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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.