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Does my dog have a cold?

Does your dog have watery eyes, a runny nose, a cough, lack of energy and appetite? Is it like a human common cold? If yes, he or she may have a mild, viral infection like a cold, but not one we can catch or that they have caught from us - dogs are generally unaffected by the viruses that trouble us and vice versa.
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Just stiff, or sore?

One of the most common conditions encountered in practice is arthritis, otherwise known as osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD). It may be underdiagnosed because many owners may see their older dogs ‘slowing down’ or ‘becoming stiff’ and consider it part of getting old. It’s often only picked up at routine examinations, such as during vaccinations. While common (thought to affect 20% of adult dogs) it is not normal and can significantly impair our ageing pets’ quality of life.
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Veterinary medicines – really a rip-off?

Earlier this week, the BBC’s “Watchdog” ran a programme on the costs of veterinary medicines. This is a perennial favourite (some readers may remember the Marsh / Competition Commission reports from the early 2000s where they concluded that there was a “complex monopoly” on veterinary medicines). The conclusion many viewers drew from the way the programme was presented was that vets were ripping off their customers by over-charging for medicines. I’m in the unusual situation of having worked in veterinary practice, but also having run a small online dispensary, and I think there are several issues we need to look at here. There definitely are significant differences in pricing strategies between different veterinary practices and companies, and it’s worth exploring why this is.
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Will the clock change affect my animals?

This weekend (at 2am on Sunday, October 28th) the clocks in the UK go back by one hour. If you’d forgotten, now’s the time to go and set a reminder for yourself (!), otherwise, I’d like to look in a bit more detail at how the change affects our animals. We change the clocks to give ourselves more daylight at certain times of day - the idea dates back to the early 20th century, and was started in the UK in 1916. However, it can cause problems with our body clocks.
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What’s in a name?

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet…” - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet   We recently came across a really interesting comment on Facebook - a dog owner, who went into her practice to get her dog “neutered”, but then backed out because the vet used the word “castrated”. She thought it sounded so cruel, she never got him done - despite the fact that, of course, it’s two different words for exactly the same thing. In the US it’s sometimes called “altering”, and in Australia “desexing”... but however you dress it up, it is still surgically separating a boy dog from his testicles! So why was the owner so upset by one term but not the other?
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