Cats get Tetanus too.

Most people are aware of tetanus (“lockjaw”) either through having vaccinations at the health centre or perhaps if they own a horse which has to be vaccinated against the disease.

Both humans and horses are genetically susceptible to tetanus and a particularly risky combination of events is when a gardener receives a wound whilst handling horse dung. The tetanus-producing organism (Clostridium tetani) is found naturally in soil and horse manure and can exist as spores for many years.

Dogs and cats only rarely get tetanus. In fact most vets will only see one or two cases in their professional lifetime but once seen, never forgotten….

But rabbits are meant to be cuddly, aren’t they?!

Cat is the vet for petstreet.co.uk; an on-line social networking site for pet lovers.

Obesity is a huge (if you will excuse the pun!) issue in our pets and can lead to significant health problems. It is usually easy to tell if Rover or Kitty are getting porky, their large bellies are generally the giveaway, but it can be more difficult in pet rabbits, who often appear quite round anyway, especially if they are fluffy! However, it is an extremely common problem in the species and can lead to some very nasty illnesses if it isn’t tackled.

How do you tell if a rabbit is fat?

It is difficult just by looking to tell if a rabbit is over-weight and while putting them on the scales is helpful, the healthy weight for each individual will vary. Getting your hands on them and feeling is the most reliable method. Firstly, you should be able to feel your rabbit’s ribs when you place your hands on their chest, if you can’t, or can only manage it by pressing very hard, then there may be a problem. Equally you should also be able to fairly easily make out their spine and hips. They should have an obvious waist and only females should have a dewlap and even then it should be fairly small.

Harvey’s Retained Testicle

Joe Inglis BVSc MRCVS is the vet for the One Show, This Morning and BBC Breakfast. He runs his own line of natural pet food called Pet’s Kitchen

When Harvey the spaniel came in for his routine 6 month check up he looked the picture of health – tail wagging, eyes bright and full of enthusiasm – so neither his owner nor myself were expecting anything other than a straightforward check over. And for the first five minutes of the examination, I found nothing untoward whatsoever – Harvey was clearly a fit and healthy young dog with a strong heart, clear eyes, wet nose, healthy lungs and a good coat. However the final stage of my examination did show that he wasn’t quite 100% perfect and there was a problem that was likely to require treatment.

‘Hmm,’ I started as I straightened up from the final stage of my examination at the back end of Harvey’s wriggling body, ‘I’m afraid to say Mrs Mann that there’s a bit of a problem here – Harvey’s only got one descended testicle.’

Parvovirus: a deadly threat to dogs.

This week I saw a very young puppy, Bobby, die in the most unpleasant way after succumbing to suspected parvovirus infection. It was a reminder, if one was needed, of the importance of vaccinating dogs.

Parvovirus is just one of the illnesses which can be prevented almost completely by giving a course of vaccinations to all puppies at the right age, followed by an annual booster vaccination.

When this illness first occurred in dogs in the UK in the 1970s, I was a veterinary student spending my holidays in veterinary practices. There was an epidemic of parvovirus and many dogs died, especially puppies. As it was a genuinely new disease, probably a mutation of an existing virus, dogs had no immunity to it until a vaccine was developed. The main symptoms are severe diarrhoea with blood and vomiting, leading quickly to lethargy, dehydration and death. In young pups the virus can also affect the heart muscle, and this is another reason for the high death rate. There is no specific treatment for the virus itself so supportive measures like intravenous fluids, pain relief and intensive nursing are given, along with other drugs like antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection. No-one involved in trying to treat these cases will forget the suffering or the awful and characteristic smell ………..

Why cats go blind.

One of the most common causes of sudden blindness in an elderly cat is due to high blood pressure (hypertension). The increased pressure pushes the light sensitive layer (retina) away from the back of the eye and this can happen literally overnight.

The affected cat will have very widely dilated pupils even in bright sunlight and there might be some blood visible when looking into the eyes. They will appear to be disorientated, bump into things and might vocalise excessively……

Wally bites off more than he can chew

Some cases stick in your mind because they are unusual or because the patient is a bit of a character, or both. One such case was Wally the collie, who needed a major operation a few years ago.

Wally was well known at the surgery, partly because he had epilepsy, so he made regular visits for check-ups and blood tests, and his condition was well controlled. Despite a poor start in life before his present owner acquired him as a rescue dog from the Blue Cross, he had become a lovely dog with such a good temperament that he became a P.A.T. dog (Pets as Therapy), visiting residential homes for the elderly where I am sure he brought a lot of pleasure into the lives of the residents…….

Cute little face vs. Wisdom and grace – why you may want to consider adopting an older cat

I walked into the house after a particularly long day at work and was greeted by the shredded roll of toilet paper that lay strewn across my living room floor like some sort of white paper carpet laid out to welcome me. I followed the bits through the house and into the bathroom, where my kitten was proudly finishing off the cardboard roll. Right then and there I swore I would never get a kitten again. But then she looked up from her kill and gave me the most loveable little meow with a face that just oozed how happy she was to see me. I was almost fooled but quickly regained my senses as I remembered that that was my last roll of toilet paper….

Government plans for compulsory dog microchips

As a vet I can’t recommend microchips highly enough. I’ve seen so many grateful owners reunited with their pets through microchips and too many times I’ve watched the clock ticking by as dogs and cats lie injured whilst we try desperately to find their owners. Without the owner to give consent, and tell us their wishes are for their pet, vets can only administer pain relief and other first aid.

Holiday Time for Pets.

At this time of year many people are planning their summer holidays, and so need to make arrangements for their pets too. Some people use their family, friends or pet-sitters to care for their pets in their own home; others prefer to use a boarding service, either in a home setting or a kennels or cattery. The choice is a personal one and depends on the services available in the area. As pets are members of the family, it is important to make arrangements that you are happy with.

Whichever type of service you decide to use, there are several ways in which you can help to make it a happy experience for your dog or cat:

More Useful Information

Examining your pet

Simple ways to check the health of your pet. Vets use these techniques as part of their clinical examiniation.

Medicating your pet

Arming you with the same simple techniques for stress free pill giving.

Worming & Flea Treatment

Information and advice in treating your pet for worms and fleas.