Trusted, independent vets based in Taverham, Nr. Norwich in Norfolk

Our Services

The practice is purpose built and winner of the BVHA 2007 “best design” award.The further academic qualifications achieved by our vets are backed up by constant investment in new facilities and equipment at Taverham Vets. Taverham Vets are also proud to be the first veterinary practice in the area to offer laparoscopic procedures for routine operations such as spays.

Why Choose Us


“A modern and well equipped facility with more post-graduate “RCVS Certificate” vets than any other practice in the region”

Meet the Staff

At Taverham Vets we have a large team of Staff that are dedicated to the care of Animals. From our highly qualified directors and associate vets through to our reception and nursing staff the Taverham Teams’ individual skills combine to form a cohesive, productive and caring unit. Every one of our team has a vital role to play in the smooth operation of a busy veterinary practice.

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Kittens and Puppies


Many kittens have roundworms and a heavy burden can cause “poor-doing” and diarrhoea. Roundworms can be transmitted to in-contact humans, especially children, so regular worming is essential, starting at 4 weeks of age and repeated monthly until six months old. It is vital a good quality wormer is used such as Panacur. From 8 weeks of age we recommend monthly treatment with Stronghold “spot-on” up to 6 months of age to treat both roundworms and fleas. Adult cats should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms 4 times yearly (depending on hunting behaviour). We recommend Milbemax tablets or Profender Spot-On as a routine wormer.


Feed cats cat food (not dog food!!). There are considerable advantages to feeding a dry diet such as Royal Canin. Not only will it not go off when put out, but it costs about half the price of a quality tinned product. Dry diets are also good for teeth and can reduce the incidence of dental operations. We stock a good range of Royal Canin foods at the surgery.


Neutering is performed at about 6 months of age and is strongly advised for all non-breeding cats. Failure to neuter will result in unwanted pregnancies, increased fighting, urine marking and an increased risk of catching Feline Leukaemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.


All cats get fleas unless they remain indoors. They are the commonest cause of skin problems in cats and dogs. All cat owners should pursue an ongoing programme of flea control all year round. The majority of the flea life cycle (over 90%) takes place in the environment so carpet spraying can be important in the treatment of flea problems. The most effective methods of flea prevention for use on the cat are Stronghold Spot-on or Comfortis tablet. If ticks are a problem then we advise using a Seresto Collar or a tick removing tool. Stronghold Spot-on is used every 4 weeks. Stronghold not only treats fleas but also roundworms and ear mites. It does not treat tapeworm. Comfortis is a flavoured tablet effective against fleas for one month, it does not treat any worms. Seresto collars for cats cover for fleas and ticks for 8 months and again does not treat worms. All year round use of either of these products will largely negate the need to treat the house and in most situations it is cheaper to treat your cat all year round than spray your house. Please note…..felt flea collars, tablets, powders and shampoos are not effective methods of flea control. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK ANY MEMBER OF STAFF ABOUT FLEA CONTROL OR ANY OF THE FLEA PRODUCTS WE SELL.


Vaccination is given at nine and twelve weeks of age for cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia. Feline leukaemia vaccination is strongly recommended for all cats, although it can be given at a later date if required. We will sometimes suggest cats are tested negative for leukaemia virus before they are vaccinated, especially those from feral backgrounds. If we do not advise a test but you would like peace of mind about your cat’s health please ask the veterinary surgeon at the time of vaccination. Annual boosters are needed to keep the immunity reliably high and virtually all catteries will insist that your cat is fully vaccinated every year before boarding. Cats that are not 100% fit and well will not respond reliably to vaccination, so each patient is given a thorough health check by the vet before the booster is given. Every illness is best treated when diagnosed as early as possible, so the annual health check is just as important for your pet as the booster vaccination.

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

Over 70% of cats pick up this infection at some time in their life and a third of these will develop a related disease (often years later). Some cats will become carriers and spread the virus throughout the cat population. The virus causes many of the cancers seen in cats as well as immunosuppression. This predisposes the infected cat to a very wide spectrum of disease, particularly the infectious agents of feline infectious anaemia, feline infectious peritonitis, viral respiratory disease, mouth infections and abscesses. The virus also causes infertility. The vaccine is almost 100% effective if given to a non-infected cat. If the cat already has the virus (and it can be passed from the mother to her kittens) then the vaccine may not be protective. All cats can be tested at the practice to see whether they already have FeLV.

Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleucopenia Virus)

This is a rapidly fatal disease caused by a parvovirus. It causes diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. Kittens in particular can die within a few days after infection due to the rapid fluid loss. The virus can also cause abortions and neurological disease in kittens if the mother is infected during the pregnancy. Thanks to vaccination this is now a disease that we do not see often but when it does appear we are still limited in our success with treatment.

