Leigh: 01702 478834 Rayleigh: 01268 776883 Thorpe Bay: 01702 584511 office@downesvets.co.uk

Downes Vets Veterinary Services

A little bit about the facilities and services we offer at all three Downes surgeries

At Downes we offer a full range of modern surgical, diagnostic and in-patient facilities.


Established in 1972, Downes has fully equipped surgeries at Leigh, Rayleigh and Thorpe Bay. We have a friendly team of 11 veterinary surgeons, 16 qualified nurses and 13 dedicated receptionists who aim to provide the very best care for your pets.


Our client veterinary services include:



Consultations with one of our team of veterinary surgeons are 15 minutes long and by appointment only (other than in an emergency).

When you make your appointment please ask the receptionist for your preferred veterinary surgeon.

Our computer system ensures that the full clinical records are available at all three surgeries.


Vaccinations2Does your pet need to be vaccinated?

Vaccination is very important for cats, dogs and rabbits – it protects them from all sorts of diseases which could make them very ill or even be fatal. If you haven’t had your pet vaccinated yet, don’t worry – just make sure you talk to one of our vets about it soon.

How is a vaccination given?

Vaccinations are administered by a veterinary surgeon during a 15 minute consultation. During this appointment the veterinary surgeon will also give your pet a full health check and discuss any changes you may have noticed in the past 12 months and any concerns or questions you have about your pet’s health.

Usually a vaccination is given by injection under the skin, although in the case of Kennel Cough vaccine it is squirted into the dog’s nose. Some animals feel some discomfort, but this rarely lasts for long.


Will one vaccination be enough?

No – most certainly not. Cats, dogs and rabbits need regular booster vaccinations throughout their lifetimes. This is very important and we will send you booster vaccination reminders, as and when necessary, to help you to remember to bring your pet in.

Why is a booster necessary?

Although our pets will develop a lasting immunity to the infections against which they are vaccinated, research has shown that this immunity is not lifelong and regular booster vaccinations are necessary to maintain protection.

What to do when you get your pet home from having its vaccination.

You can let your pet have a sleep if it wants to, but it will probably feel fine. Provide food and water it as usual. Your pet may be a little subdued for a few hours, but this should pass very soon.

Make a note on your calendar.

Remember to take your pet back for its booster in 12 months time – it is far too easy to forget, and your pet will be at risk if you do.


Each surgery is equipped with a separate operating theatre where major and minor operations can be carried out.

Routine operations are scheduled weekday mornings, and our qualified nursing team look after the pets before, during and after their operations.

Most operations will be done at the surgery most convenient to you, although some of the more specialised procedures may be referred to one of our other surgeries for the vet with a special interest to perform the operation.

Surgery-1 Surgery-2 Surgery

Visiting Specialists

At Downes vets your pets will always receive the very best healthcare available. If we are unable to deal with a problem in-house, we have specialist vets at our disposal. Below are a list of our current specialist vets and their specific areas of expertise.

specialist-vet-david-williamsDavid Williams

Veterinary Opthalmologist – www.davidlwilliams.org.uk

Before he graduated from Cambridge Veterinary School in 1988, David already knew that he wanted to concentrate on ophthalmology in his professional career. Seeing practice in Solihull, West Midlands, John Heath CertVOphthal MRCVS senior partner in the 608 Veterinary Group captivated David with his enthusaism for the subject.


Before graduating David gained experience with Dr Keith Barnett at the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, an internationally recognised expert in the field. After qualifying David worked as assistant veterinary surgeon and then resident in veterinary ophthalmology at the Trust, before gaining his certificate in veterinary ophthalmology and moving to the Royal Veterinary College to undertake a PhD investigating the pathology of chronic superficial keratitis in the German Shepherd dog (see photo).

Research, Clinical Practice and Teaching

After gaining his PhD David stayed at the RVC, as resident in clinical pharmacology with a particular interest, perhaps not surprisingly, in ocular pharmacology. After two years researching the practical and theoretical aspects of ocular drug delivery, he moved back to the Animal Health Trust for a period as Clinical Investigative Ophthalmologist before completing the circle, as it were, and moving back to Cambridge. Here he is now Associate Lecturer in Veterinary Ophthalmology in the Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, a position he combines with teaching at St John’s College, where he is fellow, Director of Studies in Veterinary Medicine and College Lecturer in Pathology.

