It’s Tick Season!

Thanks to the warm, wet weather we’re seeing far more ticks than we normally would this time of year. For those who don’t know a tick is a small, oval shaped parasite which attaches itself to your pet. They can vary in size and colour but most commonly look like the one pictured below. Ticks can cause your pet significant discomfort and in some cases transmit disease. Thankfully many prescription flea products (tablets and spot-ons) also contain tick control, however it is worth noting many over the counter products do not include tick control.  We recommend Simparica for dogs, and Stronghold Plus monthly in cats. 

If you find a tick on your pet we recommend calling us for advice. Whilst home removal is sometimes possible, it is very important not to leave the mouth parts of the tick behind. If you are inexperienced in tick removal this is very easy to do, so if you are unsure please contact your nearest branch. It is also worth noting we commonly have people attempt to remove small skin lumps believing they are ticks, so if you have any doubt, please contact us prior to attempting ‘removal’. 

Woodbridge: 01394 380083
Ipswich: 01473 274040
Felixstowe: 01394 284554
Rendlesham: 01394 420964

Rabbit Healthcare

As the summer months are upon us, we start to see a lot more publicity around fleas and ticks in cats and dogs. However, rabbits are often forgotten about, although preventative healthcare is just as important for them too!

Fly strike (myiasis) is a potentially fatal, yet preventable condition in rabbits, which is caused by flies landing on the rabbit and laying eggs. The eggs are usually laid around the rear end, and while any rabbit can be affected, the flies are particularly drawn to rabbits with wet/dirty back ends. This means that victims are usually rabbits that can’t easily clean themselves, such as older or overweight rabbits, rabbits with large dewlaps or those that have recently had a bout of diarrhoea or urinary problems. When the eggs hatch, the maggots then start to eat the rabbit’s flesh, and also release toxins that are very dangerous to our small furry friends. If you see any signs of Fly Strike, immediate veterinary care is needed.

Soiled bedding helps attracts the flies, and so should be cleaned out daily. Also physically checking your bunny twice every day to make sure they are keeping themselves clean will help to prevent Fly Strike. A good diet made up of mostly hay, with small quantities of pellets and green vegetables will help prevent rabbits becoming overweight or getting diarrhoea. There is also a prevention treatment that can be applied, which if used when the weather starts to warm up helps to prevent any eggs laid from developing.

Also at this time of year the numbers of wild rabbits are on the increase. Rabbits should be vaccinated annually, a single injection offers protection from myxomatosis and both strains of VHD (viral haemmorhagic disease). Sadly these often fatal diseases are highly transmissible and can be spread not only by direct contact with infected rabbits, but by inadvertent contact with any infected material.
Most commonly this happens via an owner’s clothing or footwear having walked somewhere where infected wild rabbits have been. For this reason we recommend vaccination of all rabbits, including house rabbits.
If you have any queries regarding rabbit healthcare please contact your local branch on:
Woodbridge: 01394 380083
Ipswich: 01473 274040
Felixstowe: 01394 284554
Rendlesham: 01394 420964

Laparoscopic Speys

What is a laparoscopic spey? Laparoscopic ovariectomy is an alternative to a routine spey and is carried out by keyhole surgery. For pets, as in humans, keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive alternative to the common open surgeries performed on patients. With this, we only remove the ovaries, using a camera to visualise them and long instruments to operate. This leaves our pets with two little incisions which are glued so there are no sutures to remove. One incision is for the camera, which displayed a magnified view on a monitor allowing a clear picture for the surgeon. The second incision is for instruments which are used to remove the ovaries.

Laparoscopy Benefits

  1. Reduced post operative pain
  2. Quicker post operative recovery
  3. Smaller incisions
  4. No stitches in the skin – usually no need for a buster collar
  5. Lower risk of wound breakdown
  6. Reduced trauma and inflammation
  7. Rest is usually only required for 2-3 days after the procedure.

FAQs

  • Will my pet be sore after the procedure? In a conventional spay, the ligaments connecting the ovaries to the abdomen have to be stretched, which causes pain. With keyhole spaying these ligaments are cauterised and cut, which is significantly less painful.
  • How much hair is clipped? Due to the positioning of the instruments, is it necessary to clip a large area of hair on the sides and the belly. This ensures the area is sterile for surgery.
  • How long is the rest period? For a conventional spay pets need to rest for 10-14days, with keyhole procedures the rest time is just 2-3 days so long as the recovery goes as planned.
  • Will pain relief be required at home? Most pets are very comfortable after keyhole surgery. We administer pain medication on the day of their operation, but they usually do not require any when they get home.
  • Is it safe to leave the uterus behind? Many studies have been performed looking into the risk of leaving the uterus behind. So long as the ovaries are fully removed, there is no benefit to the patient of removing the uterus. In order to develop pyometra, hormones are required, which come from the ovaries. Therefore, without ovaries, it is not possible to develop these conditions. If we see that the uterus looks abnormal during the procedure, we may be able to remove it laparoscopically or may advise converting to open surgery to do so.

Adder Warnings

Adders live in woodland, moorland and heath-land habitats. Emerging from their hibernation since October, March is when they start appearing to bask in the sun or mate with a partner. The female will then go on to incubate her eggs, protecting her off-spring with her life.

Adders are shy snakes and do not attack unless they feel threatened. This can come about if a dog accidentally stumbles across an Adders nest or an individual snake feels like your pet is a threat.

To reduce the risk of your pet potentially being bitten by an Adder, is it sensible to keep your pet on a lead when walking through these habitats where Adders may be living.

Not only do we want your pet to be safe, but we also want to be respectful to our native creatures and allow them to feel safe in their own environment. Adders are protected here in the UK and should not be injured or killed.

What to do if your dog is bitten by an Adder

Bite wounds are very painful and the wound may start to swell very quickly and have a dark colouration.

  1. Remain calm – easier said than done, but very important as your dog will pick up on your anxiety.
  2. Keep your dog as still as possible – This is to reduce the speed at which the venom will travel around the body.  You can carry your dog if possible, or you can walk them very slowly back to your car.
  3. Seek treatment from a vet as soon as possible.
  4. DO NOT try to suck out the venom or to tourniquet the bite wound, this may cause further complications.

Prognosis is usually good if treated promptly, however it is possible for your dog to have an anaphylactic reaction if it has been previously bitten.

Woodbridge: 01394 380083
Ipswich: 01473 274040
Felixstowe: 01394 284554
Rendlesham: 01394 420964

Spring has sprung!

Spring has officially sprung! As we enter spring it is wise to remain vigilant as there are lots of potential consumable hazards at home and in the wider environment.
Spring brings pretty flowers and longer dog walks as the weather improves. Spring bulbs can be very appealing to dogs but can cause a nasty tummy upset and in some instances where large quantities are consumed, they can be fatal. Sometimes intoxication of bulbs can result in a skin rash. Tulip, daffodil and hyacinth are all ones to keep an eye on.

Over winter, anti-freeze is a concern, for our cats especially. However, as we reach summer, lilies start to arrive and these are also very toxic to our feline friends. Even if they don’t chew the plant itself, brushing up against the plant can leave residues of pollen, which when the cat grooms will become ingested. Like anti-freeze, lilies damage cats’ kidneys so possible signs of intoxication are vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, depression and neurological signs (for example in-coordination or seizures).

As with any potential intoxication, it is imperative you ring the surgery for veterinary advice as soon as possible after the event. If you are worried about plants in general and which ones are toxic and need some advice, please also feel free to call us. We are always happy to help!