Educating Your Vet (Part 1 2003)

Educating Your Vet: Part 1 (2003)

Have you ever thought about using information that you learn from the BAR lectures and courses to educate your Vet?  BAR students Karen Le Cras and Chrissie Slade have been working with their vet James Brooks over the past year with great success.  Both are already experienced guinea pig owners and as well as having their own pigs, they foster / rehome pigs for the RSPCA, and are regular visitors to Tilehurst Veterinary Centre in Reading.

Our successes to date include:

Vet-Sect Repel Shampoo is now stocked at the practice.

Oxbow Critical Care is now stocked at the practice.

1ml syringes: knowing that this size of syringe with the end cut off is the best size to use for feeding pigs.

X-rays without anaesthetic: this is definitely our biggest success to date and came about when Butternut was diagnosed with a Bladder Stone and needed an X-ray.  Having seen the technique demonstrated by Vedra at a BAR lecture, Chrissie took it upon herself to show up at the surgery with Butternut, 3 small towels, a cushion, and a length of crepe bandage!  James was quite taken aback by all this, but when he saw how easy it was to prepare a pig for X-ray, he declared that he was “very impressed”.  He walked out of the consulting room with a big grin on his face and carrying a well-wrapped pig ready to X-ray.  The X-ray turned out perfectly and the operation was a success.  James also showed the other Vets in the practice this technique, so it was an excellent result for pig lovers using this surgery.  Every time we have a “win” like this, we ensure that the information goes on our website (, and in our free local paper in the “People and Pets” section.  This is also good publicity for the practice concerned.

Hormone injections: Previously the surgery either operated on guinea pigs with ovarian cysts or did nothing. When Phoebe and Emily presented with bilateral hair loss Karen decided it was time to introduce James to the use of Chorulon in guinea pigs. He admitted he had never used this treatment before but was willing to try it. At the time of writing, Phoebe has completed her treatment and Emily has had two courses. Grace also has had a course to try to get some weight on her. As always this breakthrough was reported in the local paper and website, good news for sows and senior pigs.

Bloat: When Emily had gastric bloat James phoned Vedra for advice (without being prompted!). That time can only be described as an emotional roller coaster; it was reassuring to know James was doing his best too.

This last year has seen some great successes – we hope to build on these in 2004 and achieve better quality Vet care for the Guinea Pigs of Reading. Educating your Vet can be a slow process, but it is certainly well worth it.