Pet Advice


Not sure?

Ask one of our Vet’s or Vet Nurses for advice, and ensure their parasite plan is always kept up to date and protects your dog against Lungworm.


Kathryn Miller BVSc CertAVP PgCertVPS MRCVS

Osteoarthritis (arthritis) is a very common condition, affecting over 80% of older cats and dogs.

It causes painful, irreversible destruction of the cartilage within the joints. This ultimately leads to reduced use of the joint, wastage of the surrounding muscle, lameness and chronic pain.

Despite this, less than 60% of animals with arthritis will ever be treated! Many owners are unaware of their animal’s suffering. Animals in chronic pain will still eat and still walk and almost never yelp; but they may be slower, stiffer to get up, more reluctant to jump, and lick their sore joints. Cats often stop grooming (thus dandruff is one of the first signs of arthritis).

Other owners notice their animal getting stiff, but assume it is an unavoidable part of ageing. In clinics, owners often report “He has started slowing down and limping on his walk, but he’s not in pain”. This misconception comes from the fact that animals in chronic pain rarely yelp when you touch/manipulate their leg (like they would with acute pain such as a cut or fracture). They just process chronic pain differently.

The good news is lots that can be done to help arthritis. In the early stages (often noticed in the clinic when vet feel the destruction in the joint, or notices abnormal muscle wastage) cartilage protection can slow down the destruction. Adjustments in exercise, diet and even physio/hydrotherapy can also be extremely helpful. In the later stages, pain relief is also absolutely vital. This can take the form of daily tablets, or long acting injections. Speak to your vet if you are concerned you pet may be suffering with arthritis, and see what options may be available to help them.


By Fiona Mullan RVN

Why vet visits are important, even if your pet is well! You might be thinking…

'I wouldn't go to my doctor if I wasn't ill, so why should I take my pet to the vet?'

Good question! Well, pets are a little different to us, in that they can't say when something hurts or tell us when they are just feeling a bit 'under the weather'. They are also experts at hiding signs of pain, discomfort and disease. Particularly cats and smaller prey species, like rabbits.

Therefore, a regular vet check-up (at least annually, but ideally 6 monthly in older pets) will help detect and treat underlying problems, that you as an owner may not be aware of yet.

'But he/she would stop eating if they were ill. They're eating well so they are fine'

This is not strictly true. Animals with severe dental disease and serious oral pain, will in many cases, continue to eat even though they are extremely uncomfortable, and the extent of dental disease may not always be obvious to owners. Many owners will accept 'bad breath' as being the norm, when really we should be concerned and do something about it.

The Annual 'MOT'

Your pet's annual vaccination is obviously vital in protecting your pet from potentially life-threatening diseases but the visit itself is just as important as the injection.

Your pet should receive a full 'head to tail' check up by a vet before they are given their vaccine, to not only ensure they are fit for the vaccine itself, but to catch any other issues early before they become more serious.

The cost of vaccinations is usually what deters owners from doing them every year, or encourages them to go elsewhere from their usual practice, to find the cheapest alternative.

There is nothing wrong with 'shopping around', but be wary of pet stores that may offer cheap vaccines. Are they only giving the vaccine without a full consultation included?

Make sure you know what you are getting for your money, and ensure your pet isn't missing a vital check-up to compensate for lower cost.

But it's not all doom and gloom!

Coming to the vets need not always be about illness. It can be a fun and social event! FREE nurse clinics are a great way to get your pet used to coming in, without associating every trip with needles and procedures.

These 'socialisation visits' are essential for puppies and kittens, so they grow up to be confident and relaxed, but animals of all ages can benefit!

It is also a nice opportunity for both you and your pet to get to know the practice team better!

Leaving your pet at the vets can be a really stressful experience, so wouldn't it be nicer if you got to know the staff and who will be looking after your pet beforehand? From our perspective it is lovely to get to know owners and their pets better, and we welcome the opportunity for you to come in and get to know us too.

If you have any concerns regarding your pet's health please contact us on 01494 459 095 (24 Hour On-Site Emergency and Inpatient Care 365 days a year)

Alabama Rot

When dog owners hear the phrase 'Alabama Rot', they are understandably filled with fear and dread. This is especially true with re-occurring headlines about a new 'flesh-eating deadly disease' popping up in newspapers and across social media.

We have produced this fact-sheet, to help inform owners about what vets know so far, and to hopefully help reduce owner anxiety.

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama rot (or Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy- CRGV) is a disease that causes damage to the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys, causing skin ulceration and acute kidney dysfunction (kidney failure) in dogs. It is not a flesh-eating disease.

Where has it come from?

The disease was originally seen in a series of cases in Alabama, USA. Affecting greyhounds in the late 1980's, and was first seen in the UK in November 2012.

Between November 2012 and April 2017, it has been confirmed in 94 cases across the UK (Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists).

