COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – an update for our clients.

Why not book your pets next appointment using our online booking system.

Did you know that booking routine vaccinations, non-urgent veterinary consultations and recheck appointments (including prescription medication check ups) at your preferred Garston surgery can be done using our online appointment booking form. If you are wanting to arrange a more urgent appointment, an appointment for more than one animal, or to see a specific veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse then please call your surgery.

Please also ring us if you cannot find an online appointment slot that suits your needs.

Please note – Consultations to arrange Animal Health Certificates for travel overseas can ONLY be arranged by phone – online bookings can’t be made for this type of complex appointment.

Garston clients can also pay your bill online. To do this, you just need to know your postcode, email address and the last 4 digits of your account reference number which can be found on your invoice or statement.

Not only can you use all of our online services 24/7, but by doing so, you are also helping other clients who may be struggling to get through to our telephone team in an emergency.

Winter weight management

Has your pony waddled in from the summer paddock looking a little too well? Or is he looking great having gained some condition after a few months of good grazing?

Either way, feeding your horse to lose or maintain body weight through the winter can be challenging. Horses living in the wild experience a natural fluctuation in body weight. They spend the summer gaining body fat on good grazing so during the shortage of grass in the winter, they have plenty of fat stores to burn to survive. However, many domesticated horses avoid this natural fluctuation in weight. They easily gain weight on good pasture during the summer, but we stop them using up these fat stores in the winter by giving them additional food, keeping them warm with rugs and shelter, and often reduce the amount of exercise they do because riding becomes impractical with the short days.

In the other extreme, some horses appear to lose their condition during Winter despite all of our domesticated habits and efforts. It is well known that some breed types, such as natives, hold onto body condition extremely well and other more hot blooded breeds seem to drop weight very easily. What is more, some horses have underlying dental or health conditions that mean they require more calories or more readily available calories once the energy content in the grass declines and grass growth rate reduces.

It is always a good idea to monitor your horse’s weight using a weight tape. If your horse is overweight, trying to achieve weight loss in the summer is a real challenge especially if they are grazing. Using the winter months to take control of your horses’ weight by restricting their food intake and increasing their energy output by wearing fewer rugs and exercising as much as possible to get them leaner by the spring, means they have less risk of becoming obese and developing diseases such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and laminitis during the summer.

Our vets can advise you on a weight loss plan to ensure your horse loses weight at a healthy rate. For horses that easily drop condition without good grazing, winter can be a struggle to keep them looking well. This could be due to their breed, but it is always important in these cases to ensure there are no underlying diseases preventing them getting the maximum nutrition from the food you are giving. Having a chat to one of our vets about their worming history, as well as a general clinical and dental examination to rule out any underlying condition is strongly advised for any horse prone to winter weight loss.

Feeding unrestricted hay or haylage rations as the grazing starts to reduce, alongside supplementing with hard feed high in fats and oil, with increased rugging and stabling in bad weather can make a real difference to these horses.

If you have any queries about how much your horse should weigh or have concerns about them being over or under weight, please contact one of our equine vets for some advice.

Sheep and parasitology

Our farm vet Emily attended a sheep and cattle parasitology course at SRUC in Edinburgh recently. Here is an insight in to what she learnt and current worming advice:

Autumn is the time of year to be reviewing your farm’s parasite risk and discuss housing doses of anthelmintic for worms and fluke. Using housing treatments prevents pasture contamination at turnout and removes the impact of a worm burden on appetite and daily weight gain. It is important to time your fluke doses correctly as some products will only be effective against mature fluke so a combination product isn’t always the right choice.

We are seeing a lot of lungworm this year so act quickly if you notice coughing in grazed cattle or even symptoms as subtle as condition loss, faster than normal breathing or reduced milk yields. Cattle are particularly susceptible in late summer and autumn after protection from long acting wormers has ceased. Parasite control is all about limiting the exposure of the most vulnerable animals to burdens of infective larvae on pasture via grazing management and appropriate anthelmintic treatments. However, with lungworm we also have an effective vaccine that can protect your cattle throughout the season.

