The backlash against vets

The other evening I was browsing the internet, reading various vet-related things as part of my ongoing attempts to understand the profession as best I can before I join it. Along the way I found a link to an American site named the “Veterinary Abuse Network” ( As I read further down the page, I became more and more surprised. The website (which cites the First Amendment, a whole host of “disclaimers” and adamant notices that you won’t reproduce any of its content elsewhere) is dedicated to exposing rogue vets who, through carelessness, laziness or implied malicious intent, are harming animals.

I’ll let you make your own decisions about “VAN”. It’s a very emotive page with a lot of case studies and links to sift through. On the one hand, their message is important: if you think your vet is negligent, there need to be avenues through which to report this and seek compensation if there was an adverse effect on your pet. I went back to Google and looked at what you can do if you suspect your vet of negligence. In the UK, this would be dealt with through the civil courts and the Citizens Advice Bureau offer advice on their website. The RCVS state that they usually become involved only in cases of serious professional misconduct. However, don’t suppose that because they aren’t involved in negligence cases the RCVS doesn’t care. Practicing UK vets must be members of the RCVS and made a declaration that “my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care”. The declaration is backed up by detailed codes of conduct.

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Routine treatments: cats

As a follow-up to my post on dogs, here is an overview of the routine treatments typically recommended for cats.


Cats are first vaccinated between 8 and 10 weeks old, with a booster at 12 months and an annual booster each year after that. This vaccination protects against:

  • Feline infectious enteritis (aka distemper or panleukopaenia)
  • Feline herpes virus (aka viral rhintracheitis), a cause of cat flu.
  • Feline calicivirus, another cause of cat flu.
  • Feline leukaemia virus.

You may have heard of FIV or “cat HIV”, properly called Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. FIV affects around 4% of cats in the UK. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or reliable treatment but many FIV-positive cats do live normal lives: you can find out more in this Cats’ Protection information booklet.

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Royal Veterinary College Open Day

Today the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) held their annual open day at the Hereford campus. As well as being one of the world’s best vet schools they also offer a 4-year accelerated graduate programme, so I was keen to find out more and have a look around. I really enjoyed the visit and RVC will definitely be on my UCAS application in the autumn!


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What happens at the slaughterhouse?

One of the unavoidable truths about farming is that most animals are killed before their “natural” lifespan is up at the abattoir. Although their time at the slaughterhouse is brief, this is a time that can have significant animal welfare implications, be they good or bad. Rather than shy away from this point I’ve decided this week to look into how animals are slaughtered and the different ways this can be achieved humanely. Although for a vegetarian this might seem strange it matters a lot to me because almost all of the livestock I ever care or contribute to the care of will end its life in an abattoir. This means it’s important to me that slaughter is done right.

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