Do you leave your dogs toys outside?
Does your dog like to eat grass or slugs and snails?
If yes is the answer to one or both of these you need to make sure your pet is protected against Lungworm.
The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when rummaging through undergrowth, eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or pick them up from their toys.
Foxes can also become infected with lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country.
Warning to dog owners
There has been one recent confirmed reported case of lungworm in the PL post code area.
Should I be worried?
1. Infection with lungworm can cause serious health problems in dogs, and is often fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
2. Dogs infected with lungworm spread the parasite into the environment, as the larvae of the parasite are expelled in the dog’s faeces. This increases the chances of other dogs becoming infected.
The signs of lungworm
Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.
Lungworm infections can result in a number of different signs which may easily be confused with other illnesses. If your dog is displaying any of the signs below, consult your veterinary surgeon immediately.
There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. If you are concerned your veterinary surgeon can perform tests which may help detect if your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.
Unfortunately some cats suffer on a daily basis from runny a nose and eyes. If they contract flu as a kitten the virus can get a firm foothold leading to regular recurrent episodes.
Feline Herpes Virus (FHV) and Feline Calicivirus (FCV) are the major causes of acute and chronic feline upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) or cat flu. The inflammation caused by the primary viral infection predisposes to secondary bacterial infections.
FHV and FCV remain common in the domestic cat populations despite widespread vaccination because:
1) They are highly transmissible
Infection is via direct inhalation of infected droplets. The virus can survive in the environment which leads to indirect spread via bowls, beds etc.
2) Infected cats become long-term carriers
This reduces the severity of disease. In many vaccinated cats the initial infection is asymptomatic but they still shed virus into the environment and still become long tern virus carriers.
Feline Calicivirus – an evolving challenge!
While FHV is a very stable virus, FCV is not. FCV can produce other symptoms not typical of flu. These can include:
Diagnosis of cat flu
An accurate diagnosis of the cause of cat flu may not always be necessary as the treatment is usually based on symptoms. Treatment usually consists of supporting the body while it fights the virus.
However in cats with chronic or recurrent signs knowing which virus is involved can mean specific anti-viral treatment can be used.
Infected cats can be swabbed for viral testing from the conjunctiva (eyes) oropharynx (throat) or nose.
There are two main tests:
This looks for protein (the building blocks of the virus) from FHV and FCV. FCV is a multistrain virus with a lot of different strains so it is difficult for this test to detect all strains.
2) Virus isolation
This is cheaper than PCR and will detect all strains of FCV.
This, as already mentioned, comprises of support and control of secondary bacterial infection.
Good nursing, fluid therapy and nutritional support are very important. The main aim is to maintain appetite.
At Rock View we have found hot water with menthol vapour rub in it really helps. Some cats are very attracted to it but it is harmful if swallowed. Make sure your cat doesn’t upset the water and burn him or herself. We have had some cats who try and drink the water too once it has gone cold. Olbas oil dropped on the bedding can also help a lot to loosen nasal discharges but only use a tiny drop. Broad spectrum antibiotics are recommended in all cats until the secondary bacterial infection is under control.
A new anti viral drug is effective though expensive. This drug is apparently well tolerated and studies done recently have been very positive. It has shown benefits for cats with chronic FHV as well as those cats with cat flu.
It is not licensed for use in cats but if it works it may be an exciting development for some cats .
L-lysine an amino acid (part of the building blocks of proteins) has shown to be active against FHV but not FCV. Studies have not shown consistent benefits of this treatment.
Interferon – works in test tubes but limited use in actual cats!
Preventing infection in pet cats
Widespread vaccination against cat flu has had an enormous positive impact on the health of the pet cat population. The aim is to vaccinate as many ‘at risk’ animals as possible. This should minimise the severity of disease following infection and to reduce the level of viral shedding and hence the risk of spread to other cats – vaccinated or not.
From European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases and Rock View Vets!
Prevention of infection – Multi-cat Environments
Complete elimination of cat flu viruses is not realistic for rescue centres.
Once FCV/FHV has been introduced it is rarely cleared.
However effective control, is possible through vaccination of all cats.
Avoid over crowding and ensure good hygiene and ventilation.
