Everyone at Tern Vets is starting to get excited about Christmas! We can’t wait to spend time with our loved ones –and this includes our pets! But during the Christmas period we do see dogs and cats that have got a little too involved in the festive spirit and become very poorly. So please be careful and look out for these things!
The Christmas Dinner
An essential part of Christmas dinner is the sage and onion stuffing. But did you know that onions and garlic can be poisonous to dogs and cats? They can cause gastroenteritis and red blood cell damage that causes anaemia.
We want to treat our pets but please don’t be tempted to give them bones. Cooked turkey bones can splinter when eaten, causing internal damage and intestinal blockages that can require emergency surgery.
Cooking for lots of people can be stressful – but make sure to watch out that packaging (e.g. the string or plastic from meat joints) is disposed of where pets can’t find it!
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate. But please be careful to keep all open chocolates away from your dogs. Theobromine is a compound in chocolate that is toxic to dogs. The amount varies with the cocoa content – with dark and cooking chocolates the most dangerous. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and heart arrhythmias. It can progress to tremors and seizures and can be fatal if not treated early. So eat up your selection boxes and make sure all chocolate decorations are hung high on the tree!
Raisins, sultanas and currants
..all ingredients for traditional Christmas puddings and cakes but these can cause kidney failure in dogs if eaten. Even small quantities shouldn’t be ignored – prompt vet attention is important.
Lilies, holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are all poisonous in various ways to pets. Keep out of reach and remember that cats often brush up against new things in the house – lily pollen ingested by the cat from grooming the coat is enough to cause significant kidney damage.
Tinsel and Ribbon
Pets can be curious and playful! They like to help with wrapping presents and decorating the tree… but it is not unknown for both cats and dogs to eat lengths of tinsel and ribbon and this can lead to severe intestinal problems and emergency surgery can be required to remove them.
Bear these things in mind to keep your pets out of harms way, and keep stress to a minimum this Christmas. If you are at all worried over the Christmas period and think that your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have (which we know is common when you own a Labrador!) then please contact us at the practice.
With firework season just around the corner it’s time for those of us with pets to consider how to help them cope. We will be holding a fireworks phobia information evening at our Newport Practice on Wednesday 11th October at 18:30pm. Our vets will be offering useful and practical advice and there will be products available that will help assist with their anxiety. Nibbles and drinks will also be provided and we would love to see you all there.
However much we all love fireworks, it’s estimated that around 45% of our pets’ exhibit signs of fear, stress and anxiety when they hear those loud bangs and screeches. So what should you do to help them cope?
Firstly create a refuge, a safe place your dog can go to escape and get away from these noises. This can be any quiet room with few windows that your dog is always able to get to but not get trapped in. You could consider the use of pheromone diffusers such as Adaptil or Feliway (CEVA) which release an odourless chemical from a plug in device that makes your pet feel comforted and safe. Plug this in ahead of time, near the den you have made. Get your dog used to going to this refuge in the run up to firework season by giving him something tasty when he is in there so he learns it is always a good place to go! Make it comfortable by placing blankets for him to dig and burrow in to hide, and also food and water. Chews and chew toys are a must
as chewing will reduce his tension and provide a good distraction. Always make sure curtains are closed to hide the flashes of fireworks.
In the daytime, walk your dogs and tire them out as much as you can! Encourage them to toilet before it goes dark, to prevent being caught outside when the fireworks begin. Cats and those small furry pets that live outside should be brought indoors if possible. If not, adding blankets and towels to one area of the hutch can help with sound proofing, so long as you ensure that your pet can still see out.
When fireworks start calmly lead your dog to his refuge. Don’t get angry with him if he is scared and don’t try to soothe your dog as this gives the impression there is something to be scared of. Try to keep him in a happy positive mood by playing games and don’t react to the noises yourself.
Noise phobias are something that should not be left until fireworks season and ideally should be dealt with from a very early age to avoid the problems in the first place. CDs are available that play firework and thunder noises and are used to train dogs to not react to the noises they fear. For more information or if you think your pets need some extra help, come and see us for a chat!
