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Summer safety for our pets

With the arrival of long sunny days, it’s a good time to touch upon some points to help our 4-legged family members stay comfortable and safe this summer.

Unfortunately, we tend to see an increase in heat stroke cases over the summer months. There can be a few contributing factors but the main causes we see are pets being left in vehicles and pets exercising in the heat of the day. Heat stroke can progress very quickly and is, in some cases, fatal.

By following some simple guidelines, we can decrease our pets’ chances of overheating.

  • NEVER leave your pet alone in a parked car, even if temperatures feel tolerable to you. Temperatures rise in parked cars incredibly quickly and our pets have minimal abilities to sweat and cool themselves down, resulting in increased panting and subsequently, overheating.
  • Exercise pets in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler and if possible, stick to shaded areas.
  • Always provide clean, fresh water both inside and outside and if possible, take water on walks.
  • Provide access to as much shade as possible if dogs are outside – trees, kennels, garage, porch etc.
  • Provision of a paddling pool. The clam shell pools are great, even for larger dogs that cannot lie in them. Dogs can cool down quickly via cooling their paws so many large dogs also enjoy simply standing in cold water.

Farewell Kylie

As of next Friday our wonderful Vet Kylie will be hanging up her scrubs for the last time and leaving us to go on maternity leave.

We know clients and staff alike are going to miss Kylie’s enthusiasm, knowledge, dedication and bubbliness around the clinic but we cannot wait for her to come back and visit us with her little one in the not too distant future.

We wish Kylie, Tom, and the boys all the best for the arrival of their wee baby girl.

Preventative Gastropexy

Large and giant breed dogs with deep chests are at risk of developing a life-threatening condition called Gastric Dilation and Volvulus. This is where the stomach fills with gas and twists on its axis. The twisting process blocks the blood supply to the stomach and the outflow of food and gas. This can lead to death of the stomach wall and subsequent stomach rupture, shock, and death of the animal.
Preventative surgery can be performed on “high risk” dogs, and it is typically done at desexing time. The abdomen is opened, and an incision is made through the first 2 layers of the stomach wall. An apposing incision is made in the body wall and the stomach stitched to the body wall. This allows the stomach to fill with gas, but it cannot rotate.
If you have a giant breed or a deep chested dog, this procedure will be discussed with you during your dog’s puppy vaccination course. If you have any queries, please contact the clinic on 07 888 8197

Guy Fawkes and our pets

While Guy Fawkes night, and the week leading up to and following, can bring joy to many child and adult alike, unfortunately the same cannot be said for many of our pets.

Every year we speak to concerned pet owners about ways in which we can help our pets through this challenging time and we do have some helpful tips and products at our disposal.

  1. Keep your pets indoors for the evenings with cat and dog doors closed for the night, or as much of the night as your pet will allow. Pulling all curtains early on so pets cannot see the fireworks can also help.
  2. Make sure dogs are wearing their collars (with registration tag attached) and all contact details are up to date if pets are microchipped, in case they should escape. If your pets are not microchipped and you are on the fence about it, it is a good time to get in and get it done.
  3. Putting on the TV or radio early in the evening can help to muffle the noise of the fireworks however don’t have it so loud as to unsettle your pets if they aren’t used to it.
  4. Providing a covered crate, igloo, cardboard boxes or a safe hiding spot for pets to retreat to can help.
  5. Providing a new toy or treats as a distraction.

For some pets, the above preparations are not enough to help and that’s where shop products and/or medication can be of assistance.

  1. Calmex – This is an oral calming supplement that can be purchased in the shop for both cats and dogs. It is safe for long term use and we recommend purchasing and trialing for a couple of days prior to the first lot of fireworks so dose rates can be altered if needed. More information can also be found –
  2. Feliway and Adaptil – These are pheromone sprays, infusers and collars that assist in creating a calming, secure environment for your pet. Our nurses are always happy to discuss these in depth to help choose the right product for your animal. More information can also be found –
  3. Thundershirts – These are tight shirts worn by your pet in periods of stress. They provide gentle, constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear, and over-excitement, much like swaddling a baby. More information can be found –
  4. Medication – Our vets are always more than happy to see any pets who struggle through Guy Fawkes each year or those which have a nervous disposition, to see if medication is a suitable option. Please do not hesitate to call the clinic to discuss this option with one of our nurses.



