Just for fun – Cute cats and dogs

Just for a change, instead of a blog, we are adding a few videos that we found on YouTube which might make you smile and go “aaaaahhhhh”

Keep an eye out as we may add a few more of these types of videos each month.  Hope you enjoy them 🙂

Via Funny Animals Channel

Via AwwCuteNow

Via Fun Videos 247

Excellent Customer Service

bizawardOn Friday 9th May 2014 several of the Cherrydown Vets team went to the Cliffs Pavilions in Southend as we were finalists in the Excellent Customer Service category at the Essex Countywide Business Awards.  From the hundreds of entries it was whittled down to only eight businesses.  We were up against some tough competition from other companies in Essex and, unfortunately, we didn’t win. However, we are extremely proud to have made the finals and get recognised for the work we do. We continuously strive to ensure our customers experience only the best service from beginning to end. Whether it’s a phone call to our clinic, a face to face visit with a vet or a nurse, an email or a conversation via our Facebook page we want to make sure you get the best at all times. We hold monthly staff and managerial meetings to discuss how we can improve the service we offer and we regularly ask for feedback and suggestions from our customers as they are best placed to come up with helpful ideas. dog listening with big earOver the past 12 months we have implemented many ideas which we believe have helped us become one of the most trusted vets in the area.  Also, in the past year we have had over 10,950 people visit us with their pets so we are obviously doing things right. However, we won’t rest on our laurels.  No matter how good we are there are still things that can be done to improve the customer experience. We would like to hear your ideas and suggestions about our practice, not just the Basildon branch but also our Wickford and Stanford le Hope clinics.  What would you improve or change? All suggestions are welcome and will be discussed during our monthly meetings. Your opinions count so please send us your suggestions and ideas to practicemanager@cherrydownvets.co.uk As always, if you have any questions please call us at the clinic, email us or leave a comment on our Facebook page. group

Maine Coons

It’s been a while since we wrote a blog about cats and after seeing how much interest was shown in one of our patients recently we thought we would write a blog about the breed.

Blue,(pictured below) a Maine Coon, came in to see us. He was very popular in the clinic and when we shared the pictures on our Facebook page we had lots of comments and interaction.  It’s not often people see a cat like this so it always attracts attention

blue maine

Maine Coons are also known as the American Longhair.  It’s a breed of cat that has a distinctive look and is one the oldest breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine.  The origins of the cat are not known but there are many theories. One theory suggests Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, tried to escape to America and amongst her prize possessions she took her Turkish Angora cats.   Unfortunately Marie Antoinette never made the journey but her cats did.  They arrived in Maine, America and bred with other short haired breeds.

Other theories include semi-feral cats mating with Racoons (not genetically possible) or domestic cats mating with wild Bobcats.

Source Via
Source Via

Maine Coons are big cats and have the nicknamed “gentle giant”.  Even though they are bigger than the average cat they are still as playful and inquisitive.  Maine Coon Cats are intelligent, trainable, described as “dog like”. They will offer you hours of enjoyment with their antics but can at times be intrusive. Without question they want to be part of everything and your privacy may require a closed door between you and your cat. Most Maine Coon Cats have a fondness of water, to be in it, watch it, wash their food in it, or just plain play in it, so don’t be surprised if you have an uninvited guest in your shower or help with washing the dishes.

Healthwise these cats are a pretty hardy breed. However, as in many cats, there could be potential issues such as

  • Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Polycystic kidney disease

If you have one of these cats we would love you to share pictures of them on our Facebook page as we don’t get to see many of them.  Also, if you have any questions regarding cat health either call the clinic or leave a non-urgent question on our Facebook page.

How do I stop my cat from scratching?

When we talk about “cat scratching” we don’t mean this


What we mean is this


A question we get asked a lot is “how do I stop my cat from scratching?”  We have spoken to many owners over the years who have told us their cats have wrecked sofas, tables, curtains, wallpaper and even window and door frames.  It is a common problem and there could be many reasons for it.

So how do I stop my cat from scratching?

Well, the first thing you should NOT do is stop them from doing it.  Claw scratching is perfectly normal cat behaviour.  They scratch to keep their claws in tip top condition and also to leave a message to other cats.  When it drags its claws down a surface it will leave a smell which is unique to that cat.  The visual sign of scratching, any discarded claw husks and the smell will send a message to other cats.  Basically, they are marking their territory.  Also, cats love to scratch things as it feels good and they get to stretch their legs and muscles.

Another thing you should NOT do is punish your cat.  Whilst it can be frustrating to come home and find your brand new leather sofa scratched to pieces, your cat will not understand.  Shouting at your cat could even make their scratching habit worse. You need to be patient and teach them to scratch other things.

Scratching posts are a great idea.  They have a nice sturdy base so cats will be able to stretch and lean against it without it falling over, the cat will be able to keep it’s nails looking healthy and your house will not be covered in claw marks.  If you have space you could also consider a scratch tree as this will give your cat the opportunity to stretch, scratch, climb and perch.

If your cat is scratching wallpaper or furniture you should cover the scratched surface with thick plastic sheeting to prevent the cat scratching there.  Then place a scratch post directly next to the scratched area.  Whenever your cat uses the post make sure you praise them or you could even leave little treats on it.  In time your cat will learn to use the post rather than your wall or furniture. When this happens you will be able to remove the plastic and move the post to a more convenient place in your home.

What if that doesn’t work?

Under normal circumstances a cat will have one or two places it likes to scratch.  By trying the above you can make sure there are scratching posts available in those areas.  However, if your cat feels anxious or insecure it could scratch various places around the home.  If this happens you may need to look at what could be causing the anxiety and insecurity.

  • Is there more than one cat in the household?
  • Is there a large cat population in your area?
  • Is your cat not getting enough attention?
  • Is your cat under-stimulated?

By working out what’s causing your cats anxieties you can put things in place to ensure it feels more secure in its surroundings so it is less inclined to scratch everywhere.

If you have a serious problem with your cat scratching our vet will be able to talk through the issues and offer help and advice. They may also be able to prescribe something which could calm them down and alleviate some of the anxiety.  In some cases our vet may need to refer the cat to a behavioural specialist who will be able to give your cat a more in-depth review and find the root of the problem.

As we are not behavioural specialists there will be many questions we would not be able to answer. Each cat would have to be seen by the vet and advice would be given on a case by case basis.  However, if you have a general query regarding this subject please call the clinic and someone will be able to help you.  Alternatively, you can leave a post on our Facebook page and someone will respond



Minnie’s Story – Ruptured Diaphragm

The owners tale…..

On Friday 29th November Minnie was last seen around 4.30pm and we realised she was missing at about 8.30pm. That’s not generally a long time for a cat to be missing but for Minnie this was unusual. We got up in the middle of the night to call her but to no avail. On Saturday morning I put notes through neighbours doors asking them to check their sheds & garages etc. On Sunday afternoon we told our children & they were devastated but we all tried to stay positive. My husband & I both felt something dreadful had happened because it was so unlike her not to come home. On Monday morning however I found Minnie sitting on the front doorstep looking poorly. She was covered from her chest to her bottom in poo,  so I cleaned her up and left her to rest.  Later I realised she wasn’t taking any food or water and had maggots around her tail and bottom so I brought her to Cherrydown where Minnie was seen by vet Hayley Giles.


Vet Hayley Giles takes over……

Minnie came in as an emergency and during the clinical exam it was quite clear that her respiratory rate was increased and it was taking a lot of effort for her to draw in each breath. She was also very dehydrated from being missing and was covered in tiny maggots. I admitted her and she was cleaned and rehydrated with intravenous fluids. The next day she was a little more stable and we were able to xray her so we took xrays of her whole body as we had no idea what had happened while she was missing.

The x-rays showed she was suffering from a ruptured diaphragm and the hole was allowing abdominal organs into her chest cavity which was causing the breathing difficulties.  These sort of injuries are common secondary to blunt trauma such as in a road traffic accident. She was taken to surgery and we pulled her stomache, liver and intestines gently back into her abdominal cavity before suturing the hole in her diaphragm.


Cursor shows approx furthest extent abdominal organs should extend to.

Since the surgery Minnie has recovered well and her breathing has returned to normal. I saw her again recently for a check up and to have her stitches out and she looked wonderful. I’m so pleased for Minnie and her family that she has made an excellent recovery from what could have been quite a serious situation had she not returned home.

Cherrydown hope that she continues to improve and we look forward to seeing her again soon.

Keeping your pet safe at Christmas

aadogIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, tis the season to be jolly and lots of fa la la la las.  Yes, it’s nearly Christmas and our Now That’s What I Call Christmas CD has been on repeat for a while now.

At this time of year we see more pets brought in due to illnesses or injuries because of something they have chewed or eaten.  We thought we would provide a few hints and tips on keeping your pets safe over the Christmas period.


Christmas is an exciting time for everyone. There will be lots of people coming round, decorations going up and there may be fireworks at New Year.  Many pets can become stressed due to all the hustle and bustle and noise. One thing you can do is make sure there is a place your pet can go to get away from it all. We don’t mean a spa retreat in the country, but a quiet space where they can go to calm down. You can also read our blog on keeping your pet relaxed by clicking HERE. This will offer more ideas


At Christmas there is food everywhere. However, a lot of it can be bad for pets so you need to keep an eye out to make sure they don’t eat it.  Here are a few things to be aware of:

Chocolate – (you can read our blog on why it is bad HERE) –

Christmas pudding / Christmas cake / Mince Pies – These could contain grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants which can be toxic to animals and could cause kidney failure in dogs.

Chicken / Turkey bones – Do not let your pet eat these as they could splinter and get stuck in their throat.

Others foods to keep away from pets – Garlic, onions, coffee, alcohol, mouldy or spoiled food.


If you want to get a real tree try and get one that doesn’t shed its needles.  If you can’t get one make sure you hoover up every day.

Pets love shiny things. Try and keep tinsel and baubles out of reach.  If tinsel is ingested it can potentially block the intestines and can only be removed by surgery.   Broken baubles can cause various problems.  You pet could choke on pieces or, if swallowed, could block the intestine. Also sharp edges can cut their paws or other parts of the body. If you have lights, keep cables tied away so they cannot be chewed. Overall, try not to have things hanging low to tempt your pet.  If you have lights that are hanging within reach your pet could become tangled. Anything pointy or sticking out could be a hazard. Last year we had a decoration stuck in an eye. You can read about that HERE

Ruby 2Ruby1Ruby 4







Holly and mistletoe can be poisonous so make sure they are out of reach of pets and children.

If you have a pet that likes to climb make sure your tree is stable and won’t fall over.  

Other dangers

A big problem we see at this time of year is anti-freeze poisoning.  You can read about the problems and symptoms caused by clicking HERE.

Now the weather is cold there may be times when the roads get gritted.  When you take your dog for a walk, make sure there is nothing trapped in their feet.  Give their paws a wash and remove any trace of rock salt before they lick it off.

Keep your pets warm if the weather is really cold.  Older pets will feel it more so get them a coat. You can read more about looking after your pets during winter by clicking HERE.

That’s just a few things to consider over the Christmas period. Most pet owners will use common sense and already know these things, but it doesn’t hurt to remind people.  As always, if you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to help. Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.

Ask the Vet Q&A – 21/11/2013 – Part 2

Each month our vet, Jonathan Nurse, holds an “Ask the Vet” session LIVE on our Facebook page.  This gives people the opportunity to ask him anything regarding their own pets, pet health in general or questions regarding Cherrydown Vets as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the session so we decided to put all of the questions onto a blog so others can read at a later date.  Hopefully you find it useful and it answers any similar questions you may have. If you haven’t seen it already, you can read part one by clicking HERE


My Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has just recently turned a year of ago has also recently been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia in both legs, and complete elbow replacements have been mentioned in the condition starts to put too much strain on other joints and causes him too much pain. I was wondering how this sort of procedure may affect his day to day routine and his general quality of life? He is otherwise healthy and very active as he enjoys farm/country life! He does not climb any stairs or jump often (if at all) as he does not go on the furniture! I am hoping that as he is still young he will cope well. I was also wondering if it would be a good idea for me to consider hydrotherapy for him? The stiffness, pain & limping comes and goes and he has pain meds to use as and when he needs them.


Elbow Dyplasia varies a lot in severity from case to case so I am unable to give you specific advice but hope the following helps. Firstly diagnosis can be a challenge so Xrays or sometimes CT scan is needed. The common treatment we perform would be an elbow arthroscopy-our Orthopaedic Specialist looks inside the joint with a camera via a keyhole procedure and assesses the degree of damage in the joint. If the cartilage is badly damaged he will remove the diseased cartilage at the same time. Elbow replacements are rarely done and, in my limited experience of them, have a long way to go to match hip replacements in their efficiency. Benefits of swimming have to be assessed on case by case basis.


my dog is not him self. He had his glands done he will not jump.up onto sofa when he use to plus he sleeping more than he use to.


I would definitely recommend a vet check. Lethargy as you describe could be caused by literally 100s of different problems and some can be serious.

What’s the best treatment for fleas in kittens? I have 4 x 10 week old kittens and discovered fleas about 2 weeks ago (not loads but a few on each kitten).  I’ve bathed them and used spot on and also tried flea tablets.  Got rid of most but have a few that still linger around. HELP!!!


Best to make an appointment. If you bring them in the nurse can check them over. You also need to de-flea the house with flea spray. You can also take a look at our blog on the subject by clicking HERE


I have a 2 and a half year old cat and she is starting to lose her hair. I looked online and it said about litter and food change but she has always had the same. Can you advise what it could be??


