Sam is a Springer Spaniel puppy who came into us one evening recently as an emergency. He had fallen down a bank whilst out running with his owner in the woods. Although Sam wanted to get up he wasn’t able to, so we were very worried that the fall may have caused some trauma.
Initially we got Sam some pain relief and then tried to find out where he may have hurt himself. When we examined him his back legs were very rigid and his front legs were very floppy. He also had reduced movement when we tested some reflexes on his legs and he couldn’t support his weight. In himself Sam was otherwise very bright.
This made us concerned that Sam had damaged part of his spine. There are a few ways this can happen. Fractures or dislocation of the spine, traumatic expulsion of spinal discs, as well as concussion and bruising of the spine could have resulted in the signs we could see.
We took some x-rays of Sam’s spine and sent these to a specialist to examine. If Sam had a fracture or dislocation his prognosis was much poorer without surgery to stabilise his spine. Thankfully there were no changes on Sam’s x-rays.
The most important next step was to keep Sam comfortable and give him time to rest. If he improved quickly over the first few days there was a higher chance that he would do well. If he wasn’t showing much improvement then he was much less likely to improve at all. This meant a difficult three day wait over the weekend. Unfortunately if Sam was no better we would have had to put him to sleep.
Thankfully over the weekend Sam started to come on in leaps and bounds – literally! Within a few days he was trying to do much more than he was allowed to do. As we thought his spinal lesion was located in his neck we had to be very careful that he rested and didn’t put any pressure in this area. To do this he got a harness and was on strict cage rest.
By Monday morning Sam was able to hold himself upright with some slight support, although he was still falling over and ‘knuckling’ on his front legs. We were happy to send him home to continue his strict crate rest and pain relief.
So far Sam is continuing take positive steps. We do not yet know if he will every 100% recover but is enjoying life and improving every day. We are really pleased with his progress so far!
As the nights start to draw in and Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year are creeping closer, our minds turn toward celebration and fireworks. For pets these loud noises and bright lights can be daunting and scary, but there are several things you can do to help your pet at this time of year.
There are many different signs that your pet might show if they are scared of fireworks. They can vary from hiding, vocalising and salivating to destructive behaviour. Depending on how your pet reacts can give us an idea of the best options to help them cope with these situations.
When addressing any kind of phobia or fear it is important to tackle the underlying issue. With fireworks one of the most effective ways is noise desensitisation as it is generally the noise that is scary to our pets. Noise desensitisation involves a very slow build-up of sound in a positive environment. A helpful way to do this is with a sound phobia CD, covering a range of sounds. These are usually easy to follow and can be adapted to the individual pet. Sometimes it is most appropriate to do this alongside the advice of a behaviourist. The ideal time to start this type of therapy is when there will be no interruptions from actual fireworks, as it is a gradual process can last a few months. We usually recommend starting after New Year for this reason.
So, what can we do to help your pets through this party season? This depends a lot on your pets reaction to fireworks. Making a den or safe place for your pet to hide away in and shutting windows, curtains and doors to muffle sights and sounds of the fireworks can be helpful but we also have several options with medication or pheromone therapy which can also be useful. If you would like any further information please ring the practice on 01606 880890.
Since our 5th birthday in March this year we have been giving £1 from every vaccination to the Joshua Tree Charity.
We are pleased to say our total raised in August was £226, followed by £243 in September, giving us a grand total of £1770 so far.
To find our more about the Joshua Tree visit www.thejoshuatree.org.uk
Hollybank is very pleased to announce that Cat has passed the Certificate of Veterinary Nursing in Emergency and Critical care.
This has covered aspects of veterinary nursing vital for emergency and critical care cases allowing Cat to develop and enhance her patient care and knowledge, something that is extremely important to her and to Hollybank as a practice. It is a industry recognised qualification accredited by Vets Now and City and Guilds involving many hours of study and coursework, as well as three difficult final examinations.
Over the past 18 months Cat has worked very hard and we are really proud of her. Well done Cat!
There are lots of different products on the market to help control parasites for our pets. Sometimes the difficulty is knowing which one to pick to ensure your pet is covered for everything they are at risk of getting.
Being able to easily take our pets with us when we travel abroad is great! However it is important to make sure before you go that your pets meet all the requirements for travel and for re-entry into the UK. There are some simple steps for travel under the Pet Travel Scheme for many of the countries we visit. However requirements can vary further afield.
Under the Pet Travel Scheme dogs, cats and ferrets can travel to most European countries without a quarantine requirement on their return. The government website has a full list of the included countries. See https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad for more details. It is always important to check the entry requirements of whichever country you are going to.
In order to travel and re-enter the UK from an EU or listed country your pet will need a microchip. This is used to identify your pet. They also need an up to date rabies vaccination which was given after the microchip was implanted and a valid pet passport signed by an official veterinarian. If it is the first time your pet has had a rabies vaccination they have to wait 21 days before they can travel. Before returning to the UK your pet will need a specific tapeworm treatment which has to be veterinary certified. This has to be between 24 and 120 hours before your return.
