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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Kennel Cough Vaccination – not just for Kennels!


Kennel Cough, or canine infectious tracheo-bronchitis, is a highly contagious disease of a dog's respiratory tract caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. As the name suggests, it was historically seen primarily in dogs that had been boarded at a kennels, or had come from a rescue centre. However the disease is highly prevalent and its not just dogs in a kennel situation that are at risk from the disease. In fact almost all pet dogs are at some risk, making the name Kennel Cough rather misleading, outdated, and something of a modern misnomer.
The method of transmission of Kennel Cough makes it very easy for dogs to pass it on to each other. Infection can occur following any close contact with another dog, as the disease is spread by airborne droplets from coughing, sneezing or direct nose-to-nose contact. This means that as well as being prevalent at boarding kennels and rescue centres, it can also be passed on easily at shows, training classes, grooming parlours and even just on walks. With more dog owners than ever before now employing dog walkers, and a huge increase in the number of people getting their dog professionally groomed, Kennel Cough is now a disease that the majority of the dog population is exposed to.


What causes Kennel Cough?
Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb) is the most common and significant underlying cause of Kennel Cough. However, a variety of organisms can contribute to the disease, including canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus 1 and 2, canine influenza and canine herpesvirus. Secondary bacterial infections are also very common.
Bb can also infect other species including cats and can be a rare risk to immune compromised humans (such as HIV-positive and chemotherapy patients).

Symptoms
Symptoms include a harsh, dry, whooping-type cough which can cause retching, loss of appetite, raised temperature, tiredness and occasionally, pneumonia. Most healthy adult dogs are able to fight this off, although many will require veterinary treatment to help them do so. The incubation period is 3-10 days, and the disease can last for up to 6 weeks. On occasion, more serious complications such as pneumonia develop, which may prove fatal in old, weak or very young dogs. 

Treatment
Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are often used to treat kennel cough, and may alleviate the symptoms. However dogs may still be potentially contagious, and should be kept away from other dogs whilst affected.
There are many possible causes for a cough in dogs, but if you think your dog has kennel cough, always contact your vet for advice.

Prevention
The disease is highly infectious and it is strongly advised to keep infected dogs away from healthy dogs. Ventilation and hygiene are important in reducing the risks of this disease.
Vaccination is available and is effective, and is given intra-nasally (a quick squirt up the nose!) Kennel Cough vaccination, like human Flu vaccination, will not necessarily completely prevent your dog getting the disease. However it will vastly reduce the likelihood of your dog getting Kennel Cough, and if they do, the symptoms should be far less severe than if they were unvaccinated.
Kennel Cough vaccination, in addition to the routine injectable vaccination, is a requirement of most boarding establishments these days. It needs to be administered at least two weeks prior to kennelling, and it is advisable to check with the kennels on this, as some require it to be given even further ahead.
We advise routine annual Kennel Cough vaccination for all at-risk dogs. This includes those attending boarding kennels, dog shows, training classes, and grooming parlours, but also those being walked with other dogs, or mixing with other dogs when out and about. The vaccination can either be given at the same time as your dog’s routine injectable vaccinations, or on a different occasion.

Please phone us on 02476 464789 should you wish to book your dog in for Kennel Cough vaccination, or to discuss any other aspect of your pet’s healthcare.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

New tick borne disease in dogs in the UK


Four dogs in Essex have been diagnosed with a serious, tick transmitted disease called Babesia canis. Although this disease has been reported in the UK before, previous cases were seen in dogs that had recently travelled abroad and been exposed to the particular species of tick which transmits Babesia. These new cases are significant because none of the dogs had travelled outside the UK, which shows that an infected population of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks, which transmit this disease, has become established here, at least in that particular area.



The significance of these cases for other parts of the UK is still largely unknown, and it is unclear whether the ticks have spread. However, it is important to be aware that other types of ticks are found throughout the UK, which can also transmit diseases such as Lyme disease to both dogs and humans. Therefore, it’s important to take action to protect your pet and yourself as appropriate.

