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What is Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs, and is also the most common form of arthritis – a painful disease which affects your dogs’ joints. Arthritis occurs when the protective layers of cartilage that cushion the joints begin to deteriorate causing inflammation and pain. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease and the effects tend to worsen with age. What are the Common Signs of Osteoarthritis? Dogs with osteoarthritis tend to display the following clinical signs: Limping Stiffness after exercise Exercise intolerance Difficulty rising, sitting or climbing stairs Changes in general behaviour Loss of appetite How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed? If your veterinary surgeon feels that your dog is displaying any of the common clinical signs, they may recommend carrying out some x-rays, along with a thorough clinical examination. X-rays will involve a general anaesthetic and a stay in the hospital for the day. This can be booked in at any Vetsure clinicand most x-ray results are usually ready by the time your pet is ready to go home. What Treatment Should I Choose? Your veterinary practice will provide a complete overview once a diagnosis has been made and they will work with you to provide a treatment plan that is best for your pet. The treatment recommended is generally daily medication or in some cases a special clinical diet and weight loss where appropriate. Exercises and supplements can also be used alongside medications, however your veterinary surgeon will advise you on the best treatment tailored to your pet’s needs. The following options may be available for the treatment of this condition: Daily medication – this is a highly effective method of treatment and will be required long term to maintain your pets comfort. A medication called an anti-inflammatory will often be prescribed. Your pet will need to have occasional blood tests just to check their kidney and liver function whilst on long term anti-inflammatories. A clinical diet can also be used to replace your dog’s normal pet food. Diets come in both wet and dry formulas and are made to be extra tasty for your dog. These diets tend to contain fish oils to maintain joint health. You can also use supplements such as cod liver oil, or a specific joint supplement can be purchased from your vets. Dogs with Osteoarthritis can live a long and healthy life following the correct treatment. This condition does require long term management and observations, and they will become a regular visitor at your Veterinary Practice.
- 3 EASTER SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR DOG
Here are 3 tips that may help you, your family and your dog all have a happy and safe celebration this Easter. 1) Easter Eggsplination Chocolate is toxic to dogs and the increase in chocolate available at this time of year means even more care should be taken to prevent your dog consuming it! It is important to educate your children not to feed your dog chocolate. In addition, curious canines will sniff out the remnants of chocolate in foil wrapping due to their fantastic sense of smell. Explaining this to your children will help keep chocolate and empty packets out of reach! TIP: If you are hosting an Easter Egg hunt this year – make sure the dog doesn’t join in! Ensure you know where each egg is hidden and make sure they are all recovered… by your children, not the dog! If your dog wants to play too, why not get the kids to set up a dog treat hunt? Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include: Dehydration or excessive thirst Diarrhoea Drooling High temperature and blood pressure Hyperactivity and excitability Vomiting containing blood In severe cases, epileptic-type fits If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms then take them to your local vet immediately. Find your nearest Vetsure Vet. 2) Hot cross blunder Many people aren’t aware that vine fruits such as raisins and sultanas are even more toxic to dogs than chocolate! If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they can suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal. You shouldn’t share any of your scraps with your pet but take particular care to keep Hot Cross Buns out of sight and keep them clear from curious sniffing noses. TIP: If you can’t resist giving your pet a little Easter treat, give them something safe and pet friendly – a new toy or a long walk is a great alternative way to treat your dog. Dog friendly fruit and vegetables: Apples Bananas Blueberries Strawberries Broccoli Carrots Green beans Sweet potatoes Introducing new foods into your pet’s diet may cause stomach upsets, so be cautious and only introduce small pieces, one new fruit or vegetable at a time. 3) Spring bulbs Weather permitting, you may be spending the long weekend out in the garden. After all, Spring has sprung and it is the perfect time to clear up your garden in preparation for Summer! Be aware that some bulbs can be poisonous if your dog eats them. Be especially cautious if they like to dig! Daffodils and tulip bulbs can be poisonous so make sure they are kept out of harm’s way and ensure they are buried deeply enough your dog won’t find them. For any keen gardeners out there is it also worth noting that fertilizers can also be harmful to your dog. Avoid the following fertilizers - Blood meal: contains nitrogen which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even inflammation of your pet’s pancreas. Bone meal: contains animal bones ground down to powder. This powder is very attractive to many dogs but is harmful if ingested. Rose and plant fertilizers: can contain disulfoton or another type of organophosphate. This can be fatal for dogs.
