How important is the antibiotic resistance crisis?

How many of you are aware that the efficacy of antibiotics is reducing? Are you aware of what would happen if antibiotics no longer worked?

■ Antibiotic resistance is the biggest threat to global health
■ Although it occurs naturally, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the threat
■ Antibiotics DO NOT treat viral infections and will enhance resistance if used in this way

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, they kill, inhibit or reduce the growth of specific bacteria.
Antibiotics are a vital health resource which need to be protected.
Resistant antibiotics are antibiotics that no longer work as effectively (or at all) against an infection that it once treated. This occurs when the bacteria mutate and change their DNA to survive against the specific antibiotic.
There are also concerns that if new strains of bacteria emerge our existing antibiotics will be unable to treat them.

The veterinary industry is able to limit and prevent this threat by carefully following guidelines on prescribing antibiotics. We need our clients to come together and help us also. Please be patient with us and understand that we cannot prescribe antibiotics to your pet unless we definitely need to.

We need to work together to limit the spread of resistance. What YOU can do to help:
📚 research antibiotic resistance and become aware of the facts
💊 only take antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and NEVER demand antibiotics
🖊 always follow the medications instructions and always complete the antibiotic course (including pet medication!!!)
🛀 practice good self-hygiene by washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact when ill, preparing food safely

Please visit this link to find out more:
https://www.who.int/…/fact-she…/detail/antibiotic-resistance

Healthy trends for fluffy friends

Prevention is Better Than Cure is the motto of my university, the RVC, and is a motto I live and work by. Considering health and well-being throughout our companions lives, results in happier pets who live for longer (as well as saving us money!) There are many steps we can take toward this goal, highlighted in this column, to improve your little friends quality of life! Following on from last seasons focus on   canine vaccinations, this time we are looking how we vaccinate our cats and rabbits!

The core vaccinations (recommended for all cats) protect against Feline Rhinotracheitis (also known as Feline Herpes Virus) and Feline Calicivirus. These two viruses are responsible for a complex known as Feline Respiratory Disease Complex. These viruses, together or alone, can cause inflammation of the nasal and sinus linings,   conjunctivitis, fever, excessive tear production, salivation and mouth sores. There is no cure for either of these viruses, and once recovered from the initial infection, may lay latent in the immune system until a time of stress, when symptoms are likely to recur.

We also routinely vaccinate all cats against Feline Panleukopenia Virus, which is a highly contagious and often fatal disease of cats. The disease is most commonly seen in cats <1 year of age (but can be seen in cats of any age), and may cause death with little or no warning. Cats often develop a fever, depression and stop eating. They may also vomit or develop diarrhoea.

We also recommend vaccinating again Feline Leukaemia Virus for all cats who have contact with other cats (multi-cat household and outdoor cats). This is because the virus is passed between cats in saliva, during mutual grooming, sharing of food dishes or litter trays and during cat fights. Cats infected with leukaemia virus can develop anaemia, cancer of the lymph nodes or leukaemia,      suppression of the immune system (increasing their risk of other infections), severe inflammation of the mouth and problems reproducing.

Our vaccination protocol for cats is a primary course of two injections (3-4 weeks apart) followed by yearly boosters. Injections may be given in the back of the neck, or underneath the skin on one of the cats hind limbs. We will also perform a general health check on your animal each year at their vaccination consultation.

In <1% of vaccinations of cats, we see side effects, most of which are mild and temporary (usually lethargy with or without a fever) which subside without treatment. However, if you do have any concerns about your animal post-vaccination, please do give us a call and let us know.

All rabbits (indoor and outdoor) should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). There are two strains of RHD, and for this reason, rabbits must receive two vaccinations each year at least 2 weeks apart. Both cause death fairly rapidly after infection and are rarely treatable. Myxomatosis is also a fatal disease which causes blindness and in-appetence – some rabbits will die within 48 hours of showing signs of illness.

All of these disease are preventable, annual vaccinations are a critical part of maintaining good health in your fluffy friend. If you have any further questions about vaccination, please feel free to discuss them with a vet, nurse, or member of the reception team.

Written by Jazzmin.

Do I need to treat my pet for fleas?

Fleas seem to be a problem that many people encounter with their pets all year round. It is a myth that fleas are only seen in the warmer months! While prevention is better than treatment, we can sometimes find ourselves struggling in the home as they’re often a persistent pest, so we’ve put together a guide to help!

Just one flea can lay up to as many as 50 eggs a day. If your pet has fleas, these eggs will be laid in multiple sites in your house. If conditions are right, these eggs then hatch and go on to find their host (your pet). These fleas will continue to lay eggs on your pet and in your house and the cycle will continue unless they are stopped. It doesn’t take long for an infestation to occur but it can take a long time to remove the infestation from your house once it does occur…

When treating fleas, a multi-pronged attack is the best. Only 5% of them are living on the pet on the pet as adults, meaning that the other 95% of the population are living in the home environment in their immature stages, which are the eggs, larvae and pupae. A household spray, normally containing an insecticide, is strongly recommended to treat the eggs and larvae. When spraying the household, care should be taken to spray all floor spaces in all rooms. Make sure to move furniture/spray underneath, as flea larvae like to retreat to dark places. All bedding/blankets should be washed in a 60°C or above wash, and this will kill any fleas, eggs or larvae living within them.

The pupae in the environment are resistant to the insecticide sprays. Frequent hoovering encourages the pupae to hatch through the vibrations caused which will then be treated. Warmer months are often thought to be the worst for flea problems, but winter can be troublesome as well, as any flea eggs in the environment will hatch in response to the central heating being turned on, so be vigilant all year round.

Making sure we stay on top of our pets flea treatment is paramount, as missing just one dose means your pet isn’t covered anymore. Fleas also carry the potential to pass worms onto your pet, so by protecting your dog from fleas it can also somewhat prevent worms. However, de-worming treatment must also been given to ensure your pet is free of all types of worms. All cats and dogs in the house should be treated, and allowed to roam the house if fleas have become a problem. They will act as a magnet for any fleas in the environment, and while it can be irritating for them to be bitten, fleas that jump on a treated pet will die.

The final step is… waiting. It can sometimes take up to three months to clear a flea infestation in the house. However, by following the steps above, you should see a gradual decline in numbers once the flea life cycle is broken & eventually a flea free home!