Whether you have a new ultra-cute kitten, or an elderly cat who requires a bit of extra care, then we are here to offer some helpful advice.
With tips on everything from behavioural issues and training to medical conditions and minimising risk … everything you need to keep the master of your household purr-fectly happy.
Acupuncture is a system of healing which has evolved from the Chinese and other Eastern cultures over thousands of years. It is now a process of placing needles into special locations on the body to alleviate pain and increase the recovery rate.
As with humans, there is now a strong body of evidence to support the use of acupuncture in the treatment of animals.
Only veterinary surgeons can treat animals using acupuncture. Caroline trained as a veterinary acupuncturist a number of years ago and is an active member of the ABVA (Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists).
There are two types of pet acupuncture therapists.
The traditional Chinese therapists use a combination of herbal medicines and acupuncture needling along meridians or energy channels and acupuncture points.
The Western Scientific approach uses fewer needles inserted directly into acupuncture and trigger points. Points selected for needling may be distant from the source of pain. This helps animals to accept the treatment.
Both approaches consider the overall well-being of the pet. Western veterinary acupuncture is used particularly in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and chronic painful conditions as well as the promotion of skin healing. The Eastern approach is often applied to other disease states too.
Caroline practices the western scientific approach, to complement traditional veterinary medicine and surgery.
Acupuncture is the process of inserting very fine needles into trigger points or muscle bodies which we believe to inhibit the nerve pathways that cause pain; it also improves circulation near to the needles which helps promote healing.
Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate the release of pain relieving chemicals in the brain and spinal cord which result in good levels of pain relief.
Our acupuncture consultations usually last for 30 minutes, Caroline is able to assess the individual before performing acupuncture. Most pets accept this readily and often will become very sleepy and relaxed during the procedure, they are often keen to come in for repeat visits! We recommend an initial course of 4 treatments, usually given 1 week apart.
It’s important to remember that acupuncture is not a replacement for conventional medicine. We use acupuncture in conjunction with conventional medicine offered to maintain your pet’s health and well-being.
Acupuncture is routinely used to treat painful conditions, or slow healing wounds in Cats, Dogs and Rabbits here at My Pets Vets.
The following are examples of the conditions which acupuncture can be of benefit in:
- Arthritis (inflammation of a joint)
- Muscle and ligament sprains and strains (overstretch injuries and inflammation)
- Back Pain
- Lick granulomas and similar chronic skin conditions
- Hip dysplasia
To learn more visit: www.abva.co.uk. Acupuncture works well when combined with the use of our therapeutic light laser here at My Pets Vets.
Cat's protection branch, Atherton and Wigan Metro
The CPL is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity. It now help more than 230,000 cats and kittens every year through our network of over 250 volunteer-run branches, 29 adoption centres and its national homing centre.
Their work doesn’t stop there, however: they also provide an array of cat care information via
their publications, website and Helpline; they promote the benefits of neutering to prevent unwanted litters from being born and becoming the abandoned cats of tomorrow and seek to educate people of all ages about cats and their care.
There are many myths surrounding neutering in cat’s, here are some facts:
- There are around 2 1/2 million stray cats in the UK
- Just one un-neutered female cat can be responsible for 20,000 descendants in just 5 years time.
- Cat’s can become sexually active from 4 months of age.
- It is not beneficial for cats to have one litter before they are speyed.
- Cats are pregnant for just 9 weeks, and can come back into season just 6 weeks after giving birth.
- Pregnancy, giving birth, and feeding kittens is very physically demanding for cats, and can take its toll on their health.
- Cats will breed with their brothers and sisters.
- A cat can have up to 3 litters a year, with 5 or 6 kittens per litter, that means up to 18 caring homes that need to be found each year for just 1 cats litters.
- Neutering has many health benefits, (for both male and female cats), along with reducing the number of unwanted cat’s in the UK
Here at My Pets’ Vets’ we are advocating early neutering for both male and female cats, and are working alongside the Cats Protection. We encourage neutering of all cats at 4 months of age, or younger.
Last year Cats Protection spent over £6 million supporting the neutering of over 191,000 owned, stray and feral cats and kittens across the UK – that’s more than one every three minutes. However, the charity is warning that this is not a long-term fix and says the only way to ensure the population is brought under control is for owners to get their cats neutered earlier than the traditionally recommended six months.
