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.

Help us to keep antibiotics working in Rugeley …

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develops mechanisms to reduce the effects of the antibiotic. These mechanisms evolve through mutation and adaptation. Mutations can be good or bad for bacteria. In some cases, the mutation kills the bacteria and it may provide the bacteria with a survival advantage. The survival advantage may include resistance to antibiotics. In the presence of antibiotics, this resistance becomes an advantage and the resistant strain becomes dominant.

In pets, just like in humans, it’s normal to have bacteria in the bowel and on the skin. These bacteria, just like any other, can develop resistant mechanisms, so using antibiotics can kill other non-resistant bacteria, allowing the resistant bacterial strains to dominate and thrive. As a result, overusing antibiotics or use of an antibiotic over an extended period can affect the ‘good bacteria’ and cause more harm than good.

Antibiotics are only effective against some types of bacterial infection and will not work against viral infections. Therefore, veterinary surgeons need to determine what kind of infection a pet may have to treat and help them recover quickly and safely as appropriate. Following your veterinary surgeons’ advice on medication, it’s essential to ensure long-term access to antibiotics that work.

Why do we need to alter the overall attitude towards antibiotic use?

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a One Health concern. If this important class of drugs becomes ineffective, it will have a serious impact on the health of both humans and animals.

For years now, alongside other infection control measures in human and veterinary medicine, antibiotics have been a core feature of providing effective medical treatment for bacterial infection. As a result, infections that were once fatal are now treatable and surgical procedures have become more advanced due to our ability to treat infections.

In recent years, however, the medical and veterinary professions have identified that the effectiveness of antibiotics against some bacteria has changed. We know this because the bacteria which can resist antibiotics are seen more often. To slow down the evolution of resistant bacteria and protect the efficacy of the drugs, medical professionals have had to review their approach to using these antibiotics, whilst research to find new antibiotics is ongoing.

How does antibiotic resistance occur?

After Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, work was undertaken with his colleagues Florey and Chain to make the molecule useable as a drug to treat infections in people. Fleming himself noted in his early observations that bacteria could become resistant to penicillin, even if used appropriately.

Understandably, given its significant impact on healthcare, penicillin was initially prescribed widely, but it became less effective over time.

A combination of factors has contributed to this. Some of these include:

  • Bacterial multiplication, mutation and evolution (natural processes)
  • Use of antibiotics for non-infection control reasons
  • Prescribing antibiotics ‘just in case’ for illnesses may speed the development of resistance
  • A significant reduction in the availability of novel antibiotic classes.

What does this mean?

Research for new antibiotics is an area of focus that has Government support. However, the development and approval process for any new drug takes time. While this research is ongoing, we need to take measures to slow down the evolution of resistance and protect the drugs’ efficacy.

This means that, as some antibiotics are no longer as effective as they used to be, healthcare and veterinary professionals have had to adapt their approach to administering antibiotics to help preserve the efficacy of those that currently still work. This work has resulted in significant drops in antibiotics used. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate reported a reduction in antibiotics in food-producing animals in the UK of 52% in six years (between 2014 and 2020).

We should also be aware that any new antibiotics discovered may be reserved for human use instead of antibiotics for our animals.

Why is it important for veterinary medicine?

As antibacterial resistance is a growing concern in both human and animal medicine, there is pressure to preserve the medical use of certain antibiotics. This has implications for animal health and welfare in Rugeley. Veterinary professionals, therefore need to use antimicrobials responsibly. Using antibiotics only when appropriate also reduces the chances of drug side effects and reduces the carbon footprint of treating diseases.

In both human hospitals and veterinary practices, it is common to find recommendations for infections or conditions where antibiotics are not required. This is called Antibiotic Stewardship.

Our practice in Rugeley supports the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and the Small Animal Medicine Society (SAMSoc) ‘PROTECT ME’ principles. Their core principles are as follows:

Prescribe only when necessary

Reduce prophylaxis

Offer other options

Treat effectively

Employ narrow spectrum

Culture appropriately

Tailor your practice policy

Monitor

Educate others

Please contact us in Rugeley for further information.

Christmas hazards in Rugeley.

We wish you and your pets a very happy festive period in Rugeley. With lots to think about it can be easy to forget the risks that are associated with Christmas and our pets. Most of the risks are present all year round, however, we do see an increase in pets eating hazards materials or foods. Our guide below covers the main hazards that are encountered during the festive period.

What are the hazards to pets during Christmas?

