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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Does my bum look big in this?

A recent survey by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has revealed the top 10 calorie laden food. So many people still feed their pet human food leading to a real problem with animal obesity.
So what are the top 10 offenders?

1). Sausages – One chipolata fed to your cat or dog is the equivalent to you eating a 12oz steak

2). Cheese – A 3cm cube equates to a human eating a cupful of melted cheese.

3). Tuna – An innocent snack but the equivalent of a jack Russell dog’s full calorie allowance for a day.

4). Prawns - A handful is the equivalent of a human eating a large fish and chip takeaway meal.

5). A dish of full-fat milk – In human terms 2 jumbo milkshakes topped with ice-cream! Ideally cats should avoid lactose in their diet, and dogs should steer clear as they do not need dairy in their diet.

6) and 7). Grapes and raisins - Both toxic to pets. These can lead to death.

8). Chocolate – Another human foodstuff toxic to your pet.

9). Onion – Perhaps not one you would think you feed your pet, but what about that left over Curry, Italian or Chinese takeaway? 

10). Toast – A slice of toast is about a third of your dog’s daily calorie intake.

Calorie intake depends on your pet’s breed, age and size, but as a rough guide, a small dog needs 350 calories/day and a cat about 280 calories.

Our nurses at Broad Lane Vets hold weight clinics. These are free of charge so just call reception for an appointment. If you want to weigh your pet call into any of our receptions and use the scales. Staff are always happy to assist you in weighing your pet.

Please try not to fall for those appealing eyes (we do it too!!) when eating your dinner as research shows dogs and cats do not get bored with food. As long as there is food they will be happy!   

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Thankyou to everyone who helped look for the cat who escaped from her owner's car in our carpark at Broad Lane on Tuesday evening - especially to Cats Protection and to our lovely neighbours over the road, who managed to catch her - she has today been reunited with her family and seems none-the-worse for her adventures!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Lilies are toxic to cats

As far as plants go, lilies are among the most beautiful, but this week at Broad Lane Vets we nearly saw them lead to tragedy. They smell lovely and seem to last forever, making them a fantastic addition to any floral arrangement. Many people adore them, and most animals aren’t bothered by them, but for cats, lilies are positively deadly. And it doesn’t take much. A single bite of leaf or lick of pollen can be all it takes to send cats into irreversible kidney failure. This was the case this week with 2 kittens that ‘broke into’ a closed room and took a lick of the lily pollen. Fortunately their owner was ‘lily aware’, and headed straight to the surgery with 2 kittens coated in pollen around their mouths and noses.  

Why are lilies so toxic to cats?
• We don’t know exactly which chemical within the lily is so dangerous, but we do know that ingesting the smallest amount of leaf, stem, flower or even pollen can be deadly.
• Other animals, including dogs and rabbits, can eat lilies with just a bit of mild stomach upset and do not seem to suffer from toxicity.

What are the symptoms of lily poisoning?
• At first, lily poisoning can mimic other cases of eating something that they shouldn’t have, so it can be difficult to know what has happened unless you saw them eat it. Signs include vomiting and lethargy, lack of appetite and shaking.
• These initial symptoms can actually disappear for a few hours to a few days, after the plant has passed through the digestive tract but before the real damage becomes obvious.
• Within a few days, however, the symptoms become those of kidney failure. This includes increased thirst and urination, dehydration, and worsening lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite. Eventually, this increased urination turns into a decrease in urination, and finally no urination at all, which indicates that the kidneys are no longer functioning.

What can be done about it?
• If you think your cat has eaten any amount of any part of a lily, it is critical that you bring them to the vets right away, even before clinical signs appear. Remember you can get advice and see a vet 24 hours a day by calling us on 02476 464789.
• If you bring them in within a few hours of ingestion, we are will likely to induce vomiting and possibly give a substance called activated charcoal, which will help lessen the effects of the toxins.
• Then, or if too much time has already gone by, we may put your cat on a drip and give IV fluids for as long as necessary. These fluids will help support the kidneys as they try to process the poison and flush out any toxins that do make it into the blood stream.
• There is no special blood test to diagnose lily toxicity, so many cases go undiagnosed. We will however likely run a general blood and urine test to check how badly the kidneys may have been damaged. These tests will probably need to be repeated several times during their stay in hospital.

What happens next?
• If you are able to get your cat to us within a few hours of ingestion, the chances are much greater that they will make it through the incident with the appropriate medical care. It is vitally important that your cat see us as soon as possible to begin treatment.
• If no treatment is given, or the kidneys have been damaged to the point where urination is starting to decrease, then sadly the chance of survival is very low.

How can lily poisoning be prevented?
• The best way to prevent lily poisoning in your own home is to prevent lilies from entering your home in the first place. This is easier said than done when well-meaning friends and family bring you a lovely bouquet.
• Remember, however, that it’s not just lilies in your house that can be deadly, always check your own garden for these and other toxic plants.
• Spread the word – by telling other people about the dangers of lilies, you are helping to increase awareness of the problem. The ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine) has launched a campaign to help educate the public about lily toxicity. Their website has informative posters and tags to be put around floral arrangements that contain lilies at the florist. The more people know about lily toxicity, the safer all of our cats will be.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Hedgehogs in February

When will the hedgehogs come out of hibernation?  This is like asking how long is a piece of string.  When a hedgehog comes out of hibernation is not based just on the weather; other factors like the size of the hedgehog, whether it is its first hibernation, whether it is a male or female, can all have a bearing.  Mild weather probably helps some of the smaller hedgehogs to survive the winter because there is a little more food around for them and they are kept going until the food is more abundant in the springtime.  Severe weather sadly kills off the underweight hedgehogs that do not have a regular food supply.

So it is possible there will be hedgehogs around when you are reading this.  If you see them around, or signs of them, do give them a dish of water – they will not have drunk for some months - and a dish of meat based dog or cat food.  Try to be extra vigilant and ensure your pond has an escape ramp/scrambling net that these extra thirsty hedgehogs can use should they accidentally fall in.  Keep that pond topped up too so they are less likely to topple in when drinking.

Some of the smaller or older hedgehogs will be very weak when they wake so if you see any wobbling or out in the day then they need to be rescued.  Put any needing rescuing in a high-sided box.  Cover a hot water bottle with a towel and place the hedgehog on this with the cloth you used to pick it up covering it.  It can have some meat based dog or cat food and a dish of water.  Don’t forget to keep changing the water in the bottle.  If you don’t have a hot water bottle use a plastic milk carton or drinks bottle and wrap a towel around the hedgehog and bottle to keep them together.  

To learn more about hedgehogs visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s web site at www.britishhedgehog.org.uk – you will find suggestions for feeding, feeding stations and much more.  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 890 801.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Arnie the zoo-cat dies
A ginger tom cat that helped out at Linton Zoo in Cambridgeshire by "babysitting" newborn animals has received global tributes after his death a few weeks ago.

Zoo Manager Kim Simmons explains Arnie’s special job of “babysitting “ abandoned newborn animals that were brought into the zoo’s house. "Arnie babysat all four of our adult lions when they were cubs and some of their offspring too", adding that he did the job "wonderfully".

On the day Arnie passed away, he had done his "usual morning rounds to see his zoo friends, purring all the way", says the zoo's Facebook page. “He returned home for a spot of breakfast and then snuggled up on his bed and went to sleep. There he passed away peacefully."

Staff are now busy responding to the tribute messages, and intend to put a book together about Arnie's life.