To re-enter the UK from other countries there are often additional entry requirements. These can include specific import or export certificates or bloods tests. If you are unsure what the requirements are for the country you are visiting just ask one of our vets for more information.
It is also important to consider how your pet will travel as it needs to be with an approved transport company and along an authorised route.
Several of our vets are able to issue pet passports. If you are planning to go away with your pet and are unsure what you may need we suggest getting in touch in plenty of time so we can get everything organised for you. Just give us a call on 01606 880890.
Since March this year Hollybank has committed to giving £1 from every vaccine to The Joshua Tree. See www.thejoshuatree.org.uk for more information about this great charity.
Over the past three months we have raised £786 bringing our total so far to an amazing £1301.
Meg recently came to see us with a lump on her side, just behind her armpit. It was very small, only about 1 cm wide and wasn’t bothering Meg at all. However it had grown slightly over a few months so her owners wanted to get it checked out.
Now dogs and cats can get lots of different types of lumps, with lots of different causes. Unfortunately just by examining a lump it isn’t always apparent what the cause is as many can look the same. There are however a few factors that can give us an idea about whether a lump is benign (doesn’t spread and usually only causes problems due to size and location) or malignant (can spread and cause secondary disease). Usually benign lumps are slow growing, don’t change quickly or cause problems. Contrary to this, malignant masses usually grow more quickly and can causes other problems and signs. However this is not always the case. We have seen several malignant lumps which are very small or have been there for a long time before suddenly causing a problem.
As we were not able to tell what Meg’s lump was we decided to take a sample from it. One if the easiest ways of doing this is to put a fine needle into the lump to remove some cells. These cells can then be smeared onto a slide to be examined at the laboratory. Usually we can take this sample very quickly and easily and it doesn’t require any sedation or an anaesthetic.
Meg’s results came back as a Mast Cell Tumour which is a type of malignant tumour that has the potential to spread and cause further problems. There can be several different types of mast cell tumour, some of which can act more aggressively than others. A higher ‘stage’ of tumour suggests a more aggressive one. From the needle sample we took we were unable to know what stage Meg’s tumour was. Therefore the next step was to remove it and send the whole lump off to the lab for further examination. This was important to find out if further treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or further surgery was needed.
Because this type of tumour can release histamine granules and particles into the surrounding skin we gave Meg some antihistamines prior to surgery. We also had to take wide margins of tissue when removing the lump. This was made a little tricky by it’s location just behind her armpit as there isn’t much tissue to spare in this region. In some cases when we struggle to fill the gap we use a skin flap from another area close by. Luckily this wasn’t needed for Meg and her skin closed together really well after we removed the lump.
The lab confirmed that Meg’s Mast cell tumour was an intermediate grade. This meant that surgery was likely to be curative, although it is important to monitor for any signs of recurrence. Surprisingly in the skin we removed Meg also had a second Mast Cell Tumour which was so small it was just a fleck of white on her skin. This Mast Cell Tumour was low grade and may have been unrelated to the first, or some local spread of the first mass.
After the surgery Meg was strictly rested so that her skin wound could heal as easily as possible. She also had some pain relief and antibiotics after her operation. Meg’s wound has been healing well and we have now removed her staples post operatively. Once her fur grows back it won’t be easy to even tell she has had surgery. It was important that Meg’s owners were so observant and noticed Meg’s lump had changed as we were able to remove it early. If you notice any lumps or bumps on your dog or cat, particularly if the appearance has recently changed it is worth getting it checked out by one of the vets. Meg can now continuing enjoying life, especially now she can get out and about again!
Often our dogs love our food as much as we do. The problem is that some of our foods can be poisonous to our animals, and even small amounts can sometimes be a toxic level, causing serious problems and in some cases death.
Some common foods that can be poisonous for our pets include onions, raisins and grapes, chewing gum and chocolate (of all kinds, not just dark chocolate!). Many are included commonly in the food we eat and are often around the home. Some medicines such as ibuprofen are also poisonous, so we would advise only giving medication recommended by a vet.
If you have any concerns that your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t it is always best to call us and speak to one of our vets. If it is toxic quick action can often make the biggest difference and provide the best outcome. If you unsure if something they have eaten is a problem, it is always best to ask.
If you need us just give us a call 24/7 on 01606 880890.
Earlier in the year we told you about Lottie and Sooty, two of the runners up for the Royal Canin Weigh-in club 2013. This month Lottie is Royal Canin’s Weigh-in club calender girl! Take a look at her page below.
If you would like any further information about how to help your pet maintain a healthy weight just give us a call on 01606 880890 and have a chat with one of our team. Preventing excessive weight gain is important to help reduce stress on joints and organs, such as the heart, as well as to reduce the chance of developing other medical problems. It can also make a big difference to energy levels and quality of life.
Lottie before and after weight loss. Congratulations once again to Lottie and her owner for all their hard work!