and training. The instruments used for cataract surgery in dogs are the same instruments used for cataract surgery in people. Furthermore, you are paying for the advanced training of a Veterinary Ophthalmologist.

What if Cataract surgery is not done?

Immature and mature cataracts can cause a serious reactive inflammation inside the eye (Lens Induced Uveitis, or LIU) that must be medically treated, whether or not surgery is performed. Cataract surgery is an elective procedure. If surgery is not performed, lifetime anti-inflammatory eye drops may be required, as well as periodic eye re-examinations. LIU can lead to complications such as glaucoma or a detached retina, and LIU decreases the success rate of cataract surgery. There is a best window of time in which to perform surgery. The earlier the cataract can be removed, the better.

What is involved in having Cataract surgery performed on my dog or cat?

The first step is to have your pet examined by one of the three Ophthalmologists at the eye clinic to determine if your pet is a good candidate for surgery. A pre operative blood profile, comprehensive physical exam, and assessment of anaesthetic level of risk is then performed. If your pet "passes" these tests, electroretinography (ERG) and gonioscopy testing is scheduled at our clinic, as inpatient procedures. They are performed under sedation or a short general anaesthetic, and cause no discomfort. ERG testing evaluates retinal function, as it is vital that the retina (the "film in the camera") is working, in order to perform cataract surgery. Gonioscopy evaluates the drainage angle of the eye to determine if the eye(s) are at increased risk of developing glaucoma postoperatively. If they are, additional medications will be prescribed and these medications may be administered for your pets lifetime. Ultrasonography of the eye(s) is also performed to measure the size of the lens and to look for complications such as a pre-existing retinal detachment. If your pet "passes" the ERG test, surgery can be scheduled. The eyes require at least seven days (and ideally 14 days) of medication immediately preceding the surgery day. On the day of surgery, your pet will need to arrive at the clinic early in the morning to receive intensive eye treatment before surgery. The surgery is performed and your pet is then hospitalised at our Veterinary hospital at Bradley Stoke for 2-3 days after surgery for continued intensive medical treatment and observation. It is sometimes necessary for repeat anaesthetics to be required during this period to address any complications which may arise. Your pet will not have eye patches. Vision usually improves during the first week but can be expected to improve over a 4-5 week period. Most dogs exhibit no pain after surgery. Your pet will require oral medication and several kinds of eye drops three to six times a day for the first few weeks after surgery, and on a lesser frequency for several months post surgery.

Your pet may be required to wear a cone-shaped restraint collar (E collar) the first two weeks after surgery to prevent self-trauma to the eyes. We also ask that you bring your pet back for re-examinations at one week, two weeks, one month and three months post and every six to twelve months thereafter. This re-examination schedule may change if there are post-operative complications.

What are the risks involved with Cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure, but there are risks. Chances of your pet having improved vision after surgery are often high (85-90%). But 10% - 15% of dogs will not regain good vision due to complications, and may actually be permanently blind in one or both of the operated eyes. Some cases will have additional risk factors which make this success rate over optimistic - the Ophthalmologist will discuss these if they are identified during the pre-operative screening process. Common complications include:

  • Scar tissue. All dogs develop some intraocular scar tissue. Excessive scar tissue will limit vision.
  • Retinal detachment. While re-attachment is sometimes possible, the success rate is low and this complication usually results in complete vision loss.
  • Intraocular Infection. While it is rare, it can cause LOSS OF THE EYE (i.e. surgical removal of the eye) as well as complete vision loss.
  • Glaucoma. Glaucoma (increase in eye pressure) occurs in up to 30% of all dogs who have cataract surgery. Glaucoma not only can cause complete vision loss, but also may require the need for additional medications or surgery. It can be painful and cause LOSS OF THE EYE if uncontrolled.

Therefore, your pet has these risks if Cataract surgery is performed:

  • Development of a complication. This could result in poor to no vision, or in the most severe case surgical removal of the eye (which is rare).
  • General anesthesia. Anesthesia safety has progressed tremendously during the last decade. However, even healthy pets CAN DIE UNDER GENERAL ANESTHESIA. We take anesthesia seriously and use only the latest and safest medications at our clinic. All pets are monitored extensively by our surgical staff.

Although the thought of complications can be worrying the potential benefits of returning vision to a much loved pet can be enormous.

MRI

What happens when patients have an MRI scan?

