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Facilities

Find out about our range of equipment

Whilst our Veterinary Hospital is at Estover in the north of Plymouth, our Veterinary Centres are situated in various locations around the city.

We carry out routine clinical work at all our premises, but critical and emergency cases, pets who need overnight or intensive care, and patients with a need for radiography, ultrasound examination, ECG or endoscopy or major surgery will be treated at our Hospital at Estover.

All centres provide consultations by appointment and have a good stock of medicines, preventative healthcare products and pet food.

Our Hospital and our Veterinary Centres at Lipson Road, Plympton and Plymstock are also well equipped for surgery such as neutering, wound repair, removal of superficial tumours or dental treatment.

Reception

Reception is permanently manned during opening hours by receptionists, trained to attend to the needs of our clients. Reception will notify the relevant department of your arrival.

We are able to supply high quality, safe and effective medicines for the control of fleas, ticks and worms from the reception desk. The staff can look at your pet's medical records on the computer and supply an appropriate product. There are also displays of food in the waiting area for your interest. We recommend the use of high quality life stage foods for both dogs and cats. These are designed to meet the needs of the growing kitten or the frail senior dog. Advice is available from our Pet Health Counsellors and Veterinary Health Advisors on which diet would be most suitable for your pet, together with feeding costs etc. In addition we keep a range of clinical diets which are used in the management of different diseases e.g. kidney failure, obesity or diarrhoea.

Current information is displayed on the walls of the waiting room and we keep some details of local services to pet owners, like kennels and grooming. We hope that you feel free to pop in to reception even if just for some advice. It is sometimes nice that your dog comes for a small treat from a receptionist and doesn't have anything nasty done to him!

Consulting Rooms

There are 3 rooms that are used by vets to consult. Each is equipped with an examination table, though large dogs will normally be looked at on the floor. The rooms are used primarily for veterinary consultations where a history is obtained from you, the owner, the patient is examined and a course of action discussed and implemented. All decisions are made together with owners - we are here to help and guide you to what is best for you and your pet.

There are walk on weigh scales in each room to record your pet's weight and note any changes over time - from middle age spread to the old thin cat. Weights together with all other details of history, examination findings, and treatment are recorded on the computer terminal in each room. However, the computer is only a tool and we are conscious that it should not come between our clients and us!

Auriscopes for the examination of ears and ophthalmoscopes to look in to eyes are available in each room, as is a range of basic instruments to remove dressings or sutures. The stethoscope and thermometer are essential, everyday tools. Other diagnostic equipment is available from the Dispensary and Prep Room nearby.

We class the time that we spend with clients in the consulting room as possibly the most important part of veterinary practice.

Practice Nurse Room

At first glance, the Practice Nurse room appears very similar to our 3 other consulting rooms but also has some additional features which reflect its main uses.

Primarily, the room is used by our qualified nurses when undertaking their own consultations with clients. This is often to discuss nutrition either at the different stages of a pet's life or to counsel an owner who needs to change their pet's diet during the management of a specific illness or disease. Consequently, the room is stocked with leaflets and reference manuals relating to nutrition and general patient care. There is also a set of platform walk on scales for accurately measuring the patient's bodyweight. You may also be taken into this room if you are visiting your pet during his/her stay at the hospital or are collecting them following surgery.

The nurses might use our Doppler machine for checking your cat’s blood pressure in here and carry out minor procedures as well as running the various clinics in this room. You might like to view your pet’s computerised x-rays on the computer in here at the time of discharge. We also aim, if possible, to use this room when an animal is being put to sleep as it provides a comfortable area for a client to spend private time with their pet.

Finally, as it may also be necessary for the veterinary surgeons to use this area when seeing emergency appointments, the room also contains a range of simple pieces of equipment such as needles, syringes, and a stethoscope and scissors so that they are readily available if needed.

Dispensary

Unlike your GP we will normally both prescribe and dispense the medications necessary to treat your pet. We carry a large stock of medicines in lots of different forms: tablets, capsules, liquid medicines, powders and pastes administered by mouth; drops and ointments for eyes and ears; shampoos, creams and gels for the skin; injections and intravenous infusions for use at the hospital.

We appreciate that not all pets like their medicine (even with a "spoonful of sugar") and try and make this as easy for you as possible. We mostly use drugs that have a Veterinary Product License - that is they have been fully tested in animals as regards their safety and efficacy. Occasionally we have to use a human product if there is no veterinary equivalent. The result can be 1/8th tablet per day to a cat. Although we have deliveries 3 times a week, we will sometimes issue you a prescription for a human drug to take to a pharmacist.

