Canine Parvovirus – Vaccination versus antibody testing.

rotator-photo-bA lot of people are asking us about cases of parvo in this area  and what  they can do to try to prevent their pet getting it. Vaccination and antibody titre testing are ways to try to reduce the risk. Please read below to find out more about this….

The best protection against parvovirus is vaccination. The timing of vaccination is critical to ensure a good immune response. We recommend vaccination at 8 and 12 weeks to maximise the chances of success. We are concerned about the efficacy of some early finish vaccination protocols so strongly advise second vaccination is not given until 11-12 weeks.

One of the reasons for the early vaccination protocols is to encourage early socialisation of pups. We strongly recommend early socialisation but believe it can be done in a safe and effective way before the vaccination course is completed. Please give us a call if you wish to discuss this.

The first booster vaccination 12 months after the initial course is also vital to produce solid immunity. Then we recommend parvo vaccination every 3 years but other components of the vaccine need to be done yearly.

An alternative to vaccination is blood testing for antibody levels. There are some concerns with antibody testing. Firstly, antibodies are only part of the immune response. Another very important part of the immune system is cell mediated immunity which cannot be tested for but is very important in the face of viral infections. Therefore, antibody testing does not guarantee safety against infection. Secondly, knowing exactly the correct levels of antibodies that confer immunity in the face of infection is debatable.

Despite the above issues, antibody titre reading can be useful but has always been very expensive. However, new in house kits have brought the cost down so we are now able to offer antibody testing for £29.00.

In summary, we would still recommend vaccination as the best way to protect your dog against parvovirus. It has stood the test of time and we believe still offers the most reliable protection. However, if you chose not to vaccinate your dog or want added peace of mind that your vaccinated dog is protected cost effective antibody testing is now available.

Please call us now if you are worried whether your pet’s vaccinations are up to date or if you would like a titre antibody test.

Overweight Pets

o0verweightIs your pet a Usain Bolt , muscular fit and active or is it Mr Blobby in a fur coat? Chances are it’s somewhere between the two. Not many of us can expect to run a sub 10 second 100 metres, but we should be able to run it without collapsing halfway for a rest and half a bottle of oxygen. Our pets are the same and whilst not every dog is going to catch the rabbit or win the 4th race at Romford Dogs, they should at least be able to run faster than the average person and get a ball back to you before you get bored waiting for them.

Sadly obesity in pets is all too common and we see a lot of them at Cherrydown every month. Last year a major survey was done to find out more about obese pets and there were some interesting statistics:

There are approximately 2.9 million dogs and over 3 million cats in the UK that are overweight.  However, 84% of owners believe their pet is the correct weight.  This shows there is a big misunderstanding when it comes to a pet’s ideal weight, or more people need get down to Specsavers!

Some other facts include:

Rabbits have a worse diet when compared to cats and dogs.  42% of rabbits do not get enough hay every day and they are fed too much rabbit muesli.  This contributes to obesity and is linked with painful dental disease.

90% of dog owners have admitted giving their pooch cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits and takeaways.

If dogs were meant to eat crisps there’d be photos of Gary Lineker on dog food packaging. Thankfully there aren’t, and Nigella Lawson isn’t on them either so that must mean the product from cake & biscuit baking is not meant for dogs either. So why do we do it? Well…….

48% of owners say they give their pet a treat because they believe it makes their pet happy.

29% of owners say they give their pet a treat to make themselves feel happy.

100% of dictionary writers would say the important word here is ‘treat’. If you have something regularly or all the time it’s not really a treat is it? Would Christmas be as exciting if it happened every day? Would we Brits get the same pleasure from a beautiful sunny day if we were guaranteed them every day through the summer? Of course not, it’s the fact that it’s a treat that makes it so good. Giving your pet a treat is fine, but just remember that a treat should be a very occasional thing to make it special; a bit like Gary Lineker scoring from outside the penalty area.

The serious bit here folks is that obesity in pets often leads to other health issues. Too much strain is put on important organs like the heart, on bones, joints and muscles. Incidence of disease rises and life expectancy decreases. I wonder what percentage of pets that would make happy?

If you want to make your pet happy play with it, exercise it and have fun with it. When you get the lead out and walk to the door most dogs go nuts, and that’s because they’re excited and happy because they know they’re going out for some exercise. They know it makes sense which makes them smarter than some of us!

So what is the ideal weight for your pet? Can you play a tune on their ribs, if so then they’re probably too skinny. Can you actually feel their ribs, if not then they’re almost certainly too fat. Our vets and nurses can help you to realise what the ideal weight for your pet is and they can give advice on nutrition, diet and exercise to help them keep to that weight. We even have two nurses that run FREE weight clinics for your pets. All you have to do is contact us and ask for an appointment with Sarah or Rikki.

As this blog draws to a close, I’m going to ask a question that I think may not be too tricky…… would you prefer an overweight pet that is more likely to get sick, die younger and cost you more in vets bills, or would you like a fitter healthier pet at the right weight that will almost certainly cost you less in the long run and live longer? Bit of a no brainer really. Not only that, but you can get the help and advice you need to achieve this for Free (but please don’t tell Jonathan!).

Prevention is better than cure as the saying goes, and preventing obesity is easier than getting a pet to lose weight.  A good healthy diet and plenty of exercise from a young age will help your pet stay trim and make it less likely to become fat when it gets older. At Cherrydown we strongly believe good preventative care is essential to your pet’s health and that’s why we not only run free weight clinics, but keep the price of the nutritional pet foods we sell to less than our competitors. So please give us a call or pop in and see us so we can help keep your pet as healthy as possible.

healthy pets

Puppy Awareness Week

pupsPuppy Awareness Week (PAW) starts today and part of the aim is to educate people on buying a pup so they don’t get one that may have come from a puppy farm.  A recent survey was done by the Kennel Club and they asked how and where owners bought their pups and if the puppy had experienced any health issues.

The figures showed 17% of people who bought their puppy online, particularly from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, said it died within 6 months of being purchased.  Also, 12% claimed their puppy was in poor health and needed substantial medical treatment.

The figures are quite shocking and with more people buying pups online it is thought as many as 1 in 3 puppies are being bought over the internet.  The Kennel Club are asking for people to not buy from people selling pups on social networking sites and to use rescue centres or reputable breeders.

pupppsAt Cherrydown we have seen young pups that have serious health issues and in most cases it has stemmed from the poor treatment they, and their mother, received while with puppy farmers.

Typically, puppy farmers will separate the pup from its mother too early and it will not be socialised with other puppies.  They won’t follow guidelines regarding the maximum frequency of litters and won’t follow breed specific health schemes.  The pups are not wormed or immunised and in a lot of cases they are kept in poor conditions.   Also, the puppy farmer will meet you somewhere and will not invite you to their home so you can see where it was born.  If you are in the process of getting a puppy and the breeder wants to meet you in a car park or somewhere that isn’t their home, alarm bells should ring as it is more likely you will be buying a dog from a puppy farm.

If you intend on getting a puppy for yourself or as a gift, please use a reputable breeder. Alternatively, pop along to a local rescue centre as they will have lots of dogs looking for a forever home.

If you are going to go through a reputable breeder here are a few pointers:

Always go to a reputable breeder. Look for reviews,recommendations from others people or ask your vet for advice

When you speak to a breeder ask to see the puppy’s mother.  Also, take a look at the conditions of the kennels if the dogs and pups are not kept in the breeder’s home.

Ask the breeder for any certificates or documentation regarding the health of the puppy and its parents.

You may be put on a waiting list.  It will be worth it if you want a healthy puppy.

If you take the puppy home and things don’t work out a responsible breeder will let you return it.  It’s always best to check with them before you take the puppy away.

Overall, if something doesn’t ring true or feel right, don’t buy the puppy.

With our puppy package your pup can get :

1st and 2nd Vaccinations
One month of flea and worm treatment (inc Lungworm)
A microchip
An invitation to our puppy party

All this for £30 saving you £45.

Alternatively, if you know someone who is getting a puppy and might find our guide and offers useful please pass on the link to our website so they can download their own copy

Also, if you have a friend who is getting a puppy, refer them to us and if they take advantage of the £30 puppy package you will get £10 credit added to your Cherrydown account. You can download a referral form by clicking HERE

If you have any questions about any of this please contact us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page

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Canine Parvovirus (CPV) – Part 2 – Lola Newton vs Parvovirus

Lola Newton – a good news story of a pup we treated in September 2013 with Parvovirus.

Her owners story by Hayley Newton…………….

I woke up on the Saturday and realised Lola wasn’t her normal self. My boyfriend was put on dog watch during the day keeping me updated on how she was. He phoned me at 1pm on the Saturday worried that she was still not herself. That is when I made the phone call to Cherrydown vets. I spoke to Sarah Lacey told her Lolas symptoms and she made the call that she needed to come in. If Sarah hadn’t of recommended Lola to come in she probably wouldn’t be here today.

lola3I came into the clinic with Lola and met Chris the vet. He was very worried about Lola as she is only a puppy and she wasn’t acting how a normal puppy should. He gave her a thorough look over and decided she needed to stay in for further tests.

At every point through the diagnostic stage I was informed by Chris. Even when Chris went on annual leave he told me that Jonathan was now going to look after Lola.

Lola was treated like a baby and everyone soon fell in love with her. It was like a roller-coaster ride one moment she was up then rapidly spiralled downhill. The one phone call I dreaded was made by Jonathan asking me what he wanted me to do with Lola as she was really poorly. He suggested that we could carry on with the treatment as she wasn’t in pain or I could end the treatment. I couldn’t give up on Lola at this stage and my boyfriend was still hopeful that she would get better. My boyfriend made the decision to carry on with the treatment and little did we know at that point that it was the right thing to do.

Joanne Barnes the new receptionist got very attached to Lola and made a fuss of her at every opportunity. The other veterinary nurses also made Lola feel important and loved. The smallest improvement that Lola made we were informed. The nurses got excited when Lola ate the smallest piece of white fish!!

The diagnosis soon came through and Lola had got parva. Where she is still so young, Jonathan, was unsure what damage may have been caused internally.

She soon became one of the Cherrydown family and when it was time for her to come home it was the best phone call that we could have got.

We would both like to say a massive thank you to all of the team at Cherrydown vets for saving our Lolas life and not giving up on her. She is now a happy little lively puppy and is doing better each day.

The Vets Story………

Lola presented to Cherrydown Vets Limited as an emergency on Saturday afternoon. Christopher Mortemore was duty vet The owners had noted that she was very quiet and off her food. Lola had not been vomiting or passing diarrhoea.

lola4Although Lola’s symptoms were vague, Chris was very concerned about her. Therefore, he admitted her for 24 hour observation and ran some initial diagnostic tests. He also put her on an IV drip as she was not eating and drinking. X-rays on Saturday evening revealed slightly a slightly gassy abdomen and Chris was concerned that this may indicate a gut obstruction, although the signs were not typical. To be on the safe side, he emailed the images to senior vet Jonathan. He was happy there was no obstruction visible on the X-rays and advised Chris that supportive care was the best way to go until further symptoms became evident.  During the initial 24 hours in hospital Lola deteriorated. She started vomiting and passing bloody diarrhoea. Faecal samples were collected but, as Lola had been fully vaccinated, parvovirus was not considered the most likely diagnosis.

Despite strong drugs to stop her vomiting, Lola continued to struggle. She was under intensive 24hour monitoring and the nurses worked tirelessly to look after her. Even though she was vomiting we had to get nutrition inside her as she was so young.So every couple of hours she was syringe fed small amounts of high energy liquid food. She was on constant IV fluids, a multitude of different drugs and regular monitoring blood tests to check her electrolyte levels. During the next two days Lola’s condition failed to improve and the prognosis became worse by the day. On Tuesday morning, the decision was taken by Jonathan to add in additional drugs that we would not usually use for puppies due to the risks but at this stage we had nothing to lose.  Later on Tuesday, the faecal results arrived and the diagnosis of Parvovirus with secondary coccidiosis was confirmed. The diagnosis surprised everyone. There was nothing additional that could be given at this stage and all everybody could do was hope and continue the intensive supportive care

Suddenly by Wednesday, Lola started to improve. Her vomiting stopped and she even started showing interest in food. Thankfully, her recovery then gathered pace and , although the prognosis was still guarded, medications could slowly be stopped. By the following weekend she was on oral medication only and was able to be discharged one week after admittance. She continues to make excellent progress especially her singing voice that she perfected on her last couple of days in hospital!

