Spring hazards in Rugeley

 

Spring in Rugeley is an exciting time for most of us, pets included! Lighter nights mean more opportunities for being outdoors in the Rugeley area. To ensure a happy and safe season for your animals, take a minute to make yourself aware of hidden dangers which could lead to a poorly pet.

Fleas, ticks and worms

Whilst a year-round problem for pets and their owners, fleas, ticks and worms become more prevalent as the temperatures rise. The best thing you can do to protect your pet is to use preventative treatment to avoid infestation. Please speak to your vet at D & T Vets about the best option for your pet or about our Pet Health for Life plan, which includes preventative treatment and much more for a monthly fee.

Ivy

Whilst ivy is great for covering unsightly fences and outbuildings; it’s not great for cats and dogs. If eaten, ivy can cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Prolonged contact with the leaves can cause skin conditions and soreness.

Lilies

Lilies are highly toxic to felines and if you suspect your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant, it’s essential to seek emergency advice with us at D & T Vets in Rugeley. Lily poisoning in cats can lead to kidney damage which, untreated, can be fatal.

While less dangerous to dogs, with fatalities being rare, lilies can still cause illness. Your dog may show signs of listlessness and lethargy. They might also vomit and lose their appetite.

Insect stings

Not just a problem for humans, bees and wasps can sting our furry friends too, with the added danger of mouth stings if they accidentally eat one. External stings can be treated with a cold cloth to reduce the swelling. Give your pet ice cubes to lick or iced water to drink for mouth stings. Always monitor your pet for any signs of swelling around the mouth, tongue or throat, which can indicate an allergic reaction. Seek urgent veterinary advice should you notice any changes.

Tulips

The worst danger to cats and dogs in Rugeley comes from eating tulip bulbs, so keep an eye on your pet’s digging in the garden or public parks. Signs of tulip bulb ingestion will include increased heart rate, trouble breathing and tremors. Get in touch with us at D & T Vets immediately if you see any of these signs.

Grass

If you’re thinking of reseeding your lawn in Rugeley to banish the winter damage and refresh it for the summer months, then do be aware of the potential danger to your cat or dog. Grass seeds are arrow-shaped and sharp, meaning they can bury into fur and through the skin, scratch eyes, get stuck in-ears and even be ingested.

Try to avoid walking your dog through long grass when out and about and keep any grass areas at home trimmed short to avoid risk. Regular grooming of your pet can be helpful in spotting grass seeds in their fur before they become embedded.

Fertilisers

It’s the time for farmers and gardeners to start encouraging their soil into life, but fertilisers – both for home use and industrial – can be dangerous to our pets. Look for non-toxic fertilisers to use in your garden and be aware of community spaces when walking your dog. Vomiting, high temperature and diarrhoea should always be checked out by a vet.

Please contact us at D & T Vets for further information regarding spring hazards in Rugeley.

The role of a veterinary surgeon in Rugeley

Our veterinary surgeons in Rugeley (commonly known as vets) serve the healthcare needs of animals. Once qualified as a vet, there are many roles such as teaching, research, government and clinical work. Clinical vets can work with farm animals, zoo animals, horses, laboratory animals, pets or a mixture. It is an incredibly diverse and challenging job.

The majority of vets in Rugeley work in private practices treating pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits and birds. The health and welfare of animals under their care is their priority (rather like a doctor for people). This is achieved by diagnosing and treating diseases or injuries, preventing disease and advising owners on how to best look after their pets.

Prevention

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. For that reason, part of a vet’s job is to advise owners on how to prevent disease. This includes recommending and administering annual vaccinations and treatment to help them avoid fleas, ticks and worms. A health check with a vet will include a physical examination and more advanced techniques were indicated to identify abnormalities that could be treated to avoid the onset of disease.