It’s holiday season and what nicer way to celebrate than taking your pet away with you? Whether you’re travelling abroad or staying closer to home, making a day trip or holidaying for a month, we’ve compiled some information and tips to help you make both your journey and your holiday easier, safer and more enjoyable for all!
Planning your trip
Before you go, it’s a really good idea to do some planning and preparations to make your trip as stress-free as possible.
Make a list of staple items you’ll need such as a lead, collar, beds, food bowls, poo bags, whistle, toys, treats and a collapsible water bowl. Guinea pigs, rabbits and other ‘small furries’ will need their bedding materials, hay, pellets, fresh food and water containers.
Pack plenty of food to take with you especially if your pet needs a special diet. Particular brands of food can be hard to source without knowing the local area well. If you buy prescription food from us, please give us a call so we can order some in for you before you go.
Make sure your pet’s microchip details are up to date in case they go missing while you’re away – visit www.petlog.org.uk and enter your pet’s 15-digit microchip number. This can usually be found in your vaccination card or microchip paperwork.
Leave your pet carrier or crate out for a few days before you travel, so your pet doesn’t get suspicious and they can use it as a safe hiding place or bed.
We don’t like to think of our furry friends becoming poorly when we’re on holiday, but should the worse happen then it’s reassuring to know help is at hand. Take some time to research vets close to your destination and familiarise yourself with their phone number, opening hours and emergency provision. You can search for UK vets by postcode at the website www.findavet.rcvs.org.uk. If you’re travelling abroad then search online or ask locals for recommendations. We will be happy to forward your pet’s clinical notes to another veterinary practice so that they have all the information they need to look after your pet.
It’s also a good idea to make your own pet first aid kit! Here’s a checklist of what to include:
Medications – If your pet is on long term medication, make sure you remember to bring enough to last your trip, plus some spares in case you misplace them!
Phone number of a local veterinary practice
How to make the journey more pleasant
Whether travelling by car, boat or plane, journeys can be stressful for pets. Sprays containing Valerian can help calm your pet (and you!). ‘Alternatively, there are products which mimic pets’ natural pheromones, and act to comfort and reassure your pet. Some nutritional supplements can also be useful and should be started a few days before the journey.’
Please get in touch to discuss these options in detail.
Legally, your pet must be ‘suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly’. This can be achieved with a pet seatbelt, crate or dog guard. ¹ Secure your pet carrier by passing the seatbelt through the handle so it cannot slip off the car seat.
If your dog is prone to travel sickness, we may be able to prescribe anti-sickness tablets for longer journeys. Try not to feed your dog during the journey and just give a light meal an hour before you depart.
Take regular breaks for walks, toilet stops and water supplies!
Portrait of a cat with her Pets Passport
Travelling to Europe
If you’re taking your dog, cat or ferret on holiday to Europe, there’s a few things your pet will need. We strongly recommend you contact the PETS travel helpline on 0370 241 1710 or visit www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview for the most up-to-date information on what’s required for your particular destination, as requirements frequently change. Here are some of the requirements at the time of writing:
A microchip. Did you know?It’s now a legal requirement for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks! Call us now if you’d like to book in or have your pet’s microchip checked.
Rabies vaccination. This will need to be done at least 21 days before your return to the UK. A rabies vaccine is valid for 3 years, but if you are abroad for more than 3 months at a time then you will need to get the rabies vaccine topped up every year.
A pet passport. We can issue this for you. Please phone to chat through what’s needed or to make an appointment. You’ll need to allow time to have this produced before you go. Read more about pet passports and eligible countries on https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/pet-passport.
Preventative treatments against ticks and depending on your destination, a range of other bugs such as sandflies. These parasites can all carry nasty diseases so it’s important to protect your pet from them. Please give us a call to discuss the options available.
If you are visiting sunnier climes, follow the usual hot weather precautions. Provide plenty of water, somewhere cool to escape to and even a suitable sun cream if your pet has any exposed pink or white skin, particularly on their face. Always ensure your dog has adequate ventilation and access to water and never leave animals unattended in vehicles during warm or sunny weather…dogs die in hot cars!https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars
Tapeworm treatment. A vet must dispense and administer an approved wormer ‘no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days)’² before you re-enter the UK. The vet will sign the relevant section of your pets’ passport. Try to source a vet at your destination before you leave the UK.
Whilst not essential, many countries prefer you to have had your pet examined by a vet and certified ‘fit to travel’. There is a page in your pets’ passport for this.
If you plan to travel by plane, check the relevant airline’s website for details and requirements. Your pet may be able to travel in the cabin, but if they need to be in the hold, they will need to be in a suitably sized crate. See www.pet-express.com/services/crate-calculator to help you calculate this.
If you plan to emigrate with your pet (to Europe or further afield), consider using the services of a specialist pet travel company. They can work out which blood tests, vaccines and certificates are required and provide a schedule of timings for you.
We hope this guide helps to make your trip a little easier and even more ‘pawsome’!!
With all this wonderful hot weather, your furry friends will be eager to get out on their walks or prowl the neighbourhood. You may even have a well-earned holiday planned, which may mean booking your cat or dog into a local kennel, cattery or even doggy day care.
While we very much want to encourage you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine, there are a few things to keep in mind. Greater contact with different areas and other animals will mean that any viruses that are lurking in the environment, or carried by others (including you, on your shoes!) can pose a risk to unvaccinated pets. Keep them safe by ensuring their vaccinations are up-to-date.
Why do you need to vaccinate your dog?
Dogs are social creatures and enjoy close contact with other dogs, for example, playing and wrestling. If your four-legged friend is a keen swimmer, they may enjoy taking a quick dip in a lake, canal or stream to cool off or quench their thirst! Sadly, if your dog is not vaccinated, all these summer activities can place them at risk of picking up an infection that could be life-threatening.
Why do you need to vaccinate your cat?
This summer our feline friends will also be spending more time outdoors prowling the neighbourhood, defending their territory and mixing with other cats. These activities can also make them vulnerable to picking up infections from the environment and through close contact with other cats via mutual grooming or fighting that could make them very poorly. In some cases, these infections will be fatal!
How do vaccines actually work?
For the first few weeks of your pet’s life they will be protected against infection by the antibodies that their mum will have passed onto them via her milk. However, these antibodies do not last and your pet will be at risk if they are not vaccinated by the time mum’s protection wears off.
Your pet’s vaccine will contain viruses and/or bacteria that have been changed or killed, so they can no longer pose a risk to your pet. When they are administered, they trigger your pet’s body to make their own protective antibodies. However protection can fade over time and will need topping up with a booster. This may be through an annual vaccination or every three years (depending on the vaccine and the disease). We can advise you on the best frequency and approach for your pet.
What diseases can vaccines protect against?
Your dog’s annual vaccination can protect them from:
Kennel Cough (Infectious tracheobronchitis)
Note: Rabies vaccination is a requirement for dogs that travel abroad.
For cats, their annual vaccination can protect them from:
Cat flu (Feline Herpesvirus and feline calicivirus)
Panleucopenia (AKA Feline Infectious Enteritis)
What are the common side effects of vaccinating my pet?
Occasionally pets appear sleepy or have a slight temperature after their vaccination, this may last for a day or so but soon they’re back to their normal selves.
At the site of vaccination a small lump can appear but again this will disappear in a matter of days.
In effect these common problems have a minor, transient effect on your pets’ wellbeing when compared with the potential impact on your pets’ health of contracting one of these diseases.
Ask us about any concerns you have, we’re happy to discuss the options.
A common myth is that puppy and kitten vaccinations are for life, this is not the case.
It’s often assumed that having had their vaccinations as puppies or kittens, that our pets will be protected for life and no boosters are necessary. This is untrue. A first-year vaccination (one year after completion of the puppy or kitten vaccinations) is essential to complete the protection of the initial course.
