Diabetes Week – 8 to 14 June 2020

Know the facts, reduce the risk

Spotting the signs of diabetes in your pets is crucial as just like us, our pets can suffer from the complex disease, but it isn’t always easily identifiable. During Diabetes Week, we wanted to raise awareness and share some advice about how you can help your pet by understanding what diabetes is, the causes and how to recognise the symptoms.

The Facts

Diabetes is a complex disease with a range of signs that you can look out for.  Diabetes occurs when our pet is unable to produce enough insulin or their body doesn’t react to insulin effectively.

A lack of or reduced response to insulin means your pet won’t be able to regulate the sugar levels in their blood, leading to some severe side effects.

Spotting the signs

Diabetes can be managed to give your pet a much better quality of life.  Below are some of the signs you might want to look out for in your pet – to help you know when to consult the vet.

  • Drinking more often
  • Passing urine more frequently or in larger amounts
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping more or being less active
  • Urinary tract infection.

Can diabetes be treated?

Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be effectively treated with careful management, following the advice of your vet.  Any treatment plan will be tailored to address your pet’s specific condition.

Treatment can include:

  • A balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Insulin injections (you will be guided on how to administer these by your vet).

Keeping your pet healthy is vital in managing diabetes, in particular ensuring they don’t become overweight. Advice for avoiding this includes walking dogs daily, varying their walking routes to keep exercise interesting, combining games with walks and trying to avoid feeding them table scraps, which can unbalance their diets.  If you are currently self-isolating or unable to leave the house, click here for some tips on how to exercise your pet during lockdown.

For cats, playtime is the best form of exercise, so they should be kept active with scratching posts and small toys.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice about diabetes, call us today for more information.

 

 

Vet4Life COVID-19 Update 1 June 2020

Please note, as of 1st June, we may be able to offer additional services for our patients, while still adhering to COVID-19 social distancing rules. Any additional services we can offer will depend on a risk assessment which considers the safety of our clients and teams along with the welfare of your pet.  As we continue to comply with social distancing rules, we are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time.

Examples of services which may be possible:

Vaccination – We strongly believe in vaccination and the benefits of preventative healthcare, but risks vary based on geography, lifestyle and previous history. We will use our professional judgment and discretion to assess each individual situation and advise you on the best course of action.

Neutering – we will assess your pet’s situation based on welfare, population control and individual household circumstances to decide if the need for neutering your pet is essential or if it can be safely delayed further. We are also mindful of the need to preserve essential PPE and anaesthetic which are required by the NHS.

If your pet requires one of the above treatments, please get in touch. For existing clients, if we have not already been in touch with you, please contact us.

We are currently reviewing how best to re-introduce some of these services while keeping you and our teams as safe as possible – so please bear with us, it may take us longer to answer calls or respond to email/web requests. If you have any other concerns about your pet’s health, please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Flea and worm treatments – will continue to be provided based on your pet’s need. Please email or call us to order more.

Prescriptions and food – will still be supplied, however the process for ordering may have changed. Please call us for food or fill out this form for prescriptions if you require more.

We realise you may be feeling anxious about your pet’s wellbeing. However, we wanted to reassure you that we’ll do all we can to support you and your pet – should the need arise.

Guidance for visiting a practice:

We will continue to minimise face-to-face contact, to protect human health and curb the spread of COVID-19, and therefore if you are visiting us:

  • When you arrive, please wait outside and call our reception team to notify them of your arrival. We will advise you of how we can safely take your pet into the practice to be examined.
  • To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, please do not enter the practice unless instructed to do so.
  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has, or you’re experiencing symptoms (new persistent cough and/or fever), and your pet needs veterinary care, please call us. We will be able to advise you on how your pets can receive the care they need.
  • If your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients not to visit their pet at this time.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.


We have made this decision as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and for now, stay safe, we are here for you if you need us.

Looking after your pet rabbit in the current environment

Having been in lockdown, and with schools closed for almost ten weeks, there has been a surge in parents getting rabbits for their children. The general docile nature of rabbits makes it seem like they can be looked after by young children with minimal supervision. However, there are many things to consider before welcoming a rabbit to the family as their care can be more complex than imagined.

