All posts by Paula Grant

Responsible Puppy Purchase

If you are thinking about adding to your family in the form of a cuddly 4 legged pup, then read on….Black and white puppies on leads

The Animal Welfare Foundation have recently launched a new website  – the Puppy Contract – which includes a 10-step guide giving advice on whether a puppy is the right choice for you and your family, the costs involved and where to get a puppy.  This free downloadable tool helps equip you with the right questions to ask a breeder about socialisation, vaccination, microchipping and health tests.

There are separate sections which share tips on how to spot a puppy dealer and that give an overview of puppy breeding laws in all 4 countries of the UK.

The Puppy Contract is a free, downloadable tool kit and is supported by many professional bodies, including the British Veterinary Association, the Dogs Trust, and the Kennel Club.    To find out more follow this link –

Brexit and the Pet Travel Scheme

Assuming Britain leaves the EU on 29th March 2019, there are three potential outcomes for the UK with regard to pets travelling abroad to an EU country.

Potential outcome 1

The UK becomes a ‘Part 1 listed country’

If this happens, then the set up with regard to Pet Passports, Rabies vaccination and worming will remain pretty much as it is now – very little will change.

Potential outcome 2

The UK becomes a ‘Part 2 listed country’

If this occurs then all the current passport regulations would still apply but animals would also require a ‘Model Health Certificate’ to travel.  It is expected that this certificate would have to be issued by an Official Veterinarian at least 21 days post Rabies vaccination and within 10 days of travel.  The certificate would be valid for 4 months for travel within the EU.

Potential outcome 3

The UK becomes an ‘Unlisted country’

In this instance, the following requirements for travel would need to be adhered to:

  • A blood sample would need to be taken 30 days after Rabies vaccination.
  • The animal would not be able to travel until:

a)  They have a Rabies antibody titre certificate from the approved laboratory.  This confirms they have the required level of antibodies to Rabies and proves their response to the vaccination

b)  3 months have passed since the date the blood sample was taken

c)  they have a  ‘Model Health Certificate’, as described in ‘Potential outcome 2’

  • The animal would have to enter the EU via a designated travellers point of entry (as yet, an unspecified location).

Any of the outcomes are possible and it is important to consider the above information and rabies blood testing if you plan to take your pet abroad after Brexit.  We would recommend booking an appointment to see your vet in order to discuss these options and whether taking additional precautionary measures would be appropriate for you.


Poisons – prevention is better than cure

We all know the risks to dogs and cats of eating grapes, chocolate and many more human foods.  Here are a few tips to avoid your dog or cat ingesting something they really shouldn’t:

  • Store medicines safely – NEVER give your medication to your pet.  Keep handbags and rucksacks well away from animals and keep medicine chests and boxes out of reach of inquisitive paws.
  • Anti-inflammatory creams can represent a risk if your pet licks your skin once you have applied the cream
  • NEVER feed grapes, raisins or onions to animals and ensure chocolate supplies including drinking chocolate and cocoa powder are well out of reach.
  • Dispose of leftovers or take-away food quickly and into a bin that cannot be accessed by your pet.  Likewise, ensure your recycling kitchen caddy is securely shut to prevent your pets accessing mouldy food which is potentially toxic.  This also applies to dustbins.
  • Lilies are extremely toxic to cats so it is advisable to keep them well away from your feline friends.
  • Store cleaning and DIY products securely out of reach of your pets and mop up any spillages quickly.  NEVER decant into different containers.
  • The new laundry capsules are highly concentrated and can cause problems when ingested or when spilt on to the fur.
  • Fit letter boxes with a cage or a guard so that any trial samples edible or otherwise that are delivered to your home are not swiftly eaten by your pets.  There have been tragic cases of chewing gums containing xylitol that have been delivered as mailshot samples but have caused fatalities in pets who have got to them before their owner.  For example – a 27kg labrador chewed a bag of pure xylitol that was delivered through the post – within 15 minutes he was vomiting and then developed severe convulsions.
  • Slug and snail pellets that contain Meteldehyde are highly toxic to animals.  Keep them well out of reach and never let your pet in the garden if you are using them.  Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors and twitches and can sometimes cause convulsions.  Prompt treatment is essential.
  • NEVER leave diluted gardening products in unattended watering cans or buckets and always dispose safely of any left-over solutions.
  • Antifreeze is highly toxic, a tiny amount can kill both cats and dogs, so keep it safely locked away from prying paws.

If you think your pet has ingested anything that could be poisonous, contact us immediately – we are always here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager




Beware – the return of the slug

Dog with pink collar A leading supplier of slug control products has warned dog owners that their pets will be at risk of lungworm once the very hot weather conditions come to an end and rain will allow the slugs to re-emerge.  Slug evidence in gardens has been very reduced since early June as the hot weather has meant the slugs have gone underground in search of moisture.  However once the rain returns, these slugs will be out in force which is when dogs will be more at risk.  For more information on the dangers of lungworm, follow this link.






Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Emotional? Your dog will understand

Black and white puppies on leadsWe have reported in the past on a study that was taking place to identify whether dogs understand human emotions.  The authors of this study report that there is a tendency in dogs to turn their head towards the left when you express anger, fear or happy emotions, and to the right if you look surprised.    Additionally, dogs displayed higher heart rates and emotional activity when shown photos  of humans in a high emotional state.