Are your pets vaccinations up to date for the summer holidays?

This is just a timely reminder that if you are planning to put your pets into kennels or catteries over the summer holidays, it is a good idea to check their vaccination books now to make sure their vaccinations are up to date. In some instances, if the vaccination has lapsed by more than a few weeks, we may need to give 2 lots of vaccinations 1 month apart. We would hate to see this left too late and potentially interfere with your pet’s ability to go to the kennels or cattery.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic if you do not have your vaccination book but need to check your pet’s vaccination status.

Farewell Kayla

It is with great Sadness that we bid Kayla farewell after 2.5 years with our team.

Kayla is the glue that has held our retail team together, making sure we always have products on our shelves, medications out back and the many other jobs that go along with stocking a vet clinic that no one sees.
Some of you may have met Kayla at reception when she has helped cover the desk or answer phones when we have been flat tack.
Kayla has also been found from time to time snuggled up in a kennel with a pet recovering from anaesthetic or with that special patient who just needs a little extra love.

We wish Kayla all the best on her next endeavour but know she will absolutely flourish in her new role.

Welcome Kim

MVS Small Animals are thrilled to welcome Kim to our team.

Kim is our new Veterinary Receptionist and will be your first point of contact on arrival.

Kim has previously worked at MVS equine in an Equine Technician role.  She also has experience in retail, banking, customer services, office administration, has been a business owner and is a personal trainer.  So, she will keep us all on our toes.

Outside of work Kim enjoys chilling with her 2 sons Xavier and Zach, as well as her dog Kova.  She loves to bake (but tends to eat it all, so baking isn’t too often!) Kim also enjoys upcycling furniture when she has the time.

Farewell Paris

The time has fast approached for us to wish our wonderful Vet Nurse Paris all the best as she heads off on maternity leave. Paris started her journey with us as a student, became a much loved member of our team in 2020 and we are so excited to see her head off on this new adventure of motherhood. Paris is an incredibly hard worker, huge advocate for patients under her care and a bubbly force within our team. We know she will be missed by staff, patients and clients alike and we wish her and her partner all the best.

Patient: Polly

Polly is a 4 month old “Polydactyl” kitten. Polydactyl meaning she has extra toes (4 extra toes in total).
Polly was brought into MVS for a routine spey surgery (desexing).
She was weighed and health checked before being placed into a warm cage with a catnip mouse (the catnip can help calm our feline patients).
Polly was first given a small injection under the skin to relax her and provide some pain relief for her surgery. She was then anaesthetised with an injection into her vein by Dr Susan and nurse Paris.
Polly was kept anaesthetised via an endotracheal tube that was placed down the back of her throat into her trachea. This was attached to the anaesthetic machine and enabled the anaesthetic and oxygen to pass into her lungs.
Her tummy was then clipped in preparation for surgery. Dr Susan prepped herself for surgery by scrubbing her hands and arms with special chlorhexidine scrub, she also had a surgical cap, mask and gown – this is to ensure sterility in surgery. Nurse Paris cleaned the shaved area of Polly’s tummy, then transferred her to the surgical suite where she had a sterile surgical clean.
Once all the preparations were completed a sterilised drape (with a hole in the middle of it) was placed over Polly’s abdomen. Sterilised instruments were opened and laid out by Dr Susan who then performed the spey surgery. Nurse Paris monitored Polly’s anaesthetic during surgery. Once surgery was completed, Polly was woken up and transferred to recovery where she was continued to be kept warm and monitored. Polly was given an injection of pain relief and discharged later in the day with some more pain relief to go home with for the next 3 days.
Polly recovered well and was back home hanging out with her best 4-legged canine friend in no time🥰

Welcome Vet Nurse Liz

Nurse Liz joined MVS Small Animals in 2023. She started vet nursing in 1993 and qualified in the UK in 1996. She worked in various small animal and mixed practices in the UK before moving to NZ in 1999. Liz worked in Hamilton and Cambridge as a vet nurse before going on maternity leave for 13 years! Liz has previously worked in a sausage factory, as a teacher aide, a cleaner, a gardener and on farm whilst bringing up her 2 children, now aged 11 and 13.
She has a dog, horse and 2 guinea pigs at home and lots of cows.
When Liz came to NZ she wanted to learn how to ski, surf and ride a motorbike. She has achieved all 3, but enjoys surfing the most, or just hanging out at the beach.
The best part of being a veterinary nurse is meeting amazing clients and making a difference for them and their pets. Intensive nursing and nutrition are favourite subjects for Liz.