Any cats that do develop clinical signs should be isolated from the rest of the group and barrier nursed as far as it is possible. At the very least they should be fed, cleaned and medicated after the rest of the cats have been managed.
Quarantine New Cats entering the group
While not very practical four weeks isolation is recommended before introducing new cats into the group. All new cats must be vaccinated before meeting the group. Again not always possible!
I think the ‘take home’ message basically is vaccinate your cat! Any questions on this or anything else contact me at the surgery or on line – Facebook or e-mail.
If a career in caring for animals sounds like a dream job to you, then why not consider Veterinary Nursing?
There is certainly a lot more to the job than you may think.
Veterinary Nursing involves everyday animal care, as well as understanding the science behind their illness, health and behaviours. The role enables a person to play a huge part in the welfare of animals and pets, and actively improve lives everyday. Although Veterinary Nurses face tough times, every once in a while – when someone’s pets stares back at them with big thankful eyes – it is clear why veterinary nursing is such a wonderful job.
In most households, pets are part of the family. The advice, guidance and care provided by the Veterinary Team when a pet is sick is therefore of paramount importance. When a pet is unwell, owners are reassured to know that a professional, caring team is expertly nursing them back to health in an environment that is as comfortable as possible.
Having an understanding of animals and putting their interests and welfare first is at the heart of Veterinary Nursing.
Could you step into the role?
A Veterinary Nurse is vital to the everyday running of any veterinary practice. They support animals, the clients, the Veterinary Surgeons and the reception team. During the working day, a Veterinary Nurse may hold clinics, which are predominantly based on preventative and follow-up care. Clinics regularly involve performing puppy and kitten health checks, weight management and post-operative check-ups, as well as Microchipping and Dental Health Care.
Veterinary Nurses also run Puppy Parties, hold owner education classes, assist in the pharmacy, carry out various laboratory tests, assist with surgery and anaesthesia, medical care of in-patients, setting up and using various equipment such as ultrasound scanning and endoscopy as well as various administration duties from stock ordering to staff rotas.
The variety in Veterinary Nursing is broad
In this career, Veterinary Nurses are able to see many pets as they develop throughout their life. Owners get to know Veterinary Nurses too, and value their opinion and advice. This makes communication – both with colleagues and clients – key to their role. They need to be both sympathetic and understanding, while also able to give clear and thorough instructions.
Veterinary Nurses predominantly need to communicate well with owners to ensure pet ownership is enjoyed, and that pets have a happy and healthy life.
The opportunities and flexibility of a career in Veterinary Nursing are among the many benefits. Indeed, working hours can be very variable, as animal care is needed around the clock.
Veterinary Nurses also have a number of further career options. Excellent Nursing may naturally lead on to nurturing and caring for staff in positions such as Head Nurse. In addition, strong administrative skills and leadership may result in a career in Veterinary Practice Management. Nurses can further their education with degrees and diplomas in advanced nursing.
No matter what your age, current occupation or background is, becoming a Veterinary Nurse is possible. There are two qualification courses; either through higher education or vocational routes. To do this, you will need a minimum of five GCSEs – or equivalent – at grade C or above, including Maths, English Language and a Science subject. Entry to degree courses will vary according to the university.
Further learning opportunities
Veterinary Nurses can specialise in equine, exotic or small animals and even further in surgical or medical nursing, pet behaviour counselling, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, anaesthesia or laboratory work.
Veterinary Nurses have a key role in client education and play a significant part of animal care in the community. For example, visits to schools to teach children about pets, is commonplace in many practices.
While the majority of Veterinary Nurses remain in practice, some chose to travel in order to broaden their knowledge or support animal welfare projects abroad. Be it the orang-utan rehabilitation work in Borneo or the Indian Project for Animals and Nature. Veterinary Nurses can significantly help in reducing animal suffering overseas.
If you have a passion for animals – both large and small, fluffy and feathered, cuddly and slithery – and want to know more about their biology, behaviour and welfare needs, this is the career for you! The learning never stops, as exciting breakthroughs in Veterinary Medicine and animal welfare take place all the time.
