COURSES teaching pet owners to give emergency first aid to animals, including hamsters, are going down a storm across Herefordshire.

The classes give county animal lovers tips on dealing with cuts and poisoning to their pets as well as resuscitation techniques and are fully booked up until December.

They are the brainchild of Leominster businessman Andre Marsh who says, much like human injuries, the moments following trauma to animals can be crucial.

“In a real emergency you may not have the time to get to a vet,” said Andre, who runs the town’s Little Beer Shop.

“We always tell people it is about the care prior to vets arriving. This is about emergency treatment. People seem surprised there is a course like this going.”

He said advanced classes deal with issues including the resuscitation of animals. These most commonly centre on the likes of horses, dogs and cats but Andre says he has heard stories from elsewhere in the country of animals including tortoises being saved in this way.

“Dealing with emergencies involving animals, in rural areas especially, is difficult as there is no emergency service for them in life-threatening situations and veterinary assistance may not be close at hand.”

Andre initially started the course as a one-off charity fundraiser but was approached earlier this year to hold another class.

He sits in on the classes which are run by a county-based senior veterinary nurse. All courses are run privately. Visit for further information.