Diagnosing

When an animal is displaying symptoms of injury or illness, it is a vet’s job to diagnose what is wrong. Sometimes this can be a physical using their skills to observe, feel and palpate the animal, or there may be a need for diagnostic tests like blood tests, x-rays, or scans to get to the root of the problem. If further checks are needed, the vet will make the necessary arrangements and then process the results of those checks accordingly to diagnose the problem.

Treating

A key part of a vet’s role is deciding how best to treat an ill animal to bring them back to health. This may involve prescribing medication that the animal’s owner can often administer at home, or it could involve surgery to fix a broken bone or remove a tumour. In some cases, the animal may need to stay at the clinic for treatment like a stay in hospital or be referred to a specialist for further care. Many vets take further qualifications in their chosen field, such as surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, etc.

How to become a vet surgeon in the UK

To qualify as a vet, you will need to study towards a veterinary degree, approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Veterinary degrees usually take five to six years to complete and, to be accepted onto a degree course, you will need 3 top A-Levels or equivalent, including biology and chemistry. Candidates also need to prove they are dedicated and motivated and have some experience in the industry (work experience at a veterinary practice and working with animals).

For further information, visit the National Careers website here.

Next steps

Following on from qualifying as a vet, most will join a general practice such as ours at D & T Vets in Rugeley or undertake an internship. There is a required period after starting to fulfil the graduate development programme. Many companies such as Linnaeus offer great support to new graduates in beginning their careers as vets.

Following on from qualifying in general practice, some vets will choose to specialise in a particular area of animal treatment. This enables them to become highly skilled in their particular field and requires further study, intense time and effort and undertaking a residency.

If you would like further information about the role that a veterinary vet plays in Rugeley, please feel free to contact us.

Protect your dog against kennel cough

 

Does your dog come into regular contact with other dogs in Rugeley? Maybe out on walks, our at the local park in Rugeley, or when they’re staying in kennels? If so, we’d highly recommend a Kennel Cough vaccine or booster.

Kennel Cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, is a very contagious respiratory disease. It’s transmitted by close contact with an infected dog and can be associated with boarding kennels, therefore it’s especially important to ensure your dog is covered if you’re planning a trip away.

Call us today on 01889 582023 (Rugeley) or 01785 213404 (Stafford) for an appointment or to book click here.

What are the symptoms of Kennel Cough?

The primary sign to look out for is a deep hacking cough, which can sometimes lead to retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting.  In some cases, you may only notice your dog starting to cough after excitement or exercise and you may also notice a discharge coming from your dog’s eyes or nose. Some dogs may get a fever, and in very rare cases may progress to pneumonia.  Symptoms will start after three to 10 days – and can go on for up to three weeks.  Often the cough is worse at bedtime causing sleepless nights all round.

How is Kennel Cough diagnosed?

Diagnosis is often based on the clinical signs and the history given by the owner, also if the dog is housed together with lots of other dogs that are all presenting similar signs, it makes the diagnosis of kennel cough more probable. If a gentle palpitation of the throat causes a retching cough, Kennel Cough is likely.

What treatment is available for Kennel Cough?

There is no specific treatment for viruses involved in Kennel Cough, but antibiotics are sometimes used to treat bacterial infections. Infected dogs in Rugeley should be rested and isolated from other dogs for around 14 days. In most cases, dogs will recover from Kennel Cough within three weeks. Ensure they are living in a well-ventilated area and avoid the use of a lead and collar. To aid recovery, your dog may be prescribed cough suppressants or anti-inflammatories. Sometimes antibiotics may be required to target Bordetella Bronchiseptica.

What’s the best way to prevent Kennel Cough?

The best way to prevent Kennel Cough in Rugeley is through vaccination. The vaccine is a quick and painless procedure for your dog in the form of a nasal spray at our D & T Vets practice.

The Kennel Cough vaccination is given once a year. Depending on individual circumstances it may not be given at the same time as their annual booster.

Please contact us at D & T Vets in one of our Rugeley practices, if you’d like more detail.s

If you’re going on holiday, it’s important that your dog is vaccinated against Kennel Cough. Often, kennels will not accept your dog otherwise. Prepare in advance as the vaccination should be given at least one week before their stay.

