Whether it is training an excitable puppy, caring for a trusted companion, or nursing a wise old friend, we can help with some practical tips and suggestions.
With tips on everything from behavioural issues and training to medical conditions and minimising risk … everything you need to keep your best buddy in tip-top shape.
Accidental Poisoning in Dogs
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 dog has been poisoned:
- Stay calm.
- Remove your dog(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 dog(s) yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to your dog.
- Keep your dog(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.
Preventing poisoning in dogs:
In the home:
- Keep houseplants in containers placed where your dog(s) cannot reach them. Collect up any dropped leaves or petals.
- Keep pesticides, such as rat baits, away from the areas your dog(s) have access to.
- Never medicate your dog(s) yourself, lots of human medicines can be poisonous to dogs.
- Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.
- Ensure your dog(s) water supply cannot become contaminated, and change it regularly.
- Don’t allow your dog to swim in contaminated water sources – these are usually clearly marked.
Common Poisonings in Dogs:
Chocolate poisoning in dogs is very common, especially at Christmas and Easter. Chocolate contains a powerful stimulant called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. Dark chocolate, cocoa mulch and cocoa contain high levels of theobromine.
Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, high temperature and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and tremors.
Never give chocolate to your pet as a treat.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
This group of drugs includes ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen, which are common human painkillers.
Poisoning can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, severe stomach ulceration and kidney failure.
Never medicate your dog with these drugs.
Rodent Poisons (‘rodenticides’)
The following specifically refers to anticoagulant rodenticides for example bromadiolone, difenacoum and warfarin. Anticoagulants prevent blood clotting. Warfarin is used in human medicine.
These products are commonly used to control rodent infestations. The baits are usually coloured blue or green (sometimes purple or red) and can be sold in the form of a powder, paste, seeds or grains.
Poisoning may result in life-threatening bleeding; effects may not appear for several days. Bleeding may be internal and therefore is not always visible.
Metaldehyde is a common active ingredient of slug/snail baits or pellets.
Metaldehyde poisoning is extremely serious and is usually fatal without urgent treatment by a vet.
Dogs may initially appear unsteady on their feet and twitchy, but may rapidly deteriorate and suffer continuous convulsions and possibly respiratory failure.
Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants
Any quantity of these fruits can be toxic to dogs. Cooking or baking them (e.g. in cakes) does not reduce the risk of poisoning.
Poisoning may initially result in vomiting and diarrhoea and subsequently in kidney failure (which may occur a few days after the initial effects).
Vitamin D exists in many forms, which may be found in a variety of products, including skin creams.
Poisoning can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, convulsions, abnormal heart rhythm and kidney failure. Effects of the poisoning may be delayed for several days. There may be permanent effects, it can be fatal.
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.
Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, otherwise known as CRGV or Alabama rot is a disease that has been known about since the late 1980’s. It was initially thought to only affect Greyhounds and the dogs reported with the disease in the USA presented with kidney failure and/or skin lesions. The cause of the disease remains unknown.
Since December 2012 a number of suspected cases have been seen in the United Kingdom. Some of these were from the New Forest. However, cases have also been identified in other countries throughout the UK. Recently there have been a small number of confirmed cases in the area between Leigh, Hindley and Tyldesley in Great Manchester.
The skin lesions are a symptom of the disease rather than being traumatic wounds from an injury. Typically the skin lesions have been below the knee or elbow. They may present as a focal swelling, a patch of red skin or a defect in the skin (like an ulcer). They can also be found in the mouth, or on the tongue. Over the subsequent two to seven days the affected dogs have developed clinical signs of kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness.
It is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected. Most skin lesions will not be caused by this disease and most cases of kidney failure will have another cause.
If your dog is affected, early recognition of the disease and aggressive management is likely to lead to the best outcome. Without knowing the trigger for the disease it is impossible to give specific advice about walking your dog and it is again important to stress that the case numbers are very low. The disease does not appear to pass from dog to dog, or affect other species of animals.
If you are concerned about your dog please speak to your local vet.
