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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Alabama Rot – a new disease all dog owners should be aware of

Alabama Rot, or CRGV (Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy) is a disease first described back in the 1980s in a number of Greyhounds in Alabama, USA – hence the name. However since 2012, more than a hundred dogs across the UK, have been identified as having the same, or a very similar, disease.

The majority of dogs will initially show skin lesions, typically appearing as ulcers or erosions on the lower limbs, tummy or around the mouth and nose. A few days later, the kidneys go into rapid failure, and the pet will suddenly show signs of severe illness, with 80% of dogs going on to die, despite their vets’ best efforts at treatment.

The kidney failure that occurs is thought to be a result of inflammation and damage to the lining of the blood vessels that supply the organs. This leads to widespread formation of tiny blood clots, and consumption of platelets, leading to a low platelet count in most cases. Anaemia (low red blood cell count) and changes in white blood cell and bilirubin levels may also be identified on routine blood tests. However there is no specific blood test that can be performed to detect CRGV, as the cause is not yet known. Therefore sadly, the only way to diagnose it is post-mortem, when samples of kidney tissue may be examined under the microscope, to identify the characteristic changes that occur.

If you take your dog to the vet with a skin lesion, they will be able to assess it and decide on the best course of action. Treatments may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, ointments and protective dressings, depending on the nature of the lesion. However they will not be able to tell if the lesion is due to CRGV. Should your dog go on to become unwell, they will advise performing further tests to investigate, along with more intensive treatment. Sometimes referral to a Specialist veterinary centre (where vets with additional qualifications, experience and facilities see unusual cases or very poorly pets), may be advised, in order to give your dog the best chance of recovery possible.

Predisposing factors
A wide range of breeds have been identified with CRGV in the UK, suggesting the disease does not solely affect greyhounds here. In fact, there does not appear to be a breed, body weight, sex or age predilection. Neither does there seem to be a particular geographical distribution for the disease, as whilst initially most cases were seen in and around the New Forest, many other cases have now been identified across the whole of the UK. However there does appear to be a seasonality to the disease, with most cases being identified between November and May ie. the Winter months. Muddy walks – often unavoidable at this time of year – may be a significant risk factor.

What can dog owners do?
With the cause of CRGV currently unknown, the best advice is to be vigilant and seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns about your pet. In particular, be on the look-out for any skin sores not known to have been caused by injury, especially below the elbow or knee. Reduced appetite, vomiting and increased tiredness in your pet should never be ignored, and with these symptoms we would advise that the sooner you take your pet to the vet, the better. This is because these symptoms are non-specfic, which means they may be indicators of a whole array of diseases and disorders, ranging from mild disease due to an upset tummy, right through to very severe disease including kidney failure and CRGV.
With a link to mud (or something in it) being hypothesised, it would also seem prudent to make sure to wash-off your pet thoroughly, especially after muddy walks.

Future research
Investigations into CRGV are ongoing, with the referral centre Anderson Moores, in Hampshire, leading the way. They organised a conference earlier this year, at which leading experts in kidney disease, from both the veterinary and human medical fields, met to discuss the disease and how they could collaborate going forwards. The Alabama Rot Research Fund is a National charity that has been set up with the aim of raising awareness and funds for Alabama Rot research www.arrf.co.uk.

Elly Pittaway is Veterinary Surgeon and owner of Broad Lane Vets, an award-winning, family-run practice established in 1969, and with sites at Balsall Common, Broad Lane and Radford Road in Coventry. For more information about the practice please visit www.broadlanevets.co.uk. You can also like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Monday, 16 October 2017

It's firework season again

Remember, remember fireworks aren’t just in November - How to prepare for the Firework season?

It is estimated that approximately 45 per cent of dogs become stressed and fearful while fireworks are going off, yet many owners are unaware of how to help their dogs with firework fears and the precautions that can be taken to help them cope with their fear of loud noises.

Dogs should have a safe haven or den to retreat to in the home; an area that they feel secure in. The den can be a place that the dog already uses and adapted to be as comfortable, dark and quiet as possible, or a manmade temporary option such as a cardboard box or crate. Preparing a den in advance allows the dog to get used to the area and accept it as a safe place. A towel or blanket can be placed over the den to dim the sounds and lights of the fireworks.  The dog should have access to the den at all times.

The dog appeasing pheromone ADAPTIL® has been shown to reduce anxiety and help dogs cope with challenging situations, including firework events. ADAPTIL® is easy to use and it is available as a diffuser, collar and spray. It reduces the intensity of the dog’s fear response and using an ADAPTIL® diffuser or collar from October can help to combat any anxiety build up the dog experiences in the run up to the fireworks event. Using ADAPTIL® spray on the dog’s bedding can offer additional support during stressful events.  

Consider using a natural calming agent such as Zylkene, Calmex or Yucalm. Talk to your vet about these.  

Anti-anxiety medication may be necessary in some cases, but should only be used under veterinary supervision. Again talk to your vet about this treatment. 

Further tips for dog owners
     Ensure dogs are taken out for a walk/to the toilet before it gets dark to avoid the         need to be taken out later during the fireworks
    Soothing or punishing the dog may increase the intensity of the experience or reward inappropriate behaviour. Instead consider distracting them with a chew, toy, puzzle feeder or a game. Having a meal before the fireworks start can also help as a dog may not want to eat during the event if they are too anxious
     Ensure the dog has access to their water bowl as anxious dogs can pant more
     Keep curtains closed, have the TV or music on and keep the dog company
     Dogs with a more severe reaction to noises should be taken to the vet, as it may be that they need medication in order to cope with the firework season
     Be aware that older dogs may find fireworks more challenging than they have before, as they can start to find changes to routine difficult. Alternatively, those dogs which start to develop hearing loss as they age can find fireworks easier to cope with.

Long term support
In the long term, desensitisation and counter conditioning have been shown to be safe and effective methods for treating sound sensitivities; the ‘Sounds Scary’ (https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets) is a good home tool to recommend for customers. However, the dog needs to be relaxed during this training, which means that it needs to be done after the party fireworks season has passed.

Exposing puppies to many different stimuli during their socialisation period can help prevent fears in adult life. There is a different version of the sounds recording which can help with this process – Sounds Scary/Sounds Sociable.

What about cats?
Cats are not thought to show sound sensitivities as dogs do, however they will be frightened by the loud bangs and flashes of fireworks. Therefore, during the firework season owners are advised to keep their cats indoors. This change in routine and confinement to the home can sometimes cause cats to become upset and show unwanted behaviours such as urine marking, inter-cat tension and vertical scratching. 

Owners can help their cats cope with these changes by providing enough litter trays throughout the house and ensuring all of the cats in the household have safe places to hide in. These often are up high, for example on the top of cupboards, but could also be under a bed or in a box. Once a cat has found a safe spot for the night, leave it alone and do not try to coax it out, as this refuge is where it feels most secure.  Plugging a FELIWAY® CLASSIC diffuser into the room where a cat spends most of its time or where its safe place is, at least 48 hours before the festivities begin, will help to ensure it feels as safe and secure as possible. There is also a FELIWAY® CLASSIC spray which can be applied to a cat’s bedding on the night of the event to provide additional support.

What about other pets?
Small pets
Small animals and birds all need to be treated with special care as these animals are easily frightened. Hutches, cages and enclosures should, if possible, be brought into a quiet room indoors, or into a garage or shed. Providing extra bedding for them to burrow down in can help the pet feel more secure. Aviaries should be covered with thick blankets to block out the sight and sound of the fireworks, but care should be taken to ensure there is enough ventilation in the aviary.

Fireworks can be difficult for many pets to cope with but there is a lot that can be done to support them through this troubling period.  For further information please contact us at Broad Lane Vets on 02476 464789

Sheppard, G. and Mills, D.S. (2003) Evaluation of dog appeasing pheromone as a potential treatment for dogs fearful of fireworks. Vet Rec. 152 (4): 432-6

Monday, 9 October 2017

Hedgehogs in October by Kay Bullen (BHPS Trustee)

Time is getting on and just as we might prepare early for Christmas so the hedgehogs must prepare to hibernation.  When birds are flying to warmer climates, squirrels and Jays are building up food stores, hedgehogs are also building up their food stores; but theirs will be internal fat.  One type of fat to live off and another one to kick start their waking processes.

This extra fat must be sufficient to see them through the whole of the winter.  If they do not have enough fat stored they will not be able to survive the winter and may have to delay going into hibernation.  However, as the weather gets colder so their natural food will disappear, this produces a vicious circle, they are searching for more food and that food is less abundant.

This is why extra food can be a life saver.  A dry nest box in which to make their hibernation nest would be a bonus.  Provided they have plenty of food and a dry place to sleep in, they can hibernate later or may even survive the winter without hibernating.  It is not the cold weather that kills them rather the lack of food it brings.  Having said that if their nest is in a cold damp environment and their bedding is damp then they will struggle against hypothermia.  The young, weak, sick and elderly hedgehogs will be the most vulnerable.

A dish of water should also be provided especially if you are feeding them dry foods.  If the food and water can be place inside a feeding station this would give them a certain protection from the frosts and would also keep the hedgehog dry when it is feeding in the rain or snow.

For more information about Autumn Juveniles visit the BHPS website and view the leaflet section for the “Autumn Juvenile” leaflet.  If you need advice about a particular hedgehog it would be helpful if you could weigh it before calling, as this helps us to give the most appropriate advice.

If you are concerned about your local visiting hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact.  Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice visit their web site www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.   

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Springtime Hedgehog Advice

Hedgehogs in March

Spring is here and hedgehogs are starting to wake from hibernation.  They will be sleepy and very thirsty and will head for the nearest water.  Although good swimmers many die in ponds because there is no way out for them.  By putting some green plastic coated wire netting down into (not across) the pond we can provide a ladder for them to use should they fall in. 

It is not only hedgehogs that are out and about but gardeners as well.  Whilst the hedgehog is the gardeners' friend the gardener is not always the hedgehogs' friend.  Many of the jobs we do in our gardens can affect and even harm the hedgehogs.  So please take care when tidying up, pulling down sheds (a favourite nesting site) and strimming long grass and brambles. 

Hedgehogs are not territorial; they tend to have home patches.  A females’ home patch will be just big enough to support her and her hoglets.  A males’ patch will be much larger in the breeding season as they wander long distances searching for females.  Once the autumn comes their home patches will become smaller.  So if you see a hedgehog on a regular basis in the springtime it is more likely to be a female.   If you are able to leave food out each night then this will encourage any females to stay around and eat your slugs and snails.  However males, as I mentioned above, will have other priorities and will move away – they are more nomadic in the breeding season.

The following are a few suggestions for feeding stations that can keep the food dry and deter cats from stealing the food.  Try a paving slab on bricks (leave a gap between 2 of the bricks as an entrance hole) OR a box with a small hole cut into it OR a large box upside down with a brick propping up one end OR a rabbit hutch with its door wedged partly open OR an upside down pet basket OR an upside down toy box with the hand holds cut away.  As a final suggestion, try to get one of those blue plastic mushroom boxes.  Cut a 5"x5" hole in one of the short sides so when the box is upside down the hole becomes an entrance.  Put the food at the far end and weigh the box down with a stone.  Sometimes a brick needs to be placed 4-5” away from the entrance so if a cat has tried to reach in with a paw the brick should make it more difficult.

To find out more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site at www.britishhedgehog.org.uk   Do remember that hedgehogs are nocturnal and usually only come out in the day when they are in serious trouble.  If you find a hedgehog needing help, or if you need more advice, call the BHPS on 01584 890801.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Did you know that from April 2016, The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations, come into force? This legislation requires all dogs to be microchipped and registered to a database, and for puppies this must be done by the time they are 8 weeks of age.

With an estimated 100,000 dogs dumped or lost in the UK each year, it is hoped that compulsory microchipping will go some way to tackling this problem. Under the new law, dog owners must also keep their registration database contact details up-to-date, or risk being fined. Likewise if you re-home or sell a pet dog, you will need to ensure the details on the microchip are changed to reflect those of the new owners in advance - similar to how you transfer ownership when you sell a car - and if you don’t do this, you risk being held accountable for the dog’s future actions.

Microchipping your pet is increasingly viewed as a fundamental part of being a responsible pet owner. Microchips are a fantastic invention - I have seen so many owners reunited with their pets after losing them weeks, months, or even years earlier - we can only guess what stories these pets could tell! The main reason to microchip is obvious - should your pet become lost or be stolen, they’re much more likely to be returned to you safe and sound. However microchipping is also a requirement of the Pet Travel Scheme, and it can even act as a deterrent to dog theft - you may wish to get “I’m Microchipped” engraved on your pet’s tag to reinforce this.

Whilst the Dog Licence no longer exists, it is often forgotten that as well as being microchipped, it is also still a legal requirement for any dog in a public place to wear a collar and tag with the owner details engraved or written-on. This forms part of the Control of Dogs Order 1992, and the information required is specifically:
      owner name
      owner address (including postcode)
Your telephone number is not legally required on the tag, but is obviously advisable if you want the best chance of being reunited with your pet. Also take note that you don’t have to put your dog’s name on the tag, just yours – and in fact many people decide against having their pet’s name on display, in case an unscrupulous person were to use this information to help steal your pet. While not a legal requirement, you may also wish to consider providing your cat with a collar and tag, or a barrel device. Ultimately you, as the pet owner, need to decide what information you are comfortable having displayed on your pet, but if you have a dog, just don’t forget to put your name and address on, or you could end up with a hefty fine!

Dogs, cats, rabbits, tortoises, birds... in fact virtually any pet can be microchipped! The microchip itself is a tiny device the size of a grain of rice, implanted under the skin by injection. Once implanted, the pet's body tissue surrounds the microchip, attaching itself to it and preventing movement. Well that’s the theory - and whilst microchips do occasionally move, they rarely fail - so they give lifelong permanent identification. At Broad Lane Vets, we now use “Mini-Chips”, which are 30% smaller than the standard size, to minimise discomfort, especially for toy dog breeds, cats, puppies/kittens and small pet species.

People often think the chip has some sort of Sat-Nav or GPS technology, and whilst those devices are being developed, they’re still pretty expensive and so not widely-used. The common basic microchip works through being coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. The chip number itself is completely meaningless until it is registered on a national database together with the owner’s contact details. And that is the key point; the chip is only as good as the data associated with it – the biggest failing being owners forgetting to update their contact details when they change their phone number or move house! The new legislation addresses this by requiring owners not only to get their dog microchipped, but also to register their contact details and then keep these details updated should they re-home their dog, move house, or even change their phone number.

Only Veterinary Surgeons, Veterinary Nurses and Student Vets/Nurses (acting under direction of a Vet), or Trained Implanters, are legally allowed to microchip dogs. The microchip fee charged covers the cost of the chip and its implantation, and may or may not include the initial database registration. At Broad Lane Vets, we charge around £20 for a microchip, which includes the registration of your pet with Petlog (the largest database, which is managed by the Kennel Club).

So if you haven’t yet microchipped your dog, or you wish to get your cat, rabbit or other pet microchipped, please contact us today on 02476 464789!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Kennel Cough Vaccination – not just for Kennels!

Kennel Cough, or canine infectious tracheo-bronchitis, is a highly contagious disease of a dog's respiratory tract caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. As the name suggests, it was historically seen primarily in dogs that had been boarded at a kennels, or had come from a rescue centre. However the disease is highly prevalent and its not just dogs in a kennel situation that are at risk from the disease. In fact almost all pet dogs are at some risk, making the name Kennel Cough rather misleading, outdated, and something of a modern misnomer.
The method of transmission of Kennel Cough makes it very easy for dogs to pass it on to each other. Infection can occur following any close contact with another dog, as the disease is spread by airborne droplets from coughing, sneezing or direct nose-to-nose contact. This means that as well as being prevalent at boarding kennels and rescue centres, it can also be passed on easily at shows, training classes, grooming parlours and even just on walks. With more dog owners than ever before now employing dog walkers, and a huge increase in the number of people getting their dog professionally groomed, Kennel Cough is now a disease that the majority of the dog population is exposed to.

What causes Kennel Cough?
Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) is the most common and significant underlying cause of Kennel Cough. However, a variety of organisms can contribute to the disease, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus 1 and 2, canine influenza and canine herpesvirus. Secondary bacterial infections are also very common.
Bb can also infect other species including cats and can be a rare risk to immune compromised humans (such as HIV-positive and chemotherapy patients).

Symptoms include a harsh, dry, whooping-type cough which can cause retching, loss of appetite, raised temperature, tiredness and occasionally, pneumonia. Most healthy adult dogs are able to fight this off, although many will require veterinary treatment to help them do so. The incubation period is 3-10 days, and the disease can last for up to 6 weeks. On occasion, more serious complications such as pneumonia develop, which may prove fatal in old, weak or very young dogs. 

Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are often used to treat kennel cough, and may alleviate the symptoms. However dogs may still be potentially contagious, and should be kept away from other dogs whilst affected.
There are many possible causes for a cough in dogs, but if you think your dog has kennel cough, always contact your vet for advice.

The disease is highly infectious and it is strongly advised to keep infected dogs away from healthy dogs. Ventilation and hygiene are important in reducing the risks of this disease.
Vaccination is available and is effective, and is given intra-nasally (a quick squirt up the nose!) Kennel Cough vaccination, like human Flu vaccination, will not necessarily completely prevent your dog getting the disease. However it will vastly reduce the likelihood of your dog getting Kennel Cough, and if they do, the symptoms should be far less severe than if they were unvaccinated.
Kennel Cough vaccination, in addition to the routine injectable vaccination, is a requirement of most boarding establishments these days. It needs to be administered at least two weeks prior to kennelling, and it is advisable to check with the kennels on this, as some require it to be given even further ahead.
We advise routine annual Kennel Cough vaccination for all at-risk dogs. This includes those attending boarding kennels, dog shows, training classes, and grooming parlours, but also those being walked with other dogs, or mixing with other dogs when out and about. The vaccination can either be given at the same time as your dog’s routine injectable vaccinations, or on a different occasion.

Please phone us on 02476 464789 should you wish to book your dog in for Kennel Cough vaccination, or to discuss any other aspect of your pet’s healthcare.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

New tick borne disease in dogs in the UK

Four dogs in Essex have been diagnosed with a serious, tick transmitted disease called Babesia canis. Although this disease has been reported in the UK before, previous cases were seen in dogs that had recently travelled abroad and been exposed to the particular species of tick which transmits Babesia. These new cases are significant because none of the dogs had travelled outside the UK, which shows that an infected population of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks, which transmit this disease, has become established here, at least in that particular area.

The significance of these cases for other parts of the UK is still largely unknown, and it is unclear whether the ticks have spread. However, it is important to be aware that other types of ticks are found throughout the UK, which can also transmit diseases such as Lyme disease to both dogs and humans. Therefore, it’s important to take action to protect your pet and yourself as appropriate.

About ticks
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites which belong to the spider family. They are common in the UK with one survey showing that, unknown to their owners, almost 15% of dogs are carrying ticks1. As well as potentially causing irritation, inflammation and infection when they bite, ticks are second only to mosquitos in transmitting infectious diseases2.

But their small size (only the size of a sesame seed in their unfed state2), means 
that they are difficult to spot and many owners are unaware that their pet is infested.

Protecting your pet
Regular treatment against external parasites, such as ticks and fleas, is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. A variety of products is available to protect your pet against ticks, and your vet can advise you on the most appropriate treatments for your pet. If you’re planning to take your dog abroad with you, it’s also important to speak to your vet about protecting your pet against exotic diseases, transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies, which are frequently seen in some European countries. In addition to treating your pet, it’s good practice to regularly examine your dog’s skin and coat to check for problems, especially if you’ve been walking in areas where ticks are likely to be present, such as areas of woodland, moorland and grassland. If you do attempt to remove a tick that has attached, ensure you wear gloves and avoid touching the tick directly. Use a specific tick removal device (a hook or scoop) and do not attempt to burn, cut or pull the tick off with your fingers. If in doubt, ask your vet for advice about the safest way to remove ticks. And don’t forget that ticks will bite and feed on humans too, so take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and your family such as covering up exposed skin when walking in areas where ticks are likely to be present and checking yourself after walks.

 1. Prevalence, distribution and risks associated with ticks infesting dogs. Smith et al. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2011) 25, 377–384
2.     2. Buegnet, F. (2013) Guide to Vector Borne Diseases of Pets. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

It's that most wonderful time of the year.

Every Christmas, here at Broad Lane Vets, we are busy with problems caused to pets by the festive season. This is an unusual time, with their normal home environment becoming overtaken with unfamiliar visitors, strange trees, bright decorations, interesting packages, odd noises and enticing food aromas.
Here we hope, is a guide to avoiding the common festive pitfalls and poisons, and help keep your pet safe:


CHRISTMAS TREES are of low toxicity, though eating bits of them could obviously cause an upset tummy and injury from the sharp needles. A more likely problem is that your cat will view the tree as fair-game to climb, or your dog will find the lights or tinsel an irresistible tug-toy, with obvious consequences! Even a rabbit, and guinea pig, will often find an indoor tree hard to resist, giving it a little nibble.