The dispensary is fully computerised so that a record of all of your pet's treatment is always available. The computer prints clear labels with instructions for you and the trained nurses will run through the directions with you, also.

Prescription only medicines can only be dispensed for use in animals under our care, by law. Therefore if we have not seen your pet for a considerable amount of time we may not be able to dispense a medicine without a check up first, to make sure that it is appropriate. This is for you and your pet's own protection. For pets on long term medication we issue Prescription Cards to make repeat prescriptions available to clients.

Laboratory

Increasingly vets, like doctors, rely upon laboratory tests to tell us more about what is going on inside the patient. This does not replace both careful taking of the history (what you have noticed with your pet) and a thorough clinical examination. However, lab tests can be used to confirm suspected findings, look for disease or monitor a known disease problem.

An example of these would be kidney disease. This may be diagnosed in the consulting room from the history and examination and then confirmed by blood tests. Alternatively, kidney disease may be discovered on a routine test, perhaps in a Pre-Anaesthetic Profile prior to a general anaesthetic. Lastly ongoing kidney failure can be monitored and treatment altered to suit.

The modern equipment in the lab can deliver blood results in a matter of minutes and is available for use 24 hours, 365 days. This can mean the difference between life and death in some circumstances and means that blood tests can be run immediately prior to general anaesthetics. Ask about Pre-Anaesthetic Profiles if your dog or cat is coming in for an operation. Skin and urine examinations are also performed in the hospital laboratory.

We use a high quality external veterinary laboratory for more specialised tests - a courier service means that results are usually available the following day.

Prep Room

This is literally the "preparation" room. This is where patients are prepared for surgery, although it is used for many other procedures also and forms the hub of the treatment area in this hospital. The operating theatre, wards, dentistry, radiography and sterilisation areas all lead off the prep room. The wall to the operating theatre is glass to improve light and observation of patients.

Most animals are anaesthetised here before being clipped up to go into the aseptic operating theatre. Dirty, diagnostic and minor surgical procedures may be safely carried out in the prep room. The tub table can be used when a patient needs to be washed off. The two anaesthetic machines are mounted on a central pillar with power and gas supplies to avoid trailing cables and hoses. Most instruments are stored in the prep room. A wipe board lists the patients and procedures for the day.

There is always something going on in the Prep room - it may be an endoscopic examination or enema, a biopsy or blood sample! Several nurses each day are allocated to work in this room.

Operating Theatre

The operating theatre is a "dead end" closed to through traffic of staff, unlike the prep room. The walls and surfaces are bare so that it can be thoroughly cleaned each day after use. These measures help to prevent post operative infections, which we find are comparatively rare as a result. The wall to prep room is floor to ceiling glass to improve observation and communication.

Sterile packs of instruments and sutures are taken into the theatre each day. Surgeons always wear operating gowns to help prevent patient contamination along with hats and masks to maintain asepsis. We use sterile surgical gloves, after scrubbing up in the scrub area with sink and elbow taps.

Fresh air is filtered into the theatre and then forced out so that fluff and bacteria are not sucked in from other rooms.

Various pieces of anaesthetic monitoring equipment are used in theatre to reduce any risk to the patient of general anaesthesia. Anaesthetic gasses are piped into the theatre along with pressurised air to operate orthopaedic drills.

The heated, multi-adjustable operating tables are thermostatically controlled and lit by large overhead operating lights. For very fine procedures we have an operating microscope.

Radiography

This is the x-ray room, incorporating a processing room leading from it. The x-ray machine is positioned with the tube above a tilting lead lined table for patients.

Anaesthesia is necessary for many x-ray procedures because they cause discomfort or require a very unnatural position. There is an anaesthetic machine in the room.

Positioning aids are used, including comfy plastic cradles, foam pads, loose filled sandbags, ties and a positioning arm. We do not allow staff to hold animals for x-ray unless in exceptional circumstances.

On the subject of safety, the walls are covered in Barium plaster and the doors are lead lined so that no rays escape!

The x-ray recording system is now computerised so that digital images are stored on a central server. These can be viewed at various computers around the building. The software allows us to manipulate images in order to improve interpretation. Film is no longer used at all.

We quite regularly perform contrast studies. Dyes that can be seen on x-ray are used to fill the urinary tract, the bowel or even the space around the spinal cord to help in diagnosis.