Patient : Max

Max is a 5 year old Jack Russell Cross dog. Max had a build-up of dental tartar on his teeth and it was recommended, due to the development of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and halitosis, that a dental cleaning procedure be performed.
Max gets quite nervous at the vets, so as soon as he arrived we gave him some medication to help him relax. As we were getting him ready for his dental cleaning and anaesthetic, he climbed into Dr. Kylies lap for cuddles.
As you can see, the cleaning procedure made a huge difference to the gingivitis and removed all the tartar from his teeth.
After a dental cleaning procedure, we recommend tooth brushing, dental diets and dental chews to help reduce the tartar build up. It is imperative to continue these methods at home because bacteria build up on the teeth within 30 minutes of a dental cleaning procedure.
Keeping on top of your animal’s dental health will help to prevent tooth loss, pain in the mouth, heart disease and halitosis.
Please call the clinic if you wish to book your animal in for a dental check-up.

Patient : Murphy

Murphy is a 7-month-old Labrador who was playing chicken with the ute and got clipped by a wheel. He was brought into MVS and on examination was full of energy with nothing abnormal detected. He presented again 4 days later with heavy breathing.

When Murphy walked through the door, his energy levels were so high (picture whole body wagging and wanting a pat from everyone) that it was very difficult to see that he was struggling to breathe. When we observed him from a distance (getting too close lead to excitement “pat me” “love me” Labrador behaviour) the heavy breathing was confirmed.  Murphy was then sedated and taken straight into radiology for chest x rays.

On X-ray, it was evident that something was very wrong. The line where his diaphragm should have been (the thin muscle that divides the abdominal contents from the heart and lungs) was absent and it appeared that his stomach was in his chest.

We assumed at the time that he had a diaphragmatic hernia which was likely caused by the trauma from being clipped by the ute earlier in the week.  Murphy’s owners were keen to proceed with surgery.

Murphy was prepped for surgery and when his abdomen was opened, it was clear the diaphragm had indeed ruptured. His stomach, liver and a portion of his small intestine were in his chest.   Dr. Alex and Dr. Kylie got to work quickly to repair the diaphragm and remove the abdominal contents from his chest.  This allowed Murphy to breathe a lot easier!!!!

We are very pleased to share that Murphy has made a full recovery and everyone is hoping he won’t ever play chicken with the farm vehicle again.

We thank Murphy’s family for allowing us to share this story.

Proud to again pass our recent BEST PRACTICE audit

MVS Small Animals has been a BESTPRACTICE Accredited Practice since 2012.

The NZ Veterinary Association BESTPRACTICE Scheme is a voluntary accreditation programme for Vet Clinics in NZ and promotes a high standard of professionalism and service.

Our practice is audited by an independent auditor every 2 years.  This programme focuses on ongoing evaluation of practice protocols for maintaining a high level of excellence in surgical, medical, diagnostic and nursing fields.

Thanks to our great team, for achieving and being part of this fantastic recognition from the NZ Veterinary Association.

Sophie Ireland | BVSc

Small Animal Veterinarian 

Sophie joined MVS in January 2023 and works with both MVS Small Animals and MVS Farm teams.

Sophie was a Massey University graduate and spent time with MVS on her university placements and loved being part of our team!

Sophie grew up with an array of her own animals over the hill in rural Tauranga and has wanted to be a Vet since day one!

Outside of work Sophie enjoys going to the beach and local waterholes with her dog, adventuring outside and exploring the beautiful walks in NZ, going to the gym, and socialising with her friends and family.

Farewell Dr Alex

We would like to take opportunity to thank and farewell Alex.
Alex has been an integral part of the team and will be missed by both clients and staff alike. We have enjoyed having Alex here and would like to wish him all the best on the rest his travels and his return trip home.
Many thanks from the Small Animal Team


Sophie joined MVS in January 2023 and works with both MVS Small Animals and MVS Farm teams.

Sophie was a Massey University graduate and spent time with MVS on her university placements and loves being part of our team!

