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Posts Tagged ‘Cats’

Chronic Kidney Disease in cats

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is thought to affect a third of all cats over 10 years of age. As time goes on we have more and more to offer animals diagnosed with this condition, and we hope to give cats with chronic kidney disease a good quality of life for as long as possible. The prognosis for cats diagnosed with chronic kidney disease can be excellent, and some cats will go on to lead happy lives for many months or even several years.

Usually once CKD is diagnosed, we cannot identify the original cause, as it most likely happened earlier in the cat’s life. The kidney is an organ that cannot regenerate (regrow) and so CKD is not a disease that can be cured. The disease will usually progress over time and, unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the end stage is kidney failure. However, with treatment we aim to support the function of the kidneys for as long as possible, and also to minimise any complications.

Most cats diagnosed with CKD will have vague symptoms including weight loss, reduced appetite, drinking more and urinating more and vomiting intermittently. If you notice any of these signs at home do book your cat in for check with a vet as it is likely that we would recommend a blood test and a urine test. Often though these signs are difficult to notice as they come on gradually, and so it can be at a yearly booster or other check up that weight loss or other symptoms are found.

Once CKD has been diagnosed, if your cat is otherwise well and eating well, the vet will discuss the best way to manage the disease. If your cat is unwell when they are first diagnosed, they may initially need more intensive treatment which might involve a stay in hospital.

We will often recommend a change of diet to a prescription diet, and there is evidence to show that this is one of the most important factors in slowing down the progression of CKD. We do know however that a lot of cats will struggle to change their diet, and it is always more important that they are eating well and are happy, so we will always discuss with you whether this is right for your cat.

Monitoring your cat with regular blood and urine tests and blood pressure measurements is very important as it allows us to pick up changes early so that medication can be added if required and any complications picked up. We hope that by picking up CKD as early as possible we can prolong your cat’s good quality life as long as possible.

Our free senior cat checks are a perfect chance to discuss any concerns you may have about any of the symptoms of CKD, or any other worries. Please call us at the cat clinic to book your cat in.
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Are you Lungworm Aware?

WHAT IS LUNGWORM?

Lungworm otherwise known as Angiostrongylus Vasorum in dogs, and Aelurpstrongylus Abstrusus in cats. This parasite resides in the heart and pulmonary arteries and can therefore be fatal. There has been an increase in recorded canine Lungworm cases, but it is still less common than other dog parasites such as flea, ticks and worms. Feline lungworm cases are currently rare, but more cases are confirmed each year.

HOW CAN YOUR PET GET LUNGWORM?

Dogs become infected by this parasite through the ingestion of infected slugs and snails. You may not necessary see your pet ingest any slugs or snails, as they may do it accidently when eating grass or drinking from outdoor water bowls. Cats who hunt birds and rodents will be at a higher risk of ingesting this parasite.

HOW CAN IT BE DIAGNOSED?

Lungworm can be diagnosed by:
  • Blood test
  • Faecal test
  • X-ray
  • Bronchoscopy

HOW WILL YOUR PET BE AFFECTED BY LUNGWORM?

Canine symptoms can vary between cases, the most common signs are: coughing, lethargy, weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, excess bleeding from minor wounds and seizures.
Felines may never show signs that they are affected by Lungworm, however if symptoms do occur they can include coughing, difficulty breathing and poor body condition.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR LUNGWORM?

Treatment is available for Lungworm cases in the form of a monthly prescription only treatment, which kills the L4 Lungworm larvae as well as other intestinal worms and fleas. However, in severe cases, this condition may be hard to treat.

PREVENTION IS KEY with Lungworm.

Here are some tips to help
  • Pick up the poop – Lungworm larvae is passed out in your pets faeces and therefore picking up after our pets prevents spread of the parasites
  • Pick up their toys – toys that left outdoors will be exposed to slugs and snails, increasing the risk of parasite spread
  • Don’t leave their food and water bowls outside – these will be exposed to slugs and snails increasing risk to your pet.
  • Monthly prescription only worming treatment will protect your pet against Lungworm and reduce its spread. Not all spot on treatments treat against Lungworm, so please contact us for advice. Unfortunately at present, there is no licensed preventive treatment for cat lungworm. Lungworm prevention for dog is included in our Pet Health Care plans.
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Bang! Whoosh! Pop! : Preparing for Fireworks Season

As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, it can be a very distressing time of the year, for both pets and their owners. Over 40% of dogs in the UK are reported to suffer with a fear of fireworks. It should also be remembered that cats will also suffer with the fireworks.

