Helpful Tips

Springtime and our bunny friends

Spring has hopped into our lives again and how wonderful that feels. With Easter just around the corner it brings to mind the welfare of our rabbits and as a veterinary practice and as owners we want to continue to do the best we can for their welfare.

Rabbits need space to be able to stand up right on their hind legs and to have space to move around adequately . We have in the past discussed that most cages that are available on the market are too small and for this reason many owners are becoming extremely creative.

Using a shed and installing a cat flap allowing the rabbits the freedom to enter the garden when they wish is a very cost effective way of providing a very good size shelter. Being able to set the cat flap to lock closed at certain times like we do for our cats gives us the peace of mind that they are secure if we arrive home later in the evening. Some people also install plastic piping underground from their rabbits’ shelter area to other areas around the garden and even into the house. Obviously this involves more work and can cost more to organize. The environment provided may have to be re thought depending on the rabbit’s character.

Karoline’s bunnies are forever escaping. They love to dig huge tunnels so for this reason it would not be practical to give them free run of the garden when no one is there to supervise. So the project that Karoline is starting this year is a walk-in enclosure with a built in trench which will be filled with soil. This gives the rabbits the freedom to behave naturally while keeping them safe when unattended. We will let you see the finished product in the summer.

As well as providing the correct space and living condition for rabbits we need to be providing stimulation for them ensuring their minds are kept active for their mental well-being.

Karoline also recently attended a farm park with her son and was very impressed with the facilities that were made available for rabbits and guinea pigs. New ideas where brought away which we would like to share with you.

  1. Giving fresh hay for their diets is better provided off the ground so it does not get contaminated with urine and faeces. At the farm they hung plastic storage baskets from the ceiling. The rabbits could pull the hay through the holes which they appeared to have great fun at doing as it was a challenge to reach the basket. Half curved wire plant baskets had also been screwed to the walls to provide hay, which keeps it clean and dry.Tunnels had been provided from the inner tubing of carpets.  Smaller tubes had hay and dandilion leaves inside them, which provided great entertainment , along with footballs and toys that are available for smaller dogs.  Feeding puzzles can be used to give dry food which stimulates them more than just being fed from a bowl.
  2. More information can be found on the Rabbit Welfare Assiociation and Fund (RWAF) regarding the care we can provide for our rabbits and the importance of keeping them in pairs for company. https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/

 

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Smile! its Emscote Vets’ Dental Month!

We all know how important our own dental hygiene is, but what about our pets?

They use their mouths for a whole host of different things: exploring, holding, carrying and chewing to name a few.

It is therefore important that we look after their mouths and have them checked regularly.

Gum Disease is very common in dogs and cats and it begins with bacteria on surface of the tooth. This build up forms an off-white coating called plaque. If the plaque is left to develop, tartar forms; this is brown, rough and more difficult to remove.

The build up of bacteria also targets the gums causing inflammation. This is better known as gingivitis and can be pretty painful!

Signs to look out for:

  • Bad Breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Behavioural changes e.g. being less lively and sociable
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty or looking painful while eating

Cats and Dogs are very good at hiding their pain and this is no different with their teeth.

Your vet will perform a physical examination including the mouth before your pet has their annual vaccinations.

You can always book in for an extra check up with the vet or a nurse if you are concerned.

 

Taking care of your pets’ teeth and prevention of dental disease:

Dogs:

  • Brushing

Imagine if we only brushed our teeth once in a while? Aim to fit brushing teeth into your dog’s daily routine.

  • Avoiding abrasive objects for chewing (e.g. bones and tennis balls)
  • Dental diets (specially shaped kibble to help reduce tartar)

Cats:

  • Most cats will not allow brushing, but some, more laid back individuals can be trained.
  • Specially designed treats and dental diets can be used.

Ask your vet or nurse for advice on how to start taking care of your pets teeth.

 

March is Emscote Vets’ Dental Month so we are offering:

12.5% off dental treatments*…. this means members of the Animal Health Club get 27.5% off!

Please speak to one of our nurses or vets to discuss and book in during March to avail of this offer.

 

 

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Happy Cats, Happy practice!

 

Tips for reducing stress for your cat when visiting the vet

Many cat owners find bringing their furry companion, into the practice can be a very stressful experience! This is because cats are self sufficient survivalists, and taking them away from their home environment (which to them is their territory) is a very stressful experience for them.

Some of the nurses have recently been to a Cat Friendly talk (sponsored by the ISFM), and have picked up a few tips to help reduce the stress of the experience.

 

  • The cat basket! Unfortunately cats often build up a negative association with their basket (as it usually results in them being forcefully pushed into it for the vets or cattery), one way to avoid the basket becoming “the dreaded box of doom” is to leave it out continuously (or at least 3-4 days before vet visit!), and turn it into a positive thing. Take the door off, place in some comfortable bedding, and put it in an area low of human traffic. Ideally next to a pet remedy or Feliway diffuser. Place the evening meal inside the box, so it becomes a nice place to receive treats or food, or a convenient rest spot.

When purchasing a cat basket ensure it’s easy to open (preferably with top load entry as well as a side door), do not purchase a wicker basket or something in which the cat will have to be “dragged out”, as again this builds up a negative association.

  • On the way to the vets – a stressful journey to the vets often results in a stressful visit. Gently place the cat into the basket, always have newspaper or bedding in the bottom (a slippery basket floor, makes an unhappy cat!), it’s a good idea to bring some spare in case of any accidents! A toy or cuddly friend often helps with the anticipation (sprayed with some pet remedy or Feliway).

Always safely secure your cat’s basket in the car, not only will this stop the cat from sliding about, but during a cat accident it helps to save your cats life!

 

  • Arriving at the practice, keep your cat as level in the basket as you can whilst walking, take a seat in “Cats Corner” which is the cat friendly waiting area in the reception, ask the receptionist for a cover for your basket if you feel your cat is stressed. Place your cat onto the desk or one of the “Small animal parking” stations. Do not allow dogs or other children to come running up and disturb your cat. Face your basket away from the direction of other cats, as some cats will stare and frighten each other. Try and keep as calm and positive as you can, as cats will sense anxiety around them.
  • When in the consult room, do not reach in and drag your cat out, as this will just upset them. The vet or nurse will open the carrier, and give your cat time to walk out or will “dissemble” the box to examine your cat. When your cat isn’t being examined allow them to walk around the room so they can explore their new environment (again keep as calm as you can as your cat will be reading your energy).

 

These are just a few tips to make the experience as calm and stress-free as possible, if our feline patients arrive calm it often makes the visit a more positive one for them! And of course the veterinary staff love a happy cat!! 😉

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High Blood Pressure in Cats

High blood pressure or ‘Hypertension’ is becoming an increasingly recognised problem for older cats.

Hypertension is often called a silent killer as left undetected it can cause:

  • Sudden blindness or bleeding into the eye
  • Neurological signs including seizures or wobbly movement
  • Breathlessness leading to heart problems
  • Kidney damage resulting in kidney failure

It can be ‘primary’: no underlying disease cause, or most often ‘secondary’: a complication of a medical condition.

Conditions such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and sometimes diabetes can all predispose a cat to hypertension.

With early symptoms being difficult to detect we highly recommend routine blood pressure monitoring for older cats:

Please call the surgery 01926496422 or pop in to book a 30 minute blood pressure assessment with one of our nurses.

If high readings are recorded a consultation with the vet will be organised to discuss possible treatments and to plan blood tests if appropriate to manage the high blood pressure.

The photo shows the lovely Star with Nikki having her blood pressure taken in her basket so limits any stress, and a photo of a non-invasive Doppler machine (similarly to humans) to measure blood pressure which is so nice for cats and causes minimum distress.

 

 

 

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Client information with regards drug use in their pets

Many of our clients are probably not aware that we have a drug data section to our website so here is some information why it’s there.

 

Data Sheets

Providing access to data sheets enables you to feel better informed about the medications you are giving your pet, it is also a Veterinary Medicines Directorate regulation.

Data sheets contain all the information you need to know about the drug and usually includes sections on storage, administration and adverse reactions.

Data sheets for all medication dispensed at Emscote can be found on our website:

www.emscotevets.co.uk

Under the services tab for ‘Drug Information’

If you would like a paper copy of the data sheet, please ask a member of staff, we will be happy to provide one, but please bear in mind environmental issues when asking for a paper copy.

You can reference the website anytime and it is mobile friendly, if you have any further questions or concerns, please speak to one of our vets.

 

Here’s Buddy pondering the idea or just watching the nurse who knows 🙂

 

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Happy Christmas 2018,

 

Barney and Frank in their super Christmas jumpers dropped in to wish us all a Merry Christmas.

We would like to wish all our clients a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and here are a few tips to try and keep your pets safe through the wonderful time of Christmas.

It’s that time of year again where we love to indulge in the nicer foods of life. From those lovely chocolates to the rich mince pies. However we do need to remember that such foods are extremely toxic to our pets. We have seen an increase this year in dogs which have eaten mince pies. They can cause kidney failure so the treatment required is to induce vomiting and intravenous fluids. This is  distressing for our pets as well as very costly.  Please ensure that all foods and plants which are harmful are kept out of reach from our furry friends.

Here is a list of items to avoid:

  • Mince pies
  • Christmas cake
  • Chocolate
  • Christmas Dinner (including the gravy!)
  • Alcohol
  • Nuts
  • Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Holly
  • Pot Pourri
  • Christmas Decorations (lights, baubles and tinsel)
  • Bones/Carcasses
  • Cough sweets (contain a toxic ingredient)

If your rabbits and guinea pigs are outside then please insure that they have enough bedding which is dry and their hutches are covered up well in the evenings. Temperatures drop to low levels so giving them a heat pad which is designed for animal use will benefit them. Remember to check that their water bottles or bowls to not freeze over too

Elderly cats should also be kept in at night. Sighthound dogs should have a coat on when they go outside if it is very cold.

Antifreeze has a sweet taste to it, which cats like. Unfortunately it is fatal to them if they drink it. Please store it out of reach and be careful not to spill any. It also might be worth mentioning to your neighbours so they don’t allow any spillages to sit around that your cat might find!

When the temperature is freezing, the roads and paths are usually sprinkled with grit. This is irritating to our pet’s paws, so make sure to wash their feet after a walk.

Fireworks are still let off around Christmas time, right through to the New Year. Please read our previous blog for advice on keeping your pets safe and calm during fireworks.

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year from all of us at Emscote Vets

Christmas Opening Hours

Christmas Eve 8.30 am -4 pm

Christmas day Closed

Boxing day Closed

Thursday 27th 8.30 am -6.30 pm

Friday 28th 8.30 am-6.30 pm

Saturday 29th Dec 9 am-1 pm

New Years Eve 8.30 am- 5 pm

New Years Day Closed

Wednesday 2nd Jan 8.30 am-6.30 pm

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Winter Months ahead

How to keep your animals happy during the Winter months

Tips for dogs!

Keep safe when walking your dog, it gets dark very early in winter, wear reflective clothing and think about a reflective collar for your dog. You can buy a special coat or jumper to keep them warm, and visible.

Keep your dogs away from ponds and lakes that are iced over. Thin ice may break under a dog’s weight. And, if it’s snowing outside, watch out for your dogs’ paws becoming impacted with snow, which can cause discomfort. Always clean paws after a walk, because antifreeze and rock salt can cause sever digestive upset and are poisonous if ingested.

 

Tips for Cats!

Cat’s love to be kept warm so always keep bedding away from cold draughts. A lot of flowers and plants this time of year are poisonous to our feline friends so always check before purchasing.

With freezing temperatures antifreeze poisoning is a real danger, please don’t allow cats to drink from puddles, and check the signs for antifreeze poisoning online, and if you suspect poisoning ring and bring your cat in asap! If you’re friendly with your neighbours mention if they have antifreeze to be vigilant when using, and any spillages can be attractive to cats so to please clean up any spillages quickly.

Rock salts can cause discomfort on paws so wash them regularly.

Small furries! 

Outdoor pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, need extra bedding, such as dust-free hay, and extra blankets during the cold winter months, covered heat pads such as snuggle-safes can be placed to keep them warm. Make sure their home is protected from adverse weather by using blankets or covers which can be purchased to help insulate hutches in the winter months, just ensure there is adequate ventilation. Ensure their home is placed in a sheltered position, facing away from the wind and rain.

If the temperature drops well below freezing you may want to consider moving their enclosure into an outhouse shed or unused garage. If you decide to bring your rabbits or guinea pigs indoors they’ll need plenty of time and room to exercise safely.

Many of our pets suffer from stiffer joints through the winter and if any arthritic changes these may worsen so a consultation with one of our vets if you feel your pet is struggling is well worth while. Please contact the surgery to book an appointment.

Thank you to lovely “Princess” our little model on the feature image.

 

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Prepare for firework season 2018

Firework Season will be shortly upon us, and for some of our pets this can be a very stressful time.  As owners we can reduce this stress by putting a few changes in place before the fireworks begin.

If possible walk dogs before dark, keep cats in doors with a litter tray. Make a den for your cat or dog somewhere safe and contained which is covered and comfortable. A spray of pheromone or plug in like Adaptil diffuser in the area of the den.  We can recommend other natural supplements that help calm and reduce stress to start a few days before, Like Yucalm or Zyklene.  Keep rabbits/guinea pigs partly covered well to keep out the as much noise and light as possible. Extra bedding to burrow into. Please also read our previous blog last year for other tips.

Try to keep calm around your pet and shut out the noise and light by keeping the radio on or tv.  A reminder to check Id chips and name tags in case any pet goes missing if scared off or hiding.

All of us at Emscote are happy to advise and discuss any worries you have regarding your pet around this time.  Please contact the surgery to book an appointment to discuss help for your pet if you’re worried.

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Ticks are on the march

Ticks………nasty little insects….

We are currently still in tick season and from September through to November tick activity is high and their population increases so tick prevention and treatment is really important for our pets as ticks are vectors for certain diseases, read the following link from the kennel club.

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/for-owners/ticks/?gclid=CjwKCAjw8ajcBRBSEiwAsSky_ZyujF2UOZ9zENuo2jVW7jwj6dRkTIyxOHC0ngdaZJsFhksk1JT7bRoCUwgQAvD_BwE

Parts of the UK have particularly higher risk areas so research the risk where you may be visiting or walking in before you go.

Both animals and humans can get bitten by ticks and as tick borne disease has increased we must all be more vigilant if walking in higher risk areas. Most people believe an animal needs direct contact with another animal but unfortunately ticks will be crawling on vegetation and then attach to a passing host, human or animal

Thankfully tick treatments are available for both cats and dogs in various forms, spots on, oral medication and collars.

Going to Europe or high risk areas you may want to repel ticks from biting in high risk areas then a collar bought specifically from veterinary surgeons is available. If tick treatment isn’t appropriate for your pet for any reason then having a tick removal hook at home is important so grooming after a walk and combing will help and removing the tick quickly once attached is really important to try and prevent transmission of disease organisms. It is important to remove them using a proper tick hook.

Tick bites in humans are also significant. The following link is useful wrt to human risks also.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/

 

Please feel free to contact the surgery to book an appointment with a nurse to chat wrt Tick prevention and treatment.

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Cats need microchipping too

Microchipping  your cat.

Figaro, belonging to Nikki our nurse, was neutered recently and had his microchip implanted at the same time, here he is recovering from his anaesthetic.

 

Compulsory dog microchipping has helped the argument for cats to be chipped. Owners of cats do generally have an attitude of believing cats are free to roam as they are seen as free spirits. This does however sometimes result in an impossible task for vets and charities to try and re-unite the roaming cat with the owner or if an injured cat has been brought into the vets to be treated, without a chip it is almost impossible to trace an owner.

A simple, relatively painless experience of microchipping should it be needed is a lifelong security of ensuring your cat can be traced back to you should anything happen. Often recommended during neutering procedure at a reduced cost is the best way.

Since dog microchipping has made compulsory there has been a drastic drop in stray dogs on the street and the amount facing euthanasia has dropped 90% in the first two years (Manning, VNtimes, 2018)

Please consider microchipping your cat like little Figaro, now up and playful as ever post anaesthetic 🙂

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