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13 Mar 2018

Chocolate and Raisins Poisoning

We have just survived the last that the winter had installed for us. With Easter approaching we have lots of nice things to look forward to: all that chocolate and hot cross buns. But please be careful as our little companions lover these too yet they are highly toxic.

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which primarily affects the nervous system, cardiovascular system (heart and circulation) and urination. In high enough doses, it can be toxic to all species, including humans! Fortunately for us, chocolate contains a small enough quantity that humans can usually process it without a problem, however metabolism of theobromine from chocolate and cocoa is slow in the dog compared to their owners. The onset of clinical signs of chocolate toxicity is usually seen within 24 hours but more likely within four hours. Once seen the signs may persist for up to 72 hours.

The signs to watch out for if your dog has eaten too much chocolate include:

  • Increased excitability / irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Increased urination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Severe intoxication, seizures, cardiac arrest and death can occur

Chocolate is also toxic for cats, but it is rarely a problem for them as cats do not generally like the taste

For a 10 kg dog such as a West Highland Terrier, potentially toxic levels can be reached by eating only 60 grams of cooking chocolate.


Your dog should be seen immediately by your veterinarian, but you will need to call your veterinarian first to find out if there is immediate care that you begin with. It is common practice to induce vomiting and control any seizures, should they occur. In the meantime, you will need to keep your dog cool, calm, and in a quiet space.

Fluids will be given to keep your dog to keep it hydrated as its condition improves. To avoid any further problems, it should be fed a bland diet for several days.


It is crucial to your pet’s health to keep chocolate products out of their reach, as there is no antidote to chocolate toxicity. Dogs unfortunately will NOT learn from their mistakes on this occasion. In fact “repeated offenders” are extremely common. Please make sure you keep chocolate out of their reach.


Raisin poisoning

Grape and raisin poisoning will usually cause dogs to develop some combination of the following symptoms:


Vomiting/diarrhoea often within a few hours of ingestion. Vomit and fecal contents material may contain pieces of grapes or raisin.

Loss of appetite

Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness


No urine passed or only small amount passed

Bad breath or mouth ulcers






Grape and/or raisin ingestion – even small amounts can be toxic for some dogs while other dogs can ingest relatively large amounts without developing obvious symptoms. The toxic agent has not yet been identified but appears to be associated with the flesh of the fruit. In other words, peeled and/or seedless grapes are still toxic.

Immediate Treatment

This is an emergency, needing immediate treatment. If you are positive that your dog ingested grapes or raisins within the last two hours, you will need to induce vomiting as soon as possible, before all the toxins in the fruit can be absorbed.

5 Feb 2018


A very common spring flower to bright up gardens and parks at this time of year is crocus (Crocus species). The flowers may be orange, yellow, violet or blue and the petals can be veined violet or white. This plant is considered to be of low toxicity (saffron, which is used to flavour and colour a variety of foods, is actually the dried flower parts of a crocus species [Crocus sativus]). Ingestion of crocus may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset, and severe signs are not expected.
This spring flowering crocus is not to be confused with autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), which flowers in the autumn and contains colchicine, a toxic compound

With the festivities over and spring (almost) upon us it is nearly the start of adder season. We have already had our first few calls regarding an adder bite. Snakes hibernate during the winter months but are commonly seen during the spring and throughout the summer months. The European adder generally will only bite when provoked. Not all bites result in envenomation, but still can elicit a painful response.
Local effects – The majority of dogs will develop local effects and painful swelling may occur within minutes of the bite and can last several days. Puncture wounds may be visible and may weep exudate. If the bite is to the face the swelling may affect the animal’s ability to eat and drink and to thermoregulate.
Systemic effects – Systemic effects include lethargy, bruising, hypersalivation, vomiting and diarrhoea, panting, tachypnoea and lameness (if bitten on a limb). Shock, collapse and hypotension can occur. Other signs can include haematological, renal, hepatic and cardiac. Death is uncommon.
Treatment is supportive with IV fluids, analgesia (preferably opioid analgesia), an antihistamine and antivenom. Routine use of an antibiotic is not required as infection is not common. Steroids must not be given where antivenom is to be used. We can offer specific advice on the use of antivenom and information on obtaining antivenom is available on our website.
If you are interested in confirming a suspected adder bite we can help with the arrangements. There is no cost as this is an unvalidated assay, done for research purposes. Just give us a call for details. A blood sample must be taken BEFORE antivenom is administered.