However, in the UK, other breeds have been affected -suggesting the disease is not exclusive to greyhounds, and there is no apparent breed/age/weight/sex predisposition.

How can my dog get Alabama Rot, and is there a danger to me?

At this present time, the disease origin and method of transmission is unknown, but there has been no incidence of the disease being passed from animal to owner, and the disease has not been seen in other animals besides dogs (Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists).

Is there a specific location to avoid?

As cases have been seen in various locations around the UK, there is no specific area that specialists are advising dog owners to avoid, and there is no proven environmental cause at this time.

UK Dog owners can track Alabama Rot on Vets4Pets 'Stop Alabama Rot' interactive Map on their website.

Is there a time of year that the disease is more common?

Dr Kim Stevens, a researcher from the Royal Veterinary College, reports “There are limited cases over the summer whereas everything starts to pick up in November and at least 60% of the cases occur in the first three months of the year, so it’s very much an autumn/winter pattern that we’re looking at.”

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?

  • Redness/sores/swelling of skin. Particularly on legs and feet, or around face/tongue, but can develop anywhere on the body
  • Anorexia (Off food/decreased appetite)
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst

''On average, dogs suffer from kidney failure about three days after lesions begin to show on the skin, however the time between sores appearing and kidney failure can be between one and 10 days'' (

''It is important to remember, that most of the time a skin problem will NOT be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice''. (Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists).

What is the prognosis for Alabama Rot?

''Of the 75% dogs that have skin ulcers without kidney injury, the prognosis is excellent. Of the other 25% of dogs that have skin lesions and kidney injury, 85% die when treated at vets whilst slightly fewer (75%) die when treated at referral centres [E.g. Anderson Moores Vet Specialists in Winchester)'' Laura Holm- Anderson Moore Veterinary Specialists.

What can I do to ensure my dog is safe?

Unfortunately, there are no specific recommendations or preventatives, since we do not know the cause of the disease. If you see any evidence of skin lesions or ulceration anywhere on your dog, contact your vet immediately for an appointment.

Where can I find out more information?


Whilst it is of course necessary to be informed and vigilant about Alabama Rot, please remember the number of confirmed cases compared with the massive dog population in the UK, remains low.

If you have any concerns regarding your dog's health please contact us on 01494 459 095 (24 Hour On-Site Emergency and Inpatient Care 365 days a year)


By: Fiona Mullan RVN

October time means that Halloween is just around the corner!

Halloween can be a noisy and stressful time for our pets, with potentially lots of unfamiliar house guests, costumes and excitable children in the home. It can also be a potentially dangerous event, with lots of chocolate, treats and decorations lying around.  So here are some top tips to keep your pet happy and safe this Halloween.

Dressing up

Not all animals like to be dressed up in costumes, and some costumes can be very restrictive to movement or breathing if they are too tight, particularly around the head/neck region. If your pet is trying to get away from you, or showing signs that they are anxious about the situation, don't force them to wear clothing or remove it immediately.


With lots of fun decorations around the house, take care your pets and do not get hold of them. Decorations with wires or candles could cause burns or electric shocks. Other items if ingested could be toxic or cause gastro intestinal obstructions.

Chip and check!

All dogs by law have to be microchipped, but it is strongly recommended that all cats are microchipped as well. They might be let out by accident with lots of people coming to the door and become lost.

It is also a legal requirement to ensure that your pet's microchip details are kept up to date with the pet database. A chip with old or inaccurate information is useless, and dog owners can be fined for their dog not having a chip or inaccurate records.

Early 'walkies'

Walk dogs early in the evening, so they are less likely to become anxious or intimidated about seeing lots of noisy people in spooky costumes.

No treats for your pets!

Chocolate and sweets should be kept out of reach as these are toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine which can affect the heart, kidneys and central nervous system.  Sweets can contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can suddenly cause a sudden drop in blood sugar levels and liver failure.

Keep pets in another room away from the front door to avoid escapes.

If you have any concerns about your pet eating something they shouldn't, phone us immediately.


By: Fiona Mullan RVN

We are used to having regular dental check ups on our own teeth, and our pets require the same. It is estimated that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of three years have some form of dental disease, which can also have serious health effects on the rest of the body.

Rabbits and guinea pigs are not exempt from regular dental checks either! Unlike cats and dogs, their teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, and many of the conditions we see in rabbits and guinea pigs are linked to dental disease.

Therefore whatever pet you have, it is best to come in for regular check ups at the vet, and do as much as you can at home to avoid potentially serious problems in the future.

Symptoms of dental disease

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Red, swollen, bleeding gums
  • Tartar build up
  • Difficulty eating, pain when eating or inappetance
  • Drooling
  • Loose teeth

Cats and Dogs - What can I do at home?

It may sound strange, but get tooth brushing! Good news — dental disease is that it is preventable!

Brushing your cat or dog's teeth regularly and from an early age will prevent plaque build-up and will prevent them having an general anaesthetic for a dental procedure later in life.