The pet will be admitted to the scanning centre prior to the scan so that a physical examination can be carried out along with blood tests where necessary. In order to keep still for the duration of the scan (usually about 30-45 minutes) the pet will require a general anaesthetic. Once anaesthetised the patient will be placed gently in the scanner and positioned in the optimum way to achieve the best images possible. Our imaging team will then carry out a number of scans, in various planes, to give us all the information we need for a speedy diagnosis.

Usually, after a few hours the pet will have recovered sufficiently to go home provided no further treatment or investigations are required. There are no known side effects and the procedure is completely harmless.

Radioactive Iodine Therapy

What is Involved? 

A single dose of radioactive iodine (I131) is given by subcutaneous injection. The iodine is concentrated in the thyroid gland where it emits beta-radiation, killing the surrounding hyperfunctioning cells. Parathyroid gland function is unaffected. The iodine that is not concentrated in the thyroid gland is very rapidly eliminated in the urine, saliva and sweat in the first couple of days following the injection. The remainder is very slowly eliminated due to thyroid hormone turnover (with the I131 incorporated into the hormone) and due to decay of the isotope (the half-life of I131 is eight days). Cats must stay with us in an isolation facility for at least 10 days after the injection until most of the radioactivity has been eliminated. A nurse feeds the cats and cleans their cages every morning. Lighting and daytime stimulation such as radio or cat television is altered throughout the day.

What does it cost? 

The current cost of treatment is £1425.00 inc. VAT. This cost is essentially a ‘package deal’ covering pre-treatment investigations, the treatment itself and hospitalisation for 10 days. This does not include the cost of treatment for any concurrent medical problems or any unexpected diagnostic tests.

How successful is it?

A single radioactive iodine injection is successful in about 95% of cats treated.

How quickly will you know if it has worked?

The thyroid hormone concentration is generally within normal limits one month after the radioactive iodine injection. In some cases it can take up to six months for the thyroid hormone concentration to return to normal following treatment.

What needs to be done before the appointment? 

1. Cats need to be confirmed as hyperthyroid on the basis of a total thyroxine (tT4) concentration above the laboratory reference range. We will treat cats with high - normal total Thyroxine (tT4) measurements where hyperthyroidism has been confirmed by free T4 assuming compatible clinical signs are present. If a case is accepted for referral on the basis of a free T4 measurement, we will require repeat free T4 (by equilibrium dialysis) and total T4 measurements approximately two weeks prior to the referral appointment – we will advise you of this accordingly.

2. Assessment of renal function. Renal function is profoundly influenced by thyroid status – excessive thyroid hormone concentration leads to increased cardiac output resulting in an increase in glomerular filtration rate and consequently a decrease in circulating creatinine concentration. Normalisation of total T4 concentration induces a decline in GFR and can therefore unmask underlying renal abnormalities. Studies show that a decrease in GFR will occur within 4 weeks of radioactive iodine treatment with little decline after this point, but for a proportion of cats this can result in the development of azotaemia (creatinine greater than 140μmol/L) which can take up to six months to manifest.

For newly diagnosed cats that are non-azotaemic (creatinine less than 140μmol/L) and have a urine specific gravity of greater than 1.040 the magnitude of this decrease in GFR has been shown to be no more than one IRIS stage, which at worst could result in the unmasking of IRIS stage II renal disease. As the development of mild renal disease is not associated with a decreased survival time unless associated with hypothyroidism, we no longer require a period of stabilisation as a therapeutic trial to assess the effect of treatment on renal function. If there is a waiting list for treatment we will advise you to start either medication or Hills y/d diet: in this case blood tests will be required 4-6 weeks prior to the appointment with us.

Cats that are azotaemic at diagnosis or cats whose owners feel that any development of azotaemia should be avoided where possible do still benefit from a therapeutic trial of anti-thyroid medication to assess the renal response to reversible treatment before radioactive iodine treatment is considered.

Euthyroid cats on medication or y/d diet that are non-azotaemic or have stable IRIS stage II renal disease (creatinine less than 250μmol/L) are suitable candidates for radioactive iodine treatment.

If the reason for referral for radioactive iodine treatment is that the cat cannot tolerate anti thyroid medication or the owner is not able to medicate the cat, radioactive iodine treatment is still possible assuming the cat is non-azotaemic prior to referral.