Any further updates can be found at: www.andersonmoores.com who provided the information above
A list of geographical locations of confirmed cases can be found at:
Chocolate poisoning in dogs
Chocolate may be a well-loved treat for us, but in our pets it can be very toxic, and in some cases even fatal. This is because dogs metabolise once component of chocolate very differently to us – this part is called Theobromine and it’s found in the cocoa part of chocolate. Good quality dark chocolate (i.e. 75% cocoa solids) contains high levels of Theobromine and so is the most dangerous, most UK milk chocolate contains low levels of Theobromine and white chocolate contains almost none.
When eaten in large quantities Theobromine can cause some very serious health problems to different body systems:
- Central nervous system stimulation – in dogs, theobromine can greatly ‘overstimulate’ the brain and other parts of the nervous system. This can lead in less severe cases to excitability, hyperactivity and restlessness, but in more severe cases can cause tremors and convulsions (fits or seizures)
- Heart and circulation – theobromine can cause the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), an increase in blood pressure and, in severe cases, an abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia)
- Muscle – theobromine can cause changes in the muscle tone of the dog, leading to weakness in less severe cases or even muscle rigidity (stiffness) in the more severely affected patients
- Occasionally problems with kidney function have been seen
All of these should be treated as potentially life threatening and classed by owners as an emergency, so if your pet has eaten any chocolate then contact the surgery, 24 hours a day on 01942 417800.
It is likely that your pet will be made to vomit (depending on when it ate the chocolate), started on Intravenous fluids and closely monitored in the surgery for some time to ensure that none of the above mentioned problems occur, and to treat them if they do.
As mentioned above, different types (and brands) of chocolate contain varying amounts of theobromine. The toxicity of theobromine is determined by how much your dog has eaten in relation to his or her weight. If you are concerned that your dog has eaten chocolate get in touch with us immediately – it is really helpful if you still have the wrapper of the chocolate or can at least tell us what type your dog has eaten.
It is also important to know how much chocolate your dog has eaten (an estimate is certainly better than nothing), as we can then work out roughly how many milligrams of theobromine he or she has eaten per kg of. This is the case with any suspected case of poisoning by any substance – if you can tell us when, and how much you think your pet has eaten then it helps us ensure that they are treated appropriately.
Please remember that we are available to deal with emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at the My Pets Vets Walter Leigh Way Surgery Leigh WN7 3GP
Choosing a Puppy
Are you thinking of getting a new puppy ?
- Always go to a reliable and reputable Breeder.
- Ask to see the puppy’s mother.
- See the puppy in its breeding environment and ask to look at the kennelling conditions if they were not raised within the breeder’s house. If you suspect the conditions are not right, then do not buy the puppy.
- Ask to see the relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents
- Be prepared to be put on a waiting list – a healthy puppy is well-worth waiting for.
- Ask if you can return the puppy if things don’t work out. Responsible and reputable breeders will always say yes.
- Be suspicious of a breeder selling several different breeds, unless you are sure of their credentials.
- Consider alternatives to buying a puppy like getting a rescue dog or pup.
- Report your concerns to the relevant authority if you suspect the breeder is a puppy farmer
- Buy a puppy from a pet shop
- Buy a puppy online or off Facebook
- Pick your puppy up from a ‘neutral location’ such as a car park or motorway service station.
- Buy a puppy because you feel like you’re rescuing it. You’ll only be making space available for another poorly pup to fill and condemning further puppies to a miserable life.
But how do you make sure you don’t buy from a puppy farmer, or from an ill-informed breeder? There is a scheme run by the Kennel Club called ‘ABS is Best’ which advises people to go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. The Kennel Club has United Kingdom The Accreditation Services (UKAS) accreditation to certify breeders on the scheme and it is the only one in the UK that sets standards for and inspects dog breeders.
Or you could consider adoption!
Remember there are lots of dogs and puppies out there who are waiting for their forever home, so consider a rescue centre. There are many thousands throughout the UK, some specialise in certain breeds, and others work with all breeds. The Kennel Club have a Rescue Dog Directory which can help you find a rescue home, we also work closely with some amazing charities who work closely with people to find the right home for the right dog – so if you do need some help getting in contact with a charity please give us a ring on 01942 677979.