If you are concerned your dog may have caught Kennel Cough and is presenting symptoms, speak to a member of the team for advice.  Alternatively, if you would like to arrange a Kennel Cough vaccination for your four-legged friend, click here to book or just give us a call on 01889 582023 (Rugeley) or 01785 213404 (Stafford).

Don’t forget, if you’re a Pet Health for Life member, the kennel cough vaccine is included at no extra cost.

Click here to book your dog’s kennel cough vaccination appointment.

Tortoise parasite prevention

Do you own a tortoise and live in Rugeley? If so, it is recommended to have a worm count carried out on your tortoise twice a year.

A worm count can be carried out by obtaining a faecal sample, which can be tested in practice. It is common for tortoises to have a low-level worm burden; however, when this increases, it can cause issues such as diarrhoea, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients and subsequently, weight loss. It is particularly important to control before hibernation, and after moving to a new enclosure, before meeting a new tortoise or if they stop eating or have diarrhoea.

If a positive test is returned, we would recommend booking in for worming treatment. Many wormers will only kill the live worms and not the eggs and, for this reason, we may advise on repeat doses and another faecal count at the end of the treatment.

Whilst your tortoise is undergoing worming treatment it is important to remove all substrate and replace with newspaper. Throughout this time, you should feed your tortoise with high fibre, high water content food. It would help if you did not feed them fruit, as sugar can lead to worms reproducing more rapidly.

For more information, please contact us at D & T Vets in Rugeley.

Tooth Brushing Guide for Small Animals

Brushing is by far the best method of keeping your pet’s teeth clean in Rugeley and is more successful if taken in stages. Ideally, it would help if you brushed your dog’s teeth at least once daily or three times per week at a minimum to help remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up.

STAGE 1: Build confidence

  • Smaller pets can be placed at a comfortable working height where they feel secure, on a chair, table or lap covered with a towel to prevent slipping.
  • For cats it can be easier if there are two people, and for larger pets, it may be best to leave them on the floor.
  • Gently rub the face and muzzle with fingers and hands only. Work up to being able to hold the mouth closed for a short period gently. This can be done by placing fingers on top of the nose, or muzzle, with the thumb under the chin.
  • Do this for approximately 30 seconds and then reward with a fuss, play, a treat, or all the above.
  • Repeat daily for at least five days or until your pet is relaxed and comfortable with this.

STAGE 2: Finger brushing

  • You must use a pet-specific toothpaste and place your pet in the building confidence position.
  • Gently close the mouth as practiced. The lips will be relaxed, so there is no need to try and hold the mouth open.
  • Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a fingertip or finger toothbrush and slide under the lip to rub the paste onto the teeth.
  • Start from the canine (fang teeth) and work backwards.
  • Many pets find the incisors (small teeth at the front of the mouth) very sensitive, so only brush these once your pet has become used to the other teeth being brushed.

STAGE 3: Moving on to a toothbrush

  • Once your pet is happy with the finger brushing, you can progress on to a toothbrush. A toothbrush specifically designed for both dogs and cats are best.
  • Place the toothpaste onto the brush and slide under the gum with the finger brush and gently brush the teeth.
  • If you are right-handed, it is easier to brush the left side of your pet’s mouth. We recommend working hard at ensuring that both sides of the mouth are equally brushed. This may mean starting on the side that you feel least comfortable brushing.
  • When you start brushing, you may notice a small amount of blood on the toothbrush. As you continue to brush this will stop appearing as you will be tackling the gum disease responsible for the bleeding. If it does not stop, please come and see your dental team or vet.

ADVANCED LEVEL

Consider the gums

If you find the brushing easy and your pet is very tolerant, consider that it is not just the teeth you can brush but also the gums. To do this, you will need to look carefully at which teeth you are brushing. Angle the toothbrush so that the bristles gently clean the gum around the base of each tooth. This is advanced level brushing and only to be attempted if you and your pet are comfortable and confident to do so.

