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Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Alabama Rot – Update February 2020

Cases of Alabama Rot are still being reported in the UK, with Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists providing an update of a further 12 cases within 2020, totaling 2016 confirmed cases since 2012.

This disease is still very rare within the UK, and we advise dog owners to seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions. Within a twenty mile radius of Milton Keynes, there has only been one confirmed case since 2014. If you are traveling with your dogs, areas of higher case records include South of England and North West of England areas.
What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama rot is a disease which damages blood vessels within the kidney and skin. The disease causes blood clots to form in the vessels, damaging their lining and delicate tissues within the kidneys, and sadly can lead to kidney failure which can be fatal. It can also cause ulceration on the dog’s tongue. Alabama rot is also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), and was first detected by in the 1980s in the USA.


What causes Alabama Rot?

Unfortunately the disease can affect any dog of any breed, age or size, and the majority of cases have recently been walked in muddy or woodland areas.

There seems to be more cases reported during the months November to May than there is between the months of June to October, therefore winter and spring time is more dangerous to your dog.


What are the symptoms?

Most commonly, the skin lesions are seen below the knee or elbow, and are a symptom of the disease rather than being a wound from injury. There may be a patch of red skin or an ulcerated area, and there may be swelling around the lesion. In the following two to seven days, the affected dogs have developed signs of kidney failure, including vomiting, lethargy and reduced appetite. This disease will not be the only cause of skin lesions or kidney failure, often there will be another cause.

However, prompt diagnosis and treatment is imperative for any dog with Alabama Rot, but without knowing what causes the disease, it is also difficult for us to be able to give you specific advice on prevention or where to walk your dog.


How to prevent Alabama Rot?

We advise checking your dog over for skin lesions regularly and monitor for any signs as mentioned above. We also suggest bathing your dogs after their walks to remove any mud. Alabama rot is unfortunately not a disease we can vaccinate against at present, and it is not thought to affect cats or rabbits.

We will update this blog if any new information becomes available for this disease.


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Cognitive dysfunction syndrome in older dogs

Ever walked into a room and wondered why you went in there in the first place? I know I have, and at 50 years old it seems to happen more and more! This is part of normal ageing, along with creaky knees and my silver fox hair. Not every person (or dog) ages the same way & sometimes we see changes that are more severe than those of normal “healthy” ageing.

One of the more common questions I get asked by the owners of geriatric dogs is “do dogs go senile?” The answer is yes they can, although we call it cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses, dysfunction simply means it is going wrong!

The age at which a dog becomes geriatric will depend on the individual, and factors such as breed, but is generally about eight years of age. It is important to realise that geriatric dogs will be less active and rest more, this is normal healthy ageing. What we see with CDS are behavioural issues which may affect the pet’s welfare and the human-dog bond.

Possible symptoms include disorientation (sometimes the dog doesn’t seem to know where he is even though he is somewhere familiar) and reduced interaction with the family, which may lead to fear or irritation. Disturbed sleep, for example becoming restless at night and sometimes crying at night for no apparent reason. You may see loss of housetraining and an increase in anxiety levels. In severe cases these changes strongly resemble senile dementia in old people, and can be very distressing for the dog and owner.

What can be done to help? It is important to realise there is no such thing as a cure for CDS. However a number of things can help.
  1. Drugs – the most commonly used drug is Selegiline .This is an enzyme blocker which increases levels of helpful chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine
  2. Diet- there has been a lot of research into “healthy brain” diets. As the brain ages it becomes less able to use glucose as fuel. By suppling diets that are rich in certain fats called medium chain triglycerides, we can fuel the older brain more efficiently. Also correct levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B C & E and other ingredients such as Arginine can improve blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and help reduce free radicals which damage the brain.
  3. Enrich the environment – It is important to give plenty of attention and interaction to geriatric pets. Most older dogs will still enjoy walks and play, although maybe not so energetically as they did in their youth. Make sure beds are comfy and warm as older dogs will spend more time in them. Puzzle type dog toys can also be useful just as Sudoku and crosswords are helpful in keeping our human brains active
Remember growing old is a natural process which comes to us all (hopefully) and the vast majority of dogs enjoy their geriatric years despite the occasional “senior moment”. Now where did I put my car keys?
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Canine filled weekend at Big Doggie Do

Some of our Milton Keynes Veterinary Group team had a great day at the Parks Trust Big Doggie Do event at Willen Lake on Saturday 26th May and Sunday 27th May, along with Nisha from Paws and Hooves Physiotherapy.

Big Doggie Do is a canine focused festival with stalls, activities and dog shows including highlights like dog dancing displays, obedience demonstrations, and a dog show.

Thank you to everyone who popped along to say hi!
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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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Pet Blood Bank Event – Saturday 4th November

Don’t forget our Pet Blood Bank Event this Saturday 4th November from 10am at our Stoke Road branch in Bletchley by appointment only.

Pet Blood Bank are a charity that provide a canine blood bank service across the UK. Pet Blood Bank provides two types of blood – DEA 1 Negative and Positive. With only 30% of dog breeds being the Negative blood type, the charity are appealing for these dog breeds to donate.

Negative dog breeds include:
  • Dobermanns
  • Greyhounds
  • Boxers
  • German Shepards
  • Flat Coat Retrievers
  • Airedale Terriers
  • Weirmaraners
  • Lurchers
  • American Bulldogs
  • English Pointers
  • English Bull Terriers
To fit the doggie donor criteria, your dog needs to be:
  • Fit and healthy
  • Between one and 8 years old
  • Weigh more than 25kg
  • Have a good temperament
  • Have never travelled abroad
  • Vaccinated
  • Not on any medication
For more information or if you are interested in registering your canine companion, please ring the practice on 01908397777 and ask for Vickie Boswell or Laura Austin. Alternatively you can register directly by visiting the Pet Blood Bank website
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