Big Bear Award – Alfie2

alfie-in-tshirt-with-buster-collarAlfie is a very brave dog who is one of our Big Bear Award winners!

Alfie was brought in by his dog walker Jackie whilst his owner was away. Vet Su was very concerned as Alfie had vomited multiple times in the last few hours and was sore and lethargic.

X-rays of Alfie’s abdomen revealed the presence of marrow bone fragments inside the intestines which were causing the problem: Continue Reading

Hamster feeding guide

hamster-eating-dry-foodWhat to feed your hamster

Generally a good commercial hamster mix feed should meet your hamster’s nutritional needs. Small amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, such as apples, carrot, broccoli, pear and cabbage can be given, but ensure that these have been thoroughly washed to remove any contamination prior to feeding. In the wild, hamsters are omnivores so will also eat insects – these can be given occasionally in small quantities, and you can also give unseasoned cooked chicken.

Feeding your hamster twice a day should be sufficient. Food can either be placed in flat dishes, such as ceramic bowls, as these are difficult for them to tip over, or scattered on the cage floor to allow for natural foraging behaviour and environmental enrichment. Be sure to remove any stale or uneaten food from the cage to prevent tummy upsets and hoarding by the hamster.

Treats such as sunflower seeds and peanuts should not be fed on a regular basis as these are high in fat and could lead to obesity. This is also the case for treats such as ‘honey sticks’ which are sugar-based.

If you are changing over your hamster’s diet or adding any new food in, this should be done gradually as sudden diet changes can cause digestive upsets.

Fresh water should always be available to your hamster either via a water bottle with metal spout or a water bowl. If using a water bowl, ensure that this is a heavy one such as a ceramic dish to prevent tipping over.

Foods to avoid

  • Avoid giving any citrus fruit as these are too acidic for your hamster
  • Grapes and rhubarb should not be fed as these are poisonous to rodents
  • Any food that is abrasive or sharp due to hamsters’ storing food in their cheek pouches

If you notice any changes in your hamster’s food or fluid intake, contact your veterinary practice for further advice.

New dog shampoo – Bonnie and Bailey

bonnie-bailey-dog-shampooWe are now selling Bonnie and Bailey dog shampoo at our Surbiton clinic. Bonnie and Bailey make natural, organic, care products for dogs:

  • The first dog care products certified by the Soil Association
  • All products have maximal organic content with a minimal 74% ingredient listing
  • No sls’s, parabens, pesticides, lanolin, or harsh surfactants – only gentle, naturally-derived detergents
  • Made in England
  • Recyclable aluminium used
  • Tested on humans…and willing dogs!                                  

Continue Reading

Travelling with a cat – reducing feline stress

black-catAlthough it may seem as if sedation is the best option, we do not recommend pets are sedated for stressful times such as fireworks and travel. Sedatives prevent them from acting normally but actually do little to reduce the fear they are experiencing.

However, we do have a number of products you can try to help reduce your cat’s stress when you are taking them in the car or cat basket. Continue Reading

Big Bear Award – Agatha

agatha-tortoise-in-handsAgatha is a 30g 10 month old Meditarranian spur thigh tortoise. She first visited Alex in the beginning of March, as she had stopped eating and became lethargic. Nothing was found on initial examination but the owners were worried as she was such a tiny tortoise.

As tortoises rely on external heat sources to maintain their body temperature, it is very important they have accurate light and heat. Alex and Agatha’s owners discussed temperature gradients and correct light sources and decided to monitor Agatha at home.

Unfortunately she became very unwell, not eating or passing faeces. Her owners became very worried. We took an x-ray to see if there was anything wrong internally.

