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Pet Care (brought to you by Vale Vets) (11)

Pet Care (brought to you by Vale Vets)

Suggestions to help pets during firework season

 

The Autumn and winter months bring a time of explosive celebrations that can cause terror for dogs, cats and rabbits and now is the time that pet owners could be thinking about taking steps to prepare and protect their pet from the fear of fireworks.

There are several things that can be done to make it as stress free as possible.                                                                                        

  • Most dogs and cats have a favourite place to go and hide, if not you need to create a hideaway where they can feel safe. A room that is quiet and has minimal windows is the most suitable.
  • Installing an Adaptil™ or Feliway ™ diffuser close to the refuge area may encourage them to settle, feel relaxed and confident. This should be done 2 - 4 weeks prior to the expected stress.
  • Provide blankets for him to hide under and burrow. A woolly jumper that has your scent on can be comforting.
  • Close the curtains to block out flashes of light and as much of the sound as possible.
  • Take your dog out for a walk an hour before the expected stress to go to the toilet and feed him an early evening meal to help him feel relaxed.  A meal high in carbohydrates such as pasta or rice is ideal.
  • Play some background music that your dog normally hears (and doesn’t object to!), or leave the television on.
  • Offer chews and treats to your dog in his hiding place. He will then see this hiding place as a good place to go, and he can chew on these to relieve his tension.
  • Ignore the sounds of the fireworks yourself and do not soothe or comfort your dog. It may be difficult to do this but it is the worst thing to do. It gives your dog the impression that there is something to be frightened of and rewards him for being scared.
  • Cats need to be confined to the house and provided with a litter tray.
  • If your pet gets particularly distressed we recommend you talk to your vet about short acting medication. Old-fashioned sedatives have been replaced with modern anti anxiety drugs which help treat the problem, rather than just mask it.
  • Small mammals like rabbits and guinea pigs that live outside should not be forgotten. If possible move them into a shed or outhouse. Covering the front of the hutch with a blanket can help cut out some of the noise and flashes of light.         

 

If you require any more information about helping your pet, then just call and speak to either a Vet or Veterinary Nurse who will be happy to help.

Ring us for advice about caring for your pets this bonfire season!

Cullompton 01884 35558

Tiverton 01884 258585

Honiton    01404 44095

Uffculme 01884 841317

www.valeveterinarygroup.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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What is a Veterinary emergency?

Veterinary practices offer 24hr emergency service for their patients, but not all animal owners are aware of this.  Sometimes they worry about calling in the middle of the night, or think the problem can be left until the morning.  Although we don’t have time to talk in depth about different emergencies, we will highlight common signs in which immediate veterinary attention should be sought:

  • Superficial grazes, cuts and wounds that do not bleed or seem painful can be cleaned and dressed at home.  If there is continued bleeding, discharge, pain or open wounds, the animal will need pain relief and further treatment.

CRGV (Alabama Rot)

  • There has been a confirmed case of CRGV (Alabama Rot) in the area in the last few weeks. This disease is extremely rare but often fatal. Most cases start with sores and swelling, normally on the paws or lower legs, but they can be anywhere on the body or face. The majority of skin problems are not caused by CRGV, however if you are concerned please contact your vet. The cause of this disease is currently unknown so it is difficult to give specific advice regarding prevention. You may wish to bathe your dog's legs and face if they get muddy following a walk, however it is not known if this has any benefit in preventing the disease.

There is more information available on the Anderson Moores facebook page and website (http://www.andersonmoores.com/owner/CRGV.php).

