Following water safety checks at Ashland Lake this week (week commencing 23rd July 2018), a potentially toxic bloom of blue-green algae has been reported to the Environment Agency.
What are blue-green algae?
As a precautionary measure, notices are being posted at the lake warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided.
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:
- Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
- Pale mucous membranes
- 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
The Feline Nursing course provides nurses with the skills to improve the welfare and understanding of cats in their care.
- HOT CARS This is one of the biggest health concerns during the warmer months. Animals should never be left in a locked car when it’s hot outside. Even if the window is open, temperatures can increase to extreme levels very quickly. As a result, pets suffer from heatstroke.
- PROTECTING YOUR PET’S SKIN Animals can get sunburnt too just like us! If they will be exposed to the sunlight, apply sun cream to white and pink areas of their skin and importantly the tip of the ears. Animals with lighter coloured fur will be more prone.
- FROZEN TREATS Animals will love to have something cool, so why not pop your dog’s Kong in the freezer for a nice cool and refreshing treat. You can also use frozen water bottles wrapped in a towel and pop it in their bed for our cats and small furries
- FLYSTRIKE Our smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be more at risk more quickly in the hotter temperatures. To reduce the chance of flystrike, check around their bottoms for fly eggs or maggots. This should be checked at least once a day. There are preventative treatments for Flystrike which last around 6 weeks depending on the product.
- HAIRCUTS Those pets with thick fur coats, why not book them in with the groomer to help them feel cooler during the warmer weather.
- WALKING YOUR PETS We advise to walk your dog during the cooler times of the day such as early morning or late evening. If it is still too hot to walk them, give them a rest of the evening. It is safer for them to not have a walk than to be at risk of heatstroke
- WATCH OUT FOR GRASS SEEDS After walking your dog, it is a good idea to check their feet for any grass seeds. If these are left, they can track under the dog’s skin and cause swelling and lameness. They can also be found in dog’s ears!
- HEATSTROKE Signs to look out for include collapse, rapid panting, excessive drooling and sticky gums. Provide your pet with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water and provide a shaded area. If you are worried that you pet is suffering from heatstroke, please seek veterinary advice immediately.
- PROVIDING COOL AREAS Prevent your pet from sitting in direct sunlight, provide a shaded area and move hutches and cages if necessary.
Did you know cats can be blood donors too?
This is Chaz who was the poorly cat that received the blood transfusion. When the vet first saw Chaz earlier this year, he was severely anaemic which means that he had a dangerously low level of red blood cells. These red blood cells are very important as they help to carry oxygen around the body which is vital for survival.
Chaz needed to have lots of tests to find our why he was so anaemic, but first we had to arrange for his blood transfusion so that he was well enough to go through all the tests. He had a blood test to check his blood group and luckily a donor cat (Brian) was found that matched his blood group. We are not allowed to store feline blood, so if a cat needs a transfusion we have to start looking for a donor cat immediately. Chaz had an ultrasound scan and some samples were taken from his spleen to check that there were no signs of cancer. He then had a general anaesthetic and a bone marrow sample was taken to try to find the reason why he was so poorly. The samples showed that he had a condition called “myelodysplasia” which means that his bone marrow isn’t working properly to produce all the types of blood cells that his body needs.
Now a few months on, Chaz is responding really well and is feeling back to his normal self. He is back to his normal bodyweight and is eating and playing as he did before he was poorly.
Chaz is still on daily medication, and is a regular visitor to Cat Clinic to have his blood tests and check ups.
A rabbit’s diet should consist of very high levels of fibre. Without these high fibres levels, their digestive system will not work effectively and will be susceptible to gut stasis. Their teeth are designed to grow continually and therefore need fibrous food to wear them down. If a rabbit does not get enough abrasive foods, they will suffer from overgrown teeth making it painful to eat! Therefore a rabbit should have access to high quality feeding hay or grass which should make up to 85-90% of their daily diet.
Rabbits can tend to begin selective feeding with such diets as muesli style diets as they chose the higher starch and sugary elements of the feed and therefore leaving the higher fibre elements. This selective feeding unfortunately increases the likelihood of a variety of illnesses in rabbits. Therefore we recommend a nutritionally balanced high fibre nugget or pellet based diet. We also advised to feed the recommended amount of food to prevent overfeeding which may lead to obesity.
The Bunny Feeding Plan!
- Hay & Grass – This element should make up 85-90% of your rabbit’s diet. We recommend using a high quality and dust extracted feeding hay and replace with fresh hay daily.
- Nutritionally balanced high fibre nugget or pellet based diet – This should be fed as a supplement to ensure your rabbit gets the minerals they need. You should fed the recommended amount as advised.
- Natural snacks – some food manufacturers sell natural snacks to help with keeping your rabbit occupied and can be used to encourage foraging if sprinkled within their hay.
- Fresh greens – These should be fed as a treat to add variety and provide addition nutrition.
- Everyday greens – grasses, kale, mint, celery leaves, green pepper, plantain, cauliflower leaves, dandelion leaves, wild geranium, apple tree leaves & branches, strawberry and raspberry leaves, rose bush leaves, hazel tree leaves & branches, willow tree leaves & branches, brambles, goose grass, blackthorn, nettle (dried), romaine lettuce, hawthorn, and spring greens.
- Occasionally (can be given in small quantities) – savoy cabbage, spinach, parsley, basil, apple (pip less), banana, turnip, carrot tops, swede, dill, oregano and coriander.
- Fresh water – This should always be available and changed daily. Also ensure it hasn’t frozen in the colder months.