Vanessa, our Clinical Director, will show you the best way to give your pet their flea and worming treatments. These are important medications to be given as directed by your vet because they will protect your pet against many internal and external parasites, some which can cause quite a lot of harm. All credits go to England, our four legged star!
Are you wondering how to safely socialise your new puppy during the coronavirus lockdown?
We’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.
As we all do our best to stay safe and comply with the government’s lockdown restrictions, puppies are likely to have their primary vaccination course later than usual. This delay means they’ll need to wait a bit longer before they can safely go out and explore the world. The good news is there are many ways you can help your puppy get used to new experiences without even leaving your house!
Normal puppy development
Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them ‘risk-assess’ new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs, who lack a memory bank of positive experiences, are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.
Separation and bonding
One positive aspect of lockdown is the extra time available to get to know and bond with your puppy. It’s extremely rewarding to watch their personality emerge. However, spending so much time with your puppy might make it harder for them to adjust to being alone when normal life resumes. If puppies are fearful of being alone, they could later develop separation anxiety. You could try the following to help your puppy adjust:
- Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
- Encourage independence- as your puppy gains in confidence, allow them to explore areas of the home alone, such as an enclosed garden
- Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart
- Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try dropping items, banging doors, singing and shouting.
- Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
- If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)
What better time to raid the dressing up box and try a new look? No one will see you and it will get your puppy used to the different things people wear, such as hats, sunglasses and veils. Allow your puppy to approach you in their own time and reward them when they do.
Handling and grooming
It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws.
Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practise in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.
If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.
Although it’s important to get puppies used to going out in the car at an early age, it isn’t possible to do this under the current circumstances and restrictions. If you have a travel crate in the boot now’s a good time to introduce them to it. You could sit the puppy in the crate in your car whilst stationary on your drive or outside your house, to get them used to being in the car. Alternatively, you could bring the crate indoors so that the puppy could get used to it by using it as their den. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car.
Want to know the facts and how to avoid ticks this season? As we approach the warmer months, when ticks like to make an appearance, we wanted to give our pet owners a head start in preparing to tackle ticks!
Ticks live in tall grass and wooded areas such as trees, shrubs and leaf piles, particularly cool, moist, mature woods with thick undergrowth. They enjoy waiting in the underbrush for an animal or human to brush by, and then grasp the fur or skin and crawl up the leg. They don’t fly, jump or drop from trees. In the current circumstances, it may well be that people visit local areas of grassland and woodland in order to distance themselves from other dog walkers and come into more regular contact with ticks.
Although tick bites are often harmless, they can cause allergic reactions and certain ticks can pass diseases onto humans and pets when they bite, which can be dangerous.
Dogs and cats pick up ticks very easily, and dogs, in particular, are susceptible to tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t prevent your dog from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.
Ticks and their bites may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behaviour or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.
Currently, we are open for urgent or emergency consultations, but are still able to provide advice regarding:
- The best tick prevention products for your dog
- Tickborne diseases in your area
To further reduce the chances that a tick bite will make your dog sick:
- Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away
In these very worrying times, we can arrange to dispense tick prevention products for you, whilst maintaining stringent social distancing to protect you, our colleagues and the most vulnerable people in our society.
How to remove a tick
Step 1: Put on some gloves
There is little risk of the tick affecting you, so thoroughly washing your hands first will be adequate. Wearing gloves can prevent any infectious germs from the tick affecting you or your furry friend so if you have gloves available, wear them.
Step 2: Keep your pet calm
It is important to keep your pet calm and if somebody is available to help, they can keep your pet relaxed whilst you remove the tick. Perhaps distract them with some treats?
Step 3: Tweezers at the ready
It is also important not to squeeze the body of the tick, as this could force potentially harmful germs from the tick into your pet’s bloodstream.
The best instrument to use is a “tick removal hook” which is passed under the tick and then turned gently around until the tick releases and comes away.
Failing this, take a pair of tweezers and grasp onto the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Grabbing close to the skin is the best way to get a tick head out but be careful not to pinch your pet’s skin!
Please see a link to official tick removal advice: https://lymediseaseuk.com/2015/10/26/tick-removal/
Step 4: Pull out the tick
If using a tick hook, keep turning the hook using the instructions included in the pack until it releases.
If using tweezers, gently pull the tick straight out taking your time and remaining steady. Do not twist or suddenly pull as you don’t want to leave the tick’s head or mouth behind.
After removing the tick, examine it to make sure the head and mouthparts were removed. If not, please call your vet for advice on removing any remaining tick parts.