Tooth brushing should be introduced slowly, done (if possible) once daily, and ideally start from 6 months of age once their adult teeth have come through. You can use a normal medium bristle tooth brush, but the toothpaste must be a veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpaste contains fluoride which can have toxic effects in our pets, and the veterinary ones are also flavoured for palatability.

Rabbits/Guinea pigs - What can I do at home?

Unlike cats and dogs, we can't brush smaller pets teeth. So the best way to prevent dental disease is to feed a good quality hay, which should make up 90 — 100% of their daily intake.

The chewing actions when eating hay and grass help wear the teeth down, whilst also maintaining healthy digestive function as it is high in fibre.

Taking them to the 'dentist'

Most of us are used to going to the dentist every 6 months, and this is also a good guide for our pets. Most veterinary practices will offer FREE dental health check ups with veterinary nurses, and vets will check your pet's dental health when they come in for their annual vaccinations.

If your pet has had dental work done previously, or the dental disease is more severe, then they may need to come in more frequently than this for check ups or have more frequent scale and polishes.

Pet Emergencies and First Aid

By: Fiona Mullan RVN

It can be an extremely frightening and stressful time when a pet is injured, suddenly falls ill, or has been involved in an accident. Listed below are common pet emergencies, along with some first aid advice to follow in each situation.

If possible, try and keep a stocked up ‘pet first aid kit’ at home or in the car (with various size bandaging materials, sterile dressings, tape and scissors) and keep your vets contact number to hand at all times.

Road Traffic Accidents

  • Approach the pet only if safe to do so, talk to them slowly and calmly.
  • Apply a lead to secure dogs straight away.
  • Assess the state of the injuries and try not to move the pet too much to avoid causing further pain or injury.
  • If bleeding, apply clean swabs/clothing to the wound and hold pressure
  • Use a blanket to lift and transport them, and take them to the nearest vets as soon as possible.


Seizures can occur for a number of reasons and present in a variety of signs. These include; dazed, unsteady, collapse, muscle tremors, twitching, rigid limbs/body, loss of consciousness, drooling, foaming at the mouth, loss of bladder/bowel control.
  • Do not attempt to restrain, pick up, or transport your pet during a seizure. They are not in control of their body, and may injure or bite you by accident.
  • Move furniture and objects away from your pet that may cause injury.
  • Reduce noise as much as possible-turn off radios, TV etc, dim lights and continue to talk to your pet calmly to reassure them.
  • Try and record the time and duration of the seizure. If possible video the seizure to show your vet.
  • Keep your pet as cool as possible as they can overheat, but do not soak them.
  • Contact your vet as soon as possible but only transport when it safe to do so

Cuts and grazes

  • If the wound is actively bleeding, apply clean gauze swabs or piece of clothing and apply pressure. If possible, apply a bandage to the wound ensuring it is firm but not too tight. Contact your vet as soon as possible.
  • If the wound is small and not bleeding, keep it as clean with warm salty water, and make a normal appointment with your vet.


Common poisonings often involve chocolate, raisins/sultanas, grapes, rat poison, slug bait and lilies.
  • Remove source of toxin immediately if possible
  • DO NOT attempt to make your pet vomit at home
  • Contact your vet as soon as possible and give them as much information as you can about the toxin (time eaten, ingredients, volume eaten etc) before you arrive
  • Keep all packaging (where applicable) and take it with you to the vet

Theft And Your Pet's Safety

By Fiona Mullan BSc (Hons) VPAC RVN

These days it is a sad and familiar sight on social media to see missing pet photographs, stolen posters and rewards offered for beloved furry family members who have been stolen from home.

Pet thefts are increasingly on the rise, and it is not just dogs that are regular targets.

Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, fish, birds and other exotic pets all have a profit and purpose for the opportunist and organised pet thief.

The Blue Cross reports an alarming 40% increase in thefts over the last three years, and sadly 54% of owners will never see their pet again.

Why are dogs stolen?

Some reasons they are stolen is for breeding, dog fighting, sale profit and for the reward profit.

  • 52% from gardens
  • 19% during break-ins
  • 16% on walks
  • 7% outside shops
  • 5% from vehicles
    (Taken from

What breeds of dogs and cats are most targeted?

Cats - Pedigree breeds such as Bengals, Maine Coons, Persians, and Siamese

Dogs - Staffordshire bull terriers, Labradors, Spaniels, Chihuahuas/toy breeds

How can we reduce the risk of pet theft?

  • Be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your dog wander too far
  • Mix your route and walk time, avoid a regimented pattern
  • Be wary of strangers asking too many questions about your pet
  • Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop, a ‘few minutes’ is all it takes
  • Secure your property and do not leave dogs alone in the garden
  • Padlock gates, small pet hutches and install adequate security lighting
  • Take regular photos of your pets
  • Keep your pet’s microchip details up to date

Despite vigilant efforts, there is no way to guarantee your pet is safe from theft, and in the worst case scenario it is important to remain calm and act quickly.

