| Practice News
Our newsletter this autumn covers some general topics of routine animal care, i.e. annual vaccinations, control of obesity (mainly dogs!), permanent identification by microchipping and tooth problems in rabbits. Please remember that our nurses are all fully trained to answer any questions you may have on routine preventative health care and will be happy to discuss your pets individual requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Kidney disease in cats is also covered briefly.There are new drugs recently available to treat this common condition which may improve the prognosis. If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease or you suspect he/she may be showing early signs, contact the surgery for veterinary advice.
|| Infectious Diseases: Is your pet
Did you know that unless regularly vaccinated, your dog or cat is at risk from several potentially fatal infectious diseases?
In cats we recommend regular vaccinations against Cat Flu, Panleucopenia, and Feline Leukaemia Virus.
In dogs we recommend regular vaccinations against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis.
None of these diseases has yet been eradicated although thankfully, as a result of vaccination, their incidence has been greatly reduced. Additionally, vaccination is the only reliable method of protecting against these diseases – there is no specific cure for them and treatment may not only be unsuccessful but also very costly.
The first vaccinations
The annual booster and health examination
If you would like any further information on vaccinations or the annual health examination, please do not hesitate to ask!
| Permanent pet identification!
There is now a simple and effective means of identifying your pets wherever they go! It involves injecting a tiny microchip (the size of a grain of rice) into loose skin at the back of the neck. The microchip contains a unique code identifying your pet.
Veterinary practices, the police and pet rescue organisations have special scanners that can detect and “read” the information on your pet’s microchip – identifying your pet so that you can be reunited without delay. For further information on the benefits of microchipping or to arrange to have your pet microchipped, please contact us now!
| Does my pet have kidney disease?
As our pets grow older, certain health problems are more likely to arise. One example of this is kidney disease which is particularly common in middle-aged and older cats.
Both dogs and cats have a pair of kidneys. Each kidney is made up of millions of tiny units called nephrons which filter the blood, removing toxic waste products, salts and water. These are then concentrated to form urine.
Over time, a proportion of the nephrons will disappear and not be replaced. Other factors such as infections, toxins and cancer may also destroy nephrons.
However, the kidneys have excess filtering capacity with the result that the visible symptoms of kidney disease are not seen until approximately 2/3 of the nephrons have been lost.
At this stage the kidneys start to lose their ability to concentrate the urine, resulting in large amounts of dilute urine and an increased thirst.
If the disease continues to progress, toxic waste products start accumulating in the bloodstream, leading to loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, depression, vomiting and poor coat condition.
As you can see the symptoms of kidney disease are unfortunately very often hidden until the disease is in the very advanced stages. However with regular veterinary check-ups the symptoms of kidney disease can often be detected at a very much earlier stage – before they become outwardly noticeable. As with most illnesses, early detection of kidney disease is very important.
Whilst kidney disease cannot be cured, a combination of specially formulated diets (with restricted levels of high quality proteins and salts) together with new forms of medication, can often significantly improve the quality of life of pets with this condition.
Please contact us for further information, or to arrange a check-up for your pet.
| Obesity – an expanding problem!
Keeping our pets healthy and trim is just as important as in ourselves. Obesity is a common problem, and one that is frequently overlooked, since weight gain usually occurs gradually. Pets become obese when the energy level in their food is greater than their daily requirements, and this excess energy is laid down as body fat.
Obesity is known to worsen a variety of conditions including heart disease and arthritis. For pets suffering with these conditions, weight loss can make a huge difference.
If you are concerned that your pet is a little heavier than he or she
should be, we are happy to help! Having ruled out other medical disorders
which can be a cause of weight gain, we are happy to advise you on the
ideal diet and exercise programme for your pet. Contact us now for further
You may be surprised to learn that the most common health problem in rabbits is dental disease. Rabbits have continuously growing teeth, with both the cheek teeth and the incisor (front) teeth growing by as much as 1-2 mm per week!
The incisor teeth should meet, thereby ensuring that as your rabbit chews, they will wear down. If they become misaligned (as seen below) they will continue to grow and will overgrow past each other; this invariably leads to eating problems.
Turning to the cheek teeth, rabbits can develop a variety of problems associated with continual tooth growth. Symptoms commonly include “slobbers” with saliva dribbling around the mouth and loss of appetite leading to weight loss.
If you are worried about your rabbit’s teeth, we would be pleased to check them for you and also advise you on diet and feeding regimes aimed at controlling many of the problems described above.