Open yourself up to a world of opportunities and, indeed, challenges by becoming a Veterinary Nurse.
Fiona adds – “I was a Vet Nurse for 10 years before qualifying as a Vet. Nurses are the mainstay of any successful practice. They are the glue that holds a Practice together!”
Our Veterinary Adviser, Richard Saunders, attended the British Small Animal Veterinary Association annual congress at the weekend, where Professor Anna Meredith revealed the findings of the feeding trial that has been carried out by the University of Edinburgh, FERA (Food and Environment Research Agency, a branch of DEFRA), and Burgess.
Previous findings had shown that rabbits only fed muesli became rapidly obese, compared to those on muesli or pellet and hay diets, or hay only diets. The more recent work showed that rabbits which were fed on muesli, with or without hay, developed the first warning signs of dental disease, spent less time in active behaviours (and in some cases chewed flooring materials), and had more uneaten caecotrophs, and abnormally small faecal pellets. They also drank less water, which is an important factor in urinary tract health for rabbits.
Full details will emerge as the work is published in the scientific literature, but these findings provide the first scientific proof that hay based diets, with small, carefully measured amounts of extruded pellet tailored to the needs of the pet rabbit, are better for their health than muesli based diets, with or without hay, for many reasons.
Vets will be more aware now of these findings, being unveiled at a major vet conference, and aim to spread that information at Rabbit Awareness Week events throughout the country. And Pets at Home have taken the decision to remove muesli based diets from their shelves, a move which is to be welcomed, and to be hoped that other retailers will follow.
This is the most widespread infectious disease of dogs, last year vets saw approximately 65,000 cases in Britain. That's a lot of coughing dogs, and a lot of vets’ bills. We saw our fair share in Cornwall!
Unfortunately in some cases the cough can develop into pneumonia and even death in some vulnerable patients.
Last year we saw a dog that had caught kennel cough while out on a shoot. She was not particularly ill with it herself but she passed it on to four other dogs that lived with her, one of which was elderly with a heart condition. He was very poorly and it was touch and go with him for a while. Luckily he did pull through after a lot of treatment and large vet bill. In the end none of the owner's 6 dogs went shooting that season - quite a frustration when you have looked forward to working your dogs all year. The man who runs that particular shoot now insists on KC vaccines for all dogs taking part.
Living in Cornwall we do get our share of 'holiday dogs'. These dogs meet and mix with our dogs out walking, at the beach, at dog shows at training classes, and, dogs being dogs, the first thing they do is sniff each other - usually each others bottoms first but after that each others noses.
Kennel cough is highly contagious- if your dog catches it he or she will likely have a persistent, dry, honking cough which will at the least make him/her sound terrible and at the worst ... well it doesn’t need saying.
For the price of a vaccination - £30 - your dog will have protection - No vaccine is 100% but a vaccinated dog will show reduced symptoms if any symptoms at all and recover faster.
If you have more than one dog and one of them catches kennel cough it is very likely the others will catch it too.
Don’t take the chance - get vaccinated!
What is parvo? - Parvo is a viral disease affecting dogs. Puppies and older dogs are most at risk. The virus attacks the cells of the intestines.
What to look for - The virus causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Affected animals can go downhill very quickly. If your dog has vomiting and diarrhoea the sooner it is seen by a vet the better. However, not all vomiting and diarrhoea is Parvo but the sooner it is treated the better the outcome.
What you can do - Prevention is the best cure! Get your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
Here at Rock View we see a lot of rabbits of all shapes and sizes! Long ears, short ears, large, very large, giant and teeny tiny! They all have unique personalities – very much like their owners!
Owning a rabbit is a big responsibility as is owning any pet. Rabbit owners, I have to say, are in a class of their own. I say this in a nice way! You are all very dedicated and want to provide the very best for your bunnies. It is great to hear about the extensions to the hutch, the new toy you have purchased (we have lovely wooden toys in the shape of vegetables as well as carrot shaped chews which keep them amused for hours!) and the ingenious ways you heat your hutches – I have to mention the solar panel in the garden which heats one special bunnies house.
Conditions to look out for
My favourite topic with rabbits!
Rabbits teeth grow 2mm every week - I think I will have this written on my gravestone!
