Cat touching a woman's hand.

Pet M.O.T

Ensuring your pet lives a long, healthy, and happy life with you and your family is a key goal for vets. While we are always there to help when your pet is sick, prevention of disease is better than trying to find a cure. Being aware of the risks to your pet and ensuring to seek veterinary assistance when needed helps to reduce stress and harm to you and your animal and help to lower costs. As every pet is different and unique, an individual preventative health plan can be tailored for you based on your location, your pet and what risks they may be exposed to. There are various aspects of your pets’ health that you should consider in routine preventative treatment, which are covered below.

Health Checks

Regularly visiting your vet for a health check is essential for ensuring that your pet is at their best. Pets can start feeling unwell with only small changes to their behaviour – it can be very easy to miss! Regular check-ups allow for your vet to undertake a thorough examination. They can help to detect early signs of diseases, such as kidney disease or arthritis. Early intervention allows for vets to manage and treat these diseases before they become life-threatening. For most pets, at least once a year is enough. However for pets over 8 years old, it is recommended to be every 6 months.

Vaccinations

Vaccines, just like in humans, are an important preventative measure. They ensure your pet is protected against harmful and potentially deadly diseases. They act to stimulate the immune system to build up a defence against invading bacteria or viruses. Like the common cold or coronavirus, these diseases can be easily transmitted through contact with infected animals, dirt, water, and other items. Sometimes without you being aware that your pet has been exposed. Vaccinating your pet is the best way to prevent or decrease their chance of getting infected.

Commonly, there are a set of ‘core’ vaccinations that should be given for life-threatening diseases that are present worldwide such as parvovirus, distemper, and hepatitis in dogs. Additionally, there are ‘non-core’ vaccinations that may be required based on the location and lifestyle of your pet. Your vet can evaluate the risks of exposure and determine an appropriate vaccine schedule for your pet. Younger animals often require multiple vaccines closer together to help boost their immunity while adults require boosters every 1-3 years, depending on your situation.

Parasite Control

Internal and external parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and worms, are commonly seen in pets and are a source of damage and disease.

There are four common types of intestinal worms that can be contracted by pets: tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. Once they have infected an animal, they can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract. They can also shed eggs that can infect humans, typically children and the immunosuppressed. Worms can be easily prevented and controlled with routine treatment. There are various options available, such as tablets or spot-ons, and you should discuss them with your vet.

Fleas and ticks are also common external parasites seen in pets that cause skin irritation, paralysis and further problems. Fleas will infect both your pet and the environment. Requiring thorough cleaning to ensure they cannot re-infect your pet once they are flea-free. Like worm control, routine treatment is key and should be discussed with your vet for the best option.

Heartworm control is another key part of your pets’ health plan as while it is easy to prevent, it is difficult and costly to treat. Heartworms, or its official name Dirofilaria immitis, live around the heart and lungs at their adult stage. Causing serious damage which can result in severe respiratory problems and even death. This parasite is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that injects the heartworm larvae into your pets’ blood. These larvae, known as microfilariae, migrate to the heart to grow into adults and produce more microfilariae. As it is difficult to avoid mosquitoes, the use of either a yearly heartworm injection or monthly tablet is recommended as it significantly reduces the risk of infection. Your vet can recommend the best option for your pet based on their needs.

Dental Care

Similar to humans, it is important to make sure your pets’ teeth and gums are well looked after. Just like us, plaque will build up on your pets’ teeth that needs to be removed but they can’t brush their teeth! If not removed, the plaque may develop into a hardened form, known as calculus. It attracts bacteria, leading to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). This can be painful for your dog and if left untreated, may lead to further periodontal disease such as loss of the gum and even the tooth itself. Bacteria from the plaque can also be absorbed into the bloodstream. It can infect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and heart.

Dental disease is an area where early intervention and prevention is critical as this damage is normally irreversible and is expensive to treat. Luckily, there are various ways to help your pet maintain good oral health throughout their life. You should start by discussing any concerns with your ve. Ensure you regularly for ‘dental check-ups’ to detect the early stages of disease. To prevent plaque build-up, you can teach your dog to have their teeth brushed or wiped by you daily with special pet toothpaste. Specially formulated dental diets, chews and toys are available that have special additives to remove or break down plaque. If your pet already has a build up of plaque, vets can perform a scale and polish of their teeth to clean them. They can also take dental x-rays to monitor any potential problems.

Nutrition and Weight Management  

The nutritional needs of your pet vary depending on their health, age, breed, sex, and various other factors. As it is always changing, it can be difficult to tell what your pet really needs. If you’re not quite meeting their proper nutrient requirements, this can lead to an increased risk of health issues. Obesity is a common and major issue in Australian pets. Studies show that over 35% of cats and dogs are overweight. Understanding how much your dog should weigh and how to tell if they are in good condition is essential for pet owners to learn. You can discuss this with your vet and learn about body condition scoring. A scale from 1 to 5 that uses different markers on your pet to determine if they are at a healthy weight.