Maggie Roberts, Cats Protection’s Director of Veterinary Services explained: “Cats are such prolific breeders that if we didn’t neuter them, we would have a population explosion that would end up with sick, stray and abandoned cats roaming the streets. As a nation of animal lovers, I don’t think anyone would find this acceptable.
However, our research reveals 94 per cent of cat owners don’t release that cats can get pregnant as early as four months of age so we are working with the veterinary profession and the public to encourage cat neutering around four months of age, which is a significant move away from the traditional six months.”
Please pop into the surgery, or give us a call on 01942 417800 to arrange for your cat to be neutered.
Common household poisons in cats
Cats are usually very sensible creatures when it comes to eating things which are not good for them. However they like to keep themselves scrupulously clean and will groom off anything on their coats of paws which shouldn’t be there.
This is now they can swallow things like antifreeze or decorating products which they have walked through, or brushed up against.
Cats also like to nibble at grass outside, and they will often chew at indoor plants or cut flowers.
Some of the most common, potentially severe cat poisons reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service are:
- Lilies (Lilium spp)
- Ethylene glycol – which is the active ingredient in Antifreeze
- Spot-on flea treatments for dogs – many contain an ingredient called Permethrin which is poisonous to cats
- Metaldehyde, a common active ingredient of slug and snail baits or pellets
- Decorating materials – items such as paints, varnishes, preservatives and paint and glass cleaners can contain petroleum distillates that can be harmful to cats
This is a common human painkiller which is highly dangerous to cats, just one tablet is enough to cause severe illness or death.
Never give paracetamol to your cat.
Signs of poisoning include depression, vomiting, swelling of the face and paws, and a bluish discolouration of the skin.
If you suspect your cat has had some Paracetamol you must contact the surgery immediately on 01942 677979.
Cats are very sensitive to plants of the Lilum species, including Easter, Stargazer, Tiger and Asiaticlilies.
All parts of the lily are toxic, even the flowers and pollen (which a cat can easily get on its coat if it brushes up against the plant). Less than one leaf eaten by a cat can cause kidney failure, which can be fatal.
Signs of poisoning include vomiting, anorexia (not eating) and depression.
If you suspect your cat has eaten or ingested some part of a Lily you must contact the surgery immediately on 01942 677979.
Always check flower labels for warning of toxicity to animals, and ensure that Lillies are kept out of reach of cats, and that all pollen is removed from them if you have them in your house.
Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)
This is very toxic to cats, and is found in antifreeze, de-icers and car screen washes.
Signs of poisoning include weakness, hypothermia, breathing difficulties, convulsions and kidney damage
Treatment is difficult, and is rarely successful, if you suspect your cat has had access to Ethylene Glycol contact the surgery immediately on 01942 677979.
To avoid accidental poisoning keep cats away when using these products, and always clean up any spillages carefully.
Some dog flea products
The active ingredient Permethrin Is found in many spot on flea preparations for dogs. It is also the active ingredient in some ant powders.
Cats can be poisoned if they are accidentally treated with these products, or when they groom themselves or other animals treated with these products.
Signs of poisoning include excess salivation, extreme thirst, high temperature, tremors or convulsions (fitting).
Urgent veterinary treatment is essential, please call us on 01942 677979 if you suspect your cat may have been in contact with these products.
Never use Dog flea products on cats.
Metaldehyde is the active ingredient in some slug baits, and even a tiny amount can be toxic to cats.
Signs of poisoning include salivation, twitching, unsteadiness and convulsions (fitting).
Signs of poisoning develop quickly so urgent veterinary treatment is required.
Do not use products containing Metaldehyde if you have pets.
Petroleum distillates found in solvents for paints, glass cleaners, varnishes, wood preservatives(e.g. creosote), and brush cleaners (e.g. white spirit) can all cause problems for cats.
They cause irritation to the skin and feet, causing inflammation, blisters and burning. If the cat then grooms the product off its skin it can cause severe irritation to its mouth and oesophagus.
Fumes can also cause breathing difficulties.
Please contact us immediately on 01942 417800 if you think your cat may be have been accidentally poisoned with these products.
Make sure you keep cats away from decorating materials and clean up any spillages carefully.
It is every responsible owner’s nightmare for their pet to be poisoned. Make sure you’re prepared for such an emergency.