Sophie grew up with an array of her own animals over the hill in rural Tauranga and has wanted to be a Vet since day one!

Outside of work Sophie enjoys going to the beach and local waterholes with her dog, adventuring outside and exploring the beautiful walks in NZ, going to the gym, and socialising with her friends and family.

Patient: Augustus

This is Augustus a 3-year-old Tonkinese cat. Augustus has lived a life of luxury, being carried by his servant (7-year-old Madi pictured here) wherever his heart may desire, getting fed tid bits and table scraps and conning multiple family members into feeding him on a daily basis. At his annual health check 6 months ago, he weighed in at 7.5kg. He was given a body condition score of 6/9 which indicated Augustus was 30% overweight.
In veterinary medicine, we know that good nutrition and a healthy body weight can prevent many unnecessary diseases in animals. This prevents pain and suffering which leads to a better quality of life and a longer life-span. So, at Matamata Veterinary Services we provide advice on how to calculate a healthy weight for your pets and a plan on how to achieve this healthy weight.
Augustus’ owners were very dedicated to help him achieve a goal weight of 5.2kg. He was put onto a weight loss food and the amount to be fed daily was calculated. His owners measured this amount every morning on their kitchen scales and put it into a container, so that everyone in the family knew if he had been fed that day or not. Toys were allocated to help Augustus do more exercise and to make him work for his food (just like wild cats). We are extremely happy to announce that Augustus is achieving his weight loss goals and is now down to a much healthier 6.5kg.
Well done to Augustus and his family. Maintaining a healthy weight for your animals comes down to dedication and commitment from owners and the knowledge that keeping your animal at a healthy weight will help prevent future disease and allow you to enjoy your pet for longer.
See photo for some ways to encourage your cat to work for their food. This helps to increase calories burnt and build up muscle just like cats in the wild.

Patient: Oscar

Oscar and his 9 lives!
Oscar is an adorable young cat who has already been through more than his fair share of troubles. A severe dog attack left him needing intensive hospitalization and amputation of a back leg. Oscar recovered from this trauma and didn’t look back- until ….
One day, Oscar was vomiting lots, and not interested in eating. He was also uncomfortable when we felt his abdomen. Another stay in hospital, and some X-rays of the abdomen followed. The X-ray showed suspicious bunching of the intestines. Oscar was taken to surgery. We performed an exploratory laparotomy – where the abdomen is opened and explored – to give more information about the cause of his symptoms.
In surgery, we saw that Oscar’s small intestines were abnormally bunched up, and we could feel something within them, tracking all the way back to the stomach.
This is termed a linear foreign body- any long, thin non-food item such as string that is in the gastrointestinal tract. Linear foreign bodies are more commonly seen in cats, and have the potential to cause serious complications. If one end of the string becomes anchored (for example in the stomach) and the free end trails into the intestines, as the intestines attempt to move the string along, they will end up bunching themselves up (imagine holding one end of a drawstring on trackpants and pushing the material up along the string). This can lead to the string cutting into the delicate intestine, and cause peritonitis, which is life-threatening.
We were able to remove all the string by making small openings into the stomach and intestines to remove the string in sections. Luckily, Oscar’s intestines all still looked healthy.
Oscar recovered very well from surgery and was eating again the next day- what a trooper! We are hoping that from now on he won’t need to use any more of his 9 lives!!

Patient Pablo

Cute little Pablo came into the clinic for a checkup as he had suddenly started a hacking cough and clearing his throat.

These symptoms can be due to many different things. Pablo had not responded to anti-inflammatory medication prescribed, so we decided to do a little more investigation and gave Pablo a short general anesthetic. This allowed us to have a close look at the back of the throat and a little way into the nasopharynx (where the back of the nasal passages joins to the back of the throat). Using a retractor, we could look a little way behind the soft palate and noticed a tip of a grass blade peeking out!

We were able to remove the grass blade gently – it was much larger than expected. Such a long blade of grass hiding in the nasopharynx of a tiny puppy- no wonder he was coughing and snorting!

Foreign material becoming stuck in the nasopharynx can sometimes happen- a pet may eat then vomit grass or insects, which then get stuck behind the soft palate rather than coming out of the mouth. Symptoms can include retching, gagging, or coughing. Sometimes the symptoms are more noticeable when the pet is eating and swallowing.