General Christmas hazards include:

  • Christmas tree pine needles
  • tinsel
  • glass baubles
  • fairy lights
  • salt dough ornaments
  • gifts under the tree (if contain hazardous foods)
  • batteries
  • silica gel (found inside packaging)
  • Potpourri,
  • lilies
  • ivy
  • mistletoe

Food hazards include:

  • chocolate
  • mince pies
  • artificial sweeteners (which can be found in cakes or desserts) xylitol is one of the hazardous sweeteners that is found in cakes and chewing gum
  • roast potatoes
  • sausages
  • stuffing
  • onions
  • cheese (especially blue types)
  • grapes
  • crisps
  • Christmas cake
  • sultanas
  • pigs in blankets
  • gravy
  • cooked bones
  • nuts

We hope that you shouldn’t need us during the festive period, however, if your pet does happen to ingest any of the listed hazards, please contact your practice where the team can assist you in the next steps that need to be taken.

We wish you a happy and healthy festive season.

Please contact us in Rugeley for further information

Festive opening hours in Rugeley.

With Christmas around the corner in Rugeley, we wanted to ensure we had our opening times for the festive period in place for you.

Please see below our opening times over Christmas and New Year.

Rugeley

  • Christmas Eve: 8.30am to 4pm
  • Christmas Day: CLOSED
  • Boxing Day: CLOSED
  • 27th December: CLOSED
  • 28th December: CLOSED
  • 29th December: 8.30am to 8pm
  • 30th December: 8.30am to 8pm
  • New Years Eve: 8.30am to 4pm
  • New Years Day: CLOSED
  • 2nd January: CLOSED
  • 3rd January: CLOSED

Stafford

  • Christmas Eve: 8.30am to 4pm
  • Christmas Day: CLOSED
  • Boxing Day: CLOSED
  • 27th December: CLOSED
  • 28th December: CLOSED
  • 29th December: 8.30am to 6pm
  • 30th December: 8.30am to 6pm
  • New Years Eve: 8.30am to 4pm
  • New Years Day: CLOSED
  • 2nd January: CLOSED
  • 3rd January: CLOSED

We’ll be back to our usual hours on Tuesday 4th January.

If your pet requires a prescription or specific food during the holiday period, we kindly ask that you request this well in advance.

If you require any emergency care, please call 01889 582023

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Contact us in Rugeley for further details.

Better to check

Finding lumps and bumps in our pets can be worrying in Rugeley. Throughout this article we will provide you with everything you need to know should you find a lump on your pet’s body.

We are here for you and your pets in Rugeley and together, we can help them live happier healthier lives. We will go over the basics of how to spot early signs, what treatments are available and what they entail.

What causes cancer?

Mutations in DNA will lead to abnormalities in cell behaviour. An example of abnormal cell behaviour may mean that a cell grows and divides too quickly or fails to stop uncontrolled growth. Some causes of cancer are known, such as inherited genetic mutations, exposure to certain viruses, chemical substances or lengthy periods exposed to sunlight. However, in most cases, the cause of cancer remains unknown.

Are all lumps and bumps cancerous?

Medical professionals use the terms malignant and benign to classify lumps, bumps or growths.

Benign tumours (non-cancerous)

Benign tumours mean that the cells are not cancerous; these cells will not invade other tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Some benign tumours or growths can be left and monitored closely. However, your veterinary surgeon may discuss surgery depending on where the tumour is located and how quickly it grows. Lipomas, for example, are common benign (non-cancerous) growths that can sometimes require surgery when they grow too large. They may also advise surgical removal to eliminate the risk of the tumour becoming cancerous (malignant) in the future.

Malignant (cancerous)

Malignant means that the tumour is made up of cancerous cells. These cells can invade other tissues and spread to other parts of the body. Often diagnosis of these malignant (cancerous) lumps or bumps early means they are simpler to treat; this is because the tumour may be smaller and the cancer may not have spread to other areas in the body. If the cancer is in multiple areas, it is more difficult to treat.

An easy way to remember the difference between benign and malignant: the word ‘no’ in the German language is ‘Nein’, which sounds very similar to the suffix of benign – meaning ‘not cancerous’.

The most common cancers that are seen in veterinary practice in Rugeley include:

  • lymphoma;
  • mammary cancer;
  • lipomas (fatty tumours);
  • mast cell tumours;
  • carcinomas (affecting internal organs);
  • mast cell tumours; and
  • osteosarcoma (bone cancer).

There are some less worrying but common growths that are seen, these include:

  • sebaceous cysts;
  • warts; and
  • abscesses

The most common areas for growths to be found include

  • skin;
  • mouth;
  • stomach;
  • mammary glands;
  • blood; and
  • anal glands (dogs)

As veterinary professionals, we advise you to make checking your pet for growths part of your usual grooming or brushing routine, or perhaps when you’re petting your animals after a long day at work. Remember, it’s always better to check.