Some abnormalities that are not readily revealed by x-ray may be seen using ultrasound.

Dentistry

Because so may oral procedures result in the production of an aerosol of bacteria, dentistry and oral surgery is confined to a separate small operating theatre. Here we are able to perform most of the procedures required for the maintenance of a healthy mouth in your pet.

As well as dogs and cats, we also operate on large numbers of rabbits and rodents such as chinchillas and guinea pigs. Nearly all of our procedures are carried out under general anaesthesia, and as many of our patients are elderly, modern of anaesthetic equipment, drugs and electronic monitoring are essential.

Over 60% of cats over 2 years old are suffering form dental pain so dentistry is seen in this practice as a very important welfare issue, enabling our patients to lead happy, pain free lives.

Wards

No hospital would be complete without a ward for it's in-patients. Unlike a human hospital we use stainless steel kennels for our patients which we find easy to keep clean and disinfected. Heated pads and vetbeds are used for comfort. Cats have litter trays and dogs have access to an indoor run or are walked on the hospital grounds for fresh air also.

Recovery kennels are used for the intensive care or animals that are very sick or recovering from major surgery. Intravenous drips are used to maintain fluid intake and infrared lamps to keep these animals warm.

A range of diets including specialist products for specific health problems are used. Feeding tubes are useful for those animals unable to eat. We have a dedicated ward nurse responsible for the care of both day patients and in-patients day and night. Progress is logged on daily hospitalisation charts with a routine for feeding, exercise and treatment.

We have facilities for visiting and this is something that we find helpful for pets requiring long term hospital care. An isolation ward is used for animals suffering form infectious disesaes that require hospitalisation. Both wards benefit from air conditioning for warmth in the winter and to keep cool in the summer.

Administration

Although less interesting, the veterinary hospital could not function without a room full of electronics for the computer and telephone systems, offices, laundry and storage. These are positioned on the first floor so that the ground floor is kept clear for the treatment of patients.

Offices

As the practice has grown - now into a central veterinary hospital and 4 veterinary centres around Plymouth - the need for a central administration area has increased. To this end an upstairs extension to the hospital was completed in 1999 to house the offices and to free space downstairs for clinical use.

The practice office team work in a large sunny office at one end of the first floor. In spite of (or is it because of) computers a large amount of paperwork passes through this room. Most practice forms and leaflets are born here. Financial records are kept up to date on computers and bills are paid on time to our suppliers. Monthly reports are generated for the partners who own the business.

The Directors office also doubles as a meeting room where we meet with pharmaceutical representatives and run training sessions for personnel. With over 40 members of staff meetings between heads of department, vets, nurses etc. are critical to ensure good communication between us all.

One small office is virtually filled with computer equipment to run the telephone and practice computer systems.

There is still one office downstairs which is used by all of us and is where the practice library is situated. We regard further education of our practice team to be essential and the 250 or so texts on the shelves are an essential, and much used resource.

Accommodation

Because of the odd hours that we frequently work we provide a large rest room complete with cooking, washing and sleeping facilities for our team to use.

Laundry & maintenance

The ward produces mountains of dirty bedding which is laundered on site in commercial washing and drying machines, which work hard all day every day to keep up. This ensures a constant supply of fresh bedding to keep patients comfortable. In addition, although we use some disposable surgical drapes, for some types of operation cloth drapes are still preferred and these have to be recycled through laundry and sterilisation prior to reuse. Sterile operating gowns go through the same process.

Practice information

Estover 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: 8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Sun
    24hr, Appointment: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Emergency Details

Please call:

01752 702646
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Find us here:

Colwill Road, Estover, Plymouth, PL6 8RP
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01752 702646

Plymstock

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  • Mon
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    12:00pm - 1:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01752 702646
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Find us here:

70 Pomphlett Road, Plymstock, Plymouth, PL9 7BN
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01752 702646

Lipson

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  • Mon
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    Closed
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01752 702646
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Find us here:

42 Lipson Road, Lipson, Plymouth, PL4 8PW
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01752 702646

Plympton

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  • Mon
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    8:30am - 11:00am
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01752 702646
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Find us here:

Hillcrest Drive, Plympton, Plymouth, PL7 2DX
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01752 702646

St Budeaux

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  • Mon
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Thu
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 1:00pm, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Sat
    Closed
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

Please call:

01752 702646
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Find us here:

168 Victoria Road, St Budeaux, Plymouth, PL5 1QY
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01752 702646