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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We had a fantastic turn out for our first doggie blood donor session on Valentine’s Day. We are so grateful to everyone involved, especially the doggie lifesavers! The Pet Blood Bank team were very impressed with how well behaved the donors all were.
This amazing bunch of beauties collected 15 units of blood between them which can help up to 60 sick dogs. And with such an amazing effort, we are planning another donor session in June.
Please email us at email@example.com to register.
Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk) was set up as the first UK charity to collect, process, store and distribute pet blood products in the UK. A change in legislation in October 2005 made it possible for vets to store pet blood. Recognising this as an opportunity to develop a blood bank, Vets Now raised the funds to set up and support the PBBuk charity, which supplies dogs all over the UK with vital, lifesaving blood. PBBuk was launched in 2007 and has provided over 10,000 units of blood products to help save thousands of dogs lives.
PBBuk collects canine blood which is then processed into various blood products and stored on the premises. The blood products are then sold to veterinary practices across the UK. Any profits will be re-employed into educational programmes such as developing veterinary transfusion medicine within the UK.
We at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group are so proud to support the work of the Pet Blood Bank UK, but of course, we couldn’t have done it without our doggie donors! Thank you so much and see you again soon!
New emerging strains of one of the most common and potentially deadly dog diseases ‘Leptospirosis’ have prompted Milton Keynes Veterinary Group to launch a new vaccination policy in a bid to protect the local dog population from this and other fatal diseases.
Leptospirosis is a widespread disease which is carried by rodents such as the rat and other animals. It is a serious disease that infects dogs, and even people, potentially fatal to both. It is passed via an infected animal’s urine or from contaminated water, so almost any dog that goes outside is at risk. This risk is currently heightened due to the recent widespread wet weather and flooding, and extra precautions are being advised. Early diagnosis can be complicated due to symptoms being vague, but as the disease progresses, symptoms include stiffness, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and lethargy. Following infection some dogs become long-term carriers that whilst appearing healthy, can put others at risk of disease. However, the good news is that like Parvovirus the disease can be prevented by vaccination. In recent years, more strains of Leptospirosis have appeared so we are now using new vaccines that are available, providing higher levels of protection against four strains of leptospirosis, rather than just two strains covered by traditional vaccines. These vaccines also helps to protect the local dog population and environment by preventing the spread of this disease via dogs’ urine.
As well as dog owners benefiting from this up-to-date vaccine, there is also good news for puppy owners as this vaccine can be used in puppies as young as six weeks of age, if needed. This means puppies can be protected from deadly viral disease as early as nine weeks of age.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects blood, liver or kidneys. There are several different types of leptospira that can be responsible for the disease. New strains have been identified in recent years, and they can affect dogs and also humans. It is carried by rodents, such as rats, and other animals, including cattle, sheep and dogs.How common is leptospirosis?
The disease does occur in the UK, affecting stray or unvaccinated dogs. In urban areas, it is mainly spread by the urine of infected dogs, whereas in rural areas, another type of leptospira is more common and is spread by the urine of rats. Due to routine vaccination, the disease in Britain is now less than it was but it does still occur. New strains have been identified in recent years and vaccinations have been developed to include 4 strains instead of the two years covered by traditional vaccines.How is it transmitted?
It is passed via an infected animal’s urine or from contaminated water. Ingestion is the most important means of transmission, but some forms can penetrate damaged or very thin skin. The incubation period is usually 4-12 days.
Extra precautions are advised following the recent wet weather and flooding that we have been experiencing.
What are the signs of Leptospirosis?
Some infections are undetected and show no symptoms, but the dog can still act as a carrier. Acute cases can be life-threatening. There are three main forms of the disease: haemorrhagic (bleeding), icteric or jaundiced form (involving the liver), and also the renal type. In the acute disease there is a high fever with lethargy and loss of appetite. Bloody diarrhoea and vomiting are common. This form can rapidly be fatal. If the liver is mainly affected, although the early signs are similar to the haemorrhagic form, jaundice a yellow colour can occur and affect the mouth or the whites of the eyes. Sometimes even the skin is yellow. In the renal form, kidney failure can occur. The dog is very lethargic, off food and vomits. Often the breath is offensive and there are ulcers on the tongue and inside the lips. If the dog recovers, chronic kidney disease often follows.What is the treatment?
Since leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria, appropriate antibiotic treatment is effective if the condition is diagnosed early enough. Dogs are often so ill when presented that hospitalisation and intensive nursing care, including intravenous fluids, are usually necessary.How can it be prevented?
Leptospirosis has been included in vaccination regimes for many years as part of the routine vaccination programme. Protection against the new strains of leptospirosis have been improved with the introduction of the L4 part of the vaccine. Previously, Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae and Leptospira canocola were the two strains covered. The L4 vaccine has both of these in addition to protection against L.bratislava and L.grippotyphosa. The vaccines give a minimum of 12 months protection.
As most of you know, people can be blood donors – but did you know that dogs can be blood donors too?
The Pet Blood Bank is a charity that provides a canine blood bank service for all veterinary practices across the UK. Run as a voluntary scheme just like the human blood service, dogs from all over the country give blood at many of their sessions.
We are excited and pleased to announce our Pet Blood Bank donor session on Sunday 14th February at 10am, is fully booked. We want to thank everyone for registering for what we hope is the first of many sessions we will be hosting.
If you are interested in registering for future sessions, your dog needs to be:
- Fit and healthy
- Between one and 8 years old
- Weigh more than 25kg
- Have a good temperament
- Have never travelled abroad
- Not on any medication
Jess McCarthy, veterinary nurse and session co-ordinator said: “My own dog, Westwood, almost needed a blood transfusion in an emergency situation as a young dog, I was so grateful that the vets were able to save his life. And as thanks I am now committed to raising awareness and finding donors for the Pet Blood Bank. In fact once Westwood recovered fully, he became a donor himself!”
All dogs will be weighed and undergo a physical examination by a Pet Blood Bank UK veterinary surgeon each time they donate. Dogs will also be microchipped if they are not already. A small blood sample is obtained to check your pet is healthy, determine their blood type, and to ensure they are not showing any signs of dehydration or anaemia before their donation.
If all is well then 450mls blood is collected. Dogs are gently restrained on their side, and blood is taken from the jugular vein in the neck. The actual donation only takes 5-10 minutes, although you should allow around 40 minutes in total for your appointment. A light dressing will be applied to your dog’s neck after donation and their pulse is checked.
Dogs are then given lots of praise and cuddles, followed by a well-deserved drink and bowl of food, and a doggie bag of treats to take home. You will be asked to sit with your dog for a short period of time prior to them having a final check before they are sent home to take it easy for the rest of the day.
For more information, or if you are interested in registering your pet to become a doggie blood donor, please contact the surgery on 01908 397777 and ask to speak to Jess, or register directly with Pet Blood Bank at www.petbloodbankuk.org
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.
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
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.