Contact us for more information or to discuss the best parasitology protocol for your farm.

Dog friendly days out in Wiltshire and Somerset this December

The run-up to Christmas is usually a busy time spent out and about shopping for gifts & decorations and seeing friends & family. But does this mean your dog has to spend more time home alone? Dogs thrive on attention and time with their favourite human companions. A bored and lonely dog can develop behavioural issues like destroying your belongings, excessive barking, and soiling indoors.

The solution? Dog friendly days out!

This way, you can spend time with your dog AND tick off your pre-Christmas to-do-list at the same time. Our Portway team have listed some ideas for dog friendly places below; it’s a good idea to check the website and reviews to ensure they are dog friendly before setting off.

You can help other dog owners in and around Mells, Rode, and Westbury, by sharing your favourite dog friendly days out on Instagram and tagging us in.

Garston Vets’ top ideas for places you can take your dog:

  • Cafés, restaurants & pubs – With so many dog-friendly options in Wiltshire and Somerset, why not persuade your friends to meet you at one of them so your dog can hang out too? Remember though, six hours sat under a table in a rowdy pub while you drink and talk with your friends isn’t ideal either. We suggest reading some reviews first to see if the establishment is a good fit for you all.
  • Pet shops – Pottering around your local pet shop is a great way to make both you and your dog happy. While you’re buying pet products for your dog and as presents for your pet-loving friends, your dog can be basking in the heavenly smells a pet shop has to offer.
  • Garden centres – Many garden centres these days are dog friendly and of course free to visit. You can often get some lovely Christmas gifts there and enjoy some tea & cake. Your dog will enjoy wandering around, taking in the interesting sights and smells.
  • Markets & shops – Some fantastic Christmas gifts can be purchased at outdoor markets. Dogs are normally welcome but be careful if they are wary of large crowds. Plus, we bet there are more dog-friendly shops in Wiltshire and Somerset than you might think, where you can take your pal for a walk while you shop.
  • Dog parks & countryside walks – Catch up with friends and family by going for a dog walk. Everyone gets some fresh air and exercise, and your dog gets to be by your side.
  • Dog friendly attractions – You may be surprised how many places you can find to take your dog by searching for ‘dog friendly days out near me’. Perfect for that festive fix!
  • Dog friendly holidays – If you’re planning a Christmas break, check out the wide variety of dog friendly accommodation on websites like Airbnb and research local dog friendly attractions before you visit too.

To ensure you are welcomed back to these places time and time again, our team recommends:

  1. Cleaning up and disposing of your dog’s poops.
  2. Keeping your dog on a lead (unless you see a sign saying otherwise) and under control.
  3. Being courteous to business owners and other visitors by not letting your dog eat or urinate on any goods, furniture, or decorations.

We hope you enjoy some fun times with your canine companion this Christmas. Don’t forget to tag garston_veterinary_group in your dog friendly places photos.

If your dog has been spending more time home alone lately and you notice any unusual behaviours, book a Vet appointment with our team.

Christmas Opening Hours at Garston Veterinary Group

Seasonal surgery opening hours

Christmas Eve 24th December – 8am – 5pm

Christmas Day 25th December – Emergency team

Boxing Day 26th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Monday 27th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Tuesday 28th December – Emergency team

Wednesday 29th December – Normal opening hours

Thursday 30th December – Normal opening hours

New Years Eve 31st December – 8am – 5pm

New Years Day 1st January – Emergency team

Sunday 2nd January – Emergency team

Monday 3rd January – Emergency team

Tuesday 4th January – Normal opening hours

Please remember to place food and repeat prescription orders by Tuesday 21st December 2021

Emergency Care

As a client of Garston Vets you can feel confident that we are always available to deal with any pet emergency that may arise, day or night, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

We are one of the few practices in Somerset & Wiltshire that operate our own out of hours emergency service on-site at our accredited small animal hospital at Garston House in Frome.