Rabbits require as much attention as any other pet, including a healthy diet, regular handling, routine monitoring, social interaction, and medical care from veterinary surgeons. They are highly social animals that crave contact and interaction with their human guardians. Rabbits are much happier living in pairs and will become very lonely if kept on their own.

Whether you are a new rabbit owner or have had your beloved pet for many years, there are several steps you can take to ensure they are protected in the current environment.

Veterinary care for your rabbit

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have advised veterinary practices to change how they work, and many routine procedures are being delayed. This is to conserve essential supplies, protect the health of veterinary staff and our clients, and to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

If your rabbit has not had their vaccinations yet, they will be at higher risk of developing diseases. Please speak to your vet about how you can get care for your pet.

Here are some actions you can take to look after your rabbit during this period:

  • As the weather gets warmer, the number of biting insects in your local area may increase. Keep your rabbit safe from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and midges because biting insects are the primary vector of both Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1 and 2) which can be fatal for your pet.
  • Look out for flystrike during the hot summer months. Flystrike is caused by flies that are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces, and the odour of the rabbit’s scent. The flies will land on the rabbit, typically around the rabbit’s rear end and lay eggs.
  • Practice good hygiene. When you interact with your rabbits, thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling them or any of their food and toys. There is currently no evidence that rabbits can spread COVID-19 to or from humans.
  • Since you are spending more time at home, it might be tempting to give your rabbits’ a variety of foods but to minimise the danger of gut problems, do not make substantial changes to their diets. If you are self-isolating, you might not be able to get your usual supplies but try to ensure that you maintain normal diets where possible. Good hay remains the mainstay of a healthy rabbit diet.
  • If your rabbit is housed with other rabbits, and they are not neutered yet, discuss the best options with your vet. It is advised to spay all female rabbits to prevent reproductive tract cancers.
  • Monitor the claws of your rabbit. Keep them trim, to avoid them catching and breaking them. If you do not have the necessary tools, contact your vet for guidance.

Finally, make the best of this period by spending some quality time with your rabbit. Should you require any specific advice for your rabbit during this period, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Preparing your pet for life after lockdown

How do you feel about the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions? Relieved? Anxious? If we could ask our pets the same question, we’re fairly certain their answers would put them in one of two camps; those who are looking forward to the peace and quiet and those dreading not being with us 24/7.

If your pet falls into the first category, they’ll probably resume their daily napping-schedule quite happily. The pets (mostly dogs) who might struggle are those who rely heavily on contact with us in order to feel secure. Young dogs and puppies, who have never been left at home, might also feel anxious when their ‘pack’ (your family) start going back to school and work.

What is separation anxiety?

Most dogs learn at an early age that, when we leave the house, we’ll always return. Knowing this helps them to feel secure when they’re alone. Some dogs take longer than others to learn, and they feel anxious when they spend time away from us.

Dogs who are scared of being left alone might express their anxiety by misbehaving. Some become destructive and chew household items or furniture; others become very vocal and bark or whine continuously until we return home – which will be distressing for them, and probably your neighbours too; and some may even go to the toilet inside the house – which is out of character for them. Your dog may show one or even all of these symptoms.

There are a few things we can do now to prepare our pets for the end of lockdown. These ideas might also help dogs who struggled with separation anxiety before the lockdown began.

Encourage independence

We can teach our pets to feel secure when we’re out by gradually spending longer periods of time away from them when we’re at home. This is especially important for dogs who like to physically touch or be near to us at all times…. our four-legged shadows!

  • Spend time in a different room to your dog and gradually increase the length of time you’re apart. Don’t fuss your dog when you leave or when you return. By staying calm, you’re signalling to your dog that it’s no big deal for them to spend time alone.
  • Encourage your dog to explore your garden, or outside space, alone.
  • Make sure your dog takes naps in his/ her own bed and not always next to you on the sofa.
  • If you always leave your dog in the same room or area, use these spaces during daily family life. Your dog will be less worried about being left in a familiar space.
  • Introduce interesting toys (such as food-filled chews) to your dog when you’re at home. Lengthen the time your dog has access to these ‘special’ toys while you gradually move away to other parts of your home. The benefits of this are twofold; your dog’s focus is directed away from you, and the action of chewing is something that relaxes most dogs.

