We have just found out that we are in the FINAL THREE for the Petplan VETERINARY PRACTICE OF THE YEAR AWARDS!
Thank you so much to those of you that nominated us - it really means a lot to each and every member of the team.
Being in the top 3 practices (out of over 6000!) for the whole of the UK is an amazing achievement and we are all very excited!
A film crew will be at the practice on 19th March to shoot our finalist video - interviewing staff and clients and showcasing Blue House. This will be played at the awards ceremony and of course we can show it to all of you too!
The awards will be held on 4th April at a black tie event in Birmingham which a lucky few of us will be attending to find out if we have won.
Watch this space for further news...!
This is Pixie. One of our clients found her in the kitchen eating out of her dogs food bowl so she had a feeling something was wrong! She brought her straight in to get her checked out and see if we could find where she had come from. She did have a microchip but sadly her owners hadn’t updated their details on the microchip database or with their vets so we had no way of contacting them.
Pixie was very skinny, covered with fleas, had pale gums and terrible teeth. We were worried she had injured her leg but it seemed to be her kneecap moving in and out of the joint that made her limp.
We ran a few blood tests and found out she was very anaemic which means having a reduced number of red blood cells. Her concentration of red blood cells (PCV) was 12%, less than half the expected value in a normal cat of 25-45%. Since red blood cells are the ones that carry oxygen to all the tissues of the body she was dangerously ill and we had to treat her quickly.
There are lots of reasons to be anaemic including red blood cells being lost through bleeding or from being destroyed by the body’s own immune system. From blood smears we looked at under the microscope it looked like Pixie likely had a low level of iron which is a critical ingredient for making red blood cells. This iron deficiency can happen in young or underweight animals who have too many fleas feasting on their blood.
We treated her fleas and a few days later after plenty of good food and rest her PCV had increased to 20%, a much safer level.
If poor Pixie hadn’t had her fleas treated her organs would have soon been too starved of oxygen to cope and she would have died. It’s rare we see anaemia from a flea infestation thanks to the brilliant range of treatments we have to choose from. Most pets get treated when they become itchy or with some cats when they get a rash if they are allergic to flea saliva. Our main flea treatment “Bravecto” actually prevents fleas as well as treating them so if used regularly your pet never has to suffer from them.
Pixie spent 9 days at Blue House convalescing, but it will take a few weeks for her to fully recover. Iris’s Cats In Need have agreed to take her and after she has had some dentistry this wonderful charity will be looking for a forever home for her.
Important news about your Pet Passport
IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR PET BETWEEN MARCH 30th 2019 AND JULY 31st 2019 YOU NEED TO READ THIS AND ACT ON IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
You may not have thought about it yet, but leaving the EU will have consequences for the Pet Travel scheme and your pet’s passport. Nobody knows at the moment what will happen after the 29th of March 2019. The government has published guidance stating that they expect a deal to happen between the UK and the EU but also telling us what will happen to pet travel regulations in a ‘no-deal scenario.’
Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations you will still be able to travel to Europe with your pet but there may be a few extra steps involved. If there is no deal reached you will need to start to prepare at least 4 months before travel. For example, if you wish to travel on the 30th of March 2019 you need to start the process by the 28th of November 2018 at the latest.
The changes mainly involve the rules surrounding rabies vaccination. At the moment dogs need to have one rabies vaccination and then wait 21 days before travelling. In the event of a no-deal scenario this could change to include a blood test at least 30 days after the vaccination to check your pet has high enough levels of the rabies antibody and are ‘immune.’ This blood test will need to be done a minimum of 3 months before your travel date. Sometimes pets will not have responded to the vaccine sufficiently and must have repeated vaccines until they show enough immunity. Each additional vaccine would mean another 30 days wait before having another blood test.
You could also need a vet health certificate which means visiting us within 10 days before your travel date, and this would be required for every trip to the EU. This certificate would allow you to travel within the EU for 4 months and allow re-entry to the UK up to 4 months after the certificate is issued. You would need to travel with this, proof of their microchip, rabies vaccination and positive blood test result.
The pre-existing rule for taking your dog to a vet 1-5 days before returning to the UK for tapeworm treatment would remain unchanged.
What if your pet has one of the older styles of passport and had a rabies antibody blood test after their vaccination? As long as they have kept up to date with their rabies vaccinations ever since they will not need to repeat this blood test. They would, however, still need a health certificate for each time they travel.
Please bear in mind that this is all currently theoretical. Advice may change over the coming months, but if you want to ensure you and your pet can travel early next year no matter the Brexit outcome these are the steps we advise you to follow.