In addition to brushing, the following can also help keep teeth and gums healthy…

GELS

Gel products are beneficial for pets that suffer from or are likely to develop gum disease. Gels can also be beneficial for cats where brushing is not tolerated as they can be applied with a cotton bud and may allow progression to a toothbrush.

ORAL RINSES

Oral rinses are especially useful if gums are too sore to brush, especially immediately after dental treatment. Both gels and oral rinses are to be used daily.

SPECIALIST DIETS

Some brands of pet food offer a range that are specifically designed to be kind to your pet’s teeth and can be used in conjunction with brushing. The biscuit size, shape and texture is formulated to provide an increased abrasive action. Please speak to us to find out which diet would be the most suitable for your pet.

DENTAL CHEWS

Dental chews may help to reduce plaque accumulation and tartar formation on teeth, and pets love the taste. However, it is important to not rely on them completely as evidence indicates that chews alone are not capable of maintaining long term oral health.

Please contact us at D & T Vets in Rugeley for further details on your pets dental health.

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Do you ever wonder why your pet needs its annual boosters?

Let’s look at why annual visits are important for your pet. 

You’re probably aware that when you get a puppy or kitten, you’re going to need to visit the vet in Rugeley for vaccinations, flea and tick prevention and other treatments. However, to maintain your pet’s health and wellbeing, regular trips to the vets are recommended. Annual vaccinations or boosters are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases and discomfort. Here we explore some of the common questions, and myths, around the annual visit for vaccination…   

My pet only had its primary vaccines, is that okay? 

It is a misunderstanding amongst some pet owners in Rugeley, that following the vaccination, pets are protected against diseases for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and can cause the expense of their puppy or kitten’s health and, in extreme cases, the loss of a pet. 

Some clients in Rugeley may have the misconception that an annual vaccination is just for the commercial benefit of the pharmaceutical company or vet – again, this isn’t true. Your pet should be vaccinated as a puppy and then get regular boosters throughout their life.  

How do vaccines work?  

Did you know, vaccinesdon’t actually fight diseases themselves? 

Vaccines stimulate the immune system of pets to produce antibodies. Then, if your pet comes into contact with a virus or disease, it will be recognised by its immune system and protected against infection by the antibodies the vaccine produced. 

The body will produce different levels of protection for varying lengths of time, and therefore the response to individual vaccines will vary hugely. As an example, the Leptospirosis vaccination provides one year of immunity, which is much shorter than the Distemper vaccination that delivers three years of immunity. 

Due to varying immunity periods, not all aspects of the core vaccines are included each year. Some parts are included annually, every three years or even every five years, which is why the annual vaccination is recommended. Pet owners must not worry about ‘over-vaccinating’ an animal – vets vaccinate according to the treatment they had the previous year. 

What do vaccinations protect my pet from?  

There are four main diseases that pets are vaccinated against. These are: 

  • Leptospirosis  
  • Canine distemper  
  • Parvovirus  
  • Infectious canine hepatitis  

Vaccines can take effect within a few hours of the treatment. At this point, the earliest phase of the immune response is being stimulated, it can then take up to fourteen days before a reasonable level of protection is established.  

Is my pet protected for life? 

It’s a popular opinion that after a pet has had its vaccinations for a couple of years, the animal will have built up enough protection to no longer need its boosters.  

Just like humans, the young and the elderly are usually more vulnerable to disease and illness. As your pet gets older, the immune system is likely to become weaker, and so, regular boosters are essential.   

Always remember that a booster could stop your pet from catching a disease in its later life when its immune system is much weaker and less likely to fight it. 

Helping the wider pet community 

Although shielding your pet against preventable diseases is plenty to persuade any loving pet owner to vaccine their pet, another reason to do so is to protect the entire pet population. Many dog walkers, boarding kennels, or day-care facilities will require you to have your pet fully vaccinated. 