Step 5: Get rid of the tick
Kill the tick by placing it in a container with rubbing alcohol.
Once the tick is dead, we recommend keeping it in the container with a lid in case your pet begins displaying symptoms of disease.
There are many types of ticks, and each carry different kinds of diseases, so keeping the tick can help your vet make a proper diagnosis should your pet become poorly.
Step 6: Disinfect the bite
You can use triple-antibiotic spray or wipes to disinfect the bite site, or you can use over-the-counter chlorhexidine solution to clean the area.
Keep an eye on it for signs of infection. If the skin remains red or becomes inflamed, please call your vet for advice.
Meet Paige Roberts, Registered Vet Nurse
The majority of the nation gets excited to be eating Easter eggs or chocolate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner or perhaps all three! But we need to careful and ensure our pets don’t get a hold of any, as chocolate could be dangerous for our animals, especially dogs!
What should you look out for this Easter?
Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’, which is toxic to our pets. Even small amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures (or fits), heart problems or death, in severe cases. So be careful where you keep your chocolate!
Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins – and all of these are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they could suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal. Sharing just a little bit with your dog isn’t worth the risk – please keep them away from hot cross buns altogether.
What should I do if I think my dog has been affected?
If you think your dog has been affected by any of the above or other treats/hazards, it is advised you act quickly. Contact your vet in an emergency as soon as your pet shows signs of being ill or if you think your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t as we are available 24/7 in emergencies.
It’s a good idea to write down the details of anything you think your dog has ingested, when they ate/drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they have been experiencing. If your pet needs to be seen, bring any containers or labels which will help the vet choose the best course of action.
With Easter coming up, our opening hours will vary from our usual times.
|Practice||Friday 10th||Saturday 11th||Sunday 12th||Monday 13th|
|Teddington||CLOSED||8.30am – 5pm||10am – 4pm||CLOSED|
|Surbiton||CLOSED||8.30am – 5pm||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Shepperton||CLOSED||8.30am – 5pm||CLOSED||CLOSED|
COVID-19 is much in the news, and some reports are based on fact, others speculation. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have some advice for you as a pet owner – or someone who spends a lot of time around pets – here’s what you should know:
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person to person contact. – OIE (World Organization for Animal Health – https://www.oie.int/).
While COVID-19 is still very much a predominantly human disease, the evolving scientific information around this new disease and the virus that causes it reinforces the need to treat pets as we do our family members; separating them from other infected individuals when possible and practice good hygiene when handling them, including proper hand-washing.
Specifically about cats, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations continue to agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that, in natural settings, pets spread COVID-19 to people. At this point we know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is most efficiently spread via human-human contact. We understand that there may occasionally be human-to-animal transmission of the virus (albeit without significant illness), so it’s important to treat pets as we would any family member and help keep them virus-free. Additionally, there is currently no guidance to keep cats indoors. Only when cats are from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating, and the cat is happy to be kept indoors, should this be considered. Further information available here https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19/
Planting the Wrong Seed!
Spring is in the air, the clocks have gone forwards, the temperature is rising and the plants are budding. What a wonderful time of year! For many dog owners you will be going out more and enjoying the newly sprouted meadows with your dogs. It is also the time of year us vets reach for our instruments, preparing ourselves for the rise of limping dogs with grass seeds.
What is a grass seed I hear you say? It is the part of long grass which falls down on the ground to help with further growth of the grass. It also happens to be extremely sharp and has the knack of impaling itself, particularly in your pet’s paws. This can lead to swellings with pus occasionally from the exit point on the paw. Usually, it is a painful but common emergency which will result in limping. What vets get concerned with is if it is left untreated and it starts tracking up the leg and into the blood system. It can travel from the leg to the lung and become a life threatening condition. Continue Reading
Meet Jessica Harding, HRVN, Head Vet Nurse at Surbiton
The Apple, or Cherry, of my Eye
The eye is a fascinating organ – so much packed into a small globe and performing such an important task, particularly in our keen sighted four-legged friends.
You may be surprised to know that dogs and cats have a third eyelid. It is a vital part of their eyes which produces ⅓ of their tears! It also acts by swiping over the eye, pushing away any debris which can accumulate.
A condition in dogs which can occur is “Cherry Eye” or nictitating membrane prolapse where the third eyelid flips outwards. This is something which may happen temporarily and revert back to normal, or stay reversed permanently. If it prolapses enough to stay reversed permanently, surgery may be the best option to try and help reduce the problem. If it goes untreated, it can lead to permanent damage from the eye being dry and not wiped of debris. Continue Reading