Sandbach 01270 765555

Looking after your pet

Take a look through our useful information on many aspects of pet care.  Use the quick links below or just scroll down to see them all.

Alabama Rot update

First, do not worry. Alabama rot is currently a very rare disease in the UK. The chances of your dog having it are very low. Unfortunately one dog has been diagnosed with it in the local area. It is disease almost exclusively of winter and spring (November to May). While the cause is not known it has a high association with mud, particularly in forest and marsh lands.

Symptoms include unexplained sores appearing on the feet, tongue or muzzle. If your dog has been in the undergrowth it is more likely these are scratches. If Alabama rot is present it can then spread to the kidneys and your dog will become lethargic, stop eating and may even start vomiting.

If your dog has these symptom please see us immediately, however unlikely the disease is.

Prevention includes keeping your dog out of mud in winter. It is advisable to wash mud off after walks as well

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Arthritis and your dog

Is your dog one in a million? Of course he is! But did you know that over a million dogs in the UK are suffering from arthritis?

Try the simple self assessment test to find out if your dog may be one of them.

  1. Does your dog have difficulty standing up after a period of rest, or sleep?
  2. Does your dog seem to have ‘slowed down’ and become less keen to exercise?
  3. Does your dog have difficulty jumping up, getting into the car, or climbing stairs?
  4. Has your dog been showing signs of lameness?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions, your dog could have arthritis and would benefit from a checkup. Please ask at Reception for an appointment.

Please call or ask at reception for an appointment.

The Three Point Plan

Just like arthritis in humans, this can affect one or more joints causing them to become inflamed and painful. Affected dogs are reluctant to move the painful joints and they may become stiff, especially after a period of rest. They may have difficulty climbing stairs, getting into the car or jumping onto to sofa, or they may simply not seem to enjoy walks and games as much as they once did.

Many caring owners don’t realise that their dog is suffering from arthritis, putting the changes in their dog’s behaviour down to old age.

A three point treatment plan can relieve the signs of arthritis and help restore your dog’s enjoyment of life. Most dogs respond extremely well to treatment and owners are frequently astonished and delighted by the new lease of life that treatment gives to their friend. Often it is only after owners see the changes following treatment that they realise just how much their dog’s quality of life has been affected.

The three point treatment plan can relieve signs of arthritis and restore your dog’s enjoyment of life. The three elements of this plan are :

  1. Weight Control
  2. Exercise Control
  3. Pain Relief

Starting an arthritis care programme NOW will not only improve your dog’s quality of life in the short term, but it will help your dog to remain mobile and slow the progression of the disease in the future.

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Care of your pet's teeth

Dental care for your pet

Dental disease is very common in cats and dogs. Surveys show that after the age of three years, about seven out of ten pets have some kind of tooth disorders, and if left unattended these may cause irreversible damage to your pet’s teeth, gums and jaw bones. The good news is that dental disease can easily be prevented by stopping the build up of plaque.

How do I know if my pet has tooth disease?

Plaque is a yellowish white deposit made up of bacteria and debris that forms around the surface of the teeth. In time it hardens to become a yellowish brown tartar (sometimes called calculus) at the base of the tooth, which will gradually spread until it may cover the whole of its surface. As well as the visible tartar, there may be other indications of disease: foul breath is very common and the pain resulting from advanced dental disease may cause difficulties in eating. If your pet dribbles excessively, and sometimes this is flecked with blood, or if he shows signs of pain and discomfort such as head shaking and pawing at his mouth, your pet would benefit from a dental check from the vet.

How does dental disease affect my pet’s health?

The tartar hidden below the gum line is the most common cause of problems. It contains bacteria that attack the surrounding gum tissue, causing painful inflammation (‘gingivitis’) and infection that can track down to the tooth roots. Pus may then build up in the roots and form a painful abscess. The inflammation wears away tissue from the gum, bones and teeth and, as the disease becomes more advanced, the teeth will loosen and fall out. Bacteria, and the poisons they produce, can also get into the blood stream and cause damage throughout the body in organs such as the kidneys, heart and liver.

How can dental disease be treated?

If your pet has advanced disease and is in obvious pain, we may need to take x-rays of his head, under general anaesthesia, to see whether there are any deep abscesses. We may prescribe antibiotics before doing dental work if there are signs of infection. Any loose teeth will have to be removed because the disease here will be too advanced to be treated successfully. Your pet will be given a general anaesthetic so that we can remove the tartar, usually with an ultrasonic scaling machine, then the teeth will be polished to leave a smooth surface, thus slowing down the build up of plaque in the future. To keep your pet’s teeth in good condition it is likely that they will need regular scaling and polishing in the future, in some cases at intervals of between six and twelve months.

How can dental disease be prevented?

There are a number of products available to help you with prevention and control. Some are listed below:

  • Tooth brushing
  • Dental chews
  • Dental gels
  • Special foods

Will a change in diet help control dental disease?

In the wild your pet’s teeth would be much cleaner because its diet would contain harder materials than are found in commercially tinned or packaged foods. Dogs and cats naturally eat the bones, fur, etc of their prey, which wear away the deposits of tartar. Replacing soft foods with dry or fibrous materials will slow the build up of plaque, as the extra chewing involved helps control infection through the production of saliva (which has natural antibiotic properties). There are special diets and treats available to help maintain clean teeth, please ask your vet for further advice. We do not advise that dogs are given bones as these can cause other problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea or intestinal blockage

What else can I do to keep my pet’s teeth clean?

Ideally your pet should get used to having its teeth cleaned from an early age. Wrapping a piece of soft gauze around your finger and gently rubbing the teeth should get the animal used to the idea. You can then move on to using a toothbrush specially designed for pets or a small ordinary toothbrush with soft bristles.We can supply you with suitably flavoured toothpaste that your pet will enjoy, and there are also some mouth washes and antibacterial gels that can help reduce plaque deposits and prevent infection. Do not attempt to use human toothpaste which will froth up in the mouth, your pet will not like the taste and it could do it serious harm as it is not designed to be swallowed.

What if my pet doesn’t like having its teeth brushed?

At first your pet may resist but with gentleness, patience and persistence most pets can be trained to accept having their teeth cleaned. A regular brushing every day or at least three times a week will significantly reduce the risk of your pet suffering serious problems.

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First aid for your pet

First Aid and Common Worries

Blood in Faeces - If you find that your dog or cat has blood in their faeces, try to determine whether it is fresh blood (red) or digested blood (black). This will help identify where it is coming from. If possible get a sample and bring it to us to test /identify. A very small amount of fresh blood may be due to your pet straining to pass faeces. Observe them over a short period to determine whether it occurs more than once. Blood in faeces is abnormal so it is advised to get them seen by a vet here at the clinic.

Seizures

Seizures (fits) can be caused by a number of factors and are traumatic to see if you have never witnessed one before. If your pet is a diagnosed epileptic, or has a history of seizures you may have some rectal medication that you can give to help stop the fit. If not you should contact us immediately for advice but do not try to restrain your pet – you may get bitten or scratched. If possible remove any objects that your pet may knock themselves on whilst fitting to limit any injury.

Road Traffic Accident

If your pet is sadly involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) then there is only one course of action. Phone us immediately (or the nearest veterinary clinic if away from home) and make an emergency appointment straight away. Try to move your pet as little as possible whilst in transit in case there are any broken bones.

Cut Foot / Pad

It is not unheard of for your pet to cut themselves when out and about on a walk etc. Sometimes they will bleed heavily in which case you should apply pressure to the area to prevent excess blood loss and phone us for an emergency appointment. If it is a minor injury it is likely to still require an appointment for a dressing as feet are notoriously difficult to heal without assistance.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea

Vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration and loss of important salts /potassium etc. Severe bouts of either may make your pet feel extremely unwell. It is important to not let this go untreated for more than 24hrs and do not starve your pet for any longer than this. It may be caused by a bacterial infection (gastro‐enteritis) or it may be due to a metabolic illness within the body. The young and very old pets are more likely to suffer from dehydration than an adult, however no matter the age it is best to get them treated sooner rather than later. If they continue to vomit after 24hrs they may need medication / treatment. Remember that cats may bring up hairballs so check first.