How is cancer diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves assessing the abnormal cells; a fine needle aspirate (FNA) is usually performed initially. An FNA involves a very fine needle inserted into an area of abnormal-appearing tissue or body fluid. This can be done during a consultation and often can be quick if your pet is comfortable. However, if the area is sore or in a hard-to-reach space, your veterinary surgeon may advise on a small quick sedation to make it safe and stress-free.

These samples are sent to our partnered laboratories externally, where histopathology experts will assess and determine what type of growth we are dealing with. We will contact you with any results as soon as possible and these results can often take up to a week to arrive back with us.

Depending on the FNA results, a biopsy under general anaesthesia may be suggested or X-rays, a CT or MRI scan and ultrasound. These diagnostics can be used to detect evidence of a malignant tumour spreading. Blood tests may be taken to assess the patient’s general health and fitness for treatment, to look for other diseases, or, in some cases, to make a diagnosis of cancer.

What is the best way to check my pet for growths or lumps and bumps?

We advise starting at your pet’s head end and finishing at the back end. Do this at a time when you’re both relaxed and comfortable. If your pet turns away or wishes not to have this done, try breaking down the check into smaller checks. We suggest checking in the following order:

  • ears (visually check the inside and outer ear followed by feeling with your hands for any changes);
  • eyes;
  • nose;
  • mouth (inside and out if your pet allows this);
  • neck;
  • front legs;
  • paws (don’t forget in-between the pads and toes);
  • chest;
  • tummy (including the mammary glands);
  • thighs;
  • back legs;
  • back paws (don’t forget in-between the pads and toes);
  • genitals;
  • anus; and
  • tail

Our veterinary surgeons and nurses will examine the above when you have any standard consultation – checking at home allows you to pick up any changes sooner than your next visit with us. These checks are only visual – some cancers occur inside the body. Veterinary diagnostics would be required to detect these.

What if my pet has cancer?

There are three main treatments for cancer.

  • Surgery:the surgical removal of the tumour cells
  • Radiotherapy: the use of a strong X-ray beam to destroy cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy: the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells wherever they are in the body

The most appropriate treatment will depend on the nature, location and extent of the tumour. Also, the pet’s overall health and you as the owner’s expectations need to be considered before deciding on a treatment plan.

What is the outlook for cancer?

Many pets can be treated successfully and in some cases, they can be cured of their disease. We would always be able to help and improve the quality of life of a pet with cancer in some way.

We want to reassure you that we are here for you and your pet. Most pets, on average, visit us three times a year. Our vets will be assessing your pet and taking a history from you of how they have been since their last visit. Our veterinary surgeons are more than happy to put your mind at ease if you have found something abnormal on your pet during the consultation. If our team are concerned about your pet, they will explain the next steps in detail and answer any questions you may have.

If you would like more information on pet lumps and bumps in Rugeley, contact us today. 

Important information

We have recently carried out a review of our prices in Rugeley. These changes will be implemented from 29 November 2021.

Please note that all existing quotes prior to 29 November will be honoured for four weeks.

If you have any questions, please speak to a member of our team.

Thank you for your continued support.  Contact us in Rugeley for further information

Walking your dogs safely in autumn and winter

The nights are getting darker in Rugeley and there’s a chill in the air, but your dog still needs regular walks in order to stay fit and healthy. Walking your dogs safely is still a priority. Here are some suggestions to keep both you and your pet safe whilst exercising during the coming months.

Make yourself visible

Lack of daylight sees an increase in traffic accidents, and that includes those involving pedestrians too. Consider wearing a high vis jacket or reflective strips on shoes so that you’re more visible to motorists and invest in a reflective collar or harness and lead for your dog.

Dress appropriately

Autumn weather can be changeable – setting out in the early evening sun can mean getting home in the cold and dark. Wear layers and comfortable shoes. If your dog is a short-haired breed, they may benefit from a winter coat. We’re happy to advise if you need further information.

Be contactable and alert

It’s always a good idea to be able to quickly and easily contact someone in case you need assistance – whether for yourself or your dog – when you’re out walking alone. Ensure your phone is charged before you leave home. Be aware of your surroundings so you can listen for traffic, or other dogs; avoiding headphones and music.

Check underfoot

Look out for items on the floor which could be dangerous to your dog – broken glass underneath leaves, acorns or conkers which can cause illness when ingested, and holes or obstacles which could injure you or your pet. Stick to known routes and footpaths.

Please contact us in Rugeley for further information.