After their initial course and first year booster, pets will vary in the length of time that their protection lasts. An immune response is particular to that individual animal. We recommend regular vaccinations to ensure your pet’s vaccination protection is topped up. Some diseases, such as leptospirosis, need yearly vaccination; others, three-yearly. We can advise on what your pet should be boosted for at their annual check-up.
You can check your pet’s immunity at any time by having a blood test carried out. Please ask us if you would like us to do this.
A bit about vaccination of dogs against leptospirosis.
In recent years it has been realised that across the UK and Europe a wider range of strains of bacteria are triggering the leptospirosis in dogs than was once the case. Given the broader risk than was once recognised we now recommend that your dog receives this updated cover against Leptospirosis at the time of the annual booster.
In adult dogs receiving the vaccine for the first time, they will need to have a second top-up injection, 4 weeks after the first. All puppies will now have the updated vaccination included in their initial course.
Are you travelling to Europe with your pet this summer?
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows dogs, cats and ferrets to travel within the EU and to and from between certain other qualifying countries without quarantine, provided the rules of the scheme are complied with. Key elements include a necessity for microchipping, rabies vaccination and the issuing of a pet passport with three week wait between vaccination and travel
According to the veterinary times there has been a dramatic decline in pet vaccination levels which is raising concerns.
25%, 2.3 million dogs haven’t had their primary vaccination course and 35% 3.6 million cats. These are the highest levels ever recorded by the report and compares with 18% of dogs and 28% of cats in 2011.
PDSA spokeswomen and vet Rebecca Ashman explained ‘the worry is, if there’s this fall in owners vaccinating their pets, there may be a drop in herd immunity. We’re really worried there’s going to be pockets and outbreaks of diseases, which is heartbreaking for us (vets) when we normally know we can prevent them.’
If pets aren’t getting vaccinated then they are much more susceptible to diseases such as leptospirosis, distemper or parvovirus in dogs. Diseases in cats that are covered by vaccinations are Feline infectious enteritis, cat flu and Leukemia. These viruses can be fatal for our pets.
The survey suggests that owners expressed that ‘cost’ is one of the top reasons for failing to vaccinate their pet.
We know that it’s easy to get behind with your pets vaccinations so we are carrying out a vaccination amnesty at Tern Vets to help them get back on track and stay protected.
Between 12th June and 31st July, if your pet needs to restart their vaccinations due to them missing their yearly booster, we will be offering it for the price of a normal booster. Rather than £40.80 it will cost you £30 for dogs and £29.40 for cats.
If you wish to make an appointment please contact reception at Newport 01952 820222 or Market Drayton 01630 652395.
The bond we share with our animals is a very special one and we all have a big responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep them healthy and happy for as long as is possible!
For our practice, keeping pets well goes very much beyond treating them when they’re sick or injured. Many don’t realise that your pet’s regular health assessment is considered to play an essential role in maintaining their wellbeing. Through a regular visit, at least every 6-12 months, we not only provide essential advice on your pet’s specific care and health needs at each stage of its life, but we can also detect many underlying issues and risks so they can be addressed before they become significant, painful or more costly to treat.
During a health assessment, we ask in-depth questions about your pet’s lifestyle and habits and your pet gets a full medical check-up from nose to tail (plus all the parts in between!). If indicated, further tests can be recommended and we are able to discuss and advise on any concerns you may have. This not only gives you peace of mind around your pet’s current health and wellbeing, but also ensures you minimise the risks of future health problems such as obesity, dental disease and diabetes.
Why do our pets need a regular “check-up”?
Here are 5 top reasons why regular visits to the practice are a vital part of your pet healthcare that you may not realise!
Our Petsage more quickly than us
Sadly, our dogs and cats have a far shorter life span than their owners and age more rapidly. In one calendar year, a dog or cat may age the equivalent of five to fifteen years in a human’s life, which is why an annual health visit is so important for your cats and dogs.
Our Pets can’t tell you that they are poorly
Some health conditions can affect cats and dogs with symptoms that are hard to spot. That doesn’t mean they aren’t causing pain or distress though! Our vets are trained to spot changes or abnormalities and detect problems before they advance or become more difficult to treat.
