We're pleased to share this article from the latest edition of Shosh's regular column in the Uttoxeter & Cheadle Voice, a local magazine distributed free of charge across north east Staffordshire.
SIX FESTIVE TREATS TO KEEP AWAY FROM YOUR PETS THIS CHRISTMAS
At high doses, chocolate can be fatal to dogs and cats - especially dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Cardiac arrhythmias and seizures are common symptoms of toxicity, so speak to your vet no matter how much chocolate your dog has consumed. The dose they have ingested can be calculated to see if it is likely to cause problems, and appropriate measures taken.
Don't leave chocolate gifts within reach while they are awaiting wrapping, and don't place them under the tree until Christmas morning when you can supervise your dog. Also take care with chocolate tree decorations.
2. Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding
Dried fruits such as currants, raisins and sultanas are all toxic to dogs. Any quantity, however small, has the potential to cause fatal kidney failure, so make sure all such treats are kept well out of reach. Also watch out for fruit and nut mixes and fruit scones. Always call your vet if you think your dog has snaffled any of these.
3. Christmas dinner
Nobody wants their pet to feel left out when the family is tucking into Christmas dinner, but please remember: large quantities of fatty food can lead to pancreatitis (painful and often serious inflammation of the pancreas); stuffing can contain onions, which are toxic to dogs and cats; cooked bones are not easy to digest and can become stuck, causing intestinal obstructions requiring emergency surgery.
If you wish to give your pet Christmas dinner, stick to bone-free turkey meat with a few vegetables such as carrots or peas – and go easy on the gravy as this can be very fatty.
Remember to take care with leftovers as well - hungry pets can dismantle bin bags and jump onto worktops!
Who doesn't love a bowl of nuts in front of a Christmas movie? If you're a nut fan, keep your dog in mind. Macadamias are tasty, but are poisonous to dogs. Other nuts don't tend to cause problems, but shells can cause intestinal blockages - so keep them out of reach.
Lilies are beautiful, but all parts of the plant – stem, flowers, pollen and leaves – are highly toxic to cats if consumed, causing severe kidney failure. Some cats tend to chew on plants, but even those who brush against the flowers by accident then groom the pollen from their coat are at risk.
If you have cats it is safest not to have lilies on display in your house, just in case. Stick to cat-safe flowers – roses, Gerbera, sunflowers and asters are some non-toxic choices – and research your choice first if you are not sure.
NB: Poinsiettas are mildly toxic to cats and dogs – they can cause tummy upsets and drooling, but are not dangerous. Call your vet if you are worried.
6. Christmas decorations
Unfortunately, cats and dogs alike can enjoy chewing on decorations. Tinsel is a big worry, as it can end up getting stuck throughout the entire digestive tract – very major surgery to remove and the potential for a lot of damage! Always be aware of what decorations you have out and what your pet is doing – never leave dogs and cats unsupervised around decorations if you know they have a tendency to chew.
We also see cases of electrocution when dogs and cats have been chewing on the cords for Christmas lights and illuminated decorations. Be vigilant and make sure you secure cords and wires out of reach as far as possible.
Over the Christmas and New Year period, there is always somebody at the end of the phone. Call us day or night on 01782 522100; if we are closed, the emergency contact number can be heard on our answer phone message.
Happy holidays everyone!
We are giving away 100 of our lovely and practical Blue House hessian bags to our Facebook followers*.
Just pop into Reception and quote the magic word - "SATSUMA" - to receive your bag.
What's more, the 30th bag we give away will be a special goody bag packed with treats and toys for the festive season. Will you be the lucky winner?
AND DON'T FORGET - as always, we serve coffee and tea daily and throughout December you can enjoy a mince pie or two as well.
*while stocks last. One bag per household.
Bagpuss is overweight... yes, it can even happen to a vet's cat! He is starting his diet and we'll be posting his progress on our facebook page, so wish him luck!
At the moment he weighs 5.8kg, with a waistline of 44cm... his cholesterol is high and his primordial pouch ('apron') is a lot saggier than it ought to be!
He is aiming for 5kg, the weight he was when he left rescue in the spring.
Bagpuss eats 95% wet food. The brand varies, but is generally a higher protein, grain free option such as Applaws, Lily's Kitchen, Wainwright's, Thrive and Hi-Life.
He does get some Applaws dry food in his puzzle feeder.
The main issue is treats and extras - like most cats, he's partial to Dreamies. But we are guilty of sharing meals with him - he gets all sorts. But no more! It's time to cut back on the snacks.
It wasn’t a good start to August for Oliver, who returned home one night with scuffed nails and a sore tum. He only had a tiny wound on his side and at first it was thought that he had been in a car accident, but X-rays the following day revealed a very different story.
Sadly, poor Oliver had been shot with an airgun. The pellet was clearly visible towards the bottom of his abdomen. We were very concerned about internal injuries, so Kay and Shosh operated that afternoon to assess the extent of the damage.
It was worse than they thought - the pellet had entered his abdomen through his back, narrowly missing his spine, bruising one of his kidneys and lodging in the muscles of his belly. On the way, the pellet had passed through two different parts of his intestine, leaving Oliver with life-threatening injuries.
Part of Oliver’s small intestine had to be removed, but his large intestine had to be patched up. The leakage of digested food into his abdomen through the pellet injuries (not to mention the fur pulled inside him by the pellet) put him at high risk of severe infection, so his abdomen was flushed with plenty of sterile saline before he was stitched up.
While he made it through surgery, Oliver was not out of the woods yet. His recovery over the next few days was crucial, but luckily he began to eat and the antibiotics kept his infection under control. We were all thrilled that, within a few weeks, he had made a full recovery and is now back to his purry self!
Exciting news - from 1st April 2014 until 31st March 2015 Blue House Vets will be offering FREE microchipping to all dogs, in conjunction with Dogs Trust!
Microchipping will become compulsory by law for all dogs in Wales by March 2015 and in England by 6th April 2016. Microchipping is a quick, effective way of permanently identifying your dog in case of straying or theft. The chip itself is the size of a grain of rice and is injected into the back of the dog's neck. Your contact details are then entered onto a protected national database. Free chipping will be available to all dogs, whether or not they are clients at Blue House, you just need to call us on 01782 522100 to make an appointment.
Available times for chipping will be:
Feel free to tell all your friends - get it done now for free before the law changes! Please note we are unfortunately only able to chip dogs for free, not other species. By appointment only. For more details about the scheme check out the Dogs Trust link www.chipmydog.org.uk/
It was all hands on deck today, when our receptionist Vicki’s pregnant Springer Spaniel Fern went into labour one afternoon. Fern gave birth to three healthy pups at home, but sadly the next three were stillborn, so Vicki’s husband Chris rushed her down to Blue House. An ultrasound scan of Fern’s abdomen revealed that, thankfully, the other pups in her uterus were still alive. However, their heartbeats were slower than we felt comfortable with, so a decision was made to proceed with a Caesarean section. With Caesareans, time is of the essence; the puppies need to be removed as soon as possible after the mum is anesthetised to reduce the dose of anaesthetic drugs they receive across the placenta.
Fern had an intravenous catheter placed and her belly was clipped while she was still awake so that she could be cleaned and surgery started as soon as she was under anaesthetic. With Kate monitoring Fern’s anaesthetic and Shosh performing the surgery, the task of drying and reviving the babies fell to Kay and Heather, as well as Vicki, Chris and their two girls Molly and Ella. Seven healthy pups were born, taking Fern’s litter to a total of ten! Fern and her family are all doing well, but it could have been a different story. If you are planning to breed, remember that things don’t always go to plan and you have to be prepared for anything, day or night. We always advise that you give careful consideration to all eventualities before breeding. We are happy to answer any question you might have, so don’t be afraid to ask!