The London Vet Show 2018

Meeting the Street Vet team

Meeting the Street Vet team

A few weeks ago I was invited to go along to The London Vet Show, 2017.  The conference, held at Excel, is a two day event offering access to Europe’s largest veterinary exhibition of over 450 leading suppliers and world class CPD for vets.


The exhibition-led conference, in association with the Royal Veterinary College and the British Veterinary Association, offers delegates a thoughtfully considered clinical stream.  However, the conference also covers other topics affecting the profession today in the business and non-clinical CPD also on offer.


After a first day spent picking up clinical tips from the leading thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in small animal veterinary practice I decided to spend the second day exploring some of these ‘extra curricular’ topics offered in some of the other rooms.


One title that jumped out at me was ‘Brexit and the veterinary profession’. 


The talk was hosted by Gudrun Ravetz – Senior Vice President of the British Veterinary Association with visiting speaker Lord Gardiner of Kimble – parliamentary under secretary of state for DEFRA.



In his talk, Lord Gardiner highlighted the importance of vets in the role of pet and farm animals but also the international meat trade and public health.  25% of all vets and 90% of public health vets working in the UK are from outside the UK.  Lord Gardiner made a very direct statement to those vets thinking of coming to the UK to work that they would be welcomed and encouraged.


The London Vet Show is a brilliant conference – with separate companion, farm and equine clinical streams and seminars covering the most relevant current affairs affecting our profession. 


If you are looking to book your CPD for next year – Hurry and use code XMAS17 to secure your ticket to the London Vet Show for only £199+VAT.



As some of you already know, recently I was challenged by James Wellbeloved, a pet food company based in rural Somerset, to take part in their ‘Reconnect with Nature’ campaign.  Being a massive advocate for a life in the great outdoors and originally hailing from Yorkshire, I thought ‘what better excuse than to jump in the car and head North’.


We currently live in Bristol but whenever I head back home to West Yorkshire, we always take Oliver (our Labrador) with us and use it as an excuse to rediscover some of the amazing walks the Pennine hills have to offer.

On this occasion, we decided to go back to a favourite old haunt of mine –  Hardcastle Crags, a beautiful National Trust woodland valley above Hebden Bridge with a river feeding the mill pond to the central highlight, Gibson Mill. More importantly for Oliver, there is an abundance of dog friendly trails to discover through the woods!

Oliver has quite a chequered history.  He came into our lives when I was working in equine practice.  At the time, I had a vet student shadowing me and her Labrador had given birth to a beautiful litter of puppies that had all sold except one.  This one puppy had suffered an unprovoked attack at the mercy of an adult Labrador.  This Labrador fractured Oliver's skull and in the process caused his eye to prolapse.  He was only 6 weeks old, at 11 weeks old we went to visit and decided this one eyed puppy was the one for us!

Gibson Mill - National Trust, West Yorkshire.

Gibson Mill - National Trust, West Yorkshire.

Two hectic years on and Oliver was more of a handful than we could ever imagine.  What started out as the cutest ball of fluff had grown into an over excitable, bouncing ball of energy.  As with most Labradors, he eventually calmed down around two years old but a lot of this, I believe, was due to us changing his diet. 

We started out on a normal, good quality dog food but I wasn’t happy with the results.  Raw food diets were becoming increasingly popular but with recipes based on rumour and speculation rather than nutritionally balanced facts (this was six years ago), I was sceptical.  However, I was keen to explore the other popular idea of grain elimination.  

It made total sense in my mind.  Before we switched Oliver to a grain free diet he was prone to energy spikes and crashes and awful sloppy stools.  As a vet, I performed every test under the sun to try and work out why he was suffering with constant diarrhoea, and after ruling out all medical reasoning, I performed a diet trial. By eliminating grain, his energy levels became more stable, his training and concentration improved and for the first time in nearly two years he was passing solid, properly formed stools.

At this point, I should point out that grain is nothing to be scared of! A recent article in the Veterinary Times concluded that 'the prevalence of cereal based dietary allergies is low' and 'confirmed gluten sensitivity is very rare'.  

Always time for ice cream, right?

Always time for ice cream, right?

Dogs, contrary to popular perception, do not share a digestive tract that mimics that of the wolf, and are not obligate carnivores. And in fact, the vast proportion of domesticated dogs are perfectly capable of digesting grain - and in the majority of cases, will thrive.

However, it is recognised that 'some specific diseases can be associated with the presence of grains...causing gastrointestinal or dermatological signs' (Veterinary Times, Vol 47, No 37) and it is in these dogs, with veterinary guidance, that I may suggest a diet trial.

Turning 8 this year, I chose to transition Oliver over to James Wellbeloved Grain Free Lamb Senior last month.  I like the fact that this food is a single protein source (if it says ‘lamb’ on the label it is 100 per cent lamb protein in the food) and with the addition of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, glucosamine, chondroitin and Vitamin E it is nutritionally balanced to support Oliver as he gets older.       

Importantly, from my point of view as Oliver’s own personal pooper-scooper, his stools have remained firm and easy to pick up (and his coat is lovely and glossy)!

We have always had dogs in the family growing up, but Oliver is the first dog I would be able to call my own.  As with all loving dog owners, I feel a huge weight of responsibility to make sure I give him everything he needs for a happy life.  


And in the meantime, we are already planning our next adventure into the great outdoors.

Are you an avid dog walker? Do you know of any secret hidden treasures I should take Oliver to explore? Tag me in your posts and use #ReconnectWithNature and #JamesPotteryVet. 

The 'Virtual Vet': Will Telemedicine Revolutionise our Approach to Pet Healthcare?

The 'Virtual Vet':  Will Telemedicine Revolutionise our Approach to Pet Healthcare?

This week I received an email that had a picture of a dog’s foot attached.  The sutures I placed in the cut footpad three days previously were holding nicely and the wound was healing well.  Relief ensued. Then I read the accompanying message – ‘Looking great.  Happy here. Do we really need to come back in for the check up?’.  And with these simple words, my heart sank.

Forget Crufts, let's Talk about 'Scruffts'...

Forget Crufts, let's Talk about 'Scruffts'...

Spring has finally arrived! This is my favourite time of year. It’s the time that I really appreciate spending time with Oliver, my one eyed Labrador. There is a certain excitement in the air – it feels like there are new pastures to explore, new beaches to find and new adventures to have.  

Claws and Clay: Mastering The Art Of Veterinary Science.

Growing up as a child, I was surrounded by animals and art, the two running harmoniously together. Eventually I had to choose. I played it safe. I followed the defined career path to become a veterinary surgeon.

I'm 'bowled over'! Dog owners go 'barking mad' for my personalised dog bowls

When I was training as a vet, towards the end of the five year course, the sheer volume of information seemed so overwhelming.  I can remember at the time feeling exasperated and looked to my mentor who said 'don't worry, it will all just suddenly fall into place'..... and he was right.



My name is James Greenwood and I am a vet. I initially turned a blind eye to the plight of our junior doctors.  Then reports of disillusionment, emigration and even suicide started to follow.  For two professions that historically share a friendly rivalry, I fear we have found some unsavoury common ground. I will attempt to shed light.