On x-ray, the vet could see Agatha was constipated and had what looked like a bladder stone within her bladder. This could just have been due to the large volume built up in her digestive tract pushing on her bladder making it difficult to pass anything. Continue Reading

Caring for injured wildlife

deer-in-parkIf an animal is injured or distressed, we can offer some general advice to enable you to help the animal in the best way possible:

  • First of all NEVER handle badgers, foxes or deer by yourself. Call your local wildlife rescue centre immediately and they will often come to treat the animal at the sight.
  • We would recommend keeping a large towel and cardboard box in the boot of your car at all times, as an animal’s stress levels can be greatly reduced by covering them with a towel.
  • We would advise keeping your local wildlife rescue number easily accessible.
  • Always keep birds away from your face as their beaks can cause injuries.
  • Take care with some birds such as Birds of prey, as these have powerful Talons and can cause severe injury.
  • Always wear gloves when handling wildlife
  • Where possible, move dead bodies from the road so other wildlife are not put at danger.

Continue Reading

Big Bear Award – Teazel

teazel2Teazel’s Story

Teazel is a lovely 13 year old Tabby Cat who doesn’t really like being handled, which can make it difficult to examine her. Teazel first came to visit Will on Saturday the 27th December 2014. For the last couple of weeks, Teazel had not been eating very well and had been quite lethargic. Will examined Teazel and found that she had lost some weight since her last visit (500g!) but Will also had difficulty hearing Teazel’s heart and noticed that Teazel had an increased respiratory effort.

Teazel was admitted to hospital the following Monday for additional tests which included blood tests, x-rays and ultrasound of her heart. The blood test results came back within normal limits, however, the x-rays showed a ‘space occupying mass’ which was consuming approximately 75% of her thoracic cavity!

To gain more information regarding the mass in Teazel’s chest, it was decided for Teazel to be sent to Fitzpatrick referrals for the day so that a CT could be performed. This would help detail the location of the mass and suggest a possible cause which would help Will decide the best treatment for Teazel. After her CT, the results came back suggesting that the most likely cause was a benign mass and that surgical removal would be the best decision. Continue Reading

Pet care whilst you are on holiday

oriental-shorthairs-in-bedGoing away on holiday or planning a short trip takes lots of organisation and preparation, but the added pressure of organising care for your beloved pet can often add extra strain. For some pets, being in a cattery or boarding kennel is a fun trip away from home. For others, especially cats, it can be a very stressful change in their routine.

I understand first hand, how stressful it can be when you want to book time away from your pets but you are worried about who will care for them, especially if they are on long term medication. Many owners are often apprehensive about putting them in a kennel or cattery. Questions about pet care options whilst owners are away, are common enquiries we deal with in Veterinary Practice.

Rest assured, at Vet4life, we’re excited to be able to offer a pet sitting service for all of our clients. We would also like to take this opportunity to offer guidance and advice on making the right decision for you and your pet. Continue Reading

Vet4life to open third clinic, in Surbiton

We are delighted to announce the launch of our 3rd veterinary clinic. Vet4life – Surbiton, will open in the summer of 2015.

The address of Vet4life – Surbiton is

40-44 Brighton Road




We look forward to seeing you there!

Big Bear Award – Dante

dante-big-bear-awardDante is a very brave little cat. He has already had to undergo several major operations despite being only 1 and a half years old!

His owner noticed him limping on his right front leg when he came home one day in September but it wasn’t certain how he had hurt himself. He had a small wound by his elbow and  it  was a bit swollen so it was possible he had been in a cat fight. X-rays showed a fracture to the olecranon (tip of the elbow). A bony fragment had been pulled away completely from the tip of the elbow and this was causing discomfort whenever Dante tried to walk on his leg.

Dante was stabilised with pain relief and started on antibiotic treatment prior to surgery to remove any existing infection from his wounds. He needed to have a pin and orthopaedic wire placed to reattach the broken fragment. Dante was kept on strict cage rest following his surgery to aid bone healing and prevent re-displacement of the fractured bone. He was also on a course of pain relief to keep him comfortable. He was doing well at home and improving initially but then after 2 weeks his owner came home to find him limping on his left front leg! Continue Reading