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.”

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.”

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.

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

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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

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.

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.