  • Blocked Bladder. Male cats attempting to urinate but not able to pass any urine, or only small amounts.  Although this may be a simple cystitis, some are prone to a blocked bladder, which can rapidly become a very serious condition.
  • Some large breed dogs are prone to bloated stomachs (GDV).  This often occurs after food or exercise. They quickly bloat, start retching, become subdued and can collapse.  They need rapid treatment.
  • Road traffic accidents are common in cats.  Signs vary from scuffed nails, pain, difficulty breathing, bleeding and collapse.  Animals should always be checked over as some injuries are not always initially apparent.
  • Breathing difficulties.  Dogs often pant if hot or excited.  If a dog is struggling to breathe or their gums are pale, blue or purple, they need treatment.  If a cat pants or is making excessive effort to breathe it needs attention immediately.  There are many reasons for this, such as asthma or heart failure but they all need immediate attention.
  • Collapse.  Dogs, cats and rabbits may collapse for many different reasons.  Any collapsed animal should be seen by a veterinary surgeon to assess the cause and give treatment as necessary.
  • Heatstroke.  With the hotter weather coming, heatstroke becomes a real risk. Dogs left in cars, even for a few minutes, can develop heatstroke and die.  They are also at risk if they over exercise in hot weather and do not drink enough.  Be aware of excessive panting and increased body temperature.
  • Poisoning.  Dogs and cats frequently eat things they shouldn’t.  The common culprits are chocolate, raisins, lilies, rat bait, slug bait, antifreeze, permethrin (found in some flea products) in cats and human medications such as ibuprofen.  If you suspect any of these, call a vet immediately.

This is not an exhaustive list but may give you food for thought when worrying whether to call a vet or not.  Sometimes a phone call and peace of mind may be all you need!

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Taking care of our older pets

 

Do you own a dog or a cat that is over 9 years old?

 

Like us, as dogs and cats grow older, they are at an increased risk of developing common age-related diseases, such as:

Cancer

Kidney Disease

Diabetes mellitus

Dental disease

Arthritis

Heart disease

Mental confusion

Hyperthyroidism (cats)

 

Animals that are developing arthritis, for example, may be more reluctant to jump or run and you may see changes in their normal behaviour, such as sleeping in unusual positions and uncharacteristic grumpiness!

 

Other signs of illness can be; increased or decreased appetite or drinking, weight loss or gain. Signs of disease can develop slowly over a period of time and sometimes go unnoticed. Early detection of these diseases mean steps can be taken to slow their progression and promote a good quality of life in old age. When diabetes and hyperthyroidism are caught early, they can be treated effectively for many years.  Signs of kidney failure only start to show when 75% of the animal’s kidneys have been destroyed, so the earlier this is diagnosed, the more of the kidney function can saved.  

 

If you feel that your older pet would benefit from a check up, call your veterinary practice. Most practices will offer a ‘Free Creaky clinic’ with a nurse, when your pet can be examined for signs of disease, including urine test and blood pressure measurements.

 

Complimentary services such as Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy are often used to help our Oldies lead happier and more comfortable lives.

 

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Christmas time for pets

Christmas time, full of joy and cheer with the presents under the tree and Christmas dinner smelling better than ever! We as vets want to make sure that you and your pets have a fantastic Christmas without a trip to the practice.

Cats are often more fascinated by Christmas trees than us and like to climb and explore.  Make sure your tree is very secure and any glass tree decorations or those with sharp edges are well out of the way of your intrigued feline.  Cats also can enjoy a nibble on tinsel. They tend to eat lengths of stringy material which can then cause a concertina effect on the intestines.  This can be very harmful and requires surgery to treat, so keeping tinsel and string out of harm’s way is much safer!

What Christmas is complete without chocolate? Unfortunately many dogs, and sometimes cats, also believe this to be true!  Chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and in larger doses, liver failure and can be fatal.  The higher the cocoa content the more the risk, so keep those expensive dark chocolate truffles out of the way of any investigative hounds in the house!  Be wary of chocolates on the tree and wrapped in presents within reach.  Remember a small number of extra treats can lead to rapid weight gain which can take a long time to lose.

Dried fruit is also a risk to dogs and can cause renal failure so keep Christmas pudding, mince pies and Christmas cake away from low tables or other places your crafty hound may be able to get to.

For some of us, it can all get a bit much at these festive times.  We may like our house being filled with family, friends and music but not all our pets do.  For some, the bustle and noise can be very stressful.  If you have a timid pet who enjoys the quiet, make sure there is somewhere peaceful that they can go to not be disturbed.  They may prefer to have their food and litter tray in a hidden corner.

Most importantly, have a wonderful Christmas with your furry friends and if you have any worries or suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, don’t hesitate to call your vet for advice.  Merry Christmas!

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Tips to keep your dog safe at the beach

If you are lucky enough to live near the sea or are planning a trip to the beach with your dog, here are some tips to make sure you all stay safe.

  • Don’t assume your dog can swim.  All dogs have to learn to swim just like us.  Some breeds are naturally strong swimmers, but other breeds (such as corgis and pugs) are not.  If your dog is not used to swimming then the sea is not the place to start, so make sure he doesn’t get out of his depth.
  • For some reason dogs do drink salt water, but it doesn’t do them any good and can make them vomit, or worse lead to potentially fatal salt poisoning.  Signs of salt poisoning in dogs are vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite , lethargy, walking drunk, abnormal fluid accumulation within the body, excessive thirst or urination, potential injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death when untreated. Discourage your dog from drinking sea water by providing plenty of fresh water and not over exercising on the beach in the heat.
  • Ingesting sand can lead to sand impaction, a medical condition where parts of the intestines are blocked by the sand. Vomiting is the most common side effect; dogs may also lose their appetites, have abdominal pain or become lethargic. Seek urgent veterinary advise if you think your dog may have eaten a lot of sand.
  • Consider a life vest if you are planning to swim, sail or surf with your dog.  You can buy life vests for dogs of all sizes.  Waves and currents can quickly exhaust your dog, especially in cold water.  Some life vests also have a handle on the back, making it easy for you to lift your dog out of the water.
  • Apply sunscreen to your dog– especially for dogs with thin or pale fur and apply to areas such as the nose and ears. You can also use high factor children's sunscreen.
  • Don’t forget poo bags so you can clean up after your dog.
  • Make sure your dog has a collar, ID tag and preferably is micro chipped, just in case he gets lost.
  • Don’t overdo it. Running on sand is more tiring than on grass, so don’t expect your dog to be able to run and play for as long as he might on his normal walk and start slowly, giving him time to warm up.
  • Make sure your dog has a shady area to rest in and remember that sand can be scorching on paws on a hot day so make sure you have a blanket for them to lie down on.
  • Be careful to avoid heat stroke – watch for signs of overheating such as excessive panting, drooling, coordination problems, vomiting and/or diarrhoea and collapse.
  • If your dog suffers from arthritis or other joint conditions limit the amount of time he spends swimming in cold water.  He may think it is great fun at the time, but he will probably be very stiff and sore the following day.  They can also get tail strain from using their tail as a rudder when swimming, which can be very painful.
  • At the end of the day check your dog over thoroughly for cuts and scrapes, rinse him thoroughly to remove salt and sand from his coat and paws and dry him to ensure he does not get chilled.
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Caring for your pet rabbit


Flystrike

Flystrike occurs normally during warmer weather. It is caused by flies that land on rabbits and lay eggs. It almost always starts around the rabbit's bottom as flies are attracted to faeces. The fly eggs very quickly hatch into maggots and the maggots eat the rabbit's skin and causing tissue damage and if not found in time, shock will soon follow. Badly affected rabbits may have to be put down.
To prevent flystrike: Remove all soiled bedding daily; ensure your rabbit is not being overfed, as this can result in diarrhoea, leading to a dirty bottom. Check your rabbit twice daily to ensure that it is clean and dry and disinfect the hutch every week. Rearguard can also be applied to your rabbit and can protect against flystrike for up to 10 weeks!


Internal and external parasites
Worms are not generally an issue in rabbits; however a protozoan called E. Cuniculi. E.Cuniculi is a parasite that lives in the brain, eye or kidney tissue and can be fatal. Symptoms include: head tilted to one side, balance problems, incontinence and weak back legs. It can be treated with Panacur Rabbit oral paste for 28 days, but response depends on duration and severity of infection.
Rabbits like cats and dog can also harbour parasites. Cheyletiella mites are responsible for a scurfy coat or ‘walking dandruff’ in rabbits. Fleas can live on rabbits too and can spread the disease myxomatosis. Ear mites are also common in rabbits which cause uncomfortable scabs to form in the ear canal.


Vaccinations
Rabbits can become affected by two infectious diseases: Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) and Myxomatosis, both of which can be fatal. Vaccinations can be given for these diseases at 8 weeks old and is advised they are repeated every 12 months. VHD is a virus spread by saliva and nasal secretions; passed from rabbit to rabbit or via people, clothing or objects. Signs include blood stains from nose or mouth, high temperature, internal bleeding which can lead to liver failure.
Myxomatosis is a virus passed on via fleas, mites, flies and contact between rabbits, and sometimes in the hay if not sterilised. Symptoms include: puffy face, ears or eyes, fever and blindness. Sadly most rabbits die within 10-14 days.


Neutering
Neutering is recommended for all pet rabbits, not being used for breeding. Neutering reduces fighting between rabbits, avoids unwanted pregnancies and prevents womb cancer in females. 80% of females by the age of 8 develop womb cancer. Rabbits can be neutered from the age of 16 weeks

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The New law on microchipping dogs

With effect from 6th April 2016 all dogs in England will be legally required to be microchipped and their details registered on one of the authorised databases such as Petlog.


How the system will work and what you need to do

  • Puppies must be chipped before 8 weeks of age and the breeder must be the first registered keeper

·         If you have not already had your dog microchipped you can easily get this done by your vet and many organisations  

 

When do I need to change my dog’s details on the database?

·         When ownership changes

·         If you move house

·         If you change your phone number

·         If your dog dies

 

What happens if I don’t chip my dog?

  • Police and local authority employees will be issued with microchip reader scanners so that instant enforcement of the law can be carried out
  • You may be served a notice by the police or local authority requiring chipping within 21days. You can be fined up to £500 and your dog seized and microchipped at the owner’s expense

Cats and micro-chipping

Although it is not becoming compulsory to microchip cats, vets and other organisations have many cats handed in as strays. Without a microchip, it is difficult to locate the owner easily and get the pet back home where they belong.

 

Further information

For more information on the regulations, please visit:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111122501/contents

 

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Brought to you by Vale Vets, for all your Veterinary needs.

Cullompton        01884    35558

Tiverton            01884 258585

Honiton             01404    44095                                   

Uffculme           01884  841317

Caring for your pet’s teeth

Like humans, cats and dogs have a set of baby teeth that fall out and then have a set of adult teeth that need to last for the rest of their life!

Caring for these teeth will help ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from any of the problems associated with poor dental hygiene,

  • Plaque and tartar.
  • Swollen/painful gums, sometimes receding from the teeth leaving them loose or falling out.
  • Bad breath, caused by bacteria (not nice for them or us!). In severe cases the bacteria can enter the blood stream, potentially damaging internal organs.

What can you do to help prevent dental disease?

Brushing;

We brush our teeth every day, so why not brush your pet’s teeth too?!

There are many different pet toothbrushes and toothpastes available. Don’t use your own toothpaste as this is not safe for pets. It is best to start brushing your pet’s teeth from a young age so they learn to accept it; however, it is possible to start slowly and gently with an older pet too.

Diet;

Feeding a biscuit diet that your pet has to crunch on can help to keep the teeth clean.  There are many specially formulated dental diets that contain everything your pet needs. Dental chews can also be used to keep the teeth clean. Remember, these contain additional calories so reduce daily ration to allow for this.

Anti plaque water additives;

It is possible to add a special solution to your pet’s drinking water. This contains antibacterial agents and an ingredient that helps stop plaque and tartar formation. This can be purchased from your Veterinary Surgery.

 

 

A Veterinary Nurse can check your pet’s teeth (normally a free service), and will be able to advise you on the best dental care for your pet.

 

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Brought to you by Vale Vets, for all your Veterinary needs.

 

Cullompton        01884    35558

 

Tiverton            01884 258585

 

Honiton             01404    44095                                   

 

Uffculme           01884  841317

Keeping our pets slim to keep them healthy

Just like people, dogs and cats can quickly put on unwanted pounds, especially as they get older and exercise less. In fact, a staggering 45% of all dogs and 40% of all cats in the UK are overweight or obese and most owners don't realise it until they take their pets to the vet for another reason. 

Overweight pets are likely to develop related health problems, such as diabetes, breathing and /or mobility problems, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and even behavioural problems.

It can be difficult to regulate your pets’ weight, especially if your pet is particularly greedy, doesn't enjoy exercise or is a fussy eater who will only eat human food!

As responsible pet owners, we must feed and exercise our pets in a way that keeps them healthy. With a healthy, balanced diet and plenty of regular exercise, there should be no reason to worry about weight related health problems.

Cats are trickier to monitor, as when at home, they tend to do a lot of sleeping and when they are out we don’t know what or where they are eating! Avoiding ‘adlib’ feeding and encouraging your cat to play, will help keep unwanted pounds off.

When choosing the right diet for your pet, take into consideration the breed, age and the amount of exercise they do.  Some breeds are more prone to weight gain (Labradors, Retrievers and a few of the oriental cat breeds) so it is important to choose a food suited to them.  If your dog is classified as a ‘working breed’ they don't necessarily need to be fed a working dog food, (unless they are actually working!) Food for working dogs has higher calorie content and could lead to unwanted weight gain.

Most food packaging will give you a rough guide to how much your pet should be fed per day. If your pet gets too light or too heavy, adjust accordingly within the recommended daily amount.  

Vets recommend that most dogs are fed twice (or three times daily if younger than 6 months) and cats are fed three to four times daily. Eating smaller meals little and often (just like us!) will help keep the metabolism ticking over and can help keep their weight under control.

If you have any worries or concerns about your pets weight—book a FREE weight management appointment with the nurse, we are happy to assess your pets weight, diet and exercise and help you get back them on track .

Read more...

Brought to you by Vale Vets, for all your Veterinary needs.

Cullompton        01884    35558

Tiverton            01884 258585

Honiton             01404    44095                                   

Uffculme           01884  841317

What is an Veterinary emergency?

 

Veterinary practices offer 24hr emergency service for their patients, but not all animal owners are aware of this. For most of us, it’s hard to know whether the problem can be left for a few hours or needs to be seen by your Vet immediately.  Below is a brief list which may help you to decide if you need to seek immediate veterinary advice and or attention.

  •               Straining to pass urine. Male cats attempting to urinate but not able to pass any urine, or only small amounts.  Although this may be a simple cystitis, some are prone to a blocked bladder, which can rapidly become a very serious condition.
  • Abdominal bloating. Some large breed dogs are prone to bloated stomachs (GDV).  This often occurs after food or exercise. They quickly bloat, start retching, become subdued and can collapse.  They need rapid treatment.
  • Road traffic accidents are common in cats.  Signs vary from scuffed nails, pain, difficulty breathing, bleeding and collapse.  Animals should always be checked over as some injuries are not always initially apparent.
  • Breathing Problems. Dogs often pant if hot or excited.  If a dog is struggling to breathe or their gums are pale, blue or purple, they need treatment.  If a cat pants or is making excessive effort to breathe it needs attention immediately.  There are many reasons for this, such as asthma or heart failure but they all need immediate attention.
  • Collapse. Dogs, cats and rabbits may collapse for many different reasons.  Any collapsed animal should be seen by a veterinary surgeon to assess the cause and give treatment as necessary.
  • Injury. Superficial grazes, cuts and wounds that do not bleed or seem painful can be cleaned and dressed at home.  If there is continued bleeding, discharge, pain or open wounds, the animal will need pain relief and further treatment.
  • Heatstroke. With the hotter weather coming, heatstroke becomes a real risk. Dogs left in cars, even for a few minutes, can develop heatstroke and die.  They are also at risk if they over exercise in hot weather and do not drink enough.  Be aware of excessive panting and increased body temperature.
  • Poisoning. Dogs and cats frequently eat things they shouldn’t.  The common culprits are chocolate, raisins, lilies, rat bait, slug bait, antifreeze, permethrin (found in some flea products), sugar free gum and e-cigarettes and human medications such as ibuprofen.  If you suspect any of these, call a vet immediately.

 

This is not an exhaustive list but may give you food for thought when worrying whether to call a vet or not.  Sometimes a phone call and peace of mind may be all you need!

 

Read more...

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