About ticks
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites which belong to the spider family. They are common in the UK with one survey showing that, unknown to their owners, almost 15% of dogs are carrying ticks1. As well as potentially causing irritation, inflammation and infection when they bite, ticks are second only to mosquitos in transmitting infectious diseases2.

But their small size (only the size of a sesame seed in their unfed state2), means 
that they are difficult to spot and many owners are unaware that their pet is infested.

Protecting your pet
Regular treatment against external parasites, such as ticks and fleas, is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. A variety of products is available to protect your pet against ticks, and your vet can advise you on the most appropriate treatments for your pet. If you’re planning to take your dog abroad with you, it’s also important to speak to your vet about protecting your pet against exotic diseases, transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies, which are frequently seen in some European countries. In addition to treating your pet, it’s good practice to regularly examine your dog’s skin and coat to check for problems, especially if you’ve been walking in areas where ticks are likely to be present, such as areas of woodland, moorland and grassland. If you do attempt to remove a tick that has attached, ensure you wear gloves and avoid touching the tick directly. Use a specific tick removal device (a hook or scoop) and do not attempt to burn, cut or pull the tick off with your fingers. If in doubt, ask your vet for advice about the safest way to remove ticks. And don’t forget that ticks will bite and feed on humans too, so take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and your family such as covering up exposed skin when walking in areas where ticks are likely to be present and checking yourself after walks.

 1. Prevalence, distribution and risks associated with ticks infesting dogs. Smith et al. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2011) 25, 377–384
2.     2. Buegnet, F. (2013) Guide to Vector Borne Diseases of Pets. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

It's that most wonderful time of the year.

Every Christmas, here at Broad Lane Vets, we are busy with problems caused to pets by the festive season. This is an unusual time, with their normal home environment becoming overtaken with unfamiliar visitors, strange trees, bright decorations, interesting packages, odd noises and enticing food aromas.
Here we hope, is a guide to avoiding the common festive pitfalls and poisons, and help keep your pet safe:

 


CHRISTMAS TREES are of low toxicity, though eating bits of them could obviously cause an upset tummy and injury from the sharp needles. A more likely problem is that your cat will view the tree as fair-game to climb, or your dog will find the lights or tinsel an irresistible tug-toy, with obvious consequences! Even a rabbit, and guinea pig, will often find an indoor tree hard to resist, giving it a little nibble.


FESTIVE PLANTS need to be identified. Holly is best avoided, as the spines may cause physical injury. And whilst ivy ingestion might only result in a bit of drooling from our dogs and cats, it can cause muscle twitching, paralysis, convulsions and even death in rabbits. Mistletoe, however, is best kept away with more concerning vomiting, diarrhoea and changes in blood pressure with large ingestions. To be on the safe side, keep your Mistletoe out of reach of your dogs in the holidays and if you suspect your pet has ingested mistletoe, contact us at the practice. Poinsettias are very over-rated as a toxicity. Worst case scenario with ingestion of this colourful plant is oral and gastrointestinal upset, and in most cases it is mild and relatively limited. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Rarely, eye exposure can result in a mild conjunctivitis (“pink eye” secondary to inflammation). Signs are self-limiting and you will be pleased to know, generally, don’t require medical treatment unless severe. Lilies are often received as in a Christmas bouquet. Our advice would be to remove the Lilies, and sadly never have them in your house. These are highly toxic to pets with minor signs such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and oesophagus. Clinical signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming, and vomiting may also be seen. The more dangerous, potentially fatal Lilies are ‘True Lilies’. Examples of some of these dangerous Lilies include the Tiger, Day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Western, and Wood Lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Other types you need to be aware of include Lily of the Valley. This type does not cause kidney failure, but can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs or cats.If your cat is seen consuming any part of a Lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a practice for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the Lily poisoning can be treated.