How can I make the above points routine? 

Simple – Well Pet Club 

Your pet will receive 12 months of preventative care every 3 months. A yearly booster. A 6 month health check (where most of the above are routinely checked!). Nurse clinics (for things like nail clips). Discounts on certain operations and access to members only discounts.

You will save at least £120 per year – we highly recommend the Well Pet Club and with prices starting at £9 per month, it is a very affordable plan which has 1,200 of our clients already signed up!

 

Charity event for Vetlife

Cat microchipping

FREE urine glucose test

Vet holding a syringe.

Diabetes

Diabetes is estimated to affect 1 in 150 cats, and 1 in 200 dogs in the UK, although it may be under-diagnosed. In both species it’s said to be on the increase.

Diabetes is exceedingly rare in Guinea pigs and rabbits. Obesity is thought to be the major cause of these isolated cases so keeping your small pet a healthy weight is ideal. A high proportion of Chinese hamsters are born with a genetic predisposition to develop diabetes.

We will concentrate on dogs and cats within this whistle-stop tour of diabetes. Although there is no cure, treatments for cats and dogs do exist.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by a lack of the hormone insulin, or a lack of response to it. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and released into the blood after food. It allows glucose released into the bloodstream to be taken up by cells in the body and used for energy as well as keeping blood glucose levels steady. Lack of insulin, or lack of response to it, means cells will not be able to use glucose efficiently for energy and blood glucose levels increase (hyperglycaemia). There are two main types of diabetes, and dogs and cats suffer it quite differently.

  • Type-1 diabetesis the most common type seen in dogs and is due to failure to produce enough insulin. This is often because of irreversible damage to pancreatic cells by the immune system, but can be due to long-term inflammation of the pancreas, or end stage type 2 diabetes. It’s commonly called ‘insulin dependent’ as pets require insulin injections for successful treatment.
  • Type-2 diabetes, most common in cats, occurs due to a combination of reduced insulin production, and insulin resistance (where cells do not respond normally to insulin). Over time the pancreatic cells become exhausted or destroyed which ends in type-1 type diabetes, often the stage of diagnosis. There is a link between chronic pancreatitis and diabetes in cats.

Pets can suffer insulin resistance due to the effect of hormones, such as excess production of cortisol in Cushing’s disease in dogs, excess growth hormone production in cats, or progesterone in un-neutered female dogs. Unspayed females are twice as likely to become diabetic. Certain medication such as glucocorticoids can also cause resistance. In cats, insulin resistance is often due to obesity, which can increase chances of diabetes 4-fold.

In hamsters, diabetes appears to be related to an increased demand for insulin, exhaustion of supplies then a decrease in pancreatic cell mass causing a deficiency in insulin.

What signs might my pet have?

Diabetic animals will urinate more and subsequently drink more to make up for lost fluid. As the energy in food is not used efficiently, pets will be hungrier but lose weight. Most animals develop cataracts. As cells are starved of energy, fat is changed into ketone bodies, an emergency fuel, creating by-products that can make animals extremely sick. This late stage is known as diabetic ketoacidosis and is fatal if not treated. These pets will be lethargic, have a poor appetite and may vomit.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Diagnosis is done by simply looking for high levels of glucose in the blood and urine alongside the classic signs. In cats and other species, stress can cause high blood glucose. In cats, if in doubt, there is another lab test that looks at average glucose levels over the previous few weeks. Other tests to look for associated issues may be needed.

How is diabetes treated?

Insulin

Most pets need twice-daily injections of insulin under the skin. Although this may sound scary, the needles are small, unnoticed by the pet, and are easy to give with practice and teaching. Some owners use an insulin pen, which makes it even easier. The dose is adjusted depending on your pet’s signs, urine, and blood results. It’s important to give the dose accurately as an overdose can cause an extremely dangerous, sometimes fatal, drop in blood glucose. Diabetic pets that show weakness or a drunken appearance immediately need sugar delivered orally followed by veterinary assessment.

Diet

Diet can help enormously in diabetic control. Recommended diets for cats and dogs are quite different. A high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet is now thought most beneficial for cats. High-protein diets increase their sensitivity to insulin and cause less of a glucose spike after eating. Dealing with obesity is vital given the link with diabetes. In dogs we know stability in feed type and timing is vital. Type of carbohydrate is important and there is a debate about optimal fibre levels. Sticking to prescription diets recommended by your vet is the best idea.

If your pet is really sick, they may require investigations and treatments as an inpatient. Pets may need tests for other related conditions such as Cushing’s disease if they do not respond to insulin as expected. If you have a female unspayed dog, then neutering will need to happen as soon as possible. Medications that may be impacting their sugar levels will need to be reviewed.

For hamsters, feeding a high-protein, low-sugar, low-fat diet, may help to prevent and control diabetes to a certain extent.

The outlook

Treatment requires a huge time and financial commitment.

