Monday, 29 October 2018

Take the fright out of Halloween - Tips for keeping your pet safe.


Halloween has become more popular each year with parties being held, fireworks being let off and children out trick or treating. Here are a few reminders to ensure that your pet stays safe.

  • All the noise and excitement of Halloween can be distressing for animals so provide them with a safe, quiet area in which to retreat, complete with their favourite toys.
  • Take your dog out for a walk before the evening activities get under way.
  • Keep your cat indoors.
  • Keep all edibles out of reach of your pet , especially chocolate and treats that contain the natural sweetener xylitol.
  • Keep pets away from the front door. Children in costumes can scare a pet and with the door opening and closing frequently, you don't want them escaping.
  • Do not dress your pet up unless they are completely comfortable with this and ensure that the accessories are kept simple. Supervise your pet at all times.
  • Take care if you are using candles - wagging tails and swatting paws can knock them over.
  • Keep glow sticks and glow accessories well away from pets. Even though they aren’t necessarily toxic, if chewed on they can cause your pet to salivate excessively and act abnormally - seek advice from your vet.
And remember, 




Saturday, 20 October 2018

Fireworks are no fun.

With many pets anxious and fearful of loud noises, the firework season can result in some stressful evenings for pets and owners alike.


Signs to look out for in your pet include panting, trembling, pacing, seeking people, hiding or trying to escape, refusal to eat, inappropriate urination or defaecation, vocalisation,  as well as changes in facial expression and body language indicative of stress.

To help your pet cope with this time of year, here are some helpful steps you can take at home. It's important to be prepared, so now is the time to act, before the fireworks start.

  • Provide your dog with a safe retreat or denMany people will create a den by using a dog crate covered on three sides with a blanket, but a space under a piece of furniture could do the job equally well. Provide a cosy bed or blankets in which they can hide and feel secure. Allow them freedom to access and leave the den at all times and provide positive experiences whilst they are using it, like a favourite toy or treat and give lots of praise.   Leave a water bowl nearby so that your dog can easily get a drink. Prepare this area in advance to allow your pet time to get used to using it.
  • Cats tend to find their own safe haven such as under a bed , behind a sofa or up high on top of a wardrobe. You might like to provide a cardboard box on its side with a blanket inside or an igloo bed. It can be placed in your cats preferred hiding place, but don't force them to use it, they will choose to do what makes them feel most comfortable. Provide a litter tray that they can easily access.


Calming products;      
There are some excellent natural calming products available to help manage stress in dogs and cats.  Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs are some of the best known – they mimic the comforting pheromones, which are naturally produced by the animals.
     


We stock a product called Pet Remedy which is a blend of essential oils that can help to calm anxious and stressed animals. It is available in a diffuser or spray format and starts to help immediately. 
Cost:

  • Pet calming plug-in diffuser - £18.92
  • Pet remedy refills (2 pack) - £18.92
  • Pet calming spray 15ml - £5.26
  • Pet calming spray 200ml -  £16.66

We
also have natural herbal remedies available in the form of tablets (and liquid for cats) - please ask us for more information.

πŸ‘•A Thunder-Shirt for dogs is based on the concept of swaddling or compression. Just as swaddling new born babies can help them to feel more secure, the gentle pressure applied by the Thunder-Shirt can have a calming effect and help anxious dogs feel more secure. 
(This method may not work for some dogs).



Prescribed medication



There are drugs that can be prescribed for particularly stressed pets. 
For dogs that get particularly worried by fireworks, a product is now available to help them with noise phobias. It provides a calming effect without sedating them. It is a gel that is applied to the gums, so it can be administered at home. Your dog should be able to function normally, and of course, be less concerned about the noises.

Your pet will require a  health check with a vet before any medication can be prescribed.

Please ask us today about the best option for your pet❕



Some tips for on the night(s)
  • Take your dog for a walk early in the evening before the fireworks start.
  • Ensure your pet is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps. Cats will need a litter tray.
  • Is your pet micro-chipped in case they do escape and are your details up-to-date? 
  • Try not to leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off. Pets may hurt themselves or cause damage if they are not supervised. Having you there provides reassurance and comfort.
  • Shut curtains, keep lights on and switch on the radio or TV to help muffle out the sounds of the fireworks.
  • Provide distraction in the form of toys or chews.
  • A little calm reassurance from you, should they seek it, will go along way. Don't fuss though, as this can make their behaviour worse. Praise your pet if they are relaxed with cuddles and a treat. 
  • Ignore any fearful behaviour such as panting, pacing and whining. Continue to stay relaxed and carry on as if nothing has happened. 
  • Act normally and try to stick to your normal routine. Ignore the fireworks.
  • Don’t get cross or punish your pet, regardless of their behaviour, as it will only make them more distressed.
  • Should your dog need to go into the garden to the toilet, keep them close to you on a lead.
  • Cats prefer to be left to cope on their own - let them find a hiding place and leave them undisturbed.
πŸŽ‡It is a good idea to find out if any public firework displays are scheduled in your local area to ensure that you are at home with your pet when it is happening.
πŸŽ†If you are planning your own firework party, let your neighbours know so that they can be prepared.
πŸ”₯ Don't forget to check bonfires thoroughly before lighting as hedgehogs like to sleep in them. Lift up the base using a broom handle and listen for any noise, shine a torch into the log pile, or even better, move the bonfire completely before lighting. Light a bonfire from one side only, it will provide an escape route for a hog. 
(Information courtesy of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society)




Tips for outdoor rabbits and guinea pigs;

  • If the hutch is attached to a run, make sure that your pet is back in their hutch before it gets dark and close off access to the run.
  • Provide plenty of extra hay in which they can burrow and hide. A cardboard box ,with a hole cut in the side for access and filled with hay, makes a good hiding place.
  • Turn the hutch to face a wall or fence to help block out the flashes,  or cover the hutch. Do however ensure that there is enough ventilation.
  • If you can, move the hutch indoors to a cool part of the house or into a shed for example.
  • You could always bring them inside for a cuddle (if they are used to this) or pop them in a pet carrier indoors with plenty of hay during the worst period of the fireworks.