Cat Flu

This is the name for symptoms caused by several viruses acting either together or alone. The main causes are Feline Herpes Virus and several strains of Feline Calicivirus. The vaccine contains several of these viruses in a mixture which gives reliable immunity in most cases. The typical signs noted are those of runny eyes, sneezing, a streaming nose, depression and anorexia. Prompt treatment normally leads to a good recovery but may still cause death particularly in kittens or adults with a compromised immune system. Some cats can end up with continual snuffles after infection or symptoms that return at times of stress. These cats act as carriers of the disease.


Unfortunately cats do sometimes get lost or injured and are brought to the surgery without the owner’s knowledge. We are unable to identify most of these cats and many are re-homed. Fortunately we are able to mark cats with a unique rice grain sized microchip under the skin in the neck that can be read with a hand held scanner. This then enables us to find the owners quickly. The microchip can be inserted while owners wait and we provide a free identichip with our kitten vaccination course.


We believe strongly in the concept of animal insurance. Having your pet insured frees the owner and the vet from the worry of a large bill and therefore your pet receives the best possible treatment. Insurance does not cover routine procedures such as vaccination, neutering or worm/flea control. It is important if you decide to insure your kitten that you choose a reputable company who give lifelong protection. Most cheaper policies will exclude conditions on renewal that have been the subject of a previous claim. We are able to give 4 weeks free insurance cover with Pet Plan (at no future obligation) for kittens presented for vaccination. Please ask at reception.




Most puppies have a roundworm burden which is transmitted from the bitch across the placenta before birth. Roundworms carry a health risk to the puppy and to humans, especially children, so regular worming with an effective product is essential. Wormers containing the drug piperazine are of limited use. Our recommendation is to use either Stronghold “Spot-on” or Milbemax tablets every month until six months of age. Adult dogs should be wormed every 3 months using Milbemax Tablets.


The standard feeding regime for puppies is: 4 meals per day until 12 weeks of age 3 meals per day 12 to 16 weeks of age 2 meals per day thereafter (breed dependent) It is vital to feed a complete food which means that the diet is balanced with the correct vitamins, protein and carbohydrate levels. Dry feeds are more cost effective and cleaner to handle than tinned products. We have a range of premium quality Royal Canin foods designed to provide optimum nutritional requirements at each life stage. Most diarrhoea in puppies is caused by a dietary component (either found in the diet or scavenged). Treatment involves a change in diet to something highly digestible such as Royal Canin Sensitivity diet. This is a prescription diet available through the surgery. It is usually fed for a 7 to 10 day period then the normal diet slowly reintroduced. Please note that if your puppy is ill, or is repeatedly vomiting then you need to book an appointment to see a vet.


Puppies need exercise and play for normal mental and physical development. Twenty minutes exercise 2 or 3 times daily is adequate for most dogs until skeletally mature.


There are definite advantages to neutering bitches: 1. No seasons. 2. No false pregnancies. 3. No real pregnancies! 4. No uterine infections (“pyometra”). 5. Significant reduction in incidence of mammary and vaginal cancer later in life. This protective effect is rapidly lost if a bitch is not spayed by her second season. Some bitches will put on weight after neutering due to a reduction in circulating sex hormones and a significant number of female dogs can become incontinent at some point in their life if they are neutered. Although incontinence is normally easily treated and obesity can be prevented with good dietary management, these problems do represent the major disadvantages to neutering female dogs. The practice policy is to spay bitches at 6 to 9 months of age, before their first season. If a season occurs before this time then neutering is delayed until 3 months after the season.

Laparoscopy (“key-hole” surgery)

Through TV programs and articles in the press, most of us are familiar with the term ‘keyhole surgery’, or more accurately ‘minimally invasive surgery’. What this describes is where a surgical procedure is viewed by the surgeon using a tiny telescope whose image is projected onto a video screen via a special camera. Examples of minimally invasive surgery are: Laparoscopy – abdomen, Arthroscopy – joints Cystoscopy – bladder, Rhinoscopy – nasal chambers Otoscopy – ear canals Surgical wounds are tiny – usually a few millimetres. Smaller wounds mean less pain, faster recovery and less cosmetic effect (scarring) to the patient. The surgical field of view is magnified by the camera so that the tissues are seen in great detail, enabling abnormalities to be seen that would otherwise be missed. Because the surgical wounds are so small, the time taken making them is reduced so the overall duration of the surgery may well be shorter than for conventional surgery


