BSAVA 2018

You could feel the buzz...

We were there again, top of the central aisle, great position and saw lots of great vets and nurses interested in exotics.

Especially exciting for us was the launch of our gold-standard pre- & probiotic AVIPRO PLUS for dogs. We have waited 6 years to be able to bring this product to fruition, waiting to license for the probiotifc in the EU.

It now gives us a product for carnivores, joinging the Pro-C range for herbivores and Avipro Avian for birds.

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BVZS Chester Zoo March 2016

We went to a brilliant BVZS meeting at Chester Zoo, meeting held at the racecourse in their meeting rooms. Chester is a lovely zoo, our local zoo growing up and one Peter spent a lot of time in while at Liverpool Vet Schoool. In final year he 'saw practice' there with the vet Derek Lyon.

Their new exhibit 'the Islands' is gorgeous, as are all their big enclosures. The zoo has lots of space so they have built big.

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BVZS in Bristol Nov 2015

Had a great meeting of the British Veterinary Zoological Society in Bristol, great papers and company. It was a really fun meeting. Enhanced by finding that use our empty ACE High pots to pack with treats to entertain the keas. Love the recycling!

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A big thank you to the organisers of Think Parrots 2015

 As always, Think Parrots showed this wonderful hobby at it's best. 

We had a fantastic day at the exhibition in Kempton Park Racecourse on 21st June. As always the team offered a balance that kept any visitor occupied for the full day and congratulations must be given on how well the day went. The wide variety of stalls offered a wealth of advice and products for keepers of all ages. Alongside this, the highly informative talks proved a big hit with the crowds and we really enjoyed the nutrition masterclass by Neil Forbes. Every year the attendence appear to grow - with many people seeing it as a valuable day out for their pets too! 

For Vetark, the show proved highly valuable in promoting the importance of supplements as part of nutrition. We were flattered by thre large number of people commenting on how Avimix and Nutrobal have helped their birds throughout life and look forward to returning next year.

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Companion Care & Vets4Pets

Spoke at the Companion Care & Vets4Pets conference at the NEC

Peter was a speaker at the in-house conference for Companion Care & Vets4Pets, an exceptionally well attended conference with delegates and exhibitors from a range of vet companies. The group who attended his talk were passionate and enthusiastic so he thorughly enjoyed speaking about reptiles (he hopes they will invite him next year to speak about birds!).

His spirits weren't even dampened by an awful drive back to Winchester through lashing rain most of the way.

Vets can access the presentation by registering for access to our vet pages, but we enclose a copy of the pet questionnaire Peter highlighted. It is useful when pet owners complete it before the consultation with a vet since it ensures most of the basic questions are answered.

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Vetark Professional at Parrot Society National Show 2014

We had a fantastic time at the Parrot Society's National Bird Show on Sunday 19th October in Stafford. As always, the Parrot Society did and excellent job - it was lovely to see so many stunning birds on display!

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand to learn about the importance of providing the correct nutrients to birds. Avipro Avian, our bird probiotic released in January, did exceptionally well and it was incredibly rewarding to see owners understanding the value it can bring to their pets. We are already looking forward to next year!!

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Vetark Professional at Think Parrots 2014

On 23rd June we were at Kempton Park Racecourse for the 2014 Think Parrots Show. As well as exhibiting our fantastic range of high-quality products suitable for parrots, our director Peter Scott (MRCVS) gave a talk on ‘First Aid for Birds and Advances in Avian Medicine.’ The tips and explanations of veterinary procedures are useful for any bird owner so we have included a condensed version below for reference.


- Birds hide the initial signs of problems. Bear in mind this often means the issue has either been getting progressively worse or is ongoing – so act fast! - Limited first aid is available

- Follow the ABC rule, stabilize the bird and get it to a vet quickly.

- ABC: Airways are clear, Breathing is possible as air sacs are inflating, Care provided through warmth, fluids, physical injury support and vet visit.

- Birds cannot afford to lose much blood as their blood volume is low. To stop bleeding on leg/wing apply pressure and a cohesive bandage. Nails and beaks can be stopped in an emergency by using a styptic.

- If bleeding is from a broken blood feather, restrain the bird and firmly pull the feather before applying pressure. Don’t use styptics on these injuries.