Blood in Urine

It is highly recommended for us to examine your pet as soon as possible if you notice that they have blood in their urine. This can be caused by a number of reasons ranging from trauma to bladder stones and blockages. If an animal struggles to urinate it can impact on their kidney function if left untreated, so if you see any straining or passing of blood phone us immediately for an appointment.

Lump Found

It is important to run your hands over your pet regularly to familiarise yourself with what is normal for your pet and what is abnormal. If you locate a lump(mass) on your pet, it is advisable to get it looked at by a vet and they can advise you as to the best course of action. This may be removal, draining or medication. It is not advisable to assume that it is not a potential problem.

Worms

It is very important to ensure a suitable worming regime is in place if you have a new puppy and kitten as they will be affected by a worm burden quicker than an older animal. It is important to treat for both roundworm and tapeworm. If you notice that your cat or dog is not overweight but has a ‘pot‐bellied’ appearance then it may be due to a worm burden. Similarly if you notice ‘ricelike’ segments around your pet’s bottom then this indicates a tapeworm burden. (These segments carry the eggs of the tapeworm) Remember that just because you do not see any evidence around the bottom of your pet does not mean they do not have worms. A heavy burden can cause weight loss despite an increasing appetite but if you are unsure it is better to bring your pet for an appointment as these clinical signs may be confused for those of other conditions.

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Halitosis

Does your pet’s breath smell?

Bad breath is often a pointer to poor oral hygiene. This in turn leads to a build up of dental plaque and tartar. The consequences of these are gum infections and tooth decay.

We are very keen to promote good preventative dental care. Our staff are trained in dental hygiene and can help you select a programme best suited to you and your pet.

We are sure that prevention is always better than cure, since severe dental disease may only be resolved with a full general anaesthetic and even extractions.

There are a number of products available to help you with prevention and control. Some of these are listed below:

  1. Dental chews.
  2. Tooth brushing.
  3. Dental gels.
  4. Special foods.

Please feel free to ask for advice on any of the above methods of dental hygiene.

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How to tackle fleas

Fleas are very undesirable parasites which feed off our domestic pets - their natural hosts. When environmental conditions are optimal, the flea population will grow at a very rapid pace, and once you have a flea infestation, it is very difficult to get rid of the problem.

Fleas can cause enormous problems to pets by spreading worms and other diseases, causing itchiness, irritation and in some cases resulting in severe allergic reactions. It’s also very embarrassing when they start biting your human guests at dinner parties!

Flea eggs hatch when the correct surrounding temperature and humidity are reached. This starts at the beginning of spring and results in a massive flea population by the end of summer and early autumn. Flea eggs laid in the autumn will hatch the following spring - or if indoors, whenever you turn on your central heating.

To achieve optimal flea control, preventive treatment should be provided throughout the year. If you are unfortunate to get a flea infestation on your pet and in your home, we are always available to give thorough advice on how to eliminate the problem effectively and safely.

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How to tackle worms

Worms – what you need to know

Don’t be alarmed if your pet does become infected with worms - all pets are affected at some stage of their lives. Indeed, they may well be regularly re-infected unless a routine worming program is adopted; the good news is that this is relatively simple and inexpensive to do.

If the infection is treated early, worms are unlikely to cause any serious harm to your family or your pet, but an infestation will affect your pet’s general health and so should be treated quickly. In rare cases, some types may be passed onto humans, and can cause blindness in children (toxocara also known as roundworm).

What are worms?

There are two main types of worms that affect pets, roundworms and tapeworms:

Roundworms – white in colour and, as the name suggests, round; often looking like a spaghetti strand. You may notice these in your pet’s faeces, or if the infestation is particularly bad, the animal may vomit them up.

Tapeworms - flat and ribbon like, you might see rice-like segments of them around your animal’s bottom. Tapeworms have a direct life cycle link with fleas, therefore if your animal has a tapeworm infestation it will also need to be treated for fleas.

What are the symptoms?

Both roundworms and tapeworms live in the intestines and use your animal’s food as a source of nutrition. As a heavy infestation can cause injury and disease to your pet’s gut lining, you may notice some changes in their well-being. Obvious symptoms to look out for include: coughing, weight loss, loss of appetite, dehydration, diarrhoea or blood loss (anaemia), and the animal may also have a “pot bellied” appearance.

How often do I need to worm?

If your animal actively hunts for rodents, small mammals or birds (which are an indirect source of infection), it is very important to maintain a regular worming regime:

Adult pets
We recommend worming every 3 months unless you have small children in the house when monthly treatment is recommended

Puppies and kittens
Wormers should be given every 2 weeks until 12 weeks old, then once a month until 6 months old, and then follow the adult worming schedule.

As wormers do not protect your animal from becoming re-infected, it is very important to maintain a regular worming routine.

What sort of wormer should I use?

There are many products on the market, the main differences being in the way that the medicine is administered, so choose one that works for you and your pet:

Tablets - Single dose, multipurpose wormers. We believe that these are the most effective way to worm

Granules - These are odourless and tasteless, and can be easily added to your pet’s food

Liquid suspension - Good for puppies and kittens, but larger quantities are required in adults. Spooning the liquid into the animal’s mouth can get messy, and this method is often not well
tolerated either by owner or pet!

Paste - Less messy than suspension, well tolerated by most animals and particularly good for puppies and kittens.

‘Spot on’ drops - Highly effective against tapeworms in cats, and very easy to apply; simply squeeze a drop onto the back of your pet’s neck.

‘Spot on’ combination drops - Highly effective against roundworms and fleas and are useful if you have small children and need to worm monthly for roundworms. Still need to treat tapeworms every 3 months

Injection - Only effective against tapeworms and needs repeating every month

Reducing the risk of re-infection

Apart from regular worming, there are several other things you can do to stop worms being passed from animal to animal, or from pet to owners:

Always clean up your pet’s faeces, either bury them or place in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of them in a dustbin. If your cat uses a litter tray, remove faeces daily and disinfect the tray every 3 – 4 days

Check your pet for signs of fleas and adopt a regular flea treatment regime

Try to discourage your animal from hunting rodents e.g. keep cats inside at night or place a bell on their collar

Make sure that children wash their hands after playing in a garden or other open areas that may be used by animals as a toilet.

Cover sandpits – a particular favourite of cats!

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Pet insurance - the facts

Our practice strongly advises that you seriously consider insuring your pet

The idea of insuring your pet seems ridiculous until you are faced with a vet’s bill for an operation or a series of operations. As one-in-three pets will need to have veterinary treatment this year we strongly recommend you insure your pet’s. 4 weeks FREE insurance will be provided to you when your puppy or kitten is vaccinated with us.

Pet insurance can cover you against a range of eventualities including accidents, sickness, loss or theft of your pet, the cost of cancelling your holiday because your dog runs away, or against your liability for any injury your dog causes to a third-party. The exact level of cover you get varies from policy to policy but will often include the following:

  • Veterinary Fees
  • Theft and straying
  • Third party liability
  • Accidental damage
  • Death Benefit
  • Advertising/reward for lost pet
  • Holiday cancellation
  • Boarding fee

You should consider getting a policy that offers at least £4,000-worth of cover for each accident or illness. As always, it is well worth checking the exclusions and small print before committing to any policy

Some pet insurance policies stop paying out after 12 months or when you reach a maximum cost. To avoid this look for a “For Life Policy”. Some dogs may not be eligible for cover; this mainly applies to working dogs, racing dogs and dogs registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act

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Rabbit Info

Rabbit diet and health

This information is aimed at helping clients on keeping their pet rabbit as healthy as possible by feeding a nutritionally balanced diet. Deficiencies of particular nutrients in a rabbit’s diet can cause specific health problems. The most important element of a rabbit’s diet is fibre. If a rabbit’s diet does not contain the right quality and quantity of fibre, it can suffer from dental and gastrointestinal problems. It is also important to include other nutrients in the diet, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Calcium, which can help in the prevention of muscular, nervous and vascular problems, as well as the preclusion of uroliths.

