Category Archives: General News

Protect your dog against kennel cough

Does your dog regularly come into contact with other dogs? Maybe out on walks, at the park, or when boarding in kennels? If so, we highly recommend vaccinating your dog against kennel cough. And, with our new oral vaccine (a liquid given into your dog’s mouth) it’s now even easier to protect your dog.

Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is a very contagious respiratory disease. Dogs can catch kennel cough after being in close contact with an infected dog. If your dog stays in boarding kennels, they’ll probably be quite close to other dogs which means it’s easier for them to catch kennel cough. If you’re planning a trip away it’s worth considering getting your dog vaccinated against kennel cough.

Contact us today to arrange an appointment.

What are the symptoms of Kennel Cough?

The main sign to look out for is a deep hacking cough, which can sometimes lead to retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting.  In some cases, you may only notice your dog coughs when they’re excited or during exercise. Some dogs get a fever and, in rare cases, the infection may progress to pneumonia.  Symptoms usually start within 10 days after your dog becomes infected; your dog could cough for up to three weeks. Often the cough is worse at bedtime which causes sleepless nights for the whole family!

How is Kennel Cough diagnosed?

Diagnosis is often based on the clinical signs your dog shows and the history you give us about your dog’s symptoms. If a gentle palpitation of your dog’s throat causes a retching cough, a diagnosis of kennel cough is quite likely.

What treatment is available for Kennel Cough?

There is no specific treatment for kennel cough (as it’s usually a viral infection) but antibiotics are sometimes used to treat dogs who have developed a bacterial infection. Infected dogs should rest and isolate from other dogs for around 14 days. In most cases, dogs recover from kennel cough within three weeks. It helps to avoid using a lead and collar as this can irritate your dog’s throat. Sometimes we prescribe cough suppressants or anti-inflammatories to help make your dog feel better.

What’s the best way to prevent Kennel Cough?

The best way to protect your dog from kennel cough is to vaccinate them. The vaccine is a quick and painless procedure. You can choose between a nasal spray or a liquid given into your dog’s mouth. This new oral solution is available at our practices. If your dog becomes stressed by the nasal vaccine, the new liquid might be a good option to try.

A kennel cough vaccination protects your dog for a whole year. Sometimes we can’t give it along with your dog’s regular booster so it’s worth checking when you book your dog’s appointment. Often kennels require that all the dogs boarding with them have been vaccinated against kennel cough so it’s worth checking when you book your dog in. The nasal vaccination should be given at least one week before their stay and the oral vaccine fully protects your dog after three weeks.

If you’re concerned your dog may have kennel cough and has any of the symptoms, speak to a member of our team for advice.  Alternatively, if you’d like to arrange a kennel cough vaccination for your four-legged friend, just give us a call.

Don’t forget, if you’re a Healthy Pet Club member, you can benefit from a 5% discount.

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Ear mites in cats and dogs

The ear mite, Otodectes Cynotis, is a mite that lives on dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets. It is typically found in the ear canal but can also live on the skin of your pet. Ear mites are caught through direct contact with another carrier animal. The mite may be seen as a white speck, about the size of a pinhead, moving against a dark background.

Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection in pets. They are the second most common external parasite found on pets; the top spot belongs to fleas. Infestation is very common in puppies and kittens, but the signs of infestation can be seen at any age. Symptoms vary in severity from one pet to another and may include:

  • Irritation of the ears causing head shaking and scratching
  • A crusty rash around or in the ear
  • Skin lesions near the ear and surrounding skin
  • A discharge from the ear
  • Hair loss resulting from excessive scratching or grooming
  • In heavy infestations, ear mites may start to invade other parts of your pet’s body.

Your vet will make a diagnosis by looking for signs of mite infestation. This may be done either by examining the pet’s ears with an otoscope or examining discharge from the ear. Ear mites cause an accumulation of dark, foul-smelling wax within the ear canal

If one animal in a household is diagnosed with mites, all pets should be treated simultaneously. Prompt veterinary care can prevent a serious ear disease called otitis externa—an infection of the outer ear that, if untreated, can lead to more serious problems, permanently affecting the animal’s hearing and sense of balance.

