Protect pets as temperatures set to soar

With temperatures remaining high and forecasters predicting a sizzling summer across the UK, we are urging pet owners to keep their animals safe.

Kevin Wood, clinical director at Cherrydown, is urging people not to leave their pets in cars or conservatories during the hot weather.

Kevin said: “Temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees within minutes and it’s possible for animals to die from heatstroke or dehydration.

“We would advise against taking pets outside on hot days and ensuring they have plenty of fresh water and cool areas to stay in.

“Signs of dehydration include excessive panting and heaving flanks, which aids heat loss as dogs can only sweat through their pads. If a dog shows signs of heat exhaustion a vet must be called immediately and the dog hosed down, covered in wet towels or fanned.”

Kevin’s advice is to keep pets indoors or sheltered when temperatures are high, usually between 11am and 3pm. However, if animals enjoy basking under blue skies then a splash of sun cream could be the answer.

He said: “Many animals, particularly those with thin or light-coloured fur, are highly susceptible to sunburn and even skin cancer, so it’s important to protect areas such as the ears, nose, lips, eyelids and tummy, which often have little to no hair on them and are very much at risk.

“Pets with light skin and short, or thin, hair, such as white dogs, are more susceptible to developing skin cancer, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. However, animals with hair can also suffer from the effects of the sun.

“Finally, it’s crucial to ensure the sun cream is suitable for animals as many products contain toxic ingredients if your pet licks it off.”

The Met Office is predicting waves of high temperatures and sunny spells over the coming weeks, with the UK set to bask in hot weather throughout much of June and July.

If you have any concerns for your pet, contact us here.

Don’t forget your pet in holiday plans

The summer holiday season is about to go into overdrive and we’re urging people not to forget about their pets in the rush to get away.

Kevin Wood, our clinical director, has issued a timely reminder of what needs to be done if you’re planning to take your pet abroad with you.

Top of the list is making sure your animal is microchipped, has an up-to-date pet passport and the necessary vaccinations to go with it.

Kevin said: “If you’re taking your pet abroad with you this summer then don’t leave it until the last minute to make all the arrangements as it could be too late.

“For instance, the required rabies vaccination has to be carried out 21 days before departure.

“Pets should also be treated against the threat of tapeworm before they go away so, again, my advice is don’t delay.

“Similarly, if you need a pet passport, or you need to renew an existing passport, you need to start the application process now, as there’s sure to be a huge spike in applications at this time of year.”

The full rules and regulations for pets travelling abroad can be complicated, as they differ depending on your destination and whether it is an EU country or outside the EU.

Kevin is advising pet owners to check with their vets to make sure they have everything up to date and covered in order to avoid having the heartbreak of leaving their beloved dogs and cats behind.

He added: “For pets travelling abroad, there are numerous factors to be taken into consideration and the situation can be complex, depending on which country, or countries, will be visited, so it’s important to get professional advice well in advance.”

Olivia arrives as Cherrydown strives to deliver best client care

 

Cherrydown Vets welcomed a new face earlier this year as we strive to continue offering the very best customer service.

Olivia Noble joined the team at our Basildon branch in April as client care manager to support the managerial and reception teams.

Having worked as a personal assistant and teacher, Olivia decided to pursue her career within the veterinary profession.

Following a five-year career as a PA, Olivia enrolled at Canterbury Christ Church University to study Early Childhood Studies.

While studying, Olivia could not deny her love for animals and worked part-time as a veterinary receptionist, which involved one of the most challenging tasks of communicating with customers in what can often be emotional situations.

Completing her degree with first class honours, Olivia decided to turn her passion into a career and to focus on customer care.

Olivia said: “I wanted to work in a challenging environment which would make a difference to people’s lives. I have always been a devoted animal lover, so I decided to pursue a career in the veterinary profession.

“My degree gave me an excellent opportunity and learning experience where I gained many new skills, which could be applied across multiple sectors.

“An opportunity for career development in the veterinary sector arose and I was appointed as the client service coordinator at the Royal Veterinary College, a leading veterinary university and specialist referral.

“Having worked as the deputy admin lead at Fortismere Secondary School and Sixth Form, I came across Cherrydown Vets and started the new role at the end of April.”

Olivia’s role includes ensuring communication channels between clients and the practice are improved, continuous exploration of ways to improve client care and the experiences they share with us across our Basildon, Wickford and Stanford sites, as well as supporting the reception team.

“I was delighted to be appointed as the client care manager at Cherrydown, allowing me to put my range of skills into practise and work with the community,” she said.

Alongside her day job, Olivia helps rehome cats and dogs who were surrendered to the practice and co-manages Peaceful Pets – Retired Greyhounds, the Essex based subsidiary of the Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust, which rehomes retired greyhounds.

Olivia also owns two cats, Nigel and Atticus, and two greyhounds, Milli and Elsa.

Cherrydown’s fearless four go nuclear for charity

Fearless staff at Cherrydown Vets in Essex managed to raise a bomb for charity with a sponsored ‘nuclear’ obstacle race.

Cherrydown’s operations support manager Emma Blackman and vets Kim Woods, Amy Andrews and Laura Axten all took part in the daunting Nuclear Races challenge and raised £700 for Dogs on the Street London, which offers free health checks and provisions to the pets of homeless people in the capital.

The four females faced the formidable task of tackling 70 obstacles during the seven-kilometre race at the award-winning Nuclear Races course at Kelvedon Hatch, near Brentwood, getting to the end in just under three-and-a-half hours.

To get to the finish, the quartet had to wade through mud and water and clamber up, under and through some forbidding challenges with names like Blast Wall, Batterram, Cobra Attack, Cage Rage and Death Slide.

Emma said: “It was only when someone sent me a link to the Nuclear Races website that I realised what I’d really volunteered to put myself through.

“I’m a runner and I’ve run 5K and 10k events before and I’m currently training for a marathon but this was something else.

“We were bruised and battered, had mud in places we didn’t think mud could go, faced our fear of heights jumping into lakes, zip lined into water, crawled through mud and dragged each other up on ropes.”

The big consolation is that all the mud, sweat and tears was in aid of a very good cause which is close to the Cherrydown team’s hearts.

Emma added: “DOTS is a terrific charity doing great work with the pets of the homeless. They currently run mobile and static veterinary services in London, Kent, Oxfordshire, Dorset, Bedfordshire and Scotland.

“It’s all run by volunteers which we support at Cherrydown by volunteering ourselves and by donating products.

“It means the homeless can bring their dogs to us for a free health check and for things like vaccinations and treatment for flea control and worms. If it’s anything more serious then we book them into local vets for treatment and DOTS covers the cost.

“We also hand out leads, collars, harnesses and plenty of food to help the dogs stay safe and well-nourished so it’s a very worthwhile project.”

If you’d like to donate to the Cherrydown Team’s fund-raising appeal go to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cherrydownnuclear.

Cherrydown invests in new life-saving equipment

Lisa Pitt with Emilia

Lisa Pitt with EmiliaA leading Essex vets has invested £6,000 in new life-saving patient monitors for its flagship practice in Basildon.

The equipment installed at Cherrydown Vets is used to track at-risk animals to provide a more in-depth analysis of their condition.

The monitors, which are normally only seen in animal hospitals, provide real-time blood pressure readings and electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, to check patients’ hearts are working correctly.

In addition, Cherrydown is also spending £5,000 on a new dental suite and imaging equipment, as part of an ongoing campaign to promote good oral health in dogs and cats.

The suite will include the facility to carry out x-ray imaging of animals’ teeth, to provide a clearer picture of their overall oral health.

Kevin Wood, clinical director at Cherrydown Vets, said: “This is an exciting investment in two very important areas of care.

“The imaging equipment is particularly useful in vulnerable cases and means we will pick up any problems much more quickly, as you can watch things as they unfold on a screen.

“It’s an advanced piece of equipment for a first opinion vets and is all part of our continuing commitment to providing the best care possible to our clients.