What to do if you think your cat has been poisoned:
- Stay calm.
- Remove your cat(s) from the source of poison.
- Contact us on 01942 417800 for advice immediately(24/7); tell us when, where and how the poisoning occurred if you can. Ideally, we will ask you to bring the packaging, plant or substance with you, but you must be careful and not expose yourself to any harm.
- Follow our advice. If we ask you to bring your pet to us please do so quickly and calmly.
- Never attempt to treat or medicate your cat(s) yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to your cat.
- Keep your cat(s) away from any other animals to avoid cross contamination.
Never ‘watch and wait’ in any case of suspected poisoning. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, act fast and contact us on 01942 417800 for advice immediately.
Do you know what to do if you find a stray cat?
We often receive phone calls from people who have found cats wandering on or around their property, sometimes for a number of days or weeks, asking us for help. If the cat is not injured then we always advise that any cat that has been around your property for some time is checked for a microchip, this is easily done by popping it into the surgery during normal working hours.
If the cat is not micro-chipped we advise that you take them back to where you found them, and that you place a paper collar on them, on which you have recorded your contact details (we have some of these collars at reception and are happy to supply them free of charge). We can also provide you with the telephone number of the local Cats Protection Branch, and advice that you contact them directly for further help.
We regret that we are unable to take uninjured stray animals in for rehoming. We are a veterinary surgery, and we do not offer a rehoming service, there are a number of other organisations which can help you rehome stray or unwanted cats or dogs, for example Cats Protection, and Leigh Cats and Dogs Home.
The reason we ask you to take stray cats back to where you find them is simple. Cats are by nature wanderers, and they are also very clever, if they know that they will be fed then they will often ‘visit’ many different ‘homes’ during the course of one of their days.
They are smart enough to know when you are at home, and when they are likely to get attention or food; and people will often tell us that the stray cat always seems to be around when they are home – what we don’t know is what they do when you are not in, or when you go to bed. This is why we ask that you place a paper collar on them with your contact details clearly displayed; this will give any possible owner the best chance of getting in contact with you.
Many very loved, and very well cared for cat’s wander during both the day, and night – one of our own cats used to spend a large amount of his day in our neighbour’s house when we were out, and we only discovered this by watching his ever expanding waist line!
If no owner responds to the paper collar placed on the cat then Cats Protection can try to find the individual a new home. It is important to realise that this charity is run locally by volunteers, and that they are extremely busy. They may not be able to take the cat into care immediately.
This is an extremely busy time of the year with regards to unwanted and stray cats and kittens, and all rehoming charities are run off their feet. This is one of the many reasons we recommend that all cats are neutered, and why we believe that ‘early neutering’ (from 4 months of age, or earlier), is so important.
Injured stray cat’s should be brought to the surgery if found, we will always check them for a microchip and try to get them reunited with their owners.
If you are concerned about the welfare of an animal, or feel that it is being mistreated in some way then you should contact the RSPCA for further help and advice.
What is neutering?
Neutering is the general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs in both male and female animals
- Female animals are spayed – this means the womb and the ovaries are removed.
- Male animals are castrated – this means the testicles are removed.
What are the benefits of neutering?
- Neutering has many benefits that apply not only to dogs and cats but also to other small animals such as rabbits. Ferrets can also be surgically neutered.
- Neutering prevents female animals coming into season, when they may attract unwanted male attention, become pregnant or have false pregnancies.
- Neutering prevents the risk of testicular cancer in male animals and uterus infections (which can make your pet very poorly, and can in some cases prove fatal) and cancers in females.
- In male dogs and cats, neutering can reduce behaviours such as urine marking and roaming. Un-neutered male animals are more commonly involved in road traffic accidents or fights than neutered male animals.
- Neutering can reduce aggressive behaviour in mature male ferrets, as well as the smell often associated with them! Neutering a female ferret can also prevent often severe health problems such as alopecia, (hair loss) and anaemia, (which can be fatal).
- Un-neutered female animals can be messy when they come into season – bitches can bleed for up to three weeks.
- Animals don’t respect family relationships – siblings will mate. This increases the risk of offspring being born with birth defects and deformities.
- If animals are neutered, this reduces the risk of them being stolen for breeding.
- If an unneutered pet becomes pregnant and there is a problem during or after the birth, vet fees can be very expensive. Offspring might need veterinary attention too, and you will need to find homes for them all too.