In order to assess renal function we require testing of urine specific gravity and serum urea, creatinine and phosphate. If there is a long delay between the blood tests to assess renal function and the appointment with us, further blood tests should be performed 4-6 weeks prior to the appointment to ensure nothing significant has changed.

3. Cats need to be vaccinated for flu and enteritis within the last year.

How long must the cat remain in isolation? 

All cats treated with radioactive iodine will stay for a minimum of 10 days following the injection. They can then be discharged assuming a number of conditions at home can be met for a further 18 days, after which no further precautions are required. These conditions are that:

  • The cat will be confined indoors, without access to occupied bedrooms and will use a litter-box.
  • The owners can restrict the time spent cuddling the cat or holding the cat on their lap.
  • The owners are able to ensure that any children in the household will remain at a safe distance from the cat and its litter-box.
  • There is no-one in the house that is pregnant, or trying to become pregnant.
  • There is a secure outside storage area (garage, shed) where soiled litter can be stored for one month before being put out for collection. If this is not possible, special litter can be purchased that can be flushed down the toilet, but the household plumbing must be in good working order to do this.

If cats are discharged after 10 days, their owners will have to sign a document stating that these conditions will be met. If these conditions cannot be met at home, cats may board with us for the additional 18 days at a cost of £30.58 per day. The level of radioactivity emanating from the cats 10 days after treatment is relatively low, but this is considerably higher than background and will continue to be so for several weeks. The risks associated with this radiation level are small provided that sensible precautions are taken.

Which cats aren't suitable for treatment? 

1. Thyroid carcinoma. Although thyroid carcinoma can be treated with radioactive iodine, the doses of radioactivity required are greater than those that we have authorisation to hold, so we are unable currently to offer treatment to these cats. There is increasing evidence that hyperthyroidism is a spectrum of disease and that transformation to carcinoma may occur over time: therefore cats that have been treated medically for a long time and in whom increasing doses of anti-thyroid medication are required to maintain euthyroidism may be at risk of carcinoma development.

2. Naughty cats! We appreciate that hyperthyroid cats can be feisty and it is not a particular problem if, for example, a cat is difficult to collect blood samples from. The cats that we cannot accept for treatment are ones that will not allow their cages to be cleaned without attacking the Nurses, which increases the risk of contaminating them with radioactive urine.

3. Cats with significant concurrent medical problems. If cats become ill after they are injected, we cannot attend to them without being exposed to high levels of radioactivity. Therefore we cannot take cats that are known to have other serious concurrent problems. Medications can be put in the cat’s food, but the cats cannot be given tablets directly.

4. Unsuitable owners! Some cats would be fine to treat with radioactive iodine, but their owners will not be parted from them for required time. We are unable to compromise on the amount of time that we keep the cats here in the Hospital. It is not possible for owners to visit while their cats are with us.

Follow-up Appoinments

Cats will require blood tests to assess their kidney function and thyroid levels four weeks, ten weeks and six months after treatment. Blood should be collected for a total T4 and biochemistry and urine for specific gravity and sediment examination to check for urinary tract infections. The cost of these tests is not included in the treatment.

For more info or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01453 843295 or 01454 521000 (option 2) or email iodine@rowevetgroup.com.

What happens once you've been referred to us?

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For more advice or info, please do not hesitate to contact our Bradley Stoke Hospital on 01454 521000 or eyes@rowevetgroup.com.

Practice information

Bradley Stoke Hospital

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  • Mon
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tue
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wed
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thu
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Fri
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Sat
    24hr, Appointment: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sun
    24hr, Appointment: Emergencies only

Emergency Details

Please call:

01454 521000
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Find us here:

The Veterinary Hospital, Ferndene, Bradley Stoke, Bristol, BS32 9DT
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01454 521000

Wotton-Under-Edge

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  • Mon
    9:00am - 10:30am; 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 4:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Tue
    9:00am - 10:30am; 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 4:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Wed
    9:00am - 10:30am; 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 4:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Thu
    9:00am - 10:30am; 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 4:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Fri
    9:00am - 10:30am; 2:00pm - 3:00pm; 4:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Sat
    9:00am - 12:30pm
  • Sun
    Emergencies Only

Emergency Details

Please call:

01454 521000
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Find us here:

Rowe Veterinary MRI Centre, Bradley Green, Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7PP
get directions with Google Maps
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01454 521000