Welcome to our web log.  Here you will find regular updates about relevant subjects, interesting cases and the daily goings on at our practice.

Bravery award
A few weeks ago Caspar was sadly suffering from a blocked bladder. This meant he was unable to urinate due to a build-up of urinary crystals, mucous, cells and inflammation that had then blocked his urethra. He had to be hospitalised with emergency, intensive nursing care for 4 days.
We are giving the bravery award to Caspar because throughout all his care he was always very brave and well behaved. He was the best patient we could ask for!

Countryside rules: Enjoy the beautiful countryside responsibly with your dog.

Keep dogs on leads …. Dog walkers are being urged to keep dogs on a lead and under control in the countryside after a series of dog attacks on sheep.

Your dog may be having fun chasing the livestock but it can have massive consequences:

    1. Abortions and loss of unborn lambs or calves.
    1. Farmers are allowed by law to shoot any dogs that are worrying livestock
    1. The dog owner or person responsible for the animal at the time is guilty of an offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and may be sued for compensation by the farmer.

Bag it – Bin it! ….Dog poo can spread disease to farm animals causing fertility problems and abortions.

Please bag it and dispose of it properly in a poo bin or at home.

What to do if you find a…

Dogby law dogs must be kept under close control at all times, be microchipped and wearing an ID tag on a collar. You can be fined if they stray and are found to have no ID tag or microchip. Contact your local council dog warden if you find a healthy stray dog. Vets can check the dog for a microchip and contact the owner if the details registered to the microchip are up to date. Contact the RSPCA before taking the dog to the vets if you find an injured or unwell dog.

CatIf it looks healthy and well fed then the chances are it has an owner. Cats often don’t wear collars and regularly visit neighbouring gardens/houses so are often thought to be a stray when they do belong to someone. Feeding these cats will just encourage them to return. If the cat is healthy – knock on local doors to see if it’s from the area or take it to the vets to be scanned for a microchip. If you find an injured or unwell cat call the RSPCA before taking to the vets.

If you think a wild animal/bird needs emergency first aid, they can be taken to the vets but Secret World and the RSPCA have specialist skills and facilities to treat wildlife.

RSPCA’s 24hr phone line is 0300 1234 999

Secret World is 01278 783250/07954036687

Baby birds – Leave it alone as their mother will usually be close by. If you are worried you could go back to the area later check if it’s still alone. If you find a fledgling in immediate danger you can move it a short distance out of harms way.  Orphaned/sick/injured or un-feathered baby birds – place in a well ventilated cardboard box and take to your local wildlife rescue.

Deer – If you find a fawn do not touch! This could leave an unfamiliar scent on the fawn and may lead the mother to abandon it. They are often left for long periods alone but are being cared for. If a fawn is sick or injured then call Secret World or the RSPCA.

Hedgehogs – If you see a Hedgehog out during the day, is sick or injured please contact Secret World or the RSPCA.

Fox or badger cubs – Do not handle the cub (they can bite when frightened) unless it is in immediate danger, in which case move it to a safe spot nearby and make an exact note where you found it. If its eyes are open then they are usually fine and the parents will be nearby. You can leave a supply of water and dog food near by and return in 24hrs if concerned. If it is obviously sick or injured then call Secret World or the RSPCA.

Introducing the…. Senior Health Check to specifically tailor the veterinary visit to our very important OAPs.

As our pets get older there are certain diseases that can start to affect their health and if these are identified early can be managed to make the twilight years more enjoyable.

DOGS £70 saving 55% CATS £75 saving 70% (includes blood pressure measurement).  A thyroid blood check for your cat can be carried out for an additional £25.

This new service will be available for dogs over 7 years and cats over 10 years old. The senior health check is with a vet and includes a general examination, blood sample to check major system function such as the liver and kidneys and analysis of a urine sample to check the kidneys are functioning properly.

Examples of diseases affecting older pets that can be identified with the senior health check are: Hyperthyroidism and renal disease in cats, diabetes, age-related loss of mental function and activity levels due to brain degeneration, dental disease, arthritis and heart disease.

If you would like to find out more about our senior health checks please don’t hesitate to call or pop-in to speak to us.

Welcome to our web log.  Here you will find regular updates about relevant subjects, interesting cases and the daily goings on at our practice.