In addition, the right diet is an important factor in helping to prevent the increasing problem of obesity. Some manufactured rabbit foods contain unnecessary levels of sugars to help improve palatability, so it is important to select a diet that provides the ideal amount of calories. In addition, root vegetables such as carrots are high in sugary starch, so owners that experience obesity problems with their rabbit should be advised to avoid such foods. Obesity can predispose to serious health problems including arthritis, osteoporosis, faecal retention around the perineum, urine scalding, fly strike and metabolic disease, so it is important for owners to keep an eye on their rabbit’s weight and feed an appropriate diet.

The natural diet

In its natural habitat, the rabbit eats grasses, weeds, leaves, and the bark of shrubs, bushes and trees. Recommending a natural diet raises a number of issues that should be considered when advising the domestic rabbit owner:

  • Availability of good quality, natural grasses, plants and bark
  • Risk of feeding poisonous plants
  • Owner requiring a more convenient option
  • The pet rabbit feeding selectively
  • Owner’s propensity to ‘treat’, causing obesity
  • Selecting food items the rabbit prefers, affecting nutritional balance

In an ideal world, a natural diet is the best option – but can owners realistically meet the nutritional needs of their pets in this way? It is often best to recommend feeding high quality hay such as alfalfa (or if not available, Timothy hay), topped up with a higher quality, high-fibre extruded mono component food, which the owner can purchase from most specialist pet stores. In addition, it is recommended to feed a selection of ‘green’ foods daily including broccoli, cabbage, parsley, watercress, celery leaves, endive, raddichio, bok choy, dock, basil, kale, carrot tops and beet tops. Your clients can easily purchase these from the supermarket, but they should be advised to wash them first before feeding. Some plants (including lettuce), are toxic to rabbits, so plants not on the list above should be avoided. Fruit should be regarded as a treat item and fed in limited quantities only as it is high in simple sugars and can lead to gastro-intestinal disturbance and dental problems.

Extruded mono component food

Mono component nutritionally complete foods are extruded, pelleted or baked biscuits that contain all the nutrients a small animal needs in each bite-sized piece, to ensure that a balanced diet is fed and selective feeding is prevented.

Fibre – making the right choice

We know the rabbit requires high levels of fibre – at least X% – but is there a difference in the quality of fibre available…

Alfalfa is the ultimate source of fibre, with higher levels of digestible and indigestible fibre than grass. The plant structure and high lignin content of alfalfa is also beneficial in promoting dental wear. Alfalfa also contains very good levels of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. This is because alfalfa is a member of the legume family, which are capable of fixing their own nitrogen due to the presence of special bacteria that live in nodules on the roots of the plants. The roots of alfalfa plants can reach depths of 4 metres, which means they can pick up lots of minerals which, when fed as a hay or as the principal fibre source in a mono component product, are passed on in the rabbit’s diet. Alfalfa is especially plentiful in calcium, which is also essential to keeping a rabbit’s teeth strong and healthy. Alfalfa is also low in anti-nutritive factors and therefore enables the rabbit to obtain more nutrients than grass alone. It helps to defend against pathogenic bacteria in the gut and is lower in sugar than other forages to help prevent obesity.

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Safety Tips

Chocolate Poisoning

Chocolate is one of our favourite treats but for dogs it is poisonous and given in large amounts can be fatal. One of the ingredients is theobromine which is dangerous to dogs. Many pet owners like to give their dogs chocolate or sometimes they help themselves. Very rapid first aid advice and treatment is required for animals who have eaten large amounts. Dark chocolate is much worse as it contains higher levels of theobromine.