Our hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, looking after sick and injured patients or those requiring post-operative observational care – your pets are never left alone. It is the same cohesive team of vets and nurses that look after your animals out-of-hours as you will meet during the day at any of our practices. Our computerised patient records from all our surgeries are securely linked via internet servers, so we have access to all your pets clinical records whatever time of the day.

If you have a pet emergency please call us on 01373 452225

Seasonal opening hours for Garston farm & equine clients

Seasonal surgery opening hours

Christmas Eve 24th December – 8.30am – 5pm

Christmas Day 25th December – Emergency team

Boxing Day 26th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Monday 27th December – Emergency team

Bank Holiday Tuesday 28th December – Emergency team

Wednesday 29th December – Normal opening hours

Thursday 30th December – Normal opening hours

New Years Eve 31st December – 8.30am – 5pm

New Years Day 1st January – Emergency team

Sunday 2nd January – Emergency team

Monday 3rd January – Emergency team

Tuesday 4th January – Normal opening hours

Please remember to place repeat drug orders by Tuesday 21st December 2021

Emergency Care

As a client of Garston Vets you can feel confident that we are always available to deal with any veterinary emergency that may arise, day or night, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

If you have a pet emergency please call us on 01373 451115

Garston Cat Friendly Clinics are now available

At Garston Vets, we understand how different the needs of our feline patients are to those of dogs. From getting in the car to being in a new environment with different sights, sounds, smells, and people, a visit to the vets can be somewhat stressful for the majority of cats. That is why we have put special measures in place that has allowed us to achieve the status of Cat Friendly Clinic from the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) – the veterinary division of the worldwide feline charity iCatCare.

Cat-friendly appointments

Most cats are very happy in our spacious waiting rooms, however, to support nervous cats we offer designated cat-friendly appointment times at all our surgeries, on the following days of the week:

Our cat-only appointment times include veterinary consultations and nurse appointments, and keeping our waiting areas dog-free reduces potential stresses for cats and owners (Note: if we do have any dog emergency cases during these times we will let you know on arrival).

Contact us to book a cat friendly appointment slot

Cat-friendly services

Our many veterinary services for cats include important annual feline vaccinations and a health check with the vet, comprehensive parasite protection for cats to help keep fleas, worms & ticks at bay, and nurse clinics for weight & diet, dental care, and feline diabetes. Your cat could also benefit from our Cat Wellness Plan – find out more.

Our surgeries where we admit animals for the day to perform operations, or to hospitalise them overnight, all have separate heated catteries situated a long way away from our kennel rooms for dogs. That really adds to being cat friendly!

Top tips for how to get your cat into a basket

Read our team’s advice on how you can help your cat remain calm for a trip to the vets:

  • Get your cat accustomed to their carrier or basket – keep it out at home as part of the furniture for them to sleep in, and you can even feed your cat inside.
  • Use a top-opening carrier for lifting your cat in and out more easily.
  • Cover the top with a blanket to help hide new sights, sounds, and smells.
  • Handle your cat’s carrier gently, secure it well within your car, and drive carefully.
  • Use a pheromone spray or keep a piece of clothing or material from home that smells familiar inside the carrier.
  • On arrival move to a corner of the waiting room and keep your cat carrier off the floor – we have supplied special cat shelving in our waiting areas for this purpose. If you prefer you can always let us know you have arrived, and then wait in your car with your cat until your appointment time.
Getting your rabbit pre-winter ready

Rabbits are experts at hiding illness, so daily and weekly checks at home should be backed up with regular visits to see one of our nurses. Whilst the exact frequency of your furry friend’s vet visits will depend on a number of factors, we normally remind owners in spring and autumn. Ideally, we’ll get to see your rabbit at least once a year and just before winter is an ideal time to make sure they’re prepared for the colder months ahead.

Typical vet visits for your rabbit may involve annual vaccinations and dental check-ups, but it’s useful to remind owners what they should be looking for in between vet visits.

Below is a list of the essential areas we check when you bring your pet rabbit to our surgeries. We’re sharing this because rabbits are generally pretty good at keeping themselves clean, so if you spot anything mentioned in this list, it really is worth bringing them in.