Without treatment diabetes is eventually fatal. However if caught early and stabilised well, diabetics can have a good quality and quantity of life. If poorly controlled, diabetics can have a much-reduced lifespan and suffer complications that do impact on quality of life.

If diabetes is managed well initially in cats, irreversible damage can be limited and, once rested, the pancreas MAY recover so remission is possible, with occasional cats not needing insulin long-term. This is rare. For dogs, other than with un-neutered females where neutering can occasionally lead to a remission of diabetes, dogs will need insulin injections forever.

 

Vet holding a syringe.

Vaccine supplies

Is my puppy scared of fireworks?

Puppy scared Of Fireworks

Dogs can learn to be completely at ease with loud noises if they are gradually accustomed to them early in life. The aim is to habituate them to the point where they can remain relaxed when hearing loud sudden noises, such as they might experience on a day out at a show or when at home on firework night.

Start early
Puppies should be exposed gradually to recordings of the noise of fireworks and other loud noises. These recordings should be played quietly at first, so the puppy is not startled and gradually increased over time, taking care not to worry them in any way. The aim should be a calm acceptance rather than only just tolerating.

Use an ADAPTIL Junior collar throughout the process, it is clinically proven to help puppies learn better and faster.

Little and often
Frequency is key. The more the sounds are presented, the easier the puppy will accept them as part of daily life and the less notice they will take of them later in life. If done well, this early training will prepare them for a lifetime of worry-free celebrations.

Prevention is better than a cure
Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to noise sensitivities as habituation to sounds takes far less time than a treatment programme later in life. It is also much less stressful for the animal too. It is not difficult to do, it just needs to be done, preferably being started by the breeder and continued by the new owner until the puppy is mature.

Using an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser or ADAPTIL Junior collar will help your dog cope with the loud noises.
For further support, use ADAPTIL Express to calm your dog 2 hours before the anticipated event.

Using Feliway for my cat

What is FELIWAY Optimum?

Is your purrfect pal already a fan of FELIWAY? Kitty parents will be excited to hear about our brand new product!

FELIWAY Optimum helps cats with more signs of stress, in more situations, and calms cats better than ever. After the discovery of a new Feline Pheromone Complex FELIWAY Optimum has been designed to enhance your cat’s calmness around the home and help them adapt to any changes that may happen on a day-to-day basis.

It is an innovative, new Feline Pheromone Complex, that conveys more impactful messages than ever before; supported by exciting clinical evidence that it outperforms existing pheromones and visibly helps cats with more signs of stress in more situations to provide harmony in your home! FELIWAY Optimum is a new FELIWAY® innovation for owners wanting the very best for their kitty.

Should I use FELIWAY Optimum for my Cat?

We know that cats are creatures of habit and find changes around the home challenging, but as we live in busy changing environments, we may forget the impact that some of the stresses of modern life can have on our feline friends. Luckily, FELIWAY Optimum can help.

What might be normal day-to-day changes for humans, can sometimes be unsettling for your cat. New visitors to the home might send your feline friend scooting out of the room to find their favorite hiding place; they might get confused when you redecorate a room or move furniture around – don’t forget they have left their scent in their favorite places and you might change this with one sweep of a paint brush! New pets or even a new baby arriving in the house can also make your cat feel vulnerable, anxious and affect your relationship with them.  Cat Hiding FELIWAY Optimum

Your house is your home, but it’s your cat’s territory too. They have worked hard to make it their own by marking it with their scent, discovering their own perches, secret hiding spots and establishing a routine!

Kitties like control and sometimes modern life can come into conflict with your cat’s essential needs! Do they have to share their space with other cats? Are there loud noises that sometimes spook them? Do other commitments mean you’re not always home at the same time every day? If so, FELIWAY Optimum can help!

cats fighting FELIWAY Optimum

If your feline seems unsociable, unpredictable or stressed, you’re not sure why, and you have checked with the vet that your kitty is healthy, they may be reacting to changes around the house. Whatever the cause, FELIWAY Optimum helps cats with more signs of stress, in more situations, and calms them better than ever.

Why FELIWAY Optimum?

Cat’s naturally produce pheromone markers to show that they feel comfortable or at home in a space, and to let other cats know that this is their territory! Our new product FELIWAY Optimum contains the most advanced Feline Pheromone Complex yet!

By providing an environment that your cat will constantly feel safe and secure in, you will make your cat happier, less anxious, more sociable and enhance your relationship with your feline friend – and bring harmony to your cats if they’re in conflict. FELIWAY Optimum provides a total serenity solution with a new pheromone discovery for advanced comfort and calm!

 

Let FELIWAY Optimum become your secret support and learn how to make home changes easier for your cat – and calm them better than ever.

FELIWAY Optimum can be used with cats of all ages. Used continuously, it will provide permanent happiness, serenity and comfort to your cat.  Just plug it into the room your cat uses most, to help them feel more relaxed when faced with changes around the home.

Firework awareness month

Pass wide and slow