Christmas and Easter tend to be the time where dogs will seek out boxes of chocolates and Easter eggs but please be extra careful all year round and store your chocolate out of reach of all animals. If your pet eats any amount of chocolate please ring us for advice on 01477 544554.

Feeding Bones

Many owners like to feed their animals a raw meat diet and give their dogs bones to eat. Bones can become stuck in their stomach or intestines if the dog can’t pass them naturally. This can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and pain. We would then have to surgically remove the bone and it can be a traumatic time for pets and their owners. Not only can it be traumatic but very dangerous for your animal. The bones can cause very serious problems and sometimes be fatal. So please be extra careful when giving your pets bones from your Sunday lunch. We would recommend a complete diet such like Hills and all our staff are fully trained to give nutritional advice.

Giving Human Drugs to Animals

Sometimes within practice we may use human medication such as aspirin to help with a medical condition but it’s never a good idea to medicate your animals without seeking our advice first. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are highly poisonous to cats and dogs and should never be given as can be fatal. Please keep all your medication out of reach of pets and locked safely away in a cupboard.

Stick Throwing

Throwing sticks for dogs can be very good exercise and a way of teaching them to fetch. However they can cause terrible injuries. Parts of a stick can break off and cause deep wounds in their mouths (or even be ingested causing internal injuries) so please use specially designed toys for playtime to prevent any unwanted trips to our clinic!

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Things To Know

The Pet Travel Scheme

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. It also means that people in the UK can take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other European Union (EU) countries, and return with them to the UK. They can also, having taken their dogs, cats and ferrets to certain non-EU countries, bring them back to the UK without the need for quarantine. The rules are to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases. Fact sheets available on http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/.

What is the Animal Welfare Act?

All good pet owners want to make sure that they provide their animal with everything they need, but until now there has been no legal obligation to do so. This all changed on Friday 6th April 2007 when the Animal Welfare Act (2006) came into effect. The Act states that all animal owners have a legal `duty of care' to ensure the welfare of their pet. It identifies the five key needs of every animal:

  • The need for a proper diet (including water)
  • The need for somewhere suitable to live
  • The need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (as appropriate)
  • The need to express their normal behaviour
  • The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
  • While many pet owners already provide for these needs, anyone who fails to do so could be liable for a fine or even a prison sentence.
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Urban Myths

All of the following are urban myths and are NOT TRUE!

  • Dogs & Cats should always have wet noses
  • All ginger cats are male
  • Putting butter on your cats paws to stop them running away after moving house
  • Tortoises can survive on salad & veg
  • Cats should be put out at night
  • All hamsters are aggressive
  • Snakes are slimy
  • Cats have 9 lives
  • Cats always land on their feet
  • There is a ‘flea’ season
  • Fish can’t ‘feel’
  • Fish have a 3 second memory
  • Scooting along the floor means your pet has worms
  • Its right to always let your bitch have their first season
  • Neutering a male dog changes their personality
  • Spaying any animal means it will put on weight
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Vaccinating your pet

Vaccinations – what you need to know

At Cheshirepet, we strongly recommend that your cat, dog or rabbit undertakes a comprehensive programme of regular vaccinations throughout its life to protect it against many serious diseases, and keeping your pet as healthy and happy as possible. Without vaccination, many insurance policies refuse cover, so your policy may be invalid.

Why do I need to vaccinate my pet?

When animals are very young, they receive some natural immunity to a number of infectious diseases from their vaccinated mother, via her first milk. However, as the animals grow and are weaned, this immunity fades, and it is therefore important to provide continued protection through early vaccination and then by regular boosters throughout its life. If you wish to use kennels or catteries, or to take your pet abroad, you will have to provide evidence of a complete vaccination history.

What diseases do we vaccinate against?

Cats

Cat flu (Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease). This condition is still common in the UK and can be very serious for infected cats, especially kittens and senior cats.

Cat Parvo / Infectious Enteritis. Often fatal, this awful disease is now relatively rare thanks to widespread vaccination.

Feline Leukaemia. This serious viral disease suppresses the cat’s immune system, causing secondary infections and tumours.

Rabies. This fatal disease is thankfully not present in the UK. If you wish to take your cat abroad, you must vaccinate against rabies.

Dogs

Distemper. This serious respiratory disease is related to the measles virus in humans and without protection from vaccination, as many as one in five dogs that catch the disease will die.

Parvovirus. This nasty infection attacks the gut and suppresses the immune system.

Rabbits

Myxomatosis. This well-known disease is now relatively rare amongst the UK pet rabbit population, thanks to effective vaccination programmes. It is spread by biting insects carrying the Myxoma virus.

Viral Haemorraghic Disease (VHD). This disease progresses rapidly in affected pets and can cause death within 2 days. Vaccination offers protection against this distressing disease, which has no cure.

How often does my pet need to be vaccinated?

Your pet will require an initial vaccination programme starting around the age of 8-9 weeks, and normally consisting of two staged injections two to three weeks apart to provide comprehensive protection. Annual boosters must be given to ensure that your pet remains protected throughout its life, and we will always send you a reminder when this is due.

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Weight Watchers for Pets

Government statistics show that human obesity has reached crisis point, with around two-thirds of people living in Britain either overweight or obese. The problem extends to our pets, one in three household pets is now overweight, which equates to a staggering seven million animals.

Despite this weighty reality, research released today by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) reveals that an alarming eight out of 10 dog, cat and rabbit owners believe that their pet is
just the right weight.

A quick test to see if your dog is overweight!

Very Thin
Easily visible ribs, lower back and pelvic bones. No visible covering of fat, obvious waist and abdominal tuck. Absence of any muscle mass.

Thin
Easily felt ribs, minimum covering of fat, waist easily noted when viewed from above and visible abdominal tuck.
Ribs felt but with an excess covering of fat. Waist still observed from above but not as prominent. Abdominal tuck may be absent.

Obese

Ribs not easily felt under a large covering of fat. Waist and abdominal tuck not discernible. Fat deposits on lower back and base of tail. May observe signs of obvious abdominal distension.

Ideal
Ribs felt but without excess fat covering, waist noted behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side.

Lean and Trim

The main reasons for keeping your pet lean and trim are:

Obesity can reduce life-expectancy

Diabetes is very common - it affects 1 in every 200 dogs and 1 in every 400 cats, and many of these cases are associated with obesity. It has even been shown that 61% of obese dogs have poor glucose tolerance and high insulin concentrations in their blood (both signs of a pre-diabetic state) long before clinical signs of diabetes, such as increased thirst, occur. Orthopedic problems are made much worse if an animal is overweight. That isn’t surprising because the additional weight puts unnecessary stress and strain on the bio mechanics of limb and joint function. It has been estimated that 24% of obese animals have some form of locomotion problem. Veterinarians have many anecdotal reports about obese animals scheduled to have major surgery for their orthopedic conditions which did not require surgery once they lost weight.

Excess body weight increases workload for the heart and almost doubles the risk for circulatory disease to develop.

The risk of developing skin disease is increased in obese individuals. Overweight animals have difficulty exercising because of the effects on locomotion,. and also due to the effects of excess body tissue on respiration - making breathing difficult. Reproductive problems in males and females is often associated with excess body weight.

There is evidence that obese animals have a lower immune resistance to infectious diseases.

Obese animals have altered metabolic rates and their individual “set point” for body weight is higher than it should be. This makes achieving and maintaining weight loss very difficult for owners
once obesity is established. Obese animals have a higher anaesthetic risk, and a higher risk for wound breakdowns following surgery.

At Cheshirepet we can help to keep your pet fitter by advising on diets. Remenber losing weight does not just mean cutting calories. We also have to ensure that the balance of essential vitamins and minerals remains correct. There are prescription diets especially formulated to meet this need.

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