- Cats Protection Charity Work @ Arc Vets
At the end of 2016 the Cats Protection were looking for a veterinary centre in North London to provide them with veterinary care, neuterings and surgeries. At the Arc we were already providing charity care for the dog charity All Dogs Matter. This is work we find very fulfilling, so much so that we decided to provide the same service for the Cats Protection. Cats Protection is now considered the UK’s largest feline welfare charity and helps over 200,000 cats and kittens every year through their national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 adoption centres. #charity #catsprotection
- Fireworks & Pets: Advice from the Arc
With fireworks season coming up we thought it'd be a good idea to write a post about how best to manage pets with fireowrk phobias. Bonfire Night is a traditional and welcome celebration for most of us as we enter the colder winter months. There is nothing better than watching the fireworks whilst sipping some warm mulled wine! However, for many of our pets, the weeks either side of November 5th are a time of anxiety and fear. Furthermore, fireworks are now part of the festivities for many of us over the extended Christmas and New Year holiday period. Noise phobia is a problem for many dogs, and also to a lesser degree in cats. It is not fully understood why certain pets become fearful of noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms. Signs may include hiding, vocalising, shaking, pacing, dilated pupils, panting, drooling and inappropriate urination. The good news is that our pets needn’t suffer unduly with a fear of loud noises and it’s important for owners to understand that punishment will increase levels of stress and anxiety, making problems worse. Good management aims at reducing the level of distress to the pet. Owners can trial creating a safe sanctuary for a pet such as a cardboard box or carrier, trying to reduce the impact of the noise by blocking out the sound altogether, or putting on a radio, playing white or brown noise. Keeping lights on and closing window coverings will block out the flashing light that fireworks create. Numerous prescription and non-prescription medications are useful in helping to sedate the pet or reducing anxiety. Diffusers are available for dogs and cats from the Arc, which release an odourless pheromone into the home to reduce stress. It is also possible to try desensitisation – exposing the pet slowly, over time to a very gradual increase in the noise stimulus starting from a level which is barely audible while pairing this with the arrival of food. This would be done until a level is reached where the phobia is eliminated, but is best carried out with the advice of an accredited behaviour specialist. It is important that owners of phobic pets are pro-active and prepare by speaking to us and discussing solutions well in advance of the anticipated event ... so that we can all enjoy the fireworks!
- Tick Advice from Arc Vets
Ticks found on 33% of UK Dogs Most of you will have woken up today to have read and heard lots of publicity regarding Ticks. This is because Bristol University have just published the long awaited findings of their Big Tick Project. Arc Vets actively participated in the study by submitting ticks found on some of the dogs under our care to Bristol, as well as logging the details of where and when they were found. Their results show that in both urban and rural areas about a third of dogs are carrying ticks. This is a much higher figure than most of us expected and is a big concern because ticks spread nasty viral & bacterial infections, in particular Lyme disease, to both pets and humans. Advice from Dr Will @ Arc Vets Our advice to our clients is this: continue using Advocate every month but also add in a Bravecto tablet every 3 months. Advocate still covers the majority of parasites in the UK; roundworm, fleas, mites, lungworm & lice. Bravecto is a tablet that is very effective against ticks and once ingested offers protection against them for 3 months. Because its a new drug and last a full 3 months the tablet itself costs around £20 (so make sure they swallow it!). This cost is the same as a 3 month supply of Advocate and as always at the Arc we sell it at cost price so its as cheap as it gets. For more information or specific advice for your pet please call the practice on 0208 4449006
- Keyhole surgery at the Arc
Keyhole surgery, otherwise known as laparoscopic surgery, is a form of minimally invasive surgery and is considered by many to be the gold standard for neutering female dogs and male dogs with undescended testicles (see our cryptorchidism blog post). What are the advantages? Clinical studies have shown that keyhole surgery for spaying of female dogs and neutering of male dogs with undescended testicles has increased benefits when compared to traditional (open) surgery; Reduced amount of pain after the operation. The surgical wounds are much smaller with keyhole surgery: 0.5 to 1 cm compared to 6 to 15 cm. Your pet will return to her normal level of exercise sooner. Normally she must rest for 10-14 days, but after laparoscopic surgery only a few days of rest is required on average. A significantly reduced risk of complications. Such as bleeding from the surgical site; this is due to the surgeon having much better visualisation of the ovaries and using advanced equipment to seal the vessels. What does keyhole spaying involve? In many ways the process is similar to the traditional spay, all aspects of pre-surgical preparation are identical and your pet will only need to be with is for the day. The main difference is the process once your pet is under anaesthetic. Two small wounds are made on the dogs tummy. A small amount of gas is introduced internally through the first wound, to lift the body wall away from the internal organs, creating an internal ‘tent’ effect. A small camera is then inserted into the patient through the same wound to see the ovaries or testicles. Surgical instruments are inserted through the second wound to remove the ovaries or testicles. In female dogs, we only remove the ovaries and leave the womb (uterus) inside. This is now routine practice in young dogs undergoing both keyhole and traditional surgery. Are there any disadvantages? Not really… For Keyhole surgery we do clip a larger area of fur extending up both sides of the dogs. This allows us to pick up the ovaries internally from the outside, as they are actually very close to the spine of a dog. Complications can happen with any surgery, but they are very rare. In the worst case, keyhole surgery is converted to traditional open surgery, with no long-term consequences. Why does the keyhole cost more than a traditional spay? Keyhole surgery requires the use of highly specialised equipment, including small cameras, video screens and special instruments, some of which can only be used once. Why Ovariectomy but not hysterectomy? Removal of the ovaries is much less traumatic than combined removal of the ovaries and womb. Diseases of the womb in dogs, including infection and cancer, are mainly due to the female hormone, oestrogen. Oestrogen is produced by the ovaries, so as long as these are removed, the risk of diseases of the womb are very small. Can every dog have a keyhole surgery? For very small dogs, e.g. Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles, in which there is not enough space for our keyhole cameras and instruments, traditional open surgery is safer. As a result we are currently only offering this procedure to patients over 5kg who are not overweight. For older dogs, who may already have early stages of disease in their womb or for dogs with confirmed disease of their womb, traditional open surgery to allow easy removal of their womb is advised. We would also recommend open surgery in patients that are severely overweight, although as with our traditional surgeries, a pre-surgical weight loss programmes to reduce overall increased risk would be recommended. If you would like to book your pet in for a laparoscopic spay, or you would like to speak to one of the minimally invasive surgical team please call 0208 4449006 #keyhole #laprascopic
- HUMAN FOOD AS DOG FOOD: WHY IT IS A PROBLEM
When it comes to weight gain, dogs aren’t too dissimilar from their human masters. Just like us, it’s easy for dogs to put on a few extra pounds if they consume too many calories and aren’t getting enough exercise, particularly as they get older. The thing is, you might be overfeeding your dog without even realising it. In fact, a PDSA animal welfare report published last year found that an estimated 1 in 3 dogs in the UK was obese or overweight.* So where are we going wrong? When feeding our dogs human food, our minds jump quickly to whether or not the food is harmful or appropriate. Most owners, for example, know not to feed their dogs chocolate or chicken bones for fear of making them unwell or causing them to choke. But how much thought do we give to the amount we feed our canine companions? Many of us don’t think twice about throwing our dog the odd leftover from the dinner table. For some families, it’s a normal habit and the dog comes to expect a few morsels once the dinner plates are cleared, but it could be the very basis of the problem. How easy is it to overfeed a small dog? Did you know that the average growing small dog (weighing less than 10kg) only requires 392 calories per day? For us humans, having an extra roast potato with your Sunday lunch will only account for 5% of our daily calorie intake. We don’t really think about it. For a small dog, however, that same roast potato will account for 35% of its daily calorie allowance. A small dog’s recommended daily calorie intake can be easily met (and exceeded) with small helpings of dog food throughout the day. Dog food will also ensure its nutritional needs are catered for, whereas the odd potato or scrap of meat won’t, and will make for an unbalanced meal. It’s extremely easy to overfeed a small dog without even realising it, so owners should be extra vigilant when it comes to their dog’s diet. What about medium sized dogs? A medium sized dog (around 17kg) needs around 1151 calories per day, depending on age. That’s roughly half the intake of the average sized human. A traditional supermarket pork sausage contains 146 calories or 13% of a medium dog’s daily requirement. That might not seem like much, but if that dog has a sausage (or equivalent) from the dinner table leftovers each evening it soon adds up on top of its regular dog food. It’s easier than you might think to overfeed a medium sized dog, particularly if feeding it leftovers is a family habit. …and large dogs? It’s commonplace to think that overfeeding isn’t an issue for exceedingly large dogs (those that weigh 32kg or more), but a growing dog this size still only needs 1688 calories per day. That’s nearly 900 calories less than the average man, and almost 400 calories less than the average woman. That extra potato or sausage mentioned above would still take a dog this size 8-9% over its daily limit (assuming it was getting its full allowance in dog food). If we humans ate this way we’d quickly put on a few pounds, and it’s no different for our pets. Don’t think that because your dog is large, overfeeding isn’t an issue. If anything, larger dogs are more susceptible to weight gain because they tend to be slightly less energetic than their smaller counterparts. Age matters too Of course, different sized dogs need a varying amount of calories, but age plays an important role as well. A young, excitable pup who never sits still and gets plenty of exercise through play and walks will need more than an older, less energetic dog. If you want more information on the best way to feed an older dog who is struggling with weight problems, it’s a good idea to pay your vet a visit and see what advice they have to offer. Should you stop giving your dog human food? The advice outlined here isn’t necessarily about what to feed your dog, but how much you feed it. Humans and dogs have a relationship that has developed over hundreds of years of co-evolution, and sharing food with our canine chums has been an important and enjoyable part of that relationship. However, human food invariably does more harm than good and it’s important to understand a dog’s nutritional needs too. Most respected brands of dog food contain all the goodness a dog needs to be strong and healthy, and if you deprive your dog of these nutrients in favour of increasing leftovers and human snacks, they’re just as likely to develop health problems. How can you help your dog lose weight? If you have an overweight dog there are a few things you can do to help them shave off those extra pounds. If the situation is serious, and the dog’s breathing or mobility is affected, visit your vet for more specialised advice. But for the most part, these tips are a great way to get your friend back in shape: Increase the amount of energy they expend. For a small dog, this might be as simple as playing fetch in the garden for a while but larger dogs may require an extra, or longer, walk. Reduce their calorie intake. This is what we’re focusing on in this article and is highlighted in the adjoining infographic as it really is extremely easy to overfeed your dog, regardless of size and breed. In fact, if your dog is overweight this is highly likely to be the root cause. Don’t cut down on dog food (it has all the nutrients the dog needs), but give it fixed amounts and cut out human snacks and leftovers. Make sure your whole family understand not to feed the dog scraps, no matter how cute they seem or how much they beg. Over time, the dog will adjust to its new diet and learn not to pester you, and things will get easier. Stay strong – it’s a team effort! If you have several dogs and only one of them is overweight, try and get into the routine of feeding them separately so they can’t steal any leftovers. Quite often, dogs that are overweight have a habit of muscling in on another dog’s food or finishing up what’s left. Give your dog healthy treats. The need people have for giving their dog a treat is almost primal, so use recipes involving dog food to bake homemade biscuits and cakes. Ensure you take these calories out of their recommend daily allowance, but by doing this, you fulfil the need to give the dog a treat, whilst keeping an eye on its health. Should you put your dog on a diet? Never starve your dog in an attempt to get them to lose weight quickly. A dog needs a full, balanced and nutritious diet to stay fit and healthy, and suddenly restricting a large amount of calories can have extremely bad consequences for their metabolism. There are, however, ‘light’ foods that are made specifically for overweight dogs which contain less fat and calories but have high nutritional value. When considering putting your dog on a diet, it’s always recommended that you talk to your vet first. They can offer advice and recommend food, and may also schedule regular checkups to see how your dog is doing. Like humans, they need to lose weight healthily and gradually over time. Above all, be patient. Depending on how overweight your dog is, it could take months to get to a healthy weight and that’s fine. It’s about lifestyle and habit, just like our diets. Remember your vet is there to help, and if you’re genuinely concerned about your dog’s weight, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your dog gets regular daily walks, is fed the correct amount of dog food, and you cut out human food in favour of the occasional dog treat, you’ll have a healthy and happy dog.
- Microchipping Laws - what you need to know
What is microchipping? Did you know that 8.5 million families in the UK have at least one dog?* Dogs aren’t just pets; they’re family members. Losing a dog can be akin to losing a relative or loved one, so it is becoming increasingly common that owners are looking to take additional steps to prevent such losses. A microchip is a tiny electronic chip, no larger than a grain of rice, which is implanted harmlessly beneath a dog’s skin. Each microchip is programmed with a unique 15 digit number which will be revealed when scanned by a microchip reader. If an animal professional (such as a vet) is presented with a lost pet they will routinely scan for a microchip. If one is detected, they simply contact the microchip database the pet is registered on and reveal the keeper’s details so the pet can be returned home. The implant procedure is pain-free, inexpensive, and generally, won’t cause any more discomfort to your dog than a standard vaccination. Simply put, it’s a swift and effective way of reuniting you with your dog should it ever go missing and get picked up by strangers. From April 2016, all dogs will need to be microchipped by law, and it will be the keeper’s responsibility to ensure that all of their contact information is accurate and up-to-date; this can be as simple as updating a form on a website. So what is the new legislation? Three years ago the UK Government introduced plans to change the way we ‘register’ our pets. On April 6th, that new legislation is coming into practice. From this date forward, every dog in England, Scotland and Wales will be required by law to be microchipped. Compulsory microchipping has already been in place in Northern Ireland since 2012. The legislation is primarily designed to make it easier for lost pets to be reunited with their keepers, but it will also make it easier to identify dogs that are involved in incidents and trace them back to an individual who might then be held to account. Many dogs have already undergone the procedure, but it is estimated that there are still at least 2 million that still need to be microchipped.** According to the new legislation, all dogs over the age of 8 weeks will need to be microchipped. In order for microchips to be compliant with the new law, the details linked to them must be registered on an approved database and kept up to date by all dog keepers, including breeders. Anyone who doesn’t have their dog microchipped by April 6th will have 21 days to comply or may face a penalty fine of up to £500. Why is the new legislation being implemented? “The introduction of the new microchipping regulations will help educate the dog owning population of the importance of not only microchipping but the essential supporting registration on a microchip database. We know there is a vast amount of misunderstanding about the procedure but now that it is going to be a legal requirement we have the opportunity to improve this knowledge, increase the number of microchipped dogs and ultimately bring more lost pets home.” – Beverley Campbell, Anibase. Dog owners, veterinary practices and welfare groups are all in agreement that microchipping is a good idea, so why is there a Government need to enforce it? Most dog owners are extremely responsible and very caring individuals who not only train and look after their pets but respect their place in society and respect the boundaries of others. Such owners are likely to have already had their pets microchipped to safeguard against losing them, so the new legislation will have little impact on them. For those caring dog owners who haven’t yet had their dog microchipped, they won’t mind doing so when the time comes in April, and it’s probably something they were planning on doing anyway. Unfortunately, though, there are still countless dogs who stay lost, never to be reunited with their keepers. Of these dogs, the vast majority are not microchipped. In 2014, over 60,000 dogs in the UK were reported missing or stolen. Of those, 16,122 weren’t microchipped and as a result were not able to be reunited with their keepers.*** The figure above is alarming and there’s clearly an issue that needs resolving, but why the legislation? More than simply reuniting dogs with their keepers, here are some of the things that enforcement of microchipping is hoping to achieve: For dogs that are stolen, it will help to reunite them with their legal keeper and assist in resolving disputes. Dogs that are abused or mistreated before being abandoned may be traced back to a registered keeper, making prosecution of abusers more possible. Breeders will also have to have their dogs microchipped when they reach the age of 8 weeks, so dogs that come from ‘puppy farms’ or illegitimate, unregulated breeders will be easier to track and police. More than anything, the new legislation will help the dogs themselves. In the eyes of the law, dogs are still regarded as a ‘possession’ like anything else in your home, but for families and dog owners up and down the country, this couldn’t be further from the truth – one of the many reasons this new legislation has been welcomed with open arms. What do you need to do as a dog owner? To get ready for the new legislation you will need to have your dog microchipped before the 6th April 2016 if they are 8 weeks or older. If your dog is found not to be microchipped after this time, you’ll be given 21 day to have the procedure done. If you fail to get your dog microchipped in this time you may face a penalty of £500 or have your dog removed by a warden who will arrange the procedure and pass on the costs to you. If your dog is extremely old or in poor health, a vet may excuse it from being microchipped. Did you know that around 40% of dogs who are microchipped have missing or inaccurate information?**** Microchipping is an excellent deterrent against animal theft and cruelty, and can help reunite lost dogs with their keepers, but like many things microchips are only as useful as the information recorded on them. A lost dog with outdated information linked to its microchip is as good as a dog with no microchip at all, and the new legislation is taking this seriously. In order for you and your dog to be compliant with the law, it’ll be your responsibility to ensure that the information associated with your dog’s microchip is up to date, including your address and contact details. Your dog can be microchipped by your local vet, or you might be able to get the procedure done for free with companies such as Dogs Trust who are offering a subsidised microchipping service to help get dogs on official records. Frequently asked questions about microchipping Q: How will the Government enforce compulsory microchipping? A: The ‘Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations, 2014’ will be enforced by the police, community support officers and other local authorities who given the power to act by the Secretary of State. This means that if you lose your dog and he/she isn’t microchipped, it’s likely that you’ll be found out and face charges. Q: What’s the difference between a ‘keeper’ and an ‘owner’? A: The word ‘keeper’ has been introduced into this legislation to make it easier to enforce. Breeders, for example, might not regard themselves as ‘dog owners’, but they are still responsible for getting their dogs microchipped if they are older than 8 weeks – so ‘keeper’ refers to anybody that’s in charge of the animal or responsible for its care. It’s also important to note that having a dog microchipped is not proof of ownership in the eyes of the current legislation. Q: What happens if I don’t get my dog microchipped by April 6th? A: If your dog is found to not have a microchip, you’ll be given a 21 day notice period to get the procedure done. Failure to comply will result in a fine of up to £500. Q: My dog is sick; is he/she exempt from being microchipped? A: If you feel your dog is too old or sick to undergo the procedure, it’s important you raise this with your vet before April 6th so they can issue an exemption certificate. Failure to get a certificate may still result in a fine. Q: What if I’m buying my dog from a breeder? A: If you’re adopting your dog from a registered and professional breeder, the dog will already be microchipped with the breeder’s details attached. Once you take ownership and responsibility of the dog, it’s important that you add your details too. Q: I had to pay for the microchip. Will it expire or need renewing? A: Microchips, once implanted, will stay with the dog for life so you never have to worry about renewing it. The only thing that dog keepers need to focus on is keeping their details up to date online. However, it is advisable to always have the microchip tested by your vet prior to travel if you are taking you pet abroad as part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Q: How do I update my details? A: This depends on the provider you choose and where you have your dog microchipped. If you are unsure which microchip database your pet is registered on you can visit any of the UK microchip databases and use the microchip checker on their homepage to determine which database you need to contact. Most of the databases offer an online option to update your details, you will simply need your microchip number and the unique security password you were provided with at the point of registration. Q: Does it cost me to update my details? A: Your details shouldn’t need to be updated very often; only if you move home or change your primary contact details. Databases will charge a very small fee in order to cover administration costs when you need to change your details. Often there’s an affordable ‘premium’ upgrade option which will allow you to change your details as many times as you’d like throughout the dog’s life. Q: Will the microchip allow me to find my dog with GPS? A: No – Microchips are not GPS devices. They remain inactive until scanned by a microchip reader which will display the unique 15 digit number. This allows the animal professional scanning your dog to contact the registering database and retrieve the keeper details the microchip is registered to. Q: Where and how is the chip implanted? A: The microchip is implanted using a sterilised needle between the dog’s shoulder blades and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. Q: Will the implant hurt my dog? A: If you’re a responsible dog owner you’ve no doubt taken your dog to the vets before for vaccinations. This procedure is very similar and requires no anaesthetic – your dog shouldn’t feel any more discomfort than it would from a standard injection. In summary… The new dog microchipping law is a good thing. It’s something that many animal welfare organisations have been campaigning a number of years for. Getting your dog microchipped is quick, painless and affordable (even free at selected subsidised clinics), and it’s the best chance you have at being reunited with your beloved pet should they ever go missing. It’s also something the government has been planning for a number of years to help reduce cost burdens on the taxpayer and aid with the prosecutions of those who neglect or abuse dogs. Thousands of dogs go missing every year in the UK, costing UK taxpayers upwards of £33 million to shelter, feed and keep them safe.*****
- Pet owners warned about tick disease
Following the recent news that four separate suspected cases of dogs infected with the tick-borne disease Babesiosis have been identified in Essex, experts are warning of the increased risk from foreign ticks being brought over to the UK. What is Babesiosis? Babesiosis is a disease of cattle and other livestock, transmitted by the bite of ticks. It affects the red blood cells and causes the passing of red or blackish urine. Why is there an increase? According to a new study* up to half (49%) of pet owners admit their pet could have been bitten by a tick when in another country and more than two thirds (70%) of owners are worried about their pet picking up a parasite or disease when abroad. Since the UK Government updated the Pet Travel Scheme in 2014, growing numbers of dog owners are choosing to take their pets on holiday with them to European destinations, increasing the risk of a number of tick-borne diseases being brought back to the UK. With the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme, pet owners now have greater freedom of movement when it comes to taking their pets abroad to EU countries. The number of Pet Passports issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency increased from 72,325 in 2014 to 127,657 in 2015**. How do I protect my pet? Pet owners are encouraged to speak to their vet about using a preventative tick product to meet their needs.
- Keeping your pet safe during summer
Our pets love summer just as much as we do! It’s the best time of year to be out and about and enjoying all that the season has to offer. However, warm weather and the summer season can be dangerous for our pets. With summer well and truly on the way we have put together some tips to keep your pets safe during this time. Dehydration and Heat Stroke Dehydration and heat stroke are very real threats when the hot days of summer are upon us. Our pets should always have fresh, clean water available, all year round. Some breeds of cats and dogs are more prone to heat stroke due to their thick coats or if they are overweight. Some symptoms to watch out for include: Excess lethargy Decreased urination Sunken eyes Refusal to eat If your pet does become dehydrated you can cool them down by spraying a hose over their body or getting a wet towel. If you become worried about their symptoms take them to your vet. Cars Leaving your friend in the car for any period of time can be really dangerous to them. Make sure if you need to run an errand, take your pet with you rather than leaving them in a hot car. If for any reason this is not possible then you must leave a window open, they need ventilation and fresh air. Snakes and bee stings Summer brings many creatures out whether it is for food or just to get water. Snakes like to hide in tall grass or in shaded areas so make sure your garden is tidy to minimalize possible encounters. Bees love the summer as the flowers are in full bloom which means pollen. Dogs and cats often like chasing bees however if they get stung it can result in swelling and an irritation of the skin. Take your pet to your vet straight away if they display these symptoms so you can get the best treatment to alleviate them. BBQs and Garden parties Everyone loves the smell of summer, including your pet. Some surprising foods, such as grapes, onions, garlic and raisins can be toxic to dogs and should stay off their menu. Some things to watch out for during the BBQ season: Barbeque: This slow-cooked delight can cause non-delightful diarrhoea in dogs. Food with bones: Even things like bone-in wings can be very dangerous for your pet, as they may splinter and hurt their stomach lining, sometimes even piercing their bowels. Fruits with stones: Peaches, avocados and other pitted fruit can be choking hazards. These dangers may sound scary, but a little preparation and watchful eye is all you need to take the heat off your summer and to make sure your pet is safe.
- Keyhole Veterinary Surgery @ Arc Vets
As our clients know we like to keep at the forefront of veterinary medicine and surgery and we invested early on in key-hole surgical equipment. We perform keyhole procedures frequently and are one of the few practices in the UK to do so. Keyhole procedures involve the use of a laparoscope (camera) to visualise the internal organs and an electrocautery device seals the blood vessels and dissects the attachments. 2 small (<5mm) incisons are made instead of opening up sevral centimetre incisons. Dogs experience less pain with these procedures compared to open surgery and have a shorter post operative recovery of 1 day restricted exercise compared to 7. Keyhole Procedures: laprascopic ovariectomy, Cryptorchid castrations, organ biopsies, gastropexies If you want to know whether keyhole surgery would be the kinder choice for your dog please phone the surgery where one of our team will be happy to discuss the procedure with you. Case Study: Teddy and his abdominal testicle Teddy came in for a check-up when he was 6 months old to discuss neutering him. On examination I saw that he only had one visible testicle. This condition is called Cryptorchidism, the other testicle fails to descend and is situated either in the groin or within the abdomen. The missing testicle needs to be found and removed because if its left it can turn cancerous. Surgery: Teddy also had a small hernia at his belly button so I used this to my advantage as the entry port for the laprascope. We gently inflated his abdomen with carbon dioxide and rolled him on his side to help locate the abdominal testicle. Once located I made a second small incision through which I introduced some forceps, grabbed the testicle and removed it from his abdomen. Once outside his abdomen I could easily tie off the blood vessels and seperate it from his body. Advantages: before we had keyhole equipment this surgery would have involved making a large abdominal incision and using my hands I would have to look for the testicle. Keyhole is a much quicker, safer and less painful way of perfroming this procedure.
- Skin Problems in Pets
Other than vaccinations, skin problems are the number one reason for taking your pet to see the vet. Dogs and cats are susceptible to a huge number of skin problems; ranging from mild itchiness to chronic ear infections that require drastic surgeries. To celebrate Healthy Skin Month, we have put together a handy guide to help you diagnose, treat and also prevent skin problems in your pets. Look out for the following four signs of skin problems in your pet: Red, sore and irritated skin Red and/or smelly ears Constant licking of paws Constant itching If you spot one of these symptoms, there are three main causes that could be the explanation. Read on for an overview of each and the treatment recommended by vets: 1. Parasites e.g. Fleas, mites (mange) or lice The most common cause of itchiness is parasites. The answer to this particular problem is simple – protection through regular preventative treatment. VetBox subscribers receive powerful veterinary treatments at the recommended dosing schedule, so you have nothing to worry about! Discover your pet's tailored plan here. 2. Infection Infected skin or ears are extremely itchy and in order to properly treat a skin or ear infection it will require a visit to your vet. Treatment will require antibiotics in some form and these normally come in the form of shampoos, ointments, gels, injections or tablets. It’s also worth noting that a skin infection is often secondary to an underlying health problem, but your vet will check for this. 3. Allergies The unfortunate fact is that 1 in 5 pets have allergic skin disease. Allergic skin disease in pets is surprisingly common and the main allergens are fleas, house dust mites, pollen and food types. If the itchiness is all year round it points towards food or house dust mites whereas a seasonal pattern may indicate a pollen allergy.Allergies can be treated in a number of ways: Food allergy - change their food. Ideally pick an obscure protein and carbohydrate source such as venison and sweet potato (something your pet has never had before). Alternatively purchase a hypoallergenic food. Steroids – these are still the main way vets manage allergic skin disease. They are very effective but have lots of side effects and aren’t good for your pet if used long term. Antihistamines - these aren’t licensed for use in animals and there isn't any data to prove their effectiveness. However they are safe to use and some people find they help. New drugs – drugs such as Atopica & Apoquel are very effective, like steroids without the side effects, but are expensive and often hard to get hold of. #skin