A variety of different treatment options are available to your pet. Some are topical medications, while others may be spot-on treatments or tablets. Your vet will determine the most appropriate treatment for your pet. Prevention is a matter of monthly topical anti-parasite application and keeping your pet’s ears clean.

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Avonvale Vets COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Following the Government’s recent guidelines, we can confirm that we are continuing to offer as full a range of services as possible for our patients, whilst adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

As a practice, we have adopted a contactless approach to appointments. We will continue to provide the same high-quality services with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a way that protects our clients and teams from local outbreaks of COVID-19.

As a result, lead times for appointments maybe a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.

Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe, please help us by:

·        Maintaining social distancing

·        Wearing a face covering where possible. If this is not possible, please contact us before your appointment so that we can discuss how best to support you and your pet

·        Sanitising your hands before and after your pet’s appointment

·        Using contactless payment methods wherever possible

·        Maintaining a safe distance from the practice entrance until you are contacted by a member of our team. If you are on foot, please ensure you are wearing suitable outdoor clothing to remain warm in cold weather spells. If you arrive by car, please remain inside the vehicle awaiting further instruction

When attending an appointment with your pet:

·        Be aware that our teams will be in full PPE at all times

·       Please send an SMS message to the corresponding practice number below to inform us you have arrived – these numbers are for SMS/text use only, any calls to the numbers will not be answered:

07707 279067 – Heathcote

07707 279068 – Southam

07707 279069 – Stratford

07707 279073 – Warwick

07707 279074 – Wellesbourne

07707 279075 – Cubbington

07707 279080 – Kenilworth

·        A member of our team will alert you to when they are ready to collect your pet and how best to do this safely and without contact (i.e asking you to stand away, whilst your pet is retrieved from the car)

·        The vet will contact you by phone should they need to discuss anything with you during the consultation

·        Once the consultation has been completed, a member of our team will return your pet to you in a safe, contactless way, talk you through the appointment and arrange for payment to be made.

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Bacterial skin infections in dogs

Bacterial skin infections can have many causes, including allergies. Regardless of the reason, skin infections require swift action by pet owners as they cause itching and pain. Some dogs are more vulnerable to develop bacterial skin infections than others.

It’s important to check common areas like the paws, groins and armpits. Skinfolds are particularly prone to skin infections, and dogs with heavy pendulous ears are very susceptible to infections. These infections happen because long, heavy ears can promote bacterial growth. However, any dog can develop a skin infection, so you should be on the lookout for warning signs.

Symptoms of skin infections include redness, itching, hair loss, bumps, pustules, and spots. Your vet may be able to diagnose by looking; however, a conclusive diagnosis requires the examination of hair, discharge, and skin cultures. Some of the tests and procedures your vet may conduct include:

  • Skin scrapes and hair plucks.
  • Swab of the skin or pus to look under the microscope and culture for bacterial growth.
  • Looking down the ear with an otoscope to evaluate the ear canal.

If your dog is diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection, your vet will direct you to keep the affected areas as clean as feasible. In certain dog breeds, it may be necessary to have their hair clipped to allow air to areas to assist in the healing process. In many cases, prescription antibiotics will aid in recovery. Your vet may also suggest topical creams or shampoos.

One of the most critical aspects of skin infection treatment is routine bathing which is beneficial because it:

  • Helps clean the skin, removing scaling and dirt that contains bacteria.
  • Can reduce any foul odours stemming from an infection.
  • May reduce itching and scratching.

Your vet can direct you on the appropriate frequency of bathing for your pet and the type of dog shampoo to use. Bathing too frequently can irritate your dog’s skin, so the right balance is critical. Dog hygiene can be enhanced with the use of rinses and sprays in between baths.

How to prevent skin infections in dogs?