We can often find the foreign material by having a look right at the back of the mouth under general anesthesia. Sometimes more advanced imaging such as endoscopy (using a little camera) or a CT scan to look deeper into the nasopharynx is required.

Have a look through the photos to see the blade of grass in the mouth and its size when removed.

For those interested, Pablo’s breed is a Griffon.

Visiting us under Level Red of the COVID protection framework:

We are doing our very best to continue to provide excellent care and services to you and your pets.

It is however becoming increasingly important that we do everything we can to limit potential exposure of COVID to our clients and within our staff.

If a Covid case should occur within our staff, we run the risk of being unable to open and therefore being unable to offer any of our services (including emergencies) for an ongoing period of time.

It is for this reason we ask you to please understand why we are so strict with our rules.

Please remember:

  • Scan in on arrival.
  • Always wear a mask.
  • Phone or email ahead to order medications to minimise time in the clinic.
  • Vaccine pass required to enter consultation rooms.
  • Only one client per consultation (unless exceptional circumstances).
  • If there are too many people in the clinic, we may ask you to wait outside.
  • Please be aware how close you are to others and staff.
  • If you are feeling unwell, coughing, sneezing or fever – please reschedule your appointment.

Thank you for supporting us as we navigate through these difficult times, we understand this can all seem very impersonal but please trust we are doing our very best to protect everyone and ensure we can continue to operate.

Take care

The MVS Small Animal Team

Hot Weather

With the hot weather approaching, humans are not the only ones that are likely to be feeling the heat. Our furry friends are at risk of overheating just as much if not more than we are. Dogs, especially those with thick fur and brachycephalics (short nosed breeds) can find it hard to regulate their temperature which can lead to heat stroke. Signs of this include panting, drooling, collapse and coma. Heat stroke is an emergency and most animals who get hyperthermia need to be seen by a vet to help reduce their core temperature back to normal.
If you are worried about overheating visit your Veterinarian ASAP and remember to start cooling your pet before arriving at the vet clinic as heatstroke can be very serious and rapidly fatal.
Photo cred: istock

Traffic Light Covid-19 Management

Under the orange level of the COVID protection framework.

We can provide all of our services, but as we are a close contact service in some areas in the clinic, some of our systems will be different.

We understand this is confusing so we will guide you through your visit but please be patient.

Retail Shop and Reception

  • No entry if any cold or flu symptoms
  • Contact tracing required
  • Masks compulsory
  • You must stay over 1m from other clients and staff

Consultations and Surgical Bookings

If you feel comfortable advising us of your vaccination status when making a booking, we will verify your vaccination certificate on arrival at the clinic.

If you prefer not to disclose your vaccination status, we are happy to offer a contactless service (like in COVID level 3 and 4).  Your pet will be examined with a vet and nurse in the consult room while you remain in the reception area, or outside in your car.  We will then communicate findings and make a treatment plan.

We ask you please be patient with our protocols and understand this is a business necessity to protect clients and staff and allow us to continue to provide our services under the new government legal framework.

Look after each other

Take care

The MVS Small Animal Team

Pet Safe Summer

The start of summer is the perfect time to get a refresh on pet safety to protect your pets, your children and yourself whilst out in public.

Kids’ and dogs’ often meet at the park, out walking or at friends’ houses. To help reduce the likelihood of a dog snapping at or harming a child here are some dog safety tips to tell the kids:

  • Check it’s sweet before you meet!
  • To understand – they sniff your hand!
  • To meet a pup – ask a grown-up!
  • If a dog has a snack – keep well back!
  • Keep your face – out of their space!
  • Don’t run and shout – it freaks us out!
  • A dog is not a toy – don’t tease and annoy!
  • Quiet and slow – is the way to go!

Photo cred – i-stock

Farewell Alice

It is with sadness we announce that our wonderful vet Alice Anderson, will be leaving the MVS Small Animal team early in the New Year.

Alice has been part of the Small Animal team for over 5 years.  She has been an integral team member, using her invaluable ultrasound skills to help many patients.

Alice is taking a position closer to her home in Tauranga and will continue following her passion in Veterinary Ultrasound.