A ‘spay’ describes the surgical sterilisation of a bitch. In the UK this has historically been through the removal of the ovaries plus the entire womb in an ‘ovariohysterectomy’. Although this is a routine procedure which we perform almost every day, it is major surgery none the less. Recently, it has been shown that the removal of only the ovaries gives the same benefits as the full ovariohysterectomy, whilst reducing surgical time and trauma to the patient. This has paved the way for a spay to be done in a minimally invasive way though laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). In spite of this type of surgery being accepted over the last 10-15 years as the ‘gold-standard’ technique for people undergoing many abdominal operations, it is very new in the veterinary field and is currently being performed by only a handful of vets in the UK, and less than 200 throughout the USA. Taverham Veterinary Practice vets have undergone extensive specialist training in laparoscopy surgery and we are the first and only practice in the whole of East Anglia to offer this service to our clients. There are many advantages of keyhole spays: Significantly less pain and discomfort experienced by your bitch Rapid recovery from surgery Enhanced field of view enabling a thorough examination of the abdomen No skin stitches are used so avoiding the risk of stitch-related reactions and infections Skin wounds of only a few millimetres in length avoids the possibility of the major wound complications which can result from bitches chewing their sutures out prematurely following convential surgery No need for your bitch wearing a ‘lampshade collar’ after the surgery to keep her from licking the stitches Minimal tissue injury at the time of surgery reduces the risk of adhesions which can cause pain and illness later in life Disadvantages: Keyhole approaches mean that in the unlikely event of complications such as bleeding or anatomical abnormality, it may be necessary to convert to convential ‘open’ surgery, with the associated potential for problems through having a long skin wound and stitches Cost – there is an extra cost for clients choosing keyhole surgery since the equipment required for the technique is extremely expensive to buy and maintain. We are very confident that keyhole surgery will revolutionise many surgical procedures currently performed by vets in the UK over the coming years. The benefits are clear and we hope that you would like to chose it for your bitch’s spay. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. Laparoscopic camera being inserted through operating port View of ovary and uterus being grabbed using laparoscopic forceps Laparoscopic spay in progress View of one of our operating theatres prior to laparoscopy Male dogs are castrated at 10 to 12 months of age. It will often reduce libido, inter-male aggression and urine marking. Castration is strongly advised for dogs with undescended testicles.


We strongly recommend to all owners the principle of pet insurance. A selection of leaflets can be found in reception and in the puppy pack. Insurance will cover medical and surgical fees and gives liability protection. It does not cover vaccinations, routine or preventative treatment or conditions present at the time the policy is initiated. It is very important to be aware that cheaper policies do not give lifelong cover – conditions claimed for one year will usually be excluded upon renewal. We recommend that you insure your pet with a company that guarantees this lifelong cover. We are able to give your puppy a 4 weeks free cover note with Pet Plan. Please ask the vet or receptionist for details.

Flea Control

We advise regular flea treatment with either Bravecto Tablet which treats fleas and ticks for a whole 3 months, Stronghold Spot-on, which treats fleas, roundworms and earmites for 4 weeks or a monthly Comfortis Tablet which only treats fleas. These products are very safe and effective.

Dental Care

80% of dogs over 3 years of age have periodontal disease. This can progress to an irreversible process called periodontitis that will led to tooth loss. The most effective method of dental care is to brush daily with an enzymatic toothpaste e.g. Virbac toothpaste and a finger brush. Both items are available at reception. Very few dogs object to brushing if trained at an early age.


Vaccination is vital for your dog’s health. We routinely vaccinate against 5 infectious diseases: Canine Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis. The initial two injections are given at 6 and 10 weeks of age. A single yearly booster is needed to maintain protection. Whilst it is important that your puppy is not exposed to infection outside the home before the course of injections is complete, mixing with healthy vaccinated dogs in a safe environment as soon as possible will allow a puppy to learn the rules of social behaviour. A pet in poor health will not respond reliably to vaccination so we make sure that every dog is given a full clinical examination as part of their vaccination appointment. All diseases are best picked up as early as possible so the yearly health check is just as important as the actual vaccination injection. The consultations are also an ideal chance to discuss and problems regarding not just the health but also diet, behaviour and training.


This virus causes a rapidly fatal disease. The symptoms are diarrhoea, vomiting and marked dehydration. Puppies in particular can die within a few days due to rapid fluid loss. Adenovirus There are 2 types of adenovirus, one contributes to kennel cough and the other causes canine viral hepatitis. The latter form attacks the liver producing diarrhoea, vomiting, a painful belly and often death. Vaccination with protects well against both types of adenovirus. Parainfluenza This viral infection can cause anything from a mild cough to a deep hacking cough and pneumonia. Leptospirosis This bacterial disease is carried commonly by rats and found in river water. It causes Weil’s disease in humans and can be passed from dogs to us. In dogs Leptospirosis normally presents as acute kidney failure or sometimes as a severe anaemia. The symptoms are collapse, fever, vomiting jaundice and diarrhoea. Canine Distemper Canine Distemper is caused by a herpesvirus. It is one of the agents causing kennel cough and it can also cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting often with pus-like discharges from the eyes and nose. Brain damage and fitting can occur and the disease is often fatal. Vaccination has fortunately made this disease quite rare. Kennel Cough A common and important cause of infectious tracheitis (“kennel cough”) is the bacterium Bordetella Bronchiseptica. A separate vaccination is available which is given via the nose and immunity lasts 12months. We advise all dogs to have this if they mix with other canine friends. Dogs are particularly at risk is places like boarding kennels.


Rabies is not present in the UK at the moment and there is no need for the routine vaccination of cats and dogs. For those who which to take their pet to any of those countries participating in the Pet Passport Scheme, rabies vaccination is mandatory.