ANTIFREEZE used in the radiators of most motor vehicles to prevent freezing, may easily be spilled into the environment as drivers top-up their cars ready for wintertime. Unfortunately its sweet taste is very palatable to cats and dogs, who often lap it up from puddles and discarded containers. Ethylene glycol is the toxic ingredient, which can cause heart, breathing, urinary problems, weakness, incoordination and convulsions, even in small quantities. Kidney failure leading to death is often the sad conclusion, especially in cats.



BATTERIES are another common item pets may eat this time of year. The strong acid/alkali they contain may cause burns and caustic injury, and they can become lodged in the intestine.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING may become obvious in the pets living in an affected house before the people, due to their tendency to sleep right next to heating appliances and their higher metabolic rate. Look out for vomiting, drowsiness, incoordination, hearing and eye problems, buy a carbon monoxide detector, and get yourself checked-out by a Doctor!

CHOCOLATE, either hanging on the tree or contained in gifts under it, is the most commonly-reported cause of poisoning in pets this time of year. Theobromine is the toxin, which can cause tummy upset, heart problems, shaking, incoordination, weakness and collapse. Even one small bar of milk chocolate, or half a bar of dark chocolate, can be enough to be poisonous in a small dog or cat. Keep chocolate-containing presents well-away from those sensitive noses!



CHRISTMAS DINNER might be the highlight of our big day, but it could all too easily be the downfall of our furry friends. The fat-laden scraps we are tempted to treat them with, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lead to pancreas problems. Peanuts and macadamia nuts may cause an upset tummy and neurological signs. Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are also potentially toxic, with some cats and dogs seeming particularly susceptible to kidney failure after eating just a few grapes or a handful of raisins, so guard your Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding! Even cakes and sweets marketed as “healthy” for humans, often contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be very dangerous in dogs, causing liver failure. Turkey carcasses and bones from other meat may fragment and splinter, and become lodged in the mouth, throat or stomach, requiring surgery. Onions and garlic, which might get forgotten but are in your gravy and stuffing, can cause anaemia in dogs, destroying their red blood cells. And alcohol, though many pets like the taste of it, can unfortunately cause heart arrhythmias, seizures and even death, so keep your half-empty glasses and cans out of reach.



Early intervention may save your pet’s life - if you think your pet has been poisoned, never just “wait and see”!
·         Remove your pet from the source
·         Seek veterinary advice by phone ASAP
·         Gather as much information about the potential poison as you can – type, amount, when it happened – this information will help the vet
·         Follow your vet’s recommendations


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

What can I do to help my pet cope with fireworks?


The best methods for helping your pet deal with fireworks in the long term involve behavioural modification, however these do need to be started a few months before Bonfire Night to be effective.     
                                                                          
A fireworks noise CD can be used to desensitise them to the sound of fireworks over a period of time.  Talk to us for further information.
1. A 'safe haven', such as a den, will ensure your pet has a place to go and settle, if he is distressed by the noise of fireworks.
2. Pheromone diffusers such as the Adaptil diffuser or collar (dogs) or the Feliway diffuser or spray (cats) can help with mild cases. The diffuser is plugged in to a socket near where your pet spends most of his time.  It releases a synthetic version of calming pheromones to help reassure them. Ideally they should be plugged in 1-2 weeks before Bonfire night.
3. Zylkène has become a familiar product for veterinary surgeons, behaviourists, nurses and pet owners for use in helping pets cope when facing unusual and unpredictable situations or before occasions such as a change in their normal environment. Zylkène has helped many dogs and cats during festivities which incorporate    firework displays. Talk to us about this product. 
4. Getting your pet microchipped will increase the chance that your pet can be traced back to you if lost
5. Actual sedatives may be required for the worst affected dogs, on the nights of most fireworks. Your vet can prescribe these if appropriate.
Make an appointment with one of our Veterinary Surgeons for further firework advice and treatments.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Broad Lane Renovation Update

Over the last year you will be aware we have had lots of building work and renovations to our Broad Lane site. With our 7 day a week opening, and late nights, we were unable to do this when closed so thank you all for putting up with the disruptions this has now and then caused.
Our staff love the changes and we hope you do too.
There's still a bit to do! Our waiting room is planned next, and then our dog kennels.
Here are some images of  what we have achieved so far.


6 consulting rooms with air conditioning for you and your pet's comfort.


 Refurbished clinical areas 


Digital Radiography


Imaging room with Ultrasound and Endoscopy


Modern suite of Operating Theatres



Cat and small pet hospital unit to ensure a peaceful and stress-free recovery for your pet.




Separate access if you have a pet who finds a trip to the vets more stressful than others. Chat to reception who can advise staff of your individual needs.














And finally a new staff and training
room for our lovely team!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Easter and those Easter Eggs

Chocolate at Easter is a popular treat for humans, but it’s also the most common poison to affect dogs. Nearly 2000 cases were reported last year.
A small dog can die after eating a single Easter egg. The chemical in chocolate that gives humans a pleasant buzz, the theobromine, has a highly toxic effect on dogs.
A small chocolate indulgence that would be an enjoyable treat for us can sadly kill a dog, and the toxic dose is surprisingly small. Half a small bar of dark chocolate – around 50g (2 ounces) – is enough to end the life of a little terrier weighing 5kg. Milk chocolate is less dangerous, needing twice as much for the same effect. And a standard Easter Egg may weigh around 200g meaning that half an egg can be enough to kill a small dog.
Dogs love eating chocolate and they don’t have an “off switch” when they are full. They just keep eating until the chocolate is finished.
Last year Elly’s dog managed to steal an unopened box of chocolates from the kitchen side when she was alone in the room. He had to have emergency treatment to empty his stomach.


Stumpy was lucky Elly was as a vet, she had the drugs available to cause him to vomit, but what should an owner do in a similar situation?
You need to:
a). Act quickly. If the chocolate is removed from the stomach within an hour, there’s a good chance that this will be soon enough to prevent serious ill effects of poisoning.
b). Work out exactly how much chocolate, and what type of chocolate, your dog has eaten, in grams. Write this down.
c). If possible weigh your dog, and write this down too.
d). Phone us and explain what has happened. If it is after-hours, then call the emergency vet – their number is on our ansaphone. Listen to the whole message. This is urgent, and there is no time to waste.
e). We will be able to advise you whether or not you need to take action: this will be calculated from the quantity and type of chocolate and the size of the dog. If there is a risk, the vet may tell you how to attempt to make the dog vomit at home (this is not always possible) or may recommend that you rush the animal in to see us at once (the vet can give an injection that immediate induces vomiting).
The most important message is “Do not delay”. Once the chocolate has been absorbed into the
dog’s bloodstream, there’s sometimes little that can be done to help.
Poisoning signs start within six hours of the chocolate being eaten, reaching a peak at around twelve hours. Classic signs include restlessness, vomiting and diarrhoea, with tremors, convulsions and heart failure following soon after. Even with treatment, some dogs survive but many don’t. Sadly dogs die of chocolate poisoning every year.

This weekend, enjoy your Easter eggs, but whatever you do, please keep them out of the reach of your dogs.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas Plant Selection.

We do love Christmas plants around the house during the festive season. Particularly festive is the Poinsettia brightening the dark winter evenings and adding that splash of Christmas colour. It just would not be Christmas without poinsettias! You may be surprised to hear we have them in our homes and we often receive the comment from family “I can’t believe that you of all people have Poinsettias out around your pets, knowing that they can be poisonous.”
And this is where we can assure, and our guests, that poinsettias are very over-rated as a toxicity. Their ability to truly result in toxicity has long ago been hybridized away. Worst case scenario with ingestion of this colourful plant is oral and gastrointestinal upset, and in most cases it is mild and relatively limited. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Rarely, eye exposure can result in a mild conjunctivitis (“pink eye” secondary to inflammation). Signs are self-limiting and generally don’t require medical treatment unless severe.


Mistletoe, however, is best kept away with more concerning vomiting, diarrhoea and changes in blood pressure with large ingestions.  
To be on the safe side, keep your Mistletoe out of reach of your dogs in the holidays and if you suspect your pet has ingested mistletoe, contact us at the practice.


Holly also can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and depression but again, these are generally mild. 

If ingested, most pets lip smack, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves.


Lilies are often received as in a Christmas bouquet. Our advice would be to remove the Lilies, and sadly never have them in your house. These are highly toxic to pets with minor signs such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus. Clinical signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming, and vomiting may also be seen. The more dangerous, potentially fatal Lilies are ‘True Lilies’. Examples of some of these dangerous Lilies include the Tiger, Day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Stargazer, Red, Western, and Wood Lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Other types you need to be aware of include Lily of the Valley. This type does not cause kidney failure, but can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs or cats.



If your cat is seen consuming any part of a Lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a practice for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently the Lily poisoning can be treated.



Don’t let this put you off our beautiful Festive plants. Enjoy them in your home, just select them carefully and think about ‘safe’ positions. Merry Christmas! 

Monday, 8 December 2014

HOW TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE THIS CHRISTMAS



Every Christmas, here at Broad Lane Vets, we see pets with problems caused by the festive season. This is a difficult time, with their usual home environment becoming overtaken with unfamiliar visitors, strange trees, bright decorations, interesting packages, odd noises and enticing food aromas. Here is a guide to avoiding the common festive pitfalls and poisons, and help keep your pet safe:

CHRISTMAS TREES are of low toxicity, though eating bits of them could obviously cause an upset tummy and injury from the sharp needles. A more likely problem is that your cat will view the tree as fair-game to climb, or your dog will find the lights or tinsel an irresistible tug-toy, with obvious consequences! Even a rabbit will often find an indoor tree hard to resist, giving it a little nibble. Perhaps consider an alternative location for your tree this year?

FESTIVE PLANTS need to be identified. Holly berries are best avoided, and the spines may cause physical injury. And whilst ivy ingestion might only result in a bit of drooling from our dogs and cats, it can cause muscle twitching, paralysis, convulsions and even death in rabbits. Mistletoe tends to cause an upset tummy in dogs and cats, and Poinsettia is toxic to cats, as are Lilies.



ANTIFREEZE used in the radiators of most motor vehicles to prevent freezing, may easily be spilled into the environment as drivers top-up their cars ready for wintertime. Unfortunately its sweet taste is very palatable to cats and dogs, who often lap it up from puddles and discarded containers. Ethylene glycol is the toxic ingredient, which can cause heart, breathing, urinary problems, weakness, incoordination and convulsions, even in small quantities. Kidney failure leading to death is often the sad conclusion, especially in cats.

BATTERIES are another common item pets may eat this time of year. The strong acid/alkali they contain may cause burns and caustic injury, and they can become lodged in the intestine.

CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING may become obvious in the pets living in an affected house before the people, due to their tendency to sleep right next to heating appliances and their higher metabolic rate. Look out for vomiting, drowsiness, incoordination, hearing and eye problems, buy a carbon monoxide detector, and get yourself checked-out by a Doctor!

CHOCOLATE, either hanging on the tree or contained in gifts under it, is the most commonly-reported cause of poisoning in pets this time of year. Theobromine is the toxin, which can cause tummy upset, heart problems, shaking, incoordination, weakness and collapse. Even one small bar of milk chocolate, or half a bar of dark chocolate, can be enough to be poisonous in a small dog or cat. Keep chocolate-containing presents well-away from those sensitive noses!

CHRISTMAS DINNER might be the highlight of our big day, but it could all too easily be the downfall of our furry friends. The fat-laden scraps we are tempted to treat them with, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lead to pancreas problems. Peanuts and macadamia nuts may cause an upset tummy and neurological signs. Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are also potentially toxic, with some cats and dogs seeming particularly susceptible to kidney failure after eating just a few grapes or a handful of raisins, so guard your Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding! Even cakes and sweets marketed as “healthy” for humans, often contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be very dangerous in dogs, causing liver failure. Turkey carcasses and bones from other meat may fragment and splinter, and become lodged in the mouth, throat or stomach, requiring surgery. Onions and garlic, which might get forgotten but are in your gravy and stuffing, can cause anaemia in dogs, destroying their red blood cells. And alcohol, though many pets like the taste of it, can unfortunately cause heart arrhythmias, seizures and even death, so keep your half-empty glasses and cans out of reach.



Early intervention may save your pet’s life - if you think your pet has been poisoned, never just “wait and see”!
·         Remove your pet from the source
·         Seek veterinary advice by phone ASAP
·         Gather as much information about the potential poison as you can – type, amount, when it happened – this information will help the vet
·         Follow your vet’s recommendations


Elly Pittaway is Veterinary Surgeon and Director at Broad Lane Vets, an award-winning, family-run practice with sites at Broad Lane and Radford Road in Coventry, and on Kenilworth Road in Balsall Common. For more information about the practice, including our Christmas opening times, please visit www.broadlanevets.co.uk. You can also like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Hedgehogs in November

November is highly significant for our hedgehogs for 2 reasons.  The first is Bonfire night (week) and the other is for hibernation, with many going into hibernation around the end of November.

When tidying up your gardens please check any bonfires before you light them. If possible lift the materials around the bottom edge of the pile using a broom handle or similar and check for extra piles of leaves or you may even see the hedgehog itself.  A disturbed hedgehog may also make a hissing sound (like a snake) to try to intimidate those disturbing it.  Start by lighting one side bonfire and allow the quiet side, ie the side with the least people standing around, to remain unburnt for a few minutes as this may allow an escape route for any missed hedgehogs.

If you find a hedgehog put it in a high sided box with some meat based cat food and a towel to snuggle under.  Put it in a quiet place and once the noise etc has died down release the hedgehog with its dish of food.



Depending on the weather and how far north you are will depend on when those larger hedgehogs will go into hibernation. Late November is about the time many will choose.  Those that do not hibernate (Autumn Juveniles), particularly when the weather turns colder will need extra help. 

Regular visitors should be able to cope provided extra food is always put out every evening.  Weighing them regularly should ensure there is a weight gain.  If there is a problem eg out in the day or there is only a small weight gain or it is still considered too small to hibernate and the weather is closing in then contact the BHPS for details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator.  In addition those wandering without a regular supply of food and especially when there are frosts expected will struggle to find any natural food so they too will need to be rescued.  So if you find a hedgehog that you have not seen around before weigh it and call the BHPS for advice.


If you are concerned about any hedgehog, or you see one out in the day, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 (if you can weigh the hedgehog first that is always helpful, but do use gloves when you handle them).  For more information about hedgehogs and how to help them, including a leaflet on Autumn Juveniles visit the BHPS web site at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk  

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Acupuncture for cats by Sophie Edward-Jenks MA VetMB CertAVP MRCVS


Cats often respond much better to acupuncture than you might imagine!  We use very fine needles that are inserted through the skin and find that the majority of patients tolerate them very well. Acupuncture evolved in China and has been used for over two thousand years to treat a variety of conditions.  It has a number of effects on the body such as boosting the immune system and promoting healing.  One of the ways it works to provide pain relief is by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers (opioids). 

This week I treated a beautiful 19 year old cat called Oscar and thought I would share a little bit about him and his acupuncture treatment with you.