- Owners have a legal responsibility to meet all of their animal’s needs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Pregnant and nursing animals need even more care and their offspring will be equally as demanding. When the young are ready to be rehomed, you also need to ensure that they are vaccinated, wormed and flea treated, which you will also need to be able to afford.
Neutering helps reduce the number of unwanted litters, and animals in the UK.
What are the disadvantages of neutering your pet?
There are many myths surrounding the disadvantages of neutering your pet.
Neutering can mean that your pet has a slight tendency to gain weight, but it is easy to avoid this happening, and we are able to offer advice on diet following the operation.
In some circumstances we will advise against neutering your pet, we will discuss this with you at length if we feel it is appropriate.
When is the right time to neuter your pet?
- We routinely neuter cats (both male and female) from 16 weeks of age.
- It is often possible to neuter dogs and bitches from 4 months of age, although we treat each animal individually and will advise some animals are neutered when they are slightly older.
- If your bitch has had a season we will advise you when in her cycle is the best time to get her neutered.
- We routinely neuter rabbits from 4 months of age, although we treat each animal individually, and will advise some animals are neutered when they are slightly older.
- It is not necessary to let an animal have one litter first. Pets can be neutered before having any litters.
- We will advise you on the best time to neuter your pet when we first see them for their vaccinations, or throughout their early years.
What happens when your pet is neutered?
- We will send you information via email about how to prepare your pet for the surgery when you book your pet’s operation, this will include advice on feeding them both before and after surgery.
- We ask you to attend an admit appointment with one of our vets, or nurses, on the morning of your pet’s surgery. This will allow us to check your pet’s health, and to go through the consent form you will be asked to sign before leaving your pet with us.
- We ask you to provide us with a telephone number that we are able to contact you on throughout the day of the surgery. It is extremely important that we are able to reach you at any time during the day if we need to.
- We will offer pre-anaesthetic blood tests which check your pets liver and kidney values, along with their blood glucose prior to surgery, this is entirely optional, and we will discuss it with you when you sign your pet’s consent form for surgery.
- Your pet will be pre-medicated prior to surgery, this helps reduce anxiety, and provides pain relief, as well as reducing the amount of anaesthetic required by your pet.
- Your pet will then be anaesthetised, and the surgery performed. Your pet will receive a further pain-killing injection.
- Once the surgery has finished and your pet has woken up after the anaesthetic you will be telephoned by one of our nurses, and a discharge appointment arranged, or we will ask you to telephone the surgery at a pre-arranged time for us to arrange this discharge appointment.
- At your pets discharge appointment a nurse will explain how to care for your pet over the following 10 day period. We ask you to ensure that your pet does not interfere with its wound, as this can cause infections, and we can help provide you with methods and advise to prevent them licking at the wound. We will also advise you on how to feed your pet post operatively, and how to exercise them.
- One or two follow up appointments will be made with a member of our nursing team to check your pet post operatively, and as we provide our own out of hours care, should you have any concerns you are able to contact one of our vets outside of normal working hours should this be necessary.
How much does neutering cost?
- This depends on the species, sex, and size of your pet, and we will be able to advise you on this when you arrange an appointment to have your pet neutered.
- We are happy to work with a number of local charities, and the dogs trust to offer subsidised neutering, so if you are on means tested benefits, or are struggling to fund having your pet neutered then please speak to us as we may be able to find you financial help.
To arrange an appointment to have your pet neutered please contact the surgery on 01942 417800
Here at My Pets Vets we strongly advise you consider insuring your pet against accident and illness, as well as having 3rd party insurance if you have a dog.
Pet insurance can provide you with a financial safety blanket if the worst should happen to your beloved pet, although we often find the biggest benefit owners report is that it takes away their concerns about finances if their pet gets sick – so they can just concentrate on getting them better.
We understand just how confusing pet insurance can be though, so I thought I would try to help answer some questions here.
Basically pet insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company.
Due to the Due to the law governing the selling of financial products, we cannot recommend specific insurance companies.
Different policy types
We recommend lifelong insurance for your pet – which covers your pet for an ongoing illness or injury throughout its life. Some insurance policies only cover your pet for a year before excluding that illness or injury for the rest of its life (which means they will no longer pay for any treatment for that condition). Some policies only cover your pet for certain conditions, and for a total sum of money throughout its life.