We recommend that puppies are identified with a microchip which can be read with a hand held scanner enabling us to find the owners quickly should a puppy become lost or involved in an accident. Identichip can be inserted under the skin at the back of the neck while owners wait. Please ask at reception for details.



Rabbits have been kept as pets in this country since Victorian times and today they are the third most popular pet in the UK. Rabbits live on average 4-7 years and some even longer. Males are called bucks and females are called does. Rabbits are social creatures and should be provided with a companion wherever possible. Littermates can be kept together but should be neutered if of opposite sexes. Unrelated females will usually tolerate each other if sufficient space is provided, but they can fight and males will fight and inflict severe injuries if they are not neutered. The best pairing would be a male and a female that have both been neutered.


Your hutch should be tall enough for your rabbit to raise itself up on its hind quarters and large enough for it to move around freely. Separate living and sleeping quarters are preferable so the rabbit has somewhere to hide should it so wish. Most rabbits are housed outside or in a garage/shed but many are becoming ‘house rabbits’ who live indoors and can be trained to use a litter tray. If you plan to keep your rabbit outside find a place for the hutch where there will be shade in the summer and protection from rain and draught in winter. Clean out your rabbit at least once a week (more in the summer) and spray the hutch with an appropriate hutch spray (available from pet stores). Use newspaper to line the hutch with straw on top of this for bedding and then hay to eat on top of this or in a hay rack. This makes the hutch easy to clean out by just lifting out the paper.


Never pick your rabbit up by the ears! Gently pick it up with a firm grip on the loose skin around the neck area with one hand whilst supporting the hindquarters with the other. If the rabbit struggles it can easily injure its back or give you a nasty scratch, thus handling from a young age to socialise your pet will prevent this. Unless you intend to breed it is wise to have your rabbit neutered at 4-5 months of age to avoid ‘hormonal’ behaviour problems and aggression.


Rabbits require a high fibre diet and good quality hay, a limited amount of a dried mix and clean, fresh vegetables will provide it with all it needs nutritionally. Fresh water, changed daily is essential and a bottle is the cleanest way to provide this. Rabbits will tend to pick out the sweet biscuits they like from a ‘muesli style’ mix so a pellet mix such as Burgess Super Rabbit is preferable at 25g of pellet per kilo of rabbit bodyweight daily. Fresh vegetables can be given daily in small amounts in the form of cabbage/greens, carrots, broccoli etc. and wild plants such as dandelion, groundsel and chickweed are also safe for them to eat. Rabbits given a good diet will not require vitamin supplements and pet shop treats are best avoided as they can cause obesity.


All rabbits should be vaccinated at 6 weeks of age and annually thereafter against the fatal diseases Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. Whether they live in the country, the city, inside or outside, all rabbits are at risk since the disease is transmitted via biting insects which can be brought in on new bedding.

Health issues

With a good diet, a clean cage and plenty of attention and handling you should have a happy and healthy rabbit. Check your pet daily, if problems are caught early there is a better chance of recovery. Things to check for would be:- poor appetite and weight loss Soiling of hindquarters with faeces or urine Discharge from the eyes Drooling from the mouth Overgrown nails Scurfy skin If your rabbit has diarrhoea often withdrawal of greens for a day or so and probiotics (which can be purchased from the surgery) may be enough to put things right. If your rabbit stops eating this could be a sign of intestinal blockage and drooling from the mouth could indicate a dental problem. In dental disease teeth can develop ‘spurs’ which make the gums and tongue sore leading to ulcers. Dental disease can be controlled by cutting/burring back of these spurs under anaesthetic but a good diet as detailed previously will significantly reduce the incidence of dental disease. Fly Strike This subject deserves a heading of its own as it is an extremely distressing situation for both rabbit and owner. Basically, if a rabbit has faeces on its coat, flies are attracted and lay their eggs on the rabbit’s coat. These subsequently hatch into maggots which then invade the rabbit’s skin. Rabbits are therefore at risk in the warmer weather, especially if they are overweight or elderly and unable to clean themselves properly or have diarrhoea. Check your rabbit twice daily for fly eggs and a soiled rear-end during the summer months. Fly eggs look like tiny, cream, cigar shaped objects and these should be removed as soon as possible. Rabbits can be protected from fly larvae by using a product called Xenex spot-on (available from the surgery) regularly during the summer months along with daily checking and attention to hutch hygiene. In the unfortunate event you should find maggots on your rabbit, telephone the surgery straight away as the toxins released from the infestation can quickly lead to death. If you have any questions regarding your rabbit’s health or husbandry our staff will be happy to offer advice.

Guinea Pigs


Quick Guinea Pig Facts!

Guinea pigs are intelligent, friendly animals that make excellent pets. Guinea pigs must have extra vitamin C in their diet. Their average life span as a pet is 5 to 7 years. Male guinea pigs reach sexual maturity at 9-10 weeks of age. Females reach sexual maturity at 4-6 weeks.