Unfortunately because we don’t know what will happen yet you could be having blood tests done unnecessarily – but if you don’t, you run the risk of not being able to travel with your pet at all. Please feel free to talk to us about it if you need to.
The Government has lots of information on guidance for pet owners on its website. We recommend you keep checking the website regularly to keep up to date with any changes. There is also a government helpline 0370 2411710 which you can use for further clarification.
Cassie came in to us at the end of August after she had an accident on her evening walk. She had got her foot stuck between some fence posts and scraped most of the skin off when she pulled it back through. It was obviously sore and the wound was very dirty so we had to anaesthetise her to have a good look and clean her wound.
Unfortunately she had done more damage than we thought at first and the flap of skin wasn’t in a good enough condition to stitch it back in place. When we have wounds like this we take away any unhealthy tissue and let it heal by ‘secondary intention’ which means it heals gradually from the inside out. This sort of healing takes a long time and poor Cassie had to have special bandages put on every 2-3 days for a few weeks. At first Cassie wasn’t a big fan of the vets but after visiting us so frequently we’re now good friends and she’s much more relaxed about coming in for cuddles.
It’s taken a long time and a lot of dedication from her owners but it’s paid off and we’re thrilled she’s well on the way to getting back to normal!
Sammy came in to us in March after he had been vomiting on and off for a few weeks. He had tried treatment for inflammation of the pancreas from another vets but it hadn’t seemed to help. In fact he was getting worse and hadn’t eaten for a few days before coming in to see us. He doesn’t like the vets much so it was hard to examine and help him until he had a sedative injection. Once he was relaxed we could feel a small lump in his abdomen that was very round and hard.
We took some x-rays to see if we could learn more about this lump and from those it looked like Sammy had swallowed a ball or a stone and it was stuck in his intestines.
His owner agreed to an operation to see what was going on and to remove whatever it was that Sammy had swallowed. It turned out to be this stone! It must have been sat in his stomach making him feel a bit sick but not causing too much trouble until it passed into his small intestine and got stuck at a narrow part. Kay and Helen did a brilliant job getting the stone out and we’re pleased to see he has made a full recovery and is looking much happier now. He’s not going to be allowed near anymore stones though!
Dogs (and sometimes cats) will eat all sorts of things they shouldn’t! Things like stones, toys, socks, bones and string can all get stuck in the digestive system. Not every pet is as lucky as Sammy, so keep an eye out for things missing in the home and watch your pet when they’re out and about. Call us if you’re worried they might have swallowed something they shouldn’t have done!
Alabama rot – What is it and should we be worried?
If you follow social media you can’t fail to see headlines about a disease called Alabama Rot. But what is it and should you be worried? We have again had several phone calls from concerned clients over the last week, so we thought we should provide some information for you.
What is Alabama Rot?
The proper name for Alabama Rot is “Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy” or CRGV. It is an uncommon but serious disease which has only been seen in UK dogs over the last 5 years. It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. It can affected any age or breed of dog. It seems to be more common between October and April.
How common is Alabama Rot and is it in my area?
Unfortunately, we have to confirm 3 new cases of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (often termed CRGV or Alabama Rot). The cases were from Edgbaston (West Midlands), Cannock (Staffordshire) and Alsager (Cheshire).
This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 112 since 2012 with 29 in 2017. Most confirmed cases have been seen between October and April. We would continue to advise owners to be vigilant and to seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions/sores.
There have been 6 confirmed cases in a 20 mile radius of Blue House within the last 5 years. With an approximate number of 8.5 million dogs in the UK, that means 0.001% of dogs have been affected – so it is very, very rare.
What causes Alabama Rot?
The simple answer is we do not know. 5 years of research has so far drawn a blank but investigations are ongoing. There are many theories including environmental causes.
How do I stop my dog getting Alabama Rot?
Unfortunately there is no vaccination or medication you can give your dog to prevent Alabama Rot. The current advice is that there is no need to avoid particular locations (there was when the first few cases were all confirmed around the New Forest in 2012, but subsequent cases do not seem to have the same patterns).
It is advisable to wash mud from your dogs’ legs and paws after walks as this is a possible route of infection.
What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?
“Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin, particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of the disease. It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will NOT be caused by CRGV; however the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites.”* If you are concerned then please ask for advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.
How is CRGV treated?
If your dog gets a skin lesion, your vet will advise you of the most appropriate management. This may involve antibiotics and/or cleaning.
Dogs developing kidney failure will need much more intensive treatment and possibly referral to a specialist if Alabama rot is of concern.
In conclusion – Alabama rot is a very rare disease. If you are concerned that your dog may have the symptoms then please contact your vet for advice.
*Some of this information is taken from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, who are dealing with a number of these cases.
We had a very Christmassy case last week when Twinken the Ragdoll Cat decided that the Christmas decorations looked good enough to eat - so she did! She snaffled a length of tinsel and promptly swallowed it. The first her owners knew was when she was violently sick and brought up a piece of silvery tinsel along with quite a lot of blood.
Her owners rushed her down to us, very lethargic and painful in her tummy. Sensibly they brought with them some of the tinsel she had eaten so we could assess the issue properly. We decided to x-ray the tinsel first to see how well it showed up (not everything shows up on an x-ray, but we were hopeful that the metal would be visible). Then we sedated Twinken and took some x-rays searching for any signs that there was more tinsel still in there!
Happily we didn't see any more decorations in Twinken's tummy or intestines. We treated her for her very tender stomach with pain relief and medications and put her on a drip. Once her tummy had settled we began to syringe feed her because she really didn't want to eat anything on her own.
Three days later and Twinken is like a different cat! Back to her old self and ready to spend Christmas with her human and feline family in a house which has now been stripped of all tinsel! No more risk of tinselitis in his household!
Please be aware of what your pets might eat this Christmas - all too often these cases end up needing surgery - not something anyone wants to be doing over Christmas!
Feline brothers, Cheddar and Morris, visited Blue House following an overnight stay at Vets Now. Their lovely owner had come home after a long working day to find the little tinkers had found a way into the spare room … where a beautiful bouquet of lilies had been hidden away from them! This is because lilies are extremely toxic to cats and even a small exposure can be catastrophic. Cats can be poisoned through grooming – if they have brushed against the flowers or get pollen on their feet and then lick the pollen off their fur. All parts of the plant are toxic, so chewing on leaves is also dangerous.
The main effect of lily exposure is kidney failure. Cats will experience vomiting, inappetance, depression and as the disease progresses seizures, breathing problems and paralysis. If left untreated death commonly occurs within 3-6 days.
Thankfully, Cheddar and Morris’ owner was very prompt and got the boys to the vets quickly. Over the next three days both cats were hospitalised day and night to receive fluids and nursing care. We regularly took blood samples to check how their kidneys were recovering. Now two weeks on and all is well!
If you have cats, please do not have lilies in your house, however well hidden! Many cats are not as fortunate as this lucky pair!
Molly, a lovely little Jack Russel terrier has been suffering with very itchy and inflamed skin which became particularly bad in April this year. She came to see us in a sad state, she had stopped playing at home and the condition of her skin was really getting her down. Molly’s wonderful owners were doing everything they could for her but despite their best efforts her skin was still getting worse.
We performed a series of in house tests on Molly, taking samples from her hair and skin and examining them under the microscope. The cause of her trouble was soon discovered … Molly had some very unwelcome visitors!
Demodex is a mite found deep in the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin (of both dogs and humans!) and an infestation causes severe hair loss, itching and secondary infection. Thankfully there is an effective treatment. Molly was given a tablet that kills demodex and a long course of antibiotics to clear up her infection. Her owners continued their dedicated routine of bathing Molly in medicated shampoo and soon we began to see an improvement!
Two months on and here we are! Molly runs in to see us and is back to the playful dog her owners know and love.
Scooby and Ella’s owner got a bit of a sinking feeling when he came downstairs to find that they had raided one of the kitchen cupboards. Among other things, they had managed to chew up and empty 2 bags of raisins and currants. After googling this, his heart sank even further when he realised how serious it could be.
After ringing ahead to confirm he was on his way (and that google had got it right!), Kay saw them immediately and proceeded to make both dogs vomit using an injection. Within 5 minutes, both dogs had brought up a large number of the dried fruit which can cause kidney failure from even small numbers, never mind the large quantity both dogs had consumed. They both looked very sorry for themselves as you can see…
After speaking to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service for advice, both dogs were admitted to go onto intravenous fluids for the next two days to protect the kidneys from any damage. They also had to be given activated charcoal to absorb any toxins that hadn’t been vomited up. This had the unfortunate side effect of making their poo black!
After checking their bloods to make sure no lasting damage had been done, both dogs were eventually discharged with a clean bill of health. Please keep raisins, grapes, currants and sultanas locked away in a high cupboard!