Seven essential things for your rabbit health check list

  1. EyesYour rabbit’s eyes should be clear, bright, and free of discharge. Pull up the eyelid and the eye tissue should be pink. If it’s red or pale, or there is discharge from the eyes, call us.
  2. EarsThe inside of your rabbit’s ears should be clean and clear of wax/dirt. Check inside the ear with a penlight. Ask us to show you how to clean your rabbit’s ears on your next visit.
  3. NoseThis is really simple; your rabbit’s nose should be free of any discharge whatsoever. If you do see discharge from the nose, call us.
  4. TeethThese are really important. Check your rabbit’s teeth by carefully pulling the upper and lower lips back. You should see the upper front teeth aligning with the lowers and a slight overbite. If the teeth are too long or the bite isn’t good, we may need to trim them, and we’ll probably need to talk to you about their diet.
  5. FeetThe most common problem with a rabbit’s feet is sore hocks or heels. If you see foot sores, especially open sores, call us.
  6. NailsNails shouldn’t be too long. If they are, then it’s a simple job to clip them at home. Ask us to show you how to safely clip your rabbit’s nails on your next visit.
  7. Fur & SkinYour rabbit’s coat should be soft, shiny, and free of matted hair. If you back-brush the coat with your hand, the skin should be clear of dust and flakes.


As well as the essential list above, if you bring your rabbit in for a pre-winter health check-up we’ll be looking at areas such as their mobility, and talking to you about their eating and toileting behaviours. If you’re not sure when they were last seen, or, if you know it was over a year ago due to the disruption in 2020/21, then please do book an appointment.

Six actions cat owners across Wiltshire and Somerset should take to prepare for fireworks season


In a survey conducted by the PDSA, 40% of pet owners said their pets feared fireworks. The fact is, fireworks are not just limited to the weekends around Bonfire Night (November 5th) anymore.

Our ‘Cat Friendly Advocates’ here at Garston Vets have put together some seasonal advice for cat owners across Wiltshire and Somerset on how to help their pets cope with the now year-round risks posed by loud and sudden noises.

If none of the ‘natural’ measures recommended below do the trick, you should talk to us about other options like pheromone sprays and diffusers for cats. These remedies can help even the most nervous cats.

Enquire about pheromone sprays for cats

The problem with sudden noises, like fireworks, is that they put your cat into ‘fight or flight’ mode. More often than not this means they bolt off, increasing their chances of getting lost or injured. These behaviours are more prevalent at times of the year when sudden noises are everywhere, but they can actually be triggered at any time.

Use the tick list below and follow our advice to maximise the chances of your cat surviving a sudden noise scare in one piece.

Four things to do when you know it’s going to be noisy

  • Encourage earlier meal times. We recommend introducing earlier mealtimes for your cat around the middle to end of October as it starts to get dark earlier. This should get them into the routine of coming back into the house before it’s dark and the noises start.
  • Keep your cat indoors when it’s dark & noisy. When you know it’s going to be noisy, keeping them indoors at night reduces the risk of them getting injured if they bolt. Restrictions like this can be stressful for cats so you should let them back out to roam when it’s safe.
  • Do not try to coax your cat out of hiding. If your cat has been spooked by the noise and is hiding, leave them where they are. A searching hand will not be welcome and it’s better to let cats ‘sit it out’ where they feel safe.
  • Give them a treat. A stuffed chew-toy or a puzzle-ball can keep cats occupied for hours. Any novel stimulation can help take their mind off noise, which can significantly reduce stress.

Two actions to help cats with noise phobias year-round

  • Tag and microchip. Ensuring your cat is both microchipped and wears an identity tag, makes it much easier for you to be reunited if the noise has caused them to run to un-familiar surroundings.
  • Create a safe space. A natural reaction when any animal is scared is for them to retreat to their ‘den’. You should provide a safe, comfortable, and quiet space for every pet – including cats.

If all else fails – consider cat pheromones

Just as with dogs, pheromone diffusers can be used to help calm even the most stressed cat when things get really bad. Diffusers can take a couple of weeks to take effect so it’s important to start using them in advance of known noisy periods, or as soon as you notice your cat becoming anxious.