Natural History

The scientific name for guinea pig is “Cavia porcellus” and this explains their other common name of “cavies”. Guinea pigs come from the Andes region of Central and South America. The Andean Indians of Peru domesticated guinea pigs and used them both for food and as sacrificial offerings to the Incan gods. Gainea pigs arrived in Europe in the 18th Century and through selective breeding an array of hair colours and hair types have developed. The most common breeds are: English – both short and straight haired. Peruvian – long straight hair parted down the back. Abyssinian – coarse hair with rosettes or whorls.

Choosing a Guinea Pig

The best way to buy a guinea pig is from a reputable breeder or a good pet shop. The guinea pig should be at least 6 weeks old. Choose one that is active, friendly and looks healthy. Guinea pigs are very sociable and they need company of their own kind. It’s best to keep a pair or small group of the same sex. Neutered males and females may get along and often a harem system works well with one male kept with several females. Ideally guinea pigs should not be kept with rabbits because they require different nutrition and may get bullied. Guinea pigs do not groom each other but tend to interact by standing close together and making noises. These noises are quite recognisable and are an important part of guinea pig communication (see below).

Keeping your Guinea Pig Healthy

Be sure your guinea pig always has fresh water. Make sure your guinea pig is getting enough Vitamin C Keep cages clean, dry and well ventilated. Keep the temperature stable and avoid direct sunlight and radiators. Give your guinea pig plenty of exercise and keep it stimulated. Keep him/her stress free and with somewhere to be quiet and hide. Take your pet to the vet at the first indication that something is wrong and ideally twice a year for a check up for teeth, claws, skin and body weight. Guinea Pig Homes Guinea pigs need a large wooden or wire hutch that is weatherproof and predator-proof, with an open day area and enclosed sleeping area. Position the hutch in a quiet sheltered place away from winds and direct sunlight – guinea pigs are susceptible to chills and heat stroke. Guinea pigs are not very clean and will produce an amazing amount of faeces for such little animals. Good ventilation is vital so solid sided cages are less good. If this type of cage is used, the bedding should be completely changed twice a week to prevent high ammonia levels from collecting in the cage. The ammonia levels can lead to ‘stress,’ and irritated nostrils, eyes and lungs.


The flooring of the cage should be solid. Foot and leg injuries are more likely with wire flooring. An abundant amount of bedding that is clean, absorbent, relatively dust-free and easy to replace should be provided. A layer of newspaper with soft straw on top and plenty of hay on top to eat to eat and burrow in is ideal. Avoid cedar chips and other wood shavings that have natural oils e.g.pine. Hide Box and Cage Furniture Cavies seek ‘visual security’ and need places to hide and feel secure. An upside down cardboard or wooden box with a cut-out door work well. If the boxes get soiled or chewed, they are easily replaced. Although guinea pigs do not climb well, they still like to walk up ramps and climb onto low shelves. They also enjoy rooting and burrowing in hay.


Guinea pigs require a constant source of vitamin C. Without enough vitamin C guinea pigs will show signs of illness within a couple of weeks. Young guinea pigs lacking in the vitamin will grow slowly and move reluctantly because of pain in their joints. In adults, a deficiency will increase the likelihood of skin or respiratory disease and also slow the healing of skin wounds. Grass and green vegetables such as kale or cabbage should also be made available each day as these contain vitamin C. During pregnancy vitamin C should be supplemented.

Fibre is important!

Guinea pigs must never be without a constant source of high quality non-dusty hay. This hay is vital for a healthy digestive system and without it they may actually “barber” each other (chewing their companions’ fur as a source of fibre). The common problems that guinea pigs suffer from are itchy skin, diarrhoea, eye infections and teeth problems. We would recommend a regular 6month health check at the practice.

Cavy Chat

Cooing – a soft sound to reassure other guinea pigs that everything is ok or to show enjoyment when being stroked. Squeak – a high pitched noise can be a sign of fright, pain or excitement such as as feeding times. Chattering – Stay Away! This is a warning to other guinea pigs to keep their distance. Gurgling – a sign of contentment and a happy guinea pig!

Exercise And Making Friends With Your Guinea Pig

Most Guinea Pigs are friendly and rarely scratch or bite. They can become very tame as long as they are handled correctly. To pick one up, slide your hand across its shoulders with your thumb tucked behind its shoulder and fingers rapped around it’s chest. Support the hindquarters with your other hand. Having fun with your guinea pig means encouraging its favorite pastimes – eating, exploration, and exercise. If you watch your guinea pig’s natural behavior you can come up with new toys and activities that will enrich his life and enhance your experience as a pet owner. Adding new play objects and rearranging the cage can be fun for both of you. Think of the basic guinea pig enclosure, equipped with soft bedding, water bottle and food dishes, as only a starting point. Keeping in mind that your guinea pig needs ample floor space to run around, you can add cage extras like rocks, bricks, clay flowerpots, 4 inch diameter PVC pipes and fruit tree branches to the cage. Guinea pigs aren’t very good at judging distances or heights so it is best not to allow your guinea pig to climb more than a few inches off the ground as it may have problems getting down safely. A fall can mean broken bones or internal injuries that could prove fatal. Enjoy watching your guinea pig explore. He’s wearing down his toenails and exercising while he investigates the new setup. Some guinea pigs like bird toys with mirrors or balls with bells inside of them. Just make sure that all objects you put in the cage can withstand chewing. Rodent wheels are not suited to guinea pigs. A large outdoor run made of netting on a timber frame will allow then to graze in safety. If you let them indoors watch out for dangerous things that they could chew such as electric cables.


