Popular Subjects: Avonvale Vets

The Long and the Short of it…

Spot the difference…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Images taken from University of Cambridge BOAS research group website)

These images are both CT scans of dog heads. The dog on the left is a Labrador Retriever and the dog on the right is a Pug. Both dogs have the same anatomical structures except the Pug has them packaged in a much more compact skull. Pugs are just one type of dog classed as a brachycephalic breed. The term ‘brachycephalic’ literally means ‘short head’. French bulldogs, Bulldogs, Boxers and Shih-tzus are also considered to be brachycephalic breeds.

The black areas on the scan pictures represent air within the skull making it possible to compare the airways of these two dogs. When dogs inhale, air is sucked into the nostrils and flows over the nasal turbinate bones. It then passes through the naso-pharynx (throat) and continues into the trachea (windpipe) before reaching the lungs. The scan of the Labrador’s skull shows the airways are relatively wide and unrestricted. The scan of the Pug’s skull shows a much shorter nose with a narrower airway which becomes almost completely constricted around the throat.

Trends in the popularity of specific dog breeds are not uncommon in the UK. According to The Kennel Club, Labradors were the most popular breed in the UK for nearly 30 years before being nudged into second place in 2018 by French Bulldogs. The popularity of all brachycephalic breeds has soared in recent years. Images of these dogs have been widely used in many advertising campaigns promoting products ranging from insurance to mobile phones.

The more demand there is for these dogs the more intensely they are bred and this can lead to a higher rate of breed-related health problems. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) is a condition affecting a large number of these animals. Some dogs have severely deformed airways which can lead to serious breathing problems.

The main physical features seen in dogs suffering from BOAS include: narrowed nostrils, excessive soft tissue inside the larynx, an over-long soft palate,a narrowed trachea.

Dogs suffering from BOAS display symptoms that include: noisy breathing and snoring, reduced exercise tolerance (including collapse in severe cases), sleep apnoea, swallowing problems, reverse sneezing.

Environmental factors can contribute to the severity of the disease. Hot weather is particularly difficult for brachycephalic dogs; they can overheat very quickly and may develop life threatening hyperthermia. Dogs who are overweight carry excessive fat around their throats which can exacerbate the symptoms of BOAS.

The severity of BOAS varies between individuals; a grading system has been produced by Cambridge University to help identify dogs in danger of developing life threatening breathing difficulties.  Brachycephalic dogs who score Grade 0 are entirely unaffected and can breathe normally. Dogs who fall into the Grade 3 category are severely affected and will require surgical intervention in order to lead a normal life.

The Kennel Club is funding a research project led by the University of Cambridge into BOAS as there are concerns that unless responsible breeding programs are introduced the number of dogs suffering from BOAS will continue to rise.

Dogs who are affected by BOAS may lead a better quality of life if they undergo surgery to widen their nostrils and reduce the amount of soft tissue obstructing their airways.

At Avonvale we support responsible breeding and therefore feel it is important to highlight BOAS as a potential concern associated with brachycephalic breeds. We see many brachycephalic patients and enjoy getting to know these fascinating dogs with huge personalities; they can make wonderful family pets.

Before buying a puppy it is worth doing a bit of research to ensure that breeders have considered BOAS and are only producing puppies who are not affected by this syndrome. It is a good idea to view both parents and also any offspring from previous litters.

If you would like any more information about BOAS or are worried about your dog please contact us at any of our surgeries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Warwickshire Vets Toast ‘Double’ Anniversary

Top Warwickshire vets Andrea and Simon Davies are toasting a remarkable double – their 20th wedding and work anniversaries!

The happy couple married in 1999 and later that year moved to the Leamington Spa area to start work as young vets at Avonvale Veterinary Centres.

Andrea & Simon on their wedding day

Andrea & Simon on their wedding day

It’s certainly been a successful and eventful 20 years on both fronts. Simon is now clinical director at Avonvale’s flagship practice in Warwick, which is a first opinion veterinary centre and pet hospital, while Andrea is a senior veterinary surgeon at Avonvale’s Southam clinic.

The pet-loving pair, who live in Heathcote, also now have three children, Luke, 17, Oliver, 15, and Lauren, 10.

Simon admits Andrea was the trail-blazer, revealing: “Just after we were married, she was working as a locum for Avonvale at their Wellesbourne clinic and they were so impressed with her they offered her a full-time job.