If the natural steps listed above don’t quite do the trick, contact our practice on 01373 452225 to discuss your cat’s particular needs.

Frome Market Health Hub – A new service for farmers

A new service could help save the lives of busy farmers putting off a trip to the doctors.

Frome Market Health Hub will give farmers, their families, and agricultural workers free access to confidential health checks, without the need to book an appointment.

Hundreds of rural workers attend Frome Livestock Market auctions every week and the hub, launched by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (SFT), based within the market site, will open its clinic on the second Wednesday morning of every month – the first clinic being held on Wednesday, October 13 between 9.00am and 1.00pm. The SFT believes the hub will provide an important gateway for the farming community who are often the hardest to reach through traditional health service channels, and the hope is that farmers will make use of the drop-in clinic which is deliberately located at the market in what is the heart of their business and social lives.

NHS Operational Manager for the Health Hubs, Jane Fitzgerald, said: “We recognise farmers and farm workers often put the health and welfare of their livestock above that of their own wellbeing and will often put off seeking help, when it could help to save their life. “This is a great opportunity for those living and working in rural areas to access free health checks in a place and time which is convenient to them.”

Frome Market Health Hub will also be the base for additional, independently run clinics being scheduled for specialist problems on a rolling programme. Separately funded Foot Clinics will be held twice monthly, thanks to a grant from Somerset Community Foundation, again free of charge for farmers and with no need for prior appointments.

Health Hub clinics will rely on volunteers from farming and community-based charities like Farming Community Networks (FCN) and the Mendip Health Connectors, to give guidance on any long-term support farmers may need, as well as to spread the news amongst the South West’s agricultural community.

Service lead for Mendip Health Connections, Jenny Hartnoll, said: “It will be a pleasure to get to know farmers at the market and for the Health Connectors to become familiar faces there. “We know how important it is for farmers to have access to health care and advice that’s right there, without needing an appointment. We are delighted to play a part in telling them all about the Health Hub, and the services available to them.”

FCN’s Suzie Wilkinson, who has been involved in a similar health project at Sedgemoor market, added: “We know from our own experience that farmers really appreciate this excellent service which is free and available regularly. Farmers were grateful the nurses really understood their way of life, with all its daily stresses, and didn’t turn up their noses at dirty wellies.”

Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, said the Frome project was only made possible thanks to businesses and organisations like Mole Valley Farmers and Frome Livestock Auctioneers (FLA). She said: “From Mole Valley Farmers, who have given marketing and creative professionalism, to the treatment rooms made available by Frome Livestock Auctioneers; together with all the help and advice given voluntarily by those who feel passionately that we need to do more to help our farmers. “Being able to support our farming and rural community in this way is a first-class example of a public and voluntary sector collaboration – testament to the hard work and team effort of everyone involved. “Livestock markets are an integral part of the farming community. Not only are they a place of business but a place for farming families to catch up with friends and family, so siting a health clinic at these locations makes absolute sense.”

Mole Valley Farmers Head of Organisational Safety and Wellbeing, Lorna Filby, said: “Farmers’ physical and emotional health and wellbeing are often put to one side as the important task of managing the farm takes over. “Farming can be a very isolating and lonely occupation, with many farm workers spending long hours alone, working in remote locations and leaving them with very little time to access healthcare. “In the farming community emotional health is often overlooked yet it is one of the biggest threats the industry faces. With additional challenges from the Coronavirus pandemic these are testing times for the agricultural sector.”


Frome Market Health Hub will be open on the second Wednesday of each month in conjunction with the livestock market’s key sale dates:

· October 13

· November 10

· December 8

· January 12

· February 9

· March 9

For dates of Wednesday foot clinics at the market, please see the FLA Market Report which will have regular updates.



Business organisations supporting FMHH are:

Frome Livestock Auctioneers Ltd

Mole Valley Farmers Ltd

Old Mill Accountants

Cooper & Tanner

Symonds & Sampson Auctioneers

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