If the worst happens; Contact the police immediately, Register your pet as stolen with your Microchip Company, Alert local vets, dog wardens and rescue centres, Generate a profile for your pet on a lost pet website, Distribute posters, Use SOCIAL MEDIA-Thousands of people could potentially see your posts all across the country free of charge.

Lastly stay positive and please don’t give up hope!

Tick Season

Dr. Kathryn Miller MRCVS

As the weather gets warmer and your pets are outside enjoying walks on the lovely trails and in the woods and parks it is time to consider tick season. We encourage you to start thinking about protecting your pets from these pesky pests.

You can see in this picture how the head is burrowed under the skin.

Ticks are small parasites that attach to your animal's skin and feed from their blood. Often animals will not show many signs of being bothered by ticks, but a large tick infestation can cause anaemia and some ticks carry potentially fatal diseases which they can transmit to a pet as they feed.

How to prevent tick diseases:

  • Check your pet each time they come in from outside. Ticks look like little warts in the skin but look closely you will see wiggling legs. Animals that spend time in woods and long grass are most at risk.
  • If you see a tick then the tick needs to be removed carefully - it is important to ensure that the head (which is burrowed under the skin) does not detach as this can cause infection. If you are not sure how to remove ticks correctly it is best to visit us and have one of our nurses or vets remove the tick safely.
  • Prevention is always better than cure! There are many tick products available. Some will kill a tick within 48 hours - however this is plenty of time for the tick to transmit disease. Better products repel the ticks to stop them attaching in the first place.

We stock top quality products and will be able to advise you on what products are right for your pet. We know the history of your pet(s) and will be happy to help provide the best solution to keep them healthy.

Myth busters

Dr. Kathryn Miller

With so much information available it can be hard to know what is best for your pets! We hear many ‘urban legends’ and ‘old wives tales’ with regards to pet health care – some of these are genuinely good ideas whereas others are downright dangerous!

Here are some useful home tips and some common myths:

  • “Salted water is good for cleaning small wounds/scrapes”
    TRUE. However, if a wound is large or not healing within a few days then it is advisable to attend a veterinary consultation.
  • “Garlic repels/kill fleas”
    FALSE. Rubbing garlic powder into your pets coat/feeing your pet garlic has little effect on parasites but can cause anaemia (a potentially dangerous blood disorder).
  • “My animal lives indoors so does not need flea treatment”
    FALSE. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your clothing, and then hop off onto your pet to feed. After a blood meal the flea will begin laying hundreds of eggs in your home and an infestation can set up without your pet ever leaving the house.
  • “My dog is scooting; s/he might have worms”
    TRUE. However, be aware that scooting can also indicate a problem with the anal glands or an underlying skin condition. If it does not resolve within 24 hours after worming then a veterinary visit is recommended.

The best advice is always to call us and one of our vets will be happy to give you guidance that is safe and tailored your beloved pet’s specific needs.

Daffodils are toxic to pets!

Spring is finally here and the beautiful spring flowers are beginning to bloom.

Did you know that daffodils are toxic to cats and dogs!

Please remember to be vigilant with your pets and watch what they may eat as some plants are very toxic to pets.

Even a small amount may be dangerous so it is best not to take any chances.

Symptoms to watch for include:
  • Breathing problems Lethargy
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure


Puppy vaccination and socialisation

As part of the primary vaccination course, your puppy will be vaccinated against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis at 8 weeks old; followed by a Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis booster at 10 weeks and a Leptospirosis booster at 12 weeks.

Technically, your puppy will not be fully immunised against those disease until 2 weeks after their final puppy vaccine; that is at 14 weeks old. However, it is also vitally important to socialise your puppy during this time.

Socialisation is a vital process during which a puppy learns how to interact with other dogs, with people and with their environment. The key sensitive period for socialisation occurs between 3 and 16 weeks of age. As we live in a relatively low risk area for the diseases that we vaccinate dogs against, we therefore recommend waiting 48 hours after their first vaccine, then starting 'lead walking' on pavements and in wooded areas.

It is safe for your puppy to socialise with other vaccinated dogs, and we strongly encourage attending our puppy parties during which they will learn to interact and play with other vaccinated puppies of a similar age. It is advised however to stay away from waterways, farmyards and marshland areas until two weeks after the final Leptospirosis vaccine has been given, as this disease is known to be transmitted via waterways and rodent urine.

Please feel free to talk to one of our vets or nurses if you have any questions.


When it comes to pet advice, every owner has an opinion and words of wisdom to share with others. However, just like looking up health advice on the internet (from a non-medical source), sometimes the information you get is correct, sometimes it’s a mixture of fact and fiction, and other times just plain fiction.  Here are just a few of the common pet old wives’ tales we hear in veterinary practice...