Hair loss in cats is most commonly caused by skin allergies, although ringworm, stress over-grooming etc can also present like this. Really needs a vet check and start a logical treatment plan because there are lots of different causes and potential treatments


What can I do for my dog who, since firework night,  shakes and cowers in the corner of the room? She still eats well and drinks well during the day.


Firework phobias are common in dogs. In the short term the quickest solution are prescription tranquilisers that we can provide after a vet check. There are some more natural things you can try but generally only work if anxiety is mild. Longer term there are noise desensitisation programs you can get for your dog to attempt to “cure” the problem. Also in the short term-dark hiding places they feel safe in can help and you can use things like DAP diffusers in these areas.


I noticed this week that the top of my dog’s nose has gone bald. It’s only a small area on the bridge of his nose. Looking back at photo’s it was covered in hair before. On closer inspection some hair seems to be growing back. It’s not bothering him and it’s not red, cut or itching. I was wondering if he has rubbed the hair off when looking under our shed and fence. Should I be worried? He is 4 years old and very healthy.


The lesions you are describing could be rub lesions. If so, the hair should regrow and new lesions should not appear. However, if the hair does not regrow or similar bald lesions appear elsewhere definitely need a vet check.


Any tips for giving cats tablets please?


Try wrapping the cat in a towel with only the head exposed. Hold the cat close to your body and prevent it wriggling and trying to escape. Someone else to then try and get the tablet in the mouth. Stroking the chin with the mouth closed often makes them swallow it. An easier way is put in food but you need to make sure it has been eaten.


We have a 14wk German Shepherd puppy who has been to you and had all boosters etc However since we got her at 11 wks her stools have been very loose, we were told it was the unsettling of moving etc but weeks later she still is bad with it. Food is James WellBeloved puppy and she eats, drinks and plays all fine but I can’t seem to settle the tummy, tried the rice and chicken root etc.  Do you have any ideas?


You are right, she should be over the move now. She needs a vet check to start an investigation. This will often involve stool samples as infectious problems such as Giardia and Campylobacter are very common causes of diarrhoea in pups. Other possibilities include dietary intolerances, pancreatic insufficiency etc so definitely need to start investigation and treatment


What is the ideal weight for a 4 week old hand reared female staffy?


Body condition score is more important than body weight. There are no definitive weight charts/ideal weight charts for pups as they grow at such varying rates. Therefore, you need to ensure pup is gaining weight and that there is sufficient lean body tissue and fat on the pup. Best option, if you are worried we run FREE nurse checks and they can advise.

If you have any questions you do not need to wait for an Ask the Vet session.  You can either call us at the clinic or you can leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ask the Vet Q&A – 21/11/2013 – Part 1

Each month our vet, Jonathan Nurse, holds an “Ask the Vet” session LIVE on our Facebook page.  This gives people the opportunity to ask him anything regarding their own pets, pet health in general or questions regarding Cherrydown Vets as a whole. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the session so we decided to put all of the questions onto a blog so others can read at a later date.  Hopefully you find it useful and it answers any similar questions you may have.


I have 2 x 15 week old female kittens I’ve had them since they were just 8 weeks old but they still try and suckle everything. I was wondering if this was normal and something they will grow out of or if its something to be concerned about?


This is not that unusual and something they usually grow out of


Can I please ask your opinion? My dogs are over 11 years old – do they still need booster injections or would their immunities be okay having had 10 years worth already?


As far as I am aware, there are no definitive studies proving how long immunity lasts in dogs dependant on how old they are and how many vaccines they have had. Therefore, we still recommend vaccination whatever their age. Alternatively, we now have the antibody tests available in house to seem they have enough immunity – See our blog HERE


Can you recommend a good dry food for small dogs? I have a 10 week shih zhu on royal canine and a 5 year old peekapoo on bakers small dog, I want to take her off the bakers but need a good replacement, ideally something suitable for both dogs.


There really is no one size fits all with dogs and food. It never ceases to amaze me how one dog can thrive on a food and another will do really badly on it. We recommend Hill and James Wellbeloved as good standard diets but Royal Canin is also a good quality food


What treatment would you recommend for a 2 year old cat with what feel like mammary tumors. She is nursing 9 week old kittens which will now be weaned. Is it best to perform a full mammary strip or spay her first and see if the tumors are hormone induced and shrink over a few weeks?


Impossible to say without seeing the cat. Mammary tumours are often very aggressive in cats so often need to treat aggressively. First question is do we know they are tumours? A biopsy or fna to diagnose problem may be first thing to do


How can I stop my 7 year old rescue cat from clawing my carpet. She ignores her scratching post & Bridy has clipped her claws. She don’t go outdoors.


Sorry not found an effective solution to this problem! My cat does it all the time


Following the recent loss of one our cats, Mr Tibbs, we are planning to get a Maine coon as company for our other cat Monty as they have such good temperaments. I know we should keep them separated initially to allow them both to adjust but is there any other advice for a smooth introduction? The Maine coon will be 13 weeks when we bring him/her home.


The key issue to successful introduction of a new cat is mixing their scents. Cats who get on live in a common social group and smell very similar. therefore, before introducing them rub them both with a cloth, put the cloths together in a bag and shake them together, then put one cloth with each cat’s environment. Do this for a few days-freshening the scent each day. Then when they mix they will often get on well. Also Feliway can help a lot

If you have any questions you do not need to wait for an Ask the Vet session.  You can either call us at the clinic or you can leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Maisie Oliver Story

Maisie Oliver came in to us on 23rd November. Here is her story.

IMG_7177Maisie, an 18 month old cat, was brought in by her owner because she wasn’t eating very well and it was initally thought that her brother was bullying her from her food. Hayley examined her and felt a soft mass in her belly, which felt a little bit like a furball, and so gave her some katalax to help move it along, the owner would separate the two cats during feeding and she would come back in 2 weeks for a check.

Kim saw her because she still wasn’t eating and on examination, the mass had become very hard and felt approximately 20cm long and 5 cm diameter and she had lost 400g – dropping from 2.5 kg, to only 2.1kg – very underweight for her size! A scan was performed which confirmed the mass was within the small intestines and the decision was made to open her up immediately. She was very weak and there were risks associated with the surgery but without it, she would die. She was placed on a drip, given a strong pain killer and anaesthetised. On opening her abdomen, a part of the small intestine was seen to contain a foreign body and were massively distended beyond their normal size. The intestine was opened up and impacted straw, wood chip and grass was found within. It was so hard, the material would not come out as a single entity and had to be manually broken down intra-operatively. The intestines were sutured closed, the rest of the abdomen was explored but, thankfully, there were no other obstructions identified.

OrgansMaisie recovered very quickly from her surgery and wanted food within 20 minutes of waking up to make up for lost time! Danielle and Megan, our nurses on duty that day, cared for her, keeping her warm, feeding her littke and often and giving her lots of cuddles. She was able to go home next day and is doing well.

It is unusual to find this type of material in a cat and it may have occurred due to a behavioural compulsion to eat strange objects but can also be seen in cats with inflammatory bowel diseases, so with dietary modification, and the owner keeping a close watch on her, we hope she will not try to do the same thing again. Due to the nature of cats spending so much of their time outside, Maisie was never seen to have any vomiting or diarrhoea, however, these are often noted in an animal with an intestinal obstruction, in addition to weight loss and loss of appetite.

One of the pictures shows Maisie all wrapped up nice & warm in the ‘bear hugger’ recovering after her operation. The other shows her intestines and you can see how distended one is.

Pet Diabetes Month

rotator-photo-c-560x355Did you know it is pet diabetes month? It’s a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the condition because many people are not aware that pets can have it.  Just as in humans, it’s becoming increasingly common in pets, especially cats and dogs over the age of six, overweight pets and certain breeds.  As many owners are not aware of the possibility of their pets having diabetes there are lots of animals living with the condition with no treatment being given.  This can seriously affect the pet’s health long term.  The good news is diabetes in your pets can be easily diagnosed with a simple urine test.  A Cherrydown nurse  will be able to advise you so if you are concerned you can make an appointment to see one of them.

What is diabetes?

Like humans, animals need to produce insulin.  This is a hormone which helps convert sugar in the bloodstream to useable energy.  If the animal is unable to produce enough insulin, their blood sugar can become very high and problems can occur.

What are the symptoms?

Look out for the following symptoms which may indicate you pet has diabetes:

Weight loss even though they are eating well



Drinking more water than normal

Excessive urination

As previously stated, if these symptoms go untreated it can affect your pet’s health and it could also be life threatening.

Can it be treated?

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes it can be treated but generally it can’t be cured.   Our vet will go through what you will need to do to ensure your pet has a happy, normal life. This will include the right diet and making sure they get regular exercise.  Also, you will have to routinely inject your pet.  You won’t have to worry about giving your pet an injection.  Our nurse will give you full training and if you have any concerns or worries you can always call us at the clinic to speak to someone.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to help you.  Alternatively, if it is a non-urgent question you can post a comment on our Facebook page.