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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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

Owning a Rabbit – Part 1

Did you know there are approximately 1.7 million rabbits kept as pets in the UK? This makes them the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. There are many different breeds all varying in size, shape and personality.  It is generally thought owning a rabbit is easy. However, as they need daily attention, have quite complex needs and can live for a long time (typically 8-12 years or even longer) keeping a rabbit is a major commitment.

Buying a rabbit

If you are looking to get a rabbit, going to a reputable breeder is a good option.  They will have planned the breeding carefully and the baby rabbits should have a good temperament. They will have handled them from a young age so they get used to being picked up. You will also know the exact date of birth which will give you peace of mind that you are not taking the baby rabbits away too young.

Another option is to go to a rescue centre. Every year many rabbits get abandoned because the owners either lose interest or can’t look after them properly.  If a rabbit goes into a rescue centre they will receive a vet check to ensure it’s healthy before being put forward for adoption. The rabbit’s temperament will be checked to ensure they will be safe for children to handle.  Also, many centres will ensure the rabbits are micro-chipped and neutered before you take them home.  You may need to fill in forms, have an interview and possibly have a home visit. This is done to ensure you are able to look after the rabbit properly.

A lot of people will get their first rabbit from a pet shop. However, very few of them will get their rabbits from private/reputable breeders. They will more than likely get them from commercial breeders and the rabbits have been born as part of a mass breeding programme.  These types of breeders are aiming for quantity rather than quality.  Also, the baby rabbits won’t have been handled before reaching the pet shop which means they may be more afraid of humans.  If you do go to a pet shop, ensure the staff know what they are talking about and are able to provide you with all the information you need.

When getting a rabbit there are a couple of other things to consider:

Rabbits are very social animals and do not like to be alone.  If possible you should keep your rabbit with another friendly rabbit unless your vet has told you otherwise.  Rabbits can get bored very easily and can suffer if they have no company or nothing to do. If you have been told to keep your rabbit on its own make sure you interact with it every day.

If you already own a rabbit and you are getting another one, introduce them gradually and do not leave them on their own at first. It may be a good idea to put them in a space that is new to both to them.  Normally, young rabbits that are bought up together will get on, but if they are introduced as adults they may fight.

If you have other pets, a cat or a dog, do not leave your rabbits unsupervised when they are around. Even if you know they all get on. It’s better to be safe than sorry

Finally, unless you are planning on breeding it would be advisable to get your rabbits neutered as this can reduce the likelihood of fighting in both male and female rabbits. Another advantage is neutering female rabbits also stops them getting uterine cancer.

In the next part of our blog we will look at diet and advise on where to keep your rabbit – indoors or outdoors.

As always, if you have any questions you can call us at the clinic or leave a question on our Facebook page. Also, you can pop in to get a free check up with one of our rabbit nurses who can give advice on diet, dental, neutering, vaccinations, housing and boredom breaking activities to help keep your bunny happy

Looking after your pets during the winter months.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. We are heading towards winter and it’s the time of year where you will be wearing your big coat, plus a bobble hat and scarf to keep warm.  Even though your pets are covered in fur, they will need a bit of help to keep warm too -especially if they are very young or very old. Also, dogs such as whippets, greyhounds and other dogs with low body fat or thin coats will need help keeping out the cold.

Below are a few hints and tips on looking after your pet’s health during the winter months.

Firstly, we recommend you read our blog about the dangers of anti-freeze poisoning. Click here to take a look. Antifreeze can be harmful to pets so care needs to be taken. Ethylene glycol is a constituent of antifreeze and is toxic causing acute kidney failure. It is sweet tasting and attracts cats, dogs & children for this very reason. 

If you have a dog, no matter the weather, it will still need a walk. It’s worthwhile remembering that if you are cold there is a good chance your dog will be cold too.  If there is a lot of snow , remember that the smaller breeds of dogs that are trudging belly deep through the snow will feel the effects quicker than a larger dog.  Another thing to be careful of is hidden dangers below the snow. There could be broken glass, barbed wire or other sharp objects. Try and stick to well know routes to minimise the risk of your dog getting injured.