9 Jan 2018

Veterinary Awards Nominations

This Year’s Pet Plan Nominations have been announced. We are delighted and very proud that hard work and dedication of our members of staff have been recognised Well done!

22 Dec 2017



I would just like to say a “BIG” thank you to all our lovely clients at our Gordon House surgery who have purchased my candle cups during 2017 that I display on the waiting room mantlepiece. Your kindness and generosity means a lot

Also I must convey my grateful thanks  to the clients who bring me in cups and other vestibules for me to use.

This year I raised £148 which will go towards the care of the cats and kittens in the care of Camberley & District Cats Protection.

Thanks again and have a lovely Christmas.

Best wishes, Debbie

Reception Manager at Blackwater Valley Vets.


20 Dec 2017

Our Christmas and New Year Opening TImes

13 Dec 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

We wish all our patents families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It’s the time of celebrations and family get togethers. Please don’t forget that this is also the time of increased possibility for your pets getting hold of foods that shouldn’t. These are some of the most common problem causing foods at Christmas:


Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings

These are synonymous with Christmas. However, they contain grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas that are toxic to dogs– which means no mince pies for your dog! Also keep them out of animals reach.


Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, a bit like caffeine, which, while tasty, is severely poisonous to cats and dogs. This can cause excitement or even seizures. Unfortunately, dogs love chocolate and will help themselves if they can get to it.

Blue Cheese

While delicious to us, blue cheese contains a substance called roquefortine C, which dogs are extremely sensitive to.


At this time of year, we often cook far more meat than usual, and this normally results in more bones lying about. Once cooked all bones become brittle and splinter easily. This can lead to larger fragments getting ‘stuck’ causing obstructions. But smaller pieces can also cause gut irritation and perforation

Macadamia nuts

Often lurking in biscuits or eaten as a Christmas snack, these nuts cause severe illness in dogs. Within 12 hours of ingestion macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness — especially in the hind limbs — depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia, which is increased body temperature.


Keep an eye on your pets when you are drinking alcohol to make sure they don’t try and steal any. Also, be aware of foods that contain alcohol such as alcoholic chocolates.

Keep the safe and have a wonderful Christmas.

Yours Blackwater Valley Vets


30 Oct 2017

November is our Dental awareness month – Free Dental checks

Dental problems are the most common health problem of our pets!  About 3/4 of middle aged and senior dogs and cats are affected. However, it is often overlooked and poorly understood.
In November we are offering FREE dental checks by our qualified nurses. We are also offering 20% off dental procedures.
Common signs of dental problems in dogs and cats are:

• Smelly breath

• Salivating
• Pain when mouth is touched
• Reluctance to play with toys
• Inflamed/red gums
• Rubbing or pawing at the mouth

Please don’t let your pets suffer quietly have them checked by our qualified nurses if you suspect it

13 Oct 2017

Intermittent problems with phone lines at our Frimley Green branch

Note to our dear clients: We are having intermittent problems with phone lines at our Frimley Green branch – Elm Cottage (01252 837154) This means that although they sound like thy are ringing, the line is at times dead. Engineers are working on it.

In the meantime, if there is no reply please call our Camberley branch on 01276 22193 and our staff will be able to help you.

We apologise for any inconvenience

5 Oct 2017

When we are young, we have vaccinations, and puppies, kittens & rabbits are no different. However, pets need an annual top up of vaccinations for lasting protection from nasty diseases. We offer healthplans that, for a monthly fee, will help you spread the cost of preventative healthcare. We’ll also remind you when things are due so you don’t forget. #iLoveicareiProtect

Preventative healthcare is an important part of looking after your pets. We offer healthplans to help you spread the cost of the treatments that protect your pet from diseases and parasites. Ask us about our plans and what they include.  #iLoveicareiProtect

6 Sep 2017

We have a new and much improved Pet Health Club

We have a new and much improved Pet Health Club

We have managed to negotiate better prices and pass savings to our customers resulting in much better deals, and the latest drugs being included in your pets preventative health care. (includes Lungworm protection).

Have a look and give us a ring to see exactly how much you can save

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What You’re Saying

I was very happy with the care my cats received…the vet gave me a great deal of time and treated my girls like his own. I also received a lot of help from the head nurse who gave me a diet plan to follow which has helped them lose weight. They are now a lot healthier and much more active.

Miss R Gardner

Our practices

Gordon House Vet Centre, Camberley

Elm Cottage Vet Centre, Frimley Green