Build resilience

If your dog is particularly attached to one person, it’s a good idea to share the load of their daily care. This helps your dog to feel secure even when their favourite pack member isn’t at home. Ask other family members to become involved with your dog’s feeding, walking, snuggling and playtimes.

Your dog will gradually learn to feel safe with whoever they’re spending time with.

How else can we help our dogs adapt to life after lockdown?

Exercise

If you plan to increase your dog’s daily exercise after the lockdown has ended, make sure you do so gradually. We’ll all be trying to lose our lockdown-pounds and increasing the amount of exercise we do is a great way to achieve this. Make sure you and your dog take things slowly to avoid injuring body parts which haven’t been used for a while!

Puppies

If you have a puppy or young dog, introduce them to places that you couldn’t visit during the lockdown period. The more smells, sights, and sounds your dog experiences as a youngster, the less they’ll fear as an adult dog.

Please contact us to ensure your puppy has received the vaccinations and preventative healthcare they need to keep them safe when they start going out.

And what about cats?

For the vast majority of adult cats, their life during lockdown was probably not massively different from their usual routine. They may have felt inconvenienced by more attention from their humans, but many cats avoided this by seeking out new sunbathing/ hiding/ sleeping places!

If your cat has lived indoors during the lockdown, it’s worth checking they’re up to date with their preventative healthcare before they go outside again. We can provide you with your cat’s usual flea and worm treatments so please let us know if you’ve run out. As soon as we can, we’ll resume all vaccinations, so we’ll contact you when your cat is due for a check-up and booster.

For new kitten parents, please arrange for us to vaccinate, neuter and microchip your new addition before letting them go outside. Because of the lockdown, your kitten might be older than usual before this happens. It’s especially difficult keeping young cats indoors during the summer months so we’ll do all we can to ensure they’re ready for the butterfly-chasing season!

All pets

It will take all of us some time to get used to our daily routines again after lockdown has ended. If your pets have enjoyed lie-ins and late nights, it’s helpful to resume your usual routine before you go back to work. Your pet will feel more secure, knowing what time dinner is served!

If you’d like further information about any aspect of caring for your pet after the lockdown has ended, please call us for a chat.

How owning a pet can be good for your mental health

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so we wanted to explore the connection between pet ownership and mental health.

Thankfully, in more recent times, the conversation about mental health is more open and honest than ever. Members of the Royal family have spoken out about their own mental health issues and act as patrons to dedicated charities; celebrities and public figures talk about their struggles, and the medical profession is more educated and understanding than ever.

We hear advice on how to keep our mental health strong, and how to deal with negative mental health experiences in terms of physical behaviour but what about external factors? Here, we’re looking at how owning a pet can have a positive effect on your mental health.

Loneliness

A well-known cause of low mood and depression is loneliness. The companionship provided by a pet can help to reduce feelings of loneliness by having ‘someone’ to talk to or to give and receive cuddles. In extreme cases, pets have been attributed to saving people’s lives’ by giving them a focus and something to live for. Pets are great listeners and never talk back, grateful for the attention and always appreciative when you feed them! They give unconditional love, which can be essential for people who feel alone.

Anxiety

Studies have shown that stroking a pet can regulate breathing, lower blood pressure, relax muscle tension and slow heart rates; all signs of anxiety and stress. It can release serotonin and dopamine – happy hormones – which relax us and improve our mood.

Structure and focus

Pets don’t care if you’re tired, miserable or don’t want to get out of bed – they need feeding, walking, and general looking after. Owning a pet can give the structure needed to get through the day when you’re feeling troubled. Caring for a pet can also remind us that we need to care for ourselves too.

Exercise and fresh air

If exercise is good for mental health, then owning a dog might be the push needed to get out and about. Dogs require regular exercise and generally love walkies, which encourages their owners to take them out even when they may not themselves feel like it. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, which needs to be thought about before making a commitment, but it’s a great way to stick to daily exercise all year round.

