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Archive for January, 2019

Arthritis in our older felines

When a cat reaches 11 years of age they are classed as elderly, and it is around this age that they can start to suffer with the various conditions that are associated with older cats. The effects of ageing can be seen through physical changes as well as behavioural changes, and there are certain home care routines that can help improve your cat’s quality of life. Regular checks with your vet are important to identify early disease processes, but what can you do at home to provide that extra bit of comfort?

Arthritis – This is a common condition seen in older felines and can result in chronic pain, often owners will notice that their cat is less reluctant to jump or looks a little stiff when they walk. Most of the time owners just associate this with their pet getting older and do not actually act on it. It is important to remember that when you see your cat is looking stiff or struggling this means that they are in pain. There are pain relief and joint care medications that the vet can prescribe to make your cat more comfortable.



There are also things you can do at home to make your cat more comfortable:
  • Ensure that your cat’s resources (food, water and litter trays) are close by and easily accessible, and provide multiple resources around the house.
  • Make sure that the resources and safe places are on ground level to prevent your cat having to jump. You could provide steps up to the resources, beds or cat flap.
  • Make sure that litter trays have low sides for easy climbing in and out and provide a litter that is soft on the feet pads. Even if your cat usually goes outside to the toilet it is a good idea to provide litter trays in the house for times when they do not feel up to going out. It is important to monitor faecal and urine output and consistency to identify underlying disease processes.
  • Pay close attention to your cats claws. We advise that you check these weekly as elderly cats are less able to retract their claws, this often results in them getting stuck on soft furnishings. They are also at risk of them overgrowing and cutting into their pads as they will be less active.
  • Carpet and mats can provide more comfort for elderly cats walking around, wooden and laminate flooring can be slippery for elderly cats that are less stable on their legs.
  • Cat flaps – If your cat usually uses a cat flap to access outdoors ensure that they can get up to the cat flap ok, providing steps may aid them climbing in and out.
  • Scratching posts – If your cat is suffering from arthritis they may be reluctant to use a vertical scratching post as stretching up high may cause them pain. Horizontal scratching posts can be more comfortable for them.
Read more tips on caring for your older feline here
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Exciting New Equipment at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group

Earlier this year Heine, manufacturers of high quality diagnostic equipment, asked for veterinary ophthalmologists who would be happy to trial their IC2 Fundoscope (more later) for veterinary use.

We are delighted to be one of the few General practices in the country who have been asked to trial it.
The funduscope attaches to an iphone and enables visualisation (and photography) of the retina (fundus). The right-hand picture shows a human fundus when viewed through the IC2 (boring!)



It is early days yet and we are still learning but we have already had some quite good photos. There is a difference between what we see and what we actually get to photograph
Here are some photos (not ours) of a normal cat and dog fundus.

Pictures have been taken from Keith Barnett’s superb Diagnostic Atlas of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

You can see how they are much more exciting than the human (primate) ones! The colourful reflective part is the tapetum, hence “cat’s eyes“ (but could as easily have been dogs).

Dogs have blood vessels which cross the optic nerve head while cats do not, a common exam question for veterinary students. The far easier way to establish which species is to check out the animal before you look in their eyes.
Here are some photos we have taken.


This is both eyes of “Amber” who has been blind in the right eye (LHS) for many years. The dark “halo” around the optic nerve head gives us a reason why.

On the LHS we have a bit (oops) of the optic nerve head of a normal young dog. On the RHS we have “Hugo” an ageing cocker spaniel who is unfortunately suffering with retinal degeneration and going blind. You can see how the blood vessels are much less (atrophy) and the “shiny” part indicates retinal thinning enabling the tapetum to reflect more light.

Here we have the right and left eyes of “Mampi” who suffering from hypertension unfortunately suffered a total retinal detachment and haemorrhage in his right eye and partial detachments in his left.

In his right eye the top arrow points to a retinal bleed (post detachment), while the bottom arrow shows “perivascular cuffing” which is caused by leakage from the vessels due to the hypertension. In his left eye we can see dark “dead” patches of retina caused due to bullous (like little blisters) detachments of the retina.

These photos are all after treatment which has brought his blood pressure back to normal. His retina in his right eye is now mainly reattached but you can see the damage that has already occurred.
Finally to show that humans aren’t the only species with relatively boring retinae.
These pictures from David Williams Chapter 27 in Gelatt’s Veterinary Ophthalmology show two normal rabbut fundi, the left hand one being an albino.
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Here’s a look back at our memories at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group throughout 2018!

We would like to thank our clients for their continued trust and confidence in our team throughout 2018!

Through the year we have welcomed new members to our family, celebrated with our clients and their pets, and been awarded the Heart of Pet Blood Bank Award as best host practice.

We are looking forward to what this year will bring !

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Are you planning to travel with your pet this year?

If you are planning to travel in Spring this year, it is wise to consider planning in good time before you go.

Pets travelling into the EU before 29th March 2019 can do so under the current Pet Passport scheme and will be able to return to the UK as before.

HOWEVER, if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, pets will still be able to travel to the EU but with further restrictions:
  • Pets will require an injection against rabies
  • Pets will then need to have a blood test to confirm that they have produced antibodies against rabies. THIS BLOOD TEST MUST BE CARRIED OUT AT LEAST 30 DAYS AFTER THE VACCINATION INJECTION
  • Pets will NOT be able to travel for at least 3 MONTHS after the BLOOD TEST WAS TAKEN
This means if you wish to be certain to travel later this year, please contact us for further advice or to book an appointment .

Further details can be found at gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
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Finn enters Retirement from Pet Blood Donation

On Saturday 1st December Finn visited Milton Keynes Veterinary Group at our Stoke Road branch for our eleventh donation session, donating blood for the Pet Blood Bank for his thirteenth time!

Finn is now nine years old and started donating in 2014. Over his thirteen visits, Finn has donated a total of approximately 5,850ml of blood to help save his canine friends from illness and injuries. On his retirement day, he was presented with a jar of yummy treats and a certificate to thank him for his hard work. Enjoy your retirement Finn!

We can’t thank our Pet Blood Bank donors and their owners enough, without their help we wouldn’t be able to help Pet Blood Bank continue to do their amazing work.

Could your dog be a blood donor like Finn?



Just like humans, dogs have different blood types. In the UK we test for DEA 1 Negative and Positive. With only 30% of our donors being a Negative blood type, it is challenging to maintain enough stock. Certain breeds are more likely to be negative such as: Dobermanns, Greyhounds, Boxers, German Shepherds, Flat-Coat Retrievers, Airedale Terriers, Weimaraners, Lurchers, American Bulldogs, English Pointers and English Bull Terriers.

The criteria for donor dogs is below:
  • Fit and healthy
  • Between one and eight years old
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled abroad
  • Vaccinated
  • Not on any medication
If your dog matches the criteria and you are interested in becoming a blood donor, please contact our Walnut Tree surgery on 01908 397777, or, for more information, visit the Pet Blood Bank website www.petbloodbankuk.org
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