Oscar’s favourite things are sleeping, eating his food, and peeking out of the window to check up on what’s going on outside.  He adores going out into his owners garden for a mooch around and a sunbathe.  His hearing is not as good as it used to be so he doesn’t like younger cats sneaking up on him when he’s out and about!
Oscar’s owner has been bringing Oscar to Broad Lane Vets for acupuncture to help with his arthritis and kidney disease.  Although Oscar dislikes trips to the vet to have his nails trimmed he likes coming in for acupuncture treatments and normally sits patiently throughout.  His owner says acupuncture makes Oscar more comfortable and helps him with his mobility.




Oscar can be nippy when he doesn’t want to do something so it is lovely to see him enjoying coming in to Broad Lane and being so calm during his acupuncture.   



It is quite common for cats and dogs to become sleepy during and after their treatment so we usually advise they take it easy afterwards – here Oscar is relaxing on the consult table! 


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dog Acupuncture by Sophie Edward-Jenks MA VetMB CertAVP MRCVS

This is Tye, a 7 year old male cross breed.  His owner got him from a rescue charity when he was just 4 months old having been found wandering stray and emaciated.  Tye is very closely bonded to his owner and likes to be near her at all times!




His favourite toy is his ball on a rope and he loves playing games that involve balls and fetching things.  He loves his food but is on a diet at the moment to try and keep his weight down.  Tye hates fireworks and thunderstorms and has been known to jump into his owners lap for a reassuring cuddle if he gets frightened.  His naughtiest habit is chasing cars and herding his owner around.
Tye comes to Broad Lane Vets for acupuncture to treat arthritis and stiffness in his hips.  Acupuncture evolved in China and has been used for over two thousand years.  One of the ways it works is to provide pain relief by stimulating the body to produce more of its own natural painkillers. 
When he first started coming he was a bit nervous when I went near his back legs as he thought I was going to express his anal glands but now he relaxes and enjoys a few low fat treats whilst I place the acupuncture needles. 



The majority of dogs don’t appear to notice the needles going through the skin as they are very fine at just 0.25mm wide.







Tye relaxes whlist we leave the needles in for up to 20 minutes before taking them out and having a count up to check they  have all been retrieved!
Tye’s  owner says he is much more comfortable after each treatment and they are now able to go out for longer walks and start to build up his exercise to help control his weight.





It is quite common for dogs to become sleepy during and after their treatment so we usually advise they take it easy afterwards and just go out for a short walk that evening.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bones and Raw Food Diet (BARF)

After a few clients discussing this subject recently we thought we would publish this interesting article, about BARF Diets, by Dr Marge Chandler. She is a Consultant in Small Animal Nutrition, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Edinburgh. 

Bones and Raw Food Diet (BARF)

by veterinary expert Marge Chandler on February 27, 2014 category Foods and Nutrition

Is it the Healthiest Choice for Dogs?
Fresh wholesome foods sound like a wonderful thing to feed our pets, and many dogs appear to do well on these diets, but are there hidden risks? If feeding bones and raw foods is your choice for feeding your dog, you should be aware of the potential problems as well as the benefits of these diets.
What are the benefits of a bones and raw food diet?
By choosing the foods to feed, you are in control of the ingredients fed to your dog. There are not likely to be preservatives or additives if you are feeding organic foods. Some people enjoy preparing foods for their pets and find this a rewarding part of their bond with their pet.
Do be aware that there are a lot of false stories about the ingredients of commercial pet foods. They do not contain dead animals! They may contain “offal”, or the guts of animals, although this is what wild animals will eat. They do contain antioxidant preservatives to prevent them from becoming rancid. Some of them also contain textured vegetable proteins that appear to be meat and are not, and some of them do contain colourings to make them appear more appealing. These are the same colourings added to processed human foods and must be generally considered safe, although each of us need to decide if we want to eat them or feed them to our dogs.
Is it a balanced diet?
The feeding programme for some of the raw food diets is meant to balance the diet over a couple of weeks, rather than for each meal. This is similar to the way many of us feed ourselves and our families, and with the right blend of ingredients this can work; however, in years as a veterinary nutritionist I have checked many homemade diet recipes and programmes and none of them were balanced for the essential nutrients.
A nutritional study of the bones and raw food diet (the ‘BARF’ diet) published in 2001 showed the diet to be deficient in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and excessively high in vitamin D. Another study of homemade diets showed that even combining three recipes over a week resulted in deficiencies, so varying the foods may not balance out the deficiencies, although the dogs may not show any signs of this in the short term. It is likely that some adult dogs could cope with some of these calcium and phosphorus imbalances, but they may affect the strength of the bones of growing dogs. The zinc deficiencies may cause skin disorders.
It’s natural, but is it safe?