‘Rescue’ dogs can come with their own ‘issues’, so we would only recommend you consider adopting a dog if you have the time and the family that can accommodate it. Having said that – we recommend that if you are thinking of taking on any new pet!
There are hundreds of rescue centres around – some large, some small, and they can have a wide variety of policies. Some have no facilities to keep dogs; they make referrals from the current owners to potential adopters. Others have kennelling, or use foster homes.
All rescue centres are trying to help owners find new home for their dogs, with most anxious to place dogs in good homes – so don’t be surprised if you are ‘vetted’ thoroughly before being allowed to adopt a pet.
We would highly recommend you talk to the rescue centre at length before you get the dog – talk to them about your lifestyle, all good centres want to do a house visit and get to know you – to make sure you are going to be able to provide the perfect ‘forever home’ for the individual you want to adopt. Find out as much as you can about the dog’s history – and we would advise you find out if you can take the dog back to the centre if it doesn’t fit in with your household.
You need to ask yourself what age of dog you are looking for – a puppy, or an older dog; if you are happy to take on a dog that may have some pre-existing health problems and may need long term medication etc. Do you have the time to commit to walking a young, fit, bouncy dog? Again these are all things you need to be thinking about before taking on any new pet – after all the young pup you start out with will inevitably age (it happens to us all after all!).
Good rescue centres ensure that the dogs that leave them are fully vaccinated before going to their new home – or at the very least have measures put in place to ensure they are vaccinated soon after arriving with their new family. Some will even ensure they are neutered. Any dog with health issues should have seen a vet before being Ok’d to be rehomed.
Remember – as with any new dog it’s important to work out if you can afford the time, emotion and money associated with owning a pet before you go ahead and get a new dog. Along with making sure you are prepared to walk it twice daily – and clean up its ‘mess’.
Here at My Pets Vets we recommend that ALL dogs, cats, and rabbits (plus other ‘exotic’ species) are insured. If you do not want to take out pet insurance for your medical bills when owning a dog we would strongly advise you to take out 3rd party liability insurance at the very least. Dogs Trust offers a 3rd party liability insurance – which can be found here
You also need to remember it’s compulsory for all dogs in the UK to be micro-chipped and have your contact details up to date. You can receive a hefty fine of your dog is not micro-chipped.
What should you do if you suspect someone to be selling puppy farmed puppies?
We would recommend you tell the relevant authorities if you have any concerns.
Local Councils, animal health officers and the police have the power to enforce the law. If you suspect somebody is a puppy farmer report them to the RSPCA, the police, or your Local Authority.
If somebody who you also suspect of being a puppy farmer, is registering their dogs with the Kennel Club, then ensure that you tell the Kennel Club about your suspicions. The Kennel Club would never knowingly register puppies from a puppy farmer and will tell the relevant authorities to try and ensure that the person is brought to book.
It’s important to spread the word.
We can only stop puppy farmers if puppy buyers know to avoid them – before they buy, not once it is too late. If you know prospective puppy buyers tell them about this campaign to make sure that they make the right choices. You can also write to your local political representative.
We are hoping to highlight the problems with puppy farms and the issues that come from often unintentionally buying a puppy from one.
The Kennel Club has done research which shows that as many as one in three people may have unknowingly bought from a puppy farm after buying their puppy online, on social media, in pet shops or through free newspaper ads – all of which are outlets often used by puppy farmers. Their research also showed that one in five pups bought online or in pet shops need long-term veterinary care or die before six months old*.
Unfortunately puppies from puppy farms are bred with no regards for their health or well-being and are kept in appalling and unsanitary conditions. This is why vets, charities and animal welfare organisations are all so keen to prevent this trade.
*Research conducted in August 2013 by Atomik, on behalf of the Kennel Club, and is based on 2,026 responses
Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that live on your pet and in your home. Most domestic pets including dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets are at risk of flea infestations.