Courtesy of the NHS

Laser therapy from a human’s point of view (one of the nurses): “As animals can’t tell us how it feels to have laser therapy I thought I would try and explain my experience! I recently dislocated my elbow falling off my horse. To begin with it was extremely painful, swollen and bruised. Rob and Tim suggested using the laser 3 times a week. Each session was about 5 minutes long and we moved the laser head around the injured area. There was no pain what so ever and the laser produces gentle heat which was actually quite soothing to the painful areas of my arm. After my second laser treatment the swelling around my elbow had dramatically reduced nearly back to normal size and felt less painful. The bruising took a while to go down but I feel that the laser sped up the healing process and also gave some good relief from the pain”.

A guide to keeping your Rabbit happy over winter

 

1) Housing: Has your rabbits’ housing been checked and any necessary repairs made? Is your rabbits housing waterproof? Rabbits do not tolerate damp, drafts or excess heat/cold so make sure your hutch is raised off the ground in a sheltered position and is safe and secure. Extra water/wind proofing may be required (hutch covers) or it may be preferable to relocate the hutch into a shed/unused garage.

2) Exercise: Are your rabbits still getting opportunities to exercise every day? Rabbits are active animals and can develop painful skeletal problems if kept permanently in a cage, so daily exercise outside the hutch is vital. If your rabbit gets very wet, dry them with a towel and warm them up gently indoors.

3) Companionship: Are your rabbits getting regular interaction? Rabbits are very active sociable animals, so spend time interacting with your rabbit. Prevent boredom by scattering food on the hutch floor, hiding food in a flower pot/cardboard tube filled with hay, providing them with safe toys to play with and chew.

4) Staying healthy: Has your rabbit had a health check with the vet? Is your rabbit behaving normally? Check your rabbits for any signs of illness/injury daily as a change in your rabbits normal behaviour could be a sign of illness – if there are any concerns contact your vet.

5) Fresh food & water: Have steps been taken to ensure the water supply does not freeze? Rabbits eat more over the winter months so make sure they have plenty of food and hay. Fresh water should always be available and must be checked twice daily in the winter months for freezing.

            And finally, if you are going away during the winter make sure you have arranged for your rabbits to be cared for by a responsible person.

If you are in any doubt about meeting your rabbits’ welfare needs during the winter, speak to your vet.

Are your dog’s vaccinations up to date?

 

As there have been some recent outbreaks of Parvovirus in the local areas we thought this would be a good opportunity to remind people to check if their dog’s vaccinations are up to date.

Parvovirus is a virus that is spread by direct contact e.g. nose to nose, or through faeces/bodily fluids. It can remain in the environment for up to one year, be carried on objects such as bowls or bedding and can be spread on the bottom of shoes, clothing or hands that haven’t been adequately washed.

We recommend that puppies are vaccinated from 8 weeks of age – this is when the mothers maternal antibodies will be wearing off and the puppy will need his own immune system to protect him.

Protection should be topped up each year with a booster vaccination. Puppies and older dogs are most prone to Parvovirus because their immune systems are weaker. Even a healthy vaccinated dog carries a small risk of transmitting the disease; however this is greatly reduced by making sure they are kept up to date with their annual vaccinations.

Symptoms include: lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea, usually containing blood and sometimes collapse.

Mortality rates are high for this disease.

Treatment includes supporting the patient through the disease via hospitalisation and involves trying to prevent severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and shock. Medications can be used to treat secondary infections and make the patient more comfortable.

Vaccination is the primary method of preventing this disease and picking up your dog’s faeces whilst out on walks will also help to prevent any spread of infections.

If you would like to know your dog’s level of vaccination cover, it is possible to run a blood test to determine this. Please speak to one of the vets to find out more.

Have you heard about ‘borrow my doggy’? borrowmydoggy.com is a website that matches up local dogs whose owners need help walking their dogs (busy jobs, out all day etc) with people who want to walk dogs but may or may not be able to have one of their own. Tim and Claire wanted to show their son Toby what was involved in looking after a dog. Toby has become great friends with Spark, an 18 month old whippet, but chose to have kittens instead of a puppy!

We would like to welcome…

We are very pleased to welcome our new nurse Becky Ewbank who has joined us from a practice in Bridgwater. Becky qualified last year after completing her level 3 diploma in veterinary nursing. She has two horses and two rescue dogs, one of which she does agility with.

