Well-equipped R.C.V.S.-accredited 24-hour veterinary hospital
RCVS- Accredited Veterinary Hospital & Branch Practices
At Priory Veterinary Group, we pride ourselves on going the extra mile to provide the very best care for your pets, 24 hours a day.
We are the only Accredited Veterinary Hospital in East Dorset to run its own out-of-hours service. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (R.C.V.S.) regulate and accredit veterinary hospitals by conducting rigorous inspections and setting high standards. Our Christchurch hospital holds the highest possible accreditation that can be awarded.
We are also proud to have two R.C.V.S.-accredited branches, which allow us to offer more routine appointments at convenient times and locations. We have a fully integrated centralised booking system that allows our team to have access to your pet’s clinical notes wherever (and whenever) we see them!
If you would like to know more about how we are inspected, and what the different categories mean, please click here: Categories of accreditation – Animal Owners (rcvs.org.uk)
Our Facilities and Equipment
We are constantly investing in our facilities and equipment, to ensure we can continue to offer you and your pet the highest standards of care, with access to:
24 hour Nursing Cover
Our own nurses are on-site to care for inpatients 24 hours a day, meaning that no patient or client has to travel to alternative locations for out-of-hours care, and the attending vet always has full access your pet’s clinical history. Click here for more information about our hospitalisation services.
Intensive Care Facilities
Our 24/7 emergency care is provided from our Christchurch hospital, where we have everything we need to treat critically ill patients, including oxygen therapy, ECG and blood pressure monitoring equipment, intravenous fluid therapy systems and patient warming devices.
- Priory has separate dedicated ward facilities for cats and dogs, to minimise stress and provide comfortable accommodation during their recovery.
- Feliway diffusers and snuggly igloos are just some of additional measures we take to make our hospitalisation facilities as cat friendly as possible.
- We have dedicated wards and inpatient nurses each day, who will spend time to get to know your pet so that we can meet all their needs, (including the TLC that is so important to our patients recovery) and our 24 hour nursing provision ensures quality care throughout your pets treatment.
We have a dedicated isolation unit, separate from the main kennels and cattery to house patients who are potentially infectious. Pets who are in isolation are cared for by an individual nurse who will be wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to ensure there is containment of any contagion, without compromising on these patients’ veterinary care. Best-practice cleaning protocols are also in place to maximise safety.
All our consult rooms are well-equipped with everything our vets and nurses need to examine and treat your pet effectively, with minimal stress.
- We have 2 fully equipped theatres for sterile procedures, including one with advanced laparoscopic facilities and an operating microscope.
- We have a dedicated dental suite, fitted with all the equipment required for a thorough dental service, including digital dental X-Ray which allows us to take good quality images without long processing times. Dental radiography helps us diagnose dental disease below the gum line and choose the best surgical technique when extractions are indicated.
- All our theatres have hospital-standard anaesthetic multiparameter monitoring equipment including capnography, pulse oximeter and blood pressure monitoring.
- We have an on-site laboratory at our Christchurch hospital, which houses equipment for running blood tests, including biochemistry, haematology and lungworm detection tests as well as urine analysis and cytology.
- The ability to run samples immediately and at any time of the day is an excellent aid for our vets, giving real-time information which allows us to identify health concerns and commence treatment sooner.
Ultrasound & Echocardiography
- We have 2 high-quality ultrasound machines at our Christchurch hospital, which allow us to image an animal’s cavities and internal organs in a safe and non-invasive way.
- Ultrasound can be an invaluable aid when treating emergencies, to identify issues such as internal bleeding, sepsis and heart failure, amongst others.
- Our machines both have doppler capability which allow examination of the blood-flow through vessels, for more in-depth investigations.
- We have a dedicated room for heart scans (which is dark and quiet) with a purpose-built table, to make it as stress-free and comfortable as possible for our patients. For more information on our Cardiology service, please visit our Cardiology Referral page.
- X-ray is a useful, non-invasive tool to identify skeletal injuries e.g. fractures, as well as assess bony changes that may indicate spinal or joint disease. We also use it to look for changes in lung patterns, which may indicate diseases like pneumonia or heart failure, and to assess the abdominal organs including their size, position and identification of radio-dense contents such as foreign bodies or urinary stones.
- We have invested heavily in a DR-digital X-ray. This type of machine removes the need for manual processing, and therefore reduces the time our patients are under sedation/general anaesthetic. It also enables us to store your pet’s images in a readily accessible way for future assessments.
Endoscopy is a minimally invasive way of viewing some areas inside your pet’s body using a specialised camera. We have both flexible and rigid endoscopes which allow us to examine areas such as inside the upper gastrointestinal tract and upper airways. Patients require a general anaesthetic for this procedure, which is most commonly performed to obtain minimally invasive biopsies or remove foreign bodies – from grass seeds to socks!
In some circumstances, it may be best for your pet to be admitted to our hospital for a procedure, or where intensive nursing is required, e.g. where treatment at home is not an option. All our patients are hospitalised at our Christchurch hospital, where we have inpatient nursing staff on site, 24 hours a day, with a dedicated duty out-of-hours vet.
We understand how worrying it is when your pet has to stay at the vets, which is why we endeavour to make sure you are kept fully updated with their progress. Rest assured, our team are brilliant at offering patients lots of love and TLC….in fact we often get quite attached!
Standard hospitalisation includes:
- EAll food and bedding (if your pet is on a special diet, we may ask you to bring some in for continuity).
- ERegular nurse checks, including overnight checks if staying in.
- ERegular IV catheter checks, including re-bandaging.
- EFrequent blood pressure checks.
- EUse of specialised equipment, e.g. fluid pumps for accurate intravenous fluid administration and fluid warmers/heat mats to keep patients warm.
- ERegular trips to the garden (dogs only) to stretch their legs and do their business.
- EThe vet in charge of a patient will perform a minimum of twice-daily clinical checks, and have ongoing communications with the inpatient nurse throughout.
- EDaily updates on your pet’s progress by the vet in charge of their case.
Animals admitted to our hospital overnight, are cared for by an inpatient nurse who is on-site at all times, acting under the direction of the duty Veterinary Surgeon. We hold ward rounds between 1700-1800hrs, when all the patients are examined and discussed prior to the night shift. The duty vet will decide on the level of monitoring that each inpatient needs, and instruct the inpatient nurse accordingly.
The duty vet will not be resident in the hospital all night, but will visit inpatients as and when they deem it necessary or if requested by the duty nurse. The duty nurse will either be in the cattery, kennels or prep room as needed, or will be upstairs in the overnight accommodation.
Inpatients will only be left ‘alone’ in the hospital (i.e. with the duty nurse upstairs) if it is deemed appropriate by the duty staff. It is standard procedure for animals to be regularly monitored until midnight, checked between 0300-0400hrs and then monitored again from 0600-0700hrs, even if they are not critical cases. If an animal is critically ill, it will be observed and nursed intensively all night (please note this is extremely labour intensive and as such additional ‘intensive nursing’ charges may apply.)