Andria Cauvin

Internal Medicine specialist – www.cauvinvetreferrals.co.uk

Andria Cauvin qualified from Glasgow Veterinary school in 1992. After a short spell in small animal practice in Aberdeenshire she returned to Glasgow as an intern in veterinary reproduction, during which time she developed an interest in imaging and completed the RCVS certificate in radiology.

Andria completed her internal medicine residency at the Royal Veterinary College where she spent a further year as a clinician before going back into general practice. Five happy years followed in a large, well-established small animal hospital in Hertfordshire where ultimately she became clinical director.

Personal circumstances and a desire to do more specialist referral work subsequently meant a move to Essex where she has spent the past seven years in a multi-discipline, but mainly oncological, referral centre working up an array of internal medicine cases.

Andria holds the RCVS certificate in small animal medicine and since 2003 has been a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine- Companion Animals and a recognised specialist in this field.

Ewan Ferguson

Veterinary Dermatologist – testhsconsultancy.weebly.com

Ewan Ferguson graduated from the Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh in 1982 and spent several years in companion animal practice in Ealing and later, Wanstead with the Goddard Veterinary Group. He joined the Royal Veterinary College in 1990, obtaining the RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Dermatology in 1993 and entry to the RCVS Specialist Register. He has given numerous presentations at local, national and European and World meetings in the last 15 years and contributed to the BSAVA Manuals. He is a past Secretary of the British Veterinary Dermatology Study Group, past RCVS Dermatology Board member and past Chief Examiner for the RCVS Diploma in Veterinary Dermatology.

He is currently self-employed and runs a secondary and tertiary clinical referral service based at a number of veterinary clinics around London. As a visiting Clinical Specialist, he still contributes to the clinical referral service at the Royal Veterinary College. Together these posts make him one of the few full time clinical veterinary dermatologists in the United Kingdom. He has particular interests in canine atopy, immunotherapy, endocrinology and off piste skiing.

Laboratory Tests

We have invested in state of the art in house laboratory facilities at each surgery, which give same day results for many blood and urine tests allowing rapid diagnosis.

For very sick patients this allows us to obtain test results very quickly and start treatment as soon as possible.

Some tests are sent to an external laboratory for testing, and these samples are collected every weekday from each of our surgeries by courier.


Dental Care

DentalDental health is not only a cosmetic problem. It is also a cause of  serious distress and illness in our pets.

We recommend preventative dental care, such as regular tooth brushing and special diets which help reduce plaque. Our qualified nurses are happy to offer dental advice and demonstrate tooth brushing.

If dental treatment is necessary, each of our surgeries are equipped with a range of dental tools to help keep your pet’s mouth as healthy as possible (see our dental hygiene factsheet).

Nurse Clinics

Nurse-ClinicsOur qualified veterinary nurses offer a number of different clinics to assist our owners in caring for their pets. These include:

6-Month Puppy Checks

This clinic is to help you monitor your puppy’s progress in a number of important areas and to provide you with help and advice on:

  • Weight and development
  • Diet
  • Reproduction and neutering
  • Exercise and training
  • Socialisation
  • Dental care
  • Grooming
  • Parasite control
  • Vaccination
  • Microchipping
  • Insurance

The nurse will give your puppy a general check over and record their weight. You will have ample opportunity to ask any questions that you may have – it is always a good idea to come with these written down in advance so that you don’t forget anything. Should you have any concerns that the nurse is unable to address, then you would be referred back to see one of the veterinary surgeons for further consultation.


thorpe-02Weight Watchers – For Overweight And Underweight Pets

Regrettably our experience is that overweight pets are on the increase. As with us humans, being overweight can be detrimental to your pet’s health and, in the long term, cause health problems that can cost you a lot of money.

Overweight pets run very similar risks to humans of becoming diabetic, having severe joint problems, additional strain on their heart and other vital organs. It often affects their quality of life and can even shorten their life expectancy.

Our nurses are very keen to assist and support you in managing your pet’s weight and during these clinics the nurse will:

  • Weigh your pet.
  • Calculate their body score.
  • Discuss your current feeding habits.
  • Discuss and calculate a new feeding plan.
  • Advise on exercise.

Some pets do have a problem with being underweight, sometimes caused by long-term medical conditions. If your pet falls into this group then our nurses can help you to manage this problem with dietary advice and regular monitoring of your pet’s weight.

Parasite Control Advice

Our nurses can offer advice on how and when to administer, flea, worm and other parasite treatments. They can also administer the treatments for you if you are having difficulty.

In addition to the above services, which are free of charge, the nurses also offer a nail clipping service for a small charge.



Xray-1 Xray

X-rays are an essential tool in the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions, and here at Downes we have up to date x-ray equipment available at all three surgeries.



Ultrasound is a painless, non invasive diagnostic technique which allows us to see inside our patients, without surgery, and usually without even sedation. It can be used to investigate many organs including

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Bladder
  • Kidneys
  • Spleen

Ultrasound technology allows us to watch a patient’s heart beating without surgery or even sedation.



We offer major and minor surgery including dentistry soft tissue surgery and orthopaedics. And in the event your pet needs to stay in for treatment they will be looked after in our comfortable kennels, where our team of veterinary surgeons and qualified nurses will take good care of your pets while they are away from home. For pets that require intensive overnight care we have 24 hour facilities at our Southend Pet Hospital.


Microchipping is a quick, easy and painless one-off injection which places a tiny microchip under the skin of the scruff of the neck. Each microchip carries a unique number which can be read by a portable scanner and will allow the authorities to contact you should your cat become lost.

Microchips can be implanted during a consultation with one of our qualified nurses, or during an appointment with one of our vets.

Why should I have my pet microchipped?

  • The microchip is a permanent means of identifying your pet. Collars and tags, however useful, can easily be lost.
  • Should your pet become lost, the microchip system will help to return him/her to you with the minimum of delay before being re-homed or even destroyed. This is particularly important if your pet is seriously injured.
  • In April 2016 it became a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped.
  • Pets travelling abroad are required to be microchipped as part of the Pet Travel Scheme.

How can I be traced if my pet is found?

Your information is kept for life on our practice computer system and a National Database and the fee for this is included in the cost of the implantation. If your pet is found and its chip number identified, it is a relatively easy matter to reunite you with your pet. The chips comply with the International Standard (ISO) and so can be recognised by scanners abroad.

What if my personal details change?

Whilst the microchip with its unique number will remain with your pet for life, it is possible to update your personal details on the National Database as and when required.

Can microchips have side effects?

A European reporting system which monitors reactions to microchip implantation has failed to identify any significant problems in the last 6 years.

Pet Passports

Hugh Gilmore is an Official Veterinarian (OV) and is able issue and update pet passports.


The Pet Passport allows the entry of your dog, cat or ferret to most members of the European Union without any additional health certification being required. To obtain a Pet Passport, your pet must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Animals must be 3 months old before vaccination takes place.

As of 1st January 2012, the present rules will be changing. Pets travelling from EU Member States and other ‘listed’ (check with DEFRA to see which countries are on this list) countries do not need to have a blood test – they are allowed into the UK 21 days after valid rabies vaccination. For unlisted countries (such as China, India and South Africa), in addition to microchipping and rabies vaccination, the pet will need to pass a blood test – they will then be allowed into the UK four months after the date of vaccination.

Since these rules are subject to change, it remains advisable to contact DEFRA (see details below) to find out exactly what is required.

In addition to the above changes to the present rules there will be no mandatory tick treatment before pets enter the UK. At the time of writing, the rules on tapeworm treatment have not been finalised. It seems reasonable to be safe rather than sorry so we recommend treating for tapeworm as is presently required.

Does quarantine still exist?

Yes. All dogs and cats entering the UK that do not have a valid Pet Passport must enter quarantine. They will then undergo the necessary procedures and waiting period before being released from quarantine. It is essential that clients ensure that all documentation is valid and correct. We will endeavour to help as much as possible by, for instance, sending reminders to keep the rabies vaccination up to date. It will remain your responsibility, however, to ensure that your pet is brought back in order that we may keep the rabies vaccination up to date.

Are there any other diseases you should worry about?

Yes. The requirements of the Pet Passport are designed to prevent certain diseases (especially rabies) being introduced to the UK, rather than preventing your pet from becoming ill itself. There are some serious life-threatening diseases that are common in Europe. Please speak to one of our vets well before travelling as we can advise on the use of preventative treatments to protect your pet while abroad

Where can I get further information?

Please feel free to contact us or go to the link below for an additional useful source of information:


Tel: 0870 241 1710
Monday – Friday 8am to 6pm
(closed bank holidays)