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Thiamine Deficiency in Cats

Following a product recall by retailers recently, there has been a lot of talk about Thiamine deficiency on social media and in other press. We appreciate that this can be a worrying time for owners and want to make sure you have access to all the facts to ensure your feline friends are happy and healthy.

What is Thiamine deficiency?

Thiamine is also known as Vitamin B1. This water-soluble vitamin is necessary for normal carbohydrate metabolism in cats, and is present in all high quality, well balanced diets. Thiamine deficiency is, therefore, often closely linked to diet, and can occur as a results of prolonged loss of appetite, or from feeding a diet which has inadequate levels of the vitamin present (commonly due to preservation, storage or production methods). Thiamine deficiency can also be seen in cats fed on raw fish diets.

What are the symptoms?

Early signs of Thiamine deficiency are generally non-specific, and can include anorexia, lethargy, excess salivation or vomiting. Further development can include neurological signs (including incoordination, circling, head tilt or abnormal gait), rapid onset of impaired vision, dilated pupils, vestibular signs, and even tremors or seizure activity.

Diagnosis and treatment for cats

Diagnosis is based mainly on the presence of clinical signs, specific changes in the brain seen on MRI scans, rapid clinical improvement once Thiamine supplementation has been administered, or evidence that cats have been fed a Thiamine deficient diet. Prognosis for cats with suspected deficiency is excellent if the disease is treated early. Treatment of suspected Thiamine deficiency is with administration of injectable Thiamine, followed by transition to oral supplements for one month, alongside changing the diet to a different high quality commercial food.

What to do if you think your cat might have thiamine deficiency

If you have been feeding your cat the recalled diet and your cat is not showing any clinical signs, stop feeding the diet and switch to another good well balanced food. If your cat is showing clinical signs contact your vet immediately as early treatment is key.

It’s our policy not to comment on food recalls, but you can find more information on the RVC website here
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Celebrating 40 years at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group

Jasmine our receptionist at our Bletchley branch Angie our receptionist at our Stony Stratford branch
It is with great pride that we would like to share with you the news that two of our members of staff have been working with us for 40 years this year! They have stood by the practice as we grew over the years and are greatly loved by staff and clients alike.

Jasmine is based at our Stoke Road surgery in Bletchley and Angie at our Stony Stratford branch.

Jasmine and Angie – thank you for all that you do for us, it doesn’t go un-noticed.
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Get your pet in shape for 2017

Obesity in pets has become an increasing problem in recent years, with almost 50% of the pet population being overweight. Carrying all this extra weight can cause a multitude of health concerns for pets, including arthritis, diabetes, heat intolerance and increased pressure on the heart and lungs.

To try and tackle the plus size pet population we offer free nutritional consults, with two of our specially trained veterinary nurses, Charlotte Barker RVN CertVNECC and Laura Sandall RVN. Both nurses have many years of experience and have managed to lose 100s of kilos from many pets!

Many owners understandably are very apprehensive about coming along to a weight consult. Our aim is to put both you and your pet at ease. It often becomes an extremely positive experience for your pet as they gain confidence about coming to the practice, because in these consults they just get lots of love and attention while you and the nurse do the talking! When you are booked in for a weight consult, it follows a fairly routine pattern, we discuss what food your pet is currently getting, including any treats or extras they may get. This is very important as it allows us to understand why and how your pets weight has become an issue, and also helps us to work the new regime around what you already do and what suits you and your pet. Once we have discussed all of this, we may alter the amount of the current food your pet is getting, or we may suggest a diet specific food for weight loss, this is often the Hills Metabolic diet. Once you are set up with your new food, or new feeding guidelines for your current food, we ask that you come back monthly so that we can weigh, measure and monitor your pets weight loss. This allows us to ensure that they are losing the weight in a healthy and stable way and also allows us to tweak any issues you may have as and when they come up!

The Hills Metabolic food that we often recommend is a fantastic weight loss tool, as it doesn’t just offer a lower calorie diet, it contains many features that help get the weight off and keep it off, while keeping your pet happy and satisfied. Hills have formulated it to work with your pets metabolism, increasing the fibre content to help keep your pet feeling full between meals. There are also specific blends available that contain joint support supplements (for dogs), or urinary and stress supplements (for cats).

The lovely little dog featured in this photo is Lottie. Lottie came to see Charlotte in January 2016 as the vet was concerned about her weight. Charlotte started her on the Hills Metabolic mini diet, and after nine months Lottie had lost over 25% of her body weight and is now a perfect healthy pup! Lottie’s owner also reports that she is much more active, bright and happy since losing the weight. Charlotte still sees Lottie every few months just to ensure that all the hard work stays and she maintains her new slim figure!

Our nutritional consults are available with Charlotte on a Wednesday between 10am-6pm at Walnut Tree, and between 3.30pm-4.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays at our Willen branch, and with Laura on a Monday at Walnut Tree between 9am-4.30pm, and on Tuesdays between 3.30pm-4pm at our Willen branch. If you have any questions about the nutritional consults or would like to book your pet in to see us, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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Dog Blood Donor session

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 next Pet Blood Bank donor session will be on Saturday 13 May

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
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Bird Flu -warning to UK poultry owners

Update 15/0102016: In the last 2 weeks the disease were confirmed 2 in backyard flocks, one in Wales and a second in North Yorkshire

Update 17/12/2016: Bird flu found at a turkey farm in Lincolnshire.

DEFRA, the government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has issued instructions to all poultry keepers to keep them indoors and away from wild birds. This instruction relates to both commercial poultry farmers and owners of backyard flocks. The order has now been extended until 28 January 2017.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Professor Nigel Gibbens said:

  •  Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good bio-security on their premises.
  •  Even when birds are housed a risk of infection remains so this must be coupled with good biosecurity – for example disinfecting clothing and equipment, reducing poultry movement and minimising contact between poultry and wild birds.

What is “Bird Flu”?

Avian influenza refers to the flu viruses that occur naturally in wild birds like ducks and geese. They are very contagious and can also infect poultry and other animals.

The symptoms in birds typically include swelling of the head, eyelids, comb and hocks, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, watery diarrhoea and sometimes sudden death.

How is it the virus spread?

Wild waterfowl are often asymptomatic carriers of the disease; the virus is transmitted via their faeces to other birds.  The virus can also be carried on clothing or food bowls.

Is there any risk to humans?

Currently the threat to humans remains very low. Transmission to humans is rare and there is no evidence that this particular strain has managed to make the species jump yet.  People who catch it usually have had direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments. There is no risk from eating eggs or poultry.

What can I do to protect my birds?

The advice is to house all poultry for the next 30 days where practical. If you cannot do this, isolate them from wild birds and their faeces. A covered run is better welfare for chickens than being shut in a dark shed. Close mesh may not be enough protection as a roof, polytunnels will work well. Free range hens will need entertainment if suddenly confined such as branches for extra perching, vegetables hung up etc.

What will we do?

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and post updates when new information become available.

You can find more information on the Defra website

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