Be more social

Owning a pet can help people become more social too. Many dog owners love to exchange pleasantries or stop for a chat on their daily walk. But all pets provide a commonality with friends and strangers; it gives us something to talk about and share stories about. With the love of pets on social media, isolated people can develop new friendships and relationships through a shared love of pets by sharing photographs and joining in conversations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to a registered charity or medical professional for help, support and advice.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)


BOAS is a condition which affects brachycephalic (“short-headed”) breeds, including French Bulldogs, Pugs and Shih Tzus. Our vet Joe gives a presentation.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease presentation


Some information about Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic!

75th VE Day Anniversary – Animals in War

On this VE Day, it will be 75 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the war in Europe. The 75th anniversary will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of people from all walks of life. It is equally important to consider the role animals played and how they were touched by war.

Domestic pets

As they do today, pets played a significant role in people’s lives during the war. When refugees escaped from Europe, sometimes they only managed to escape with their pets.

With millions of people joining the war effort, charities such as the Blue Cross stepped up by looking after the pets of service members. Despite facing great danger during the war, the charity and volunteers across the UK continued to care for and treat animals. By 1945, they were treating 210,000 animals a year!

Pets also saved countless lives during the war. Here are just a few examples of pets who become heroes:

  • When an incendiary bomb was dropped through the roof of the house in which Juliana, a Great Dane, and her owner lived, the dog stood over the bomb and urinated on it, extinguishing the incendiary device. She was awarded her first Blue Cross medal for her actions. Juliana was celebrated as a hero for a second time in 1944 when she again helped to save the lives of her owners. After a fire started in their shoe shop, she alerted her owners’ family to the imminent danger. For this courageous action, she was awarded a second medal.
  • A little dog by the name of Fluff worked valiantly to save her owners. Fluff was buried with her owners in the rubble of their house after a German bomb landed on it. By continuous scratching, Fluff made a hole big enough to get out, which also acted as an airway for the trapped people. She stood outside the hole and barked until rescuers arrived.
  • The home of Peggy, a ferocious terrier, was blown up by a German bomb. Her female owner and a baby were trapped under the debris of the house. The dog worked furiously with her paws until she had made a hole through which the child could breathe. All three were saved and continued to live a happy life.

Dogs also played a direct role in the war. Dogs were trained to protect, patrol, find land mines, and even parachute behind German lines. Brian, a two-year-old Collie Cross, was one of the most-famous “paradogs” and was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his service. During the D-Day Landings, Brian and several other animals joined the conflict in France and beyond.

Horses

Horses have had a long-established role in war. In WWI, nearly a million horses were sent to France between 1914 and 1918, and only 62,000 returned. In WW2, soldiers of the Yeomanry regiments were shipped from Britain to multiple battlefronts with their horses. In 1942, when the Yeomanry were given tanks, the animals became redundant. Thanks to efforts of a charity called Brooke Hospital, now simply known as Brooke, these war horses were provided with a second home. Read more about their work with horses by clicking here.

During the Blitz, citizens and charities worked to save horses impacted by German air force bombing. Among the many stories of heroism during this dark period, volunteers and staff members of the Blue Cross worked to rescue 11 horses trapped in a bombed building in the heart of London. Even though bombs were falling within their vicinity, they managed to save 8 of these horses.

The human-animal bond

The human-animal bond persists through war and peace. Volunteers and charities looked after animals despite a considerable risk of personal harm, and many pets actively safeguarded their owners.

As we look back on VE day, let us be sure to remember and appreciate the important role animals played and continue to play in our life.

 

How to give your pet a tablet


Joe, one of our Vets, will take you through how to give a pill to your pet. This may be for things such as worming tablets or other medications. From our experience, the more you try it, the easier it’ll become and by following these tips, you will be an expert in no time. All credits go to Talan, our four legged star!

May Bank Holiday Opening Hours

Our May Bank Holiday opening hours are as follows:

  • Friday 8th May – Closed
  • Monday 25th May – Closed

This applies to all 3 Vet4life practices.