- If the bird is egg bound

- Showing signs of depression means a vet must be contacted immediately. If the bird is still bright, consider warmth and high humidity for a few hours, as well as ensuring calcium is available in the drinking water or give Zolcal D directly for a strong boost. If the situation does not improve after 24hrs, see a vet. Ensure you explain exactly how you tried to remedy the situation and when it was found.

Remember that avian medicine is advancing at a faster rate than ever before as our understanding of the issues improves. ALWAYS seek veterinary attention with a sick or injured bird as you can rarely assess the true extent of injury without their expertise.

Finally, make sure you have adequate pet insurance and an ‘after-care’ plan for when incidents happen. Knowing how to provide essential support through tube feeding, correct warmth provision (28-30 degrees centigrade), preventing dehydration and allowing rest is critical, if uncertain please speak to your vet for advice.

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Vetark director running a masterclass at Think Parrots

Are you heading to the Think Parrots Show at Kempton Racecourse this Sunday? If so, don’t forget to see Peter Scott’s talk on First Aid and Advances in Avian Medicine at 10.30am to help you feel confident when disaster strikes. Also, pop along to our stand to find out more about the special products we’ve designed to give your feathered friends a boost.

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Heat stroke

 Heat stroke is one of the biggest pet killers during the summer, which is a shame because it is so avoidable. Follow our tips to avoid falling victim to it this year:

1. ALWAYS make sure your pet has access to clean drinking water. Keep it out of the sun to make sure its cool.
2. Shade is critical; make sure your animals have access to shade throughout the day. For rabbits and guinea pigs the hutch should always be kept in the shade to mimic the cool of a burrow.
3. Let your pet exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when its coolest to prevent them getting worn out.
4. Grooming (yes, even on short-haired) will help by completely removing the winter coat so they don’t hold in excess heat. Clip long-haired breeds or tie their coats up to allow air circulation.
5. Never, ever leave an animal locked in a car - even if a window is open or you’ll on be a few minutes. It takes just minutes for the heat to reach 40 degrees or higher and is the most common cause of heatstroke in dogs despite the annual campaign. The same goes for conservatories, tents, caravans and any room that gets particularly hot.
6. Panting is not an effective way of keeping cool, but it can be a useful warning sign of discomfort in your pet.
7. Small animal? Try frozen pieces of fruit for an animal-friendly ice lolly. Alternatively, try a bottle of frozen water with a cloth over for them to sit or lean on. You might need to show them what to do by placing it against their body though!
Signs of danger include fast and shallow breathing, slobbering/ wet nose or chin, rapid pulse, listlessness, staggering, hot to touch (especially the ears on rabbits and guinea pigs), dark or bright red tongue and gums or seizures. If you see or suspect any of these, immediately move the pet to somewhere cooler and ALWAYS seek veterinary help.

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Migrating Birds are killed on their return to England

This year, hundreds of birds won’t make it back to their European breeding grounds. Directly along their migration path lays Malta – the only EU country with a hunting season during Spring. 
10,500 hunters will congregate in Malta’s countryside from the 12th of April for three weeks of recreational hunting. This means the participants are hunting for fun with no plans to use any part of the carcass. Although it is only legal to hunt two species, over 170 different species use the pathway regularly and thus are in danger from hunters who defy a law which can do very little against them – even when they hunt protected birds. In 2013 known illegal kills included Kestrels, Herons, Ospreys and Barn Sparrows, whose call signals the beginning of summer. Many of the hunters will not seek to retrieve a shot bird or ensure it is dead.
From the 21st of April, Chris Packham will broadcast a video diary of the hunt on YouTube as British stations have refused his request to cover it on multiple occasions. Not suitable for young children or those easily upset, the diary promises to expose the extent of this so called ‘tradition’ and the brutality of the hunters towards their prey. Click here to find out more from him about this issue.
A glimmer of hope does exist for a safe Maltese journey. Recently, 44,000 Maltese people signed a petition for a public referendum on the matter. If this comes to a vote it may signal an end to the massacre and our wild birds will be free once more. Only a public vote has the chance to stop the hunters as they have too much political sway for an in-government vote to stand a chance. 
Until that happens please spread the message and encourage people to watch the video diary. The more voices raised, the more pressure there is on Malta to stop this violence.

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Is your tortoise awake yet?

We’ve had several calls about tortoises coming out of hibernation recently, so thought we’d talk about it this week.


