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Can People Catch Diseases from Animals? Part 1

Around 12,000 years ago, humans domesticated their first animal, probably the dog, with goats, chickens, oxen, and horses following soon after. Ever since then, human and animal lives have been intertwined, and you probably won’t go a day without seeing an animal, even if you don’t own one yourself. If you are a pet owner, you’d probably agree that owning a pet makes life much more fun! But are there any negatives to owning a pet? Well one potential downside is the risk of catching a ‘zoonosis’, the topic we will be discussing in this short series of blogs.
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Vaccines for pets… What, why and how often?

This is always a controversial subject… but sadly there’s a lot of misinformation out there. As a result, it can be very hard to find accurate data in an easy to read form. In this blog I’m hoping to take a brief spin through vaccines for pets. Specifically, the thorny issues of what vaccines to give, and how often they need to be repeated. Because, like most things involving real living creatures, there aren’t any simple answers! If anyone claims there is a simple rule that answers these questions (e.g. “don’t ever vaccinate an animal”, or “vaccinate every animal for everything every year”), the odds are that either they aren’t aware of the science behind modern vaccines, or they’re trying to sell you something.

Why is my dog scratching? He hasn’t got fleas!

Dogs do occasionally scratch, but if it’s frequent, incessant or distressing then something is amiss. Some dogs will lick or nibble rather than scratch. Many do this in private so watch out for red, sore skin, bald patches, or brown saliva staining where the fur has been licked. Itching (technically called pruritus) is a sign, not a diagnosis or specific disease. It’s probably the most common reason for owners to take pets to the vet’s, making up a large proportion of our consultations.

Introducing the VetHelpDirect 2019 Communications Survey

You may remember that we ran a big survey here at VetHelpDirect in 2017. If you’ve been following us for a bit longer (and thanks if you have!), you might even remember we did one in 2015. So, you’re probably getting a feel for the pattern - every 2 years, usually in the autumn, we run a big survey. And of course, it being autumn 2019, we’re due the next one - the VetHelpDirect 2019 Communication Survey is now out!
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Why Is My Cat Losing Weight?

It can be very worrying when you notice your cat to start to lose weight, especially if they’re an older cat. Weight loss conjures up terrible thoughts and googling often makes things worse - a symptom as vague as weight loss can mean so many different things it’s bound to be a scary page of results. We tend to notice problems in cats slowly. They’re masters at hiding signs of illness and disease and often live very independent lifestyles, some even going for several days without being seen. The fact that most cats toilet outdoors, unaccompanied, means that you may not notice symptoms such as diarrhoea or producing large volumes of urine. And since many cats have dried food down all day, changes in appetite can be hard to spot at first. This means that weight loss is often the first symptom that people notice in their cats, with other symptoms only coming after you start to keep a closer eye.
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Laundry liquids – a hidden killer?

We like our clothes and our bedding to be nice and clean, and smell appealing, so we tend to wash them very thoroughly. However, just soaking fabric in warm water does very little to remove stains and grease - so we use a wide range of cleaning products to help lift the dirt out of the fabric. The chemical components that lift the grease found in any laundry liquid are called detergents. Unfortunately, these are highly dangerous, and potentially fatal - especially to cats.
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