Category Archives: Pet health care advice

Act now if taking pets abroad after Brexit

We’re advising pet owners they have until the end of the month to act if they intend to travel to the European Union (EU) with their furry friend from the end of March.

Currently, dogs, cats and ferrets can travel anywhere in the EU as long as they have a pet passport, which sees owners take their animals to an Official Veterinarian (OV) three weeks before a trip to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

However, last month, the Government issued a paper preparing for a possible No Deal Brexit, in which it advised pet owners wanting to go abroad after 29th March 2019 that they have to take their pets to an OV at least four months before travelling – meaning the end of November deadline is fast approaching.

Our advice

The turnaround for organising microchipping, vaccinations and a pet passport has always been relatively short but the Government has now warned that, with no EU deal, pet owners may have to visit their OV as early as the end of next month for an April trip abroad.

The pet could have to have a rabies vaccination, followed by a blood test at least 30 days after the date of vaccination to show the pet has become immune. Once that is completed, the pet would then have to wait at least three months from the date of the blood test before they can travel.

This process takes at least four months in total. Owners would then have to visit a vet to obtain a health certificate, which can’t be done more than 10 days before travel.

It’s certainly worth being organised ahead of any planned trips abroad with your pets early next year and with time ticking until the November deadline, I’d recommend getting your animals booked in to see an OV as soon as possible to avoid any undue or unforeseen delays.

More information

Please call to speak to one of our OV vets if you need any help or advice on pet passports.

Further information on the issue is available via the GOV.UK website.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Top tips to help protect pets around fireworks season

It may be hard to believe but it’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about how best to care for our pets as fireworks season gets under way.

We know this can be a very tough time of year for pets, who can become stressed and unsettled as fireworks are used ever more frequently – not only for the traditional November 5th bonfire night but also in celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of top tips to ensure your pet stays safe during fireworks season:

  • Always keep cats and dogs inside when fireworks are let off
  • Some pets like to hide in the bathroom. Make sure toilet lids are down if you have a small dog or cat. Beware if you have the older style of toilet with the exposed U-bend as some dogs can wedge between the pipework and become stuck
  • Close all windows and doors, draw curtains and seal up cat flaps
  • Let your pet pace around, whine, mew and hide if they want to. Don’t try to coax them out – they are trying to find safety and should not be disturbed
  • Hutches and cages should, if possible, be taken into a quiet room indoors or into a garage or shed. If this isn’t possible, turn them around to face a wall, creating a black-out from the flashes of fireworks
  • Give your small pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe
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Keeping your pet safe in the heat

With temperatures due to rise again, here is some advice about keeping your dog safe in the heat.

The dangers of leaving pets in the car in this heat are well known but we should also beware of the temperatures that can occur in closed caravans and conservatories. Pets shut inside need shade, ventilation and access to plenty of water.

Keeping your pet safe in the heat - Milo is hotActive dogs and those with dark thick coats can also be prone to heat exhaustion if walked in the heat of the day. Although a dog may continue to play and run around they may in fact be experiencing the first signs of heat exhaustion. Signs are excessive panting with chest heaving, restlessness and even vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to collapse. Heat stress and dehydration can be fatal if not treated immediately.

If you suspect your dog to be seriously dehydrated, contact your vet immediately and try to keep your dog cool by showering them with water, covering in wet towels and fanning to aid evaporation.

In this heat avoid excessive exercise in the middle of the day and restrict walks to the cooler early mornings or evenings. Keep water available at all times and encourage your dog to drink.

You may also have read the misleading posts doing the rounds on social media recently about giving ice to dogs. There is no danger in giving your dog ice cubes to crunch on or a cold paddling pool to play in. There are both great and fun ways to help your pet stay cool during the summer.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Alabama Rot

 

Alabama rot

You may have heard a lot of talk about Alabama Rot recently following several cases in the last few months, mainly around the North East, South Wales and the South West. This blog will give you some further information on the condition and what to be aware of.

What is it? 

Alabama rot is a skin and kidney disease of dogs. Dogs of any age or breed can be affected. It is an extremely rare condition that has affected only a small number of dogs in the UK. The cause of Alabama rot is unknown although there appears to be a link with dogs walked in some woodland areas. Although we don’t know the exact cause, we know that Alabama rot cannot spread to other dogs or to people from an affected dog.

What signs would I see?

You might see a lump or patch of red skin often on the legs of your dog. Sometimes the skin can have an ulcer or open sore. The signs of kidney disease can be a reduced appetite or your dog being unusually quiet or tired. These signs can be seen with a number of other illnesses and are not necessarily an indication of Alabama rot.

Can I prevent it? 

Because the cause is unknown there are no recommendations for how we can prevent the disease occurring. It has been suggested to bathe any area of your dog which becomes wet or muddy on a walk; however, at this stage it is not known if this is necessary or of any benefit. Cases have been reported in many different areas in the UK and there is no current advice for dog owners to avoid any particular locations. No environmental cause for this disease has been proven.

What should I do if I am concerned?

If you notice any other the signs mentioned- unexplained skin lesions, particularly if your dog is also unwell- then please contact us as soon as possible. Your vet can carry out some tests that will help to identify the cause.

It is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected. Most skin lesions will not be caused by this disease and most cases of kidney failure will have another cause.

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Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Free dental checks and 20% off dental treatment

Dental health is really important for our pet as they rely completely on us to make sure that their teeth are in good order. They are not able to brush their teeth twice daily and take themselves off to the dentist every 6 months as we do, so we must take care of their teeth for them.

Poor dental hygiene can be a source of chronic pain and discomfort for many pets. Most owners are unaware of this discomfort because most animals will not cry out in the presence of such pain – they just tolerate it.

If there is an infection in the mouth it can allow bacteria into the body via the blood stream and cause infections elsewhere. Kidney, heart, lung and liver problems can all be caused by poor oral health. Bad teeth can therefore just be the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Any of the following may indicate that your pet has a dental problem: Free dental checks and 20% off dental treatment

  •   Halitosis (bad breath)
  •   Sensitivity around the mouth / pawing at the mouth
  •   Loss of appetite
  •   Bleeding, inflamed and/or receding gums
  •   Tartar (brownish hard material)
  •   Loose or missing teeth.
  •   Difficulty chewing & eating food or dropping food

The first thing to do is to look in your pet’s mouth. Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bacteria in the mouth, so this may alert you to the presence of dental disease.

Tartar is the hard brown accumulation which occurs on teeth. It is caused by mineralisation of plaque which in turn is caused by bacterial action against food particles in the mouth. The presence of tartar leads to gingivitis (gum inflammation). The gums become red, sore and prone to bleeding when touched. Tartar and gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontal disease where inflammation and infection cause destruction of the tissue around the tooth. Affected teeth loosen and may eventually fall out.

If the disease is severe, affected animals may eat on one side of their mouth, lose weight or generally fail to thrive. Older cats especially may start to look rather tatty as they may start to groom themselves less enthusiastically.

When dental disease is suspected you should seek veterinary advice.

Free dental checks and 20% off dental treatmentBetween now and the end of March we are offering free dental checks with a vet or veterinary nurse who can check your pets teeth and give you advice on preventative dental care.

For pets requiring further treatment, we are also offering 20% off dental treatment until the end of March.

Please give your usual surgery a call if you would like further information.

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Laparoscopic (key-hole) spays

Neutering a female dog can either be performed via the traditional method, where the abdomen is opened and the uterus (womb) and ovaries are removed, or using laparoscopy. This involves two small incisions made in the skin, through which the instruments and camera are inserted. The ovaries are removed leaving the uterus in place.

As with conventional spays, we recommend that this procedure is performed either when your dog is 6 months of age or 2-3 months following a season.

We offer this procedure to our Avonvale patients and also to those referred to us by their usual veterinary practice.

Advantages of laparoscopic procedures

  • Reduced pain from surgical wounds (so your dog is more comfortable)
  • Smaller surgical wounds
  • Fewer stitches
  • A faster return to normal activity
  • Reduced scar tissue formation

What to expect when your pet comes in

Your pet will be admitted by one of our nurses on the day of the procedure. It is important that they have had no food since midnight but can be allowed water over night.

Once admitted they will receive a general anaesthetic as with all operations. The fur on the stomach will be clipped and the skin cleaned ready for the operation.

Laparoscopic (key-hole) spays

Two small incisions will be made in the skin and the cameras and instruments inserted through these. Once the ovaries have been remove these little holes will be closed, normally with dissolvable stitches that are buried beneath the skin. Your pet will be discharged on the same day.

As with humans undergoing laparoscopic procedures we will ask for consent to convert to a conventional approach during the procedure if necessary. This is extremely unlikely to happen and would only be performed if unforeseen circumstances arise where it would be safer for you pet to do this.

Post operative care

Your dog will be sent home with a plastic collar to wear. This will prevent them licking at their wounds and introducing infections. This should be worn at all times unless they are under your direct supervision.

Most animals are a little quiet after an anaesthetic and can have a reduced appetite for up to 24 hours.

They should be kept on the lead for 3 days, at which time they will have a post-operative check with one of our nurses (or back at your normal vets if they were a referral). They will examine the wounds and make sure everything is healing well and after this they can resume normal exercise.

A pain killer (metacam) will be dispensed when your pet is discharged. This should be given for 2-3 days after the operation.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions please give us a call on 01789 561010

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice, Stratford News |

No eggs-cuses for chocolate toxicity over Easter

Don’t under estimate the temptation of chocolate for dogs and keep it well out of reach especially at Easter. It’s not just a dodgy tummy that we worry about.