The most important aspect of guinea pig breeding is that the females should be bred first between 4 and 10 months of age. If breeding occurs for the first time after 10 months then serious and often fatal problems associated with delivery can occur. Please contact the surgery for further guidance.


“Syrian or Golden” hamsters are the most common types of pet hamster. They are larger and slower than dwarf hamsters and gerbils, so are easier to handle. If gently scooped up using both hands then they rarely bite. Attempting to wake a hamster by stroking its back will often make the hamster feel threatened and make it more likely to try and nip. Dwarf hamsters (generally Siberian/Russian dwarfs) are also kept as pets but these tend to be more difficult to handle. They have a short furry tail, a white underside and a grey back. They are quick and often bite if restrained. Hamsters are nocturnal animals meaning that they are naturally awake at night. Wild hamsters might travel miles in the dark foraging for food. If your domestic hamster has access to a wheel then it will often run for hours at night because of the natural instinct to travel. Hamsters have large pouches that can be filled with food. They are natural hoarders and will use their pouches to stash food away. Hamsters are naturally solitary animals and should be kept singly. A female will only tolerate the presence of a male during oestrus. This occurs approximately every 4 days.

Health and Feeding

Hamsters are very susceptible to stress. It is important to give them somewhere quiet to sleep during the day and it is vital to buy one only from a reputable breeder or a good pet store. At the first sign of any illness they should be taken to a vet. Unfortunately the health of these animals is often not as good as it should be because of an inadequate diet. Frequently hamsters are only fed a bag of “mix” off the shelf. This is not a complete diet. Hamsters, like other small rodents, are omnivores rather than herbivores which means that they eat various bugs as well as fresh fruit and seeds. To supplement the mix try any of the following. Feed a little fruit and vegetables – whatever you have been eating that day. If any food is not eaten then remove it the day after because if it gets old and mouldy then this can make your pet very ill include a little dry cat food in the usual mix to give some extra protein feed a little piece of meat, cheese or let him lick out an empty yoghurt pot!


It is important to keep the cage as clean as possible. Ideally you need a lightweight cage with a plastic bottom which is deep enough to contain plenty of bedding. You can use wood shavings or shredded paper. Some cages have plastic tubes which are very good for keeping your pet entertained but these must also be kept clean. Water must always be available for your pet and is best given with a commercial dropper bottle. The water should be changed every few days to keep it fresh. Try to make the cage as interesting as possible by adding cardboard boxes, plastic piping and fruit wood.
nightvetlogo Find us at the Taverham Veterinary Practice, Fir Covert Road, Taverham, Norwich. NR8 6HT Tel: 01603 867330 Guidance notes Download Norwich Night-Vet is the only dedicated Emergency Service for pets in the Norwich area providing 24hour emergency care with a veterinary nurse and surgeon staying on site. We are available for referrals from member practices throughout the night, weekends and Bank Holidays. Our aim is to provide a genuine A&E service for pet owners in the Norwich area Our staff answer in-coming calls directly and straight away will arrange for the animal to be examined at the surgery. This ensures delays are kept to an absolute minimum. Norwich Night-Vet operates from the “Taverham Vets” surgery which is prominently located opposite the entrance to Taverham Garden Centre, on Fir Covert Road in Taverham (map below) The surgery is modern and spacious with easy and safe car-parking. The building won a British Hospitals Association Design award in 2007 Effective management of medical emergencies can be demanding and complex, requiring the specialised equipment based at the surgery. Where a person suffers a heart attack or is run over they are automatically sent to hospital A&E for their specialist facilities and care. Likewise appropriate care of animal emergencies by the Norwich Night-Vet staff necessitates animals to be at the surgery. This is why attending emergencies away from the surgery is not usually in the animal’s best interests. A vet and a Veterinary Nurse work together. By staying on-site they are readily available. They are also able to monitor in-patients effectively and provide care tailored to the individual. Since we aim to be able to deal with any emergency situation, we have an extensive range of specialist equipment. This includes two operating theatres, x-ray, ultrasound scanner and endoscopes (cameras for looking inside the body). We have a fully equipped in-house laboratory. This enables us to perform a wide range of blood tests and obtain results within minutes, which is extremely useful in investigating acute illness. Our Charges Emergency cover is costly to provide and so examinations carry a surcharge. We do require settlement for all services at the time of treatment. We accept cash, cheque and credit/debit cards. In times of emergency, pet insurance comes into its own. There is no NHS for pets, so we strongly recommend good quality pet insurance (we are however unable to accept direct payment from insurance companies). Where your pet requires further procedures or hospitalisation, you will be provided with a full estimate