“Andrea immediately asked if they’d take me on too – and they did! We’ve not looked back since.

“We moved to the Leamington area and honestly thought we might be here for a couple of years or so.

“Twenty years on we are still here, still working with Avonvale and we’ve no plans to move on – this is home now.”

Andrea also made the first move in the relationship stakes, when they were veterinary students at Bristol University in 1991.

She recalled: “It was in the Halls of Residence at Bristol University and I walked over to Simon and asked him if he liked Abba.

“He smiled and said ‘Yes’ and that’s how it all started.”

Andrea & Simon today

Andrea & Simon today

Nowadays they’re busy looking to the future with Avonvale, which has sites in Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford, Heathcote, Southam, Wellesbourne and Cubbington, continuing to invest in industry-leading facilities, equipment and staff.

Andrea added: “There’s definitely benefits for us both working for the same company. Lots of what we do overlaps, we obviously know the same people and working at different sites means we are not under each other’s feet the whole time.”

Simon said: “The children are growing up fast, there’s universities, big exams and senior schools to think about these days so we are busy at home and at work – but that’s the way we like it.”

Posted in General News, Leamington News, Warwick News | Tagged , ,

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

Easter opening hours

Easter opening hours

We would like to wish all of our clients and your pets a very happy Easter weekend.

We are open as usual on Saturday as follows-

  • Warwick surgery- 8.30am – 5pm
  • Stratford surgery- 8.30am – 2pm
  • Leamington, Kenilworth, Wellesbourne and Southam surgeries- 8.30am- 12.30pm

Outside of these hours, from 6.30pm tonight and 8.30am on Tuesday morning our Out of Hours Service is  available. This is staffed by Avonvale vets and nurses at our own Small Animal Hospital in Warwick and is available to all of our registered clients.

If your pet does require any emergency care over the bank holiday weekend, please phone 01926 400255 or your usual Avonvale surgery number and we will be happy to help.

Posted in General News | Tagged , ,

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

Life’s a peach for Marley

Marley was brought in to our Wellesbourne surgery because his owner was worried he was vomiting and off his food.

He was given symptomatic treatment to stop his vomiting but when he didn’t improve, vet Emily did an ultrasound scan of his abdomen to check for any underlying problems. One area of Marley’s intestine looked distended and there was some abnormal fluid in his abdomen. This made Emily suspect there may be a blockage, and she recommended surgery to look for the cause.

Marley was found to have a peach stone blocking his intestine which was the cause of his vomiting. Once the stone was removed, Marley recovered really well and went home a couple of days later.

We often send animals home with a buster collar after surgery to stop them lickin their wounds and causing problems with healing. Marley hated his collar, so we gave him a medical pet shirt which covered his wound and kept it clean. Here is Marley when he came in for a post-op check up looking much happier in his special shirt.

Posted in General News | Tagged , , ,

Petplan Vet Awards

We are very pleased to announce that we have received lots of nominations for the Petplan awards this year. Our Kenilworth, Stratford, Southam and Wellesbourne surgeries have all been nominated for “Practice of the Year”. Vets Kieran, Sophie, Penny B, Deborah and Becky have each been nominated for “Vet of the Year”. Maddi, Michelle and Anna H have been nominated for “Vet Nurse of the Year.” Jodie and Nicole were both nominated for the “Support Staff of the Year” and Liz K has been nominated for “Receptionist of the Year.”

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated us.

Posted in General News, Kenilworth News, Southam News, Stratford News, Wellesbourne News | Tagged , , ,

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.

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

A very fond farewell to Anita

Anita

Avonvale Vets all said a fond farewell to Anita on Friday as she hung up her stethoscope after 30 years of dedicated service. Staff at Warwick held an impromptu tea party for her, resulting in a table groaning under the weight of home-made cakes – a reminder of what she would be missing!

Anita started Avonvale’s first surgery in Warwick on Cape Road over 30 years ago and has seen the practice go from strength to strength over the years. Despite being a small animal practice, Anita’s qualifications and experience in Sheep and Goat medicine also led to a steady procession of our cloven hoofed friends turning up at the main hospital with various ailments or for more routine care such as disbudding. Anita has always treated both her clients, patients, and everybody at Avonvale as part of her extended family. She’ll now have more time to spend with the real thing!

Please join all the staff at Avonvale in wishing Anita a very long and happy retirement.

Posted in General News, Warwick News | Tagged , , ,