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Preparing our pets for Fireworks season: Counterconditioning

Following on from our previous blog regarding desensitisation in preparation for the fireworks season and once this desensitisation stage is completed. We can adapt this to include the counterconditioning process, by which we make a positive association to the sounds your pet is sensitive to.

This can be done by providing rewards whilst playing the sounds your pet is sensitive to, in order to start to reinforce positivity with these sounds. Each time the volume is increased and they settled, they are rewarded. Make sure these are rewards that your pet really likes! These processes do require time to counteract these behaviours.

If you have any further questions regarding the fireworks season please do not hesitate to contact us.
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Preparing our pets for Fireworks season: Desensitisation

It might seem early but now is the best time to start thinking about the fireworks period. Fireworks often start well in advance of the traditional 5th November, and can easily continue on through to the New Year. Some pets may be sensitive to noises such as the sound of fireworks. These pets will have a heightened fight or flight response to these sounds causing a behavioural response.

In order to help correct this behavioural response, desensitisation and counterconditioning approaches can be used.

The first process is desensitisation, the aim of this process is the lower how sensitive an animal is to a particular noise such as fireworks.

Start by playing the noise your pet is sensitive to, such as fireworks at a low volume, gradually increasing by a small level each time, each time waiting for them to settle. If they become agitated then reduce the volume down to a volume where they settle again.

This process is ideally completed on a gradual basis over a period of few weeks, then can begin implementing counterconditioning.

Look out for our next blog on counterconditioning later this week.
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Warning: The Dangers of Fleas

We would like owners to be aware of the danger of fleas after performing lifesaving transfusions in ten kittens over the course of the last four weeks.

Heavy infestation of fleas can cause a condition called Flea Anaemia. This occurs when the fleas have drained so much blood that the animal is left severely weakened. In younger and smaller animals, this can be life threatening. We are very concerned about the increase in cases we are seeing and urge pet owners to discuss the best preventative protocol with their vets.

Carol Spindler from Milton Keynes and North Bucks branch of the RSPCA says “It’s been a very distressing few weeks. The increase in cases this year has caused a drain on branch funds and filled our fosterer spaces to capacity. We can’t stress how easy it is to prevent, so please, talk to your vet and get a recommended treatment as soon as possible”.

All the hard work put in to help these kittens would not have been possible without our hero donor cats, who bravely donated blood to save them. We are so grateful to these cats and their owners for their help.

Top Tips for your Pet
  • Always ask your vet which product would be best suited to your pet, some products may not be as effective as others. Make sure you never use dog specific flea treatments on your cats, as some of these are highly toxic to our feline friends.
  • Treat your pet regularly to keep on top of fleas, always check the product information or speak to your vet regarding your pet’s individual needs.
  • Make sure you treat all pets in your household. Even if you have only seen fleas on one animal, they will jump between pets and species to continue breeding.
  • Treat the environment. Flea eggs and larvae can survive in soft furnishings so it is important to treat the house as well with an appropriate household spray. Regular vacuuming and washing bedding regularly will also help limit the spread of fleas.
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Dental Month – Fractured teeth

Fractured teeth are a common injury in cats and dogs, with the majority involving fractured canines of the upper jaw. Damage is commonly caused by falls, running into objects, clashing teeth and road traffic accidents. In dogs, other objects that can damage teeth include raw hide, bones, sticks/branches, rocks, ice and other hard objects.

The radiograph to the right shows a case of pulpitis in a cat. The pulp cavity is the hollow area inside a tooth filled with sensitive pulp tissue (blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue). This commonly occurs when the tip of the tooth is fractured, allowing bacteria to enter the pulp cavity. Swelling of the pulp tissue prevents blood entering the root canal and the result is ‘death’ of the tooth. On the radiograph we can see widening of the pulp cavity compared to the normal tooth on the right, with evidence of an abscess at the apex of the root. On this occasion the affected tooth was extracted. It is important to note that this problem was found during a routine dental, and the patient did not show any obvious mouth pain at the time, but the owner reported marked improvement in his demeanour and appetite following surgery. Due to high pain threshold and other instinctive behaviours, our patients rarely shows signs of pain and will often hide pain very well.

It is therefore important to never ignore a broken tooth in your pet.
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How many teeth does your cat have?

Just like us, cat have non-permanent (deciduous) teeth to begin with which erupt around the age of 2-3 weeks.

Cats have 26 deciduous teeth consisting of:
  • 12 Incisors
  • 4 Canines
  • 10 Premolars
Permanent teeth begin to erupt from the age of 11-12 weeks.

Cats have 30 permanent teeth consisting of:
  • 12 Incisors
  • 4 Canines
  • 10 Premolars
  • 4 Molars
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