March 31st update from D&T

As you’re probably aware, from our last update, we continue to monitor the situation and respond quickly to government advice and the professional guidance from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Veterinary Association. As a result, we are focusing our efforts on the pets in urgent need of our care and are only physically open for urgent and emergency cases.

However, you can always call us on 01889 582023 (Rugeley) or 01785  213404 (Stafford) for any assistance and we will advise you on how your pets can still receive the care they need.


If you need a prescription for your pet or are collecting a repeat prescription from us, please call us as least 48 hours prior to collection so that we can ensure it is ready for you when you arrive and inform you of the procedure to safely collect the items. If you are collecting by car, please advise us in advance of the car registration plate.

Alternatively, some medication such as wormers and flea control can be sent to you by post. Pease enquire with our staff.

There is a legal requirement when dispensing prescription medicines for the animal to be under the care of the prescribing veterinary surgeon and to have had a recent clinical assessment. If your pet is unstable on medication or has not been seen in the last 6 months, we would normally require a visit to assess prescribing. However due to COVID-19 we will now be advising a chargeable telephone or video consultation.

New video consultation service

We recognise that many of our clients are anxious about supporting their pet’s health while movement is restricted and we’re in isolation. In light of this situation, we’ve recently launched a Video Consultation Service – which uses technology to provide general advice, help monitor and update treatment for pets already in our care. In the first instance we ask that you contact the practice and we will advise you of the best way to manage your request – which could be via a video consultation. Our usual consultation fee would apply – you can find out more on our website.

 Other useful information and guidance

We’ve also written hints and tips and things to consider while you’re at home with your pet. This includes exercise techniques for your pet, how to manage their weight and the importance of mental stimulation during this period of isolation.

The health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority. The situation is changing daily and we’re reacting to this to minimise the impact from spreading this virus to more people while supporting your pet’s health needs. If you have any concerns or require any advice, please do contact us on 01889 582023 (Rugeley) or 01785  213404 (Stafford).

Thank you for your understanding and patience at this time. We appreciate the words of support and encouragement we have received and look forward to welcoming you and your pet back into the practice when we are able.


International day of happiness – how pets contribute to our Mental Wellbeing

Happiness day-dog and owner

Happiness day-dog and ownerThe ongoing uncertainty surrounding the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will no doubt cause disruption to our usual routine and reduce the amount of social contact we have – preventing us from doing some of the things we enjoy which helps protect and maintain our mental wellbeing.

With today, March 20, being International Day of Happiness, we thought we’d highlight the importance that our furry friends play in our lives as well as share some tips on how to keep them happy and stimulated during these uncertain times.

You can’t beat that fuzzy feeling of returning home after a long stressful day to be welcomed by a loving, attentive furry friend. Having a pet is great for our mental health, wellbeing and happiness.

Whether it’s the extra exercise we get from a long walk with the dog, the anti-stress chemicals released by stroking a cat or the entertainment provided by our rabbits – animals help to reduce anxiety, relax and generally just feel good.

However, it’s not just a feeling, it’s supported by scientific evidence. For a long time, researchers have explored how and why our mental wellbeing is improved by having an animal – considering the impact our pets can have during bereavement, for the elderly and even for people who are homeless.

A study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation with Cats Protection is 2011 found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing (

Due to recent events and the possibility that many of us will be in self-isolation, this will no doubt be affecting our mental health as well as that of our pets.  So, how can you provide additional stimulation to four-legged friend at a time when outside access is restricted:

You can exercise with your pet at home.

Why not try setting up agility activities or teaching your dog something new.

Play games with your pet.

Interacting with your dog or cat will help stimulate their mind and also help to strengthen your bond.  Consider something you could throw, drag or swing to get their attention.

Buy new toys and rotate with their existing ones

There are lots of interactive toys available for both cats and dogs which you could buy ahead of isolation – or even order online and have delivered. By rotating the new and old toys you will keep your pet interested in what they’re playing with.