We would like to thank Alice for all her hard work and dedication to her patients and we wish her all the best in her new adventures.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance is more popular now than ever in New Zealand with many choices for insurance, these include:

  • Southern Cross
  • Pet Plan
  • Pet-n-sur
  • AA Pet Insurance
  • PD Insurance
  • Pet insurance companies all structure their policies in different ways, so it is very important to read the policy and assess what they cover and their payment terms and conditions.

Southern Cross offer a FREE 6 week pet insurance for your puppy and kitten (provided they are between 6 and 26 weeks of age). Online application is super easy at

PD insurance also has an easy to use online platform for quotes

Photo cred: i-stock

Responsible Dog Breeding

Health testing before breeding dogs:
Breeding dogs has been a human passion for many hundreds of years, however it is not something to be taken lightly and much preparation is needed.
The goal of breeding must be to breed healthy pups. Every breed, and cross bred, has potential health issues that can be assessed in the parents, to give the pups the best opportunity to be as healthy as possible. These tests need to done months before you plan to breed in both the bitch and the proposed father.

Preparing for the pregnancy and whelping:
Having a litter of puppies can be very time consuming and expensive, but is also very rewarding. If complications occur with the birth or lactation, a caesarian can be required, and pups may need to be fed by you. This can be a full time job. We have information sheets to give you some helpful hints but we suggest you also do other research before you actually breed your bitch, to ensure you are well prepared.

Photo cred: istock

Angry Cat

All too often the quiet, peaceful, purring cat sleeping next to us on the couch can turn into an attacking beast within a few seconds. This change in behaviour can lead to biting and scratching and occurs in many households.
Cats can be bossy creatures and like to be in control. Aggression comes from fear and your cats’ perception they need to defend themselves.
All too often when we are having a nice cuddle, your cat can decide it’s had enough and try to leave. Sometimes we try to force them to stay and it’s at this stage they will become threatened. This then leads to angry attacking behaviour with potential injury to ourselves.

  • To have a good relationship with your cat please remember they like to be in control. Learn to read their body language, by ensuring they think they’re the boss they won’t feel threatened and become aggressive.
  • Signs of anger to watch out for include swishing of the tail, flattened ears, growling, stopping purring and big black eye pupils. If any of these signs occur, stop patting your cat and let them sit quietly, or move away if they want. Next time you can try the technique below.
  • You can teach, or rather convince your cat that longer periods of patting are ok with a little bribery. Start with short periods of patting without aggression occurring, for some cats this may only be a few minutes. At the end of the period reward with a tasty treat. Next time at least a day later, you can extend the period slightly and reward again and so on.

‘Dogs have owners, cats have staff’

Photo cred: istock


If you see your dog scooting (dragging their bottom along the floor while in a seated position) it can often be a sign your pet is in discomfort. Sometimes scooting can be due to internal parasites or allergies but a COMMON REASON is actually when their anal glands need to be checked. Please phone the clinic to book an appointment with one of our vets to get your dog’s anal glands checked and make them feel more comfortable again.
Photo cred – istock


Worms are a common cause of ill health in dogs and cats and can cause symptoms ranging from loss of appetite, pot belly, vomiting and diarrhoea, coughing, anaemia and even death. Depending on your pets age and stage they will require different worming regimes. Some pets require worming more often than others depending on their household and lifestyle. Contact the clinic to speak to one of our nurses and find out the best option for your pet.


From their days as wild animals, pets have learned not to show weakness, because predators choose the sick and the most vulnerable. They try to cover up signs of illness or injury by instinctively hiding their pain as much as possible.

Pets have a very high pain threshold and don’t fake illness for sympathy. The signs that you would normally apply to yourself or your children are great indicators for your pets as well.

Detecting if your pet is sick can mean noticing the very subtle changes in their behavior. These can include:

  • Being quiet with decreased activity, possibly sleeping more, or hiding away.
  • Reluctance to eat or eating less than normal, or preferring different foods.
  • Changes to their drinking levels – either drinking more or less than normal.
  • Changes to toileting behavior, increased frequency of urination or diarrhoea.
  • Scratching excessively, skin or hair loss.
  • Stiffness, lameness or difficulty rising from sitting or lying down.
  • Coughing or vomiting

If any of these signs occur for over 24 hours or if you have concerns please contact us, we are only too happy to offer advice.

Photo cred: i-stock