Big Bear Award – Jade

abdomen-diagramJade the puppy presented to the clinic as an emergency because she appeared to have suddenly gone blind. She was also circling, staring into space, generally unresponsive and pressing her head against the corners of the room. She was also quite thin and had various other signs such as diarrhoea over the weeks before she came to the clinic.

We suspected a Portosystemic Shunt (PSS). This is when an abnormal vessel allows blood from the intestines to bypass the liver. The pet can be born with the shunt or it can develop later on in life. Most cases are congenital, as was this one. Continue Reading

Mast Cell Tumours

mast-cell-tumoursMast cell tumours are a relatively common type of cancer found in dogs and occasionally in cats. They are often quick growing and found on or just under the skin, they can look like just about any other mass so ideally all new masses should be examined and tested. Several breeds are pre-disposed to developing these including Boxers and Golden Retrievers.

Testing of mast cell tumours is relatively easy, quick and inexpensive. A fine needle is used to collect a few cells from the mass which are stained and looked at under a microscope. This can be done in 15 minutes and the cells very often have a very characteristic appearance with many purple staining granules in the cytoplasm (body) of the cell. Continue Reading

Pets and fireworks

fireworksFireworks are used to celebrate all kinds of occasions and around this time of year we have two major events, Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve. Although we may find fireworks entertaining many of our pets are frightened by them. One piece of research carried out by a pharmaceutical company discovered that at least 80% of animals are scared by fireworks. This means for many people and animals it is not a time of fun but a time of stress.

Continue Reading

Care of the older cat

old red cat lying in grassAs standards of veterinary care and diet improve, our cats are living longer. Their dietary and body changes and requirements are understood well, but what about their emotional and behavioural needs?

What happens to my cat’s behaviour as he or she gets older?

The most common behaviour seen in older cats is going to the toilet outside of the litter box or in the house, and/or spraying. This problem is often due to an underlying medical condition so the cat should be examined by a vet. If not a medical condition, other reasons for this behaviour may be that your cat doesn’t want to go outside. Perhaps other more aggressive cats are hanging around, or because they are more sensitive to harsh weather conditions. An indoor litter tray is likely to solve this problem, but the tray should have low sides to accommodate your old puss’s stiff joints. Be sure to change the litter regularly and try different types to see which one they prefer. Continue Reading

Ellie’s Story

ellieEllie the cocker spaniel was brought to Vet4life, for a second opinion. She had been given a hopeless prognosis, one that was not even worth treating…

On assessment, Ellie was a little quiet and had a distended abdomen containing fluid. A previous blood test had suggested she had low protein levels and her liver was not working properly. Ian performed an ultrasound scan and confirmed she had Cirrhosis (scarring of liver and poor liver function as a result of long standing liver inflammation). This was a dreadful and heart-breaking diagnosis for a dog of only four years old. Although the initial prognosis was very guarded, both Ellie’s owners and Ian felt it was wrong to give up on her without even trying. Continue Reading

How do you choose a cattery?

happy cat groomingYou love and care for your cat, he or she is an adored member of your family, so when you go on holiday you feel worried at the thought of leaving your pet in someone else’s hands. Some people may feel quite unable to go away, even for the weekend. There are solutions though!

Cats have a very strong link with their territory, much stronger than the link they have with the people in their house (sadly!). Therefore if possible, see if a friend or neighbour can pop in and help look after your cat while you are away. If not, there are also cat sitters available. Cat sitters will come to your house and look after your cat. If you’re looking for a cat sitter, we know a few in the Teddington and Shepperton areas, so do not hesitate to contact us.

If none of these options are available to you, there are some excellent catteries out there. But how do you find one that’s good? Continue Reading

Sending your puppy to school

puppy-playing-ballHave you just got a new puppy? Why not enroll him or her on one of our puppy training courses?

Every puppy needs to be taught good manners and socialisation skills. These include: responding to his or her name, good behaviour around other dogs, coming back when called, walking nicely on the lead, sitting, and being calm and patient when groomed, or at the vet’s. Puppies learn very quickly with proper training and instruction. 3-12 weeks old is actually the most impressionable learning time for dogs.

We really promote playing with your puppy (or dog of any age)! Playing with your dog is not only the fun part of canine companionship, it’s really important as it enhances your relationship. Your dog will enjoy it and it’s a great form of exercise. Make certain toys ‘special’ and keep them hidden away, and use these when playing together. Continue Reading

Lymphoma in Dogs and Cats

lymphoma-cellsIn the last few weeks I have seen an increase in the the number of cases of lymphoma at our clinic. Lymphoma is a type of cancer of the white blood cells that commonly affects the lymph nodes anywhere in the body. The early signs are variable but often we find a pet may have inappetence, weight loss and lethargy. If your pet is showing any of these signs for more than a couple of days it would be advised that you take him to see your vet.

Of all the cancers that an animal may get in its life-time, this is one of the most rewarding to treat. Treatment typically involves a course of medications, given over several months with a 70-80% success rate. Because we have to make the decisions for out pets, treatment is therefore always considered carefully, compassionate and with our pets welfare given the highest priority.

More information about the disease can be found written here.

Pets’ Problem Behaviour

persian-on-chairInspired by Francesca Riccomini, veterinary surgeon and animal behaviourist

People often don’t realise something is amiss with their pet’s behaviour until something goes wrong, and then it’s too late! Since pets can’t talk, their behaviour is the only indication of illness, bar any physical symptoms. When a pet is acting normally, it’s reassuring – it means our pet is happy and well. A change therefore, may suggest something is wrong. The change may be physical, psychological, emotional or a combination. Continue Reading

Free Dental Check in June

Did you know dental disease is probably one of the most common health problems we see in cats and dogs. In fact, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by the age of 4. If left untreated it can lead to painful infections and loss of teeth.

Why not take advantage of our FREE dental examinations this month in association with National Dental Month. Call 0208 977 3955 to make an appointment, get peace of mind and receive a free packet of Dentastix.