Obesity is a problem for more and more pets
It’s been shown that 1 out of 2 pets are overweight; as in humans, surplus weight can adversely affect quality of life and puts our pets at increased risk of a range of serious health problems including diabetes, arthritis, and respiratory disease
Teeth and gums
Chronic infections in the mouth cause bad breath, pain, gum disease, tooth loss and can also cause or relate to disease elsewhere in the body.
Preventative care is better than reactive
In addition to other health issues that can be detected, annual health visits ensure your dog’s vaccines and parasite control are appropriate to the lifestyle of your pet and significant infectious and parasitic health risks that your pet and family are likely to face are avoided.
How often should my pet have a health assessment?
This depends on the pet’s age and current health status. For adult dogs and cats, health assessments should be undertaken at least once a year. For rapidly growing puppies and kittens and for the older pet, every 6 months or more may be advisable.
Seeing your pets when they seem well is just as important as when they are sick or injured and we’re committed to your pet’s wellbeing every step of the way. Taking the steps to ensure your pet stays in good health is a vital part of caring for the pet you love. The best way to keep your pet on top form is with our support and advice, so if we haven’t seen your pet recently make sure you schedule a check-up with us now.
Don’t delay – call us on 01630 652935 or Newport 01952 820222 to make an appointment today!
Chris Packham wildlife expert will be on TV and national radio tomorrow discussing the tick prevalence and tick borne diseases. Tomorrow marks the launch of the Big Tick Project which is trying to raise awareness and help educate pet owners on the risks of parasites.
Fleas & Ticks Blog by Chris Packham
Why Scratchy never needs to scratch
Prevention is always better than cure and no more so than when it comes to tackling the small, silent and sometimes deadly health risks associated with tick and flea bites. Due of the micro-nature of the threat it’s too easy to fall victim to ‘out of sight out of mind’ until we have a seriously ill pet on our hands.
I’ve recently been involved in the ‘Big Tick Project’, the largest scientific study of ticks and tick-borne diseases ever conducted in the UK. You can find out about this novel project here – www.bigtickproject.co.uk . Shockingly, almost one in three dogs assessed during the study were found to be carrying ticks – and worse it was unbeknown to their owners! This potentially puts their pets at risk of contracting tick-related diseases such as Lyme disease and canine babesiosis, both of which have been identified in the UK and can be very dangerous indeed. The former is probably the better known of the two due to its propensity to infect humans – a friend of mine developed Lyme disease while travelling abroad: it wasn’t diagnosed for some time and consequently he became gravely ill and almost died. In both humans and animals, symptoms of Lyme disease can be very tricky to pin down due to their generalist nature e.g. lack of appetite, lethargy, fever and depression. This makes diagnosis more difficult. Sadly this means that antibiotic treatment may be less effective than if given early on in the disease.
Dogs with babesiosis also show signs of fatigue along with other symptoms such as jaundice and anaemia – if left untreated it can cause catastrophic failure in the lungs/liver and central nervous system.
Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Ticks potentially share diseases with your pet; all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected.
Like their tick relatives, fleas are very – resilient many of our pets have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they live indoors too – even in really clean homes year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. If your pet has fleas the consequences can range from irritation to severe skin allergy, transmission of tapeworm and, in some cases, anaemia.
I don’t want to go scaremongering but . . . the world is an ever evolving place, the climate here is becoming wetter in the summer and milder in winter and this means that conditions are more favourable for ticks and fleas. Globe-trotting with our pets is also generating opportunities for new diseases to emerge here in the UK – like canine babesiosis which, up until last year when an outbreak occurred in Essex, was only considered a risk for pets holidaying overseas.
When Scratchy is running around, we say ‘Scratcher has a flea’! Well, hopefully he doesn’t ever really have fleas because he’s on a routine preventative plan, as he is for ticks. This is especially important because we walk through lots of woodland but let me be very clear here . . . ticks and fleas are also extremely troublesome in urban areas too. Anywhere dogs are walked and wild animals patrol there can be ticks present so that could include the grassy strip along the pavement outside your house in the city as well as the local park.
So my ‘call to action’ here is to urge you and your feline or canine companions to pootle on down to your local vets to find out about the innovative, effective, and convenient treatments available to keep these parasites at bay! To protect dogs from ticks and fleas there are spot-on (typically applied every four weeks), sprays, collars and oral chewable formulations which can give up to 12 weeks protection, with the wide range of options available your vet will be able to guide you to the most effective treatment for your pet’s lifestyle. It’s simple really, controlling ticks and fleas on your pet reduces the risk of disease, which for me means ‘Scratchy’ won’t need to scratch and I can rest assured that I’m doing what I can to help keep him free of irritation and the illnesses they can carry.
We often get asked here at the vets what does my pet require in order to travel abroad. So we thought we would write a little checklist to ensure that you have everything you need to take your moggy or doggy on their holidays! Please note that the regulations do frequently change and we will try to keep this as up to date as possible but to be sure please check this website for recent updates https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview or call their hotline 08702411710.
You need to ensure that these steps have been carried out at least a month before you travel.
Your pet must have a permanent microchip implanted, in which the details are accurate and up to date. If you are unsure if your pet is micro-chipped or you just want to make sure that it’s scanning then please pop in to the practice for a quick free check.
They must be vaccinated against rabies using an approved vaccine at least 21 days before they travel. This needs to be done after microchipping (but not before it is three months old).
The pet must have a PETS passport signed by an official veterinary surgeon, confirming that the above conditions have been met. Not all our vets can issue a pet passport so please make sure that when you book your appointment in that you say it is for a pet passport.
This year has already been very exciting for us here at Tern vets as we have a brand spanking new practice opening in Newport just round the corner from our old one! We are moving just around the corner from where our premises are now, in Audley Avenue Industrial Estate opposite Ableworld.
If everything goes to plan then we hope to be open for June 2017.
The new practice which can be seen below, is a much larger practice and will have all of the latest equipment for our lovely animals. It will have three consult rooms, a separate cat and dog waiting area, x-ray machine, in house laboratory, two operating rooms and spacious kennels.
From our new premises we will be able to provide 24 hour emergency care with our own vets and nurses as we know how important it is to have continuity for you and your pets. We will have on site x-ray facilities, two operating theatres, in house laboratory and separate dog and cat waiting areas. We will also be offering free senior health and weight clinics with our dedicated and experienced veterinary nurses.
Photo below – waiting room (work in progress!)
We will be holding an open day in early June which will give you the opportunity to have a look around the premises, meet our vets and get familiar with our practice.
We know that when your cat visits the vets it can be a very stressful time for them and for you! The stress starts at home when you try to get them into the cat carrier and your little purry friend turns into what can only be described as a Tasmanian devil. This continues when you travel to the vets and your cat thinks that they are auditioning for Simon Cowell in the car and doesn’t stop meowing all the way to the vets. There are a few simple changes that can be made to help reduce the stress levels of everyone involved.
If you have your cat as a kitten, take them out occasionally in the car (obviously in the carrier, or things could get messy) just so that they can get used to the sounds, smells and sights. If the first time a cat goes in a carrier is to go to the vets, they will associate the car with negative emotions.
Leave your cat carrier out the day before you are due to go the vets. This will allow your cat to time to get used to it and it won’t become a massive shock for them when they have to go in it. There are products available such as a Feliway spray that is specifically for cats travelling to help calm them down. Spray this in the carrier on a towel or blanket the day before and the morning of the visit to get your cat in to a Zen piece of mind.
When you arrive here, we have a dedicated cat waiting area to ensure that they are as relaxed as possible without any dogs taunting them. Cats like it when they can see what is going on (they are nosey like that) so we advise you to not leave them on the floor but to put them on a raised surface which is available in the cat waiting area. We also provide towels in the waiting area which have been sprayed with the Feliway spray that you can drape over the cat carrier if they are particularly stressed to help calm them down.