They can cause:
- Intense itching and scratching which can result in hair loss
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis – a very common and unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergy to flea saliva
- Tapeworm infestation
- Anaemia in puppies and kittens, (as they drink blood)
- They can spread diseases such as myxomatosis in rabbits, and feline infectious anaemia in cats,
They’re a common problem, with 1 in 5 cats and 1 in 10 dogs having fleas. Fleas rarely jump from one pet to another, instead they are picked up from infested environments, they can even be picked up outside. This could be your garden, the local park, a friend’s house – any place where an animal that has fleas, such as a rabbit, hedgehog, fox or another cat or dog, may be found.
Fleas multiply fast, just one female flea can lay 50 eggs a day; so it can take as little as 21 days for one flea to become 1,000!
Eggs fall off your pet and into your home, where ever your pet goes, this can include your carpet, car and even bed! The eggs develop into larvae which burrow into dark, warm areas (such as deep into your carpets, furniture, and even between floor boards). The larvae spin cocoons and new fleas develop within these. New fleas hatch once they sense the warmth, carbon dioxide and vibration an animal creates, and jump onto them for a quick meal – unfortunately this includes us too!
Because of this flea life cycle 5% of the flea problem is on your pet, and 95% of the flea problem is in your environment, (including your home).
Treating a flea infestation:
It is important to ensure all animals in your home are treated regularly, throughout the year, against fleas with a product recommended by a vet. Here at My Pets Vets we try hard to ensure we advise you on the flea control products that are most appropriate to your pets’ and your environment. It is also important to ensure your pets are treated with a tapeworm preparation if they have fleas, this is because fleas carry tapeworm, and your pet can become infected if they swallow fleas whilst grooming themselves. Because of the flea life cycle it is also extremely important to ensure your home is treated with an effective environmental flea control product.
It is normal to see a few new fleas on your pet even if they have been treated with a flea product we recommend. This is because no products repel fleas, (even those that claim to), so if your pet visits an infested area a few new adult fleas may jump onto them. These new fleas will be killed within 24 hours.
Hot Cars Kill Dogs
We all know not to leave dogs alone in cars, but did you know that it can get unbearably hot in a car on a sunny day, even when it is not that warm?
In fact, when it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes.
If you’re going out in the car, think very carefully about what you are going to do with your dog. You should never leave a dog alone in a car.
Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. In a hot stuffy car dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on your windscreen won’t keep your car cool enough.
Dogs die in hot cars.
Under the Animal Welfare Act you have a legal duty to care for your animal and if you put your animal at risk, you could face prosecution. You would also have to live with the fact that your actions resulted in terrible suffering for your pet.
If you see a dog in a car on a warm day please call the Police on 999.
Important Don’ts for dog owners
Here at My Pets Vets, all our staff aim to offer the best advice we can for your pets health care. We do understand that owners cannot do everything we recommend, but feel we should at least make you aware of ways in which your pet’s health may be improved.
We try to help pet owners work out a plan that will help their pet’s health as time and budget allows. We do often find ourselves wishing that we could have helped before there was a medical issue. Prevention really is the key to good health, and it’s the one thing in every pet owner’s control.
There are many things we could advise you to do as a basic of pet care, but sometimes knowing what not to do is even more useful. So we have listed our most useful “don’ts” — they’re all free and can potentially save you money, and improve your dog’s health, in the long run.
Do not allow your dog to be fat. I realize you hear this all the time, but there’s a reason why we will not let this issue go. Every day we see dogs in constant pain, and owners who write this off as being a normal part of getting older. It’s not.
The pain of arthritis starts earlier and is more severe in overweight dogs. I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty: It’s well established by research. Yes, we have marvellous medications that can ease an arthritic dog’s pain. But if you keep your dog’s weight at its ideal, they may not need them for years.
If you are unsure what an ideal weight for your dog is, then please arrange a free appointment with one of our nurses for a weight check, (our phone number is 01942 417800). You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs when you run your hand over their chests, they should have an obvious waist when viewed from above, and they should ‘tuck-in’ behind their ribcage. If you do nothing else on this list but prevent your dog from being overweight, you may have helped them to a longer, happier, more active life.
