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Valentine Donor Day for the Pet Blood Bank

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
  • Vaccinated
  • 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


Donor

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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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Could your dog be a life saver?

As one of the nurses working at Milton Keynes Veterinary Groups main hospital, I am excited to be working with Pet Blood Bank UK to register the hospital and hold dog blood donor sessions.
Pet Blood Bank UK is a non-profitable charity which provides a national canine blood bank. Just like people, sick dogs sometimes require blood transfusions, with one single donation saving the lives of up to four dogs. My own dog, Westwood (pictured above) was a donor for Pet Blood Bank UK and donated several times. Unfortunately, as he is now receiving immunotherapy injections, he is no longer able to donate. In order to hold sessions at the practice, we must provide Pet Blood Bank UK with a list of 50 possible dog donors. Pet Blood Bank UK will then contact owners directly to arrange appointments. Dogs can donate up to four times a year.

To be a donor, you dog needs to be:
  • Fit and healthy
  • Between 1-8 years of age (extra-large breeds need to be slightly older before they can donate)
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled abroad
  • Vaccinated
  • Not on any medications (there are a few exceptions)
There are certain dog breeds that frequently have a Negative blood type and there is a higher demand for these donors. For this reason we are encouraging the breeds below:
  • Airedales
  • American bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Dobermans
  • English bull terriers
  • Flat coat retrievers
  • German shepherds
  • Greyhounds
  • Lurchers
  • Mastiffs
  • English pointers
  • Weimeraners

The comfort and health of our donors is very important to us and Pet Blood Bank UK. 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 dogs 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 becoming a blood donor, please contact the surgery on 01908 397777 and ask to speak to Jess.


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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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Adders – What is the risk to my dog?

Identification: Most adders are distinctively marked with a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine and an inverted ‘V’ shape on the neck. Males are generally white or pale grey with a black zigzag. Females are pale brown with a darker brown zigzag. Adders are ‘viviparous’ – they give birth to live young.

The Adder (Vipera berus) is the only venomous snake native to Britain. Adders will only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or stepped on. No one has died from an adder bite in Britain for over 35 years. With proper treatment, the worst effects in humans are nausea and drowsiness, followed by swelling and bruising in the area of the bite.

What is the risk to my dog?

The adder is a timid and non-aggressive snake, and will only bite when provoked. They hibernate over the winter and emerge in early spring as the temperature increases.

Unfortunately dogs are the animals most likely to be bitten due to their natural curiosity. But adder bites are rarely fatal in dogs.

The severity of the clinical signs varies and depends upon the location of the bite (facial bites are more serious), the size of the patient (small dogs are more likely to be seriously affected), the amount the dog moves after the bite (movement increases venom uptake).

The most common signs are significant swelling at the site of the bite, with systemic signs of depression and lethargy.

  • Less than 5% of patients display more severe signs
  • 96-97% make a full recovery, usually within five days

If your dog is bitten by an adder you should seek prompt veterinary attention. Do not attempt first aid measures such as applying a tourniquet- This is ineffective and can cause further harm to your pet. Carry your dog (rather than allow him to walk) to try and reduce the spread of venom around his body.

Prevention
  • Keep to the paths – snakes tend to live in the undergrowth
  • Use a short lead if walking in an area where adders might be present – this will also protect the young of ground-nesting birds
  • If you encounter an adder – leave it alone and give it the opportunity to escape to safety

Adders are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them, and to sell or trade them in any way.

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