Friday, 11 October 2019

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

Pet remedy calming wipes ( 12 pk ) - £7.20
Pet remedy party survival kit - £ 23.39



ZylkeneⓇ is a calming supplement that contains a natural ingredient derived from a protein in milk called casein that has clinically proven calming properties to help relax dogs and cats. It is available as either a capsule that can be sprinkled on their food or a tasty chew. 

These products can help with many stressful events - do speak to your vet or nurse!


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 (and other wildlife) 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.




Monday, 15 July 2019

Pet of the month hall of fame -Max

Max is our brave pet of the month after a dog attack left him with a nasty injury. 



Vet Celia was on duty when she received a telephone call from Max's concerned owners and arranged  to immediately see him. It was apparent that he'd sustained a large wound on his back. Celia assessed Max's condition by firstly evaluating his airway, breathing and circulation. She listened to his heart and lungs and checked his limbs and abdomen for signs of trauma. Although Max had received nasty bite wounds to the skin and soft tissue layers, they had not damaged any vital structures in his neck or chest and his condition was stable. Celia clipped the large wound on his back and discovered that Max also had some smaller puncture wounds. The puncture holes on the skin are often only a small portion of the significant damage that may have occurred to the muscles and tissues underneath the skin. Max would need to be monitored for further signs of swelling and bruising. Celia cleaned and flushed the wounds and prescribed Max some pain relief medication and antibiotics. Because a dog's mouth is full of bacteria, a bite  can introduce infection into the wound and underlying tissue. With the risk of infection high, Celia decided to initially treat the wound as open (not stitched). This allows any infection to clear before deciding if surgery is required to close the wound. Max's owners bathed his wounds at home and gave him his antibiotics as instructed by Celia, but at his check up a couple of days later, Celia was concerned about some swelling under the skin. She suspected that the infection was progressing so she introduced a combination of different antibiotics to help fight it. 

After another few days, Celia assessed Max's wounds again and at this stage she could see that some of the skin tissues were beginning to die. Necrosis (tissue cell death) can occur after a serious injury or infection. Despite this, there was also some promising progress. Max's owners had done a wonderful job of cleaning his wounds and giving him his medication and Celia could now see some healthier underlying tissue developing. The infective discharge had cleared up. The next step was for Celia to give Max a general anaesthetic so that she could surgically repair the wounds. 

Celia needed to remove the necrotic, damaged tissue and assess the remaining tissue health - a procedure called debridement. An area of dead space can form with these types of wounds. This is where the skin is pulled away from the underlying tissue creating a space in which fluid can accumulate under the skin. Celia inserted a drain; a latex rubber tube that allows fluid to drain out of the wound. Celia then closed the healthy wound edges together using walking sutures, a stitching technique that helps to reduce tension of the skin.

Max recovered well from the general anaesthetic and was allowed home the same evening. Unfortunately the drain came out so we needed to observe the wound for signs of swelling that could indicate the formation of a seroma. A seroma is fluid (serum) that has accumulated in a dead space in the tissue. It is the product of tissue inflammation and the body's defence mechanisms.

Max's owners did really well to keep him rested and his wound clean whilst it healed .After ten days, Celia was very pleased with how well Max's wound had healed and removed his stitches. However, she could see that the area looked puffy. With no signs of infection, Celia diagnosed a seroma. She opted to leave it alone rather than intervene as often the body will slowly reabsorb the fluid and it will eventually shrink and disappear.
Max was kept quiet and rested for a further 10 days and his owners ensured that he remained bright and comfortable.



After another 10 days, Celia checked Max. It was brilliant news -  she was able to sign him off as his wound had completely healed! Max had really missed his walks and it was great that he could now start to enjoy them again. 
After six weeks of treatment, we are so happy to see that Max has recovered.

For his patience and bravery, this lovely boy is our much deserved pet of the month! 


Saturday, 22 June 2019

Feeling the heat!

While people regulate their body temperatures by sweating, a dog goes about it in a different way! Dogs do not sweat in the same way that people do, although they do produce very small amounts of sweat from the pads of their paws (as do cats). The main way in which dogs regulate their body temperature is by panting, which draws cooling air into the body to drop the core temperature, and also by drinking water, which again hydrates and cools the body. 


What is heat stroke?


Heat Stroke (hyperthermia) is a condition that occurs at a point where an animal can no longer regulate their body temperature or cool themselves down. Their temperature becomes dangerously raised. It generally occurs in the summer months when the outside temperatures are high. Dogs that are overweight or ones that have a thick coat are particularly vulnerable as are short nosed breeds such as a Pug, Boxer, Pekingese and Bulldog.