Generally, tortoises will start to come out of hibernation in March as the weather warms up. However, only an owner has an accurate idea of when their tortoise will usually wake up. Bringing a tortoise out of hibernation early can be a highly stressful time for an owner. Often the reasons are not as simple as the tortoise chose to wake up itself as weight loss, sudden warm spells and dehydration can all be reasons. If your tortoise does wake of his own accord and is fairly alert, do not put him back to sleep. Follow the below tips for getting its systems going and keep it inside until the weather is of a suitable temperature for the breed.


To wake your pet in the most comfortable way possible, we would recommend bringing them into a warm, bright area to for a couple of hours. Once they are up and about the next stage is a warm bath which has two functions – heating the tortoise up and getting it to hydrate. Fill a bowl with warmish water to the level of your tortoise’s chin. For an extra bit of help, try adding Reptoboost to the bath as the tortoise absorb both water and nutrients– speeding the process up a little. Use the baths every day for a week to encourage fully rehydration and to flush out any toxins in the body.


Food is not as vital as water, but is still highly important. Once your tortoise is active and bathed you should offer food – try fresh chopped tomatoes at first to tempt them. Again, sprinkle on some Reptoboost to kick-start their body with pure nutrients and build energy. If it is refusing to eat after several days, seek help as tortoises have very low energy stores following hibernation and so must be encouraged to eat. 


Hopefully your little one has had a simple, complication free hibernation and will be up and about in no time. If things have gone wrong then use our find-a-vet service to locate someone who understands what can go wrong with this process and advise further treatment.

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Spring, Wildlife and Garden Birds

Spring is almost upon us (we know it doesn’t feel like it) and with it, a rush of life as the countryside wakes up for the warmer months. The Surrey Wildlife Trust is offering a unique insight into how they protect and monitor the life on their properties via twitter. 
Four of their rangers now tweet their tasks – from the mundane to the exciting – in order to give the public a better understanding of the work that goes in to protecting natural areas. Recent posts have included the first adder sighting of 2014, the difference between toad and frog spawn and a common redpoll recorded during a bird ringing, which usually only visits those on the east coast. It’s really interesting to see the massive range of tasks they accomplish and they are happy to answer any questions you tweet.  
On a more serious note, if you are planning on feeding birds in your garden this year, please remember to disinfect feeders and baths regularly to prevent the spread of disease as it is almost impossible to treat wild birds. Trichomonas, Avian Pox and Salmonella can all decimate a flock very quickly. Use a safe disinfectant like CitroSan or Ark-Klens weekly to prevent buildup of bacteria that can lead to disease. If there is an outbreak, stop putting out food and empty bird baths to encourage the flock to look elsewhere – you can return to normal when dead birds stop appearing in your garden. For more information on bird disease and prevention head onto our website and look in the information tabs.
To see what the Trust is up to, follow @SurreyWT on Twitter and while you’re there, why not pop on to @Vetark and follow us as well?

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UK National Wildlife Crime Unit issues warning about rise in cage bird thefts - Here are our tips for preventing it.

1. Opportunity
Thieves like an invitation – so don’t give them one. If you are in bed or away from the bird, ensure all windows and doors are firmly shut with strong locks to secure them. Never leave a bird unattended outside as it can take one minute to be in and out of a garden. Do not leave windows on the catch as they can still be opened! 
2. Sight
Cages that cannot be seen when you look through windows or doors are less likely to be targeted. Thieves won’t enter a property without guarantee of reward so if they can’t see it there’s less chance they’ll take the risk.
3. Security
Strong locks and a home security system act as deterrents. For outside aviary’s, we’d suggest strong locks and a motion- sensitive light for night protection. Consider timed lights/radios if you are out over the evening or daytime to make it look like someone is at home. 
4. Discretion
It’s easy to get carried away with discussing your wonderful pets at a bird fair, but be wary of what you say to people you aren’t familiar with. Avoid talking about your protection and habits beyond standard care, particularly not what you do when you leave them alone. Remember the information you give may not always be helping someone in a way you would like.
5. Microchip
We can’t stress this enough, it is vital that you microchip your birds and keep a record of their number in case the worse does happen. Recording the number is useful because thieves can remove the leg band – meaning you have information to pass on to the police.
6. Register
Immobilize is a free online register of possession. All items registered on it are viewable to the police who use it to trace lost or stolen property. While you might not count your pet as property, it is the easiest way for police to trace you when they find it. 
If someone is really observing your house from outside or a strange vehicle lingering in the area and they return a few times – but never visit anybody – please, please, please tell the police. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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National Bird Show 2013

This was a really well attended show, after a couple of years with poorer numbers despite the rotten weather lots of bird fanciers turned out for a good show. We spoke to lots of interesting people about their birds and would thank everyone who came to the stand.

