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Posts Tagged ‘Cats’

Lungworm Awareness Month

Are your pet’s protected?

March brings us Lungworm Awareness Month – are you 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 fleas, ticks and worms that inhabit the gut. 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 will your pet be affected?
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.
How can it be diagnosed?
Lungworm can be diagnosed by:
  • Blood test
  • Faecal test
  • X-ray
  • Bronchoscopy
What’s the treatment?
Treatment is available for Lungworm cases in the form of a monthly prescription spot on 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 this parasite. 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 spot on 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. This treatment is included in our Dog Pet Health Care plans.
If you have any questions, our staff will be willing to help.
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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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New additions strengthen veterinary team.

Over the course of the year, we have sought to expand our team of veterinary surgeons. No, we don’t mean feeding them more chocolate, but increasing the quantity, and experience.

Joe Barrington has been with us in a part-time capacity for a year now, but became full time at the beginning of summer. Throughout university and since graduating he has had a strong interest in diagnostic imaging and dog behaviour. He is currently studying ultrasonography. Joe is shown below performing surgery on a horse in a previous practice.

joe

Tiago Bispo started earlier in the year, initially to cover Anja’s maternity leave. Tiago’s area of interest is cardiology. He consults mostly at Stoke Road, but sadly will be leaving us to start an internship at a referral centre later this year. It is a fantastic opportunity for him and we wish him well.

Carl Jarrett qualified in 1997 at Pretoria University in South Africa. After qualifying, he returned to the UK to work in small animal practice. Carl has a strong interest in both soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery and worked in Australia for 7 years, learning and becoming proficient at advanced orthopaedic procedures. Here is Carl with some of his own pets on his smallholding.

carl-2

Having high calibre staff is important to us, enabling us to provide the very best care possible for you and your pets. They regularly partake in continuing professional development as required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and have regular team meetings within the practice to keep abreast of changes in practice policy.

However, as important as it is that our vets and nurses are highly qualified, equally, if not more important, is that they are caring and compassionate. We really feel that they look after their patients as if they are their own.

 
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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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