If you have a dog breed that is particularly susceptible to skin infections, consider speaking to your vet for a year-round plan to reduce the risks. Dogs with many skin folds might need maintenance treatment to keep these areas from becoming too moist and could require special wipes or shampoos to keep them clean. You can implement a routine where you inspect your dog for any visual signs of infection frequently.

If you suspect your pet has a skin infection, talk to your vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

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Tips and advice for new puppy owners

As we get closer to COVID-19 related restrictions being slowly relaxed you’ll be looking forward to getting out and about more with your new puppy. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of buying a new puppy as life returns back to some kind of normal? Whatever your circumstances, we’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.

First things first – vaccinations

It’s essential for the health of your puppy that they have had their vaccinations before embarking on any outdoor adventures. Initial vaccinations are usually given at 2-4 months of age, with a second vaccination 2-4 weeks later. Taking an unvaccinated puppy outside puts them at risk of canine diseases such as parvovirus and distemper which can, in some cases, be fatal. It’s better to wait until you can be sure of your puppy’s safety and wellbeing. Get in touch with us to book your puppy’s vaccination course – we’ll be happy to advise on timings and answer any questions you may have.

You may be interested in joining one of our Healthy Pet Clubs – as a member of our Gold plan you’ll get vaccinations, monthly flea, tick and worm treatments and other benefits and discounts included for one monthly fee.

Normal puppy development

Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age, so there’s plenty of time for you to help them develop before you even leave the house. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them ‘risk-assess’ new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs who lack a memory bank of positive experiences, are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.

Separation

In the early days of puppy ownership, you’ll probably spend a lot of time with each other as you get to know them and watch their personality emerge. It is hard sometimes to separate but it is important to teach your new puppy how to be on their own. Separation anxiety can be a difficult problem if allowed to develop. To prevent issues developing as your puppy grows, we recommend the following:

  • Make sure your puppy has a safe space such as a crate or a bed
  • Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
  • Encourage independence – as your puppy gains in confidence, allow them to explore the garden alone
  • Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart.

Noise

  • Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try: dropping items, banging doors, singing and shouting.
  • Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
  • If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)

Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws.

Play

Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practise in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.

Socialising with other puppies and dogs

An important part of development for your new puppy is socialising with other dogs. Where possible, and in line with government guidelines, try to meet up with friends or family who have canine companions so your puppy will get to know them and how they behave. This will be essential for the future, when you encounter other dogs on walks and public outings.

Children

If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.

Dress-up

When you’re out and about with your vaccinated puppy, they will encounter many different people with different appearances. It’s a good idea to try to emulate this during the early days whilst you’re at home. Try out hats, sunglasses and veils; allowing your puppy to approach you in their own time and rewarding them when they do.

Cars

If you plan to take your puppy out with you in a vehicle, it’s a good idea to introduce safe travel to them early on. Get them used to a travel crate in the boot, or a doggy-seatbelt, even if you don’t actually drive anywhere. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car. You could start the engine too to introduce your puppy to the noise and vibration of a car.

If you’d like further advice on your puppy’s development, including the use of crates, diet, insurance or anything else, please call us. Our vets and nurses are happy to discuss any concerns you have. We’re very excited to meet your new additions and watch them grow into happy, healthy dogs.

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Neutering puppies and kittens

Did you know…neutering can have significant healthcare benefits for your pet? Here are just a few of the benefits…

Kittens

It is usual for male kittens to be castrated from around four months of age before they start developing habits such as urine marking around the house. Female kittens come in to heat every three weeks and become pregnant very easily. Therefore, we advise spaying from around four months of age.

Puppies

We usually recommend female dogs are spayed before their first season at six months of age, except for certain larger breeds; in which case we recommend before their second season. As well as preventing unwanted pregnancies, early spaying has been proven to result in a huge reduction in the occurrence of mammary tumours in older female dogs. It also prevents life-threatening uterus infections. This protection is dramatically reduced after the second season.