Animals who do differ with firework phobias will display a range of problems, varying from those animals who simply bark at the fireworks to try and make them go away, those that hide from them, those that show obvious signs of distress, right through to those that appear to “freeze”. For us as owners, these signs can be greatly distressing to see. Yet for the animals this fear will not only cause emotional trauma, but often lead to physical injuries as well.

So what do we, as pet owners, do to try and reduce the problems our animals suffer due to firework phobias? Simply put, there is not one simple solution. Yet, by adopting numerous strategies, we should be able make this time of year easier for our cats and dogs.

The following strategies may apply to a greater or lesser extent to certain individual situations, and often many different approaches need to be taken at the same time.
  1. If at all possible avoid the fireworks, which is easier said than done these days. If you do have a friend who lives in a remote area consider spending time with them on the worst of the fireworks, for example when the local display is on. Sadly, we all known that now firework “night” seems to last many weeks.
  2. To reduce the impact of the sound of fireworks you can try to create competing noises such as loud music. Remember not to play this too loudly as this noises itself may end up causing anxiety. In extreme cases noise-cancelling headphone can be used. “Mutt Muffs” are available through www.safeandsoundpets.com.
  3. It may seem obvious, but do close blinds and curtains well before any fireworks start to reduce the effects the sights the fireworks have on our animals.
  4. Absolutely avoid any form of punishment. This will simple lead to more anxiety and even cause your pet to become aggressive.
  5. Comforting you animal when they are scared is a controversial area. Definitely try to be at home during any known firework events. Although you shouldn’t pet or over fuss your animal when they are worried, as this can reinforce the fearful behaviour, it may help some pets to hold them firmly and lean into them, while using long, form massaging strokes, rather than normal petting.
  6. Create a “safe haven” cover an indoor crate with a blanket and put their bedding and one or two familiar toys inside. This will become a darkened den for them in which to hide, but it’s a good idea to try to get them used to this area before firework season.
  7. In many situations the most helpful method to help control firework phobias is through the use of a technique called desensitisation and counter conditioning. Essentially, this is getting your pets used to the sounds of fireworks by playing a CD at a volume that doesn’t provoke a fearful reaction, and rewarding them for this non-reaction. The volume is gradually increased, and a strict programme followed over several weeks to months. This needs to be, therefore, started well before firework season and should not be undertaken if fireworks are likely to start soon. One of the most successful programs is Sounds Scary and is available through www.soundtherapy4pets.co.uk for less than £10. If your pet suffers from firework phobia we would strongly recommend purchasing this now and to start the program in the New Year once all the fireworks have finished, and to then consider repeating the program next summer.
  8. Various medications are available to reduce our pets’ anxieties. These medications are used alongside a behaviour modification plan such as the desensitisation and counter conditioning described above, and need to be started weeks or months prior to the fireworks starting. Often at the hospital we asked at the last minute to supply something to help to calm pets. Medications are available that reduce anxiety in the short term, and will help at the time but have no lasting effect – your pet will again suffer with the same fears next year. A key point for owners is not to be scared to use these drugs. By not medicating animals when appropriate we may be simply prolonging their suffering.
  9. Pheromone treatments area available such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats. These are available as a plug-in, collar and now a tablet and may help some animals, but not all.
  10. Dietary supplements such as omega-3 supplements, zylkene and calmex again may help some dogs with mild phobias.
  11. It is now possible to purchase a tight fighting wrap such as an Anxiety Wrap which is design to apply constant pressure to help relax muscles. Studies suggest these may help some, but not all, dogs. They are available through www.anxietywrap.com.
  12. To date there has been no study which has successfully shown any definite beneficial effect for behavioural change for any homeopathic treatment studied in companion animals.
The expected outcome for helping animals with firework phobia should be good if we follow and commit to a thorough desensitisation program. This will take time and patience. It has also been recognised that many animals who suffer with firework phobia also experience other behavioural issues such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder or Separation Anxiety. If you feel this may apply to you and if you are truly committed to your animal’s emotional well-being, there are many qualified people to help both you and your pet. Don’t be frightened to ask for help!
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New Cat Clinic Day at Stoke Road

Due to the success and popularity of our cat clinics on Tuesdays at our Stoke Road branch, we are adding an additional cat clinic day every THURSDAY.

Introducing AMANDA ROSS, our new Thursday Cat Clinic Vet
Amanda qualified from Edinburgh University in 2001 and joined us in June 2017. She began her career in a practice in her hometown of Leeds before joining a mixed practice in Bedford in 2002. Initially, she worked with large animals as well as small but gradually moved towards concentrating solely on small animals. She holds an ESVPS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine. She has become particularly interested in feline medicine and is very much looking forward to running the Cat Clinic at the Stoke Road branch on Thursdays. Outside work, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children, as well as their cat Jamie and their newest addition to the family, a rehomed tortoise called Margo.
The clinic is open for:
  • Vaccinations, Consultations, Repeat Prescription Checks, General Health Checks, Surgery, Dentistry
And also nurse clinics including:
  • Nail clipping, Minor dematts, Blood Pressure Checks, Diabetic Clinics, Weight Clinics, Microchipping, Second Vaccinations, Behaviour clinics and many more
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Thinking of taking your pet abroad?

The Pet Travel Scheme allows you to take your pet on holiday with you to both EU and non-EU countries without the need for a stay in quarantine.

The aim of the Pet Travel Scheme is the prevent spread of Rabies Virus and Echinococcus Tapeworm and maintain the UK as a rabies-free country.
This scheme is overseen by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and more information can be found at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview.
Different rules apply to different countries and therefore it is important to check the rules before travelling.
These rules do not apply for travel between the UK and the Channel Islands or the Isle of Mann.
The common diseases your pet could be exposed to whilst abroad can include:
  • Enrlichiosis – a type of bacteria which targets the blood and is transmitted by ticks
  • Hepatozoonosis – a microscopic parasite which targets various internal organs in the body
  • Heartworm – a larval worm which develops and lives in the heart and lungs
  • Babesiosis – a microscopic parasite which targets red blood cells and is transmitted by ticks
  • Leishmaniasis – a microscopic parasite which targets multiple organs of the body including the skin and is transmitted by flies
  • Tapeworm – a microscopic parasite picked up within the environment that is transmissible to humans, if contracted your pet is unlikely to show any symptoms
  • Rabies – a virus which targets the nervous system. It can be potentially fatal and can be transmitted to humans. It is transmitted between animals and therefore is compulsory to have your pet vaccinated when travelling
Requirements to take your pet abroad
  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies by one of our veterinary surgeons. Your pet must be at least 12 weeks of age and the vaccination must be repeated every 3 years
  • Your pet will received an EU Pet Passport. Any veterinarian can administer the rabies vaccination and place the microchip but only an LVI (Local Veterinary Inspector) can complete the passport. MK Vet Group LVIs are Philip Hanlon, Philip Kilkenny, Debbie Kilkenny, Steve Bonthorne, Sonia Moulton, Doug Brain and Marina Crockford
  • Your pet will be able to travel 21 days after administration of the rabies vaccination
  • You must take your Pet Passport with you whilst abroad
  • Dogs must be seen by a LVI in the country you are visiting 24-150 hours before returning to the UK. Your pet will be administered tapeworm treatment and your passport signed at this appointment
  • You must travel using an approved transport company and via an approved route, details are available on the Defra website
If your pet is traveling to a listed country, you will follow the same process as listed above but may also need to complete a declaration form to prove you do not intend to sell or re-home your pet.
If you are travelling to a non-listed country, your pet will need to follow the same process as listed above with the addition of a blood test 30 days following the rabies vaccination and completion of a declaration form to prove you do not intend to sell or rehome.

For further information please visit www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad, or contact the surgery and we will be happy to help.

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