Situations that can quickly lead to heat stroke;
  • Too much exercise or vigorous play during the hotter parts of the day.
  • Not drinking enough water or lack of access to drinking water. 
  • Being out in direct sunlight and unable to find shade. 
  • Being enclosed in a car, shed or other overheated enclosure where the temperature is hot.

Preventing heat stroke





It is vital to monitor your pet closely when it is hot to see how they are coping with the heat. Some of the precautions to take during the summer include:





  • Not walking your dog or encouraging vigorous play during the hottest part of the day;  walk in the early morning and the evening when the weather is cooler.
  • Ensuring that your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Take water out on dog walks with you so that you can give them a drink.
  •  NEVER leaving your pet shut in a car, shed, conservatory, caravan or other small space for any amount of time, even for just a few minutes. Your pet can become dangerously overheated. 
  • Making sure that your pet can get out of direct sunlight if needed, ensuring that they have access to cooler, shaded areas - some dogs insist on lying in the sun, discourage this!
  • Groom your pet regularly. A healthy, groomed coat helps your pet to regulate their body temperature and cope with the heat in summer.
  •  Remember that some dogs, particularly those with white fur or pink skin may be prone to sunburn -  take this into account when taking them out in the sun. Cats with white ears are also prone to getting sunburn on the ear tips.  You can buy pet safe sun cream - always read the label.
  • Keeping your pet indoors in a cool well ventilated room or providing shade for them to retreat into during the hottest part of the day is advised.


Identifying heatstroke in dogs;

Even if you take all possible precautions and do what you can to help your dog keep cool, it is important to be able to identify the symptoms of heatstroke in the early stages in order to take prompt action. Heatstroke can quickly progress to become a life-threatening emergency.

During the early stages of heatstroke your dog may appear restless and generally unhappy, but can appear listless and lethargic too. They will also be panting excessively and for a prolonged period of time, or panting recurrently without apparently getting any relief. As heatstroke progresses, their gums will become red and tacky, and they might be foaming at the mouth or salivating excessively. A high body temperature and elevated heart rate also accompany heatstroke in dogs. Heatstroke often progresses very quickly, and can soon advance to confusion and disorientation, collapse and fitting. The dog may also vomit or lose control of their bowels and bladder.

     Heatstroke is a veterinary emergency, and not a condition that can be left to resolve itself.

     What to do;
  •      Immediately move your dog to the shade or indoors to a cool area.
  •      Slowly apply cool or tepid water (not ice cold as this can be counterproductive), either directly or with wet towels to the stomach, inner thighs, armpits,  head, neck and footpads. (Do not cover the dog with the towel as this can cause them to warm up).
  •      If a hose pipe is available, use a fine, gentle spray to wet your dog.
  •     Offer your dog water to drink but don't let them drink too much at once. Small sips are ideal. However, don't force them to drink.
  •      If you have a fan, direct it onto your dog.
  •      CALL YOUR VET for further advice and to arrange for your pet to be checked, (even if they appear to be recovering). 

     Cats and the heat

    Cats will generally cope better with hot temperatures. They usually seek out somewhere cool to rest. Cat paw pads have sweat glands and this is how they cool down. Cats also lick the fur over their bodies to distribute saliva that will evaporate to cool them, much like sweat would do. A heat stressed cat will pant and this should not be ignored.



A cat can succumb to heatstroke and show similar symptoms to a dog. Again it is vital that you move them to a shady, cool area and apply a cool wet towel/flannel to the groin, paws and neck. Offer small amounts of water to drink. CALL YOUR VET.

   Rabbits and Guinea pigs


Don't forget your small furries! Rabbits and Guinea pigs are unable to sweat, they must

have plenty of shade and good airflow. 

Position enclosures/hutches in a cool place out of direct sunlight such as under a tree and create more shade by adding a tarpaulin or a towel. Provide more shady spots within the enclosure using a cardboard box with a couple openings cut into it for added ventilation. Provide fresh water at all times in both a drinking bottle and ceramic dish.





Signs that a rabbit or Guinea pig is hot include lethargy, breathing heavily, puffing, a  wet nose, drooling , weakness, reluctance to move.

Immediately move them to a cool area and apply cool water to their ears, groin and feet. Offer them water to drink.
CALL YOUR VET!








     Click the link for some tips on summer outdoor bunny care
      (courtesy of www.rabbit welfare.co.uk)


Ensure that rodent cages and bird cages are kept out of direct sunlight and are not left in a conservatory. Make sure that your pet has access to fresh water at all times. 

Wildlife - Don't forget to leave a dish of water out for wildlife visiting your garden.









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.
















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