There were some interesting colour morphs on sale and some lovely amazons (our favourites).

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ThinkParrots in Woking 2013

This was the second meeting organised by John Catchpole of the excellent Parrots magazine. It was very well attended by pet parrot owners - a different group than those who attend the Parrot Society meetings which include a lot more keen breeders than simply owners.

It was fascinating to see how many had brought their pets for a day out! One lady had two African gtreys, one on each shoulder. One had an amazon in a backpack with windows, others had macaws or amazons on their shoulders.

There were talks in a separate auditorium and a flying/information display done by keepers from the wonderful Paradize Park at Hayle in Cornwall. they work very closely with the World Parrot Trust who also had a stand at the meeting.

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APMV-1 in collared doves

report in Vet record Sept 29, 2012 (Vol 171, 13)

 APMV-1 is the cause of Newcastle disease in poultry, a major economic issue for farmers. This makes this recent finding of particular significance - finding APMV-1 sublin 4a (rather than the usual pigeon form 4b). This finding was in Italy, and much more work will need to be done to assess how widespread geographically this is, and which other species may be affected.

This underlines the importance of good hygiene at the birdtable, and not just to prevent Trichomonas! Look at Ark-Klens and Citrosan.

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Stafford Spring Show 2012

A fun show, chance to chat to people. Lots of sales of Avimix, and Ark-Klens. Zolcal D is now flying out of the door as its the only licensed liquid medicinal calcium.

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Where do you use yours?

can you beat this?

Professor John Cooper sent us this from the Kenyan South Coast.
Use of a field (mirror-illuminated) microscope to examine material from a dead wild bird (Cisticola species)  with pronounced ocular lesions. John did field cytology (Giemsa stain) and microscopical examination confirmed a caseous purulent ophthalmitis. Two Kenyan assistants are being taught how to use the
microscope for such purposes.

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Think Parrots

a new conference exhibition

We attended the brand new meeting Think Parrots organised by John Catchpole of Parrots. This was held in Woking at the sports centre.

The centre of the hall was occupied by a really excellent parrot show / exhition of training. This kept the audience gripped when they were working and explaining the importance of natural behaviours etc.

The meeting had some high quality speakers including Neil Forbes and Rosemary Low and brought out a different group of people from the usual run of bird shows - lots of parrot owners from the South of England. Wer wnjoyed ourselves speaking to many of them who were already familiar with our key parrot related products Avimix, Avipro etc.

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A good day at the Parrot Society 9th Oct 2011

We had a small stand at the Parrot Society sale day at the usual venue - Bingley Hall, Stafford. Saw lots of regular customers, plus some new ones. Its flattering when people bring friends to the stand because their own birds are looking so good.

It was incredibly busy, lots of nice birds! Good to see the amazons, after working with John Stoodley and Bob Mann for so long we are real amazon fans. There were some crackers being taken to Ireland by breeders looking for new species and new bloodlines.

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BVZS Visit Port Lympne April 2011

Even better than last time!

BVZS had a very well attended meeting at Port Lympne near Ashford in Kent. Professor John Cooper introduced Plenary Speaker Dr.Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka who has done so much pioneering work in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Uganda. She is now working with Conservation through Public Health - working with villagers who interact with gorillas to minimise disease transfer in either way. Dr.Gladys was an inspirational speaker.

The rest of the meeting was terrific covering a huge range of topics in the wonderful setting of Port Lympne. This was a standout meeting in a superb setting, the work the zoo is doing breeding and reintroducing gorillas is fantastic.

Vetark is a main sponsor of BVZS and was very pleased to be involved.

This great group celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, with this meeting and one in Cheshire in November, see

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BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets 5th Edition

Anna Meredith & Cathy Johnson-Delaney

This latest version is stunning, great colour illustrations. A real compilation and amazing coverage. Its an absolute must have for every practice!

£75 for non -members Available from BSAVA themselves, discounts to members etc as usual.

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parrot society show

11th Oct 2009

We attended this show again, for something like the 17th time. Its great to see such a lot of interest remaining in the hobby and help with the work the Parrot Society has been doing to improve welfare for pet birds.

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