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.

Heat Stroke in pets

heat stroke warning for pets

heat stroke warning for petsHeat Stroke in Pets

With temperatures soaring it is important to know about the effects of heat on your pets. With their thick coats they can find it very hard to regulate their temperature and this can lead to heat stroke.

A dog was brought in to us recently suffering heat stroke after going on a little walk on a warm but overcast day. The dog was overweight and had a dark coloured coat (which absorbs more heat) and these contributed to the dog developing heat stroke.

It can occur if an animal is exercised during warm temperatures, locked in a car or conservatory and is more likely in brachycephalic breeds such as pugs or bulldogs. Dogs can only sweat through their paws and lose most of their body heat by panting.

If you have a dog with heat stroke, often the first signs are panting and lethargy or collapse. It is important NOT to place the dog into cold water or put wet towels over them. The cold water can send them into shock and the towels can warm up and act as a barrier, making the animal even hotter. It is also difficult to prevent the temperature from dropping too low once the animal is wet.

Veterinary treatment should be sought immediately but there are first aid measures that can help….

· Wetting the paws and the ears with cool water

· Placing ice packs wrapped in a towel in the armpits and the groin area (large blood vessels run along these areas so it helps to cool the blood more effectively but the towel prevents cold burns)

· Using a fan or air conditioning.

Dogs with heat stroke can develop swelling of the brain if untreated, which may lead to seizures and death. If brought to a vets promptly, they will be placed on a drip, have ice packs placed in the armpits and groin, given medication to prevent intestinal damage, which commonly occurs with heat stroke and sometimes, oxygen therapy, particularly with bulldog type breeds.

Dogs recover quickly if there has been no permanent damage and often go home the next day. They commonly have diarrhoea, so will be given medication for this.

Prevention is better than cure so avoid exercising dogs in the heat of the day, take particular care with brachycephalic breeds and those with heart conditions. Make sure there is always access to water. NEVER shut your dog in the car, as even with the window open, the temperature can quickly rise. Keeping some long haired breeds closely groomed may be appropriate in warm weather. Products such as Kool coats can also help to keep your dogs temperature more comfortable.

 

DOG HEAT STROKE – Take Immediate Action

· Get into the shade

· Apply cool water to the inner thighs, stomache and foot pads

· Use running water

· Never submerge your dog in water – this could cool him too rapidly leading to further complications

· Use cool – not cold water – cold water causes blood vessels to constrict slowing the process

· Don’t cover the dog

· Offer small amounts of cool water to drink

· GET TO YOUR VET

ID Tags

david-schap-128015As you already know, if you have a dog it should be microchipped. This is because on 6th April 2016 it became compulsory for all dogs to be have a microchip implanted (you can read more about the regulation change HERE). We were recently asked if a dog needs a chip if it already has a collar and ID tag on. This has come up a few times so we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog on the subject as it seems to be a little confusing to some people.

All dogs need to have a microchip, unless a vet certifies it can’t for health reasons. Also, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address (with postcode) engraved or written on it. It can be on the collar itself or the details can be added to a tag. A telephone number is optional; however, it might be a good idea to have that on there as well. If your dog is in a public place and doesn’t have an ID tag on you could be fined up to £5000.

There are exceptions to this:

  • Any pack of hounds,
  • Any dog while being used for sporting purposes,
  • Any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin,
  • Any dog while being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep,
  • Any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise or the police force for any area,
  • Any dog while being used in emergency rescue work, or
  • Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

If your dog isn’t microchipped, please make an appointment to see us.

You can read more about the Control of Dogs Order 1992 by clicking HERE and if you have any questions regarding microchipping your pet please contact the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page

opic

Boxers

Do you remember the John Lewis advert featuring Buster the Boxer. If you hadn’t seen it over Christmas the clip showed a boxer jumping around on a trampoline and having lots of fun. Figures released by the Kennel Club showed that searches for Boxer puppies on its Find a Puppy website rose by 160 per cent on the day following the release of the advert. This is an increase which has continued to grow.

Boxer Dogs

The information has raised concerns that people are impulse buying boxer puppies without properly researching the breed. They think many boxers will end up in rescue centres because there will be those who can’t handle them.

Do you want a Boxer? Do your research!!!

Here is a brief overview of a Boxer dog to give you an idea of what having one will be like.

As the John Lewis advert suggests, Boxers are fun and playful. This is true. Watching a Boxer play and bounce is great to watch. Sometimes you see them and think they are complete nutcases because of how they are behaving. It is pure joy.

Boxers don’t need a lot of grooming. They have lovely short hair. If you are looking for a dog that doesn’t need a lot of brushing, then Boxers could be a good choice.