Ice Balls – Now this isn’t a big danger but if not checked it can cause discomfort and pain. If you have been out with your dog in the snow, check their feet for ice or compacted snow.

If it’s icy it may not be a good idea to throw balls or sticks as your dog may slip and injure itself. Take it easy unless you know the ground is ok to run around on.

Every year there are a number of reports where dogs fall through thin ice and either drown or suffer from hypothermia. If you walk your dog near large ponds or lakes, do not let them go onto the ice as you will not be able to tell how thick or safe it is.                                                                                                                                

If you are out walking your dog in the dark, you will be seen a lot easier if both you & your dog are wearing something reflective.

Don’t leave a dog or a cat outside for long periods without providing access to shelter and warmth.  As they could  suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. The most common cause of hypothermia is when a pet has been outside  for too long in freezing rain or snow.

During the summer months you are advised not to leave pets in your car as they could suffer from heatstroke.  When it’s cold you should not to leave your pets in the car as it can get very cold.

Could you spot the signs of hypothermia?   In severe casesyour pet might not show typical signs such as shivering, but it may become lethargic, disorientated and will have a slow heart rate and problems breathing.  Also, it will have cold ears and feet.  If you believe your animal may have hypothermia you should dry off your pet as quickly as possible (if it’s wet), wrap it up in warm towels together with a coveredhot water bottle to help raise the body temperature. Also, contact your vet for advice.

If you have an older cat or dog, it’s a good idea to keep them away from cold drafts and make sure they have a warm bed especially if they have arthritis.  If they are going out for walks, older dogs will appreciate a warm jacket when they go outside.  If you are going out and leaving your pet at home make sure the house is warm. Older pets will feel the cold in their joints and will be uncomfortable.

Cats are happy to sit inside and keep warm, however, if you cat normally goes to the toilet outside they may have second thoughts about going out in the cold and will hold onto their urine to the point where it is dangerous.  By holding it in cats may run the risk of infections and blockages.  To make it easier for them, leave a litter tray out for their use. If that doesn’t work you will have to be cruel to be kind and take them outside to do their business.

Small Furries

If you keep guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, they can be kept outside but it’s advisable to move them indoors. Keep them in a warm shed or a car-less garage (fumes from the exhaust can be harmful to your pets)

Cover the hutch at night with a blanket or an old piece of carpet making sure it is still well ventilated. Also, add some extra bedding for warmth.  Remember to keep an eye on your pet’s water bottle to make sure it isn’t frozen.

Fish

If you have a pond that contains fish and it freezes over it is important to remember to put a hole in the ice. By doing this it releases the toxic metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide.  Do not break the ice by force as this could cause distress to the fish.  Use a saucepan of hot water to gently melt a hole in the ice. Do not tip boiling water straight onto the pond as this could harm the fish.

A lot of the tips we have given are common sense but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.  If you have any questions about pet care please call the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will reply to you as soon as they can.

Pets – Legal Obligations

Recently, on our Facebook page, someone asked us for advice on the legal obligations of owning a pet. Rather than just let one person know we thought a blog would be a better idea

Firstly, have you heard of the Animal Welfare Act 2006? It goes into a lot of detail and if you want to read all of it we will add a link at the bottom of the blog, however, on a basic level it states:

Anyone who is responsible for an animal has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure that the animal’s needs are met.  This means that the person has to look after the animal’s welfare and ensure that it does not suffer.  The act states the animal’s welfare needs to include:

A suitable environment

A suitable diet, including fresh water

The ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

Any need it has to be housed with or housed apart from other animals

Protection from pain, suffering, injury or disease

If you have a dog there are certain laws you need to be aware of.  It is against the law to let your dog be dangerously out of control in a public place or in a private place where the dog isn’t supposed to be (in a neighbours house or garden for example)

Your dog is considered out of control if it injures someone or makes someone worried that it might injure them.  Also, a court may decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if it injures someone elses animal or if the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal.

There is a lot of information relating to owning a pet on the government website such as banned dogs, DCO’s (dog control orders) , banned dogs and dog fouling. Also, it may be worth checking your local council’s website for information.

