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Posts Tagged ‘milton keynes veterinary group’

Arthritis in our older felines

When a cat reaches 11 years of age they are classed as elderly, and it is around this age that they can start to suffer with the various conditions that are associated with older cats. The effects of ageing can be seen through physical changes as well as behavioural changes, and there are certain home care routines that can help improve your cat’s quality of life. Regular checks with your vet are important to identify early disease processes, but what can you do at home to provide that extra bit of comfort?

Arthritis – This is a common condition seen in older felines and can result in chronic pain, often owners will notice that their cat is less reluctant to jump or looks a little stiff when they walk. Most of the time owners just associate this with their pet getting older and do not actually act on it. It is important to remember that when you see your cat is looking stiff or struggling this means that they are in pain. There are pain relief and joint care medications that the vet can prescribe to make your cat more comfortable.



There are also things you can do at home to make your cat more comfortable:
  • Ensure that your cat’s resources (food, water and litter trays) are close by and easily accessible, and provide multiple resources around the house.
  • Make sure that the resources and safe places are on ground level to prevent your cat having to jump. You could provide steps up to the resources, beds or cat flap.
  • Make sure that litter trays have low sides for easy climbing in and out and provide a litter that is soft on the feet pads. Even if your cat usually goes outside to the toilet it is a good idea to provide litter trays in the house for times when they do not feel up to going out. It is important to monitor faecal and urine output and consistency to identify underlying disease processes.
  • Pay close attention to your cats claws. We advise that you check these weekly as elderly cats are less able to retract their claws, this often results in them getting stuck on soft furnishings. They are also at risk of them overgrowing and cutting into their pads as they will be less active.
  • Carpet and mats can provide more comfort for elderly cats walking around, wooden and laminate flooring can be slippery for elderly cats that are less stable on their legs.
  • Cat flaps – If your cat usually uses a cat flap to access outdoors ensure that they can get up to the cat flap ok, providing steps may aid them climbing in and out.
  • Scratching posts – If your cat is suffering from arthritis they may be reluctant to use a vertical scratching post as stretching up high may cause them pain. Horizontal scratching posts can be more comfortable for them.
Read more tips on caring for your older feline here
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Exciting New Equipment at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group

Earlier this year Heine, manufacturers of high quality diagnostic equipment, asked for veterinary ophthalmologists who would be happy to trial their IC2 Fundoscope (more later) for veterinary use.

We are delighted to be one of the few General practices in the country who have been asked to trial it.
The funduscope attaches to an iphone and enables visualisation (and photography) of the retina (fundus). The right-hand picture shows a human fundus when viewed through the IC2 (boring!)



It is early days yet and we are still learning but we have already had some quite good photos. There is a difference between what we see and what we actually get to photograph
Here are some photos (not ours) of a normal cat and dog fundus.

Pictures have been taken from Keith Barnett’s superb Diagnostic Atlas of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

You can see how they are much more exciting than the human (primate) ones! The colourful reflective part is the tapetum, hence “cat’s eyes“ (but could as easily have been dogs).

Dogs have blood vessels which cross the optic nerve head while cats do not, a common exam question for veterinary students. The far easier way to establish which species is to check out the animal before you look in their eyes.
Here are some photos we have taken.


This is both eyes of “Amber” who has been blind in the right eye (LHS) for many years. The dark “halo” around the optic nerve head gives us a reason why.

On the LHS we have a bit (oops) of the optic nerve head of a normal young dog. On the RHS we have “Hugo” an ageing cocker spaniel who is unfortunately suffering with retinal degeneration and going blind. You can see how the blood vessels are much less (atrophy) and the “shiny” part indicates retinal thinning enabling the tapetum to reflect more light.

Here we have the right and left eyes of “Mampi” who suffering from hypertension unfortunately suffered a total retinal detachment and haemorrhage in his right eye and partial detachments in his left.

In his right eye the top arrow points to a retinal bleed (post detachment), while the bottom arrow shows “perivascular cuffing” which is caused by leakage from the vessels due to the hypertension. In his left eye we can see dark “dead” patches of retina caused due to bullous (like little blisters) detachments of the retina.

These photos are all after treatment which has brought his blood pressure back to normal. His retina in his right eye is now mainly reattached but you can see the damage that has already occurred.
Finally to show that humans aren’t the only species with relatively boring retinae.
These pictures from David Williams Chapter 27 in Gelatt’s Veterinary Ophthalmology show two normal rabbut fundi, the left hand one being an albino.
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Are you planning to travel with your pet this year?

If you are planning to travel in Spring this year, it is wise to consider planning in good time before you go.

Pets travelling into the EU before 29th March 2019 can do so under the current Pet Passport scheme and will be able to return to the UK as before.

HOWEVER, if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, pets will still be able to travel to the EU but with further restrictions:
  • Pets will require an injection against rabies
  • Pets will then need to have a blood test to confirm that they have produced antibodies against rabies. THIS BLOOD TEST MUST BE CARRIED OUT AT LEAST 30 DAYS AFTER THE VACCINATION INJECTION
  • Pets will NOT be able to travel for at least 3 MONTHS after the BLOOD TEST WAS TAKEN
This means if you wish to be certain to travel later this year, please contact us for further advice or to book an appointment .

Further details can be found at gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
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Summer Dangers

During the warmer weather, we want you and your pets to enjoy it! However here are some things to keep them safe:
  • TICKS
    There are higher numbers of ticks during the summer months, and animals will be outside more often therefore a higher likelihood of picking up a tick along the way. It is a good idea to check your pet for ticks at least once a day. Dogs tend to pick ticks up more often than cats, but we advise to check your cat daily as well. Ticks can transmit a number of diseases, with symptoms that are hard to spot. Our staff would be happy to advise you on a safe and effective product to use against ticks.

  • TOADS
    The Common toad and the Natterjack toad are common within the UK, within the forests and wet areas. Toads are poisonous to pets as they release venom from their skin when licked or eaten. Exposures are normally seen between June and August time of the year. Signs may include: vomiting, frothing or foaming at the mouth, increased salivation, shaking, oral pain and collapse.

  • HOT WEATHER
    If your pet is exercised too much or they are left in a car, conservatory or enclosed space, temperatures can suddenly rise and lead to fatal heat stroke. Animals should not be exercised during the hottest part of the day and never be left in a confined space for any length of time.

  • PAVEMENTS AND ROADS
    Studies have shown pavements and roads can reach temperatures of 52oC on warm days, which is enough to severely burn your dog’s paws. As a test, place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds – if this is too hot for you, then it is too hot for your pet!

  • BLUE-GREEN ALGAE
    This is a bacteria which forms on top of ponds and lakes, which gives a blue-green scum appearance to the surface of the water. This bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye unless it is clumped together. It is most commonly present in non-flowing fresh water such as lakes and ponds. Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, weakness, confusion, drooling and breathing difficulties. Therefore it is best to avoid water that may contain blue-green algae.

  • WATER INTOXICATION
    Water intoxication is fairly uncommon, however it is definite something to be aware of, if your dog spends lots of time swimming or playing in water. Symptoms of water intoxication include:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Abdominal distention
    • Ataxia
    • Weakness
    • Coma
    • Seizures
    • Hypothermia
    • Bradycardia
    In a case, where you think your pet is suffering from water intoxication, please contact your vet immediately for advice.

  • FLYSTRIKE
    Our smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be more at risk more quickly in the hotter temperatures. Flystrike is where flies lay eggs on the rabbit and the eggs will hatch into maggots. This condition can rapidly take effect within 24 hours and the maggots will eat into the living flesh if no action is taken. 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 available – speak to a member of our staff for details.

  • BEE AND WASP STINGS
    The buzzing of a bee or wasp may not be a pleasant sound to us, however it may be intriguing for your pet, causing them to investigate and get stung. If your pet does get stung, please seek veterinary advice and treatment.

  • BARBEQUES
    During the nicer weather, everyone loves a BBQ, your pet included if they get some scraps! However this can be dangerous as some foods can substances toxic to our pets, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins. Bones and corncobs are also dangerous to our pets as if swallowed, they could be potential intestinal foreign bodies.

  • SAND
    Whilst digging, playing or repeatedly picking up sandy balls and toys, dogs often ingest sand. Sand can cause a blockage called sand impaction. Try to limit games of fetch on the beach, and make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water.

  • GARDEN PRODUCTS
    Ant powders, baits and gels contain chemicals which are highly toxic to dogs as well as weed killers and slug pellets. Always check the label, if the product states it is toxic to animals, opt for a pet-friendly insecticide/weed killer instead.

  • RAT POISON
    Rodenticide is used to prevent rats but is also toxic to pets, and can cause severe internal bleeding, vomiting, fits and changes in body temperature. Always opt for a pet-friendly product.

  • PLANTS AND FLOWERS
    There are many flowers and plants that are toxic to our pets, such as poppies, clematis, peony, foxglove, geranium, chrysanthemum, oleander and yew. If you are unsure whether your plants are safe, it is best to keep an close eye on your pet when they are in the garden and keep house plants out of reach.

  • 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 causing swelling and lameness. They can also be found down dog’s ears so check around their ears also!

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Itchy issues – Storm’s story

Storm is a beautiful 13 year old tabby cat. Sometime ago, she started getting really itchy! She had lots of investigations to look for different parasites and infections. Storm was developing bald patches, scabs and sores which were becoming uncomfortable for her. Despite the investigations, there was no underlying cause found to determine why she was so itchy.

Storm was referred to our dermatologist (skin specialist), David Godfrey, for intradermal skin testing. This involves injecting small amounts different potential allergens and measuring the reaction to these allergens. It was found that Storm is allergic to dust mites, fleas, grass tree and weed pollens!

Storm was started on injections which contain small amount of allergens she is allergic to in the aim that over time desensitisation will occur. Storm has had a fantastic response to her treatment and is much happier and comfortable, however on some occasions the response to her injections differs.

Storm regularly visits our cat clinic for her monthly injections and is very well behaved!
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