Please don’t let Brexit be Vet – exit

As parliament returns this blog that I wrote earlier this year still stands – we have an amazing international community that make veterinary a global community and provide so much great care for our animals.

Read my experiences and thoughts on Brexit here

#planetrvn – ranked in the best vlogs in the world!

When your inbox is filled with GDPR requests in can make checking emails rather dull, so I was even more pleased than usual to get an email from blogspot to say my YouTube channel is in the Top 75 Veterinary YouTube channels in the world!

In fact its at No 34! How amazing is that!

Thanks to the amazing subscribers and viewers who have made the channel such a success. We’re very close to breaking into the top 30 channels so if anyone else would like an emails roughly every 2 weeks to show you my latest video then please SUBSCRIBE and boost our chart position!

Its hard to believe how low I was feeling when I started recording some videos hoping to help a few students… that was 2 years ago and look where we are now! The student vet nurse community really saved me with their positive feedback – THANK YOU!



#planetrvn – can you fold a drape and place a TST strip safely?

It’s sometimes the little things that can cause us stress in exams – the things we do every day. I’ve made this video as placing the TST strip correctly for use can trip you up in a stressful OSCE exam. Have the sound up loud as I’m unusually a little quiet,


Alternative aromatherapy – Veterinary smells

For Vet Times this month I pondered the good, bad and ugly of the smells we get exposed to in The Veterinary World. That might sound weird but there’s something very powerful about smell and memory and in the vet world we get to sniff the weird wonderful and down right nasty.

Check my blog out here, but sorry, it’s not scratch and sniff!

Social media for vet practices – Fracture or # ?


I first became familiar with the # when training as a veterinary nurse. The symbol appeared frequently as the practice saw a high number of emergency patients and there were the inevitable broken legs from dogs being hit by cars and the broken jaws and pelvis of the high-rise syndrome cats.

Happily I now associate # as a hashtag and enjoy using it on social media, a little different from seeing it and knowing I was heading into theatre for a 3-4 stint. I find on social media people usually see a # and either love it, avoid it or misuse it, so what is it, what does it do and how can you use it?


What is a # ?

Simply put a # is a form of metadata. i.e. it provides data on other data. While that sounds quite dry and dull it’s a very specific way of saying that a # used on social media links all posts that use that #. # terms are also picked up by search engines so can help with your SEO.

It’s an easy way to link people with similar interests or to raise awareness of events or issues without it being focused on an individual account or page.


What is trending?

 It is usually the content of a # that you will see “trending”. Trending describes the list of the most popular topics on social media sites. It can be a single word, a phrase or a name. It lets social media users see what is popular on their platform at that time. It can help spread messages quickly which, like my previous blog on viral posts can be really beneficial.

Is a # beneficial to me?

Using a # is quick and easy and can create different communities within your followers and attract new followers. It saves you setting up new accounts for sharing new products or information yet you will still be able to be found on social media and using SEO – yes you can Google #s.

It can be great for short term sharing of information – like having a stall at an upcoming summer fayre or a promotion on preventative health care. I use #planetrvn on social media to link my posts and others use it too to promote what they are doing in the ventures world. It also makes the posts less about me and my account as a person, its a community.

How do I start one?

Choose your message and put a # in front of it – it’s that simple. But make sure your message is easy to understand and not easily confused with others. Avoid the basic pitfalls of:


  • Bad spelling – Facebook you can edit posts on – Twitter you can’t so that will live with you forever (deleted posts don’t disappear entirely either) and people then can’t find all the posts


  • Typos – as above a typo will make the # look poor and hard to find


  • Punctuation – #’s don’t like punctuation and it will stop linking letters and numbers, meaning #no.1petcare will become just #no – not a great #


  • # already in use – check especially with commonly used words or initials. Your message will be lost Google your intended # as well as searching on social media


  • creating words you didn’t intend to – Susan Boyles album launch # was #susanalbumparty which doesn’t read well when put together


  • piggy backing on popular # – some companies have done this and it doesn’t end well. We know that #strictly will trend most weekends over autumn in the UK as the BBC have Strictly Come Dancing on and it’s a show where viewers vote for contestants. Yes, it’s popular but it’s not really vet related – unless Noel Fitzpatrick is in this years contestants. Posting something about flea treatments with #strictly usually won’t win you any favours!


