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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Hedgehogs in November

November is highly significant for our hedgehogs for 2 reasons.  The first is Bonfire night (week) and the other is for hibernation, with many going into hibernation around the end of November.

When tidying up your gardens please check any bonfires before you light them. If possible lift the materials around the bottom edge of the pile using a broom handle or similar and check for extra piles of leaves or you may even see the hedgehog itself.  A disturbed hedgehog may also make a hissing sound (like a snake) to try to intimidate those disturbing it.  Start by lighting one side bonfire and allow the quiet side, ie the side with the least people standing around, to remain unburnt for a few minutes as this may allow an escape route for any missed hedgehogs.

If you find a hedgehog put it in a high sided box with some meat based cat food and a towel to snuggle under.  Put it in a quiet place and once the noise etc has died down release the hedgehog with its dish of food.

Depending on the weather and how far north you are will depend on when those larger hedgehogs will go into hibernation. Late November is about the time many will choose.  Those that do not hibernate (Autumn Juveniles), particularly when the weather turns colder will need extra help. 

Regular visitors should be able to cope provided extra food is always put out every evening.  Weighing them regularly should ensure there is a weight gain.  If there is a problem eg out in the day or there is only a small weight gain or it is still considered too small to hibernate and the weather is closing in then contact the BHPS for details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator.  In addition those wandering without a regular supply of food and especially when there are frosts expected will struggle to find any natural food so they too will need to be rescued.  So if you find a hedgehog that you have not seen around before weigh it and call the BHPS for advice.

If you are concerned about any hedgehog, or you see one out in the day, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 (if you can weigh the hedgehog first that is always helpful, but do use gloves when you handle them).  For more information about hedgehogs and how to help them, including a leaflet on Autumn Juveniles visit the BHPS web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk  

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Acupuncture for cats by Sophie Edward-Jenks MA VetMB CertAVP MRCVS

Cats often respond much better to acupuncture than you might imagine!  We use very fine needles that are inserted through the skin and find that the majority of patients tolerate them very well. Acupuncture evolved in China and has been used for over two thousand years to treat a variety of conditions.  It has a number of effects on the body such as boosting the immune system and promoting healing.  One of the ways it works to provide pain relief is by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers (opioids). 

This week I treated a beautiful 19 year old cat called Oscar and thought I would share a little bit about him and his acupuncture treatment with you.

Oscar’s favourite things are sleeping, eating his food, and peeking out of the window to check up on what’s going on outside.  He adores going out into his owners garden for a mooch around and a sunbathe.  His hearing is not as good as it used to be so he doesn’t like younger cats sneaking up on him when he’s out and about!
Oscar’s owner has been bringing Oscar to Broad Lane Vets for acupuncture to help with his arthritis and kidney disease.  Although Oscar dislikes trips to the vet to have his nails trimmed he likes coming in for acupuncture treatments and normally sits patiently throughout.  His owner says acupuncture makes Oscar more comfortable and helps him with his mobility.

Oscar can be nippy when he doesn’t want to do something so it is lovely to see him enjoying coming in to Broad Lane and being so calm during his acupuncture.   

It is quite common for cats and dogs to become sleepy during and after their treatment so we usually advise they take it easy afterwards – here Oscar is relaxing on the consult table! 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dog Acupuncture by Sophie Edward-Jenks MA VetMB CertAVP MRCVS

This is Tye, a 7 year old male cross breed.  His owner got him from a rescue charity when he was just 4 months old having been found wandering stray and emaciated.  Tye is very closely bonded to his owner and likes to be near her at all times!

His favourite toy is his ball on a rope and he loves playing games that involve balls and fetching things.  He loves his food but is on a diet at the moment to try and keep his weight down.  Tye hates fireworks and thunderstorms and has been known to jump into his owners lap for a reassuring cuddle if he gets frightened.  His naughtiest habit is chasing cars and herding his owner around.
Tye comes to Broad Lane Vets for acupuncture to treat arthritis and stiffness in his hips.  Acupuncture evolved in China and has been used for over two thousand years.  One of the ways it works is to provide pain relief by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers. 
When he first started coming he was a bit nervous when I went near his back legs as he thought I was going to express his anal glands but now he relaxes and enjoys a few low fat treats whilst I place the acupuncture needles. 

The majority of dogs don’t appear to notice the needles going through the skin as they are very fine at just 0.25mm wide.

Tye relaxes whlist we leave the needles in for up to 20 minutes before taking them out and having a count up to check they  have all been retrieved!
Tye’s  owner says he is much more comfortable after each treatment and they are now able to go out for longer walks and start to build up his exercise to help control his weight.

It is quite common for dogs to become sleepy during and after their treatment so we usually advise they take it easy afterwards and just go out for a short walk that evening.