To all those who have heard the ‘lecture’ before – sorry!
Unfortunately we see rabbits with teeth problems on a regular basis. Because rabbits teeth are continually growing their diet – or fibre content of it is VITAL. In the wild, rabbits (as many of you may know!) are continually eating – usually grass. Grass and hay are the most fibrous food rabbits can eat. More fibrous than rabbit food, carrot tops, cabbage and any other food! While DNA does play an important part, and if your rabbits’ teeth are not well aligned no diet will completely solve any dental problems, diet can keep even mildly misaligned teeth under control.
Rabbits are ‘hind gut fermenters’ which means they ferment their food with the use of bacteria. They need to eat plenty of fibre which their guts work best on. Rabbits are also unique in that they produce two types of faeces – one sort – sticky and is picked off the rabbits own bottom and eaten again (lovely!) a second sort of faeces – dry and left in the hutch for you to clear up!
When rabbits become over weight they are unable to lick off the faeces stuck to their bottoms – this can lead to two problems:
90% of your rabbits diet should be fibre i.e. grass or hay. They can eat as much hay as they wish. Hay can be brought in two main forms
Hay should be dust free and smell sweet enough to eat yourself! If it is dusty don’t feed it to your rabbit. Dusty hay can lead to respiratory problems, runny eyes and runny noses.
If you struggle to get good hay for your rabbit we can always order it in for you.
We sell rabbit food at the surgery and on our online shop – we recommend the complete food (where all the bits look the same – that way your rabbit can’t select the bits he/she likes!) If they are allowed to select the bits they like you often find they leave the more fibrous bits which are the vital bits! If your rabbit leaves some of its food it is possible you are feeding too much. It is a common mistake!
At Rock View we see many over weight bunnies, and bunnies with on going dental problems. As many of our rabbits are kept as children’s pets we advise hay, grass and water only until ‘home time’ then at about 4:30pm you can feed a small amount of dry food plus a small amount of veggies if you wish. When you put the food in for your rabbit he/she should jump on the dish and eat all of it. If they pick bits in a half hearted way but are well in themselves you may well be feeding too much.
Contact the surgery for a free of charge check for new bunnies.
-We love to see new bunnies and take their photos for our website!
When feeding hay you can use a rack but loose hay must be kept away from the soiling area as rabbits will not eat hay that has been urinated or defecated on.
Rabbits love toys to play with – balls with bells in, pieces of drain pipe to run through (mind it is wide enough and they don’t get stuck!) many owners litter train their rabbits (we do!) which makes cleaning them out easier! Also this means you can have them in the house like a cat! Beware! Rabbits love to chew! TV wires, electric cables, phone cables. They make lovely pets but like all animals they need care.
Daily brushing, regular dental checks, vaccinations and worming, yes worming!
Rabbits can suffer from a type of parasite called E.Cuniculi, this can cause serious symptoms:
Oral treatment with a worming syringe 3-4 times a year. This is fairly inexpensive and very effective at preventing this parasite. We have had limited success using it early once the symptoms first appear.
To be 100% certain of protecting your bunny we advise dosing with Panacur 3-4 times a year.
Contact the surgery for details.
Choosing a Cattery
Cats are animals of routine who enjoy the familiarity of their surroundings and the presence of those who love them, so when is comes to leaving your feline friend in the care of someone else, it can be a source of anxiety. However, there are many excellent boarding catteries available, all of which provide the creature comforts your cat needs. But how do you choose the right one? To put your mind at ease, Lindsey Taylor takes a look at how to choose a suitable cattery for when you plan your time away.
Catteries can be found in various places, whether you look in the yellow pages, ask your local veterinary surgery, search for adverts in newspapers or browse online. However, it is important to ensure any premises you find are licensed by their local authority, which can be confirmed by contacting the environmental health department of your local council. The Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB) publishes a list of ‘approved’ catteries, all of which have been inspected to a very high standard, so if you’re in doubt check their website!
What should you look for in a cattery?
Indoors or Outdoors?