Many of the core diseases in the UK are now extremely low risk, this is due to years of vaccination compliance and positive action from pet owners. However, if we were to stop vaccinating pets, and the prevalence of infections increased, animals would be at a much higher risk of contracting deadly diseases.  

Please contact us at D & T Vets in Rugeley for further details.

 

Calling all cats aged seven or above in Rugeley!

Learn more about feline hypertension in Rugeley

What is feline hypertension?

Feline hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, commonly affects cats aged seven years or older in Rugeley. As your cat ages, the risk of developing hypertension increases.

Hypertension can often go undetected until it is too late; that is why it is important to spot the signs early, avoiding long-term damage to your cat’s health and wellbeing.

What are the main causes of feline hypertension?

Feline hypertension is most commonly secondary to another disease process such as:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • overactive thyroid
  • heart disease.

Primary hypertension (without another cause) is also seen but less commonly than in people.

What is Target Organ Damage (TOD)?

If not detected early, hypertension can cause irreversible damage to key organs such as the eyes, heart, brain and kidneys.

  • eyes – high blood pressure can result in bleeding into the eyes and retinal changes such as haemorrhage, swelling and detachment leading to long term damage to vision and sometimes permanent blindness
  • kidneys – high blood pressure directly affects the kidneys and can cause or worsen kidney failure
  • central nervous system – bleeding in the brain can lead to seizures, dementia and wobbly movements
  • heart – with high blood pressure, the heart needs to work harder to pump blood around the body. This can lead to heart failure as there is increased pressure placed on the heart.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Symptoms may include:

  • loss of appetite
  • decrease in activity
  • disorientation
  • circling behaviour
  • drinking more fluids than usual
  • weight loss
  • urinating indoors
  • hiding away or difference in overall behaviours
  • irritability
  • vomiting (if the kidneys are also affected)
  • seizures (if hypertension is left untreated)
  • bleeding in the eyes or blindness

How can I protect my cat?

As a preventative measure, we recommend that you book a blood pressure check once a year when your cat reaches seven years old. For older cats, a blood pressure check should be checked as directed by your vet.

How do we check for high blood pressure?

A blood pressure check can be conducted quickly and painlessly, using an inflatable cuff around your cat’s tail or leg.

How do we treat hypertension?

If your cat is diagnosed with hypertension, medication may need to be taken daily for the rest of your cat’s life. That’s why it is so important to spot the signs early and include regular blood pressure check-ups as part of your cat’s routine preventative healthcare.

What should you do next?

If your cat is aged seven years or older in Rugeley, we recommend that you book them in for a blood pressure screening once every year.

Please contact us on 01889 582023 (Rugeley) or 01785 213404 (Stafford) to book an appointment. for further information.

We look forward to seeing you and your cat in our Rugeley practice soon.

 

D&T is an accredited Silver Cat Friendly Clinic

At D&T in Stafford, we’re proud to be an accredited silver level Cat-Friendly Clinic and members of the ISFM (International Society of Feline Medicine).

We recognise that cats are unique creatures with specific needs and it’s important to us to demonstrate our commitment to the animals you entrust into our care. Working with International Cat Care (iCC), we have looked at how we can make D&T the best it can possibly be for our feline patients.

Cats by their nature are sensitive to changes in their environment, and by understanding and accepting this we can recommend measures to make your cat’s journey to the vets, and their visit to D&T a less stressful experience than anticipated.

In order to achieve our silver Cat-Friendly Clinic accreditation, we have had to meet carefully selected criteria as stipulated by iCC. We have demonstrated that we:

  • Understand the needs of cats and strive to make visits to the vet clinic cat friendly
  • Approach and handle cats gently and with care through ongoing staff education
  • Follow the ISFM Feline Friendly Handling and Nursing Care guidelines and have made the pledge to be ‘Scruff free’
  • Have invested in equipment to manage the specific care requirements of cats
  • Have an appointed Cat Advocate member of staff to implement and oversee our cat-friendly clinic status

(source – catfriendlyclinic.org)

As a Silver Standard Cat-Friendly Clinic, we are trained to handle cats in a manner that minimises stress, fear and anxiety, as well as advising you on the best way to safely and comfortably transport your cat to D&T in Stafford.

We have in-house cat advocates Jo Waldron and Sarah Sheppard, who are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to provide information and advice on caring for your cat.

Our cat-friendly facilities include:

  • A separate cat waiting area from the dogs. There are also cat box hideaway areas in which to place your cat carrier so that they can not see any other cats in the waiting area.
  • The use of feline pheromone diffusers to help calm and reassure
  • A quiet, well equipped consulting room suitable for cats to feel calm in
  • A range of equipment such as blood pressure monitors and cat-specific weighing scales to provide a high level of care to our feline patients
  • A hospitalisation ward where there is a visual barrier between the cat and other species. We provide comfortable, soft bedding and cat igloos or perch and hide boxes to allow your cat privacy during their stay with us. Our Stafford branch has a completely separate cat ward
  • Facilities for surgery, dentistry, lab testing and diagnostic imaging are available to allow procedures to be performed to a high standard of care for feline patients

If you have any questions regarding the facilities and care we provide for your cats, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

In the meantime, you may find the leaflets below useful – click on the link to download.

What is a cat-friendly clinic

Bringing your cat to the clinic

Taking your cat home from the clinic

 

5 benefits to joining our Pet Health for Life plan

As pet owners in Rugeley, we all want the best for our four-legged friends, but we also know that pet ownership can be expensive. By becoming a member of our Pet Health for Life plan you can spread the cost of essential healthcare and save money.

Here are five great reasons for you and your pet to sign up in Rugeley today!

One monthly fee

When you sign up for Pet Health for Life plan you’ll know exactly what you’ll be paying each month, spreading the cost of essential healthcare for your pet. You’ll sign up to a direct debit and we’ll collect the same amount, with no hidden charges. We’ll always let you know in advance if the price of your plan is due to change.

Regular medication 

For optimum health and protection, your pet should be treated against fleas, ticks and worms. Everyday life can be busy in Rugeley, and it can be easy to forget to order new treatments, or not realise you’re about to run out. As a member of Pet Health for Life, we will always remind you when parasite treatment is needed, and it will be ready for collection when you’re ready. The correct dosage based on your pet’s weight and personal circumstances is included in your monthly fee.

Annual vaccinations

Primary vaccinations and subsequent annual boosters are important to protect your pet against preventable diseases and illnesses. With Pet Health for Life both primary vaccinations and annual boosters are included in the monthly fee, so you don’t have to find extra cash, in one lump sum to keep your pet safe.

Click here to find out more about why boosters are important in Rugeley.

Preventative check-ups 

As well as an initial vet consultation when you sign up to Pet Health for Life, your membership also entitles your pet to other check-ups throughout the year in our practices in either Rugeley or Stafford. These can be essential in spotting issues you may not be aware of, which can then be treated more efficiently than if they’re left to develop unnoticed.

Additional discounts

As well as the basics included in your plan, you can take advantage of additional discounts which will save you further money on pet ownership.

In addition to the tangible benefits, you’ll enjoy peace of mind for you and your pet.

For full details of what’s included in our Pet Health for Life in Rugeley, or to simply sign up online click here. 

Accessing our services in Rugeley.

Whilst visiting us at D&T, we’re here to provide you and your pets with the best experience, in the safest way.

Our practice, as always, has extensive hygiene measures in place. We are still encouraging social distancing, face coverings and contactless payments. However, we are very happy to be welcoming you into our consulting rooms and reception areas.

We are operating with the following additional measures in place:

  • 1 person per appointment
  • limited numbers in waiting rooms

Thank you for your continued understanding.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Contact us at one of our practices in Rugeley for further details.