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Heatstroke – recognising the signs

Signs of heatstroke may vary from different animals, however these are the main symptoms to look out for: –

  • Faster, heavier panting
  • Signs of agitation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased pulse / heartbeat
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

What to do if you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke?

If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, they need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
  • Move your pet to a shaded/cool area
  • Provide your pet with fresh, cool water in small quantities
  • Contact your vet immediately for advice
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Heatstroke – Rabbits

Heat stroke is not something just seen in dogs and cats, rabbits can also suffer from heat stroke. The ideal environmental temperature for a rabbit’s enclosure is between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Rabbits are unable to cope well with sudden changes of temperature and can start showing signs of heatstroke even at 22 degrees Celsius.

Recognising signs of heatstroke in rabbits is very important, these may include lethargy, panting, salivating, weakness, reddening of the ears. Disorientation, seizures and can in some cases be fatal. Warmer weather can also mean a higher risk of flystrike, therefore it is also important to check your rabbit’s bottom and make sure the hutch is cleaned regularly.





Some ideas to help keep your rabbits cooler in the higher temperatures can include
  • Wiping water onto their ears
  • Place a damp towel over the enclosure
  • Provide plenty of cold water
  • Freeze bottles of water or ice parks
  • Allow them access to an area of stone or ceramic tiles to lie on
  • Create plenty of shade for them
  • You can even purchase specialist cage fans to keep them cool
If you are concerned your rabbit is experiencing signs of heat stroke, please contact your vet immediately.
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Grass seeds and your pets

During this time of year, grass seeds are commonly seen in the veterinary industry. These seeds will fall off and embed themselves in a pet’s paw, ears, armpit, nose or skin and can travel under the skin to other parts of the body.

The signs or symptoms will depend on which body part is affected which can be noted below.
  • Grass seed in a pet’s ear
    • Head shaking
    • Reddening to the ear
    • Painful to touch
    • Head tilt
    • Loss of balance
  • Grass seed in pet’s paw
    • Reddening of skin around area
    • Swelling of foot or between toes
    • Limping
    • Licking at affected area
  • Grass seeds in pet’s eyes
    • Increased tear production
    • Rubbing or pawing at the eye
    • Swelling or redness
  • Grass seeds in pet’s nose
    • Repeated sneezing
    • Discharge from the nostril
    • Rubbing face on surfaces
    • Breathing difficulties
  • Grass seeds under skin
    • Licking at site
    • Grass seed visible out of surface of skin
    • Swollen, red lump
Grass seeds can be prevented by keeping your lawn tidy, checking your dog over after a walk to remove any grass seeds in these most common areas. If your pet is experiencing any of these signs, please contact your vet for an examination as the main concern is they can migrate within your pet’s body.
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Blue Green Algae – Willen Lake, Caldecotte Lakes and Emberton Park

Following water safety checks at Willen Lake, Caldecotte Lakes and Emberton Park in July 2019, a potentially toxic bloom of blue-green algae has been reported to the Environment Agency. 

As a precautionary measure, notices are being posted at the lake warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided. 

What are blue-green algae?  Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters and blooms can form when their numbers become excessive. It is these ‘blooms’ that give the water a blue-green appearance or a ‘pea soup’ like colour. The behaviour of these algae is erratic and the level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and, mix and re-accumulate at any time. 

How can blue-green algae affect you and your animals? Blue-green algal blooms can produce toxins hazardous to both people and animals. Not all blue-green blooms produce toxins, but it is not possible to tell which are dangerous without testing, and therefore all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae. 

Symptoms of poisoning include: Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Blood in stool or black tarry stool, Pale mucous membranes, Jaundice, Seizures, Disorientation, Coma, Shock Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.), Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.), Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes, Difficulty breathing.

Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison. If there are any signs of illness in your animal after contact with the water, contact us immediately on 01908 397777. 
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Adders – what is the risk to my pet?

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 pet?

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 pets.

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 pets are more likely to be seriously affected), the amount the pet 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 pet 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 pet (rather than allow them 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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