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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Arthritis in Pets

A big "thankyou" to everyone who attended our "Arthritis in Pets" event last week and made it a great success - we filled the room and were really overwhelmed by the positive response!
Thankyou especially to "Buddy" the dog for entertaining guests as they arrived (pictured) and to Dawn for helping set-up and clear-up. Also thankyou to Elaine Villiers from Corley Pool for her talk on Hydrotherapy, Kath Welland from Oaklands for her presentation on Veterinary Physiotherapy, Richard Webb from Broad Lane Vets for his discussion of Acupuncture, and Kerry and Elly from Broad Lane Vets for their explanations about diagnosis and conventional treatment options.

Look forward to seeing you all at the next event...

...and promise we'll get a microphone and some air-con next time!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Remember remember the 5th November

Did you know that 80% of pets suffer some degree of noise / firework phobia, and ... November is nearly here again. Firework season can be such a scary time for our pets. In this week’s blog we have put together a few hints that will hopefully reduce the stress levels in your household.

Before the firework season starts, provide your dog with a ‘doggy play area, where they can feel safe’. This should be a quiet area, so choose one of the quietest rooms in your home. Train your dog to associate the play area with positive experiences, e.g. by playing games with it. Use a variety of toys and swap them regularly, putting them away when not in use so that your dog doesn’t become bored with them.

Some dogs and cats also appreciate being able to hide when frightened, so providing a ‘pet den’to help them to cope. For example, this could be a wardrobe or a cupboard, packed with old duvets and blankets to make it more comfortable and to help sound-proof the area. It is important that your pet has access to its ‘den’ at all times, even when you’re not at home.

In the run up to fireworks night walk your dog when it is still light outside. This reduces the possibility of fireworks being let off and your dog becoming worried.

Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are securely closed during fireworks night. This will reduce the chances of your pets escaping. Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape – Broad Lane Vets is offering microchips at only £10 throughout October 2012.

Provide extra litter trays for cats. Litter trays will be used more as your cat is confined to the house.

Provide distractions, in the form of new toys and chews, during periods when fireworks are occurring. Draw curtains and put the TV on to mask the noise of fireworks being let off. Ignore the firework noises yourself. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.

If your pet shows any signs of fear, try to ignore their behaviour. Please do not punish your pet! This will only make your pet more distressed, and worse in the long run.

Try not to leave your pets alone when fireworks are going off. Do not try to tempt your cat out of their hiding place. Your pet may hurt themselves during this time.

In the long term, your dog needs to learn to be less afraid of loud noises. With proper treatment this is possible so that the next firework season will be less stressful for you and your dog. We recommend Sounds Scary! - An easy to follow CD therapy pack for dogs which includes CDs, an information booklet and an easy to follow guide. The amount of training needed will vary from dog to dog so owners should start training with the Sounds Scary! CD well in advance of the firework season. Planning ahead can help your dog cope with the firework season. Talk to us now about pheromone diffusers. These disperse calming chemicals into the room and may be a good option for your dog. In some cases we need to prescribe medication. If either of these options is used, we will talk to you about using the in conjunction with behavioural therapy.

And finally don’t forget small animals…

If your pets live outside, partly cover cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out. Provide lots of extra bedding so your pet has something to burrow in.

Do come and talk to us there is lots you can do to help your pet.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The colder weather is on its way

Just like us, the winter months can challenge your pets health and wellbeing. While some will bound through the chillier months in full health, we need to be mindful that changes in temperatures and shorter days can have a real impact on the health and happiness of your family pet.

Just as we will wrap up before going out, take precautions against cold temperatures with your pets. Obviously some pets will grow thicker coats to cope with the cold, older pets and some breeds are not quite as lucky so buy them a winter coat to survive the colder temperatures. If you suspect that your pet has caught a chill, quickly wrap them in a warm towel or blanket and rub them down vigorously.

Pets that usually live outdoors, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, should be brought indoors if the temperature falls to single figures or below. Extra bedding and a towel or blanket placed over the top of the hutch will help keep your small furry snug and warm.

Darker mornings and evenings, coupled with colder temperatures, makes it tempting to stay inside but it is still important that your pet gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. Here are a few of our ideas for winter workouts:
◦ Dogs – play games such as tug of war and Frisbee because the more aerobic the activity, the warmer your dog will be; go for walks in a local wood as the trees will shelter you from wind and rain; enrol your dog in indoor agility classes
◦ Cats – use pieces of string, ping pong balls and wind up toys to encourage object play; invest in a scratching post or indoor climbing frame; use large cardboard boxes to play hide-and-seek
◦ Rabbits (and small rodents) – ensure they have a pen available that is big enough for them to run and jump; build a sandpit that they can dig in; play with a ball and let them push it with their noses

Staying warm in the winter takes more energy and so pets spending a lot of time outside, will be burning more calories in order to generate body heat. It may be necessary to increase their calorie intake to account for the cold but please speak to a member of our practice team for more advice on the correct amount to feed your pet, as over-feeding can be just as dangerous as under feeding. And while you monitor their food, it’s also important to check that your pet has access to fresh clean water and that water bottles and dishes haven’t frozen overnight for pets living outside.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Upside-down Sheep

This sheep is apparently living a normal life, despite the fact that it was born with an upside-down head. The animal, named Terry, can be seen happily grazing a field in North Yorkshire.

It is thought that the sheep was born with a twisted spine. The farmer reports he lives happily and has been checked by a vet to ensure he is in no pain. He can eat, sleep and do everything other sheep can.