FESTIVE PLANTS need to be identified. Holly is best avoided, as the spines may cause physical injury. And whilst ivy ingestion might only result in a bit of drooling from our dogs and cats, it can cause muscle twitching, paralysis, convulsions and even death in rabbits. Mistletoe, however, is best kept away with more concerning vomiting, diarrhoea and changes in blood pressure with large ingestions. To be on the safe side, keep your Mistletoe out of reach of your dogs in the holidays and if you suspect your pet has ingested mistletoe, contact us at the practice. Poinsettias are very over-rated as a toxicity. Worst case scenario with ingestion of this colourful plant is oral and gastrointestinal upset, and in most cases it is mild and relatively limited. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Rarely, eye exposure can result in a mild conjunctivitis (“pink eye” secondary to inflammation). Signs are self-limiting and you will be pleased to know, generally, don’t require medical treatment unless severe. Lilies are often received as in a Christmas bouquet. Our advice would be to remove the Lilies, and sadly never have them in your house. These are highly toxic to pets with minor signs such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and oesophagus. Clinical signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming, and vomiting may also be seen. The more dangerous, potentially fatal Lilies are ‘True Lilies’. Examples of some of these dangerous Lilies include the Tiger, Day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Western, and Wood Lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Other types you need to be aware of include Lily of the Valley. This type does not cause kidney failure, but can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs or cats.If your cat is seen consuming any part of a Lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a practice for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the Lily poisoning can be treated.

ANTIFREEZE used in the radiators of most motor vehicles to prevent freezing, may easily be spilled into the environment as drivers top-up their cars ready for wintertime. Unfortunately its sweet taste is very palatable to cats and dogs, who often lap it up from puddles and discarded containers. Ethylene glycol is the toxic ingredient, which can cause heart, breathing, urinary problems, weakness, incoordination and convulsions, even in small quantities. Kidney failure leading to death is often the sad conclusion, especially in cats.

BATTERIES are another common item pets may eat this time of year. The strong acid/alkali they contain may cause burns and caustic injury, and they can become lodged in the intestine.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING may become obvious in the pets living in an affected house before the people, due to their tendency to sleep right next to heating appliances and their higher metabolic rate. Look out for vomiting, drowsiness, incoordination, hearing and eye problems, buy a carbon monoxide detector, and get yourself checked-out by a Doctor!

CHOCOLATE, either hanging on the tree or contained in gifts under it, is the most commonly-reported cause of poisoning in pets this time of year. Theobromine is the toxin, which can cause tummy upset, heart problems, shaking, incoordination, weakness and collapse. Even one small bar of milk chocolate, or half a bar of dark chocolate, can be enough to be poisonous in a small dog or cat. Keep chocolate-containing presents well-away from those sensitive noses!

CHRISTMAS DINNER might be the highlight of our big day, but it could all too easily be the downfall of our furry friends. The fat-laden scraps we are tempted to treat them with, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lead to pancreas problems. Peanuts and macadamia nuts may cause an upset tummy and neurological signs. Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are also potentially toxic, with some cats and dogs seeming particularly susceptible to kidney failure after eating just a few grapes or a handful of raisins, so guard your Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding! Even cakes and sweets marketed as “healthy” for humans, often contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be very dangerous in dogs, causing liver failure. Turkey carcasses and bones from other meat may fragment and splinter, and become lodged in the mouth, throat or stomach, requiring surgery. Onions and garlic, which might get forgotten but are in your gravy and stuffing, can cause anaemia in dogs, destroying their red blood cells. And alcohol, though many pets like the taste of it, can unfortunately cause heart arrhythmias, seizures and even death, so keep your half-empty glasses and cans out of reach.

Early intervention may save your pet’s life - if you think your pet has been poisoned, never just “wait and see”!
·         Remove your pet from the source
·         Seek veterinary advice by phone ASAP
·         Gather as much information about the potential poison as you can – type, amount, when it happened – this information will help the vet
·         Follow your vet’s recommendations

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What can I do to help my pet cope with fireworks?