Also, they are great around other pets and children which makes them ideal family dogs. Although they will need socialising from an early age to ensure they are friendly with other animals.

They can make great guard dogs as they look quite imposing. They can be quick to stand up and bark at strangers. Although there is a good chance if a stranger came into the house they are more likely to want to play with them

So far it’s not looking too bad, a Boxer sounds ideal. However……….

Boxers slobber and drool. If you are not a fan of this, you should cross this breed off your list.  They suffer with flatulence, they wheeze, snort and snore loudly.  The breathing and snoring is down to the shape of their face and nose. You can read more about this on our blog called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) – Click HERE

Boxers can be stubborn and very head strong.  An owner will need to be very confident in taking charge or else the dog will be disobedient and hard to control.

They need lots of exercise and mental stimulation or else you may find holes in the garden, chewed furniture and other destructive behaviour.

Whilst Boxers jump and bounce around for fun they can go over the top especially when they are young. Many new owners may find their rowdiness difficult to handle.

If Boxers are not socialised at an early age they could become aggressive around other animals.

Finally, A boxer’s lifespan isn’t very long and they can suffer from many health problems such as:

Bloat
Cancer
Eye Diseases
Hip Dysplasia – Read our blogs on the subject HERE for part 1 and HERE for part 2
Seizures
Heart Disease

We also have a blog detailing further issues with Boxers. You can read it HERE
Hopefully this has given you an insight to what is involved in owning a Boxer.  If you still want to buy one ensure you do more research into the breed and in to the breeders to make sure you are not buying one from a puppy farm. See our blogs about buying a puppy – Click HERE for Part 1, HERE for part 2 and HERE for part 3. Alternatively, visit your local rescue centre and adopt

boxer dog

Pet Dental Awareness Month

As part of our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our clients, we are supporting Pet Dental Awareness Month.  Our experts have written some handy tips and advice to help you keep your pet’s oral hygiene in tip top condition.

Poor dental hygiene can be a source of chronic pain and discomfort for many pets.  Most owners are unaware of this discomfort because most animals will not cry out in the presence of such pain – they just tolerate it.

If there is an infection in the mouth it can allow bacteria into the body via the blood stream and cause infections elsewhere. Kidney, heart, lung and liver problems can all be caused by poor oral health.  Bad teeth can therefore just be the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

How will I know if my pet has bad teeth?

  1. Bad breath
  2. Sore mouth
  3. Difficulty eating
  4. Loose teeth or tooth loss
  5. Pawing or rubbing the mouth
  6. Bleeding gums
  7. Yellow or brown tartar on teeth
  8. Dribbling

The first thing to do is to look in your pet’s mouth.  Halitosis (bad breath) is caused by bacteria in the mouth, so this may alert you to the presence of dental disease.

Tartar is the hard brown accumulation which occurs on teeth. It is caused by mineralisation of plaque which in turn is caused by bacterial action against food particles in the mouth. The presence of tartar leads to gingivitis (gum inflammation).  The gums become red, sore and prone to bleeding when touched.  Tartar and gingivitis will eventually lead to periodontal disease where inflammation and infection cause destruction of the tissue around the tooth.  Affected teeth loosen and may eventually fall out.

If the disease is severe, affected animals may eat on one side of their mouth, lose weight or generally fail to thrive.  Older cats especially may start to look rather tatty as they may start to groom themselves less enthusiastically.

When dental disease is suspected your pet should be examined by a vet.

Tips for keeping your pet’s teeth clean and mouth healthy

  • Brushing Regular tooth brushing is the best way of keeping your pet’s teeth clean. Both dogs and cats will generally allow tooth brushing once they are used to the idea but it may take a few weeks to establish a regular routine.    It’s very important to use a pet toothpaste as human toothpaste can be dangerous for pets
  • Diet Your pet’s diet can be very important in preventing tartar build-up on teeth. Try to feed your pet good quality dry foods rather than soft foods, as the latter tend to stick to the teeth, allowing the rapid build-up of tartar. Some diets are especially formulated to help keep teeth in the best possible condition. If you are considering changing your pet’s diet, please speak to our vets and nurses for advice.
  • Dental chews can be extremely helpful, especially for dogs. Please take care that they are not too rich or too big for your pet.
  • Start early Some pets can be a little shy of their mouth being opened. A gentle mouth examination should be part of your general puppy training (along with looking in the ears and looking at the feet – all sensitive areas) to get your pet used to this type of handling. Our nursing team will show you how to do this when you attend routine puppy checks or one of our puppy parties. (If applicable).
  • Regular check-ups with your veterinary practice are essential for your pet’s oral health.Please use the below voucher to take advantage of our special offer for Pet Dental Awareness Month

Voucher