Do not let your dog off their lead in open areas. Very few dogs heel reliably off lead, and just as few — if not fewer — have a fool proof emergency recall. If you’re walking your dog along the road or letting them off their lead with you in your front yard, you are potentially one squirrel away from your dog being hit by a car, and why take that chance? If your dog won’t walk on a lead without pulling, get a trainer’s help. It’s better than having your dog get hit by a car.
Do not let your dog play with young children without proper supervision. We often hear of dogs that have bitten or killed a child, and in many of these cases, adult supervision would have prevented a tragedy. In order to prevent an injury, you must actively prevent your child from mauling, riding and pulling on your dog, even if they have been very tolerant in the past.
Do not give our medication to your dog without checking with your vet first. Many common over-the-counter medications are just not safe for your dog.
Make sure you are aware of common foods and plants etc. which can be toxic to your dogs, for example chocolate, and grapes (we have previously posted information on this subject on Facebook), and do not give them to your dog.
Please remember that we are here to offer you advice on all aspects of your pet’s health, and we genuinely feel that prevention is better than cure.
My Dog needs a dental
Have you ever wondered what happens when your pet needs a dental? Hopefully we can answer some of your questions here:
We recommend a check over with a vet or nurse before the dental surgery is booked to check that it is needed, and that there are no problems that may complicate a general anaesthetic.
An admit appointment will then be made and written pre-operative information given to you which will help prepare you and your pet for the procedure.
On the morning of the procedure your pet will be admitted by a vet or nurse, and you will be asked to read and sign a consent form which gives us permission to give your pet a general anaesthetic and perform the dental procedure.
We ask that you leave a telephone number we can contact you on at ALL times whilst your pet is with us.
We offer pre anaesthetic blood test and will discuss these with you before and during your pet’s admission.
If you opt to have these blood tests done then your pet will have a blood sample taken before being settled into their home for the day with us – furnished with lots of comfy warm blankets
Once the blood test results are back and it’s time for your pets procedure the vet who will be performing the dental will do another physical examination on your pet and administer a tailor made pre medication which typically contains a sedative and pain relief, this is designed to help settled your pet along with reducing any discomfort they may experience.
Once your pet is nice and sleepy a general anaesthetic is administered into a vein in their leg (which is why one of your dogs front legs will be clipped when you get them home), and an endotracheal tube placed into their trachea to protect their lungs and all us to administ oxygen and anaesthetic gases safely.
We can take dental x-Rays if we feel it necessary at this point.
Your pets teeth are then scaled using the same type of equipment we are all used to at our own dentists and hygienists.
Once clear of tartar and plaque the teeth are examined thoroughly by the veterinary surgeon and any teeth that need to be removed are extracted at this time.
Not surprisingly given the foods they were originally designed to eat before we domesticated them, dogs and cats have teeth that are more firmly held in their skulls than us humans! So extracting them is a highly skilled job.
Once all the extractions are completed (and it’s worth pointing out here that we only remove teeth we really need to – as we do prefer to see our patients with teeth, even if they are trying to use them against us!), all the remaining teeth are thoroughly checked again and then polished using a polishing machine – again very similar to those found in our dentists.
Dogs and cats are not too good at swilling their mouths out after a dental so we do this for them before we start to wake them up from their anaesthetic, which has been closely monitored throughout the dental by a veterinary nurse who takes detailed notes.
Once your pet has woken up and is breathing well without us supplying extra oxygen, they are returned to their prepared kennel – which now has even more blankets in! Their care is transferred to the nurse who is in charge of post operative patients, and she will give you a ring to update you and arrange a time for you to collect your pet.
Your pet will be discharged to you, along with any medication, by a nurse or veterinary surgeon who will discuss the procedure with you, and arrange a time for you and your pet to come back to the practice for a post operative check usually 2 days post surgery.
You are also given information on what to expect post operatively – and remind you that we provide 24 hr out of hours care to our patients, so should you have any concerns you just need to call 01942 677979 for advice.
Our nurses will also discuss how to keep your pet’s lovely clean teeth in tip top condition for as long as possible – we have a variety of ways in which we can help you to achieve good dental health for your pet.
Remember here at My Pets Vets we offer FREE dental health checks with our nurses as we understand just how important your pets dental health is to their general health and well being.
For more information, or to book an appointment please give us a ring on 01942 417800
Kennel cough is a highly contagious and very unpleasant disease causing a nasty and debilitating cough that can lead on to complications.
Symptoms of kennel cough
Some of the symptoms of kennel cough to be on the lookout for include:
- A persistent and very strong, forceful cough
- A “reverse sneeze” sound, which is quite distinctive to a normal cough but does not present itself in all dogs
- A dripping nose
- Sore throat and inflammation of the throat
- Kennel cough is often accompanied by sneezing
- Inflamed and runny eyes may also accompany the condition
- Loss of appetite and reduced energy levels
- General lethargy and loss of interest in walking and the normal goings on of the household
What causes Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is an infection of the upper respiratory tract of the dog, and can be caused by a variety of different viruses and pathogens which include Canine parainfluenza, adenovirus, coronavirus, distemper and some bacterial infections such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough is highly contagious, and got its name because of its prevalence and the way its spreads quickly between dogs housed in boarding kennels and dog shelters.
How is kennel cough transmitted?
Both viral and bacterial kennel cough is airborne, which is part of the reason why it is so highly contagious. The coughing and sneezing of affected dogs causes mucus and fluids containing the virus or bacteria to be diffused into the air, where they can be inhaled by other dogs. As with other types of viral and bacterial infections, the pathogen can sometimes survive outside of the body for long periods of time, meaning that toys, bowls and equipment that have come into contact with an affected dog can all harbour the condition, waiting to be picked up by an unsuspecting passing dog.
Preventing kennel cough
- Vaccinating your dog is the most effective way of preventing the contraction and transmission of kennel cough.
- Avoid compromising your dog’s immune system by ensuring that they stay fit and healthy, and avoid stress and exposure to extremes of temperature.
- Make sure that your dog spends his time in a well ventilated environment
The kennel cough vaccine
You can minimise the chances of your dog contracting kennel cough or becoming a carrier for the condition by having them vaccinated against the illness.
The kennel cough vaccine is administered separately to the combined injectable vaccine given for other common conditions
The kennel cough vaccine is a nasal spray that produces a localised immunity within the cells of the nose and upper respiratory system of your dog, to help to prevent the virus or bacteria from entering the lungs.
The vaccine can be given from 8 weeks of age, and needs repeating every year.
It is recommended that the vaccine is given at least 5 days before your dog goes into kennels or doggy day care; this ensures the vaccine has time to work.
The vaccine does not cause kennel cough, and cannot spread disease to other dogs.
Should you wish to ‘add-on’ your dogs kennel cough vaccine to its routine annual booster vaccinations, it will cost only £15.00 saving you £10.00 on our full kennel cough vaccine price.
To book an appointment with one of our vets please call us on 01942 417800
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!
The Dogs Trust Low Cost Neutering
We are proud to offer the Dogs Trust subsidised neutering scheme here at My Pets Vets. This scheme offers financial assistance for those on means tested benefits, towards the cost of neutering their dogs.
The benefits included are:
- Income support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Child Tax Credit
- Working tax credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax reduction/ Council tax Support
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
On March 1st 2016 the scheme changed slightly to include only the following dog breeds:
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- American bull dog
- German shepherd
- Jack Russell terrier
Cross breeds where the primary breed is identifiable as one of those listed above.
Owners of the above dog breeds, who are in receipt of one of the listed means tested benefits qualify for the scheme, so long as they provide proof of benefits and a photo ID, and complete a Dogs trust neutering voucher with us at the time of their pets preoperative consultation.
The scheme allows owners who qualify for it to pay just £35 towards the neutering of their dog, with the Dogs Trust providing some additional funds, and the practice providing the service at a much reduced fee.
If you would like more information, please speak to any member of our team or call us on 01942 417800 to book an appointment.
Alternatively visit here
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.
Travelling with your dog
Lots of us travel with our dogs in our cars – the following points may help you and your dog during these journeys.
- Slowly build up the length of journeys you take with your dog, start with short journeys first and get them accustomed to car travel gradually.
- Train your dog not to bark or move around whilst the vehicle is moving – this will stop your pet distracting the driver. Ideally get a harness for your dog or have a cage/dog guard in your car to stop your dog moving around the car. Harnesses also stop your dog being thrown around in the case of an accident (in the same way seat belts protect us).
- If you are going on a long journey, make sure you make regular stops so that your dog can stretch their legs, and go to the toilet.
- Remember to always clean up after your dog.
- Always keep your dog on a lead in all public places.
- Make sure your dog has a collar and tag on and that the details on it are up to date.
- Make sure that your dog has a microchip and that its details are also up to date.
- Take cool water in a thermos, it stays cool rather than lukewarm this way.
Dogs especially can feel motion sickness in just the same way we can, and anxiety can make it worse for them. Just imagine if you didn’t understand why you had to get into the moving metal box on wheels without understanding why – and your balance systems make you feel physically sick.
It’s not surprising that it can be hard to help our four legged friends feel better when travelling if they have experienced motion sickness.
But how do you know if your pet is struggling?
It’s not just cars that can cause our pets to experience motion sickness – it can also occur during travel on an airplane, train or boat.
So it’s worth bearing in mind if you are planning on taking your pet on holiday with you this year – or in the future.
We routinely vaccinate dogs against Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis, and are also able to offer vaccination against Bordetella Bronchiseptica (kennel cough). These are conditions that we do see with disturbing regularity, although thankfully, not as commonly as we once did.
In the last 3 months, here in Leigh, we have seen confirmed cases of Parvovirus along with many other suspected cases, cases of kennel cough, as well as dogs we have suspected of suffering from Distemper, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza.
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 advise that puppies are vaccinated from 6 weeks of age, with a second vaccine given 2 – 4 weeks later depending on the age of the pup when it receives its first vaccine (we will advise you of this at the time of your pup’s first injection).
The first injection primes your pet’s immune system, and the second one boosts it to ensure it provides the protection your pup requires. Through ongoing immunological research we know that a single vaccination is not sufficient to provide the majority of puppies with the protection they need against all these diseases.
This same research proves that, at the current time, our vaccines do not reliably provide more than 12 months protection against some of these diseases, and this is why we strongly recommend yearly ‘booster’ vaccinations for your dogs.
I know that it is the subject of the ‘booster’ vaccinations that confuses and concerns many owners who do not like the idea of over vaccinating their pets. As a profession it is something that we are very aware of, and we have taken an oath that ‘our constant endeavour will be to ensuring the welfare of animals committed to my care’ when becoming members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
This is why there is so much ongoing research into the subject of vaccination, and it is as a result of this research that we now follow a rotation system when we vaccinate your pets.
Basically we do not vaccinate against all 5 diseases every year, but rotate the vaccine components based on the length of time we know our vaccines protect your pet for against each individual disease. We will happily discuss this with you at the time of your dogs booster if you want to find out more.
It is vitally important to understand that we know that your dog’s immunity to leptospirosis wanes 12 months after its last vaccination, we live in an area in which this disease can flourish – with all our water courses, canals and areas such as Pennington Flash where (unfortunately) rats love living, and rats are the major cause of the spread of this potentially deadly disease.
Parvovirus is generally thought of as a disease which affects puppies, it can affect any unvaccinated dog of any age, and we have recently treated two unvaccinated adult dogs, (4 and 5 years old), who thankfully survived, but came very close to succumbing to the disease.
In the case of these two dogs the virus had been walked into their home on the owner’s clothing and feet which highlights the need to vaccinate all dogs – even if they never leave the house.