Mar 16 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A HEARTBROKEN dog breeder has called for animals to receive better out of hours treatment.
Ann McIlloney was forced to watch her beloved working spaniel, Tilly, slip from her grasp in the middle of the night.
And she fears a new trend from vets to centralise their services during the night is bad news for owners.
Ann, of Prestwick, explained: “Losing a pet is a horrible experience for anyone to go through.
“Tilly suffered a great deal in her last few hours and unforunately I had to call on the emergency vet, who eventually put her to sleep in the early hours of the morning.
“My issue is not with the treatment which she received, but with the distance required to travel to receive that care.
“My practice in Ayr is one of the increasing number who are signing up to centralising their services outwith working hours.
“That meant we had to travel to Kilmarnock, and I suppose we’ll never know if that extra time taken to travel and sign forms could have saved her life.”
Tilly, who was three weeks pregnant with her litter at the time, was diagnosed with an acute allergic reaction.
Vets Now, the out of hours practice which fields calls for a range of vets between Girvan and West Kilbride, battled to save her life.
But in the end, they were faced with no option but to put her to sleep.
Ann revealed: “I’ve used Dalblair Vets practice in Ayr for more than 10 years now and it offers superb service and treatment.
“However, it has opted into Vets Now in Kilmarnock for its out of hours treatment, and I’d like to see a more local out of hours emergency service being provided, perhaps with one in Ayr and also Irvine.”
Ayr MSP John Scott has now pledged to raise the issue with the Scottish government’s cross-party working group on animal welfare.
He said: “This matter has been raised before and is clearly something that is worth discussing in greater detail.
“It is of great concern that Mrs McIlloney had to travel to Kilmarnock to receive treatment for her fatally ill spaniel.”
Lisa Maxwell, head of client care at Vets Now, said: “One of the benefits of our out of hours service is that we have vets and nurses always present in our clinics, ready to deal with any emergency that comes through the doors.
“When you take into consideration the time it may take for a vet and nurse to travel to their own practice, or someone’s home, when they are awoken during the night and get everything prepared to receive the patient, more often than not, the time to get to the local Vets Now clinic is much quicker.”
And Stuart Jefferson, practice partner at Dalblair Vets added: “I was very sorry to hear that Tilly had passed away.
“Vets Now provides our out of hours service as the quality of care and expertise they have gives us peace of mind that our patients are in good hands.
“Patients benefit from having a refreshed vet and vet nurses during the daytime and the night.
“Our practice serves clients within a 15 mile radius and in many cases, we would be unable to respond any quicker than a client getting to the Vets Now clinic and we may well have been called out to another case.
“We know there is always a team at Vets Now ready and able to help.”