Play hide and seek

Hiding treats and toys around your home will not only provide mental stimulation but also important exercise at a time when outside access is restricted.

Provide access to light and a window

If you have access to a garden, your pet can continue to get fresh air, light and exposure to different sounds and smells. Set-up a space for them by a window so they can watch the world go by.

Play Pup Fiction
Spotify have launched a ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast’ – which has up to 5 hours of ‘soothing sounds and friendly chat’ which is an ‘aural treat’ for your dog. Check it out.

Donnachie & Townley Vets COVID-19 (coronavirus) update

At Donnachie & Townley, the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, our staff and our community is our number-one priority.

We remain committed to delivering exceptional care to your pet, while doing our part to reduce the spread of respiratory illness (in particular, COVID-19 coronavirus), including careful monitoring of the health and wellbeing of our staff.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken a series of precautionary steps at our practices in response to this outbreak, including increased cleaning, disinfection and access to hand sanitiser for our staff and clients.

Doing our part to keep pets, clients and our staff healthy during COVID-19 (coronavirus)

In addition to the steps we’re taking as a practice to protect everyone who works in and visits our practice, we kindly ask that you take the following precautions:

  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has, or you’re experiencing symptoms (new persistent cough and/or fever), and your pet needs veterinary care, please call us. We will be able to advise you on how your pets can receive the care they need.
  • If you have been self-isolated with COVID-19 and have recently visited one of our practices, please let us know as soon as possible. This is so we can implement measures to protect our staff and other clients, some of whom are elderly or could be more susceptible to illness.
  • If your pet requires urgent veterinary attention, please call us.  We will be able to advise you on how your pets can still receive the care they need.
  • When you arrive, please call our reception team and they will advise when you can enter the practice. If you are told to wait, if you can please wait outside the practice or in your car and the reception team will call you as soon as you can enter.
  • Only 1 client should enter the practice whenever possible.
  • Please limit your time in the waiting area, and maintain at least 6 feet / 2 metres of space between you and other pet owners in common spaces.
  • When possible, schedule appointments in advance to not only reduce your wait time but also enable us to better prepare for your pet’s health needs prior to their arrival.
  • If your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients to avoid visiting their pet.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.
  • We are following the government’s most recent advice regarding the measures we need to take to help control the spread of COVID-19. There’s provision at all of our practices for you to wash your hands when you arrive and before you leave.

Please contact us if you’d like further advice about caring for your pet over the coming months.

Download our poster

Our new location in Stafford

d&t vets in stafford

We have moved and improved our Stafford branch. We’ve relocated to Madford Retail Park, Stafford, ST16 2QY and have invested in new facilities to make sure you’re getting the best service!

To celebrate, we are offering a special promotion at our new site on Madford Retail Park:

  • FREE dental check-up appointment with one of our nurses
  • FREE dental goody bag with every dental check-up
  • 10% off all dental treatments.

Sarah Sheppard, clinical lead at Donnachie & Townley, will be heading up the new site. She said:

“Our new, specially-designed practice will offer three consulting rooms, two fully-equipped operating theatres, diagnostic and imaging services, along with a dental suite.

“This means we will be able to increase our surgical services and treat more complex procedures, ensuring more of our patients can enjoy ongoing care under one roof.

“It’s all part of our continuing commitment to provide excellence in everything we do, combining first class staff with the best possible facilities.”

Come and visit us today! Call 01785 213404 now.

Protect your pet’s teeth with our dental campaign

d&t vets in stafford

Looking after your pet’s pearly whites is extremely important, which is why we’re launching a dental health awareness campaign to provide help, advice and treatment along with some great offers.

Dental disease among cats, dogs and rabbits is one of the most common problems we deal with here at D&T and there are some simple steps all pet owners can take to improve their furry friend’s oral health!

To make looking after your pet’s teeth as easy as possible, we are running a special promotion at our Stafford branch.

  • FREE dental check-up appointment with one of our nurses
  • FREE dental goody bag with every dental check-up
  • 10% off all dental treatments.

What problems can bad oral health cause?

Unfortunately, dental disease is extremely common in pets due to a combination of dietary and genetic factors. Here are some of the issues a bad oral health regime can cause:

  • Without daily brushing, plaque can build up on animals’ teeth. This contains a complex film of bacteria which can be damaging to gums and roots
  • If plaque isn’t removed it can build up and become calcified. The brown substance which can be seen on teeth is tartar, which can allow more bacteria to grow if left untreated
  • Not treating plaque and tartar can eventually lead to toothache, gingivitis (gum infection) and tooth loss. All these conditions can be very painful and you may see your pet having difficulties eating
  • Seemingly harmless items which pets chew on, such as tennis balls, can wear teeth down and leave the root exposed.

If you have any questions about your pet’s teeth, just give us a call!

d&t vets rugeley

We are now a Silver Cat Friendly Clinic

We are extremely proud to announce that we are now an accredited Cat Friendly Clinic and have achieved the silver standard.

The ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation is an internationally-recognised award. It means that we have met criteria to help minimise stress to your cat in our clinic. All of our vets and nurses understand that cats need to be approached in a gentle, calm and empathetic way to minimise their anxiety during their visit to us.

To find out more about what this means to your feline friend, visit

Dental Awareness Campaign

Our free nurse dental checks have proved very popular throughout February so we are continuing our dental campaign until the end of March. If you haven’t had the chance to book your free nurse dental check yet, please call the practice as soon as possible as spaces are filling fast. Our nurses can assess the condition of your animal’s oral health and also advise on cleaning techniques and anti-plaque products available. Don’t forget any dental work carried out this month will also have a 15% discount applied.

Diabetes no reason not to live life to the Max!

Max, a 14-year-old Border Terrier from Staffordshire, is living proof that a diagnosis of diabetes need not be a death sentence for a dog, even for one of mature years.

Thanks to a carefully managed diet, regular injections of insulin given by his owner, Jude Preston, and regular checks at D&T Veterinary Centre, Max continues to live a joyful and active life.

Max was first taken to our surgery at the start of the year after Jude and her partner, Graham, who live near Rugeley, noticed that he was urinating a lot.

Tests revealed he had type 1 canine diabetes, which presents itself in the same way as human diabetes. The pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, meaning a diabetic dog’s body cannot control the levels of sugar in its blood.

Diabetic dogs are also very prone to suffer from other health problems. For Max, that included cataracts that eventually led to him going blind.

However, the most important thing for confirmed animal-lovers Jude and Graham – they have two other dogs and five cats – was that Max should continue to have a first-class quality of life. And they have made that possible by adapting their lives to Max’s needs.

Jude, a lecturer in work psychology at Aston University, said: “You can manage it, you just have to think ahead.”

Max needs two injections of insulin a day, which are administered by Jude after being trained by Donnachie and Townley staff. “It is quite straightforward. The needle is very fine, the thickness of a human hair, and Max doesn’t seem to feel it.”

Max also needs a special diet and his meals have to be taken at 12-hour intervals, plus or minus 30 minutes. That 30-minute variance allows for meal times to be adjusted slowly over time so as to allow for changes in the family’s routine such as working hours or holidays.

Max has regular, day-long check-ups at Donnachie and Townley to monitor the level of sugar in his blood. “Initially, they were weekly,” said Jude, “but as his sugar level stabilised they were needed less frequently, reducing to one every four or even six months.”

However, there have been relapses. “It is important to be alert for even the smallest of changes in his condition as it could be the beginning of something major which requires the attention of a vet,” said Jude.

Although Max has gone blind, he enthusiastically chases around his large, securely fenced garden, relying on his senses of smell and hearing, and plays with his special sensory balls.

The main symptoms of diabetes in dogs are increased urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger and weight loss.

Max’s vet at D&T Veterinary Centre, Laura Hodgkiss, said: “Most pets require injections twice a day, about 12 hours apart, after a meal. Your vet will show you how to give insulin injections and carry out any urine or glucose tests.

“Many pet owners are understandably concerned about giving injections at soon, but soon get the hang of it.

“As Max has shown, with the right medication, most diabetic dogs go on to lead happy and active lives. But there are some health problems that they will be more prone to than dogs without the disease. Like Max, they often develop cataracts rapidly because the sugars affect their eyes. Surgical correction is available but many dogs cope well with loss of sight as their other senses are much more acute than those of humans.”

For more information on Pet Diabetes Month, visit

Just keep swimming

Congratulations to our nurse Bev Hawkins and one of our clients Hayley Birkin for completing a 22 mile channel swim in 8 weeks.

Their challenge was to swim the length of the channel in 12 weeks to help raise money to help change the lives of people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury.

Hayley has managed to raise £150 and Bev has managed to raise £335, a fantastic £485 altogether.

They would both like to take this opportunity to say a great big thank you to everyone who has kindly sponsored them to help raise money for this wonderful cause.

Well done both from us all at D&T Veterinary Centre!


Top tips for keeping your pet safe around bonfire night

Many pets show signs of anxiety in the presence of loud and repetitive noises. We’ve previously shared our guide to identifying the signs of anxiety and fear in your pet and now, with the first celebrations including fireworks just around the corner, you’ll find out top tips to ensure your pet are safe and comfortable around Bonfire Night.

Remember, these tips are just as useful for the Christmas and festive season, all the way through to the New Year.

Top tips for dogs:

1. Walk your dog early to ensure they are back indoors before the fireworks begin

2. Make sure all outside windows are doors are safely closed in case your pet tries to run away

3. Make a den so your dog has somewhere they feel safe and secure:

Den marking tips for dogs:

  • Make the den at least a couple of weeks before the expected fireworks to allow time for familiarisation
  • Choose a room your dog is used to and preferably one you will be in during firework times
  • Use bedding they already have so it has a familiar smell
  • A puppy crate is an ideal starting point if you have one
  • If you don’t have a crate, an enclosed area of the room is helpful, for example a gap between the sofa and the wall
  • Use blankets to cover the den to create an enclosed and darkened area

4. Close curtains to reduce the impact of flashes

5. Put the TV or radio on to drown out the noise of fireworks

6. Make tasty treats or toys available as a distraction

7. Don’t respond to the noise of fireworks yourself

8. Stay calm: try to ignore any reactions your dog makes to the fireworks – they may see this as a sign that you are worried about the noise yourself

9. Consider using a natural calming product available from your vets – ask our team here at D&T Veterinary Centre for more details

10. If your dog shows significant signs of anxiety, feel free to arrange a visit(link to request an appointment form) to the vets to discuss all the options to make sure they are as calm as possible.

Top tips for cats:

1. Make sure your cat is microchipped to increase the chance that you will be reunited if they do get scared and bolt

2. Make sure all outside windows, doors and catflaps are safely closed before the fireworks begin

3. Provide a litter tray in a quiet area of the house. Do this well before the days fireworks or parties are expected so they become familiar with it

4. Close curtains to reduce the impact of flashes

5. Put the TV or radio on to drown out the noise of fireworks

6. Don’t disturb your cat if they find somewhere to hide when the fireworks are going off.

7. Cats find a good hiding space comforting

8. Try to ignore any reactions your cat makes to the fireworks – they may see this as a sign that you are worried about the noise yourself

9. Consider using a natural calming product- ask our team here at D&T Veterinary Centre for more details

10. If your cat shows significant signs of anxiety, feel free to arrange a visit  with our team to the vets to discuss all the options to make sure they are as calm as possible.

If you have any questions or queries relating to your pets and anxiety please contact us on 01889 582023.