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

Dogs and Car Travel

If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.

Harnesses, Guards and Crates

We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog.  They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured.  In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.

When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:

Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows.  They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.

Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog.  You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position.  Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation.  Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.

Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size.  We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.

By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:

Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.

Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling.  Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.

Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.

Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window.  It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres  that shoot into their eyes.  Also, some dogs may try to jump out.

Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day.  Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight.  Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.

For more information on this see our blogs…..

How to keep your pets cool – Click HERE

Beware  of heatstroke in pets – Click HERE

These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.

Top Reasons to Let Cherrydown Vets Look After Your Pet

1) We guarantee to be there for you 24 hours a day 365 days a year. That means our own vets and nurses are on site caring for your pet when they need it most. Some practices outsource their care overnight or have no one on duty at the premises. We passionately believe in 24/7 continuity of care by our team to give your pet the best possible treatment.

2) A top European Orthopaedic and Heart Specialist available for consultations and operations. Having our own consulting specialists means your pet can get specialised treatment without having to travel to distant referral centres. Any post operative aftercare is also carried out here at Cherrydown making it easier for you to visit your pets.

3) We are one of the few surgeries in Essex to offer Laporascopic (Keyhole) Spays. The benefits are less trauma, faster recovery times, small skin wounds with no stitc

4) Direct Insurance – Let us take the pain out of paying for treatment. We can hold your bill until your insurance company pays us directly.*

5) Free Nurse Checks – you can book an appointment or just turn up. We also offer Free Nurse Clinics – Get advice on diet, dental care, diabetes, travel, rabbits & other small furries.

6) Three modern operating theatres with digital Xray facilities. Our modern sterile theatres greatly reduce the risk of infection and allow us to perform complicated procedures in-house. Digital Xrays allow us to quickly get specialist advice from anywhere in the world, they are quicker than conventional Xrays (so there is less radiation exposure to your pet) and the image is much better for more accurate diagnosis.

7) Air conditioned kenneling and waiting areas for the comfort of your pet. Keeping your pet comfortable reduces stress and makes for easier treatment.

8) We are really proud of our facilities and our staff really care. Why not come and let us show you round so you can see for yourself that to us, your pet is one of the family.

9) Over 11,500 people trusted us to look after their pets last year. We have an active Facebook site with nearly 6000 likes where we post information and answer your questions on pet health related subjects throughout the day. Why not visit it by pressing the button on our home page.

* Terms and conditions apply.

For more info see https://www.cherrydownvets.co.uk/pet-care

1 Blue Pattle crop Holly Nicholls crop

 

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

A close call at Christmas

One of the joys of having a dog is their playfulness. When they are happy and bounding around it cannot fail to put a smile on your face. However there are rare occasions where their exuberance can result with an injury.

Just before Christmas we had had an incident where a dog was bought in with a Christmas decoration lodged in its eye.  We spoke to owner to find out what happened.

Ruby 4

Ruby1

My wife and I were preparing for Christmas by getting all of the decorations from storage in the garage. Our chocolate Labrador, Ruby (always inquisitive), also joined us in the garage. However, she just got in the way. We shooed her out but unfortunately she knocked against a crate holding decorations and a branch type decoration that had eye loops at the end caught her on the head as she was moving out and the end lodged into her left eye socket. She darted away yelping loudly through my wife’s legs and the free end of the decoration caught in her trousers causing the decoration to become firmly hooked into Ruby’s eye lid. I then grabbed Ruby securely holding her to prevent her paws from aggravating the injury, whilst my wife unhooked the decoration from her trousers. My wife ran to get the pliers from my tool box in the kitchen. I cut the decoration to remove the majority of it. We were unable to remove the wire that was firmly fixed in Ruby’s eye lid. We then got ourselves ready and departed to the vets.


Ruby 2When Ruby was bought in Kim Woods, the duty vet, could see the 2 inch piece of metal poking out from the dog’s eye. Kim quickly realised it was hooked under her upper eyelid. As Ruby was quite distressed she was sedated and Kim had to cut the metal piece further as it was so curved and manoeuvring it further would have risked damage to the eye. Kim managed to get the piece of metal out but it left a hole in the conjunctiva, however, this healed well with the aid of antibiotics and pain relief. Luckily and almost unbelievably the eye itself was undamaged and there should be no permanent effects from this close call.

 

 

Ruby 3Ruby 5Over Christmas and New Year we have had to deal with many different types of pet injuries. They have been bought in to us inside and outside of normal working hours. Luckily, as we offer a true 24 hour service, our own vets and in-house nurses have been able to help no matter what time of day or night it has been. We think this is an important service as the pets and owners deal with people they know and trust.  Remember, if you and your pet need us we will be here for you 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Like us, dogs have knees and there are two ligaments that help to hold and stabilise the knee joint. These ligaments are the cranial (anterior) cruciate and the caudal (posterior) cruciate and they cross over one another within the knee joint helping to secure the thigh bone, knee cap and shin bone together. Sometimes these ligaments tear and this is called a rupture.  When the tear occurs the tibia moves freely from under the femur and it is this movement and rubbing that causes the pain. You will probably have seen athletes or sportsmen or women pull up suddenly and be in considerable pain after a ligament has ruptured. It is very similar for dogs and they will usually show lameness in a rear leg.  Whilst not life threatening, it is extremely painful and needs immediate veterinary treatment. Failing to get treatment can cause arthritic changes that can lead to long term lameness.

