Act now if taking pets abroad after Brexit

We’re reminding pet owners they have under a month to act if they intend to travel to the European Union (EU) with their furry friend from the end of March.

Kevin Wood, our clinical director, is urging pet owners to be organised with their preparations for foreign travel, should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

Currently, dogs, cats and ferrets can travel anywhere in the EU as long as they have a pet passport, which sees owners take their animals to an Official Veterinarian (OV) three weeks before a trip to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

However, last month, the Government issued a paper preparing for a possible No Deal Brexit, in which it advised pet owners wanting to go abroad after March 29 that they have to take their animals to an OV at least four months before travelling – meaning the end of November deadline is fast approaching.

Kevin said: “The turnaround for organising microchipping, vaccinations and a pet passport has always been relatively short but the Government has now warned that, with no EU deal, pet owners may have to visit their OV as early as the end of next month for an April trip abroad.

“The pet could have to have a rabies vaccination, followed by a blood test at least 30 days after the date of vaccination to show the pet has become immune. Once that is completed, the pet would then have to wait at least three months from the date of the blood test before they can travel.

“This process takes at least four months in total. Owners would then have to visit a vet to obtain a health certificate, which can’t be done more than 10 days before travel.

“It’s certainly worth being organised ahead of any planned trips abroad with your pets early next year and with time ticking until the November deadline, I’d recommend getting your animals booked in to see an OV as soon as possible to avoid any undue or unforeseen delays.”

Advice to keep pets calm during ‘fireworks season’

 

We’re offering help and advice to ensure it’s not a time of year for pets to fear, with Halloween and Bonfire Night both on the horizon.

Whether it’s trick or treaters knocking on doors, Bonfire Night revellers letting off fireworks or further seasonal celebrations up until Christmas and the new year, autumn and winter can be an anxious time of year for pets.

However, our clinical director Kevin Wood says there are plenty of steps you can take to keep your pet calm and safe.

“The next few months can be really stressful for pets with Halloween and Bonfire Night so close together,” said Kevin.

“First there’s the Halloween visitors knocking on doors, which can unsettle pets, then it’s the loud bangs and noises of fireworks from the start of November and beyond.

“There are a lot of things pet owners can do to help, such as distracting animals with active play, the television or calm, soothing music.

“I’d also recommend owners of young dogs who are experiencing their first Halloween and Bonfire Night begin a programme of counter-conditioning with the first firework.

“However, my top recommendation for owners is to remain calm. While it may be tempting to comfort a spooked cat or dog, this can actually be counter-productive. Both ‘mollycoddling’ and punishing a frightened pet could reinforce negative behaviour. If owners appear to be unaffected, pets will follow this example.”

We’re offering a free nurse clinic for advice on keeping pets safe during fireworks season. For more information, call 01268 533 636 or search for ‘Cherrydown Vets’ on Facebook.

Top tips to ensure your pet stays safe during fireworks season:
• Always keep cats and dogs inside when fireworks are let off
• Close all windows and doors, draw curtains and seal up cat flaps
• Let your pet pace around, whine, mew and hide if they want to. Don’t try to coax them out – they are trying to find safety and should not be disturbed
• Hutches and cages should, if possible, be taken into a quiet room indoors or into a garage or shed
• Give your small pet extra bedding to burrow into so it feels safe

Be aware of ‘trojan’ dogs

The danger of ‘trojan’ dogs from abroad bringing disease, infection and even rabies into the UK has been highlighted by Kevin Wood, our clinical director.

Kevin wants to raise awareness of the increase of stray dogs being rehomed in this country after being rescued from pet sanctuaries on the continent.

He said the illicit importing of other dogs into Britain, by-passing the rules and regulations of the UK Pet Travel Scheme, is another threat to our domestic pets.

We are supporting the British Veterinary Association’s call to restrict the movement of dogs from countries with high rabies risk and countries endemic for diseases which aren’t prevalent in the UK.

Kevin said: “A ‘trojan’ dog is a stray dog which has been brought into the UK for rehoming without a clear health record or with no health history at all.

“These dogs are a big worry because there is a real risk that they are carrying infections which are common across continental Europe, and further afield, but which are not present in the UK.

“These infections could then cause serious and fatal diseases to dogs here in Britain and some can even infect humans.

“There’s a danger that importing dogs illicitly from abroad could introduce new and dangerous infectious diseases into the UK, to which our native dogs have no protection and no immunity.”

Kevin said animal lovers should think twice before adopting a foreign dog.

“People should consider the potential consequences of rehoming a ‘trojan’ dog because it could do more harm than good,” he added.

“We’d certainly advise anyone looking to adopt a rescue dog to use UK rehoming charities or welfare organisations.

“They do an excellent job of checking the temperament and health of the dogs before matching them to new homes.”

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.

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.”

How to keep your pet cool this summer

cat on sunny day

keep dogs cool in summerIf you have a Dog……….

Dogs are not very good at keeping themselves cool so they will need your help. Ensure they have plenty of water, whether they are in the house or out on a walk. If you are at home keep the water in a heavy bowl so it can’t be easily knocked over

Don’t keep your dog in a car. You may think it’s ok to do this as you are leaving the window open, however, it’s not enough to keep the car cool. According to the RSPCA if it’s 22C outside, within an hour it can be 47C inside the car. Dogs die this way every year, please don’t let this happen to your dog.

Take your dog for a walk at cooler times of the day. Go in the morning and the evening instead.

If your dog is outside all day make sure there is plenty of shade as well as lots of water.

Regularly groom your dog. If you have a long haired breed, have the hair trimmed to help keep it cool.

Do you know the signs of heatstroke? Here is a checklist of what to look out for. Heavy panting, very red gums/tongue, excessive salivation, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, lethargy, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and in extreme cases loss of consciousness.  If you see your dog displaying any of these symptoms ensure you take immediate action. Try to cool your dog down gradually as heatstroke can be fatal.  Douse your dog in cool water (not cold or iced water) and let it drink small amounts of cool water (again not cold or iced) until their breathing is more normal.  Then take your dog to the vets to be checked to make sure everything is ok.

cat on sunny dayIf you have a cat……….

Cats love the warm weather and are a lot better at keeping themselves cool. However, if it is excessively hot here are a few things you can do.

If you have a cat that likes to go outside, try not to let it out between 10am and 3pm so it avoids the hottest times of the day. If they are indoor cats keep blinds shut and curtains closed as this helps to keep the house cool.

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of water.

If you notice your cat is sleeping more it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensible and will nap more on a hot dayrather than spend their time running around. Maybe they are the more intelligent than dogs?

Pay attention to your cat’s feet. Cats and dogs have sweat glands in their paws. If you notice your cat is leaving wet paw prints it will need to have more water to replenish its fluids. You could try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water but it may not be pleased with you doing that.

If you see your cat panting, it doesn’t automatically mean it has heatstroke. Cats do pant but they rarely do it. However, if you think your cat is panting excessively check for other signs of heatstroke and take immediate action.

keep your rabbit coolIf you have a small furry pet……….

As always, make sure they have access to lots of clean water

Make sure you keep them clean.  When the weather is hot it results in more flies and maggots. This can lead to flystrike. This can fatally affect rabbits.

Keep your pet groomed and if it’s a long haired breed, have it trimmed to help keep it cool.

Keep hutches in the shade. It may mean you have to move it around during the day of you don’t have a permanently shaded spot.  Make sure the hutch is off the ground as this improves ventilation and can help to keep it cool.

Give small animals food that contains lots of water such as celery and apple. This will help keep them hydrated.

Spraying a water mist on larger animals such as rabbits is a good way to keep them cool.  Remember not to spray them in the face as they will not like it.

There are many other ways to keep your pet cool and a lot of them are common sense. A good way to look at it is if you are uncomfortable because of the heat there is a good chance your pet will be too.  If you need any extra information and advice please contact us  and we will be happy to have a chat.