These results demonstrate some indication that dogs are sensitive to human faces, which supports the theory that canine  brains can process basic human emotions.  Which, let’s be honest, we secretly knew all the time!




     Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Beware of the blue green algae

Under certain conditions such as the recent heatwave, blue-green algae can form blooms in water which colour the water blue-green (or brown, black or red).  These blooms are highly toxic and gastrointestinal effects can very often be the first sign following blue-green algae exposure.  These signs can very rapidly manifest and death can occur within minutes to hours.

Keep pets well away from any water bodies that look either blue-green, brown, red or black.  If you think your pet may have been close to these blooms you should seek veterinary advice immediately.  To read more about this toxic algae, you can click here.


  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Alabama Rot – spot the signs

The Veterinary Times has recently reported an increase in cases of Alabama Rot (CRGV) in dogs.    Since 2012, this country has seen 168 confirmed cases across 38 counties, but during  2018 a record 45 have been confirmed to date.  This disease mainly occurs in the colder, wetter months so it is possible that further cases may yet be confirmed later in the year.

The signs of this mystery, canine disease include:

Skin sores not caused by any known injury – usually these are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a prominent swelling, a patch of skin that is red, or open and similar to an ulcer.  Within  2-7 days, symptoms of kidney failure will develop, such as vomiting, reduced hunger and tiredness.

If you think your dog may have these symptoms you should contact us immediately.  We are always here for you, 224 hours a day, 365 days a year.


   Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager


Swallowing hazards – it’s not just the usual suspects

As we all know, chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions are high on the list of what not to let your dog eat.  However there are others that are White staffie on shoulder of vet nursenot always in the frame but are just as toxic.  These include:


Animals can ingest hops either from plants in gardens, dried plant material in flower arrangements and even spent hops from the brewing process.  However the latter presents the greatest risk.  In dogs, symptoms include panting, restlessness and anxiety along with discomfort, due to a swollen stomach.


Like many of us, dogs seem to love whisky-based cream liqueurs.  The onset of symptoms normally occurs within 1-2 hours, these include diarrhoea, vomiting, excitability and agitation.  These are followed by depression, staggering, weakness, vocalisation and disorientation.  In severe cases, convulsions may occur.

Bread dough

If dogs eat bread dough it expands the dough in the warm environment of the stomach, due to yeast fermentation, causing distension and obstruction and the production of ethanol.   To prevent temptation, leave rising dough in a safe place, out of reach and out of sight of curious canines!

Macadamia Nuts

A toxic dose of these nuts is estimated at just 2 – 3 nuts for a labrador-sized dog!  Symptoms include weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea, lameness and stiffness.  Signs usually occur within 12 hours but can last for 24-48 hours.

Stored  Nuts

Stored nuts can become contaminated with moulds, which can produce toxins.  Dogs are particularly sensitive and even low level fungal toxins can be toxic to them.  Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, but more severe cases can lead to death within 3-7 days, due to liver failure.  Mould is very poisonous to dogs even at low dose accumulative exposure.  Symptoms are similar but milder and can therefore be assumed to be due to other causes.  The best way of avoiding this type of poisoning is to keep all foods, including food waste  bins, out of harms way.

Peanut butter

Many of the peanut butters that come from the United States contain Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.  It is worth contacting the Veterinary Poisons Information Service so they can help with the exact brands which contain this  ingredient.  Another product that is often included in the budget ranges of Peanut Butter is Palm Oil.  This can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea if fed in large quantities.  So always check the label before you feed your four-legged friend their tasty Peanut Butter treat.


This is very often found in chewing gums and the ‘sugar-free’ foods that are now widely available.  Dogs absorb xylitol quicker than humans.  Symptoms, which include vomiting and convulsions,  can appear within an hour.


Avocado leaves, bark and the fruit itself are all toxic to animals.  Symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting but the swallowing of an avocado stone can also cause stomach blockage.

If you think your dog may have eaten any of the items listed above,

please contact us immediately on 01553 771457. 

We are always here for you, 24 hours a day – 365 days a year.



Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager

Extracted from an article written by Jane Ellison BSc(Hons) that appeared in Practice Today – July/August 2018












Growing Greens for your rabbits

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is very popular at the moment; but have you ever thought about also growing herbs and greens for your rabbit?  The following are ideal seeds that grow very well in grow trays so why not given them a go!

Spelt                                Oats                          Barley                          Rye Grass

Alfafa                               Fenugreek                Red Clover                   Black sunflower seeds

Nasturtium                       Cabbage                  Broccoli                         Beetroot

Carrot                              Celery                       Chard                            Pak Choi

Kale                                 Kohl rabi                   Rocket                           Orach

Purslane                         Amaranth


You can line the trays with a mixture of fine coco fibre, vermiculite and worm composts.  Some seeds, however, are best soaked prior to sowing and these include cereal grasses, sunflower seeds, sweetcorn and fenugreek.

Top tip: Sow seeds at a depth the same or twice their diameter.

Microgreens and baby greens are also a great idea to grow for your hungry rabbits!  So why not get growing and treat your rabbit to some  home grown goodies!



     Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager