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

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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

What Is Catnip?

There are a few things that can put a big smile on my face.  A new Disney film being released at the cinema, opening the fridge and finding a whole cheesecake or having complete control of the TV remote for an evening. However, if I was a cat, catnip would probably do it for me.

What is catnip?

what is catnipCatnip (Nepeta cataria) also known as catswort, or catmint and is a perennial herb from the mint family.  Many cat owners will know that cats love catnip.  They will paw at it, rub themselves against it, roll with it, and lick and chew it.

Catnip contains a chemical called Nepetalactone.  This is released when catnip is crushed and one sniff of this can start a cat off. It doesn’t matter if it’s a large lion or a tiny tabby, it will affect them the same way.  It is thought the chemical is similar to certain cat pheromones, however this hasn’t been confirmed.

My cat doesn’t like catnip.

Not every cat does.  Apparently, research has shown about 50% of cats will react to cat nip and it is probably a genetic reason.  Some cats will just look and walk on by without batting an eyelid. My cat isn’t like that. She will go crazy with a bit of catnip.  If your cat isn’t a fan of catnip, its normal.

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Is it addictive?

No it isn’t. However, bear in mind that if a cat eats lots of fresh catnip it can cause sickness and/or diarrhoea so beware of giving them too much of a good thing.

Can humans eat it and does it affect them the same way?

 In the past Catnip has been used to make tea, it has been used in herbal cigarette and even used as an ingredient in food. There was a time where it was used to treat a cold, settle a stomach or help people get to sleep. However, since modern medicine it has rarely been used. So yes, you could eat, drink or smoke it but it won’t have you rolling around on the floor like a happy cat.

what is catnip

 

 

 

Cat Flu

Feline Influenza or Cat Flu as it is more popularly known is similar to a human cold. It’s not usually serious if you have a healthy adult cat. However, it can fatal to young kittens, old cats and those that have an immunity problem such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (read our blog on FIV HERE)

Cat Flu is very common in unvaccinated cats and can easily spread. As the saying goes “prevention is far better than cure” so ensure you get your cat vaccinated.

What are the signs of Cat Flu?

 There are many symptoms to look out for, including

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Dribbling
  • Quiet/subdued behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • High temperature
  • Coughing
  • Loss of voice
  • Aching muscles/joints

What causes Cat Flu?

It’s usually caused by one of two types of virus (feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus) along with bacteria. Once the cat is infected they begin to shed virus particles in discharge from their eyes, nose and mouth. It can be caught from other cats with flu or healthy cats that carry the virus.  Also, as the virus can survive several days in the open, cats can catch it from infected food bowls or from other people who have come into contact with an infected cat.

Can Humans catch it from their cat?

No.

Can Cat Flu be treated?

Currently there isn’t really a cure for Cat Flu. As already mentioned a healthy cat should able to fight this off. Young kittens, older cats and those with immunity issues may need veterinary attention.  If your cat gets the flu they will need lots of TLC to get better. There are somethings you will need to do to ensure they get well as soon as possible.

  • Make sure there is somewhere warm and comfortable for them to sleep
  • Ensure there is plenty of water available. They may not feel like drinking but encourage them to drink. It will help keep them hydrated and breakdown mucus in the nose and throat.
  • Make sure they eat little and often. However, they might not want to at first. Due to having the flu, their sense of smell and taste will decrease so try to feed them something that has a strong smell and taste such as sardines or pilchards to kick start their appetite. If you are struggling to feed and water your cat, take them to the vet. They will be able to offer alternative foods and may also prescribe anti-biotics to help fight off the flu.
  • Cats may feel stuffy and congested so if you are having a bath or shower, put them in the same room so the heat and steam will help with their breathing.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on them and if they take a turn for the worse take them to the vets as soon as possible
  • If you have other cats in the house keep them away from the infected cat and ensure you regularly wash your hands so you don’t spread the virus around.

Will my cat make a full recovery?

In most cases yes. However, some cats may be left with certain issues such as a persistent runny nose.  If your cat has had flu and you notice it hasn’t fully cleared up after two or three weeks take them to see a vet for a review.

Can I prevent my cat getting Cat Flu?

Ensuring your cat is vaccinated will be a massive help.  The cat flu vaccine is given as part of the annual vaccination programme and will help to protect your cat. Please note, the vaccination may not always prevent infection but it will significantly reduce the severity of the virus.

If you have any questions about this subject feel free to call the clinic or you can leave a question / send a private message on our Facebook page.

Hairballs – What you need to know

Picture the scene………You are lounging on the sofa reading a book or a magazine, the radio is on low playing your favourite tunes, you reach out and grab your cup of tea, and continue to enjoy the peace and chilled atmosphere. However………

This is ruined when you notice your cat jump up off the floor looking uncomfortable. Your cat crouches and extends its neck. For a few moments your cat wretches, hacks and gags then, to much relief, your cat produces something scary looking.  Right there on your floor. Bang goes your relaxing afternoon! The cat has produced a trichobezoar (pronounced trike-oh-bee-zohr) also known as a hairball/furball.  If you’re a cat owner, you have probably experienced something like that. Or even worse you have climbed out of bed and stepped on a cold, slimy hairball.  It can be quite distressing to see this happen, especially the first time. However, it is a normal event for most cats so it’s nothing to get unduly concerned about.

untitled-design-22What is a hairball?

As the name suggests it’s a ball of hair. Actually, not all of them look like a ball. Some can look like small ,brown soggy sausages.  When cats groom they can ingest their own loose hair. Normally, it passes through the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract and comes out in the stool. However, some hair may remain in the stomach and form into a hairball.  At some point the hairball will irritate the cats stomach and it will cough it up.

Is it harmful to my cat?

Generally no. Whilst it might seem unpleasant it’s normal behaviour and shouldn’t happen too often.     However, if you notice your cat coughing up hairballs on a regular basis or they are making the hacking sounds and nothing is coming up then it might be worth a trip to the vets to see if there is a problem.

Are furballs a sign of other problems in my cat?

Irritable skin or psychological disorders can cause a cat to over groom and take in excessive quantities of hair. In cats with a disease of the gastrointestinal tract which causes an obstruction or motility problem (abnormal intestinal contractions, such as spasms and intestinal paralysis) hairballs may cause frequent blockages. If you notice any changes in your cat take them to your vet who will be able to check them for other issues.

Can I prevent my cat getting hairballs?

Regular grooming can be a big help as their will be less hair for them to swallow. This is also important if you have a long haired cat. If it is a more regular issue, there are treatments available which can help to make sure the hair comes out in the faeces. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course to take.

hair ball

If you have any questions about your pet’s health feel free to call us at the clinic or you can leave a question on our Facebook page and one our members of staff will get back to you.

Heatstroke – Mannie’s Story

A few days ago I picked up my dog from Cherrydown Basildon Veterinary Hospital where he had been for 4 days following a frightening attack of heatstroke.  Although I have many years experience with dogs I had not been faced with having to deal with this condition before and, had I not known the basic procedures to follow, I am quite sure my boy, a 70 kg Bullmastiff, wouldn’t be alive today.  Even so, without the treatment he received at Cherrydown over the next few days, without doubt he would not have survived.

It was an excessively hot day and Mannie, the Bullmastiff in question, appeared to be panting more than usual so I brought him inside so that he could lay on the cool tiles in the kitchen.  He was restless and went into the garden and lay in the shade of the bushes where he was violently sick.  I ran to help him and he walked towards me, staggered, then collapsed.

Picture1So, recognising the signs of heatstroke, I immediately drenched him with cool water, lifting his legs so that the water played on his groin and under his front legs.  I also fetched bags of frozen vegetables from the freezer and placed them on his head and under his armpits.  I was on my own and it was impossible for me to move him even an inch so I brought the phone from the house to ring for assistance.  I also took his temperature, which was an alarming 42.2.  All this time I had the hose playing on him constantly, concentrating on his groin, under arms and feet.  I took his temperature again, which was now 41.5, still dangerously high.  Cherrydown tried to find an ambulance service to come out to me but, as there was none available, they sent 2 nurses who eventually, with the help of my husband, who had arrived home at the same time, carried him into their vehicle to transport him to their surgery in Basildon.  Once at the surgery, they immediately placed him on a drip and injected him to rehydrate him.  Over the next 48 hours it was feared he wouldn’t survive the damage that severe overheating can cause to the internal organs but eventually he was returned home to us and is still recovering now.  We shall be eternally grateful to Cherrydown for the 24 hour care they gave to our boy.  I hope this information might act as a warning to the dangers of heatstroke in hot weather, as my boy was not in a confined space, he was free in the garden and had access to plenty of water so it can happen at any time.

Our Vet Kim looked after Mannie……

On 24th August we were called to say that Mannie had collapsed after lying in the garden and despite  efforts to cool him, his temperature and distress had increased. Due to his size, Cherrydown had to attend to help bring Mannie into the practice. Heat stroke is not confined to dogs being left in hot cars and many dogs, particularly brachycephalic breeds of a dark colour, are susceptible to heat stroke if they lie in the sun for too long on hot humid days and unfortunately, dogs will often preferentially lie in the sun but once develop the increased temperature, are less likely to move themselves to a cooler area.

Mannie was immediately placed on fluids and covered ice packs placed in his groin and armpits to cool him. It is important not to submerge them in cold water as this can send them into shock and wet blankets can actually trap a heat layer between the dog and the blanket, and is best avoided as can actually increase their temperature. Mannie was showing signs of aggression, very unlike him, intermittently, due to the swelling of his brain caused by the heat stroke. Some dogs may develop seizures, which can become impossible to control and warrant euthanasia, so he was monitored closely for any signs of deterioration. He was given pain relief, for likely head pain associated with the brain swelling and antibiotics. In dogs with heat stroke, damage can occur to the gut leaving them prone to bacteria leaking from the gut to the abdomen, which can be a potentially fatal complication. He was also started on drugs to reduce inflammation within the bowel.

Mannie’s temperature came down in kennels but he vomited blood and developed bloody diarrhoea, typical of a dog with heat stroke. Blood work showed his muscles were starting to break down due to overheating, which can lead to kidney failure. Amazingly, Mannie has recovered fully, was neurologically normal after a few hours and able to walk around unaided 12 hours later and went home within a week. We will still be monitoring him for signs of kidney damage in the immediate future but so far, he has recovered spectacularly, thanks to the rapid intervention by his owner and is back to his usual gentle giant self.

We would like to thank Janet for allowing us to use this story to highlight the dangers. Please leave any questions on our facebook page.

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Why do dogs eat poo?

Why do dogs eat poo?

This might be a fairly unpleasant subject but it is a question we get asked a lot in the clinic and on Facebook.  There are many reasons why this happens and it could depend on their age, their training, their living conditions or their diet. Here are some of them.

Dogs are born to eat it

Thousands of years ago, before dogs were domesticated, they ate everything and anything even the waste of other animals (including other dogs). In a pack, if one of the dogs was unwell, the other dogs would eat the poo of the sick animal so it would hide the fact they had a weak member of the group. Also, a mother with pups would regularly eat the stools of her little ones to keep the den clean and to ensure no smells were left around to attract predators.

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Learned behaviour

Dogs are quick learners and will often learn things you don’t want them to do.  Puppies, for example, learn by putting anything that appears in front of their face in their mouth.  Generally, puppies that eat poo will grow out of the habit very quickly. Ensure you clean any mess up as soon as possible so they don’t have the chance to pick it up

If you come home and find a little surprise package on the kitchen floor, shouting at your dog could cause them to eat their own mess. They will associate you telling them off and cleaning it up with what they have done so next time it happens they will eat it to cover their tracks.

Diet

Dogs might eat poo to get the nutrients it is not currently getting. This could be because the food they eat is low quality or they are not being fed enough.  Also, if they are being over fed, their body can’t absorb all it needs from the food the first time, so the dog recycles their nutrient rich waste. If a dog is lacking in certain vitamins they could eat feaces to get what their body needs.

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Other reasons

If a dog spends a lot of time on their own, they could eat it out of boredom. They could use it as a way to get attention from their owner. Any attention is better than none. Stress and anxiety can cause a dog to eat animal waste, and finally they are just copying what they have seen another dog do.

Is it bad for my dog?

If you have a healthy, vaccinated dog then it shouldn’t cause them any harm if it’s a once in a blue moon event. However, if your dog is eating poo regularly you should take your dog to the vet as there may be an underlying issue such as:

  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite
  • malabsorption syndromes
  • A diet deficient in nutrients and calories
  • Parasites

How do I stop my dog eating poo?

Firstly, as mentioned above, if they are doing it on a regular basis, take them to the vet to be checked.

  • Look at their diet. Does it need to change? Speak to your vet for advice
  • Make sure you pick up your dog’s waste at home and when out for a walk so they are not tempted to eat it.
  • Keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Allow plenty of play time, walks and toys etc.
  • If they leave a mess in the home don’t shout at them.
  • Ensure you have a solid recall or rock solid response to a cue meaning “leave that alone”

These are just a few reasons and solutions on why dogs do it and how you can prevent it. If you have any further questions, please call the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Bulldogs – What you need to know

Bulldogs look grumpy. However, ask anyone who owns one and grumpy is one of the last things you would call them.  They may be short, stocky dogs and have a fairly mean look, but they are sweet, playful and loving.

The Old English Bulldogs were originally bred to fight bulls (bullbaiting) and over the years, dogs that were used for this developed stocky bodies, large heads and jaws as well as a ferocious and savage temperament. However, once the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 was introduced it became illegal and the Bulldogs were no longer useful.  Years later the original Old English Bulldog was crossed with a pug which made them shorter and wider with a brachycephalic skull. It also resulted in a much friendlier and less aggressive dog that made for a loyal companion and great choice as a family pet.

untitled-design-14Bulldogs may look intimidating but they are loyal, gentle and tolerant dogs which makes them a great family pet. They are not really ideal for first time dog owners due to the fact they can be stubborn and determined.  Unless you are able to show them you’re the boss they can walk all over you and it will be difficult to train them. When it comes to training they respond well to voice commands. However, if you shout at them or sound harsh they can suddenly develop selective hearing. They will be more likely to walk off and leave you to it.  Bulldogs love people and hate being on their own.  If Bulldogs are left for long periods, they could develop destructive behavioural problems. Another trait of a Bulldog is the snoring. They are one of the worst snorers in the canine world. If you get a Bulldog, you might want to invest in some earplugs.

Health and wellbeing

Bulldogs have short muzzles and a fairly flat face which makes them a brachycephalic breed (read our blog HERE). Because of this, owners will need to be careful when it comes to exercising their Bulldog especially in the summer months.  If they are over excited or over heat it can cause breathing problems. Also, they are more susceptible to heat stroke as they are not able to cool themselves down efficiently through panting.

With regard to exercise, the one thing I have in common with a Bulldog is that we are both happy lounging on a sofa and we are not in a rush to get up and move around.  Owners will need to keep an eye on this and ensure their Bulldog has enough exercise. Failure to do so will mean the dog piles on the pounds which can lead to complications further down the line. Exercise and good quality food will help to keep them in tip top condition. Speak to your vet if you need advice regarding this

Out of all the dog breeds, Bulldogs have some of the worst Hip Dysplasia (read our 2 part blog HERE and HERE) scores when tested against the Kennel Club’s scoring system. Other health issues include:

  • Cherry Eye
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Allergies and skin infections
  • Cleft Palate and Cleft lip / hare lip
  • Cataracts
  • Brachycephalic upper-airway syndrome
  • Breathing difficulties (due to their elongated soft – palate which can block the airways.

untitled-design-15Cleaning a Bulldog’s face is something that should be done daily. The folds in the skin can collect dirt and moisture which can lead to infections.  It’s best to use a damp cloth then towel dry the folds. They have short coats so grooming them once a week will be sufficient.

Overall, if you can put the time and effort into training and caring for a Bulldog you will have a pet that will bring you many years of joy.

As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health feel free to call us at the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page.

Why do dogs eat grass?

We regularly receive questions from our clients, either by phone or via our Facebook page, asking about issues relating to their pet. However, every now and again we get asked general questions just because people are interested in knowing the answer. We thought we would write a blog about this very popular question.

why do dogs eat grass?

So, why do dogs eat grass?

The honest answer is we don’t know. No one really knows, but there are various theories.

  1. The most popular theory is to make themselves sick. If a dog feels ill, they may ask to be let out and munch on the nearest patch of grass they can find. As the grass goes down it tickles their throat and makes them vomit. Also, dogs may find temporary relief from eating grass if they have an upset stomach or are a bit gassy.  This sort of behaviour doesn’t happen often so if your dog starts eating more grass than a Jersey Cow and vomit on a regular basis it might be worth you taking a trip to the vets to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue.
  1. Some people believe that dogs will eat grass because they are trying to improve their own digestion. It could be they are lacking fibre in their diet and are trying to add more. If you think your dog is lacking in fibre you could give them supplements or change their food.  If you plan on doing this, you should speak to your vet beforehand so they can recommend the best food/supplements and make sure there are no other issues.

why do dogs eat grass?

  1. Dogs might eat grass because they are bored or are seeking attention. If this is the case take them for regular walks or play with them more often to see if the grass eating stops. If they are stuck in the back garden with nothing to do, then they might turn to chewing the cud just for something to do.
  1. A dog might eat grass because it’s a natural instinct dating back to the days when dogs were wild and free and not pets. Dogs are not natural meat eaters. They are omnivores and before they became pets they would eat anything and everything from berries and grass to prey they had caught. They would also eat every part of the prey such as meat, bones, organs and the contents of the stomach which contained greenery and plants. This ensured they had a balanced diet. Even today, wild dogs will eat vegetation so it could be just animal instinct to eat grass
  1. It could be down to the fact your dog loves the taste and texture of grass. When I was young my dog would eat grass regularly. Not just any old grass either. He would find the greenest and thickest patches of grass and just eat and enjoy it like he was at a free salad bar. At the time he was checked out and no issues were found. It’s just something he did and didn’t cause him any harm.

why do dogs eat grass?

Overall it’s not dangerous for your dog to eat grass. Whilst it might not do them much good in terms or nutrition it won’t do them any harm either. However, one thing to point out is that gardens nowadays may have been sprayed with weed killer or other pesticides. In large quantities it can be dangerous to animals so keep that in mind.

If you notice your dog is eating unusual amounts of grass and you are concerned take them to your vet for a check-up. It might be nothing serious but it’s always best to check.

If you have any questions about this subject or anything pet health related feel free to leave a comment or send a private message via our Facebook page

Blue Green Algae – What you need to know

Blue Green Algae

iStock_000057909916_Large (1)In the news recently there were reports of several dogs dying in Dartford, with many other dogs found to be very ill.  The common link was a particular lake they may have drank water from. At the time vets were unsure what could have caused the problem and the lake was closed to the public by the Environment Agency so tests could be made.  It is now thought that poisonous blue-green algae may have caused the death of the dogs.

What is blue-green algae?

The blue-green algae are microscopic bacteria and can be found in freshwater lakes, streams and ponds. They produce toxins that can affect animals and humans who drink the water or swim in it.  Blooms of algae normally occur when the weather is hot so you would expect to see it mid to late summer. However, as the British weather is unpredictable blooms could appear sooner if we have had a warm Spring.

What does blue-green algae look like?

As the name suggests the water will look fairly green but in worse cases it can look like pea soup or as if someone has painted a thick coat of green paint on top of the water

What are the symptoms and can it be treated?

The common symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood in stool
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Shock
  • Excessive secretions
  • Neurological signs such as muscle tremors, paralysis
  • Difficulty breathing

Whether or not it can be treated depends on how quickly the animal is brought to us. Water is absorbed by the body quickly including the toxins. The faster you get to a vet the better chance the dog has of survival. However, even if they do pull through there could be further health repercussions for the rest of their lives

algae

Sometimes it can be obvious there is blue-green algae on the water, however there will be bodies of water that look clean but are either just starting to bloom or the algae is dying off.  It is advisable not to let your dog swim or drink from unknown water sources. Also, be careful with lakes/ponds/streams that you know and have let your dog swim in or drink from before. If they have been for a swim, we suggest you wash them thoroughly afterwards and keep an eye on their health. If there are any changes, no matter how small take them to a vet as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this subject feel free to either call the clinic on 01268 533636 or leave a comment on our Facebook page. Someone will get back to you asap.