Cardiomyopathy in cats

There are a number of different heart diseases that can affect our cats in Rugeley; however, cardiomyopathy in cats is the most common. But what is it and how do you know if your cat has it? We explore further below:

What is cardiomyopathy?

The term cardiomyopathy covers any disease that affects the heart muscle. There are different types of cardiomyopathies and they are classified according to the effect they have on the function of the heart muscle. The main ones are:

  1. hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
    most common form caused by increased thickness of the heart’s muscular wall, reducing blood volume and preventing heart muscle from relaxing between beats
  2. dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
    where the heart enlarges and the muscular wall becomes thinner, with the heart muscle unable to contract effectively
  3. restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)
    heart chambers are unable to fill normally due to the inelastic and stiff nature of the heart’s wall caused by fibrosis
  4. intermediate cardiomyopathy (ICM)
    where there are changes that are consistent with more than one of the disease classifications – e.g, signs of both hypertrophic and dilatation exist.

What are the signs a cat may have cardiomyopathy?

Symptoms of heart disease may not display easily. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your cat has regular check-ups with us so that any early signs of heart disease can be detected and treated accordingly. We may be able to pick up on:

  • a heart murmur (listening to your cat’s heart using a stethoscope)
  • a gallop rhythm (where an additional third beat is heard with each contraction cycle)
  • increase or decrease in heart rate

There may be other signs that could indicate the onset of heart disease in your cat, including:

  • breathing difficulties/rapid breathing
  • cold extremities, suggesting poor circulation
  • signs of fainting (although relatively uncommon)

If in any doubt, it is always best to get your cat seen by us. On detection of a heart murmur, there may be further tests required to confirm the diagnosis.

If you have any concerns about your cat, please get in touch. More information about cardiomyopathy can be found on the International Cat Care website, here.

Please contact us for further information

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) in dogs

There are many different heart conditions that can affect our dogs in Rugeley; however, mitral valve disease (MVD) is by far the most common. But what is MVD, and how do you know if your dog has it?

We explore further below:

What is mitral valve disease (MVD)?
Also referred to as degenerative valve disease, MVD involves the degeneration of the heart valve separating the two chambers on the left side of the heart. As a chronic progressive disease, it will worsen over time.

The heart has four valves, one of these being the mitral valve. The purpose of the valves is to control the flow of blood around the heart each time it beats. When the heart beats, the valves allow blood to pass through then close to stop any blood leaking back into the initial chamber. MVD causes the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle to thicken, resulting in the valve not being able to close properly and blood leaking back through as a result. This leak is heard as a heart murmur.

The knock-on effect is that greater pressure is put on the heart to work harder and pump the blood around the body. The heart also enlarges due to the need to pump harder to compensate for the loss caused by the initial backflow (‘regurgitation’). The heart may be able to cope with this over a long period; however, at a certain point, the pressure becomes so high that blood accumulates in the blood vessels of the lungs causing fluid to leak into the lungs – the result is congestive heart failure.

How severe is MVD?
We already know that MVD is a chronic and progressive disease, with the worsening effects outlined above, but that doesn’t mean that all dogs with the disease go on to develop heart failure. The various stages of the condition have been classified as below:

STAGE A – Breeds prone to MVD with no current symptoms or murmur
STAGE B1 – A murmur is present but there are no symptoms and no evidence of heart changes on imaging
STAGE B2 – A murmur is present with signs of enlarged heart but no heart failure
STAGE C – Showing signs of heart failure such as coughing, breathing problems, exercise intolerance, or collapse.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of MVD may not display easily and in some cases, affected dogs can live their entire lives without showing any signs of the disease. The main symptom for diagnosing MVD is the presence of a heart murmur – this will only be picked up during a routine examination by one of our vets where they can listen to your dog’s heart.

There may be other signs that could indicate the onset of MVD, including:

  • coughing (after lying down or sleeping, and often worse at night)
  • slowing down on walks or displaying low energy in general
  • breathing quicker than usual, with breathlessness and/or panting
  • weight loss
  • fainting or collapsing.

If in any doubt, it is always best to get your dog seen by us. On detection of a heart murmur, further tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Are certain breeds of dogs at higher risk?
MVD can affect any dog, but it is most common in small to medium sized breeds, and dogs that are middle-aged to senior. When it comes to individual breeds, it is once again more common in the:

  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • Papillon
  • Poodle
  • Chihuahua
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Pomeranian

Can MVD be cured?
As it currently stands, there is no cure for the condition. But the advances in modern medicine mean that if the condition is caught early, there is a good chance that dogs can lead happy lives using a combination of drugs to both control the disease and prolong life. Valve replacement surgery is possible in a small number of cases.

If you have any concerns about your dog, please get in touch or book an appointment.