It is important to realise that pet insurance policies are not all similar, so you really need to read the small print carefully, and ask questions before taking out a policy.
If your pet has been seen for a problem before you take the insurance policy out, then this will be classed as a pre-existing condition, and will not be covered by your insurance policy. This is also true if you choose to change insurance company after your pet has received treatment for a condition – even if you have not made a claim on your pet insurance.
The majority of insurance policies ask you to pay an excess – the value of this excess varies from insurance company to insurance company, and sometimes policy to policy, so you really need to read the small print. Most policies ask you to pay one excess, per condition you claim for, per year. This means that if you have an insurance excess of £70, and your pet is unlucky enough to need treatment for a broken leg, a skin condition, and an eye injury in one year, which are all unrelated then you will have to pay 3 x £70 in excesses before your insurance company will start to make payments.
Some insurance companies ask you to pay an excess, and also a co-payment excess which is usually a percentage of the total bill. The insurance company will then pay the difference, depending on their terms and conditions.
Preventative health care
Insurance companies do not pay for routine preventative health care for your pets such as flea prevention and worming treatments, or neutering procedures unless they are done for medical reasons. The majority also require your pet to be fully vaccinated and up to date with its vaccinations, and to have had regular health checks with vets, which are documented.
3rd party pet insurance
Most owners worry about the cost of vets bills and look to pet insurance for this reason – but it is really important to remember 3rd party insurance too, this provides financial insurance should your dog cause damage to a vehicle, or injure a person or property etc, (but doesn’t protect you from the law). We strongly recommend that even if you choose not to insurance your pet to cover vets bills, you get 3rd party pet insurance. This can be obtained by joining the Dogs Trust – that way you can also help benefit a brilliant charity that do so much to help dogs in trouble in the UK.
How My Pets Vets work with Pet Insurance companies
If your pet is insured, and requires treatment above your policy excess then we will ask you to bring in your pet insurance documents, along with a completed and signed claims form at the time of treatment.
If you are able to provide these documents, with a stamped addressed envelope to your insurance company, and pay your policy excess then we will fill out and submit an insurance claim form on your behalf if you accept our terms and conditions which will be made available to you by our reception team. We reserve the right to charge an administration charge for the completion of all insurance claims forms.
It is important to remember that it is your responsibility to settle your account if your insurance company does not settle the account within 60 days, for any reason.
I hope this has helped answer your questions but if you have any others regarding pet insurance please feel free to ask any member of our team, who will do their best to answer them for you. Our phone number is 01942 417800, or you can pop into our surgery for a chat.
My Pets Vets is an Appointed Representative of Pet Plan Limited. Go here for frequently asked questions and to sign up for your 4 weeks free insurance cover!
Therapeutic Light Laser
We have a phase 4 therapeutic light laser which can be used to aid wound healing, reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Our Veterinary surgeons will advise if they feel your pet would benefit from laser therapy, and our nurses are all trained and able to provide the therapy.
We offer a free light laser therapy session immediately after all routine surgical procedures as we know it speeds wound healing, and leaves our patients more comfortable.
We also offer post operative light laser therapy sessions at a much reduced rate if you would like your pet to benefit from these please ask any member of our team for more details.
You can also have a look at this video collection from the laser provider.
Here at My Pets Vets, we routinely vaccinate cats against Cat Flu, Enteritis (feline parvovirus) and Leukaemia. As with our canine companions all of these conditions, at the very least, cause unvaccinated pets to become seriously unwell after their incubation period (the time it takes for symptoms to become obvious after the pet has come into contact with the infectious agent), often requiring intensive, prolonged, and ultimately expensive veterinary treatment; at their worst they cause death.
It’s worth noting that the majority of pet insurance companies will not cover the cost of veterinary treatment for these conditions in unvaccinated pets.
We recommend kittens are vaccinated from 9 weeks of age, (to prime their immune system), with a second vaccine given 3 weeks later (to boost their immune system). As with dogs, we recommend yearly booster vaccines as we know that cat’s immunity wanes after this time period.
We, unfortunately, see a lot of cat’s suffering from cat flu and feline enteritis at My Pets Vets, and know that these diseases are rife in the area. We do also see cats that are infected with the feline leukaemia virus.