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.

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.

Greyhounds

dickieGreyhounds bring back memories of watching World of Sport with Dickie Davies on a Saturday afternoon during the 70’s and 80’s. We would watch the wrestling, the darts and the dog races. Many people only think of greyhounds when it comes to racing but these dogs do make greats pets.

Greyhounds

Greyhounds are an old breed that was originally bred for coursing game.  It wasn’t until the 1920’s when they were used for racing and race tracks shot up around the US and UK. Unfortunately, due to the lack of interest in trackside betting there are more and more race tracks closing down.  This means many of the racers are being put up for adoption or, in worst case scenarios, they are just dumped.

Greyhounds are a gentle and intelligent breed. They are loving, affectionate and love people.  There is a myth that these dogs are highly strung and they can be aggressive but nothing could be further from the truth.  Greyhounds are calm and are people lovers. In most cases, from a young age, these dogs are handled by many people from vets, to people at race tracks or kennels.  They are used to adapting to different people, sights, sounds and surroundings. They are good around kids and due to their non- aggressive behaviour they are more likely to just walk away from trouble.

Another misconception is that Greyhounds require lots of exercise.  Again, this isn’t the case.  Although they are fast they don’t have a great deal of endurance.  Their speed is only over short distances so in reality you only really need to exercise them as you would an average dog.

One thing to remember is to keep a greyhound on a lead.  Greyhounds are trained to chase fast moving lures so they only have to see something shoot past they may go running after it.  Having your greyhound disappear into the distance at approx. 43 miles per hour is not a good idea. Even Usain Bolt would have trouble keeping up.

Health wise, Greyhounds are generally fit and healthy.  They are prone to bone fractures but this isn’t an inherent trait. Racing dogs, due to breeding and training, have few issues.  They could suffer injury from colliding with other dogs on the track and when they run around the bends of a track it can put a lot of pressure on the joints and toes.  Also, when these dogs are retired from racing it is usually because of a problem.  Many Greyhounds will have issues with their joints with DJD (degenerative joint disease) being the most common.  Arthritis is another common complaint.

There are many shelters around the country that specialise in re-homing Greyhounds (http://www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk) and if you decided  to take one home you will be rewarded by having a dog that is loyal and loving.

If you have any questions about this subject please call the clinic and someone will be able to help you.  Alternatively you can leave a message on our Facebook page.

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Cocker Spaniels

cocker

Did you know…these dogs were originally called Cocking Spaniels and they gained their name from flushing out Woodcocks for hunters?  Due to their small size they were ideal for chasing ground dwelling birds out of bushes and hedgerows.

The true origin of these dogs is not known even though they have appeared in paintings and books for hundreds of years.  It is thought they may have originated from Spain in the 14th century. The Oxford English Dictionary described the word “Spaniel” as coming from the old French word “Espaigneul” which meant “Spanish (Dog)”.

There was a time when all Spaniels were separated into two categories, land or water Spaniels.  They were then put into sub-categories dependant on their size.  Larger dogs were used to spring game (later to be known as Springer Spaniels) and the smaller dogs were used to flush out Woodcocks.

Nowadays they are known as the Cocker Spaniel (or English Cocker Spaniel) and also have a lovely nickname, the “Merry Cocker”.  This is due to their happy nature, a constantly wagging tail and they are eager to please.

These dogs are happy and friendly, playful and extremely loyal and gentle.  They love to be around people and due to their happy and loving disposition, this makes them an ideal family pet. They tend to get on well with children and other animals.   Also, they make an excellent companion pet  for the elderly thanks to their gentle nature and willingness to please.

Cocker Spaniels are generally healthy, but as with all dogs they are prone to certain problems.  Due to their floppy ears they are more at risk of ear infections as the flap can trap moisture and dirt.  It is important to regularly check a Cocker’s ears to make sure everything looks ok.  If you are in any doubt, make sure you take your dog to a vet

An issue which can affect a Cocker Spaniel is Progressive Retinal Atrophy.  This is a disease that affects the retina which, over time, gradually deteriorates and can lead to blindness.  The first sign is night blindness or trouble seeing in low light.  If you notice your dog walking into things or you believe there is a problem with their vision, take them to the vet to check.

Another issue with the eye is Entropion.  This is a medical condition found in many dog breeds.  It results in the eyelids folding inwards and causing discomfort when the eyelashes constantly rub against the cornea.  If it is noticed early enough the issue can be solved with a simple operation and with no permanent damage to the cornea.

Other possible health issue include:

Hepatitis
Cataracts
Dry eye
Epilepsy
Kidney or heart disease
Pancreatitis
Hip Dysplasia

Generally a healthy Cocker Spaniel will not suffer with any of these and will live a long and happy life.  However, it’s worth knowing about what could happen and what to look out for so any problems can be caught early.

One more thing to remember, these dogs have long coats so will need regular grooming as it can become tangled and matted.  Also, check their ears and feet for trapped grass seeds, insects and other bits.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to help and advise you.  Alternatively you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Adopting a pet – Part 1

Each year more and more pets are being dumped or given away by their owners.  According to the RSPCA more than 100 animals are being abandoned each day.  This is a 65% increase compared to figures in 2007.

There are many reasons why people give away their pets:

The pets are too much hard work or they are not what they expected

They cost too much to keep –  they can’t afford the food, medical care, boarding costs etc

The owners have lost interest in the pet.

The owners have moved and cannot have pets in the new home

The owner becomes ill or passes away

Breakdown of relationships and no one wants to take responsibility of the pet

The owner doesn’t want an old dog

The dog isn’t pretty enough

Many of these animals end up in shelters looking for new homes. Unfortunately, due to the amount of pets being abandoned, it’s getting harder and harder to find each animal somewhere to live which causes the running costs of the shelters to increase.

Luckily, there are many people who are willing to adopt a pet and give it second chance at happiness.  Below are a few hints and tips about adopting an animal.  In this blog we will start with dogs.

Choosing a dog

Whether you are buying a dog from a reputable breeder or adopting one you still need to do your homework. You need to think about how much time you can spend with the dog. Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Will your circumstances be changing over the next couple of years that may affect the dog? Can you afford it as it can become expensive?  If you have other animals will they accept a new dog?

If you do not think you could handle a puppy it may be worth looking after an adult dog. Also, would you consider a more senior animal? In a lot of shelters the older dogs are generally last to be adopted and in some cases they are the first to be euthanised as they are harder to rehome.  Senior dogs can give you lots of love and due to their experience can be easier to train and will fit into your home without too many problems, however, you may need patience as older dogs may take a bit more time to settle in.

Consider the background of the dog compared to your home. If you have a fast moving noisy house, it may not be ideal choosing a dog that may have had a quiet life with elderly owners. Also, vice versa – if you want a quiet life, getting a dog that is fairly hyper would also not be ideal

Speak to the adoption centre and ask lots of questions as they will be able to help and advise you.

Get information from the shelter

Make sure you get all the information about the dog from the shelter.  Many dogs in rehome shelters will be strays but there will be dogs that have come from the owners so the shelter will have some background information on the animal.   Many shelters and rescue centres will ensure the dog is chipped and neutered/spayed before the dog leaves them. However, some places will requireyou to arrange that yourself as part of the adoption agreement.

Ask about what food the dog was given and at what times.  This ensures there is some sort of continuity when the dog arrives at your home.  If you are thinking about giving the dog different food, make it a gradual change so it limits any possible digestive problems.  Speak to your vet or the shelter if you need advice on this

Before you bring your dog home

Before your dog arrives in your home make sure it has a space to call its own. The dog will initially be confused to why it is at your home and won’t know what to expect. It can be a stressful time for the dog with the change of environment so make sure it has a bed ready so it can retire to it if things get a bit too much.  Dog proof any room(s) that the dog will spend a lot of time in.  Tape up cables, remove or lock away anything poisonous, remove anything breakable, instal baby gates if you want them to keep out of certain areas.

Introducing the dog to your home

When you move house you know how stressful it can be.  This is the same for dogs.  Give them time to get used to the new surroundings and the people within your home.  If you have children make sure they do not overwhelm the animal.  Just take it slowly so the dog has the space and time to adjust.

No matter how house trained a dog may be, there may be accidents.  When entering a new home there will be lots of new sights and smells so it may be thrown off track.  Be prepared to clean up just in case.

Over the next few days remain calm and have as much one on one time with the dog as possible. This will help you learn all the things it likes and dislikes.  It will also help your dog settle in a lot quicker.  Try and keep to a schedule with food and walks. This helps the dog learn what is expected from it and what to expect from you.

It’s a good idea to take your dog to your vet for a thorough check. They will be able to advise you on vaccines, check for any possible health issues and can advise you on how to get the best out of your dog.

There are lots of other hints and tips which can help you when adopting a dog.  If you have any questions or would like advice on this subject, please contact the clinic and someone will be able to help.  Alternatively, leave a comment on our Facebook page

Ticks and the removal of ticks

Every year we get many pets come through our doors with skin problems. The most common causes of these issues are fleas.   Another problem we regularly see is ticks

Now the weather is warmer and days are longer, there is a good chance you and your dog will be out in the parks, fields and countryside.  These are perfect places to find ticks.  Ticks are blood sucking parasites which live off the blood of mammals. They mostly live in damp areas on plants and climb onto animals (also humans) when they need to feed.   When a tick has climbed onto the animal it will attach its mouth parts into the skin and start to feed on blood.  The tick will remain there for several hours or even days until it has had enough.

Ticks like to attach themselves into crevices or onto places that have very little hair.  If your pet has a tick you will most likely find them behind ears, the inside legs (where the leg meets the body), in between the toes and folds of skin.  When a tick attaches itself it will be about the size of a pin head. However, once they start feeding they can grow to the size of a pea.  This is when people start to notice them. However, many pet owners mistake the tick for a wart or growth.

Is a tick harmful to my pet?

If there is a tick feeding on your pet the surrounding skin can become irritated and sore. The skin can also become infected.  Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, which is caused by bacteria in the blood. Luckily Lyme disease is uncommon in this area.  Symptoms of Lyme Disease are:

They may have difficulty walking due to stiffness or inflammation of joints

They are sensitive to touch

They may have difficulty breathing

They may have a fever, lack of appetite or depression.

In rare cases there could be problems with heart abnormalities and the nervous system.

If your pet shows any of these symptoms please consult your vet immediately.

How to remove a tick

The easiest way safely remove a tick is to see your vet. They will be able to give you a spray or a spot on solution which will kill it or they can safely remove them for you. Once they die they will drop off. However, if you want to do it yourself you need to make sure you do it properly.  Don’t listen to old wives tales about suffocating ticks in butter or burning them off with a cigarette.  Also, you can’t just pull them off willy nilly as you run the risk of leaving the head and mouth parts under the skin.  This can cause a foreign body reaction and require surgery to treat.

If you are going to remove a tick, firstly, we suggest you wear latex gloves to protect yourself from any infection the tick is carrying.  A good tool to use is a “Tick Twister”. You can get these from your vet.  These are small plastic picks which slides between the body of the tick and the animal.  You will then be able to twist the tick and remove it from your pet’s skin in one piece.  If you do not have a “Tick Twister” you can use a pair of blunt tweezers. However, you have to be careful not to squeeze the tick too hard as it can kill the tick and leave the head under the skin.  Once the tick has been removed, clean the skin and any soreness or redness should go after a couple of days. If after a couple of days the skin has not improved, or has started to weep, take your pet to see the vet.

If you have any questions regarding this subject you can call us at the clinic or leave a comment on our Facebook page (click HERE)

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

Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE