Helpful Tips

Rabbit Awareness

Emscote Vets celebrates RAW! (Rabbit Awareness Week 1st – 9th June)

At Emscote vets we know what wonderful pets rabbits make and how hard our clients work to keep their bunnies in top shape.  Rabbit awareness week is aimed at protecting the health and well being of pet rabbits.  One of the simplest ways this can be done is by neutering and regularly vaccinating your rabbit.  Special attention to diet, housing, companionship and behaviour is equally important.

Thankfully the days of keeping pet rabbits in small hutches are far behind us!

Rabbits need space, they should be able to play, jump and run – the more binkys they can pack in the day the better!

Rabbits also need roughage! In short they need a diet high in fibre and low in carbohydrates. Good quality fresh hay and grass are good sources of fibre and should make up 85% of their diet. Pellets should only make up 5% of the diet eg a 2.5 kg rabbit needs no more than two egg cup fulls or 60 grams a day.  Carrots and fruit are high in sugar and should be avoided unless used as training treats in small quantities.

Rabbits are very sociable and should be kept in neutered pairs or bonded groups.  Mutual grooming also has health benefits, removing parasites and cleaning hard to reach places like the face and ears.

Remember, as rabbits are a prey species they will often hide signs of ill health so it’s important to be familiar with your rabbits normal behaviour and body language. Any changes in behaviour, appetite and stools should always be reported to your vet.

Noella’s giant rabbit, Walter has recently been bonded with the very attentive Camille. Here is some footage of them enjoying free access to the garden from their palace.  They make good lawn mowers as you can see!

Noellas bunnies

We would love to see photos or footage of your bunnies getting up to mischief too!

For more information on rabbit welfare, please check the RAW site:

https://www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk/rabbit-welfare/  

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Seasonal Advice over Easter

Easter is a very fun time of year for all of us, as it means Spring is definitely here! For our furry companions it can carry some hazards. Here are a few tips to keep your companions safe during the festivities.

Tips for Animal owners

  • Chocolate – it may be a delicious treat for us humans but chocolate is very hazardous for dogs and cats! Especially dark & milk chocolate, these contain high levels of theobromine; it does not metobalise quickly, therefore builds up to toxic levels in their system.
  • Flower bulbs – many of them are toxic please research them, and keep them out of reach as curiosity can kill! (daffodils are a favourite to dig up!) All parts of the Lily plant is especially toxic for cats!
  • Hot cross buns & other raisin filled treats – Raisins are highly toxic for dogs, keep them away!

 

During this time of year many of us start a Spring clean, it is important to remember to keep all cleaning chemicals, and gardening fertilisers away from curious cats and dogs. If spreading fertilisers on your grass and plants just remember to water in well and keep your animals off it for 24 hours. Keep pets away from freshly painted fences, as this can cause irritation.

 

As the weather begins to get warmer, there is an increase in the amount of fleas, ticks, mite and worms that are around so it is important to ensure your treating your animals regularly. If your dog or cat is due their annual booster consider joining our Pet Health Club, not only does it help to spread the cost of your products, it will save you some money. Please contact the surgery for more information or click the link on our website to read about it: https://www.emscotevets.co.uk/services/pet-health-club/

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Let’s talk about Weight!

We know obesity is becoming a growing concern for humans, but what about our animals?

Obesity has definitely been on the rise and is quickly becoming Vets’ biggest health and welfare concern for UK pets (BVA 2018).

A PFMA study recently revealed around half of cats and dogs, and a third of rabbits to be overweight!

Studies have shown that obesity can cause serious health problems as well as making existing problems worse. This consequently reduces the length and quality of your pet’s life (RSPCA 2019; German, Woods, and Holden et al 2018).

Statistically obese dogs are living TWO YEARS LESS!

 

Heath conditions common with overweight and obese animals include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis and joint problems
  • Respiratory distress
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatty liver in cats (hepatic lipidosis)
  • Cancers
  • Cystitis

And complications such as:

  • Increased anaesthetic risk
  • Decreased immune function
  • Problems giving birth

 

Becoming overweight or obese:

If we take in more calories than we burn, we gain weight as the extra is stored as fat.

It is the same for our pets.

The most common cause of obesity is, not surprisingly, overfeeding and under-exercising. Many people feel they are being kind to their pets by feeding bigger food portions and offering treats.

This unintentionally, leads to their pet’s poor health and limits their lifespan!

Human food is also given as a treat by many. It needs to be considered that one human biscuit can equate to a lot more when given to an animal due to their small body size (BVA 2018). Human foods can also be high in fat and potentially toxic (e.g. chocolate for dogs)

It is important to stick to a good quality diet and feed your pet for their recommended and ideal weight (check the quantities on the back of the packet).

Using kitchen scales is the most accurate way to measure and should be done every time. A measuring cup or ‘handfuls’ should be avoided as measurements can vary widely and a few extra kibble a day can soon amount to substantial weight gain. Any treats given should be deducted from this daily allowance of food as otherwise its additional calories.

Who’s most affected? :

A neutered individual requires fewer calories as their metabolism slows down. It is therefore important to watch their weight and how much they are eating so to ensure they stay at an optimal weight.

Young and old animals are less likely to be overweight and it is during adulthood they tend to require less energy and are therefore more prone to gaining weight.

How to check:

In order to check if your pet is obese it is a good idea to work out their ‘Body Condition Score’.

These run from 1-9 or 1-5 depending on which type is used. The smallest number indicates being severely underweight and the larger number indicates severely overweight or obese. We use the Royal Canin charts in our weight clinics: https://www.royalcaninhealthyweight.co.uk/pet-obesity  but PFMA’s Size-o-meters are straightforward for using at home: https://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-size-o-meter

An animal of ideal weight:

  • Ribs should be easily felt but not seen or under a thick layer of fat.
  • Waist should be visible.

 

How to help your pet lose weight:

  1. Seek advice from a vet or nurse: We can advise on their ideal weight, give guidance on reducing food allowances or recommend a suitable weight loss diet.
  2. Avoid treats (some low calorie treats are ok in moderation)
  3. Using fuss or a favourite toy to reward pets instead of food
  4. Boost exercise – longer walks, playing with toys: PFMA recommends ‘exercise of at least 30 minutes twice daily for adult dogs, forty minutes daily for cats (particularly indoor cats) and four hours daily for rabbits – although the level of exercise required for any pet will also depend on its age, breed and health’.

 

If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, please speak to a member or staff today.

Our nurses run free 30min weight clinics to assess your pet and discuss how to best to help them towards a healthier life.

 

 

References:

British Veterinary Association (BVA)., 2018. Pet obesity epidemic is top welfare concern for vets. Available from: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/news-releases/pet-obesity-epidemic-is-top-welfare-concern-for-vets/, (Accessed 5th April 2019).

German A. J., Woods G. R. T., Holden S. L., Brewnnan L. And Burke C., 2018. Dangerous trends in pet obesity. Veterinary Record [online], (Accessed: 5th April 2019).

The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA)., 2017. Vet Survey shows a rise in Dog and Cat Obesity – PFMA launches new Obesity Poster ‘Get Hands on with your Pet’ Available from: https://www.pfma.org.uk/news/vet-survey-shows-a-rise-in-dog-and-cat-obesity—,  (Accessed 5th April 2019).

Royal Canin (2018)., Pet Obesity. Available from: https://www.royalcaninhealthyweight.co.uk/pet-obesity. (Accessed: 5th April 2019)

Royal Society for the Protection from Cruelty to Animals (2019)., Pet Obesity. Available from: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/obesity, (Accessed: 5th April 2019).

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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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