Managing your #

Do remember to head into your # (just click on it) and check whats going on. This means you can make sure it hasn’t been hi-jacked, but also you can respond to comments and re-post. This has the effect of connecting you to more followers and boosting the frequency that your # is seen, as well as creating a community.

#plan, #create, #enjoy

Using a # well can really expand your horizons on social media and it is a great way to increase your SEO. Avoid the pitfalls above, plan what you want to do and enjoy! Join me on #planetrvn to see how it can work.

Pet safety – how will you save yours?


We work every day to keep our pets safe. Avoiding certain flowers in the house for cats, stopping dogs scavenging bad food stuff on a walk. Carrying out preventative care such as flea and worming treatments.

That’s all great but what do you do in an emergency? The awful fire at Grenfell Tower in West London brings this to mind for me. As a city dweller with an indoor cat and a small dog what would I do if I needed to get out of my flat in a hurry and in safety for me, my pets and others? Although we all consider fire safety perhaps it’s time to stop and make a plan for what you would do if the worst happened.

As a vet nurse I have my fire training from work that says it’s very unsafe just to open the door and let the pets flee. Its stressful and unsafe for them and in the limited visibility of a fire could be a trip hazard to people. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, but letting your pets loose and hoping for the best isn’t the answer. Pets will be become as disorientated and stressed as we will in a fire and may not run to safety as you would wish. They are also likely to be a hazard to others escaping as with smoke there can be low visibility and dogs and cats can become trip hazards for people.

This raises what you might be able to do. There is the option to leave pets behind. I know I couldn’t do this, and it would slow my escape as each step would be a physical and emotional wrench. I might even get out of my flat, decide the fire doesn’t look so bad and go back to get them – this is not a good idea. You need to get out and stay out. If you are planning to take them with you then get prepared and make your decision and stick to it.

Moving your pets safely

How do you do this? With pets that don’t want to go in their carrier at the best of times how will you do this in a time of stress? Do you even have the carrier to hand and how easy is it to move quickly with a bulky cat basket hitting your knees?

Many years ago I pondered this. We had two cats and lived on the second floor. I was also nearly finished my vet nurse training and had notes and caselogs in abundance. This was before electronic backups so it was a paper copy, and for one night I had all the paperwork at home – normally it was safely spread across work, college and home. This focused my mind and I told my boyfriend that if there was a fire he had to get both cats as I would be getting my paperwork. How was he to handle two cats, including one who didn’t like him that much?


The Flump

Pillow talk

We found out about advice for New York pet owners – use a pillow case! You can put your cat or small dog in the pillow case and put a loose knot in the top. Your pet is safe, and it’s easier to carry than a basket, and there’s always a pillow case close at hand. It means you can carry your pet with one hand, leaving the other free for handrails, ladders, or helping others. You can also pass the pet to people outside the building and free your hands up to escape.

It was such a great idea we put two spare pillow cases under our beds. One slightly larger as The Flump was a bit of a hippo, but that’s another story.


Evacuation – be prepared 

Prepping for evacuating your pet for disasters is a whole other blog – food supplies, meds, you need a stock for you and your pet – for everyday tragedies like home fires just plan to get out and stay out.

 There have been advances from the pillow case advice all those years ago. There are now pet evacuation sacks that provide a stronger and slightly larger ‘pillow case’ effect. If you need to evacuate quickly then you and your pet can do so safely.

If you can prep just a little have a few days food, a small water bottle and your pets vaccines and identification and insurance details. Hopefully your pet can stay with you, but if they need to go to a kennel or cattery and your vets isn’t open then having all their details will make life easier for you at that moment.

It’s also worth considering having a spare harness/collar and lead ready, even for cats. Once out of the house it may be safe to have them out of the pillow case and they still need to be under control.

My first advice on pets in an emergency was from New York and there is still great advice there. If you want to prepare a little further there is a pet emergency plan to download and fill in.

A purpose made pet evacuation sack or a pillowcase is not going to be the answer to all the problems in a quick escaepe so please read this from London Fire Brigade and watch the short video. The advice is relevant for any quick escape. While the Grenfell Tower tragedy has highlighted the urgency for fire related issues in recent times close to me there have been three floods from water mains, an evacuation from an unexploded WWII bomb and a gas leak. All are reasons for needing quick, safe escapes from home.

A few minutes planning now could save more than one life if the time comes.

Social media for vet practices – getting started

At BSAVA Congress this year there were more lectures and sessions on social media than ever before – showing that the veterinary industry is interested and understands that being present on the web in some form is important.

I was part of an amazing panel on Saturday afternoon. While we discussed a lot during the two hours there was even more to say! I’m writing a few blogs to try and go a little deeper on some of the questions asked.

Being present on social media adds another level to your client interaction. Where word of mouth recommendations used to have to be from person to person we now have social media. Another opportunity to create a bond with current and potential clients.

I know that there will be many of you reading this and thinking that it’s also a new way to spend time and money that could lead to a complaint being posted online that is out of your control.

I’m here to show that it doesn’t have to be like that! Creating a social media presence for your business is different to using social media as an individual. Its less about posting an amusing shot in the context of an event to tell a story and more about deciding what story you want to tell before you post.

Whats your style?

There is usually an assumption that veterinary social media must be full of pictures of animals. This is often where practices decide not to have social media. The extra work of consent from owners, following up cases, checking outcomes and consent again before sharing stories is a lot. Unsurprisingly I’ll tackle consent for social media in a blog all of its own.

However, you shouldn’t stop here.

You can decide what you want to offer on social media. What is your practice “style” going to be? What will your posts offer to the public, pet owners and clients? Who is your audience?

While it may seem that all social media is about posting as things happen and making everything instantly available this is rarely the case for businesses. Take time to decide what you want to share about your practice and how you want to share this. Running a successful social media campaign is less about snap chatting during a pyo surgery and more about planning posts to show how this situation can be avoided.

This lets you decide what type of posts you wish to share. Here are some basic examples of post types.


Post style  Example of content Audience
Service led Advertising services

  • OOH
  • Vet skills
  • Offers on products
Pet owners and clients
Patient/case led Successful surgery, routine vaccines, nurse appointments Pet owners and clients
Public info Alerts for product recalls, alabama rot, Public, pet owners and clients
Staff led – achievements, CPD, published works SVN passes final exams, vet attends BSAVA Public, pet owners and clients

  • Local groups
  • National campaigns
Promoting a local rehoming charity event or sharing posts for RSPCA “dogs die in hot cars”


Public, pet owners and clients
Response to news stories that cross over to daily newspapers Throwing sticks for dogs, Babesia ticks Public, pet owners and clients
Lost pet posts   Public, pet owners and clients


Examples of post types (starting top left): case led post with Hollies hydrotherapy, service led post (my clients are vet nurses), sharing news post

Usually a combination of these works best. However, I do see practices who choose to not use patient or case led posts and focus on using service and staff led posts. These accounts still offer something for the everyone, are easy to plan and avoid the issue of consent for sharing client’s pets’ pictures. You do still need consent from staff to share their pictures and story, but this can be established as you plan the posts and let staff have input into their presence online.

Some further advice on how best to achieve some of these posts

  • For staff and service led posts create a stock of pictures you can use and do this in advance
  • Have a logo or practice picture you can use for service led posts where there is no other available picture
  • Patient and case led posts need consent from the owners to take the pictures, not just to post them – make sure you have that
  • Public info/lost pets – make sure that your message about your practice doesn’t get lost in these. Check your timeline regularly, especially if multiple people post and share
  • Charity campaigns – decide which you will share and support. There are so many your timeline can easily become lost. Try and choose 1-2 local and 1-2 national charities or campaigns to post about. This gives flexibility as many of their posts will be seasonal. Consider making sure you cover areas relevant to your practice.
  • Cats, dogs, exotics, wildlife, overseas welfare – there is an amazing choice

Your social media posts should be what you want them to be. If you’re not sure what style to go for then trial a few different options. Follow some accounts that you like and see what they do and see if you could do something similar, on your own terms.

Social media should not be a burden, best to achieve three great posts each week that are planned and create an achievable workload, than try to do three posts a day and end up putting out low quality posts that don’t show you as the caring professionals you are.

Next time we’ll tackle planning – the key to avoiding controversial posts and controlling your content.