Canine Basic Health

We all love our dogs and want to do the very best to keep them happy and healthy.

Having a dog in your life also brings responsibilities and if you are thinking of buying a dog, you need to weigh up the time and commitment involved. Our dogs are protect under the law within the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which means that anyone caring for a dog (even temporarily) has a duty to care for him or her properly.

 

The Act covers the 5 welfare needs of our animals:

  • The need for a suitable environment.
  • The need for a suitable diet.
  • The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
  • The need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
  • The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Pet insurance

One in three pets will require veterinary treatment each year. The treatment may be a one-off problem such as a road traffic accident or it may be an going problem such as diabetes which can result in costs which are not planned for. When looking to take out your pet insurance, please make sure that whoever you take your insurance policy out with that it is a ‘Cover For Life’ policy and not just a ’12 month policy’. Should you have taken out ‘cover for life’ then any treatment for any condition the animal had received in the previous 12 months would still be covered for the following years to come. Yes, you pay more each month for this ‘cover for life’ policy but the peace of mind it gives knowing you are insured for your pet’s lifetime is worth it. If you are at all unsure please phone our Insurance Manager, Lisa and she will gladly advise you.

 

Diet

It is important to feed your dog a balanced diet formulated for your dog’s age and size. Dry food is more cost effective and helps keep the teeth and gums healthy. Tinned food has a much higher water content which means that you have to feed more. There are different life stage diets to consider.

Please come and see one of our nurses for a free consultation, where they will be able to discuss nutrition as well as other important aspects to keeping your dog healthy and happy.

Medicating your dog

Just like you, your dog is going to get sick occasionally and you may come home from the veterinary practice with some medication to administer. Be sure to administer the full amount of medication over the number of days instructed by your veterinary surgeon.

How to administer tablets to your dog:

Step 1

Place the pill between the thumb and index finger of one hand. Firmly grasp the upper jaw with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.

Step 2

Gently fold the upper lip over the teeth as you open the mouth. This will reduce the chance of being bitten.

Step 3

Tilt the head upwards. Use your middle finger to slowly open the lower jaw.

Step 4

Keep your middle finger over the small incisor teeth and deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible. Immediately close the mouth. Keeping your hand over the mouth, move the head down to facilitate swallowing.

Step 5

Stroke the throat to encourage swallowing.

Our nurses and vets are more than happy to show you how to give tablets, ear drops and eye drops, so please ask.

Worms

Most infected dogs do not show signs of having worms; however, heavy burdens of worms can cause weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea, irritation around the anus and failure to thrive.

Importantly, while worms can sometimes not cause a problem for the dog itself, some worms can also be passed on to humans and on rare occasions can be a cause of serious human disease. As part of our healthy pet club you will receive regular worm treatment for your dog.

There are three types of worms:

Roundworm (Toxocara spp) are found within the gut of your dog. Roundworms look like pieces of string and occasionally may be seen in the faeces or vomited up. Puppies can be infected with worms whilst they are in the uterus and through the mother’s milk. Worm eggs are passed in the faeces of infected dogs and they remain in the soil. Children can pick up infections from contaminated soil by putting their hands in their mouth after playing, although serious consequences of Toxocara infection in people is quite rare, these worms can cause blindness, heart problems and epilepsy in children.

Tapeworm are found in the gut and are long and flat with segments which look like grains of rice and can sometimes be seen in the faeces. Tapeworm can be picked up from fleas or eating raw meat.

Lungworm: dogs eating slugs or snails pick up lungworm. Lungworm can be difficult to diagnose and can cause a variety of symptoms including coughing; tummy upsets, bleeding disorders and sadly, sudden death. You can help by picking up toys from the garden at night when the slugs come out, regularly clean water bowls, which are left outside and pick up poo.

How can I treat worms?

You can treat or prevent round and tape worms by either a licensed tablet/chew  every three months or a licensed spot-on applied to the back of the neck. One of our nurses or vets will discuss your individual needs.

Fleas

Fleas are a common problem and may be difficult to spot. Fleas can cause irritation and produce extensive itching, red lesions, and hair loss to those pets with a flea allergy. Fleas can also transmit several diseases and parasites, such as tapeworm and will bite humans. Due to the life-cycle of the flea (5% on the animal, 95% in the carpets/flooring), it is very important to treat the home environment as well.

If one flea finds your dog an attractive food source, you can be sure that other fleas will, too, laying 30-50 eggs per day.

How to prevent flea infestation?

You can prevent flea infestations either by a licensed spot-on applied to the back of the neck every month or a tablet given every three months. Getting rid of an established infestation can take some weeks. One of our nurses or vets will discuss your individual needs.

 

Ticks

New tick-borne disease in dogs, canine babesiosis, found in the UK

Scientists at University of Bristol conducting the Big Tick Project say recent confirmed cases of Babesia canis in four dogs in Essex that had not travelled abroad, have increased the need for surveillance of tick-borne disease in the UK.

Launched last year, the Big Tick Project has become the largest-ever veterinary study of ticks and tick-borne disease in the UK. Our nurse Stephanie RVN, at Bingley took part in the project. In addition to the potential for tick mapping and greater understanding about what is perceived to be a rise in the risks to dogs and people from Lyme Disease, the emergence in four dogs in Essex of babesiosis, a life-threatening disease transmitted to dogs by infected ticks usually found in Europe, has highlighted the need for a major investigation on the scale of the Big Tick Project, says Professor Wall.

What are the symptoms of Babesia Canis?

Symptoms of babesiosis can range from mild to severe and include lethargy, lack of appetite, fever, anaemia, pale gums, an enlarged abdomen, weight loss and jaundice. If your dog has or had ticks and you are concerned for the health of your dog, please contact a vet immediately.

Detecting ticks

Check your pets’s skin on its head first (around the mouth and ears, behind ears and on its neck), then work your way down its forelegs and the rest of its body, searching for any lumps on the skin surface.

If you find a lump:

  • Part the hair and look at it more closely (with the help of a magnifying glass, if necessary)
  • The place where the tick attaches may or may not be painful and there may be skin swelling – It is distinguished from other skin swellings and growths because close scrutiny can reveal the tick’s legs at the level of the skin.

What to do if you find a tick

When attempting to remove a tick avoid handling the parasite directly. Wear gloves and dispose of ticks hygienically so they cannot re-attach themselves or lay eggs.

If you find a tick on your pet’s skin:

  • The aim is to remove the whole tick, including its mouthparts without squeezing the tick’s body
  • Use a specially designed hook or scoop with a narrow slot that traps the tick’s mouthparts
  • Slide the hook under the tick at skin level so as to grip the head of the tick, ensure that the hook is not entangled
  • Scoop out the tick – rotating the hook around the tick’s head may help dislodge the mouthparts before removal
  • Flush the tick down the lavatory (or sink – with hot water)

Do not attempt to burn, cut or pull the tick off with your fingers

– Buy a tick removal tool and keep it in your pet first-aid box

– If in doubt, take your pet to the vet

How to protect your dog from Ticks and tick borne disease

To reduce the risk associated with ticks on dogs, veterinary surgeons have innovative and convenient treatments that are only available on prescription. The options available to protect dogs against ticks include spot-ons , sprays, collars and oral chewable formulations. For best advice on how to remove a tick correctly from your pet please speak to your vet.

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