We usually start talking about castration for male dogs from six months of age, before they start to develop male traits, such as roaming and urine marking. This also reduces the risk of developing prostate problems, anal tumours and testicular cancer. Also, by having them castrated at a young age, this may reduce the risk of them being stolen for breeding.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with us. We’ll talk through the options and discuss what’s best for your pet, considering their age and breed.

You may also be interested to know that as part of our Healthy Pet Clubs Gold and Pet Clubs Plus plans  there’s a 25% discount on neutering included. Click here to find out more.

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May and Spring Bank Holiday opening hours

With two welcomed bank holiday weekends in May, we wanted to let you know that our opening hours will vary from our usual times. Please see below our opening times and our out of hours contact number(s):

May Bank Holiday

All locations closed, with emergency cover only at our Warwick hospital

 Spring Bank Holiday

All locations closed, with emergency cover only at our Warwick hospital

If your pet requires out of hours emergency care, please call us on 01926 400255.

 

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Keeping your dog safe whilst out and about this summer

If you’re planning on getting out and about in the UK this summer, whether just for the day or for a longer period, we have some tips and advice for you and your pet.

With so many dog-friendly campsites, holiday cottages, hotels and caravans available, your dog will enjoy the adventure just as much as you. Dog-friendly beaches and parks are the perfect settings for your canine companion who loves to play; but you should always take care to ensure you and your dog are prepared in advance.

Before setting out, you should ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that they have had their flea, tick and worming treatment. We can advise on the best treatments to protect your dog, to keep those pesky minibeasts at bay. Remember if your pet is signed up to one of our Healthy Pet Clubs their flea, tick and worming treatment is included.

ENSURE YOUR DOG IS MICROCHIPPED! 

A new or unusual environment could confuse your dog and if the worst happens and you get separated, it’s important that you can be reunited quickly and easily. All dogs must be microchipped by law, and you could be fined up to £500 if they are not. Before leaving, please take 5 minutes to check that your contact details stored on the chip are up to date and a mobile number is available, particularly if you are not at home, so that you can be contacted wherever you are.

Read more here >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/the-importance-of-microchipping-your-pet/

TRAVELLING BY CAR  

Planning your journey before your departure is important to ensure you know where you can stop to allow your dog to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and have some fresh clean water.

It’s also very important to ensure your dog is correctly restrained if you’re taking them out on the road – for both their safety and yours. A travel cage, harness or dog guard can keep your dog secure for travel; make sure it’s correctly fitted and from a recommended manufacturer.

Regulate the temperature in the vehicle and ensure your dog isn’t in direct sunlight whilst you’re moving or stationary, as overheating can lead to heat stroke.

If your dog has not been on many car journeys, or is not used to travelling in the car, we would recommend taking them on some shorter journeys beforehand in preparation.

Further details here >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/keeping-your-dog-safe-during-car-travel/

VISITING THE BEACH 

As soon as the sun comes out, many of us will head to the beach. Do check in advance that dogs are allowed, as some have a dog-free policy in place at certain times in the year.

It is also important to be aware of the potential dangers the environment can bring. Eating sand and drinking seawater can be dangerous to your dog, so do be aware of what they’re up to whilst you’re enjoying yourselves.

Find out more here >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/going-to-the-beach-with-your-dog-this-summer/

PROTECT YOUR PET FROM THE SUN

Like humans, dogs can be affected by high temperatures. Sunburn, footpad burns, dehydration and heatstroke can all occur, causing discomfort and potential fatalities. If you’re feeling the effects of a hot summer’s day, your dog will be too. Ensure you have a supply of cool, fresh water and stay out of direct sunlight where possible. To protect your pet, we would advise keeping your pet indoors between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.

Click here for more information >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/protect-your-pet-from-the-sun/

Click here to have a read through our list of our top 10 summer hazards, for some other things to consider to keep your pet safe.

As always, if you need any help or advice, please get in touch with us.

Here’s to a happy and healthy summer for you and your dog!

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The importance of parasite prevention

Parasite prevention is an integral part of taking good care of your cat or dog. Parasites also pose a threat to human health. Some pet parasites cause zoonotic infections, which means they can be transferred from pets to people.