There are two main types of catteries available: those that are entirely indoor accommodation, and those that include an additional outdoor run area. Catteries that accommodate an outside run tend to be better ventilated and this constant airflow helps to prevent the spread of infection and disperse any strong smells. Indoor catteries will suffer from a lack of fresh air and any viruses will remain in the cats’ environment unless there is a suitable form of ventilation.
A Room of One’s Own
Cattery accommodation should compromise separate ‘chalets’, whereby each cat gets their own living space away from the scents of others. No cat should be housed with another, unless they are from the same household and are known to get on well. Each chalet should either be separated by a gap ?(at a minimum of 60cm) or, if the rooms are joined together, a ‘sneeze barrier’ should be installed to prevent the spread of bacteria.
“When it comes to leaving your feline friend in the care of someone else, it can be a source of anxiety”
Cosy Cat Chalets
It is important to ensure the cattery accommodation is suitable and the surroundings are comfortable and hygienic. It should be of appropriate size, warmth and security. Ideally, the chalets should have separate sleeping quarters with easy access to an exercise area. This allows the cat to roam freely and prevents feelings of restriction.
Cats are definitely ones for heights; they love to be up high, observing life pass by whilst out of harm’s way. There should, therefore, be access to different levels in the chalet to help your cat feel at ease if it becomes stressed and wishes to hide away. A nice sunny spot on a high shelf with an interesting view would be the idea of perfection for any feline (and perhaps with the addition of tasty treats too!). To keep your cat occupied while you are away catteries should contain appropriate means of stimulation; this may be an area where they can sunbath and observe their new surroundings, a scratching post, and plenty of toys with which to play.
Book a Visit
As a cat lover, finding the right accommodation for your feline is definitely high on the priority list. Therefore, it is important for you to arrange a visit to any cattery that you are considering, as the standards of catteries vary enormously. There are some extremely good catteries available; however, unfortunately, there are also some that provide poor quality of service and accommodation. If you are refused a visit, it is advisable to look elsewhere!
Try and make contact with any cattery to book a visit as far ahead of a planned holiday as you can; Catteries can become fully booked very quickly, especially during school holidays. It may be a good idea to check if the cattery you have chosen also boards dogs – if they do, and your cat is not used to dogs, they could feel intimidated by the sound of barking.
When visiting a prospective cattery you should check the design of the accommodation. It should be clean, warm dry, well separated and peaceful, and the staff should be friendly, caring and knowledgeable about how best to care for your cherished pet. Lodging cats will usually be required to use a litter tray, so it is wise to ensure your cat is familiar with using these before their stay.
The best way to judge a good cattery is to observe those who are already boarding. Do the current residents seem happy and content? Are their cages clean, warm, and dry? Do they have toys to play with? Is a supply of fresh water and food available? Feel free to ask any questions during your visit – the staff should be able to answer any queries you may have. An attentive cattery should also enquire about their new guest, discuss any dietary requirements, illnesses, behavioural problems, medical history and also a record of your cat’s name, age and sex.
When arranging a holiday for your cat, catteries should ensure that all lodgers have up-to-date vaccinations before they board. As the owner, it is your responsibility to make certain your pet has had vaccinations against cat flu, and feline infectious enteritis. If you are not asked by the cattery for any vaccination certificates, be aware they might not have protocols in place to prevent the spread of illnesses that may harm your pet. In this case, it would be advisable to discuss this issue with the cattery owner.
Helping the Elderly or Ailing
If your cat is elderly or ill they may require special attention, which the cattery should be able to adapt to. Check there are no steep ramps that your pet may struggle with, the last thing they need is to climb Mount Everest just to reach the toilet! They may also require constant warmth during the winter months, so check whether the heating can be left on for them. Perhaps they require medication? Ask whether the staff are prepared to administer it. All your questions should be answered by staff to put your mind at ease.
Cattery Chosen – what now?
Once you have decided on the perfect cattery, book early to avoid disappointment. It is advisable to leave emergency contact details, perhaps a family member, close friend or even your local vet, in case anything may arise while you are away. Catteries will encourage bringing along any favourite toys or bedding that will help your cat to settle in – the familiar scents will make them feel more at home. If you are still feeling worried, you could book them in for a mini moggy holiday, just to get them accustomed to being away from home before you go away. You never know, you may even find your feline friend enjoys a break away as much as you do!