So what causes a cruciate ligament to rupture and what can you do to help prevent it?

Sometimes it is just their sheer athleticism and over exuberance that can cause the tear. Healthy dogs might land wrongly from a jump, turn too quickly or just over stretch. Overweight dogs are at greater risk due to the excess weight carried and weakened joints. Over time degenerative forces acting on the knee joint can also lead to a tear.  Certain breeds are more prone to cruciate rupture so it is likely genetics play a part too.

So what will your vet do?

Initially your dog will be examined in a consultation and the vet will manipulate the leg to try to establish exactly where the pain is happening. Watching how your dog walks (its gait) will also assist in making a diagnosis for a cranial rupture. If your vet thinks it is a cranial rupture they will likely manipulate the femur and tibia to check for instability. Something they will look for is a cranial draw sign where the tibia moves forward independently of the femur. Also, a test called the tibial thrust will be performed. If the signs are not clear then your dog may need to have x-rays .

In the majority of cases cruciate injuries will require surgery, but your vet may consider a more conservative option first  with pain relief, anti inflammatory drug medication and a number of weeks of cage rest. The most common surgical treatment at Cherrydown is a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) which is conducted by our orthopaedic specialist J.B. Lefebvre. It is a complex operation and involves altering how the knee joint works to allow it to function without the cruciate ligament. During the operation the tibial plateau is rotated and a metal plate inserted to keep the bone in its new position. Over several weeks and with the dog restricted to cage rest only, the bone will heal into the new position. Following cage rest, further examination and x-rays will be required to make sure the surgery was a success and the joint is healing properly. Successful surgery is usually long lasting and dogs can go on to lead a normal active life.

What are the costs?

Where surgery is required there are considerable costs involved due to the complexity of the operation. If complications occur this will add to that cost. At Cherrydown we aim to cap surgery prices in advance and you will be given a fixed price to better enable you to manage your finances. If you are a client of Cherrydown and your pet is insured then you may be eligible for Direct Insurance* where we will foot the bill until your insurance company pays out. Typically a TPLO operation will cost between £2500 and £3000 and this is one of the reasons we strongly recommend that pets are insured and that the policy will cover at least this amount. Cruciate ligament ruptures, hip and elbow dysplasia and fractures are fairly frequent occurrences among dogs and each of these can cost a significant amount for treatment. Without insurance would you be able to meet the cost to give your best friend the best chance of a full recovery?

Mange

Every now and again we all have an itch we have to scratch. Your pets do the same. If you see them having a good scratch it’s most likely just a random itch or a tickle. However, if they are constantly scratching or biting the same area and seem to be in discomfort it may be something serious.

Mange is an unpleasant skin disease caused by several different species of tiny mites that burrow beneath the skin. There are a variety of mites that can cause the disease, but only a handful of them affect your pets. There are two common types of Mange

Sarcoptic Mange – (also known as canine scabies) is an extremely itchy skin disease that is common in dogs. The mite burrows into the skin to lay eggs and the spread of the mites can cause irritation and inflammation. As the dog continues to scratch or bite it can injure itself causing lesions and cuts to appear. It is very common in foxes and they are the commonest source of infection in dogs in the UK. Mange is highly infectious to other dogs and to humans

Demodectic Mange – This is a common variety of Mange most often seen in young dogs. The mite lives and feeds in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin. In most cases dogs with this form of Mange will only get a few isolated patches on their body. The most common signs of Demodectic Mange are hair loss, a greasy or damp look, and red crusty skin. Itchiness develops once the skin becomes infected due to the mange

Many people try over the counter remedies to treat their pet at home. However, some of these will not work as they may have been formulated for a particular type of Mange and without knowing what form your pet has you cannot guarantee results.

If you suspect your pet may have Mange it is important to let your vet take a look and diagnose which form of Mange it has as each variation may require a different treatment. The vet will perform a physical examination and will take a look at a skin sample under the microscope. It can be difficult to identify Mange mites if they are burrowed deep under the skin so the vet may rely on clinical signs and the pet’s history.

Remember, if your pet starts scratching it’s probably not down to Mange. In the majority of cases they probably have a tickle or a general itch. However, if you think your pet may have Mange, contact us at the clinic for more information. If you have any questions regarding this subject or any other questions you may have please leave a message on our Facebook page and one of our team will get back to you asap.

Is your pet on the phone?

They say “there’s an app for that…” and they mean it. We were really chuffed to find out there’s now an app designed for the pet owner. The RSPCA has launched its My Pet app, which – amongst other things – includes: * RSPCA news * A diary to store your pet’s info as well as reminders for key dates like vaccinations, flea treatments and pet insurance renewal (we like this!) * Pet care facts and tips for cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs * A scrapbook where you can choose background images and photo frames to create a gallery of your pet’s best pictures * You can also share news on Twitter and your scrapbook pictures on Facebook. The RSPCA My Pet app is free to download from iTunes. It is currently available for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users only. Find out more about the RSPCA My Pet app