Chocolate contains theobromine which a dog cannot digest and so it becomes toxic to them. Theobromine affects the liver and in large quantities can be fatal. The higher the cocoa content of chocolate the higher the risk of liver problems so dark chocolate is more potent than milk chocolate.

Any chocolate can have toxic effects depending upon the size of your dog and the quantity they have consumed. If you think your dog has managed to eat any easter eggs do contact us for advice. The most important information we will ask for is the weight of your dog, the type of chocolate and the amount eaten.

If your pet does eat something it shouldn’t have, give us a call. Our 24 hour emergency service will be operating as usual throughout the Easter weekend so you will be able to contact an Avonvale vet at any time if your pet needs urgent medical attention.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Myxomatosis

Myomatosis is a disease that affects rabbit. It causes puffy, fluid filled swellings. They can get “sleepy eyes”, swollen lips and swellings around their rear ends. In some the swelling is so severe that it can cause blindness. Most rabbits will then stop eating and drinking and can develop breathing problems.

It is spread by blood sucking insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas, and also by direct contact between rabbits. Most infected rabbits die within 12 days.

There is no treatment for this disease but fortunately we are able to help protect rabbits by vaccinating them. A vaccine once a year can help keep them safe. Call us today to book your rabbit in for a health check and vaccination.

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Tips for healthy teeth

 

  • Regular tooth brushing is the best way of keeping your pet’s teeth clean. Both dogs and cats will generally allow tooth brushing once they are used to the idea but it may take a few weeks to establish a regular routine. It’s very important to use a pet toothpaste as human toothpaste can be dangerous for pets
  • Diet can be very important in preventing tartar build-up on teeth. Try to feed your pet good quality dry foods rather than soft foods, as the latter tend to stick to the teeth, allowing the rapid build-up of tartar. Some diets are especially formulated to help keep teeth in the best possible condition. If you are considering changing your pet’s diet, please speak to our vets and nurses for advice.
  • Start early as some pets can be a little shy of their mouth being opened. A gentle mouth examination should be part of your general puppy training (along with looking in the ears and looking at the feet – all sensitive areas) to get your pet used to this type of handling. Our nursing team will show you how to do this when you attend routine puppy checks or one of our puppy parties.
  • Regular check-ups with your veterinary practice are essential for your pet’s oral health.

Throughout March we are offering free dental checks with a qualified veterinary nurse who can check your pets teeth, give you advice on preventative dental care and provide you with a complimentary finger brush to help you get started.

If your pet requires further treatment, we are offering a 20% off dental treatment during March.

Posted in General News, Pet health care advice |

Dental Awareness Month

Our pets rely on us to make sure that their teeth and oral health are in good order. They are not able to brush their teeth twice daily and take themselves off to the dentist every 6 months as we do, so we must take care of their teeth for them.

Poor dental hygiene can be a source of chronic pain and discomfort for many pets. Most owners are unaware of this discomfort because most animals will not cry out in the presence of such pain – they just tolerate it.

If there is an infection in the mouth it can allow bacteria into the body via the blood stream and cause infections elsewhere. Kidney, heart, lung and liver problems can all be caused by poor oral health. Bad teeth can therefore just be the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Any of the following may indicate that your pet has a dental problem: 

  •   Halitosis (bad breath)
  •   Sensitivity around the mouth / pawing at the mouth
  •   Loss of appetite
  •   Bleeding, inflamed and/or receding gums
  •   Tartar (brownish hard material)
  •   Loose or missing teeth.
  •   Difficulty chewing & eating food or dropping food

The first thing to do is to look in your pet’s mouth. Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bacteria in the mouth, so this may alert you to the presence of dental disease.

Tartar is the hard brown accumulation which occurs on teeth. It is caused by mineralisation of plaque which in turn is caused by bacterial action against food particles in the mouth. The presence of tartar leads to gingivitis (gum inflammation). The gums become red, sore and prone to bleeding when touched. Tartar and gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontal disease where inflammation and infection cause destruction of the tissue around the tooth. Affected teeth loosen and may eventually fall out.

If the disease is severe, affected animals may eat on one side of their mouth, lose weight or generally fail to thrive. Older cats especially may start to look rather tatty as they may start to groom themselves less enthusiastically.

When dental disease is suspected you should seek veterinary advice.

Throughout March we are offering free dental checks with a qualified veterinary nurse who can check your pets teeth, give you advice on preventative dental care and provide you with a  complimentary finger brush to help you get started.

For pets requiring further treatment, we are offering 20% off dental treatment during March.

Keep an eye out for further tips and advice on dental care on our website and Facebook page.

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