It’s here so we either live with it and work with it or ignore it and hope it goes away!
Many of you may find it hard to imagine but I am not a ‘head in the sand’ sort of gal!
The Internet is here to stay so bring it on!
As vets, traditionally we were, in James Herriots day, the only place clients like you could buy their drugs for their pets. Nowadays thanks to the Internet and other outlets you as clients have other options. You are able to ‘shop around’ for the drugs you need.
There have been scare stories regarding Internet sites for vet drugs. Some are better than others. Some unfortunately buy in bulk from abroad and pay no attention to correct storage of sometimes delicate drugs*. As Vets we buy our drugs from official companies, regularly, rigorously inspected, with temperature controlled warehouses. This means we do pay more for this. It does mean we get the drugs at their best quality and have 100% guarantee they are what is says on the tin! We know we are providing you the client with the best possible drugs we can.
Yes, you can now buy flea and worm products from Agricultural Merchants. I am sure many of you do, make sure you know the weight of your pet and get the correct dose. As you will all know I weigh every animal that comes in!
As Vets we run our surgeries as a business. I employ ten staff, pay electric, heating, NIC (National Insurance Contribution) and drugs bills. Not to mention the dreaded VAT! We offer 24 hour care with X-Rays, Scanner, Endoscopes, life saving drugs kept in stock ‘just in case’, qualified, dedicated staff a phone call away, all this has to be paid for!
Having spent many years getting qualified and many more selling ourselves short by undercharging for our services (compare a Vet consultation to one with a private consultation by a human physician) we now find ourselves unable to make a decent profit from the drugs we sell. Instead we now have to charge for our Professional Services. I myself do sometimes struggle to do this when I know many people are struggling financially. However I feel responsible for the ten people I employ – their families and loved ones. I have to pay them every month.
Many people look at us Vets and think we are just trying to rip them off. I can assure you at Rock View we never set out do this. We have a practice policy to give an estimate for all work carried out before it is undertaken so there are no nasty surprises. We buy our drugs at the best price we can get from reputable suppliers.
As a further help to you, the client, I have personally, recently gone through the top selling drugs that are repeatedly bought for long term heart, liver and kidney problems, as well as anti inflamatories, and shaved their prices. Hopefully this will make it easier for you all to keep your pets with you for longer!
The Future – In my opinion!
I think Vets should reward loyal clients and at Rock View we value you as a client.
The Veterinary Profession is changing. Only vets who can offer the individual, personal service, I believe you the client wants and deserves will survive. We don’t expect you not to look at other options for your pets medication but remember we will be there 24 hours, 7 days a week for those emergencies when you need us most. In return we will try to give you good value for money. A good individual, personal service, and competitively priced medication. It is a two way street –
Pet Health Plans
Yes we are working on these! You will be able to pay monthly to get wormers, flea treatment and money off dental treatments – spreading the cost of your pets care. We are trying!
*some companies produce ‘fake’ medication which, like the Rolex watch fakes, may look genuine on the surface, but are not. These drugs at the least will not work and at the worst make your pet poorly.
According to information from the public health authorities in Spain, a dog in the city of Toledo, central Spain was confirmed to have rabies on 5 June 2013.
Reports suggest the dog, which had travelled to Morocco with 2 other family dogs was responsible for attacking several people including children in Toledo, Spain, on 1 June. Later that day it was captured and euthanised.
Based on the current available information, anyone who has been bitten, licked or scratched by a dog within 20km of the city of Toledo since mid-May is urged to seek urgent medical advice.
Spain has been free of rabies since 1978. There is no change to the rabies risk in other areas of Spain at present, but further information is being sought from the Spanish authorities about this incident and the PHE rabies incident page will be updated as this becomes available.
Dr Hilary Kirkbride, a rabies expert at Public Health England, said:
Although the animal has been destroyed, UK travellers are being advised if travelling to Spain to avoid contact with wild and domestic animals. If they are bitten, scratched, or licked by a wild or domestic animal they should wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and urgently seek medical advice either in Spain, or on their return from their GP or NHS 111.
Notes to editors