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

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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.

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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.



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Holiday Season 2020 Opening Hours

With Christmas around the corner and continued uncertainty, we wanted to ensure we had our opening times for the festive period in place. 

Please see below for our opening times over Christmas and New Year.



Christmas Eve:                       8:30am – 5:00pm

Christmas Day:                      Closed (emergencies only)

Boxing Day:                           8:30am – 5:00pm

27th December:                     Closed (emergencies only)

28th December:                     Closed (emergencies only)

New Years Eve:                      8:30am – 5:00pm

New Years Day:                      Closed (emergencies only)


Cubbington, Heathcote, Kenilworth, Southam, Stratford, Wellesbourne

Christmas Eve:                       8:30am – 5:00pm

Christmas Day:                      Closed 

Boxing Day:                           Closed

27th December:                     Closed 

28th December:                     Closed 

New Years Eve:                      8:30am – 5:00pm

New Years Day:                      Closed


If your pet requires a prescription or specific food over the festive period, we kindly ask that you request this well in advance.

If you require any further information, please contact us.

If your pet requires out-of-hours emergency care, please call 01926 400 255

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Halloween Awareness

Halloween can be a fun-filled time of the year for all the family; however, the many unfamiliar sights and sounds can make it a stressful occasion for our pets. Therefore, we have focussed on a few points to be aware of as we approach the day itself:

Hide the treats
One thing about Halloween that never changes is that there are always sweet treats available, but it is important that they are kept away from your pet. Ingredients found in chocolate and sweets are toxic and can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet, therefore, it’s best to keep them out of reach! If you believe your pet has eaten something that is potentially toxic, then please contact us immediately for advice.

Keep them calm
With the potential for fireworks outside, it is common for your pet to become anxious. There are various ways to help ease the stress of the loud bangs and bright flashes for your pets when at home, from pheromone adapters to creating comfy hiding places. You can read more tips on preparing for firework season here.

At a time such as this, it is also important to ensure that your pet is wearing some identification or has been microchipped, which will improve the chances of you being reunited if they do happen to escape. Read more on the importance of microchipping your pet here.

Less is more with costumes
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween for us is the opportunity to don a fancy-dress costume, however the same enthusiasm is not always shared by our pets! Dressing your companion up in a costume can make for a great image for social media, but in most cases, it also causes undue stress for them too. Costumes can restrict their movement or breathing and can also contain parts that could be a choking hazard, therefore we recommend refraining from using costumes.

Be mindful of decorations
You’ve got the treats, and your favourite costume; now all that’s missing are the decorations! We all like to mark the occasion with a range of Halloween props, but with pets around, it is important to be mindful of what, and where, they are. Lanterns, candles and lit pumpkins certainly create the desired effect, but your pet can easily knock them over, causing a fire or burning themselves in the process.

Tweak the routine
We all like routine and familiarity, especially our pets, but knowing the stress that this time of year can bring it might be wise to do things slightly differently. Try walking your dog before it gets dark or feeding your pet ahead of the time that fireworks would usually start – allowing for your pet to be back inside and fed before any anxiety might set in.

If you have any concerns or would like any advice with regards to helping your pet during the forthcoming festivities, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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Walking your dog safely in autumn and winter

The nights are getting darker and there’s a chill in the air, but your dog still needs regular walks in order to stay fit and healthy. Here are some suggestions to keep both you and your pet safe whilst exercising during the coming months.

Make yourself visible
Lack of daylight sees an increase in traffic accidents, and that includes those involving pedestrians too. Consider wearing a high vis jacket or reflective strips on shoes so that you’re more visible to motorists and invest in a reflective collar or harness and lead for your dog.

Dress appropriately
Autumn weather can be changeable – setting out in the early evening sun can mean getting home in the cold and dark. Wear layers and comfortable shoes. If your dog is a short-haired breed, they may benefit from a winter coat. We’re happy to advise if you need further information.

Be contactable and alert
It’s always a good idea to be able to quickly and easily contact someone in case you need assistance – whether for yourself or your dog – when you’re out walking alone. Ensure your phone is charged before you leave home. Be aware of your surroundings so you can listen for traffic, or other dogs; avoiding headphones and music.

Check underfoot
Look out for items on the floor which could be dangerous to your dog – broken glass underneath leaves, acorns, or conkers which can cause illness when ingested, and holes or obstacles which could injure you or your pet. Stick to known routes and footpaths.

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Five benefits of joining our Healthy Pet Clubs

As pet owners, we all want the best for our four-legged friends, but we also know that pet ownership can be expensive. By becoming a member of one of our Healthy Pet Clubs you can spread the cost of essential healthcare and save money.

Here are five great reasons for you and your pet to sign up today!

One monthly fee
When you sign up to our Healthy Pet Club you’ll know exactly what you’ll be paying each month, spreading the cost of essential healthcare for your pet. You’ll sign up to pay monthly via direct debit and we’ll collect the same amount, with no hidden charges. We’ll always let you know in advance if the price of your plan is due to change.

Regular medication 
For optimum health and protection, your pet should be treated against fleas, ticks, and worms. Everyday life can be busy, making it easy to forget to order new treatments, or not realise you’re about to run out. As a Healthy Pet Club member, we will always remind you when parasite treatment is needed, and it will be available for collection when you’re ready. The correct dosage, based on your pet’s weight and personal circumstances, is included in your monthly fee.

Annual vaccinations
Primary vaccinations and subsequent annual boosters are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases and illnesses. With our Healthy Pet Clubs, both primary vaccinations and annual boosters are included in the monthly fee, so you don’t have to find extra cash, in one lump sum to keep your pet safe.

Click here to find out more about why boosters are important.

Preventative check-ups 
As well as an initial vet consultation when you sign up to our Healthy Pet Clubs, your membership also entitles your pet to other check-ups throughout the year. These can be essential in spotting issues you may not be aware of, which can then be treated more efficiently than if they’re left to develop unnoticed.

Additional discounts
As well as the basics included in your plan, you can also take advantage of additional discounts which will save you further money on pet ownership.

In addition to the tangible benefits, you’ll also enjoy peace of mind for both you and your pet. For full details of what’s included in our Healthy Pet Clubs, and to sign up online, please click here. 

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Keep your pet safe this autumn

As we move from summer to autumn, nature around us changes – greens turn golden, leaves fall and summer flowers give way to berries. As always, there are things we need to be aware of that may affect our pets and their wellbeing. Here are some things to look out for this autumn.

Conkers and acorns

Hunting for conkers is one of autumn’s pleasures – searching through crunchy leaves until you spot a spiky shell or, perhaps, the shiny gleam of one that has already started to open. But if your dog eats one it could be fatal.

Conkers could cause an intestinal blockage due to their size and shape; dogs sometimes need an operation to remove them. All parts of the horse chestnut tree (including the leaves and conkers) contain a chemical called aesculin. If your dog eats enough, it causes sickness, diarrhoea and pain leading to severe dehydration and toxic shock.

Acorns and oak tree leaves are also poisonous to dogs. Acorn poisoning (officially called Quercus poisoning), causes vomiting, diarrhoea (often bloody) and lethargy. Eating acorns can lead to severe liver and kidney problems if not treated promptly. Acorns also present a choking risk and can cause a blockage in the digestive system.

Always keep a watchful eye when walking your dog in autumn, especially in areas dense with horse chestnut and oak trees.

Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI)

This is a relatively new and uncommon condition, the causes of which are unknown. Your dog will show clinical signs roughly 24 – 72 hours after walking in woodland. Symptoms are lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, not eating, muscle tremors and fever (high temperature). Sadly, animals deteriorate quickly and it is usually fatal. As always, if your dog displays any of these symptoms, get in touch with us for advice.

Traffic accidents

Driving on darker nights means poorer visibility for drivers and a higher risk to our pets, especially cats. High-viz, reflective collars make your kitty easier to spot at night. Try to change your cat’s routine during the darker evenings by encouraging them to stay at home, especially during rush hour when roads are at their busiest.

Alabama Rot

Whilst still uncommon in the UK, it’s good to be aware of the symptoms of Alabama rot. The cause is unknown but the main symptoms are sores on your dog’s skin (especially feet and lower limbs) and generally being unwell. The disease affects blood vessels and rapidly causes kidneys to fail. Symptoms of kidney failure include increased thirst, lethargy (extreme tiredness) and vomiting. If your dog shows any symptoms, please call us.


If your cat, dog or rabbit has arthritis, it’s likely to worsen during the colder months. While the reasons for this are unknown, humans with arthritis will testify that the change of season causes intensified pain and stiffness. In pets this may manifest itself in slower movement and increased pain. If your pet has arthritis, ensure you give their medication at the correct dosage and times advised by your vet. Create an extra warm, cosy and comfortable place for them to rest – it can help to put a memory foam pad in their bed to ease pressure on sore joints.

Senior pets, like senior people, are more prone to arthritis. If your pet is showing signs of stiffness and pain, get in touch with us for further advice and to book a health check.

As always, we’re here to help with any concerns you may have.

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World Heart Day – 29 September 2020


We celebrate World Heart Day today on 29 September 2020. This is the world’s biggest awareness-raising platform for cardiovascular disease (CVD) which is accountable for nearly half of all non-communicable disease deaths in humans.

Did you know that heart conditions affect our pets too?  Within our group of practices, we have cardiology specialists available who investigate all aspects of heart disease.

In the first instance, if you have concerns that your pet has symptoms, please contact us for an examination.  Here are some of the signs to look out for…

  • Stopping or slowing on walks
  • Difficulty breathing or not being able to catch their breath
  • Not settling down to sleep at night
  • Coughing, especially during or after exercise or if they’re excited
  • A bloated stomach (caused by fluid build-up).

If you find your pet is showing any of the above symptoms, please make sure you speak to us straight away. Unfortunately, heart disease cannot be cured, however it can be managed.

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