The best methods for helping your pet deal with fireworks in the long term involve behavioural modification, however these do need to be started a few months before Bonfire Night to be effective.     
A fireworks noise CD can be used to desensitise them to the sound of fireworks over a period of time.  Talk to us for further information.
1. A 'safe haven', such as a den, will ensure your pet has a place to go and settle, if he is distressed by the noise of fireworks.
2. Pheromone diffusers such as the Adaptil diffuser or collar (dogs) or the Feliway diffuser or spray (cats) can help with mild cases. The diffuser is plugged in to a socket near where your pet spends most of his time.  It releases a synthetic version of calming pheromones to help reassure them. Ideally they should be plugged in 1-2 weeks before Bonfire night.
3. Zylkène has become a familiar product for veterinary surgeons, behaviourists, nurses and pet owners for use in helping pets cope when facing unusual and unpredictable situations or before occasions such as a change in their normal environment. Zylkène has helped many dogs and cats during festivities which incorporate    firework displays. Talk to us about this product. 
4. Getting your pet microchipped will increase the chance that your pet can be traced back to you if lost
5. Actual sedatives may be required for the worst affected dogs, on the nights of most fireworks. Your vet can prescribe these if appropriate.
Make an appointment with one of our Veterinary Surgeons for further firework advice and treatments.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Broad Lane Renovation Update

Over the last year you will be aware we have had lots of building work and renovations to our Broad Lane site. With our 7 day a week opening, and late nights, we were unable to do this when closed so thank you all for putting up with the disruptions this has now and then caused.
Our staff love the changes and we hope you do too.
There's still a bit to do! Our waiting room is planned next, and then our dog kennels.
Here are some images of  what we have achieved so far.

6 consulting rooms with air conditioning for you and your pet's comfort.

 Refurbished clinical areas 

Digital Radiography

Imaging room with Ultrasound and Endoscopy

Modern suite of Operating Theatres

Cat and small pet hospital unit to ensure a peaceful and stress-free recovery for your pet.

Separate access if you have a pet who finds a trip to the vets more stressful than others. Chat to reception who can advise staff of your individual needs.

And finally a new staff and training
room for our lovely team!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Easter and those Easter Eggs

Chocolate at Easter is a popular treat for humans, but it’s also the most common poison to affect dogs. Nearly 2000 cases were reported last year.
A small dog can die after eating a single Easter egg. The chemical in chocolate that gives humans a pleasant buzz, the theobromine, has a highly toxic effect on dogs.
A small chocolate indulgence that would be an enjoyable treat for us can sadly kill a dog, and the toxic dose is surprisingly small. Half a small bar of dark chocolate – around 50g (2 ounces) – is enough to end the life of a little terrier weighing 5kg. Milk chocolate is less dangerous, needing twice as much for the same effect. And a standard Easter Egg may weigh around 200g meaning that half an egg can be enough to kill a small dog.
Dogs love eating chocolate and they don’t have an “off switch” when they are full. They just keep eating until the chocolate is finished.
Last year Elly’s dog managed to steal an unopened box of chocolates from the kitchen side when she was alone in the room. He had to have emergency treatment to empty his stomach.

Stumpy was lucky Elly was as a vet, she had the drugs available to cause him to vomit, but what should an owner do in a similar situation?
You need to:
a). Act quickly. If the chocolate is removed from the stomach within an hour, there’s a good chance that this will be soon enough to prevent serious ill effects of poisoning.
b). Work out exactly how much chocolate, and what type of chocolate, your dog has eaten, in grams. Write this down.
c). If possible weigh your dog, and write this down too.
d). Phone us and explain what has happened. If it is after-hours, then call the emergency vet – their number is on our ansaphone. Listen to the whole message. This is urgent, and there is no time to waste.
e). We will be able to advise you whether or not you need to take action: this will be calculated from the quantity and type of chocolate and the size of the dog. If there is a risk, the vet may tell you how to attempt to make the dog vomit at home (this is not always possible) or may recommend that you rush the animal in to see us at once (the vet can give an injection that immediate induces vomiting).
The most important message is “Do not delay”. Once the chocolate has been absorbed into the
dog’s bloodstream, there’s sometimes little that can be done to help.
Poisoning signs start within six hours of the chocolate being eaten, reaching a peak at around twelve hours. Classic signs include restlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea, with tremors, convulsions and heart failure following soon after. Even with treatment, some dogs survive but many don’t. Sadly dogs die of chocolate poisoning every year.

This weekend, enjoy your Easter eggs, but whatever you do, please keep them out of the reach of your dogs.