This is not only completely false but potentially very dangerous advice, since garlic is part of the allium family (onions, garlic, cloves and leeks) which are extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Garlic can cause destruction of the red blood cells resulting in anaemia.


If wounds need to be cleaned it is best to use saline/warm salty water instead. Just stop for a minute and think about the things your dog eats and licks every day. Not nice, right? 

Their mouths contain bacteria, and this is not what we want to introduce into a wound.    Licking and chewing can also pull out stitches and cause the wound to breakdown completely.  

Buster ‘lamp shade’ collars and special pet shirts are available to stop wound interference.  


If you see a tick on your pet, the tick needs to be removed as soon as possible and removed in the correct way, so that the head and body do not separate and no mouthparts are left behind. 

Applying ‘lotions and potions’ will not help a tick to fall off!  Ticks will fall off after a few days anyway (once they’ve had their fill of your pet’s blood and continue on their life cycle) meanwhile they are able to transmit disease from pet to pet.   

It is always best to have your Vet or Veterinary Nurse to show you how to remove ticks using a tick remover.  If you are in need of pet advice or want further information about any topic, it is best to contact us and speak to a vet or veterinary nurse. This ensures you get factual advice from professionals who know your pet, their medical history, and can advise you as to whether your pet requires a check-up or not.


By Fiona Mullan BSc Hons RVN VPAC

With warmer days on the horizon, it is important our pets stay cool and in the shade at all times, to avoid the risk of heatstroke which can potentially be fatal.

Car Danger!

Most people are aware of the 'Dogs die in hot cars' campaign, but this really applies to all pets. The outside temperature doesn't have to be extreme, for inside temperatures to be dangerous to pets.

'But I'll just be 5 minutes'

'I've parked in the shade'

'The window is left open a bit to let in the air'

Unfortunately, leaving a window open in a stationary car on a warm day, does not create adequate airflow to keep your pet cool. It doesn't take long for car temperatures to become dangerous for pets.

Water Water Everywhere...

Clean, cool, fresh water should be accessible to all pets at all times. If you are out and about with your dog, take a travel water bottle and bowl with you, and make sure you take regular breaks on walks for a drink, and avoid walking at the hottest times of day. The best time to walk dogs in the summer months is first thing in the morning and later in the evening.

Consider adding ice cubes to water bowls or drinking bottles (for smaller pets) to keep the water cool and move bowls out of direct sunlight.

For the 'small furries' that are kept outside, freeze a 2 litre bottle of water, wrap it in a light cloth/tea towel, and place in their run. This is great for them to lie against and keep cool.

'Moving house'

Don't worry, not you! On really hot days move your pets accommodation so it is out of the sun.

This is especially important for pets that live outside in hutches and runs. Make sure they are in a shaded area, or consider moving them indoors for the hottest parts of the day.

Symptoms of heat stroke

  • Rapid heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dark red gums/tongue
  • Staggering/Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Unconsciousness

Take action!

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, CALL your VET IMMEDIATELY! They will advise you on cooling measures whilst on your way to the surgery. It is instinctive, but DO NOT IMMERSE YOUR PET IN COLD WATER, this drops their temperature too fast and could cause them to go into shock.

Speed is key — DO NOT WAIT!


By Fiona Mullan RVN

Many people, especially young children, will include 'a pet' at the top of their 'wish list'.

A pet may seem like the perfect present that will bring a lot of joy especially at birthdays, Easter and Christmas. But with any pet comes huge responsibility, commitment and cost. This is often underestimated, and later regretted once the novelty wears off and the normal routine sets in.

Over the Christmas period for example, charities see a vast increase in the number of animals surrendered to them, which puts added strain on already overflowing rescue centres across the country.

It is estimated that the cost of owning a dog can average between £16,000- £31,000 over the course of its lifetime, cats approximately £17,000, and Rabbits £9,000 (According to veterinary charity- PDSA). Is this a gift that you would be grateful for if you were not aware in advance?

Some things to consider before taking on pet ownership:

  1. Do I have the time?

    Pets, especially dogs are hugely time consuming. Are you able to fit in long walks every day into your work/ home schedule?

  2. Will I end up being the owner?

    When buying a pet for a child or teenager, it's highly likely that they will not be the actual ones taking care of it. Are you willing to be the one cleaning out the rabbit hutch everyday- rain, wind or shine?

  3. Are you ready for the costs involved?

    The pets that are 'Free to a good home' may well be free initially. But their food, housing and health costs aren't! Are you able to afford unforeseen veterinary bills, monthly pet insurance premiums, regular preventative health care such as vaccinations, flea treatment and worming?

  4. Do I have the space?

    You might not choose a Great Dane, but even rabbits require a lot more space than people think. Do you have a garden with room for a large run so it can graze and exercise adequately? A rabbit's territory in the wild is the size of approximately 30 tennis courts, so their exercise area needs to be as big as possible and a small hutch is not enough.

