My pet has diarrhoea what should I do ? 

Ok so your cat or dog has diarrhoea…

Do you need to go straight to the vets ?
simple answer – NO!

It’s a taboo subject but if we humans develop a bit of a dodgey tummy and have diarrhoea for a few days we don’t go running to a&e as an emergency do we ?


There are things you can do at home to help your mog and pooch get those squits sorted out !

The advice years ago used to be to withhold food for at least 24 hours – this is very old school you don’t need to starve !

Bland food all the way !

Boiled chicken , I repeat BOILED CHICKEN , not roasted or rotisserie or grilled – it will be too rich cooked in fat and it’s own juices and exacerbate diarrhoea

BOILED white rice

Steamed or BOILED white fish – again not fried or baked – no nigella recipes either just plain.

There are prescription diets available which are designed for upset gastrointestinal systems. Hills I/D and royal canin gastrointestinal food . You can pop into your vets to pick some up .

Feed your puss or woofer a BLAND FOOD ONLY diet for a few days – no normal kibble no treats no Bonios or Dreamies – they may look boring and plain to us but they are really rich for your pet.

Make sure they have access to plenty of water to drink.

Monitor your pet closely – if they have diarrhoea but are bright as a button – otherwise eating, drinking and you wouldn’t know anything was wrong with them then great keep going with your bland diet and hopefully the squits will sort themselves out in a few days .

If however they appear depressed not interested in eating ,drinking or doing anything atall then you need to get your pet to the quacks (vet) .

Monitor the poops closely to see if improvement is present or worsening.


A little blood can be present in the poop from excessive straining or just as a result of the bug or germ your pet may have. Basically – bugs and germs can attack the cells lining the gut wall and these cells die and slough off and are passed in the poo

Don’t panic the body is a cool thing and continually makes new cells to replaced attacked ones.

Blood in the poo can be alarming to see but is often ‘normal’ given in the situation but be sure to let your vet know if there is blood present though- just to be on the safe side .


Call your vet if you are concerned atall and if the diarrhoea shows no signs of improvement after a few days of a bland diet then be sure to make an appointment.

Other than that keep your mop , bucket and peg at the ready !

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How do I care for my pet after a general anaesthetic or sedation?

 

”Okay, Butch needs a general anaesthetic for X-Rays Mrs Smith but we will take great care of him and get him back home to you this evening”

***ALARM BELLS RINGING IN YOUR HEAD ***

“How an earth do I look after him when he comes home?!”

FEAR NOT FOLKS!

  • Your animal is likely to be well… a little ‘ruff!’ really (sorry couldn’t resist that pun!) …needing a good kip in a nice warm bed. So get them a nice cosy, quiet spot ready for when they get home.
  • They may still be a little drowsy or not quite themselves from the anaesthetic we have given , it can take some animals , especially our golden oldies, a few days to bounce back to normal after an anaesthetic.

  • Give them a small, bland meal when home as they may feel a little tom – dick ,sick, from the anaesthetic.  There are  veterinary gastrointestinal friendly diets out there such as hills I/D and royal canin gastrointestinal food which your vets may stock. Or you can give them something plain like boiled chicken (not rotisserie style or roasted as much as they will probably love it and hoover it up it is very greasy and  not easy on the tummy) plain white fish , plain white rice (boiled).

clients often ask me… “can I just give their normal food he/she only has biscuits” …

as boring as their biscuits may look to us they are actually quite rich in flavour so ideally go for something really bland like mentioned above but if they literally won’t eat anything other than their biscuits then give them as we don’t want to starve them !

 

  • Your animal may experience a little diarrhoea or looser stools following an anaesthetic too , don’t panic it is a common side effect of an anaesthetic as it upsets their systems. The bland diet will help with this . Call your vet to let them know what’s going on though just to keep them in the loop and seek further advice.
  • Keep your animal safe and sound indoors for atleast 24hours to make sure they are back to normal as they may still be under the influence of anaesthetic drugs we have given . They may not be as street wise and get hurt or lost .
  • Take dogs out on a lead to do their business just in the garden or just around the block keep cats inside.
  • Monitor their habits over the next 24-48 hours make sure they urinate, poop, eat and drink . If they aren’t doing any of the following call your vet straight away.
  • As previously mentioned it can take a few days for your fur baby to get back to their normal cheeky selves but do keep an eye on how alert they are . Despite being a little sleepy and worse for wear will they respond if you whistle or clap or call their name? If they are not able to do this contact your vet immediately otherwise just keep them warm and quiet and let them sleep it off.

Are they walking around the house unaided? wanting to go outside? wobbly and falling all over the place and walking into things? (very unlikely as we keep them with us for a few hours to ensure they aren’t ‘drunk’ when they come home to you  but just giving worst case scenarios for you to be prepared for anything !)  again call your vet if you have any concerns.

  • Follow any other specific instructions given to you by your vet and always call if you are worried at all

wishing your fur baby a speedy recovery and you fur baby parents go get your self a nice G+T down you !

 

 

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Should I insure my pet ?

Simple answer … unless you’ve won the lottery ….yes ! 

Seriously guys it’s a no brainer . Vet bills can soon rack up . The amount of times we have seen a little puss cat come in that has been hit by a car and is not insured is crazy and it’s heartbreaking too . It is distressing for you and us when this happens and no treatment can be given and euthanasia is the only option. 
 Yes you have to pay out monthly and you may never ever need to claim money back from your insurance company but isn’t it comforting to know you have that safety net just incase so fluffy can get the treatment he needs when or if needed ? 
As pets get older ailments crop up , pain relief for arthritis , blood tests , ear problems , eye problems … £££ pound signs add up . 


“But I prefer to save money in an account every month instead” 
Ok I can see this working maybe if you have a substantial sum of money in your money pot initially and put a decent sum in per month but what if your fur baby gets hit by a car and the vet says “I’m sorry mrs Edwards but buddy is going to need to be referred to a specialist for treatment of the multiple fractures he has and this is going to cost roughly £5000 ” is your pot going to be able to cough up that amount ? 

And what about butch with his lifelong skin conditions which is costing £100 a month for medications will your pot cover this ? And what if on top of butches skin problem he eats something toxic and has to be hospitalised for 48 hours and kept on a drip and the bill is £300 ? And then a week later he’s back in because he’s done the same again? Will your pot cover this ? 


Pet insurances which cover your animal for their lifetime are a god send ! Direct claims can even be set up in most cases so that £5000 for fluffy’s referral surgery doesn’t even have to leave your bank account you just pay the excess of your insurance policy which in fluffys’ case is £54 and your insurance company gives a cheque straight to your vets. Every year you could have thousands of claimable pounds if your animal should need it . Will your pot have that amount ? 
Insuring your pet is responsible ownership , it’s not a con , it’s a lifeline , a comfort blanket , a safety net , preparing for both the unexpected and inevitable and providing the best possible care you can give to your fur baby without having to remortgage your house or sell your car. 
Unfortunately there is no NHS for animals , it’s private healthcare all the way and ‘do everything you can ‘ comes with a price tag.
Just please think about it 🙂 

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Should I neuter my dog ?

I have to say us nurses are sometimes guilty of bombarding you with information when you come in with your pup for those first health checks and vaccination appointments. We’re sorry we just want to give you as much advice as possible and get a little over enthused !  We can see the colour drain from your faces when we start reaming off facts and figures regarding neutering so this is a breakdown and refresher on neutering to hopefully help you come to a decision.

What is neutering ? 

Neutering is a routine veterinary procedure we do every day in practice where the reproductive organs of an animal are surgically removed under general anaesthetic so they are therefore unable to produce more fur babies .

In dogs we carry out the surgical procedures known as castrating  in males and spaying in females.

What is the difference between the spay and castrate procedure?

Castrates are performed in male dogs and are described as the surgical removal of both testes . Spays are performed in female dogs and are described as the surgical removal of both ovaries and or the whole uterus too .

Why do we neuter dogs?

We neuter dogs for health reasons , behaviour reasons and stop unwanted breeding .

Male dogs left entire (not castrated) are at risk of developing prostate disease and testicular tumours later on in life .

Female dogs left entire ( not spayed) are at risk of developing mammary tumours and developing a condition called a pyometra which is basically where the uterus fills with pus and can make them very sick if left untreated can prove fatal .

Females also come into season once or twice a year which is pretty much the same as human female menstruation cycles . As you can imagine this can get a bit messy around the house but you can get doggy nappies for this nowadays .

”We hear you are in season?!”

Walks in the park with a bitch in season can be quite frankly terrifying. I’ve experienced this first hand when I was babysitting Lucy , a friends dog who happened to be in season. I took her to the park , kept her on the lead so she couldn’t get up to mischief and I kid you not dogs appeared from know where and were all over her like flies around doggy doo doo . I had to actually put my leg between her and a randy Jack Russel at one point. My hunter wellies are still getting over the traumatic experience !

Entire males and females tend to hump things which can get pretty annoying and embarrassing !

Males left entire can sometimes be very boisterous and overconfident from the testosterone hormone produced in the testes and they will often stray looking for females in season or heat .

And finally …. there are so many unwanted pets in rescue and rehoming centres  we don’t need to increase the number …..

 

What’s involved in the surgery itself ?

So during castration for males both testicles will be removed through one small surgical incision  just a bit further forward from the scrotum .

In females the ovaries and or uterus will be removed through a larger incision made midline on their tummy.

Castrate wound

Spay wound

 

 

 

 

Sometimes male dogs may retain one or both testicles within their abdomen or groin region by the penis . This just happens in some dogs , their testicles fail to descend into the scrotum as pups grow like they are supposed to normally . In these instances it is best to get them removed as if the testicles are left in the abdomen they can become tumorous nasty little suckers. These dogs should also not be bred from as their offspring can inherit this condition from them. The surgery for this will involve a slightly larger wound similar to the girls as the vet will have togo on a slight treasure hunt to locate the testicles in your dogs tummy.  Or they can be removed laprascopically … I’ll discuss this next…

Female spays can now be done laparoscopically which is key hole surgery and it is a much less invasive and traumatic procedure . During this procedure only the ovaries are removed through two small holes and the uterus is left behind .

 

 

There is no risk of a formerly mentioned pyometra developing as it is the ovaries hormones which causes the condition to form .

And as mentioned prior , retained testicles in male dogs can be retrieved via this route too.

Benefits of a laparoscopic spay include ; quicker recovery time, less painful and often no need for a dreaded cone of shame to stop them licking at wounds. But they are a little more expensive to do that the conventional spay. I’ll leave that to you to weigh up though.

 

 

Is there anything else I need to take into consideration before getting my dog neutered?

It’s good to talk to a veterinary nurse or surgeon when making this decision though because sometimes surgically neutering may not be the best choice for your pup . For example surgically castrating a very nervous fearful male can make them more nervous and fearful as we are taking away their testes and therefore testosterone which is a confidence boosting hormone .

Sometimes we place a hormone implant which in effect chemically castrates males reducing testosterone levels for medical purposes (testosterone driven disease such as prostate problems) though they can still technically produce offspring as testes are still present .

We can also place these implants in fearful males as a test to see how their behaviour might be impacted before we surgically castrate them .

 

Another thing to consider is Large breed dogs are prone to joint disease so
neutering may be advised to be delayed in these guys as it has been suggested in research that if done too soon it may impact bone growth . But no one really knows whether this is a definite link or not so again speak to your vet about this .

Are there any risks ?

There are risks involved with performing a general anaesthetic and for the surgery too , the same us us,  but your vet and vet nurse will discuss this with you and we will make the anaesthetic as safe as we possibly can for your fur baby . We know it’s scary , we can completely  sympathise with you ! We turn into emotional wrecks when our pets are ill or undergo a general anaesthetic.  I cried when I had to have my fur baby put under anaesthetic recently !

The thing to remember is  that this is a routine operation which we perform every day . Neutering is an elective procedure carried out when your pet is fit and well and normally young too.

We give your pooch a thorough M.O.T before putting them through an anaesthetic to make sure they are fit enough to go through an anaesthetic and if something is flagged up we will always discuss this with you before going ahead with surgery we would never take any unnecessary risks.  We extensively monitor your pet throughout the anaesthetic and the vet will take great care when carrying out the surgery . We treat your fur babies as if they are our own and always take very good care of them.

When should I neuter my dog?

That depends on your vets advice but the normal timings for neutering is around 6 months for males and females . This differs depending on breed, size and circumstance of your dog .

If you are getting your female spayed then ideally it should be done before the first season which is around 6 months of age (smaller toy breeds can be a little sooner). We try to do it before the first season to reduce risk of developing mammary tumours later on in life. The more seasons they have the increased risk. There are myths about you should let females have a litter of pups first or have a season first but this is old school advice.

What happens if my female dog comes into season before her surgery is scheduled?

If your angel comes into season before her spay appointment (sods law!) then you will have to wait 3 months before attempting surgery again to make sure she is fully out of season. If surgery is carried out when she is in season there is an increased risk of blood loss as the blood supply to the uterus during this time is greater. The uterus will also be enlarged which can make surgery more difficult. Also the hormones rushing around their bodies at this time can cause them to think they are pregnant permanently  which is not very nice for them this is called .’Phantom pregnancy’ can cause them to display odd behaviour such as nesting , being more overprotective of toys -they can even become a little snappy. They can also experience physical effects like lactating permanently which can then go on to cause mastitis which is inflammation of the mammary tissue and is a very painful  condition – ouch!

 How do I look after my dog post operatively?

Your pup is going to have to be kept quiet and calm for atleast 10 days. Strict lead exercise unfortunately guys but stay strong you’ve got to be cruel to be kind !

Your pup will have stitches which may be dissolvable or need to be removed by your vet/nurse .

Bland food over the initial 24hours post anaesthetic as your pet may be feeling a little Tom -Dick (Sick!) . Boiled chicken and rice normally does the trick !

 

 

The cone of shame needs to be kept on until the stitches are removed to prevent licking which can ultimately cause an infection. As lovely as your mutt is please don’t forget they can be a bit gross they lick their bums and other dogs bums, some even eat poo so licking their lovely clean surgical wound is a big no no!

You would not believe how many times we have heard Mrs Potts say…

” I’m with my dog 24/7 so I don’t need to put that contraption on my dog to stop them licking their wound ”

…. I just don’t know how this is possible….. do you not sleep until the final post op check ? or what about when you go for a pee ? or make a cup of tea ? or when you blink? can you 100% watch your dog for 24 hours until those stitches are removed? I always imagine people walking around with one of those baby carriers strapped to their front with their 40kg german shepherd fastened in so they are always with them !

But seriously if an infection sets in this slows up the healing process and your pooch will end up having to wear the lampshade for longer . So please just keep it on your gonad free monkey until you’ve had your final post op check for everyones sanity.

Medications may be prescribed for you to administer at home – your nurse or vet will explain how to give them.

Finally …. if your worried at all just call your vet …. we really don’t mind 🙂

 

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How to keep your pet cool and safe this summer

Yay ! Summer time is here it’s so lovely and the animals will love it …. wrong ! I mean , Alaskan malamutes can’t exactly strip down into a bikini to cool off can they ?! and have you ever seen a Persian paddle around in a pool sipping a pina colada  ?!   There are dozens of  emergencies we see at this time of  year, many of which can easily be prevented . This article is just giving a heads up to things that can happen to animals during these warmer months and survival tips!

Heat stroke

For those of you that have ever experienced this yourself it’s pretty awful and in severe cases can be fatal. This one is a biggie, we see this an awful lot in practice , usually with dogs.

  • Keep your pet in a shaded cool area – bring small furries inside if it’s cooler
  • dogs can be hosed down with cold water
  • take dogs for a walk at cooler times in the day such as early morning or late evening not at midday when the temperature is at its hottest
  • Don’t be tempted to cover your animal in cold wet towels this can trap the heat under the towel and actually make them worse off . Getting your animal to sit on cold wet towels is a great idea though
  • Make sure your pet has access to plenty of drinking water to keep hydrated. You can even add some ice cubes in their bowls to keep it nice and cool .
  • ice packs can be placed under pet beds but make sure your pet doesn’t chew them. There are fancy ice packs available for pets in shops nowadays too and cooling jackets !
  • Some people freeze treats in ice blocks – tasty cool snacks and entertains them !
  • Children size paddling pools are great for doggies to go for a skinny dip and cool off
  • Short back and sides – get your summer hair cut on !
  • Fans and air con – thumbs up!
  • Brachycephalics – such as pugs, bulldogs, frenchies , Persian cats ,so basically anything with a short muzzle like these breeds will struggle more in warmer weather -they can overheat pretty quickly so it’s really important to keep them cool
  • cats do love to bask in the sun and sunbathe on window sills don’t they ? Keep a close eye on them discourage them from sitting there if getting to hot (some signs include heavier breathing and panting) you could place ice packs in their favourite basking spots to help keep them cool
  • conservatories , greenhouses and cars – don’t cook your pets ! have you tried sitting in these on a hot day ?!
  • Feathery friends can be quite sensitive to heat so make sure you keep them in a cool environment too

 

 

Burnt paws

General rule – if the floor is too hot for you to walk on bare foot then it’s too hot for your pet and severe burns can occur on their tootsies

Sunburn

Yep your pets can get sunburn just like us, especially in white cats and dogs and pinkie coloured noses . You can apply sun cream to prominent pink bits – ear tips are a really common area to get sunkissed. Make sure the sun cream is pet friendly and minimise the time your pet sits in direct sunlight .

Beach walks

Agggh ! the dreaded beach walk …. I can hear the phone’s ringing now with emergency stitch ups , ingested foreign bodies , adder bites and even incidences of drowning.

Unfortunately beaches can be very cluttered with all sorts of rubbish that your dog can injure themselves on and even try to eat.

Fishing hooks are a classic thing for dogs to eat on a beach usually with a  line and stinky rotten fish on the end which is of course a doggie delicacy! Don’t be tempted to pull the fishing  line it can cause serious damage as it could be lodged somewhere in your dogs tummy and if you have to cut the fishing line sticking out from your dog’s mouth just don’t cut it too short because your vet will have even more trouble removing it.

If your pet get’s a cut or graze apply pressure to the wound where active bleeding is occurring and try to clean the wound if possible tap water is fine for this and avoid getting sand in the wound.  Call your vet for further advice , it is likely your dog will require pain relief and antibiotic treatment a funky bandage and sometimes surgery.

If your dog likes to swim be wary of debris under foot and study the local tide times we wouldn’t want your pet to get swept out to sea.

 

Keep your dog on a long lead so you can pull them back to safety and I’m sure there are doggie life jackets available somewhere  on-line !

Long grass on sand dunes are a perfect place for adders to hang out so do be careful if passing through areas like this  , keep your dog on a lead and if your suspect your dog has been bitten call your vet straight away as a special anti venom will need to be given

clifftop walks – Yeah…it seems like a good idea at the time… until dogs fall or take a leap of faith off the edge – please be careful, dogs on leads people and keep safe !

Another thing I’ve seen in practice – a dog ate a tonne of sand on a beach and was severely bloated his tummy looked like a football – so yeah, I wouldn’t advise you letting your dog eat sand after seeing that . He was fine by the way after a lot of pain relief and pooping out a few sand castles !

Fly strike

Ok, so this is one is aimed at the small furries . Fly strike is really common among rabbits , especially ones who still haven’t lost their Christmas weight (a bit podgy!) so basically if the rabbit isn’t able to reach down and keep his /her bum clean because their tummy is in the way this will attract flies and they will lay eggs on the rabbit and these hatch out on the bunny and pretty much eat the rabbit alive sorry if your squeamish .  It really is like something from a horror film when we see them in practice. Sometimes it’s so severe fatalities occur and it’s excruciating for the bunny .

The same process happens with cuts and grazes they may have and if the rabbit is kept in dirty living conditions. It can happen to Guinea pigs too .

Check your small furry at least once a day ,keep them clean and their environment clean too . There are products such as rearguard which can be applied to prevent fly strike.

Fleas and ticks

These blood sucking parasites are rife at this time of year . Not only are they annoying and give us and our pets the itch and want to flame throw the house but diseases can also be transferred to your pet and yourself from these critters. Fleas can spread myxomatosis between rabbits and ticks can transfer lymes disease to dogs and us ! Avoid long grass and use adequate flea and tick prevention advised by your vet.

Oh and if you see a tick on your pet don’t pull it off you can cause more damage as the head of the tick can be left embedded in your pet’s skin causing infections and abscesses gross right?! there’s a special technique and tool used for removing them.  Call your vet – nurses can demonstrate safe removal of them so your prepared for the next sucker !

 

always seek veterinary advice from your own veT
Other than that keep calm and enjoy your summer guys!
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