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    Tick Alert! Why ticks are a problem for your pet

    You’ve probably seen the headlines over the last few days about ticks in the UK – but do you know what it means for you and your pet, or what to do about it?
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    Do you ask your vet questions by email or Facebook?

    Most of my working life as a vet is spent answering questions. Most often, pet owners ask me questions in the consulting room. “Why has my dog stopped eating?” “What is the lump on my cat’s head?” “What is wrong with my pet rabbit?”

    At our vet clinic, people often ask me questions on the telephone. “Why has my dog has started howling at night?” “Why is my cat messing in the house?” Often it is not possible to answer such questions without examining the animal. Dogs may howl because of pain from arthritis and cats may mess in the house because of a urinary tract infection. But one way or another, the questions are eventually answered.

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    Acne: human teenagers aren’t the only ones to suffer from spots

    Adolescents of many different species are afflicted by the common and upsetting skin condition known as acne. So-called ‘spots’ are more visible in humans, because of our hairless faces. In pets, the red, swollen blotches of acne are hidden under a coat of fur, so they are disguised, but they still happen.
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    Why do dogs shake?

    dog shake imageSometimes our dogs shake; from great big body rocks when they have been for a swim (the closer to you the better!), to tiny trembles, either all over or just in one limb. But why do they do it and should we be concerned?
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    Petition Update: A list of what vets can do to help brachycephalic breeds breathe more easily

    At the meeting last month organised by the Kennel Club to discuss the issue of brachycephalic dog health, the signatories of the vet/vet nurse petition were asked to write a list of actions that they, themselves, could take to improve the situation for these animals. In a recent blog, I asked for suggestions, and I have now put these together into a list, which you can read below.

    I have sent this list on to the Kennel Club, who are having another meeting today to discuss more details of what actions will be taken.

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    Pet sitting: an enjoyable and affordable way to have an overseas holiday

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    There's a story in the news today that more British people are choosing “staycations”. There are a number of reasons for this, but one factor is the increasing cost of holidays abroad with the weaker pound since Brexit.

    Pet-sitting overseas: an enjoyable experience for animal lovers

    I've just experienced a new concept that makes overseas holidays affordable once again. TrustedHouseSitters has a simple premise. If you agree to live in somebody else's house, care for their pets, and carry out basic general maintenance of their home, they will allow you to stay there for free.

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    Why do I need to vaccinate against Lepto?

    There have been a lot of scare stories in the media recently about the new L4 leptospirosis (lepto) vaccine. Sadly, some of these have been very misleading, and some owners are even talking about stopping using the lepto vaccine, or reverting to an older and less effective version (the L2 vaccine).

    In this blog, we’ll have a look at the disease leptospirosis, and the various risks that you need to be aware of. It’s important to remember that not vaccinating doesn’t necessarily put your dog at lower risk of severe illness, just at risk of different diseases!

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    The Itchy and Scratchy Show – pet style!

    It always makes me laugh when I catch myself internally chastising itchy animals which are hurting themselves by constantly scratching .“Why doesn’t it just stop scratching?!” I ask myself. Then I think of my recent situation, where, as a keen but incompetent vet student, I was excited to get to scrub into surgery – which means having sterile hands. Hands scrubbed and gloved, I developed a rather inconvenient nose-itch. When facial contortions offered no relief, I sheepishly asked an ungloved vet nurse to scratch my nose for me. A bonding experience, some would say…

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    That must be the worst part of your job ……

    … is something I hear all the time. People are, of course, talking about euthanasia. They imagine it must be really hard putting pets to sleep. Well, it isn’t. I see it as a kindness, a gift, the final act of love for our pets.

    Only very occasionally is euthanasia hard for me and that is usually when I am forced to put an otherwise healthy animal (almost exclusively dogs) down because of behavioural problems.

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    Why do dogs wag their tails?

    There are few things more cheering than the sight of a wagging tail but what is your dog actually trying to tell you?  Certainly, it can indicate happiness but also a lot of other things as well!

    • A tail held high and vigorously wagged from side to side indicates its owner is happy and ready to play.
    • A tail held level with the body and wagged more slowly shows that the dog is in a situation where they are not quite sure what is going on but are interested and paying attention.
    • A tail held low and wagging only a little or twitching, is often showing that the dog is feeling threatened and you should approach and handle them with caution.
    • A tail tucked up and under the body means that the dog is frightened and showing submission.  With reassurance they may start to feel more confident but again, you should take care with them to ensure they don’t progress to growling, or even biting, to make the perceived threat retreat.
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