Several studies have looked at bacterial contamination of raw foods and shedding of bacteria in the faeces of dogs fed raw foods, and have shown that 20-35% of raw poultry tested and 80% of raw food diets for dogs tested positive for Salmonella and 30% of stool samples from these dogs were positive for Salmonella. Raw food diets have also tested positive for E. coli and Yersinia enterocolitica (bacteria that may cause gastrointestinal upset). Otherwise healthy dogs may be able to cope with ingestion of these bacteria, but very young, old, or immuno-compromised dogs may not be able to do so. Further, the faeces contaminate the environment with these bacteria.
Parasites that may be present in raw meat in include Toxoplasma gondii, Sarcocystis, Neospora caninum, Toxocara canis (round worms), Taenia and Echinococcus (tape worms).
When handling raw foods, either in preparation for human consumption or for the dog’s dinner, the cook must be scrupulous in hygiene, washing all surfaces and hands before touching anything or anyone else. Small children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised (e.g. anyone ill or on immunosuppressive medications) should not be handling the raw meat.
Some advocates of feeding raw meat and bones diets claim that the bones are beneficial for oral and dental health. Studies in wild dogs, found that 41% had evidence of periodontitis, although only 2% had dental tartar, so while the teeth may appear cleaner, the gums are not necessarily healthier.
Are raw bones safe?
Raw bones are usually added to the diet as a calcium source and for dental health. Chewing on a large meaty bone does seem a great source of joy for many dogs, and if it is large enough that it cannot be chewed up is generally considered safe. Analysis of the BARF diet has not confirmed that feeding bones is an adequate source of calcium.
There is a conception that feeding raw bones is safer than feeding cooked bones but there have been no objective studies on this. Bones that become stuck in the stomach, or more likely in the intestine, may perforate the gut, causing a potentially fatal peritonitis or abdominal infection. The only way to remove a bone stuck in the intestine is by surgery. Sometimes a segment of the intestine may need to be removed as well if it has been damaged by the bone. A bone stuck in the oesophagus is an emergency and may require an urgent appointment with a specialist to remove it. This can be a fatal condition and the longer it is stuck the worse the prognosis.

Summary
  • In summary, if you chose to feed the BARF diet or any other diet involving raw foods, we recommend that very special hygienic care is used in handling the food and the dog’s faeces.
  • Remember to de-worm your dog regularly, and tell your veterinary surgeon what diet you are feeding so that if your dog develops gastrointestinal disorders they will know to look for the bacteria and parasites mentioned above.
  • Ideally, the diet should be balanced by a veterinary nutritionist and supplemented as necessary.
  • If you feed bones, either raw or cooked, that can be ingested by your dog, you are running the risk of oesophageal or gastrointestinal obstructions. It may be possible to chop or grind the bone up small enough (e.g. less than 0.5 cm) that they are less likely to get stuck. Alternatively, consider consulting a veterinary nutritionist to determine the amount of calcium (and other nutrients) to add to your dog’s diet and skip the bones.

About Marge Chandler
Dr Marge Chandler is a Consultant in Small Animal Nutrition and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Edinburgh. After qualifying from Colorado State University she was in general practice for 4 years before returning to do a double residency in small animal internal medicine and clinical nutrition at Colorado State University and Massey University in New Zealand.