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Posts Tagged ‘pet’

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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It’s that time of year for Easter Eggs

With the Easter Weekend soon approaching, we want you and your pet to have a HOPPY EASTER and therefore during this month we will be making you aware of potential dangers to your pet.

Some of us will have started to prepare for Easter by buying Easter Eggs for the occasion. Whether it be to give to family and friends or arrange an easter egg hunt for the little ones.

Easter eggs are made of cocoa solids containing Theobromine which is the substance that is poisonous to our pets. All types of chocolate whether it is white, milk or dark chocolate can contain Theobromine but at different quantities.

Signs of chocolate toxicity can include restlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, tremours or increased body temperature.

In the situation where your pet has indulge in your chocolate supplies, please contact your veterinary practice immediately along with the chocolate packaging if possible to show or discuss with your vet.
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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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Are you and your pet prepared for Fireworks season?

It might seem early but now is the best time to start thinking about the fireworks period. Fireworks often start well in advance of the traditional 5th November, and can easily continue on through to the New Year. Recent studies show that the majority of dogs will react to fireworks in some way, and often we see this as acceptable. Yet for approximately one in ten dogs, they will develop a true phobia. Equally, many dogs tend to show progressively distressing behaviour towards fireworks year on year. Dogs initially showing mild to moderate fear may progress to severe phobias later in life unless proactive measures are taken as soon as possible. To take action NOW is the key to dealing with this distressing condition.

Behavioural therapy
A long term goal should be to generally improve our dogs’ reactions to fireworks. One of the proven techniques to achieve this is Sound Desensitisation and Counterconditioning. The tools required for this are now available free of charge on www.dogstrust.org.uk. There are free downloads for the sounds required and very thorough instructions on how to undertake this type of therapy. This technique has strong evidence in helping dogs with firework phobias (and can in fact be extended to other noise phobias such as storms and gunshot noises), but should only be started once all chance of fireworks happening have passed. The complete program should be expected to take from three to six months and needs to be undertaken thoroughly. To undertake the full program takes time and commitment, yet should truly help your dog long-term.

Long term therapies
For some of our dogs a firework phobia may be just the tip of the iceberg. It may be part of a more generalised phobia or anxiety condition. If your dog shows severe responses to firework noises, or perhaps is fearful of every day noises, such as doors slamming or traffic, then it may be sensible to speak to one of our vets to discuss approaches which may help with broader behavioural concerns. These can take several months to be take effect, so again now is the best time to consider these type of treatments.

Coping strategies
Most dogs will be aware of and react to fireworks. Many have developed their own ways of coping with them. Yet for others they have no way of coping with the extreme noises from fireworks. This will often result in our dogs frantically pacing around the house in a very distressed manner, or they may simply try and hide, often unsuccessfully. One proven technique for helping our dogs to cope is the combination of providing a safe den, alongside the use of either pheromone collar or plug in. Remember, there is good evidence that these techniques significantly help dogs with firework phobias. Again, we should consider “training” our dogs to feel positive about using a den, and so they should be put in place at least one to two months before the fireworks start, and to positively reward our dogs for using them. The den itself can even be used throughout the year to act as a coping mechanism for other phobias such as thunderstorms.

Short term therapies
For pets where we have not had enough time to undertake the above strategies, then we may need to use medications to help at the time of the fireworks, for example New Year’s Eve. The aim of these should be to reduce anxiety and fear rather than to simply sedate. For some of these medications there is no predictable dose for each individual dog. Therefore, they will need to be tried before the time of the fireworks as a change of dose may be required depending on how your individual dog responds.

In summary, we need to plan ahead with dealing with firework phobias. This is not a problem to be dealt with on the 4th of November! Take action NOW to really make a difference for this truly distressing condition which many of our pets suffer with. If you need any help or guidance, please contact us for an appointment. Further advice about the firework season can be found at www.adaptil.com or www.petremedy.co.uk.
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Heat Stroke – what to look out for!

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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