Where and when can my pet get infected by parasites?

Dogs and cats can get parasites in a variety of places — whether they go outside or not. Other animals can bring parasites into your home. And anytime your pet is out, they are at risk. Fleas and ticks can live outside year-round, but the worst months are spring and autumn. Once fleas get in the house, they are a year-round problem.

How can I protect my pet from parasites?

Because parasites can be found all year long, your pet must always be protected. We offer a series of popular prescription products that are easy to use and will help to protect your pet.

You can receive year-round parasite protection through our Healthy Pet Clubs, which spread your regular pet care costs with a fixed monthly fee and guarantee an annual saving on your preventative veterinary treatments.

Dangers of parasites

The harm from parasites to a pet’s health can range from minor irritation to severe conditions that can be fatal. Here are some common parasites in the United Kingdom:

  • Ticks – Tick bites can cause allergic reactions or infections at the site of the bite. The major risk is that they can transmit infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease, Babesia & Ehrlichiosis.
  • Worms – Worms come in a wide variety such as tapeworm, roundworm, heartworm, whipworm and hookworm. These are common parasites and can affect our pet’s health and carry a human health risk, especially for children.
  • Lungworms – Lungworms are potentially deadly parasites that foxes, slugs and snails carry. It is the first fatal parasite to be endemic in the UK.
  • Fleas – Fleas affect dogs and cats and can be seen all year round. Signs that your pet may be suffering from fleas include itching, scratching, and licking. You may also see ‘flea dirt’ – tiny dark specks that look a little like grains of soil and go red when wet. Fleas can be seen by the naked eye! Fleas can also pass on tapeworms.

With advances in veterinary medicine, most parasitic infections can be prevented with routine preventative care.

Alongside preventative treatments, it is also important to practice good personal hygiene, including washing hands after handling pets and before eating food. Grooming animals regularly helps to reduce the risk of coat contamination. When going on walks, cleaning up pet faeces is vital because most intestinal worms are transmitted by worm eggs or larvae in faeces.

It is also crucial that parasite treatments are only given to the pet they have been prescribed for, as certain products can be fatal to other species. If you are unsure which parasite control products are the best for your pet, speak to one of our team members for advice.

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Going to the beach with your dog this summer?

With restrictions on holidays abroad, and ongoing updates to the quarantine list, many people are opting for a ‘staycation’ in the UK this year. If your summer plans involve a trip to one of our beautiful beaches and your dog is lucky enough to be joining you, here are some things to be mindful of:

Heatstroke

Remember that dogs are prone to feeling the effects of the sun too, with dehydration being a danger to them. When you’re at the coast the sea breeze may make it feel cooler than it is, so do be aware of any changes in your dog’s behaviour and try to create some shade for them to rest in. Make sure you have a supply of fresh water for them to drink and avoid taking them out in the heat of the day – remember that dry sun-baked sand can get very hot and burn your dog’s feet.

For more information about protecting your pet from the sun click here >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/protect-your-pet-from-the-sun/

Sand

When ingested, sand can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines, which may need surgery to remove. If your dog has never been to the beach before they may be curious about this new material and try to eat it. They may also inadvertently ingest sand when fetching a wet sand-coated ball. Keep your dog in view and be mindful of what’s in their mouths.

Swimming in the sea

We love to see a happy dog bounding through the waves but be sure to check the depth of the water and make sure there are no sudden drops that could cause your dog to get into difficulties. Small dogs are especially at risk due to their shorter legs, and a strong current could be more dangerous for them due to their lighter body weight.

Seawater

Drinking salty seawater will also add to the risk of dehydration and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. Too much seawater can cause dangerously high levels of sodium which can be fatal. Once again be mindful of what your dog is doing at all times and be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.

Remember, if you’re travelling by car, ensure your dog is safely harnessed for the journey. Find out more here >> https://www.avonvets.co.uk/blog/keeping-your-dog-safe-during-car-travel/

And finally, have fun!

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