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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.