Category Archives: Health Alerts

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

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












Flystrike – how to protect your rabbit

Bunny with carrotFlystrike can very often be fatal.  It is caused by flies, mainly the ‘Green Bottle’, laying eggs on damp areas of your rabbit’s skin and fur.  When the eggs hatch, the maggots can then eat the flesh of your rabbit which causes severe pain, tissue damage and infections.  Sadly many affected rabbits do not live through this disease.

If rabbits are not kept in clean conditions or are  unable to keep themselves clean, they can be affected by flystrike.   However, the good news is that  it can be prevented.

Researchers from the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) have been investigating what puts rabbits at risk of flystrike.  Working with over 385 veterinary practices across the country they collected information from over 30,000 rabbit consultations and identified 205 rabbits diagnosed with flystrike.

The research team found that flystrike was first recorded in the month of April with almost 70% of cases occurring between June and August.  Additionally, for every 1oC rise in the average temperature, the risk of flystrike increased by 33%.  Rabbits who were 5 years old or more were almost 4 times more likely to have flystrike than younger rabbits and un-neutered does were over three times more likely to be affected than neutered does.

There is a lot of information available regarding measures to prevent flystrike, such as keeping rabbits and their environment clean, ensuring rabbits do not become overweight (reducing their ability to groom themselves) and most important of all, taking time to check rabbits frequently for signs of dirty fur or flystrike.  In addition, preventative treatments aimed at deterring flies from your rabbit accommodation are available.  Ask at reception for further details and advice.  For further information on caring for your rabbit, simply click here.

If you are concerned about your rabbit – give us a call, we are always here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



  Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager




To treat or not to treat…….

westie-holding-chewAll of us like to treat our furry friends with little snacks now and then.  However, very often we aren’t really sure what these snacks can do in terms of their effects on weight and wellness.

Research shows that 86% of pet owners over the age of 18 give their pets an extra snack and  treats in addition to their regular meals.

Furthermore, 1 in 10 of us find it harder to say ‘no’ to their pets than their children.    The top snacks we give our pets are as follows:

  • Chicken scraps (59%)
  • Ham (27%)
  • Beef 25%)
  • Cheese (21%)
  • Sausage (20%)

siamese-cat-waiting-for-treatHelp is now at hand.  A calculator tool is available which measures the calorie content of these snacks and compares the intake to the human equivalent of burgers consumed.

Many of us give our pets what we consider to be a low fat treat such as carrots for dogs or tuna for cats.  As it is only a small amount, it could be perceived as not significantly affecting your pet’s health.  However even these contain a lot of calories for animals who will not necessarily be able to burn them off.   For instance if you feed your cat 100g of tuna per week as a treat – this is the equivalent of a Bic Mac to a human.


If you think your pet may be overweight check this easy calorie counter table you can also follow this link to read about our Weight and Wellness Clinics.  Or why not give us a call.  We are always here for you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager


Is your snake eating well? Or is he slithering away?

Anorexia in reptiles is a symptom and not a disease.  If your snake has stopped eating this may be due to a number of factors:

Adder_image_snake_bite_articleWho handles the snake and how often?  Remember that snakes are not domesticated pets.  Even though many species tolerate handling very well, there are some that can become easily stressed with rough or too much handling.

Additionally, think about the location of the cage within your home.  If it is a high traffic area, this can lead to nervousness and  sensitive breeds may strike at the glass.  Some shy reptiles also won’t eat if they are being watched or if there is too much going on around their vivarium.  Nocturnal reptiles won’t feed at all if you offer them food during the day – even if they are in perfect health.

A vivarium should have plenty of space for the snake to hide in to feel secure.  Terrestrial snakes like hides such as caves and tunnels.  Arboreal snakes, however, require branches with either artificial or living leaves which need to provide sufficient cover for the snake to feel secure.

If your snake is from a warmer climate, it may have a dormant period during the autumn which forms part of their period of ‘brumation’ in the winter.  Brumation allows them to survive winter temperatures that are below their preferred temperature level and is often associated with a period of anorexia.

Most meat-eating snakes will be fed a diet of frozen, thawed rodents.  Anorexia in younger snakes can be caused by failure to convert them to a diet that is readily available.  This can be done by ‘scenting’ the food with lizard skins because lizards would be their food of choice in the wild.

The same applies to Royal Pythons who, as a rule, prefer gerbils that have been frozen and then thawed.  However, if there are no reliable commercial sources of these, it can lead to problems later in life if the only options available are rats or mice and the python is bound to eating gerbils.

If a female snake is pregnant, she may frequently stop feeding.  Species such as the Green Tree Pythons also incubate the eggs maternally and will not eat during this time either.  A number of snakes become anorexic whilst they shed their skin.  Their vision is affected as their eyes become clouded during the days leading up to shedding.  Also, hatchling snakes will often refuse feed until after their first shed.

If your snake has gastrointestinal problems or dental disease this may lead to anorexia.  Dental disease can often lead to tooth loss and therefore the snake will have difficulty holding prey.  Another common and long term cause of anorexia in snakes is overfeeeding – mainly because for many snake owners, feeding time is their favourite part of reptile keeping.

It is important that the underlying cause of the anorexia is identified in order that the correct treatment can be prescribed.  Good husbandry is essential in the keeping of reptiles.  Without this, many will not recover.  If you think your snake may be anorexic, contact us on 01553 771457.  We are always here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Written by Paula Grant – Communications Manager