For more information about the animal welfare act , please click here 

Information about controlling your Dog, DCO’s, banned dogs and dog fouling, please click here

Information from about animal welfare from Basildon Council, please click here

If you have any questions about this please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page

Pet Passports

If you want to travel abroad with your pet you need to get a Pet Passport as this will help you avoid long quarantine periods when you return.  The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is designed to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases while still allowing your pet to travel.  From 1st January 2012 all pet cats, dogs and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the scheme criteria.  Rabbits or rodents that are travelling around the EU do not need one as they are not subject to any requirements with regard to rabies.

The criteria for your pet cat, dog or ferret is:

They must be fitted with a microchip and once this has been done they need to be vaccinated against rabies.

Your pet will need to be issued with a Pet Passport

There will need to be a gap of at least 21 days from the date of the first rabies vaccination before re-entering the UK or travelling to another country.

If you are travelling with a dog you will need to ensure it is treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before returning to the UK.

Finally, your pet will need to travel into the UK on a PETS-approved sea, air or rail route.

When you get your Pet Passport it will contain the details of you (the owner), the pet, including the microchip number, rabies vaccination and blood test details.  There are also sections to record the tapeworm treatments required for entry to the UK.  You can even have a scary passport photo of your pet included although this is optional.

If you do plan to go abroad with your pet, one thing to remember, you must book your return journey home with one of the PETS approved carriers on a PETS approved route.  There is a limited amount of space and it is allocated on a first come first served basis.  Make sure you book in plenty of time or your pet won’t be able to travel. Also, when returning to the UK the Pet Passport will be checked and if there is any paperwork missing or the pet has not had the correct checks and vaccinations, it could be taken into quarantine

If you would like more information about the approved carriers and routes, please click here

Finally, if you are taking your pet abroad you need to ensure it will be comfortable during the journey. Here are a few tips:

Make sure you get a carrying container that is big enough for your pet.  Before the trip, let your pet try it out and get used to it.  Put a familiar cushion or blanket in there as this will help your pet to settle.  The carrier should be well ventilated and there should be enough room for the animal to move around.  Also, ensure it has enough food and water for the trip with easily refillable containers for longer journeys.

If it’s going to be a long journey make sure your pet is fit and healthy enough to do it.

Make sure you feed your pet about 2 hours before the trip.  Nothing too heavy.

Make sure your pet has had a walk and been to the toilet before travelling.

Below are more links to the Defra website where you will find lots of other useful information about travelling with your pet.   If you have any questions about getting a passport for your pet please call us at the clinic, email at enquiries@cherrydownvets.co.uk or post a message on our Facebook page 

Traveling with your pet – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/

List of countries and territories – http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/countries/

Bringing pets into the UK – http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/2011/06/30/pb13582-bringing-pets-into-uk/

Getting a Puppy – Part 3

By now you should have decided on what sort of dog you want and you have found yourself reputable breeder. Do you know what you should look for when picking the right dog? The breeder should help with this, but just in case they don’t, here are a few tips.

Puppies should stay with their mother for about 7-8 weeks before leaving.  If you are offered a pup that is younger we would suggest you do not to take it.

A healthy puppy should have bright clear eyes and a clean shiny coat. Try to avoid getting a pup with a dull scurvy coat or a large pot belly.  If you get a puppy that has a disease it may never recover to full heath.  Your vet will be able to confirm if the pup is healthy and will be able to pick up any problems the puppy was born with.

Find out from the breeder about the state of the pups health and any treatments to date – have they been wormed, flea treated, vaccinated, micro chipped etc.

A normal pup should be playful and active. If the pup looks nervous or appears sleepy this is normally a bad sign.  However, normal puppies sleep a lot so it’s worth visiting on more than one occasion so you can make a judgement.

When you bring your pup home make sure you have the essentials such as a warm bed, food and water bowls, a collar with the name and address on and some grooming equipment. Also,lots of toys and chewable things as this will help to stop your pup from being bored (and chewing the legs of the dining table). It’s a good idea to keep feeding it the same food it has been given by the breeder for a few days then introduce different foods gradually.

If you have other animals we suggest you do not let your pup mix with them until it has had its vaccinations.  Once it has finished the course of vaccinations then you can think about letting your pup mix with other animals at home or out and about. If you bring your pup to the vets as soon as you can, it will be checked to ensure it is healthy and the vet can give you lots of helpful advice about what to do next.

