Category Archives: General News

Avonvale Vets COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Following the recent ‘stay at home’ and lockdown orders issued on 4th January 2021, 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.

Posted in General News |

Tooth Brushing Guide for Small Animals

Brushing is by far the best method for keeping your pet’s teeth clean and is more successful if taken in stages. Ideally, it would help if you brushed your dog’s teeth at least once daily to help remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up.

STAGE 1: Build confidence

  • Smaller pets can be placed at a comfortable height where they feel secure, such as on a chair, table, or lap covered with a towel to prevent slipping.
  • For cats, it can be easier if there are two people. For larger pets, it may be best to leave them on the floor.
  • Gently rub the face and muzzle with fingers and hands only. Work up to being able to gently hold the mouth closed for a short period. This can be done by placing fingers on top of the nose, or muzzle, with the thumb under the chin.
  • Do this for approximately 30 seconds and then reward with some fuss, play, a treat, or all the above.
  • Repeat daily for at least five days or until your pet is relaxed and comfortable with this.

STAGE 2: Finger brushing

  • Place your pet in the same position you used when building their confidence (Stage 1).
  • Gently close the mouth as practiced. The lips will be relaxed, so there is no need to try and hold the mouth open.
  • Apply a small amount of pet-specific toothpaste to a fingertip or finger toothbrush and slide under the lip to rub the paste onto the teeth.
  • Start from the canine (fang teeth) and work backward.
  • Many pets find the incisors (small teeth at the front of the mouth) very sensitive, so only brush these once your pet has become used to the other teeth being brushed.

STAGE 3: Moving on to a toothbrush

  • Once your pet is happy with the finger brushing, you can progress on to a toothbrush. Brushes specifically designed for both dogs and cats are best.
  • Place the pet-specific toothpaste onto the brush, slide under the gum, and gently brush the teeth.
  • We recommend working hard at ensuring that both sides of the mouth are equally brushed. This may mean starting on the side that you feel least comfortable brushing.
  • When you start brushing, you may notice a small amount of blood on the toothbrush. As you continue to brush this will stop appearing as you will be tackling the gum disease responsible for the bleeding. If it does not stop, please contact us so we can advise on the next steps.

 ADVANCED LEVEL

Consider the gums
If you find the brushing easy and your pet is very tolerant, you may also be able to brush their gums. To do this, you will need to look carefully at which teeth you are brushing. Angle the toothbrush so that the bristles gently clean the gum around the base of each tooth. This is advanced level brushing and only to be attempted if you and your pet are comfortable and confident to do so.

In addition to brushing, the following can also help keep teeth and gums healthy…

GELS
Gel products are beneficial for pets that suffer from or are likely to develop gum disease. Gels can also be helpful for cats where brushing is not tolerated as they can be applied with a cotton bud initially, and may allow for progression to a toothbrush.

ORAL RINSES
Oral rinses are useful if gums are too sore to brush, especially immediately after dental treatment. Like gels, oral rinses are to be used daily.

SPECIALIST DIETS
Some brands of pet food offer a range specifically designed to be kind to your pet’s teeth and to be used in conjunction with brushing. The biscuit size, shape, and texture is formulated to provide an increased abrasive action. Please speak to us to find out which diet would be the most suitable for your pet.

DENTAL CHEWS
Dental chews may help to reduce plaque accumulation and tartar formation on teeth, and pets love the taste. However, it is important to not solely rely on them as evidence indicates that chews alone are not capable of maintaining long term oral health.

For more information or advice, please contact us.

Posted in General News |

January is National Walk Your Dog Month

If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know that every month is walk your dog month, as our canine friends need regular exercise all year round! But during January – with the enjoyment of Christmas a distant memory, the cold weather continuing, and those dreaded January blues to deal with – it can be tempting to put off walking your dog.

Walking your dog can bring benefits for both of you, which can be especially important in January, so our advice is to embrace this time of year.

Exercise

Many of us will have indulged over Christmas, and our waistlines may be showing the effects of one too many mince pies. Regular walks with your dog can help to combat December’s Christmas indulgence without the need to hit the gym. Weight management is important for your dog too, and walks are a good way of helping to regulate their weight alongside a healthy diet.

Mental wellbeing

Getting out and about can be good for your mental wellbeing as it takes you away from the stresses of everyday life. With time to process your thoughts, the effect of your dog’s excitable happiness when they realise it’s time for ‘walkies’, and the shared camaraderie and exchanges with other dog walkers will leave you feeling brighter and more enthusiastic.

Fresh air

If you’ve been spending more time indoors lately with windows closed and the heating on, you may have forgotten just how good it feels to get some fresh air. Getting outside and breathing deeply can clear your lungs, unblock a congested nose, give you more energy and focus your mind. It’s good for lowering heart rate and blood pressure too.

Plus, being outside gives your dog the chance to be a dog! Dogs love sniffing out scents and exploring so, while it may not be the fresh air they’re breathing in, they’ll appreciate the benefits it brings. It will also aid their food digestion and energy levels.

Technology downtime

If you’re guilty of spending a lot of time on your mobile phone, games console, or watching box sets on TV, going outside can be a welcome distraction. Take in your local area, absorb your surroundings, and enjoy living in the moment. Spend time focussing purely on your dog; run around the park with them or take a ball to play fetch. They’ll appreciate your attention. Your tech will still be there when you get back.

Ensure you stay safe by reminding yourselves of our tips for walking your dog at this time of year here

Now grab that lead, put on your warm coat, and off you go!

Posted in General News |

Pet Passports no longer valid from 1 January 2021

From 1 January, Official Veterinarians (OVs) issued EU pet passports will no longer be valid for travel to and from the EU.

Instead, Official Animal Health Certificates will be required for dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from Great Britain to the EU (up to five pets on one certificate).

We will be issuing these to owners travelling with their pet to the EU from 1 January 2021.

This will affect your travel if you are arriving in an EU Member State after 11.00pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020.

Your pet must:

  • Have a functioning microchip or tattoo
  • Have a rabies vaccination at least 21 days before travel
  • Enter the EU via a designated Traveller’s Point of Entry
  • Have an Animal Health Certificate written in the official language of the country they will enter the EU by
  • Receive treatment against Echinococcus (a tapeworm) 24-120 hours before returning to Great Britain

 

The Animal Health certificate is:

  • Valid for ten days from the date of issue
  • Valid for a single trip into the EU
  • Valid for onward travel within the EU for four months
  • Valid for re-entry to Great Britain for four months after the date of issue

 

We suggest that, where possible, you discuss your travel plans with your vet at least one month before your intended travel to ensure your pet is prepared for travel.

Please contact us for advice on the steps required and ensure you have the necessary appointments booked for your pet.

The most up to date information can be found on the government website at www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

Posted in General News |

Senior Pets Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a well-established, widely-practiced treatment that can greatly benefit senior pets. Below we take a closer look at physiotherapy and how it could help your pet.

What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can really help senior patients who have degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and lumbosacral disease (back pain).

Physiotherapists sometimes use high tech equipment such as special ultrasound machines, laser therapy, TENs therapy, and pulse wave therapy. Often, though, all they need are their hands to gently stretch and move your pet’s legs in certain ways. Sometimes, a physiotherapist might prescribe an individual exercise plan for your pet to follow.

What is the aim of physiotherapy?
The aim of physiotherapy in senior pets is to improve their muscle strength, increase stamina, and maintain joint flexibility so they can stay mobile and comfortable for as long as possible.

Managing degenerative joint disease (such as osteoarthritis and age-related spinal disease) is a key focus for veterinary physiotherapists. Painful joints lead to painful muscles because pets change their gait (how they walk) to reduce the pain they feel. Walking and running differently can strain your pet’s body; under-used muscles injure easily and redundant muscles (no longer used properly) will atrophy (become smaller).

Physiotherapy helps to reduce and slow down the progression of many age-related conditions.

What are the benefits of physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists assess your pet’s musculoskeletal system (bones and muscles). Your pet might need treatment for a current condition or might benefit from preventative treatment to correct muscle imbalances and joint weakness.

If your pet has undergone surgery or is booked in for an operation, physiotherapy can help make their recovery quicker and more comfortable.

Physiotherapists work closely with your vet to monitor your pet’s progress. Together, they review how changes to your pet’s medication, exercise regime and lifestyle could improve their overall quality of life. A physiotherapist will explain how to carry out simple exercises with your dog at home. They might also suggest:

  • Adjusting your home to make access easier (ramps or extra steps)
  • Modifying your pet’s exercise routine and the games you play (for example, sometimes ball chasing can strain joints.)
  • Keeping your pet’s joints warm during colder weather (warm beds and massage helps)

If you would like more information about how physiotherapy could help your pet, or to arrange for your pet to have a full examination, please contact us.

More information about how physiotherapy can help treat dogs with arthritis can be found here.

Posted in General News |

Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Antibiotics have had an incredibly positive impact on human and animal healthcare. Their use enables clinicians to cure previously untreatable conditions. However, there are increasing numbers of bacteria becoming resistant to all antibiotics. Infections caused by these ‘super-bugs’ can be fatal as previously used treatments no longer work.

Antimicrobial Awareness Week (supported by the World Health Organisation) aims to educate clinicians, policymakers, and the public about using antibiotics responsibly to prevent future ‘super-bug’ infections from developing.

Here are some frequently asked questions about antibiotics:

How can we protect the ability of antibiotics to kill bacteria?

Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are called mutant strains. In the absence of competition from antibiotic-susceptible bacteria, mutant strains multiply in large numbers causing serious illness in their host (us humans or our pets). Using antibiotics ‘just in case’ allows more mutant strains to develop which are impossible to treat. We only prescribe antibiotics when we know for certain your pet needs them.

My vet has always prescribed antibiotics for the same condition in the past?

As in human medicine, the veterinary profession is continually learning and improving treatment protocols. In particular, we have an increased understanding of which conditions get better without treatment (are self-limiting) and don’t require antibiotics. An example of this is diarrhoea; most animals fully recover without antibiotics.

If my vet doesn’t prescribe antibiotics, what happens if things get worse?

Following any consultation, we will recommend treatment that may or may not include medication. We will also explain how to monitor your pet and when to expect them to get better. If your pet is not getting better as expected, we will examine your pet again to assess what further tests or treatment they need.

Rest assured, if your pet needs antibiotics, we will prescribe them and then monitor your pet’s response to the treatment. Please call us if you have any questions about your pet’s medication.

Posted in General News |

Focus on Osteoarthritis in Dogs

With the onset of colder weather, certain health conditions, such as osteoarthritis, can worsen. Below, we take a closer look at what causes osteoarthritis and how you can help your dog to enjoy a full, pain-free life.

What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis develops over time and is when wear and tear of tissue (cartilage and bone) within your pet’s joints causes inflammation and pain. Most commonly affected are the ‘high-motion’ joints such as knees, elbows, shoulders, and hips.

How many dogs have osteoarthritis?
It is estimated that there are over six million dogs in the UK and 80% of those aged 8 years and older have osteoarthritis. That said, it can also affect young animals less than a year of age.

What should I be looking out for?
Most of the signs are typical of what you might expect from a joint disorder; restricted range of joint movement, atrophy (reduced size) of nearby muscles, and swollen or misshapen joints.

Questions to ask yourself can include:

  • Does your dog lag behind on walks?
  • Do they hesitate before jumping into the car or onto the sofa?
  • Do they struggle to get up the stairs?
  • Do they limp after exercise?
  • Are they restless at night?

You may also find that your dog’s behaviour changes, their general level of activity reduces and they are stiff after rest.

What treatment is available?
There are various treatments available to help dogs with osteoarthritis. We will advise you on the most suitable, safe combination for your pet.

Ways to help your dog include:

  • Control of body weight

A good place to start is by keeping your dog at a healthy body weight so their joints are under less strain. If your pet is overweight, we can help you devise a healthy eating and exercise plan that fits with your current lifestyle.

  • Exercise

As well as helping your dog lose weight, exercise maintains muscle strength and improves overall fitness. The amount of exercise your dog is comfortable doing depends on how severely their joints are affected. Most dogs with osteoarthritis benefit from shorter, more frequent walks with exercise consistent across the week (longer weekend walks can take days to recover from).

  • Pain Control

Several options are available for helping to control your dog’s discomfort, including:

  1. Nutritional Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Anti-inflammatory medication (as prescribed by a vet)
  3. Warm/Cold compresses to warm up stiff joints or reduce inflammation
  4. Physiotherapy- improves joint movement
  5. Hydrotherapy – increases muscle strength
  6. Acupuncture- helps control your dog’s pain
  • Surgery

If your dog has severe osteoarthritis, surgery might help them. Procedures such as joint replacements and joint-fusion are available at referral centres. Surgery is only suitable for a small number of dogs; your vet will explain if and how surgery could help your dog.

Will any treatment cure my pet’s osteoarthritis?

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is progressive but the treatments available can help your dog to enjoy an excellent quality of life.

If you feel that your dog has symptoms of osteoarthritis, or have any concerns, please contact us for advice.

More information, as well as useful resources for tracking the signs of osteoarthritis, can be found on the Canine Arthritis Management (CAM)website.

 

 

Source: Davies Veterinary Specialists

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Information for clients

Please note that we will be implementing a price change from 1st December 2020.

A price list will be available in our practices. If you have any questions, please speak to a member of the team.

Thank you for your continued support

Avonvale Vets team

Posted in General News |

Exercising your pet in the house during colder months

As the weather gets colder, you and your pet may spend more time indoors on the sofa than outside exercising. COVID restrictions also limit the outdoor activities you and your pet can do together. Here are some ideas to help keep your pet happy while you’re indoors.

(The exercises your pet can do depends on their age, fitness, and health. If you’re unsure how much exercise is suitable for your pet, give us a call.)

  • Brain games. Interactive brain games are widely available to help keep your pet (and you!) entertained. You can also create simple, cost-effective versions of your own. Try hiding a favourite toy under a selection of plastic buckets and reward your pet for choosing the correct one.
  • Hide and seek. Dogs love playing hide and seek; they need to use all of their senses to find where you’re hiding and seem just as excited so see you each time!
  • Laser pointer. Cats are natural predators and love to chase the light of a laser pointer. Safe, low wattage laser-toys are available which are less likely to harm your cat’s eyes. If your cat becomes frustrated by never ‘catching’ their prey, let them have a small toy as a reward at the end of your game.
  • Introduce some new toys. Research confirms what we already know; pets love new toys! Many pet-supply retailers have seasonal sales on a wide range of toys. You can also rotate existing toys so your pet only plays with a few toys at a time. This extends the longevity of toys and engages your pet for longer.
  • Puzzle feeder. These make dinner more exciting! Puzzle feeders are based on the idea that many pets like to work for their food. Our pet’s ancestors hunted for meals which kept their minds and bodies active. Puzzle feeders encourage your pet to eat more slowly and use their brain while they eat.

You can get your family, or household members, involved in playtime to keep everyone entertained, healthy, and happy!

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, please give us a call.

Posted in General News |

Road Safety Week

 

From 16-22 November, it is Road Safety Week in the UK.

This week aims to inspire the country to take action on road safety, promoting lifesaving and awareness around speeding. When walking your dog you should be extra careful, especially during this winter season. Information on how to make sure your dog can be seen, and other helpful tips, can be found below:

  • Always make sure your dog is kept on a lead. For more tips on walking your dog safely, read our post here.
  • Make sure you teach your dog road awareness by training them when to “stop” and “come away”.
  • Wear light coloured or hi-vis clothing to ensure you and your dog can be seen.
  • Ensure your dog is microchipped so you can be reunited with them in the worst case of them going missing.

 

Source: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/road-safety-tips-for-dog-owners

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