Guidance notes on the Norwich-Night Vet Emergency Service – Guidance notes Download

  • Norwich Night Vet has been successfully running since 2008 and is the only service of its kind in Norfolk.  We provide a dedicated veterinary emergency service covering much of the area in and around Norwich.
  • A vet and veterinary nurse experienced in emergency medicine are on-site and available 24/7 365 days a year providing “through the night” care for hospitalised inpatients as well as being available to see any new emergency cases.
  • The surgery has an extensive array of specialist equipment to facilitate emergency treatments, some of which may not be available at general practices.
  • We manage hundreds of emergencies every year and this familiarity enables us to manage cases as effectively as possible.
  • We can call on the expertise of vets with post-graduate qualifications in several disciplines
    SOME COMMON QUESTIONS:   Why has my vet delegated emergency care to Norwich-Night Vet? Over the last 20 years the scope and sophistication of treatments available for pets have increased greatly. The nature of vets’ daily work has changed too such that the old scenario of a vet working an intensive 11-12 hour day followed by a night “on call” followed by a further long day is no longer practical for the vet nor in the best interests of their patients.   What care can I expect for my pet? The role of the emergency service is to provide sufficient care to get animals safely and comfortably though the emergency period until such a time that your own vet can take over. NNV effectively finishes at 8.30am Monday-Friday so we cannot provide continuity of care after this time unless the patient is unfit to travel back to your own vet.   Is someone watching my pet at all times? A Veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Nurse are on-site all the time and the Norwich Night Vet staff decide upon the level of supervision needed on a case by case basis.  They will balance the needs of an individual with that of a number of other patients and the need to see further emergencies and even perform operations during the emergency period.   Do you keep me and my practice informed? Yes of course. We aim to provide regular updates regarding your pet’s condition, the plan for the hours ahead and costs. Notes are sent to your practice and we often will telephone them about complex cases   Is it possible for you to tell me exactly what treatment will cost? The very nature of emergency conditions are that they can be unpredictable. We can only estimate approximate costs but these have to be revised on a frequent basis.   Do we accept direct insurance claims? No. Unfortunately due to the NNV work being done out of normal working hours administrative problems prevent us from doing this.   Do you bill my own practice? No. You need to pay us by the completion of our treatment.   If my pet is hospitalised, what happens to my pet when NNV finishes at 8.30am? Pets either go home to their owners or are transferred back to their own practice if medically fit to travel. Exceptionally animals will stay here but are then managed by a different team of vets and nurses to NNV.   My vet has yet to diagnose what is wrong – are you going to? We limit our diagnostic investigations to what is appropriate for the severity and stability of the medical condition of the animal during the emergency period. Where possible we try to leave investigations to your own veterinary surgeon.   Is the Norwich Night-Vet service a specialist ‘referral centre’? No. Specialists are experts in just one discipline and do not tend to work in general practice. However we are confident that NNV would compare very favourably with any general practice emergency service in the country. If we feel a specialist opinion is needed in the emergency period then we would discuss referral from us with you.   After treatment by NNV, can I register with Taverham Vets? The Emergency Service relies on co-operation between us and the practices using NNV. We have an agreement whereby animals cannot be seen by Taverham Vets for a period of 6 months from the time of the NNV treatment.  This agreement is strictly enforced. Guidance notes Download
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Taverham Vets, Longwater Lane, Costessey, Norwich, NR8 5AH. 01603 747344


here are some exciting new developments at our Longwater Lane branch.  Starting in September:  Saturday morning opening,  appointments from 9am until midday.

Also coming soon is our new canine hydrotherapy unit and our luxury boarding cattery.

Opening Hours: Consultations by Appointment  Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm/  Wed late appts until 7pm Saturday 9am -12pm

Cat only clinics Wed 3-4.40pm

Weekend and Evening appointments available at the Taverham Vets surgery on Fir Covert Road.

24hour emergency service run from the Taverham Vets Building

FullSizeRender-2 Julie Griffin RVN Julie is our full-time registered Veterinary Nurse, she covers reception duties and helps with procedures and operations as well as running nurse clinics. She will be in charge of running the new boarding cattery. Julie has a special interest in cats and is studying for her Feline Nursing Certificate. She lives in Norwich with her husband and her adorable cat Lucy.
FullSizeRender-1 Jenny Cory-Wright MA VetMB MRCVS Jenny is our regular vet at Longwater Lane, she is an experienced Small Animal Vet who has been working at Taverham Vets since January 2012. Jenny moved over to the Longwater Lane branch in June 2015 and is enjoying providing tailored patient care and getting to know the ‘regulars’. She is particularly interested in the care of senior pets, management of long-term pain and provision of quality palliative and end-of-life care. Jenny lives in Taverham with her husband, 2 young children, and 2 dogs – Ted and Holly (who can often be seen relaxing behind reception)!
zoe Zoe is an experienced registered veterinary nurse and helped to set up the Longwater Lane branch in 2011. In September she will be returning to work after her maternity leave.  She will be working part-time and will be covering reception duties as well as assisting with procedures and operations and running nurse clinics.


FREE ID CHIP with all puppy/kitten vaccination courses!

for all new Longwater clients with a booster or first consultation!

New puppy or kitten? Contact us for details on vaccinations and health packages or click here for more details:

Osteopathy with Joelle Fordham now available at the surgery


 Latest news and Special Offers at Longwater Lane

Referral Protocol

Referral to Taverham Vets must always be made through your own veterinary surgeon who will contact us and provide a copy of any relevant clinical notes. You may be asked to bring any relevant x-rays to your appointment. A report will be sent back to your own veterinary surgeon at the end of your visit to Taverham Vets and they will continue your animal’s care.

RCVS Certificates

All vets train for 5-6 years. However just like doctors, we continue our clinical training throughout our careers, attending courses, lectures and conferences. A small minority of vets chose to undertake 2-5 years of further training in specific subjects in order to sit RCVS Certificate Examinations. We are proud to have RCVS Certificate holders in:
  • Small Animal Surgery

  • Small Animal Orthopedics

  • Veterinary Radiology

  • Veterinary Dermatology

  • Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging

  • Veterinary Cardiology

  • Veterinary Ophthalmology


Dermatology Patient HistoryFax Back FormReferral Client Handout

The RCVS Certificate is the level of postgraduate qualification awarded by RCVS one below the Diploma (a Diploma indicates Specialist status), and indicates that the holder is a competent clinician who has proved their experience and expertise by examination in their chosen subject.

Facilities - Click here to learn more

The practice is purpose built and winner of the BVHA 2007 “best design” award. The further academic qualifications achieved by our vets are backed up by constant investment in new facilities and equipment at Taverham Vets.

Cardiology, Diagnostic Imaging and Endoscopy

Tom Robertson MA VetMB CertVDI CertVC MRCVS qualified from Cambridge Veterinary School in 2001. He completed 5 years in mixed practice before moving to Norfolk. Tom completed a RCVS certificate in Diagnostic Imaging in 2007 and a RCVS Certificate in Cardiology in 2011. Tom received the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society Prize for achieving the best overall marks in the 2011 Cardiology Certificate Examinations. Tom accepts referrals in diagnostic imaging, particularly thoracic and abdominal ultrasound. He also has special interests in cardiorespiratory medicine and endoscopy. Tom is on the VCS list of approved cardiologists for breed heart scoring (auscultation only).

Soft tissue and Orthopaedic Surgery

Guy Pitcher MA VetMB CertVR CertSAO CertSAS MRCVS qualified from Cambridge University in 1989, after which he spent a year at Bristol University training in their surgical department. His main interest is orthopaedic surgery and Guy is one of a handful of vets in the UK who have further qualifications in orthopaedics, general surgery and radiology. Guy was awarded the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Associated Leslie Vaughan Prize in 1996. Guy regularly accepts referrals from other local vets in these disciplines and he is now developing the new exciting field of keyhole surgery.


Kate Pitcher BVSc CertVD CertVR MRCVS graduated from Bristol University in 1990. She holds RCVS qualifications in Dermatology and Radiology and sees referral skin problems sent to her from other local practices in addition to our own cases.

Veterinary Ophthalmology

Charlie Barton BVSc CertVOphthal MRCVS graduated from Bristol University in 2004 and joined the practice in 2012 having moved from Surrey. He holds a RCVS certificate in Veterinary Ophthalmology and is pleased to be able to offer an ophthalmology referral service to local practices in the area. He will regularly perform corrective eyelid surgery and corneal microsurgery with the use of an operating microscope. Charlie is soon hoping to be able to offer cataract surgery at Taverham Vets. He also enjoys a good mix of general practice work.

Endoscopy and “Minimally Invasive Surgery”

Taverham Vets have invested in some “state of the art” endoscopic equipment. This video endoscopy enables us to further investigate a number of areas of the body such as the stomach, the bladder, the nose and the lungs. Foreign bodies can be retrieved, biopsies taken and areas visualised which are never normally accessible. It is now possible for us to diagnose more problems and offer more treatments than ever before. We also offer key-hole spays and the removal of retained testicles using a key-hole technique. These advancements in surgery greatly benefit our patients due to quicker recovery times and fewer complications. key-hole spay veterinary endoscopy key-hole castrate


All potential costs will discussed before treatment or investigations are performed. However, in some instances it is not possible to give precise quotes due to variable needs of the patient. In these circumstances we will endeavour to keep you updated as to the account status. Payment will be required in full at the time of your animal’s discharge. We accept cash and credit/debit cards, plus payments over the phone. Insured Animals Our standard policy is for all fees to be settled by the client at the time of your animal’s discharge and the money is then claimed back from your insurance company. Claim forms can be left with us for completion and for sending on to the insurance company (£5 administration fee). We endeavour to complete all forms promptly.
The team at Taverham Vets never cease to impress me. Your dedication, and obvious love of animals is clear for all to see…Mary Casale
Mary Casale