“In addition, our recent dental campaign has proved to be a success and this investment is an extension of that. It can be easy to overlook your pet’s oral health and this new equipment will go a long way towards ensuring it’s a priority for our clients.”

Essex dog walkers urged to beware adders

Adder coiled on the woodland floor

A Basildon vet is urging pet owners to be on their guard after treating a dog badly hurt following an adder bite.

Amy Andrews, vet surgeon at Cherrydown Vets, which is based in Basildon and has practices in Wickford and Stanford Le Hope, issued the warning after treating Toby, a four-year-old Jack Russell.

Toby was out for a walk with his owner in Stanford marshes when he was bitten by an adder, resulting in significant pain and serious swelling.

He was taken to Cherrydown, where Amy treated him and administered anti-venom to calm the swelling after an initial 48-hour period.

Adders, which are the UK’s only native poisonous snake, hibernate over the winter and emerge during the spring. Due to the unseasonably cold weather in March and April, they are now starting the make an appearance slightly later than usual, putting dogs at increased risks.

Cherrydown, which offers 24-hour emergency care, is now stocking costly anti-venom but Amy is urging dog owners to be careful where they let their pets roam during the warmer weather.

She said: “This is the first adder bite case I have treated this year. Adders generally hibernate from October to April, waking up when the weather warms up and they can bask in the sun.

“Unfortunately, Toby unintentionally stumbled upon an adder while out for a walk and was bitten on one of his front legs. Luckily for him, it wasn’t on his face, which could have been much more serious.

“After administering the anti-venom, Toby’s now doing well. His swelling has gone down and his bloods and ECG were fine, so he can go back to enjoying his walks – just hopefully keeping clear of any more adders!

“Adders only tend to bite in self-defence, for instance when they are stepped on accidentally or disturbed by an inquisitive dog, but when they do, bites can be dangerous as they can induce lameness, vomiting and changes to the heartbeat, blood pressure and breathing rate.

“Visually, bites typically result in swelling which is dark in colour and which can quickly become severe. If your dog has been bitten by an adder you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.”

Statistics show most adder bite cases survive, with one study suggesting less than one in 20 treated dogs died as a result of a bite.

Micro solution to big stray dogs issue

A spate of stray dogs found in Essex has prompted a leading vet to issue an urgent reminder that microchipping is mandatory in the UK.

Kevin Wood, Clinical Director at Cherrydown Vets, has spoken out after a succession of stray dogs were handed into their practices in Basildon, Wickford and Stanford-Le-Hope in recent weeks.

Returning the dogs to their owners has proved extremely difficult as a number of the strays were not microchipped, while others had microchips which contained out-of-date information.

Kevin said: “The law in this country demands every dog over eight weeks old is microchipped and the contact details on the microchip kept up-to-date and kept on a government-approved register.

“This helps ensure they can be easily identified should they ever go missing or if they are stolen.

“It’s a common sense thing for any dog-lover to do but what’s just as important is that if you fail to microchip your dog, or fail to keep their records up-to-date, you can be fined.”

The Basildon-based vet says microchipping is a quick, easy and harmless way to protect your dog and is available at Cherrydown’s surgeries in Basildon, Stanford-Le-Hope and Wickford.

Kevin said: “Microchips are easily implanted with an injection into the scruff of the neck at a routine appointment and then immediately checked to ensure they can be read by a scanner.

“It’s a quick procedure which is not harmful to pets but makes sure they can be swiftly returned home if they ever go astray.

“Similarly, if members of the public happen to find a stray animal, they’re welcome to bring the pet to our branches where one of our nurses will be able to scan the animal for identification and assist in finding the owners.”

Vet reports rise in number of surrendered animals

Would-be pet owners are being urged to make sure they’re getting the right kind of dog for their needs following a spate of animals being surrendered at an Essex vets.

Cherrydown Vets, which is based in Basildon, took in two dogs earlier this year after they were handed in by their owners.

One was an eight-month-old cockapoo, which had not been trained, and the second was an 11-month-old Border Collie. In both cases, the animals were reported to be aggressive.

Kevin Wood, clinical director at Cherrydown Vets, said it wasn’t uncommon for animals to be brought to them in this way.

Kevin, who is based at Cherrydown’s 24-hour Basildon practice, said: “These two cases demonstrate how important it is for people to pick the right breed of animals for their individual circumstances, and be sure they’re able to meet their care needs.

“It is a big commitment to take on a companion animal – particularly in the case of Border Collies, as they are extremely intelligent dogs and need a lot of stimulation and exercise to thrive.

“However, it’s also important not to be judgemental in a situation like this – and we aren’t. People feel they need to give up their pets for a variety of reasons and the main thing we must consider is the animal’s welfare.

“When dogs are left with us in this way, either our staff take them home to look after them or we work with a rescue centre to ensure they are rehomed.

We will always make sure they have a good home to go to.”

Kevin said anyone with questions or concerns about the type of dog which would be suitable for them can contact any of Cherrydown’s practices in Basildon, Wickford or Stanford-le-Hope for advice.

Beware of spring dangers to dogs and cats

 

A leading Essex vets is warning of the dangers that spring can bring for pets when they’re out in gardens and parks.

It’s the time of year when people like to banish the winter blues and get out in the fresh air, which can present a host of potential dangers to dogs and cats.

Kevin Wood, clinical director at Cherrydown Vets in Basildon, is urging animal lovers to be aware of the potential issues their pets could face.

Bulbs, weed killer, lawn feed and fertiliser can all be poisonous to pets and some plants are also toxic – including bluebells, which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and an irregular heartbeat.

And while ticks are alive in tall grass, lawns and woodland areas all year round, spring marks the first time of the year when pets are likely to come into contact with them.

Dog owners are also being warned to keep their pets on leads around new-born lambs as farmers have the legal right to shoot animals which worry their livestock.

“Spring always brings a real spike in cases for us,” said Kevin.

“People love to start work in their gardens and to go for walks at this time of year and it’s during these times that common problems start to show themselves.

“I’d urge them to be vigilant because flower bulbs, lawn feed, weed killer and fertiliser are all dangerous and can cause big problems.”

As well as the obvious dangers, homeowners are also being encouraged to check their sheds and garages.

“It may sound odd but garden sheds and garages are a threat too, especially for cats,” said Kevin.

“They can wander in unnoticed and find a cosy place to settle down – and at the end of the day we lock them up again, not realising there’s a cat inside.”

 

Micro solution to big stray dogs issue

 

A spate of stray dogs found in Essex has prompted a leading vet to issue an urgent reminder that microchipping is mandatory in the UK.

Kevin Wood, Clinical Director at Cherrydown Vets, has spoken out after a succession of stray dogs were handed into their practices in Basildon, Wickford and Stanford-Le-Hope in recent weeks.

Returning the dogs to their owners has proved extremely difficult as a number of the strays were not microchipped, while others had microchips which contained out-of-date information.

Kevin said: “The law in this country demands every dog over eight weeks old is microchipped and the contact details on the microchip kept up-to-date and kept on a government-approved register.

“This helps ensure they can be easily identified should they ever go missing or if they are stolen.

“It’s a common sense thing for any dog-lover to do but what’s just as important is that if you fail to microchip your dog, or fail to keep their records up-to-date, you can be fined.”

The Basildon-based vet says microchipping is a quick, easy and harmless way to protect your dog and is available at Cherrydown’s surgeries in Basildon, Stanford-Le-Hope and Wickford.

Kevin said: “Microchips are easily implanted with an injection into the scruff of the neck at a routine appointment and then immediately checked to ensure they can be read by a scanner.

“It’s a quick procedure which is not harmful to pets but makes sure they can be swiftly returned home if they ever go astray.

“Similarly, if members of the public happen to find a stray animal, they’re welcome to bring the pet to our branches where one of our nurses will be able to scan the animal for identification and assist in finding the owners.”