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.

Rescue Remedies

Rescue Remedies have been rescuing dogs since 2002. They have grown from small beginnings and have helped to re-home and give life saving treatment to hundreds of dogs in some very desperate situations. The charity does not have a call centre but is internet based. At any one time they are caring for up-to 90 dogs which can be seen by going to their website. Lynne who founded the charity has expertise and specialist knowledge with Terriers.

Their key principals are are accepting dogs with more difficult backgrounds. Many have run out of time and are in council pounds, about to be put to sleep and are in desperate need of a rescue place. They will ensure all achieve good health are neutered, vaccinated and achieve a well-balanced temperament. Their aim is to home the dogs in a loving environment that can provide stability for the rest of their lives. They offer their dogs “back-up for life”and their families friendship for life!

All the team here at Vet4life are delighted be have the opportunity to meet and help so many lovely dogs and feel inspired by the ceaseless efforts of Lynne. If you are think you might be able to offer a home to one of the many lovely dogs, please click on the link and see how you might be able to help.

Easter and Royal Wedding Opening Hours

Please note our opening hours over the Easter and Royal Wedding break. If we are closed, and it is an emergency, please telephone 02089773955 for details of our out of hours cover. Happy Easter, stay safe and don’t eat too many chocolates.

Itchy Skin?

dog-scratching-behind-earDog allergies affect nearly one in seven dogs and that number is increasing year on year. Skin allergies are the most common form of allergy seen. Although certain breeds such as West Highland White Terriers seem to be over-represented, any breed or mixed-breed can be affected.

A lot of allergies seem to be seasonal and now is the start of when you often get flare-ups. More information about this condition and what you can do to help manage the itch can be found here.