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Dietary Dilemmas- let us help you fix them!

“What is the best food for my pet?” is one of the most commonly asked questions we are asked. There are so many opinions and so much choice, how do we chose? The breeder recommends one thing, the trainer recommends something else, your friends pet has another food altogether.   Well, let’s start with the basics. The phrase “you are what you eat” is applicable to our pets as well as ourselves. Good quality nutrition begins at birth. Of course, it is usual for puppies and kittens to be fed with mum’s milk, the most natural and balanced nutrition available. But after weaning, it is up to us to provide the best we can to ensure healthy growth and development, and a diet specifically made for youngsters fills the requirements for them as they grow. These usually cover the period from weaning to approx. 1 year old. spRelaunchIMCPageImg35 As they approach the one year old mark, the dietary requirements change. They no longer need the energy dense food to grow, but instead we should be trying to ensure good long-term preventative health. Adult food should be less calorific with appropriate levels of protein and fat to maintain an ideal weight.  This is particularly important for dogs, for whom excess weight can cause mobility issues. A good quality dog food will provide the building blocks of healthy joints – glucosamine & chondroitin. Cat food should help maintain a healthy urinary tract through controlled levels of minerals and pH, in addition to having safe levels of sodium and phosphorus to support healthy vital organ function, particularly the kidneys. vetessentials_redesign_stage_selector_cat And as our babies move into their golden years, good nutrition is as important as ever, but the requirements change again.  Mature adult dogs need just the right balance of nutrition to keep healthy. Staying active and fit – and young at heart! – requires healthy bones and organs, strong immunity, healthy teeth, and more. Feeling great means feeling younger and avoiding conditions which can lead to disease. Additionally, some older cats don’t need as many calories to maintain their ideal weight, so they run the risk of gaining weight more easily. Over time, excess weight makes them prone to other related health conditions, making it imperative to keep cats fit and slim after neutering. Other cats may lose weight due to underlying medial conditions, for which a specialised diet may be more appropriate.  Easy to digest food with the right fibre blend keeps cats’ digestive systems running smoothly, and high antioxidant levels help bolster natural defences for a long, healthy life. 13599857_1210936398938118_6646775325547855093_n This Friday, 15th July, we have invited Nikki Morgan RVN, Nutritional Advisor and territory manager for Hills Pet Nutrition to stay with us for the day at Walnut Tree to meet with anyone who would like to discuss their pet’s nutritional needs. It will be an informal day, from 9.30 to 4.30, no appointment required. Please feel free to bring your dog or cat along to be weighed and to show you how to check their Body Condition Score, an important way of monitoring obesity or weight loss. Further information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1125803034109689/ And here: http://www.hillspet.co.uk/en-gb/vetessentials/index.html
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Spring Surprises!

As the winter draws to a close and the days become warmer pets start to spend more time outside enjoying the Spring sunshine (hopefully!) and longer daylight hours.

However Spring brings some unexpected problems for our pets:-

  • Chocolate – keep all those Easter eggs well away from dogs as the theobromine in chocolate can be toxic at relatively small amounts especially dark chocolate or those with a high cocoa solids content

  • Chocolate

  • Lilies – many people decorate their house with lilies at Easter time. However the leaves, flowers and pollen can cause kidney failure in cats and is often fatal. Please avoid bringing these into your house if you have cats.

  • Lillies

  • Hot Cross buns – raisins and grapes can cause acute renal failure in dogs. It does not affect every dog but it is impossible to know which dogs are susceptible and in those dogs that are affected even a small amount can be fatal.

  • Buns

  • Gardening – bulbs can be poisonous in dogs and cats so if digging up a flowerbed make sure you dispose of any carefully! Also take extreme care if using ANY pesticides.
  • Slugs and snails – they love the wet, warm weather Spring brings and in this area they can carry Lungworm. This parasite infects dogs causing blood clotting problems as well as coughing and other symptoms and can be fatal. Dogs are infected by eating the slugs or snails. Regular treatment with an anti-lungworm insecticide such as Advocate can prevent it.

  • Lungworm

  • Grasses and pollens – as the garden springs into life skin allergies can be more common. Watch out for itchy skin, rashes and sore eyes. Ears can also be affected.
  • Lamb bones – we enjoy a lovely roasted leg of lamb at Easter, but dogs should not have cooked lamb bones as they splinter, and any fatty left-over meat could cause an upset tummy.

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Pet Diabetes Month

This month we have been looking at Pet Diabetes in conjunction with My Petonline, an interactive portal hosted by the manufacturers of Caninsulin. During Pet Diabetes Month, practices across the country are working to raise awareness and offer clients a chance to have their pets tested for this increasingly common problem.
Unfortunately, like people, pets can develop diabetes and it is estimated that that as many as 1 in 200 pets suffer from the condition. Once diagnosed, diabetes can be successfully treated and managed, giving your pet a new lease of life. Sadly, if left untreated, it can cause serious clinical signs and even death.
Diabetes occurs because the body stops making or responding to insulin, which is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood. Being overweight, having an inactive lifestyle and getting older all increase the risk of developing diabetes. Symptoms can include excessive drinking, increased urination, with weight loss. Whilst these symptoms may actually tie in with many illnesses, diabetes can initially be picked up by detecting glucose in the pets’ urine. We recommend the easy to use urine test kits which are being offered at no charge from the practice to test your pets’ urine. If no glucose is detected, the test kits will be available every year to monitor your pets’ levels. If glucose is detected, further blood tests will be taken and a treatment plan will be put in place.

Dog Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes does not spell disaster for our pets. With the right care, veterinary medicine and diets, dogs and cats with the disease can live long and happy lives.

How much do you and can you recognise the signs? Take our test HERE

My Pet Online

The test kits will be available until the end of December from all of our branches. If you would like to participate, please feel free to call in to collect a test kit.

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Milton Keynes Veterinary Group is awarded internationally-recognised Cat Friendly Clinic status

We are proud to announce that Milton Keynes Veterinary Group have achieved accreditation as a Cat Friendly Clinic (CFC). The CFC programme has been developed by the International Society of Feline Medicine, the veterinary division of the leading feline charity International Cat Care, and accreditation has been made available in partnership with Purina. It aims to promote well-being and high standards of care for all cats visiting or being hospitalised in a veterinary clinic.

What-is-a-Cat-Friendly-Clinic

Under the programme, we had to prove rigorous adherence to a set of criteria which includes provision of facilities and demonstration of staff activities and attitudes aimed at reducing stress in cats, both as in-patients and out-patients. The criteria includes having separate dog and cat waiting areas, feline-friendly hospitalisation cages, and veterinary equipment specifically for treating cats. Most importantly, staff are trained in approaching and handling cats sensitively and respectfully, and in maintaining high standards of veterinary care, including continuing to update their knowledge of feline medicine as new treatments and information become available.

Caroline Stevens, the clinic’s Cat Advocate, was proud to receive Silver accreditation, “We wanted to make sure that a trip to see our vets was as stress-free an experience as possible for our cat patients and their owners. Cats can get very anxious when taken out of their usual environment, and this can make their owners reluctant to seek veterinary attention when their cat needs it. By undertaking Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation, we’ve committed to delivering high standards of cat care, with compassion and expertise. Our Cat Clinics at Stoke Road have proved hugely popular since we introduced them in October 2013.”

Taking-your-cat-to-the-clinic

The International Society of Feline Medicine launched the Cat Friendly Clinic initiative three years ago, to encourage veterinary practices everywhere to make best efforts to improve the welfare of cats in their care. The programme advises practices on how to make their environment as welcoming to cats as possible, as well as providing support in staff training, handling techniques and cat-specific client care.

cat-friendly

Cat owners can find out more about International Cat Care and the Cat Friendly Clinic initiative at www.catfriendlyclinic.org. Milton Keynes Veterinary Group’s website can be found at www.mkvetgroup.co.uk

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A day in the life of a veterinary nurse

Firstly, it is imperative to point out that no two days at work are the same for a Veterinary Nurse. A day as an operating nurse at our Walnut Tree hospital starts early in the morning, when we come in and start the day with the most crucial job of all. Putting the kettle on! That being done we start to prepare the operating theatres where our patients will be undergoing surgical procedures that day, ensuring that everything is prepared and safe. The oxygen and nitrous oxide levels will be checked, specialist dental suit prepared and the laboratory machines tested. At this time our patients who will be staying with us for the day begin arriving, and we begin the admission process. This typically involves speaking with the owners, running through what will be happening during the day including any risks or concerns and then finally signing the consent form. We often spend time asking about your pets recent behaviour or any medical problems they have been experiencing, and trying our best to re-assure you that they are in safe hands.

cat-hosp

We will take your pet through to our prep room, take a weight for them and often take a blood sample for pre-operative blood tests or place an intravenous cannula. The blood sample will be run by our in-house machines (also operated by a registered veterinary nurse) and the results shown to a Veterinary Surgeon. Your pet will be settled and made comfortable in either our dedicated canine or feline ward whilst the Vet Nurse calculates and draws up the most suitable Pre-med that the vet has chosen. This usually consists of an anti-anxiety drug and a pain relief combined so that your pet is feeling calm whilst with us and the pain relief has time to work before anything begins. The surgery and prep area is then set up with appropriate anaesthetic equipment, which is all safety checked by our nurses. The nurse and vet who will be working together will discuss your pets specific case before they begin and then change into their surgical scrubs.

chance

The patient will then come through into the prep area where they are anaesthetised for surgery. The nurse will assist the vet by holding the patient, raising a vein if needed and keeping your pet calm and reassured through this experience. Once the anaesthetic begins the nurse is responsible for monitoring the vital signs which include: heart rate, pulse rate and quality, respiratory rate and effort, mucous membrane colour, capillary refill time, body temperature and depth of anaesthesia. This information is related to the veterinary surgeon throughout the surgery. The final stage or preparing the surgical patient is to clip and surgically prepare the skin surface. This involves using a special solution containing Chlorhexidine and a concentrated surgical spirit to ensure the area is sterile before surgery begins. The nurse will connect the patient to a specialised anaesthetic monitor in theatre which will display: an ECG of the patients heart, the level of oxygen in the blood, a graphical display of each breath the patient takes, how much oxygen they take in and how much carbon dioxide they breathe out. Combining this with the information the nurse can get from checking the patients vital signs (discussed above) is the safest way of monitoring anaesthesia.

bulldog-pup

Once the surgery is completed a nurse will recover that patient from anaesthesia, again monitoring all vital signs and alerting a Vet to any potential problems. The monitoring continues until they are back on their feet. Temperature, consciousness level, pulses, respiration and the condition of the wound are recorded and acted on. Once your pet is recovered a nurse will call you to arrange a time for them to come home. The surgical team will typically go through this multiple times in a day (cleaning the theatre between each patient), until all of the operations are completed. The surgical theatres are then thoroughly cleaned, the surgical instruments are cleaned and packaged ready to go through an auto-clave (for sterilisation) and the prep room cleaned down. When an owner arrives to collect their pet, a nurse will go through all of the post-operative care in detail. Any questions concerning the aftercare are answered and the patient is returned to the owner. Each day as a Veterinary Nurse is different, no two pets are the same and each one of our patients is treated as an individual.


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