Hopefully these blogs have given you some basic information about getting a puppy. We have put together a FREE guide to getting a puppy which you can download by clicking HERE. It also contains special offer vouchers which can save you money.  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 – Download your guide HERE to learn all you need to know about getting a pup and to take advantage of our special offers

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 clickingHERE

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

Grass Seeds

One of the conditions we see regularly is dogs suffering with grass seeds. These seeds can get into any crack or crevice and can make the area sore until they are removed. The most common places we find them are between the toes, in the nose, ears and behind eyelids.

The worst seeds are those that are like small darts with a sharp point & long tail. These can prick the skin and cause a swelling. If they are not removed immediately they can start to move around under the skin and cause further problems.

How can you tell if your pet has a grass seed?

Some pets are more tolerant to them than others, and whilst some may seem unfazed by them, other will run around shaking the affected area trying to dislodge it. If your dog comes out of a field sneezing or has a sore eye then you need to be concerned. When they are in the paw they can be very painful & can lead to infection and onset of lameness. Not finding the seed can result in them travelling to another part of the body causing more, and often more serious problems. Often this can be noticed through lack of appetite, feeling unwell & miserable, difficulty breathing or sores that won’t heal. Any of these symptoms are a definite sign that you need to get straight to your vet.

How to prevent grass seeds

Try not to let your dog run around in areas where there is long grass. If your dog will allow it, put something like old tights over their feet or head. After a walk brush their coat thoroughly and check the places where they are often to be found. Keeping your dog well groomed and their coat clipped will make it easier to spot the seeds and any sore patches or discharge.

Treatment

If a seed has worked its way under the skin it may be that your vet will have to perform an operation to remove it. Actually finding the seed can often be difficult as they are vegetable matter and don’t readily show up on xrays. A general anaesthetic may be required as the area is to sensitive for the vet to access with the patient awake. Difficulty in finding and removing the seed can result in a large bill and is another reason why insurance is recommended.

Another place the seeds regularly get into is the ear canal and the most common sign of this is the violent shaking of the head. The further it goes into the ear, the more difficult it can be to get out & the seeds can work their way through the body from here. A vet will use an auroscope and alligator forceps if it is not in too deep.

Prevention

Grass seeds are the greatest problem in summer & autumn. Keeping your dogs coat trimmed short – particularly around the paws, armpits, groin & ears will help. Always check these areas thoroughly if you have been for a walk where grass seeds were present. If you notice a grass seed embedded get it dealt with straight away to prevent it becoming more serious. Avoid areas with dart like grass seeds.

If you have questions regarding this please contact us at the clinic or leave a post on our Facebook page

Getting a Puppy – Part 1

There are very few things more heart-warming than seeing a puppy running around your home. Your new pup will find everything very exciting as it explores its new surroundings.  It can bring you great joy and as it grows it becomes more than just a dog. It becomes part of the family.

However, not all puppies are lucky enough to find a person or family to keep them for the rest of their lives. According to the RSPCA, one fifth of the people who bought a puppy over the past couple of years no longer have them.

If you are thinking about getting a puppy there are many important things you need to consider.

Can you make a lifelong commitment to keeping a dog? – The average lifespan of a dog can be between 10-15 years. Can you ensure your dog is safe and well looked after for that length of time? Remember, circumstances can easily change so think long and hard about this.

Can you afford it? –Once you have paid for your pup there is the cost of food, toys and accessories, vet bills, worm and flea products, insurance, training classes and even additional costs to your holidays as your dog may have to be kept in a kennel while you are away.

Is your home big enough or suitable for keeping a dog? – If you live in a small flat it is probably not practical to get a Great Dane or a Rottweiler.  However, if you have a large roomy house and a big back garden then a larger dog  may not be a problem.

Will the puppy/dog be left alone for long periods of time? Puppies require an enormous amount of time and patience from their new owners. House-training, grooming, socialising, training, feeding, exercising etc take a long time to achieve. These are successfully achieved if someone is with the puppy most of the day at home. If the puppy is going to be on its own for 8 hours a day while everybody is at work a dog may not be such a good idea. Also, like humans, dogs can get lonely.