Behaviour modification
Other than changes to the home environment, or medication, you can try behaviour modification to ease your pet's fear. This is more of a long-term management option which can be very effective. A process called 'de-sensitisation' teaches your pet not to react to the fear stimulus and then eventually to associate it with something positive. Ask your vet about sound therapy and for further advice on behaviour modification.





Disclaimer

The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.




Sunday, 14 October 2018

Teeth talk

Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems seen in veterinary practice. It occurs in two forms: The first is gingivitis, a reversible inflammation of the gums. The second is periodontitis, an inflammation of the deeper structures supporting the teeth.
The problems begin when plaque that is made up of food particles, saliva and bacteria, starts to build up on your pet's teeth.To start with, the plaque is a soft off-white material, but if plaque remains, it quickly mineralises and hard brown tartar forms on the teeth (also called dental calculus). It commonly leads to gum inflammation (gingivitis). Bacteria begins to build up between the gums and the teeth.


Periodontitis develops as a continuation of gingivitis. If this inflammation is not controlled, the bacteria continue to accumulate between the teeth and gums, causing irritation, infection and bleeding. This inflammatory and infectious process can destroy the periodontal ligament as well as the substance that holds teeth in their sockets, which is called cementum. The roots may become so severely affected that some teeth become loose and fall out.

Bacteria surrounding the roots gain access to the blood stream and can affect your pet's organs -  the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs.


Treatment is directed towards preventing gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis and delaying the progress of periodontitis if it is established.

Signs of dental disease may include; 

  • Bad breath ( Halitosis)
  • Dribbling
  • May become head shy and resent mouth being touched
  • May avoid harder foods
  • May avoid eating on one side of the mouth
  • Poor grooming 
  • Rubbing or pawing at the mouth
  • Redness of the gums / bleeding gums
  • Discolouration of the teeth
  • Swelling on the face

It is important to remember that pets with dental pain may not show obvious signs and they frequently maintain a normal appetite.



Throughout October and November we are offering a FREE DENTAL HEALTH CHECK for your pet with a vet! Even if your pet is not showing any signs of dental disease it is worth coming along so that the vet can assess your pet's oral health. (If further treatment is recommended the vet will provide an estimate) 



Toby has his teeth cleaned 



Lovely seven year old Toby belongs to our head nurse Jazmin. He recently had a dental scale and polish after it was noticed that he had an accumulation of tartar on his teeth. Once tartar has formed on the teeth it needs to be removed professionally by the vet, as at this stage, home brushing will not remove it.


For this procedure animals require a general anaesthetic, so prior to the dental, Toby had a health check which involved a physical examination and then a blood test to assess the function of his liver and kidneys. With a clean bill of health, Toby was booked in for a dental. Cats and dogs need to be starved before having a general anaesthetic, so Toby was not allowed any breakfast on the morning of the procedure.



Toby was given an injection of pre-medication which helped him to relax (pictured). Jazmin then settled him into a kennel to allow some time for the pre-med to take effect. Jazmin set up the dental equipment and the equipment needed to anaesthetise Toby. After about 30 minutes Toby was feeling sleepy and was ready to be anaesthetised. 

Vet Lavanya, assisted by Jazmin, gave Toby an intravenous injection of anaesthetic; this is called induction. Toby was then intubated which involves inserting a tube through the mouth and into the trachea (windpipe).The tube is then attached to an anaesthetic circuit which provides anaesthetic gas and oxygen. This enables us to control and maintain the level of anaesthesia for the patient.






Lavanya used an ultrasonic dental scaler to remove the tartar and plaque from the visible surfaces of Toby's teeth. It is important to clean the unseen bits too - below the gum margin where plaque can accumulate. She also assessed the health of the teeth; Toby did not need any extractions. After scaling each tooth, they were polished using a dental polisher and special toothpaste to leave a smooth tooth surface. This also helps to prevent the rapid re-attachment of plaque.

Following the procedure Toby recovered well from the anaesthetic. Jazmin was able to take him home the same afternoon. It was important to keep Toby quiet and rested at home for the next 24-48 hrs whilst he recovered fully from the anaesthetic.

Toby back home with his friend Ruby πŸ’œ

Now that Toby’s teeth have been cleaned, it is important that he receives home dental care in order to maintain the health of his teeth and gums and prolong the need to repeat a scale and polish in the future.



Regular tooth brushing is the best way to keep the teeth clean and healthy. Special toothbrushes and pet toothpastes are available for dogs and cats. Human toothpaste should never be used. Your vet or nurse can give you plenty of advice on introducing your pet to brushing and will demonstrate how to brush their teeth too.
Ideally puppies and kittens should be introduced to dental hygiene at an early age, however it's never too late to start! With patience and time even older pets can learn to have their teeth brushed.

Our nurses run FREE dental health clinics where you can fully discuss your pet's needs and get recommendations on the best way to care for your pet's teeth. 


There are specially designed foods, oral hygiene gels, toys and chews available to help keep pets’ teeth clean and are suitable methods if brushing has proved unsuccessful.


Regular dental examinations are important. Ideally, twice a year - at your pet's yearly booster vaccination health check and again six months later.











Disclaimer: The contents of the Arden House animal hospital website are for informational purposes only.The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment.Always seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.