  5. Have you researched the species/breed enough and do you know what to expect?

    For example, a Dalmatian that is bred to run, is not going to be content with a 30 minute stroll around the block, and may become very frustrated and bored if not getting the appropriate exercise it needs.

    Many breeds end up in rescue centres at very young ages, because owners are unprepared for their breed characteristics.

    Another example is brachycephalic (short/flat nosed) breeds e.g. pugs. Pugs may be cute and irresistible, but along with their breeding comes; breathing/airway problems, eye problems and skin conditions to name a few.

Please speak to us for advice about what to consider when choosing the right pet for your family. Please also consider pet adoption and rescue a deserving pet.

Remember Remember…Firework season is coming!

By: Fiona Mullan RVN

Firework season can be an extremely stressful time of year for the many owners whose pets suffer with a firework phobia.

Preparation is key! There are many things you can do to help make pets feel safe and more at ease — many of these are best started in advance to have maximum effect.

Ahead of the night

  • Build a den in the house a few weeks before so they have a safe place to hide. This should be in a room where they feel most comfortable.
  • Talk to your vet or behaviourist about treating the problem. Anti anxiety medications or supplements may be required and these are most effective when started in advance.
  • Try desensitisation programmes. There are cd’s available with various sound effects which can get your pet used to loud and scary noises — it must be done slowly and built up over a length of time.
  • Pheromone diffusers/plug ins/sprays/collars — can very useful to reduce stress in dogs and cats. Ask your vet or veterinary nurse for advice on which best suits your pet. These usually need to be started a few weeks prior to the stressful event.

On the night..

  • Make sure your dog has been walked early on in the day, rather than in the evening.
  • Shut cats inside. This prevents them from getting a fright and running away.
  • Don’t leave them in the house alone if possible.
  • Do not over fuss them! They pick up on your behaviour, if you indicate there is a reason for them to be worried this will make their anxiety worse.
  • Act as normal. Close curtains and windows.
  • Create distractions by using toys, play, turning the TV/radio on to drown out the noise.
  • Do not punish them! This will have no beneficial effect and make their fear increase.

Extra tips for Firework season

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and your contact information is up to date, so that if they should escape, they can be reunited with you.
  • Check your garden fences/perimeter is secure.
  • Have plenty of litter trays in the house for cats to use, especially if they are normally used to going outside.

When Flystrike Strikes!

By: Fiona Mullan BSc Hons RVN VPAC

Flystrike or Myiasis is a condition in which flies lay eggs on an animal, which then hatch into maggots that proceed to feed on their flesh. In other words the animal is literally eaten alive.

This condition can affect any susceptible animal. However in small animal practice, rabbits are sadly most commonly affected. Flystrike commonly starts around the bottom/genital region, but if untreated will spread very rapidly.

Why does Flystrike happen?

Flies are attracted to urine/faeces and damp and soiled fur on the animal. Therefore a rabbit hutch in warm weather is the perfect breeding ground for them to thrive. Rabbits that are unwell, overweight or arthritic will also be more likely to get flystrike. This is because they may have diarrhoea, be unable to groom, or have mobility issues and so will be unable to move away from soiled areas as easily.

What can I do to prevent Flystrike?

  • Check and clean your rabbit’s accommodation daily
  • Check your rabbit’s fur for any soiling, paying particular attention to their back end for any sign of eggs/ maggots. In warm weather this should be done at least TWICE daily.
  • Take your rabbit for regular vet checks to keep on top of conditions that may make them more susceptible
  • Ask your vet about a topical flystrike preventative and use as directed
  • Keep your rabbits coat well groomed. Urine and faeces easily get stuck to thick/ matted coats, and it will be harder to check for signs of fly eggs.

What should I do if my animal has flystrike?

CALL US IMMEDIATELY - DO NOT WAIT! This is an emergency and without prompt treatment, could be fatal. Maggots take very little time to do great damage, and sadly in some cases, the damage is so severe that the rabbit will have to be euthanased.

Cases that are caught promptly, will need all maggots removed from the skin and the wounds assessed and cleaned. The rabbit will likely require hospitalisation for pain relief, fluids and antibiotics.

Pet Care Myths and Tips

By Dr. Kat Miller MRCVS

We hear so many ‘urban myths’ and ‘old-wives-tales’ at work; many of them are not detrimental to a pets’ health but others can be extremely dangerous!

Below are some common myths busted as well as some of our best home care tips:

  • Myth – I should routinely bathe my pet.
    Routine bathing can strip the natural oils from your pet’s coat, making them more at risk of suffering from dandruff and skin conditions. It is much better to brush your pets coat daily to help stimulate these natural oils. If your pet does roll in something ‘unsavoury’ then ensure you use a pet specific shampoo, not a human or even baby shampoo.
  • Myth – It is good for an animal to lick at a wound.
    Certainly not! Consider what area your pet was licking just moments before! Your pet’s mouth is full of bacteria and if your pet has a wound then this can very quickly become inflamed and infected if licked at.
  • Top Dental Tip
    Daily teeth brushing is a fantastic way to reduce dental disease in your pet. Plaque and bacteria builds up in your pet’s mouth daily. Brushing your animal’s teeth (with pet specific toothpaste) is the best way of removing this dirt, keeping teeth and gums healthy and reducing the risk of dental treatment.
  • Top Dog Weight Tip
    If you have a dog that struggles with his/her weight, then feed bits of raw carrot as a treat rather than a doggy biscuit. Many dogs love the taste and will work really well for them, but they have many fewer calories.

Pet ‘M.O.T.’

Dr. Kathryn Miller

It is never too late to organise your pet’s annual ‘M.O.T.’ and ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

A routine check-up is a great way to ensure your pet is in optimum health and can allow your vet to detect signs of problems that are on the horizon, possibly sparing you the trauma of an emergency visit later on. It is also a great time to ensure that your pet’s preventative health plan is up to date, including vaccines and anti-parasite treatment.

Vaccinations help protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases. Kittens & puppies require a ‘primary course’ when they are young which involves multiple injections at specific timings to prime their immune system – talk to your vet to see what schedule they recommend. Puppies are routinely vaccinated against: distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis and canine hepatitis. Kittens are routinely vaccinated against: cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia virus. Talk to us about our Puppy and Kitten Packages to save some money for your new addition.

Following the primary course your pet will require annual ‘booster’ vaccines to keep their immunity at a safe level. Without boosters their immunity will wane and they are at risk of contracting diseases. We are very careful to avoid over vaccination – we give a slightly different vaccine each year to ensure that your pets schedule is tailored to exactly what they require and nothing more. That’s why your vet always checks your pet’s records to see what has been given over the last few years.

Rabies and kennel cough vaccinations are not ‘routine’ but speak to us to see if your pet could benefit from these additional vaccines.

Smart Pet Health

Dr. Kathryn Miller

You love your pets and want what is best for them while also saving money. Prevention and good nutrition is the key!

Pets today can live longer healthier lives than ever before largely due to the advances in veterinary medicine, diagnostics and vaccines that help protect them from deadly infectious diseases. Many infectious diseases still pose a threat to dogs and cats that aren’t vaccinated but not every pet needs every available vaccine. Your pet’s unique circumstances are considered when determining which vaccines are best for your pet.

Like people, pets need a good diet and regular exercise to live healthy longer lives. Good nutrition is vital throughout their life from enabling them to grow and develop when young to preventing and fighting disease when older. Many serious health conditions can develop as a result of poor weight control, some being: joint strain, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing difficulties and generally a poor quality of life.

Pet weight management must be done carefully. If weight reduction is too rapid, conditions such as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) or diabetes may occur, requiring aggressive and expensive medical treatment.

Let our vets help you establish a preventative health and nutrition plan just right for you and your pet!

Holiday Season Pet Travel

Summer is a popular time to take holidays away from home but you might find it stressful considering being away because you want your pets to enjoy this time with you. The PETS travel scheme makes it easy for your dog (or cat) to come along on vacation with you - so long as they meet certain criteria.

Your pet will need to be issued a passport, a microchip and a rabies vaccination. Your pet will then need to wait 21 days until he or she can travel, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of planning time! In order to re-enter the UK at the end of the holiday your dog will need to see a vet to have a tapeworm tablet administered.

Although not a legal requirement, it is recommended that your pet is up to date with their annual vaccinations as well as flea and tick treatments to protect them from catching exotic diseases. Extra protection against diseases that are not within the UK may also be required, for example leishmania and heartworm. Speak to one of our vets for advice.

If you are travelling outside of the EU the process of preparing your pet can take longer and a blood test after the rabies vaccination may be required. A health certificate may be required and a vet may need to certify that your animal is fit to travel.

If you are thinking of taking your pet abroad talk to us as soon as possible to ensure you leave yourself enough time to prepare your pet for travel. We are happy to help prepare your pet for travel and wish you happy travelling!

Fighting the Pet Paunch!

As with people, obesity is a growing problem and a serious health risk facing our pets!

It is estimated that almost half of the pets in the UK are overweight, whilst 2 in 3 owners believe that their pet to be the correct weight (

Of course this is not intentional. We are a nation of animal lovers, and we would not knowingly put them at risk of conditions such as Arthritis, Diabetes, Respiratory distress or Heart disease. However, overfeeding and i nadequate exercise means these issues are common and we are shortening our pet's lifespan.

Where are we going wrong?

In most cases, owners just aren't sure how much to feed. It is easy to 'guestimate' food portions with a 'handful' here and a 'bowlful' there, but unless we check and adhere to feeding guidelines on the food packaging, there is no way of knowing how much they are getting and the pounds will soon pile on!

It is also too easy to give the 'odd biscuit' or 'slither' from the table when we see those 'puppy eyes', but all these extra treats, combined with their main allowance is just adding extra calories they don't need.

What weight should my pet be?

We recommend speaking to one of our vets or veterinary nurses as they will be able to look at your pets history and very importantly they will know about your pets medical condition. They will assess your pet as an individual-checking their shape and body condition to give you a healthy target weight. We hold Free Nurse clinics so our nurses can guide you through a weight loss programme if required at no cost to you.

General tips for healthy weight management

  • Don't guess portion size when it comes to feeding- check the packaging and weigh out accurately.
  • Avoid too many treats, and reduce your pet's main meal if they have had lots of 'extras'.
  • Feed your pets top quality nutritious food. Remember we offer great discounts to our Pet Health Club members and when you visit our ONLINE shop.
  • Increase exercise and play where possible. We all know that cats are harder to exercise than dogs, but the use of toys on strings, laser pens, crinkle balls and providing a cat scratching tree with toys attached are all great ways to get them moving!
  • Talk to your family, friends and neighbours who might be giving them treats. Help them understand what you're trying to do for your pet and politely request they don't give treats or meals without first talking to you.
  • Regularly monitor your pet's weight – as we all know pounds creep up!
  • Attend our weight clinic and ask us for advice on feeding and dieting.

Together we can help your pets, big and small, life healthier longer lives.

Pesky Pet Parasites!

As we head out of the summer months, most owners will be relaxing their pet's parasite preventatives since they believe parasites to be a summer problem - unfortunately this is FALSE!

Whilst it is true that parasites, such as fleas, thrive in warmer conditions they also love warm and cosy houses and can lay dormant in the environment - in carpets, floor boards and anywhere else they are left undisturbed.

Therefore if you want a parasite free home, treatment needs to be regularly applied ALL year round.

What parasite preventatives should I use?

The best advice is to speak to one of our Vets or Veterinary nurses who will assess your animal as an individual, and then devise a protection plan based on their lifestyle. We will carefully consider any parasite risk currently in your area.

There are so many products available on the market, from 'spot ons' and tablets to collars and injections, and to make life more complicated no one product treats all parasites, so a particular combination is required.

It may seem more expensive but going to the vets first off will save you a fortune on ineffective and unreliable products bought from pet shops or supermarkets.

I've never seen fleas on my pet, my pet doesn't get fleas!

It is important to remember that 95% of your flea problem is in your pet's environment, only 5% of the problem is on your pet, so just because you can't see them doesn't mean they aren't there!

I've treated my pet, is that enough?

Well, firstly it depends on the product you are using. Generally most treatments do not treat the environment, so you will require an additional household spray.

In addition to this, you will need to make sure your carpets are thoroughly vacuumed and your pet's bedding is regularly washed at a minimum of 60 degrees.

But my pet is still itching and scratching!

In cases of an infestation, it can take months to get on top of the problem. If you are doubting the efficacy of the product talk to us and we will check your pet for any other skin conditions that could be causing the problem, and will advise you what will be best should changing products be required.

Summertime Fun... Pets feel the heat!

As summer arrives, we look forward to being outside enjoying the sunshine and travelling around to pretty summer locations. Our pets enjoy it too - but let us not forget the impact of the sun on our furry friends as we all enjoy a pet safe summertime!

Some summertime pet hints

  • Walk wisely! Try to walk your dog at the cooler times of day, either early morning or early evening rather than in the midday sun.
  • Paws for thought - If the pavement is too hot for you to touch or stand on bare foot, it is too hot for their feet to walk on. Where possible walk your dog on the grass.
  • Water water everywhere - Always ensure your pet has access to fresh, clean and topped up water. Try to take an extra bottle with you when out on those long dog walks.
  • Never leave your pet in the car! It is true that 'dogs die in hot cars', but this applies to any pet confined in a car on a warm day. Cars can reach oven like temperatures inside, even in relatively mild temperatures outside. Leaving a window open or parking in 'the shade' will not create enough airflow to cool your pet, so even a few minutes can be dangerous.
  • Use Sun cream. Yes, really! Pets can burn just like us, particularly on the tips of their ears, noses and bellies or any areas that aren't well covered by fur. White cats in particular are at risk of burning and getting skin cancer.
  • Please don't forget your small furries! Move hutches out of direct sunlight and with enough air circulation. Replenish water frequently and ensure water bottles and bowls are kept cool by adding ice cubes to the water. You can also freeze a two-litre bottle of water and wrap it in a towel so they have something cool to rest against.

What are the signs of Heat stroke?

  • Excessive panting
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Collapsing
  • Incoordination
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Staggering

If your pet is showing any signs of heat stroke, take your pet inside, offer them water, use wet towels with cool water and apply it to their skin (do not submerge them). Heat stroke can progress quickly and be fatal to your pet should immediate attention not be sought.

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