Will you be able to take your dog out for walks and regular exercise? – Dogs need regular walks and exercise so you or someone in your home needs to ensure they take the dog out. It will also be good for your own fitness levels too.

Have you researched what sort of dog is best for you? –There are many things to think about when deciding what sort of dog you want to go for such as the size of the dog when fully grown, do you want a pedigree or crossbreed, do you want male or female, coat length and type.  Some breeds are better with children than others, some do not like to be left alone and can suffer separation anxiety, some are more prone to certain medical conditions while others require more exercise and grooming. It can also be useful to speak to other owners, visiting shows and talking to breeders, vets and dog trainers.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility, but the enjoyment you get can make it all worthwhile. Also it can help keep you healthier and add another aspect to your social life.  Training classes and walks are great ways to meet like-minded people who will share their stories, tips and ideas

If you have fully thought about it, weighed up the pros and cons and decided you have the time, money, patience and love to give to a dog then you should start to look around to find a reputable place to buy puppies.  In part 2 we will go through the options on where to go and what to look for when purchasing puppies.

We have put together a FREE guide to getting a puppy which you can download by clicking HERE. It also contains special offer vouchers which can save you money.  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 – Download your guide HERE to learn all you need to know about getting a pup and to take advantage of our special offers

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 clickingHERE

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

Worms

All cats and dogs will get worms at some stage in their life and many will be re-infected unless they receive regular worming treatment.

There are many types of worms that can infect your pet, these include roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm and heartworm to name a few. However, in this blog we will deal with the most common.

Roundworms

All cats and dogs are at risk of getting infected with roundworms. Even indoor pets can catch them as eggs can be carried in on your shoes.  Roundworms can grow up to 15 cm long and are white in colour. As their name suggests they are round and look like string or spaghetti. Normally, worms can be present in pups from approximately 2 weeks old and kittens from 6 weeks old. This is due to them becoming infected from their mother in the uterus and via their milk.  Adult cats and dogs can become infected from contact with soil or grass that contains worm eggs, through scavenging, eating raw meat and eating faeces

Many adult cats and dogs could have worms and you wouldn’t know. However, some may develop symptoms, especially if they are puppies and kittens, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, a bloated/distended belly, lack of appetite and failure to gain weight.

An important thing to note with roundworm (especially dog roundworms), is they can infect humans especially children. The most serious complication of this is potential blindness caused by the worm larvae damaging the eye- a process called visceral larval migrans. Therefore, any dogs around young children must be regularly treated against roundworm. There is evidence that prescription spot on wormers are best as they provide continual protection against roundworm whereas roundworm tablets will kill any roundworms present but do not provide any ongoing protection.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are flattened intestinal worms that are fairly large and can grow up to 60cm long. They are made up of many small segments approximately 3-4mm long and each segment contains eggs.  Cats and dogs  get infected with tapeworms by eating a flea that has fed on tapeworm larvae.  This usually happens when they are grooming.  Once the flea is digested the tapeworm eggs hatch. Tapeworms attach to the wall of the intestine with hook like mouth parts and as they grow they shed segments which will appear on the animal’s faeces or around their anus.

As with roundworms, you may not even realise that your dog has tapeworm. They feed on the blood and nutrients of the animal, but no immediate symptoms or changes are present.  Normally symptoms will appear over a longer period of time.

The most common symptoms of Tapeworm are small, rice looking particles in the faeces or around the anus, diarrhoea, poor fur and skin condition, weight loss, increased appetite, lethargy, bloated stomach (there could be many tapeworms present in the intestine) and persistent anal itching (you may see your dog “scooting” across the carpet or licking its anus to relieve the itching).

If you think your pet may have worms it’s important to take it to the vet to have it checked.  There are some highly effective treatments which will kill worms. These are available as liquids, pastes, tablets or powder. However, not all the products are equally good and some work against certain types of worms and not others.  Your vet will be able to advise on which product is best.

For more information on worms you can contact the clinic for advice. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.  We also stock a range of worming products

Lungworm

For the best information on this please see our blog here