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) – Part 1

CPV came to the fore during the 1970’s with an epidemic that killed thousands of dogs. More recently CPV has generally been kept to isolated pockets due to vaccination and better knowledge of the virus. CPV is highly contagious and can spread quickly between dogs if steps are not taken to reduce the risks.

CPV is generally transmitted through direct or indirect contact with an infected animal’s faeces. The virus affects the intestines and is shed in large quantities in the animal’s stools often for many weeks after the virus has been detected and the animal treated. The stools can also be infected even before the animal starts to show signs and symptoms of having the virus. The virus can be carried on the animals coat or paws and also on people’s shoes where they come into contact with infected faeces.

CPV affects dogs of all ages but those most at risk are in the 6 to 20 week age group. Up to the age of 6 weeks pups have a degree of protection from their mother’s antibodies (if they were vaccinated against it)but this reduces over time. It is therefore very important to consult your vet at an early age to ensure pups receive the vaccination to protect them.

What are the signs of CPV?

lola1Infected dogs usually start to show signs 4-7 days after infection. The initial signs are listlessness, anorexia and vomitting.  The dog will also likely have diarrhoea which will be particularly smelly and may have traces of blood in it from where the lining of the intestines is being attacked by the virus. The dog will experience abdominal pain and dehydration will follow due to the dog refusing to drink and losing fluids. Without treatment the dog will rapidly deteriorate and bacterial infections, ulcers and other conditions can make the situation worse. There is a high mortality rate in dogs that contract the virus even where they quickly receive good veterinary care.

What will my vet do?

Your vet will be able to diagnose CPV from the conditions you describe, the condition of the dog and from blood and faecal tests that can be performed.

Your vet will almost certainly hospitalise your dog immediately to administer fluids to reduce the dehydration. Antibiotics will be introduced to reduce bacterial diseases and other drugs given to try to stop the vomitting and diahorrea. There is no specific treatment for the virus and treatment is supportive to try to keep the dog’s systems in balance.

 Will treatment be successful?

The virus can be fatal in upto about 90% of pups. Early diagnosis and treatment will improve the chance of survival but the fatality rate is still high. Those with maternal antibodies or that have started vaccination will also be better protected against the full effect of the virus.

lola2What should owners do?

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of CPV then you need to see your vet straight away. The dog should be kept isolated and a thorough cleansing of the area or cage will be required once they have been admitted into hospital. The virus can last for 5 months or longer on objects that have come into contact with infected faeces. Objects such as cages, food/water bowls floors and leads can harbour the virus. There are special detergents that can be purchased and your vet can advise on these. Bedding etc should be washed at high temperature.

Prevention of CPV

The best way to prevent CPV is through vaccination. The best time to vaccinate is when the pup has lost the majority of it’s mother’s antibodies (these prevent active vaccination) and this can vary from pup to pup. There is debate as to when the vaccination should be given but we recommend first vaccination at 8 weeks and the second one at 12 weeks of age. There is a move towards early vaccination finish in puppies with some vaccines licensed to finish at 10 weeks of age. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS VACCINATION PROTOCOL AT CHERRYDOWNVETS LIMITED as we are concerned that this will leave some pups lacking immunity. One of the reasons the 10 week finish has been promoted is to enable early socialisation of puppies. There is no reason why a puppy cannot be safely socialised and still be better protected by vaccinations finishing at 12 weeks. Pups that have not completed their vaccination course should be prevented from exposure to possible infected animals. At Cherrydown we recommend that owners carry their pups while at our premises to reduce risk of exposure to disease before they are fully vaccinated.

Can other species be infected?

There are various strains of Canine Parvovirus and most will infect dogs, wolves and foxes. Cats are infected by feline panleucopaenia (feline enteritis) which is similar to Canine Parvovirus. It is not infectious to humans but good hygiene should always be exercised when handling animals and this is especially so if the animal is thought to have any kind of disease.

In Part 2 we tell the tale of Lola Newton pictured above who fought the odds to survive parvovirus at Cherrydown Vets in September 2013.

Bitches in Season – some useful information

34341What is a bitch’s season?

If you own a bitch (female dog) then provided she has not been spayed she will come into season on a fairly regular basis through her life. This is commonly known as ‘being on heat’ and is something that owners of all dogs need to be aware of. It is only while the bitch is in season that she can get pregnant and owners need to beaware of the cycle to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Similarly breeders need to be aware of the season to ensure mating at that time. Bitches do not have a menopause in the way humans do and they will come into season throughout their entire lives, although they will be less fertile.

What is being in season?

A bitch’s season is so do with her oestrus cycle which is the regular changes that occur in her reproductive cycle due to hormone level changes. There are various stages of the cycle and these are known as pro-oestrus, oestrus, metoestrus, dioestrus and anoestrus.

The season is from the start of pro-oestrus to the start of dioestrus and as a general rule this will take around three weeks. At the start of pro-oestus her levels of oestrogen will rise in anticipation of the release of her eggs and her uterus will start to swell. There will be physical and behavioural changes that will include

  • She will likely urinate more and this is a way for her to leave a message for male dogs to let them know she is in season.
  • She may become more outgoing and flirtatious as she attempts to attract suitors although at this stage she will not let them mount her. She may stand with her hind quarters towards the dog and move her tail to one side to allow the dog to better see and smell that she is nearing her most fertile time.
  • Physically her vulva will swell and become a more red/pink colour.
  • She will start to bleed or spot and this is more noticeable in some bitches than others. Some are so good at keeping themselves clean that it is barely noticeable.

This stage of the cycle will last an average of 9-10 days but this varies from bitch to bitch and across breeds.

The next stage of the cycle oestrus coincides with ovulation and the release of her eggs and over the next 5 or so days she will allow herself to be mounted. Physically her vulva will become even more swollen and a straw coloured discharge will often be seen.

Metoestrus follows and during this phase things start to return to normal in the bitch, she will be less exciteable, her vulva will start to return to its usual size and colouring and discharges will stop. She will not allow mating and her body starts to produce progesterone that will line her uterus in readiness for pregnancy.

Dioestrus is the final stage  and progersterone is still being produced. In non pregnant bitches the high levels of this hormone can lead to phantom pregnancies.

Anoestus is the much longer period between the seasons until oestrus starts again.

  When and how often do bitches come into season?

This again varies from bitch to bitch and across breeds but generally the first season will be around the age of 9 months and thereafter every six to nine months. The presence of other bitches in season or male dogs can make a bitch come into season sooner and groups of bitches housed together may well end up with their seasons synchronising so thaey happen close to each other.

For those that wish to breed it is recommended to wait until the bitch is at least a year old to allow for her development and maturity to reach the right level. Mating should therefore not take place during her first season.

What do owners of bitches need to be aware of?

Bitches in season are pretty much irresistible to male dogs and they will be able to detect the scent of a bitch in heat from a considerable distance and will want/try to get to her. Sensible precautions must be taken by the owners of bitches in season to avoid pregnancy. During the period when she will allow mating it may be wise not to take her out for walks but to provide exercise in the garden or house. If there is a male dog living in the house they need to be strictly seperated. If taking her out for a walk it is sensible to keep her on a lead at all times and to go to quiet places where there are unlikely to be other dogs. During the stage of the cycle where the bitch is bleeding/spotting or discharging the straw coloured fluid, surfaces should be thoroughly cleansed and good hygiene practiced eg. Using a new floor cloth each time, wearing gloves and washing hands.

Spaying – the advantages

Unless you intend to breed from your bitch it is recommended that they are spayed. There is debate as to when this should happen and we would say it needs to be after 6 months of age and in some breeds it is better to wait until after their first season.  The best advice is to consult your vet who will give you guidance. Advantages of spaying are that they are less prone to certain cancers, will not accidentally become pregnant  and won’t suffer from a potentially fatal uterine infection known as a pyometra.

Dental Disease

teeth2

 

Many dog owners do not realise that dental disease, particularly gum disease, is common in their pets. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of dental disorder.   If there is a problem and it is left untreated it could cause irreversible damage to teeth, gums and jawbone.  Dog owners should have a dental routine in place for their dog to help towards a happy and healthy life. We will list a few hints and tips on keeping your dog’s mouth in good order

Use a good quality toothbrush.  It doesn’t have to be a special one.  Brushes for humans will do.  If you have a medium to large dog use an adult brush. If you have a small to medium size dog, a child’s toothbrush will be sufficient.  You can get puppy toothbrushes from your vet as they can be used on miniature and toy dogs.  If you are just starting to brush your dog’s teeth it may be wise to buy finger brushes.  This will help get  your dog used to the sensation of having its teeth brushed.

You will need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth.  This will prevent gum disease, the build-up of tarter and will help to remove plaque.  It will also keep your dog’s breath fresh.  If your dog isn’t happy about having this done, keep at it.  They will soon accept it as part of their routine.

Make sure you use pet toothpaste.  These are flavoured so dogs will like them and will be more likely to let you brush their teeth.  Also, dogs will be swallowing the paste so they formulated not to cause any harm.  You can get toothpaste and other dental products from your vet.

Give your dog something to chew.  A strong, rubber chew toy or rawhide strips can help towards keeping teeth clean and healthy.

Making changes to your dog’s diet can help.  Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow down the build-up of plaque.  The extra chewing stimulates the production of saliva which has natural antibiotics.  There are special diets available to help keep your pets teeth clean.  Speak to your vet who will be able to advise you on this.

Did you know dogs will chew things with enough force to break their teeth? Regularly check your dog’s mouth for any problems.  Things to look out for which might indicate an issue are

Chipped or broken teeth
Bad breath
Red, swollen or bleeding gums
Check the gum line fits around the teeth.

If there is a more serious dental issue look out for

Problems eating – advanced dental issues may be causing your dog some pain and discomfort
If your dog is in pain they may be shaking their head or pawing at their mouth.
You dog may dribble excessively

If you believe there is a problem take your dog to the vet immediately.  If your dog has a dental problem and is in pain the vet may take an x-ray to see if there are any deep abscesses.  If your dog has any loose teeth they may be removed as they cannot be treated.  The vet may even prescribe antibiotics to combat signs of infection before doing any dental work.

If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth there will be less chance of any dental problems occurring. However, it is advisable to get your pets teeth checked at least once a year with the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be happy to discuss this with you.  Alternatively, you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, (more commonly known as a staffie, staffy or staff), is a medium sized, muscular dog that is very strong for its size and is similar in appearance to the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit-bull Terrier. Currently they are the 5th most popular dog in the UK.

The staffy was originally bred in Staffordshire in the 19th century from crosses between bulldogs and various terriers.  At the time the dogs were used for bull and bear baiting. However, as people lost interest in the sport the breed became less common.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s when staffys became popular again.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are intelligent, fearless and loyal dogs. They have the nickname of “the nanny dog” because of the affection they show for children and the loyalty and willingness to protect the family. Staffys love the company of people and do not like to be left alone for long periods.

If you get a staffy as a puppy, make sure you have plenty of tough items for them to chew on.  They have very strong jaws so a cheap toy with a squeaker won’t last very long. If you do get a squeaky toy that is getting ripped apart make sure you take it off them as the squeaker could end up choking the dog.

Generally, staffys do not mix well with other dogs unless they are socialised from a very young age so it is important to get them interacting with other dogs as soon as possible.  If you are out and about with a staffy, make sure you keep a strong lead on them as they do like to go off and have their own adventures.  Also, as these dogs are fearless, they are not afraid of roads and can go running out. We have seen many staffys over the years come into the clinic due to car accidents.

This breed is generally healthy. However, like all breeds, there may be certain hereditary problems. Some issues that staffys may have include Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Hereditary Juvenile Cataracts, L-2 Hydroxglutaric Aciduria, Skin Allergies and Demodectic Mange.  There will be staffys that will not suffer with any of these problems and will lead long and healthy lives. However, it’s always useful to know what potentially could occur.  We will add a few links at the bottom of the blog regarding some of these issues.

Overall these dogs are very loving, energetic and enthusiastic and will be a good addition to your family.  With the correct upbringing, training and socialisation you will have a brilliant pet.

Here are a few hints and tips:

Firstly, if you are looking to buy one don’t go to a puppy farm, a pet store or a breeder who cannot show you any documentation on breeding tests or vet checks.  Make sure the breeder you choose is reputable.

These dogs love people and are companion dogs. They are not the sort of dog to leave outside

To be safe and to keep them under control, keep them on a lead. They can be aggressive to other dogs. Even after proper training and socialisation, some staffys will not get along with other animals.

Staffys are energetic and will need lots of vigorous exercise each day.

Staffys love to chew things especially as pups. Make sure you get them strong toys to play with.

Staffys like to dig so make sure your fences are reinforced or else they will dig underneath and escape.

They are not good in the heat so if it’s a hot day keep an eye on them. You can read our blog about keeping pets cool by clicking HERE.

As we have mentioned, these dogs love people and will be very protective of the family. However, they do not feel the same about property and possessions.  They are not natural guard dogs.

If you have any questions about this please call us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page (click HERE) and someone will respond

Boss and the Snake Bite Scare

Boss Wood is a lovely friendly two and a half year old Staffie. Helen Wood and her partner Max look after Boss while their son Gary is at work. Yesterday they took him out for a walk near the fishing lake at Lee Chapel Lane in Basildon. They were walking along a path near the lake with Boss off the lead when suddenly they saw an adder curled up on the path with Boss approaching it. In a split second the snake lunged at Boss but they were initially unaware that Boss had been bitten. They both had mobile phones and took photos of the snake as it disappeared off into undergrowth.

 Snake


After a few minutes Boss became woozy and they realised he had been bitten. Max picked Boss up & ran a mile or so with him in his arms while Helen ran ahead and got the car. They rushed Boss into us at Cherrydown Vets where our vet Kim Woods saw him immediately. Boss was a bit wobbly and his foot was beginning to swell. Because they had pictures of the snake we were able to confirm it was an adder bite rather than an allergic reaction which can present with similar signs. Boss was put on a drip & given steroids to reduce the inflammation as well as an antihistamine injection to prevent an allergic reaction to the venom. He was also given antibiotics and pain relief to make him more comfortable. Despite this treatment the leg continued to swell above the elbow, so it was decided to give him anti-venom. Anti-venom itself can often make an animal very ill by inducing an adverse reaction so it is only used if an adder bite can be confirmed & the animal does not respond to the initial treatment.

Boss responded well and after staying with us overnight he was sent home on antibiotics. We will however need to see him regularly over the next few days as adder bites can cause tissue necrosis (cell death) in the immediate area surrounding the bite, which may require further antibiotics.

Because Boss was brought in to us so quickly it will reduce the chance of any long term effects from the bite. Adder bites are painful, often cause swelling but in rare instances if left untreated, can result in clotting defects, kidney failure and even death. With the start of the warmer weather dog walkers need to keep an eye out for snakes in the undergrowth or basking on paths. We usually see a few dogs each year that are bitten by snakes and we have a blog on our website for further information and advice

What to do if your dog is bitten by a snake – Click HERE

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Keyhole Surgery Spays

We like to keep up with advances in treatment and be able to offer clients alternatives where possible. We have just invested in equipment to enable us to do keyhole spays  (laparoscopic spays) and Jonathan will now be doing these on a Friday. We are one of the only vets in the area to be able to offer this treatment and we think many of you will consider it a benefit to your pet. 

What is a lapaoscopic spay and why are we offering it?

To do this spay involves making two small skin incisions in the midline of the abdomen. These incisions are far smaller than in a conventional spay. The laparoscope allows the internal structures to be visualised with magnification. Bleeding is reduced to a minimum, as the blood vessels are sealed with electrocautrey. There is also minimal handling of other surrounding tissues resulting in less trauma. The ovaries are removed via the very small incisions which are closed without the need for external sutures.

The benefits of laparoscopic spays  are less trauma, faster recovery times, less post-operative pain, small skin wounds with no sutures and less risk of wound breakdown complications and infections. As there are no stitches, the dreaded buster collar is not usually required post operation and normal activity is usually resumed after 3-4 days. A larger area has to be clipped on the abdomen and sides but most dogs aren’t too fashion conscious and accept this is a small price to pay for the benefits.

On rare occasions the procedure cannot be performed using the laparoscope so the procedure then reverts to a conventional spay. Similarly if complications do occur, the surgery can revert to a conventional spay if required.

This is a substantial investment as the equipment itself is very expensive, for example a lightbulb for the kit is £700. We have also had to invest in an Anprolene Steriliser as specialised sterilising of the equipment is required to avoid infection. As an introductory offer the cost of a keyhole spay will remain the same as a normal spay, however the price will be increased in the near future to take account of the additional costs involved. 

We will continue to offer conventional spays so that our clients are able make a choice for their pet. If you have any questions then do please call us at the clinic, leave a comment on our Facebook page or send in a question via email to enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk