The Importance of Dental Care

There are two types of dental care for pets: that given by the owner at home, and that given by the vet in the surgery. Both are very important to the wellbeing of our pets.

It is thought that two thirds of dogs and cats over 3 years old suffer from dental disease. This is not a cosmetic problem, although the appearance and smell from an affected mouth can be very unpleasant! More importantly, it is a cause of pain and ill health.
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Allergic Skin Disease in Dogs

Probably the second most common skin condition I see in dogs (after flea-related problems) is allergic skin disease, or atopy.

Dogs can develop an allergic reaction to any number of things in the environment, or, less commonly, to their food. Common indoor allergens include house dust mites, detergents and carpet cleaning products. Common outdoor allergens include grasses and pollens. Food allergens include beef, pork, dairy products and wheat. And of course fleas themselves can cause allergic skin disease in some unlucky dogs.

An allergic reaction is caused when the immune system makes antibodies to common substances instead of to those which are “foreign” to it. The antibodies cause mast cells in the skin to release chemicals like histamine, which cause irritation and inflammation.

Grissom survives cat flu.

This handsome fellow is Grissom, a lively 3 month old kitten. Like the TV character he is named after, he is extremely inquisitive and tenacious.

Grissom belongs to a good friend of mine and enjoys all the luxuries that a cat-loving household can offer. But unfortunately he had a very bad start in life when he succumbed to cat flu as a young kitten in a rescue cattery.

Heatstroke in Pets

It’s been scorching here in Gloucestershire recently, and while the hot weather has been enjoyed by most of the population, it has not been so welcome for all, particularly for pets who find it difficult to cope with such extremes of temperature. In the surgery recently I’ve seen a few pets suffering from the effects of too much sun – a dog with mild heatstroke, a cat with sunburnt ear tips, and then there was Harry the bunny who was brought in last Friday in a real state…….

Difficult decisions towards the end of life.

A few weeks ago I was asked by a close friend to put her dog to sleep at home. Timmy was a farm dog really, who slept in a stable, but just as much of a family member as any house-dog and much loved. I trusted Timmy’s owners’ judgement completely as to when the “right time” came to part with Timmy, and I was already familiar with his medical history.

I was glad to be able to carry out the euthanasia in the way in which his owners wanted. Timmy was in familiar surroundings, greeted me like an old friend and showed no distress at all.With his owners beside him, I clipped some hair from his front leg and injected a strong solution of anaesthetic into his vein. He went so peacefully that there were only a few tears, mixed with feelings of relief. Timmy was buried on the farm.

Epilepsy in dogs and cats

This week my colleagues and I treated a lovely beagle called Emily, who was rushed to the surgery in a state called “status epilepticus”. This means that she was not just having an epileptic seizure, but was having continuous repeated seizures with no real recovery in between. This is an emergency situation, and fortunately Emily’s owners knew exactly what to do: they phoned the surgery first to let us know, so that we could be ready for her arrival, and then they brought her straight in. This is not something that can be treated in the home, so although it was a bit frightening for them to have to move her, they knew that it was in her best interests…

So you want to have a litter of pups?

By Cat Henstridge The Pet Street Vet. Breeding a dog is a big undertaking and many people underestimate the time and effort that will go into the process. Not to mention the risks to the bitch (there is no truth to the rumour that having a litter is ‘good’ for her) and the fact you have to find loving, responsible homes for the puppies once they are born. However, some people are determined to go ahead, so how do you ensure you breed the best possible quality puppies and keep your bitch safe and healthy?

Osteoarthritis in dogs.

This week I met a lovely 12 year old Labrador called Amber, who has been suffering for some time now with osteoarthritis. She is on a combination of two treatments, which keep her quality of life good although her condition is getting worse.

This is a very common complaint in dogs, especially middle-aged and elderly ones, but the good news is that the treatments available are improving all the time.

One of the most common findings in a routine examination of an older dog is stiffness of one or more joints. On questioning the owner, we often find that there is occasional lameness or difficulty getting into the car, or stiffness for the first few minutes of exercise before the dog “gets going”……………..

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….

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.’

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.