Some of you may have already met our two new vets Ruth Barber and Katie Thorpe:

Katie graduated from Bristol University in 2013. She has a keen interest in canine, feline and rabbit medicine and hopes to do a certificate in small animal medicine soon. She has a springer spaniel called Lottie, 2 cats, Henry and Maggie, a cheeky house rabbit called Benjamin and 22 sheep!

Ruth has worked in mixed, small and equine practice in Cornwall and Somerset for 19 years before joining us in January this year. She has two lurchers and a young daughter who is about to start school, who all count as her ‘children’! Ruth specialises in veterinary acupuncture and splits her time between working here at the practice and her own acupuncture business.

SUMMER HAZARD

Adder bites…

A fully grown Adder is around 50-60cm and will have a dark zig-zag pattern running down the length of it’s body.
They are usually found in rough, open countryside but can also be found in woodland edge areas.
They are most active on warmer days and come out of hibernation in the Spring.

How to tell if an Adder has bitten your pet…

Adders will only usually bite as a defence rather than aggression.
Your pet will likely yelp/cry out/attention seek. You should thoroughly examine your pet for:
– local swelling. Will be dark in colour due to the reaction to the venom
– two visible puncture wounds from the snake’s fangs
– most commonly on the legs or face of your pet.

Clinical signs:
– pale mucous membranes
– bruising of area
– salivation
– vomiting
– breathing difficulty
– shivering and convulsions
– collapse (occasionally).

What to do if you suspect an Adder has bitten your pet…

Veterinary treatment immediately!
Don’t allow your pet to walk as this will circulate the venom around the body.
Bathe in cold water to reduce the swelling.
Keep your pet quiet whilst travelling.

Treatment will usually include:
– pain relief
– treatment for swelling and shock (may need intravenous fluid therapy)
– antivenom in some cases.

IDENTIFICATION TAGS AND CHIPS

Following a recent report of a missing dog, we would like to remind dog owners that all dogs are required by law to wear a collar with an identification tag detailing the name, telephone number and address of the owner. All dogs are also now required to be microchipped and, as part of this, details held by the microchip company of existing microchips need to be kept up to date. Without these it can be very difficult to reunite lost pets with their families.

If your pet had a microchip placed by us it is likely to be an Anibase chip. To update your details please call Anibase on 01904 487600.

If you need further help please call us on 01275 343457 or 01934 843381.

ALEXANDRA AND HILLYFIELDS VETS WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT “HENRY” WITH THIS BRAVERY AWARD

Three year old Newfoundland Dalmatian cross Henry first presented on 22nd October 2015 with swelling to his left hock, following injury during his walk on the previous evening. X-rays showed he had a slab fracture of his central tarsal bone (ankle in humans) which would need to be repaired by an orthopedic surgeon. Unfortunately Henry developed a pressure sore on his leg which delayed his surgery and meant a number of visits to the practice for dressing changes.

A month later Henry had an implant placed by an orthopedic surgeon and laser therapy was administered postoperatively to aid healing of the fracture and wound. We are pleased to say Henry has made a full recovery and is once again enjoying his walks.

Henry is receiving this award for his bravery during his lengthy recovery. He has remained cheerful and well behaved throughout his numerous visits to the practice and is a firm favourite with all the vets and nurses.

We would like to welcome Audrey Chanoit who now provides a new Ophthalmology Service at our Clevedon practice. She is running clinics here for our clients and referrals from other practices. She is available for advice by email and for consultations and operations by special appointment at our Clevedon practice on Thursdays. Audrey also works at Bristol University where she is in charge of the teaching in Veterinary Ophthalmology. Please call us for more information.

Do you have a Pug or a Shih-Tzu?

Did you know that many brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs suffer from eye problems? Unfortunately those special dogs are born with a very unique conformation of the eyelids that can create irritation of the eye itself, secondary ocular pain, corneal ulceration and even blindness.

Audrey is happy to perform a complete examination of your dog’s eyes, in order to detect abnormal ocular signs as early as possible, and give you appropriate advice to prevent more severe issues happening in the future.

‘ALABAMA ROT’ OR MORE CORRECTLY CRGV HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS RECENTLY.  Below you will find the most recent information

THANK YOU TO ANDERSON MOORES VETERINARY SPECIALISTS FOR THIS UPDATE ON A WORRYING PROBLEM CURRENTLY FACING THE VETERINARY WORLD.

Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama rot’) is a serious disease which has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK. It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected The disease has been under investigation by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (working closely with a number of other organisations) for almost 3 years. Many possible causes, such as common bacterial infections and exposure to toxins, have been ruled out.

