Latest Articles & News

Newsletter – Summer 2018

May 14th, 2018

Newsletter Summer 2018
Our Spring newsletter is now available. We publish these newsletters regularly, usually every quarter. Each provides a series of short articles covering advice and information for keeping your pet happy and healthy.

Click the image to the right to view the Newsletter fullsize (Adobe PDF document)

Newsletter – Spring 2018

March 1st, 2018

Newsletter Autumn 2017
Our Spring newsletter is now available. We publish these newsletters regularly, usually every quarter. Each provides a series of short articles covering advice and information for keeping your pet happy and healthy.

Click the image to the right to view the Newsletter fullsize (Adobe PDF document)

Pesky Parasites

September 1st, 2017

We all enjoy spending time with our pets. Not only do they bring us a considerable amount of joy, they can also keep us healthy. Did you know just spending some quality time with your pet can decrease your blood pressure and so reduce the risk of having a heart attack?

But what about the other little critters you could be sharing your time with? Parasites are a subject that can often leave us feeling a little itchy but many people don’t realise just how many can invade your home every day. Learning about them is the best way to tackle them!

What’s that lurking in your home?

A flea is a small, wingless insect that bites its host and sucks its blood. They have back legs that are modified for jumping and they lay numerous eggs every day which drop to the ground and then hatch into flea larvae in your carpets, flooring and bedding. However, they will only hatch when it’s warm enough and when they know there is a meal passing by. They can cause some nasty reactions so it is critical to use preventative flea control all year round. When treating the environment it is important to treat all areas that the pet goes. If you are worried about a flea infestation in your home why not book a free flea consultation with one of our vets.

Not always just a walk in the park

Just one pile of dog poo can contain a million roundworm eggs and even if you scoop the poop, eggs can still remain in the left overs and could even go on to affect humans. Roundworms are large white worms, with cylindrical bodies. Adult roundworms live in the small intestine and feed on the gut contents. To tackle this problem ensure your pet has a regular roundworm treatment at least twice a year.

Long grass, where the bloodsuckers lie in wait

Ticks cling to the tips of long grass waiting for a passing meal ticket. If an unsuspecting cat or dog wanders by, the tick jumps on board and uses its specially designed mouthparts to bite into the skin. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time in long grass or woodland then make sure you are treating them with a product that repels and kills ticks. Never just pull a tick off as it will remove the body and leave the mouthparts under the skin which can cause a nasty reaction. If you ever notice a tick on your pet then call and book an appointment with one of our nurses who can remove the tick safely and free of charge if you are on our healthcare scheme.

What’s that lurking at the bottom of your garden?

Your garden can be a haven for lungworm carriers, your dog can become infected with lungworm by ingesting infected slugs or snails. However it is not simply eating the little critters that can put your pet at risk, coming into contact with the slime can be as deadly. Remember that toys and bowls left outside and covered with slime pose just as much risk as your dog eating a slug or snail directly. As foxes can similarly become infected by this parasite, they can also spread the infection by shedding larvae into the environment. Disease in dogs is usually related to the respiratory system, and symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, discharge from the nose, retching and it can be fatal. Regular preventative treatment should definitely be used if you see slugs and snails in your area.

Fly away with me

Heartworm is not normally a parasite we hear about and that is mainly due to the fact we don’t have it here in the UK, but it is a threat elsewhere in Europe and in other areas of the world. If contracted and left untreated the disease can lead to heart failure, breathing difficulties, lethargy and even death. If you and your pet travel abroad make sure all preventative treatment has been given to stop any casualties while you are away.

Our healthcare club provides essential preventative healthcare including parasite control. It is a simple and affordable way to spread the cost and gives you other benefits such as vaccinations, nurse checks, nail clipping and many more saving you up to 24% every year. This then leaves you with complete peace of mind when you are cuddling up with your furry friends.

(P.S. We’re going to be at Bark in the Park on September 16th, why not come along and meet our team?)

Kelly Hanks RVN



A head scratching problem!

August 24th, 2017

Summer is upon us, the days are definitely getting warmer and you may be noticing your pets are scratching more. Skin problems can often start with seasonal changes and can often get worse before they get better! Skin problems can be a challenge, so it can be hard to figure out why furry friends are itchy; parasites and skin allergies are among the primary culprits.

Fleas enjoy the warmer weather and often flourish in our homes, especially as our pets spend more time outside. Only 5% of the adult flea population lives on our pets and the majority of the problem can be found crawling around in our flooring. Unfortunately adult fleas lay eggs which fall off and hatch into larvae, which then live in our carpets and bedding, the larvae then change to flea pupae. Pupae can survive for quite a long period of time before changing to the fleas we see. This is why one flea treatment on our pets will not solve a flea problem. Fleas can also be a host for tapeworms so it is important to use a tapewormer as part of your parasite control.

Some of our pets suffer from flea allergy dermatitis, which is an allergy to flea saliva, so even the odd flea bite can cause our pets to scratch and cause themselves a lot of harm. This may require antibiotics or anti-itch medication. It is therefore important to keep up to date with regular flea treatments on all your animals, so fleas do not get out of control. If a heavy infestation is noted an environmental spray maybe required. There are a variety of different products available from spot-ons to tablets to collars; some will even do repel or kill ticks and some affect worms too. Why not give us a call to find out which suits you and your pet best? You may also like to consider joining our Avenue Healthcare Club which spreads the cost of flea and worm treatment monthly whilst making a great saving too.

Fleas are often easy to diagnose as we can see the fleas or flea faeces in our pets’ coats. Other causes of itchiness such as allergies can be a little more frustrating to diagnose. An allergy is the body responding inappropriately to a normal stimulus in a hypersensitive way. We see allergies to all sorts of things including food, dust mites and pollens.

Diagnosing allergies often means eliminating other causes like parasites, fungi, or bacterial infections. What is even more frustrating is there is no cure! We can manage the clinical signs associated with cats and dogs itchiness and often make them feel a lot more comfortable but we can not get rid of the cause; because allergens are ever present in our environment -just like us with hay fever! Diagnosing and treating allergies can be time consuming and costly so please forgive us for mentioning this again but this is a prime example of why we recommend pet insurance.

Although allergies can be difficult to manage, these are some things you can do to alleviate the itchiness, especially if related to pollens. Wash your dog’s feet after walking, avoid letting cats out/ going for walk during high pollen counts, consider nutritional support like omega 3 (we may recommend a hypoallergenic diet if your pets allergy is related to food) and ensure parasite control is given regularly (we don’t need any other reason for them to scratch). This doesn’t include prescription medications we may prescribe if they are really itchy and cause sores. If you think your pet may be scratching an abnormal amount, whether due to some unwanted guests or a possible allergy, why not ring the surgery or visit us to discuss further.