Is my pet overweight?
Today is #petobesityawarenessday. Part of a healthy lifestyle for your pet is making sure that their weight is where it should be. Excess weight can have a big effect on your pet’s health. It can affect their kidney’s their joints and even their ability to move and exercise as they should.
How do I access support?
You can access these weight clinics in a couple of ways. A vet might want to offer support to an owner during the routine annual booster health check. They can refer a patient to an RVN in the first instance. They can put together a bespoke programme to help with any kind of weight issue. The vet may also refer your pet if they have gained weight after neutering. This is a common issue after this type of procedure.
Owners can also self-refer if they think their pet has any kind of weight issue. An owner can also self-refer if they have a puppy or kitten and want some support in the first year of life to make sure they get a good nutritional start in life. Weight clinics are a great way to socialise a new puppy or kitten too. It is a non-intrusive visit where they will only be weighed and measured (and probably cuddled a lot too) so associating visits with something pleasant and exciting.
You can also download a leaflet from the PDSA here, which is a comprehensive guide for owners to identify if their dog is a healthy shape, is overweight or underweight, tips on eating well, ideas for play and exercise and how to keep treats healthy and much, much more!
The clinics can also offer preventative support; for example if your pet has undergone surgery and needs to cage rest, adjustments to their diet might be needed so ensure they maintain an ideal weight.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight, get in touch with our Client Care team via PetsApp or by phone.
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Parasites and your pet – Worms
Tapeworm – There are several ways in which your pet can catch tapeworm but the most common is ingesting infected fleas when they groom. They can also become infected through contaminated faeces from other animals. Tapeworm can also infect humans.
Roundworm – Puppies have the highest risk of getting roundworm and can become very ill very quickly. They can get them from their mother if she is infected but can also be caught from infected faeces or by eating infected small animals such as mice.
The cycle of a roundworm is an interesting one. After your dog swallows the eggs, they hatch and turn into larvae. The larvae then spread through your dog’s liver and up to their windpipe. The dog coughs and then swallows the larvae, making their way into the dog’s intestine where they grow into adult worms who then lay their own eggs which are pooped out, continuing the cycle.
Lungworm – dogs catch this parasite by either eating or playing with slugs and snails. They can also catch the eggs from the slimy trail they leave behind which could be on grass, water bowls or toys. This parasite can’t be passed from pet to pet but lungworm larvae are spread through the dog’s poop which is then picked up by slugs and snails.
What are the symptoms?
Some symptoms of lungworm are:
- Coughing due to the presence of worms in the lung area.
- Blood in the urine or vomit.
- Severe reddening around the eye area.
- Breathing problems.
- Tiring easily.
- Weight loss.
How does my pet get worms?
Your pet can get worms in many different ways. Click on the links below to show some of these ways:
For more information on these parasites, download our leaflet on worms and if you need to order your products, call the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or request and pay for products through PetsApp.
Talk to our team about how often you should worm your pet – get in touch.
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Fleas – what are they?
The flea is a robust parasite. It reproduces quickly and their eggs spread throughout your home before you’ve even noticed that your pet is scratching more than usual. #didyouknow that adult fleas only account for 5% of the total infestation? The remaining 95% are invisible to the naked eye and consist of the egg, larvae and pupae stages!
The ONLY way to get rid of and continue to keep your pet and home flea free is to break the flea life cycle! This means treating your pet AND your home regularly throughout the year, NOT just in the warmer months. As new fleas are introduced to the environment, the regular treatment will continue to break the flea cycle, stopping an infestation developing.
Watch a short film on the flea lifecycle to help you understand how these critters survive.
There are four life stages of the flea; egg, larva, pupa and adult. How quickly they develop depends on the temperature and humidity of the environment. Their growth can take just a few weeks to several months.
Fleas like to be warm and cosy with their preferred temperature being between 21°C and 29°C. Going WAY back in time, flea season referred to the warmer months of the year but now because of centrally heated homes, fleas are able to find the perfect conditions to breed and thrive all year round!
Once a host has been found, the adult female flea feeds and begins to lay eggs on your pet’s body. She cannot lay her eggs until she has eaten a blood meal. Flea eggs are tiny white objects smaller than a grain of sand. Female fleas lay on average 20 eggs per day but can lay up to as many as 50! Flea eggs represent approximately half of the flea population in the home. An adult flea needs a host to survive. Without a host to feed on, they can only survive for a few days.
Flea eggs can be unwittingly distributed around the home by your pet as the eggs fall off your pet’s body. Once the temperature and humidity are right, the eggs will hatch and the larvae will begin to emerge.
Flea larvae feed on flea dirt (the name given to adult flea faeces) to survive because they can’t feed on a host. Flea dirt is essentially dried blood and looks like a trail of black specks. It can sometimes be visible on your pet’s coat and on bedding.
Flea larvae are white and almost see-through in colour. They have no legs and develop over one to two weeks.
This is the cocoon stage of the flea cycle and makes up 10% of the flea population in a home. It is the final stage before it turns into an adult flea. This stage can take several days OR weeks. If conditions are not right in the environment, the pupae can survive for months and sometimes more than a year in this stage. The cocoon protects the pupae while it develops and the sticky outer layer keeps the pupae hidden deep in fabric and carpets. It also protects against the reaches of the hoover and any chemicals that might be in some household flea sprays.
Once developed, the adult flea won’t emerge until they sense a potential host nearby. Despite their small size, they are very clever little critters and will pick up vibrations, rising levels of carbon dioxide and body heat, all which indicate that there is a dog or cat nearby waiting to provide the blood meal they require.
To keep your pet and home free from fleas, contact the team today on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 find out what products are available to suit your needs. Why not use PetsApp to request your products and get them sent directly to your home.
We now offer savings on flea treatments in our Pet Health Club – learn more.
To take advantage of 25% of a full year’s worth of products must be purchased and paid for in full. This offer is valid from 1st April 2021 to 30th June 2021. If you require your products posting to your home, this will attract additional postal costs. Please ask the team for further details of the products that are included in the special offer.
Smoking – The risks to your pet
Recent research has suggested that passive smoking could be a health risk to our pets. So why is this? Our pets usually spend more time in the house than their owners. They lounge on carpets and furniture covered in carcinogenic particles that can also settle on their fur. Pets, particularly cats, can then ingest them as they groom themselves.
Evidence suggests that tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung and nasal cancers in dogs. It could possibly increase the risk of blood cancer lymphoma and mouth cancer.
The only sure way to protect them is to stop smoking around them and in the environment they live in. Good ventilation to avoid stagnating air is crucial. Regular vacuuming of soft furnishings will also help lessen the amount of potentially dangerous particles in the home.
Visit the PDSA website for more information on the effects of smoking on your pet.
If you are thinking of giving up, why not get help to do that by visiting the NHS website.
If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, call the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat on PetsApp.
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The Eyes have it!
The eyes are a sensitive organ and are susceptible to injury and infection. Owners should act quickly if they suspect that their pet has an issue with their eyes because early intervention can protect the long term sight of your pet.
Your pet’s eyes should be bright, clear and shiny with both pupils looking the same. If they are dull, cloudy or change in colour or if the pupils are different to each other then this could mean something is wrong.
Other visible clues
- Inflamed (red), swollen or sore
- Excess tearing or discharge
- Your pet seems confused or is bumping into things
- Your pet is rubbing their eyes or blinking more than usual
The eyes can also indicate other health issues. In cats, it is possible to detect blood pressure issues from changes observed within the eye.
One of the more urgent eye conditions your pet may suffer from is a corneal ulcer. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye and an ulcer can develop as a result of an injury or a foreign object causing trauma to the cornea.
An ulcer can be difficult to spot so is usually diagnosed with a special stain. The stain is dropped into the eye and binds to the ulcer making it more visible. If an ulcer is left untreated it can deepen. This will cause pain and put the integrity of the eyeball at risk. Treatment should be sought quickly if an owner suspects an eye injury It is important that if you suspect an eye injury that the eye is examined quickly so that treatment can be provided to ensure the best outcome for your pet.
For more information on eye health, visit the PDSA website.
If you are concerned about your pet’s eyes or any aspect of their health, call the team for advice on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat on PetsApp.
Stop, Think Before You Buy A Pet For Christmas!
It has been a year of restrictions, new rules and social isolation. During the initial lockdown earlier in the year, there were a record number of pets bought and sold. Sadly, there has also been a record number of pets that have been abandoned or put up for rehoming because owners found they no longer had the time or were unable to care for their pet when they went back to work.
With this in mind and with Christmas looming, we wanted to raise awareness of the importance of making a measured and informed choice to introduce a pet to your family. Christmas is another time where pets are bought either as an addition to a family or as a gift for someone else. We would always recommend not choosing a pet as a surprise gift but in any case, doing your research is vitally important.
To help educate and inform we’ve provided information on how to Choose a Healthy Pet, The Cost of Veterinary Care and the Importance of Insurance. There’s also information on the life-time costs involved in owing either a Cat, a Dog or a Rabbit, all designed to help you to make an informed choice about owning a pet.
If you want advice or have any questions, contact the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 and the team will be happy to help.