What is CRGV? CRGV is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure) What causes CRGV? The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are ongoing.

How do I stop my dog from getting CRGV? Unfortunately, as the cause is currently unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention. You may wish to consider bathing any area of your dog which becomes wet or muddy on a walk; however, at this stage we do not know if this is necessary or of any benefit.

Where should I walk my dog to avoid CRGV? Cases of CRGV have been reported from across many different counties in the UK and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations. Although an environmental cause for this disease is considered possible it has not been proven with testing to date.

How will I know if my dog gets CRGV? Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin (particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of this disease. It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will NOT be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV, many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.

KEY MESSAGE: although CRGV can be very serious, the number of dogs affected with skin lesions and kidney failure remains low (56 confirmed cases across the UK between November ‘12 and May ‘15)

How is CRGV treated? If your dog develops a skin lesion your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Your vet will decide if your dog needs antibiotics and if the area needs covering. Some forms of painkiller (called non-steroidals) may be best avoided. Dogs developing kidney failure (which is called acute kidney injury) will need much more intensive management and your vet may recommend referral to a specialist.

What can I do to help? There are many ways in which owners of all dogs can get involved to raise awareness of CRGV and to participate in and fundraise for ongoing research Fundraising Research into new diseases requires a lot of funding. This pays for the development of new diagnostic tests, investigation of the causes of the disease and ultimately the development of more effective treatments

• The New Forest Dog Owners Group: set up a research fund for CRGV in 2014. If you would like to donate or participate in fundraising please visit www.newforestdog.org.uk

• A new charity dedicated solely to CRGV is currently being set up – further details to follow soon….. Research CRGV questionnaire: Anderson Moores worked with the Animal Health Trust to develop a questionnaire for dog owners. This can be completed by any dog owner and gives valuable information regarding whether or not there are differences between how dogs who develop CRGV live versus dogs who do not develop CRGV. This can be found at: www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/aki.html Samples: AMVS are currently running 2 studies to look at reasons why some dogs develop CRGV whilst others do not. If your dog requires blood tests during their stay at AMVS, you can give consent for their blood samples to be used in these studies

Creaky Dogs and Quiet Cats

Arthritis is much more likely to develop as people get older and it is no different in cats and dogs. Age is not the only factor in determining the chances of developing arthritis though as certain breeds of cats and dogs have a much higher chance of developing it than others. It is important to remember that arthritis can affect an animal of any age or breed, so it is worth booking an appointment to see a vet if you do notice any signs.

The classic signs of arthritis in dogs are: attitude and behaviour changes; difficulty sitting or standing; favouring a limb; stiff or sore joints; less interest in playing or a general decrease in activity; weight gain; sleeping more than usual; a reluctance to run, jump or follow you up the stairs. As cats often don’t show the typical signs of lameness, how can we recognise the condition? It seems that affected cats can show a variety of signs, such as hiding away more than normal, crying if picked up, aggression, and running away if handled. But by far the most common signs are an unwillingness to jump, and if they do, a reduction in the height they are prepared to leap or hesitating when descending stairs. If you notice any of these behaviours or symptoms then we would recommend a check up.

Prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs are the best remedy for arthritis because they treat the inflammation in the joints and thus reduce the suffering your pet feels. These drugs are often given for a short period of a week or two until the symptoms improve, but may need to be continued if the problems return.

It is important to ensure your cat or dog is not overweight, as this can contribute to arthritis. The strain on the joint from the excess weight inflames it, which can lead to an early onset of arthritis. Exercise isn’t just good for keeping the weight down; it is also an excellent way to keep muscles strong and to lubricate the joints. If your pet sustains an injury, such as a broken bone, this will contribute to the arthritis later on in life.

Another option for treatment of arthritis is hydrotherapy or physiotherapy. These are healing forms of exercise that gently manipulates the joints without causing damage. It will help to strengthen the animal’s muscles and increase their range of movement. Acupuncture or laser therapy is also useful.

Giving dogs and cats nutritional supplements may also slow down the onset of arthritis considerably. Glucosamine/Chondroitin and essential fatty acid supplements are recommended. A good age to start introducing these supplements to a pet’s diet is eight years old. Undenatured collagen type II is another supplement that can be beneficial for dogs who already suffer with arthritis. As with everything health related, regular appointments to see a vet are essential for catching illnesses at the earliest possible time.

A big thank you and Merry Christmas to our clients, here are a few Christmas pets, Elsie and Dolly Fisher in full ‘Santas little helpers mode!’, Kia Rea exploring the snow, Cassie Maysmor playing with tinsel and Chase Povey making sure no body gets the chocolates off the Christmas tree!

If you have any more Christmas photos of your pets you would like us to put in our blog, please email them to

reception@alexandravets.co.uk

Elsie and Dolly Fisher Kia Reay Cassie Maysmor Chase Povey

Antibiotics – Your Role as a Pet Owner

shutterstock_221154205Antibiotics are drugs that kill disease-causing agents such as bacteria. They are not effective against viruses. Antibiotic resistance in pets is becoming a greater challenge, much like it is in humans. Antibiotic resistance is when the bacteria causing an infection are not affected by the antibiotic, making it an ineffective treatment.Not every infectious disease needs antibiotic treatment (for example viral infections). Please don’t demand antibiotics if your vet says that your pet does not need them.
Antibiotics are vital to treat and prevent disease in animals and humans. But the risk that the organism causing the disease will develop resistance to them is increased every time they are used. To make sure that antibiotics stay effective now and in the future, they must be strictly controlled and used only when necessary and with caution.

A healthy animal is better equipped to fight off infections. So do your best to keep your pet healthy by feeding it food with a high nutritional value, providing a healthy lifestyle, having regular vaccinations and taking your pet regularly for an examination by the vet each year. If your pet gets sick, go to the vet immediately.

Do not share antibiotics between pets or re-use tablets that were prescribed for an earlier illness. They may not be appropriate for your pet’s current condition, or they may be toxic for certain animals, out of date or contaminated. Never give human medicines to your pets, unless advised to by a vet, as they could be dangerous or ineffective.

We may need to carry out laboratory tests to find out whether treatment with antibiotics is really necessary and if so, which antibiotic will work best. We will then be able to prescribe the right antibiotic for the right bacteria. Older antibiotics, such as penicillin, are often as effective as newer antibiotics.

Make sure that you give your pet all the recommended doses of an antibiotic as prescribed, even if your pet seems better after a few doses. This helps cure the current infection and will also help keep the bacteria from discovering new ways of being resistant to the antibiotic.

A very important thing to remember is that people’s hands are the most common way of spreading germs. Although these germs can be harmless they may also cause diseases such as stomach bugs. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics such as MRSA and MRSP can be transmitted between animals and people. So please make sure that you wash your hands properly and after you have handled your pet.

If you have any worries about antibiotic resistance then please feel free to discuss this with us.

This advice is from the British Veterinary Association
FIRST AID: How to Apply Bandages at Home

pebbles

If your pet has cut them self and it is bleeding, firstly, try to get them to a clean, safe environment. Your health and safety must come first and if your pet is becoming aggressive, do not put yourself at risk.

Apply pressure to any bleeding wounds with clean absorbent material to stop the blood flow.

If possible, bring them to the vet as soon as possible, or get advice over the phone.

            • You can find bandaging materials in any human first aid box, but if you do not have one of these, a clean tea-towel/t-shirt and other house-hold items can be used.
            • First, try to clean the wound. Sterile saline can be found in most first aid kits. Boiled water left to cool can also be used rather than tap water.
            • Place a non-stick dressing over the wound – this could be a clean towel or sheet, or a dressing found in a first-aid box. Continue to put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. If blood seeps through, apply another layer and maintain pressure. Then put on a firm bandage by wrapping cotton wool around the leg, body or tail depending on where the injury has occurred. This should be done in one or two layers.
            • If the wound is over the rib cage, be careful not to tie the bandage too tight as this may impair breathing.
            • If you are bandaging a leg, include the foot in the bandage to prevent it from swelling up. Put small pieces of cotton wool between your dog’s toes to stop them rubbing together and then bandage the foot in.  Sometimes a baby/child’s sock is a useful bandage on legs or paws.
            • The bandage can be taped in place. Masking tape/sellotape/electrical tape can be useful if you do not have first-aid tape.
            • You should be able to run a finger around the top of the bandage, if not it is too tight therefore remove and start again. If your pet is bothered by the bandage or the area above and/or below the bandage is showing signs of swelling this could indicate the bandage is too tight.
            • Take your pet to the vet to get them checked over as soon as possible.
            • Never leave a bandage on for more than 24 hours.

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