Advice and Offers

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Rabbit dental health

In a consult the other day a very astute little boy asked me why his rabbit only had four teeth.  I was impressed by his observation skills, considering his age, but reluctantly had to tell him that they have a lot more teeth than that but they are very difficult to see without looking with a special torch.

Rabbits actually have 28 teeth and their teeth are quite special, in that they grow throughout their entire life.  This is very useful in the wild but unfortunately in pet bunnies can lead to dental issues.  Therefore, it is very important to have your bunny on a good quality pellet diet as well as plenty of roughage consisting of a good quality hay.  Bunnies love to chew…admittedly this can be a little annoying when they destroy your newly bought wooden hutch but it does serve a purpose in wearing down their constantly growing teeth. Providing them with wooden chews is a really good idea in addition to their diet.

Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, some rabbits are just prone to dental problems. The most important thing to do, is to watch out for any problems and seek advice if needed.  Early signs of dental pain include inappetence, drooling and difficulties in chewing – especially the harder food.

Later signs include weight loss, lethargy and tooth grinding – which is also a generalised sign of pain. Please seek veterinary advice if you do see any of the above signs.

The only way to access the rabbits mouth is to look at the molars with a special scope and light. Even then, when the rabbit is chewing and conscious, it can be difficult to see the full extent of the problem but there are usually clues like spikes on the teeth or small ulcers at the side of the mouth where the teeth have been rubbing.

Dental work needs to be carried out, in most cases, under general anaesthetic. This is obviously a worrisome prospect for most owners but a necessity for your rabbits’ health. It is also much easier to fully access every individual tooth under anaesthetic conditions.

Once a rabbit has developed an issue, it is more likely to need repeated treatment going down the line, but don’t worry there is lots of help and advice we can give you.  Please feel free to phone the practice should you need us.


Kirsty Marshall BVMS MRCVS


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Have you ever thought about acupuncture?

In 2010 I decided to enrol in a course to learn how to do veterinary acupuncture.  At the time my friends and colleagues were a little amazed.  I love science, I love facts and figures, this just wasn’t a subject area that most people saw me being interested in. The reason I wanted to learn, was because of my experience with acupuncture in the past.  As a child my brother had chronic leg pain, numerous specialist did little to alleviate this and then out of desperation my mum took him to an acupuncturist. Within 2 months he was better. I hear the sceptics out there saying ‘Well that could have happened anyway’. Let’s face it, it could have, yet a year of specialists and waiting did nothing. I don’t know if acupuncture definitely cured him but over the years, as I saw animals in chronic pain, I couldn’t help thinking of my big brother.

Acupuncture is a healthcare system based on ancient principles. It looks at pain and illness as a sign that the body is out of equilibrium and the aim of treatment is to restore the balance of the body. Ultra-fine needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points, dependent on the clinical condition, which triggers the body’s natural healing response. As I write this, I still struggle with the concept that the process behind acupuncture is little understood. That being said, over the years I have treated a number of animals and do I think acupuncture works? – Yes. Do I understand why it works? -No.

I have seen animals fall asleep when I put the needles in, I have seen animals that have responded in good to great ways after the course of treatment.  Acupuncture does not always work but when it does, it’s great.

My most successful case to date, was a lovely old Labrador that was really struggling with osteoarthritis pain in multiple joints. There was no pain relief or anti-inflammatory left for him to try and a colleague sent him to me for acupuncture.  The owners were at a point that they were considering euthanasia but the dog responded beyond anyone’s expectations and went on to live a further 8 months.

The great thing about acupuncture is that it is so safe and does no harm. I have in the past mainly treated dogs and cats with osteoarthritis and other chronic pain conditions. I am happy to discuss its use in different animals and for different conditions. Please feel free to contact me in the practice if you have a pet or a condition that you wish to discuss.

For those animals that it has helped, I feel it has been invaluable and I am happy to continue to be a practicing acupuncturist. To my big brother, I may not understand exactly why, but I’m just glad you got better.


Kirsty Marshall BVMS MRVCS

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Anxiety – does my pet need help?

How can I  tell if my pet is anxious?

Anxiety is a very common issue for our furry friends. In fact, tens of thousands of animals in the UK suffer from anxiety and noise phobia in particular.

Around this time of year fireworks displays are common, and these can cause severe anxious behaviour to surface.

 Here are some common symptoms of anxiety that your pet might display:

  • Hiding away, cowering
  • Trying to escape
  • Chewing, digging, or destroying things
  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Pacing
  • Howling, barking or generally vocalising more than usual
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Scratching excessively
  • Urinating or defecating inappropriately
  • Eating their faeces

If your pet is displaying these signs, be sure to bring them in to have them checked over and discuss the situation with a vet.


How to help your pet’s anxiety:

Dogs suffer from anxiety for a multitude of different reasons.  Noise phobias are quite common in our pups, which can make days  like Guy Fawkes night and Hogmanay incredibly stressful for pets and owners alike.

There are many ways you can help to manage your pet’s anxiety however, which can make this time of year much less stressful for you and your pet.

  • Preparation:
    • Plan ahead! Check out when fireworks in your area are scheduled.
    • Walk your pet before sunset to avoid having them out during the fireworks display.
  • Setting up a safe space for your pet:
    • Create a den for your pet to seek comfort in (see our information sheet on our website!). Be sure to introduce the den prior to bonfire night so your pet can get used to it.
    • Put the den in a quiet area of the house, away from windows. If there are any windows, be sure to close them and the curtains.
    • Provide access to you, the owner! It’s best to stay in on fireworks night to offer reassurance to your pet if they seek you out and to ensure they don’t injure themselves.
    • Give your pet a big distracting treat or chew like a kong with peanut butter and kibble frozen inside.
    • Turn music or television on.
  • Non-prescription remedies:
    • Adaptil, pet remedy sprays or plug ins. – these are available to buy in the practice and help calm your pet using essential oils and pheromones
    • Nutracalm supplements. – these are gentle calming supplements which you can buy from us without coming in for a consultation
    • Thundershirt or compression shirt.
  • Prescription remedies: Occasionally we find that despite our best efforts at home, pets still suffer from their noise phobias. In these instances we always recommend bringing your pet in for a consultation to speak to a vet.


Cats are special! How to tell if your cat is anxious:

  • There is a lot of focus on dogs during Guy Fawkes, but cats get anxious too! Cats are adept at hiding their anxiety, so it is important to be aware of any behaviours they might display to suggest anxiety. Some common signs include:
    • Overgrooming
    • Trembling
    • Hiding or trying to escape
    • Reduced activity
    • Diarrhoea
  • Preparation:
    • Plan ahead! Check out when fireworks displays in your area are scheduled.
    • If you have an outdoor cat, keep them indoors if there are going to be fireworks.
  • Manage your cat’s anxiety:
    • It’s best to stay in on fireworks night to offer reassurance to your pet if they seek you out, and to ensure they don’t injure themselves.
    • Non-pharmaceutical therapies:
      • Feliway or pet remedy – a plug in diffuser or spray to help calm your cat which you can buy from us
      • Nutracalm – this is a calming supplement which you can buy from us without having to come in for a consultation
      • Royal Canin Calm food – this food has special ingredients in it which calm down an anxious cat
    • In severe cases:
      • Potential referral to a veterinary behaviourist.
      • Prescription medication may be required


Signs of anxiety














If you have any questions or are worried about your cat or dog, please come in and chat to us.

We are happy to help you prepare for the fireworks season  or to talk about any other anxiety issues your pet may have.


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Senior Pets

We are focusing on senior pets this month!








Our older cats and dogs can suffer from many similar conditions to older people.

The most common complaints are arthritis and achiness in the joints but we also see many other changes such as sleeping more, coat changes and behavioural changes.

Older animals are more likely to succumb to issues such as kidney failure, liver issues and lumps and bumps.

Fortunately there is lots we can do to help them so please bring them in regularly for check ups. The sooner we find any problems, the more there is that we can do to help.

In October 2017 we will be offering free health checks to any senior pets that we haven’t seen in over a year so if that’s you please take the opportunity to come in and see us. Also let any of your friends and relatives know if it applies to them so that we can help our older animals be happy and pain-free for as long as possible!

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Thyroid Complaints!

Lets talk about the thyroid glands and what they do for your pet.

The thyroid gland is located in the neck and divided into two lobes lying on either side of the windpipe. The thyroid gland serves several important roles in keeping your pet healthy by regulating metabolism, fat and carbohydrates. It ensures normal growth of cells, which have specific roles in the body. The thyroid gland is also important for the consumption of oxygen and regulating heat production. As such, an imbalance of thyroid hormones can affect the whole body and if left untreated it can lead to serious illness.









Thyroid disorders affect both dogs and cats, although in many different ways.

Our feline friends usually suffer from an overproduction or HYPERTHYROIDISM whereas in dogs it is an underproduction of thyroid hormones or HYPOTHYROIDISM.

If you suspect your pet may be affected stay on the lookout for some very common signs and ensure you contact us and come in for a check up.  Your pet will undergo a physical examination, a blood test to check and confirm thyroid levels and appropriate treatment started.

Since most cats and dogs with thyroid disorders are older, it is recommended that your pet also have other blood test to assess organ function and make sure they do not suffer from any other underlying problems. As other conditions can develop alongside hypo or hyperthyroidism that may affect the successful treatment and outcome.

Things to be on the look out for:

  • Cats
    • Weight loss despite a good or even ravenous appetite,
    • a scruffy dull coat,
    • vomit and or diarrhea, using the litter box more often,
    • changes in behavior such as irritability, anxiety, restlessness and aggressiveness.
  • Dogs
    • Weight gain,
    • lack of energy or, lethargy,
    • weakness,
    • not wanting to exercise as often,
    • changes to the coat and skin such as “rat tail”,
    • recurrent infections,
    • constipation or diarrhea,
    • neurological signs or neurobehavioral changes (aggression, fear, irritability, excitability or submissiveness and changes temperament).

If you see any of these signs in your cat or dog then please make an appointment to see us!


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Neutering….. should I or shouldn’t I do it to my dog?








Rio 11 months

Continuing the story of Rio…. He had his neutering or castration operation last week so I know exactly how our owners feel when they drop their little one off on the morning of their operation.

It’s an emotional time worrying if they are going to be ok and if you have made the right decision in putting them through it.

Here at Ashley Vets we believe that for most pets it is the right thing to do however all our pets are individuals so we are more than happy to discuss the pros and cons and the timing of the operation and we will respect any decision you make for your pet.

For Rio, I opted to wait until he was a little more mature but we can castrate male dogs from 6 months old. This often catches them before they become too ‘randy’ so for many families it is a good decision to go ahead at this time.

There are good medical reasons for neutering.

For the boys it prevents

  • Testicular tumours
  • Prostate issues
  • Anal ademonas (tumours around the anus)

As well as of course reducing sexually motivated behaviours, male to male aggression and roaming.

For the girls it prevents

  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Pyometra (an infection in the uterus)
  • Greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumours

As well as not having the practical inconvenience of regular seasons and hormonal changes.

The operation is carried out here at the practice as a day procedure.

Your little one will need to be starved on the morning of the operation because they will be having a general anaesthetic.

They will be admitted to the hospital and given a thorough check over before a pre-med sedative is given. A blood sample may be taken at this time if you have requested it to check that their internal organs are working correctly.








Rio feeling sleepy after his sedative

Once the sedative has taken effect, they will be placed under general anaesthetic in our theatre and a tube will be placed down their throat. They will be monitored at all times by the veterinary nurse while the vet is performing the surgery.










Rio under general anaesthetic











Rio was constantly monitored while under the anaesthetic











The surgery to remove his testicles







Stitching up the wound

Once the surgery is complete they will recover in a cosy kennel and will be monitored by our team of nurses and animal care assistants until they are fully awake.

They will of course be given pain killers to keep them as comfortable as possible.









Cuddles with Robyn once the surgery is over

They will be ready to go home on the same day by late afternoon and they will have a wound with some stitches in it which stay in place for approximately 10 days. During that time, they will need a little more TLC at home than normal and will need to be rested and stopped from licking their wound.

We will see them back for a check-up which is usually 5 and 10 days after surgery.

Rio was feeling much better by the day after his surgery and his wound is now fully healed and the whole experience hasn’t put him off coming to work with me!







Rio snoozing happily under my desk while I work.

If you want to have a chat about neutering your pet please give us a ring on 0141 959 6100 or arrange to come in for a free appointment with Robyn our veterinary nurse so that you can discuss the details and she can answer any questions for you.

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The Importance of worming in puppies…..

Roundworms can spread to pups from their mother before they are born so even when they are very young and have never been outdoors, they can be harbouring a belly full of worms! That’s why it is so important to treat them for worms from such a young age.

Many breeders will have wormed your new puppy before you have brought him home so we recommend you ask your breeder for the details of when this was done and what worming product was used. You should bring this information along to your first appointment with us.

We will advise you of exactly the best protocol for your pup when you come in but basically all puppies should be wormed at least every month until they are 6 months old. This can be done using tablets or spot-on products and we will discuss with you whether or not you would also like to protect against fleas or other parasites such as ticks.









Rio aged 10 weeks


How would I know if my pup has worms?

If your pup has a lot of worms then they may have a pot-belly and be quite thin. It is possible that you could see worms passed in their poo or vomit.

However, for the majority of puppies, there may be no outward signs of the worms so it is important to treat them regardless.


Why does it matter if my puppy has worms?

Roundworms can spread to humans and cause a disease called toxocariasis.

This is most important for children who will often play outside where dogs may have been and then put their hands into their mouths without washing them.

For most people, an infection with these roundworm larvae causes no symptoms and the parasites die within a few months.

However, some people experience mild symptoms and in very rare cases, the roundworm larvae infect organs such as the liver, lungs, eyes or brain and cause severe symptoms.

(for more information see








Toxocara sp. roundworms

We all want our puppies to be able to play with the whole family without worrying about the spread of parasites so please talk to us and we will come up with the most suitable worming regime for your puppy  and to suit your family!










Rio and his big brother!


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Puppy Vaccination – why is it so important?










Rio 12 weeks old

If you have a puppy, you have probably heard that they need some injections while they are young before they go outdoors but what are they, why do they need them and when should they get them?

The injections are vaccines against the most common and serious diseases which your pup is likely to come into contact with such as parvo virus, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and we also recommend the vaccine against kennel cough.


If their mother was vaccinated then the puppy will get some protection from her which last for the first few weeks of life but by the time your pup is coming home to you this maternal protection will be running out. That is why they need to have the injections themselves.

Your pup will need 2 separate injections and these are usually given at 8 and 10 weeks old but this can be adjusted if necessary for any reason. We can advise you about this when you call.

Until they have had the full course of the vaccines, we recommend that you do not take your puppy out for walks on the ground or let him be in contact with any dogs that you don’t know or are not vaccinated. However, don’t forget how important socialising your puppy is so whenever you get the opportunity you can carry him around to let him get the sights and smells of outside. Have a look at our previous blog for more information on socialisation.

Please get in touch with us as soon as you get your puppy to check what vaccines they need and if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call on 0141 959 6100 for a chat!

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Puppy Socialisation

‘If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you may know that I got a new little cockerpoo puppy, Rio, a few months ago so all things puppy have been on my personal agenda this year. Even if you’ve had a previous dog it’s easy to forget just how much work a puppy can be. Here’s a little reminder of some things to think about…..’
Doranne (veterinary surgeon)



Rio at 8 weeks old








So you’ve got a new puppy……….


It’s an exciting and sometimes terrifying time when you bring home your new puppy so we are running a short series of blogs covering some if the topics which you will want to know about.





First up is puppy socialisation

So what is puppy socialisation?

Socialisation is the process by which puppies learn to relate appropriately to people and other animals. It involves meeting and having pleasant encounters with as many adults, children, dogs and other animals as possible. It also involves becoming used to a wide range of events, environments and situations.

Why is it important?

Experiences during the first year of a dog’s life can make all the difference to their future temperament and character. Taking the time to socialise your puppy can result in a friendly, well-adjusted adult dog who enjoys the company of people, can be taken anywhere and lives life to the full!

A puppy who lacks experience with the world will find many things that we take for granted scary and is very likely to grow up to be a worried dog. A frightened and anxious dog is more likely to develop behaviour problems than a dog who has had a rich, varied and positive puppyhood.

When should this be done?

The younger your puppy, the easier it will be to socialise them. This is because, as puppies get older, they become more cautious when faced with new experiences. The early weeks are particularly important because most puppies will approach anything or anybody willingly and without fear.

By the time your puppy reaches about 12 weeks of age, anything not yet encountered is likely to be approached with caution.

Therefore it is vital that, between three and 12 weeks of age, a puppy meets a wide variety of people, situations and other animals.

How much socialisation is done at this early age will often determine how confident your puppy is around people, other dogs and new environments later in life.

So what can you do?

Much of the socialisation process is easy – it is just about getting your puppy out and about and meeting as many people and animals as possible. If your pup has not had his vaccinations yet, remember he cannot go down on the ground out in the park or on the street but you can carry him in your arms for a walk around the park or to the shops. Puppies love meeting people and a lot of people love talking to pups so just let them and that way your pup will meet lots of new people. Take him in the car regularly or on the bus or the train. Deliberately walk past busy playgrounds so that he will see and hear children playing. You should invite people over to your house to meet your new pup but of course make sure he has plenty of rest time as well.










You should expose him to noises like bin lids slamming, doorbells, telephones ringing, vacuum cleaners – anything at all which he may encounter in later life.

You should expose him to both busy roads, safely of course, and also countryside environments and livestock if possible.

You should introduce him carefully to other puppies and adult dogs. Before he is fully vaccinated this may be limited but if you have friends and family with fully vaccinated, healthy, friendly dogs then you could introduce them gradually at home so that your pup can begin to learn some doggy etiquette.

Puppy classes can be useful but check out the class before you take your pup along. You are looking for a relaxed environment where all the pups are comfortable and are learning how to interact with humans and to play with other puppies.


Don’t forget to have fun with your pup – it’s a special and short time before they grow up so enjoy it and take pleasure from introducing him slowly and gradually to the world around him!

Please talk to us if you have any concerns or need any advice about your puppy!




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Does Your Pet Scratch in the Summer?

Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and pets are getting itchy! With summer just around the corner, you may have noticed that your pet (and perhaps you too!) are starting to suffer from seasonal allergies.

While people often show allergies in the form of itchy eyes and stuffy noses like hayfever, pets usually have itchy skin instead. Often times the paws, ears and tummy are the first places to show a flare up.  One of the hallmarks of a dog having allergies are if they stop a normal activity (like eating, walking or sleeping) specifically to scratch. You may also see your pets skin looking red or inflamed.

Often times allergies are a multifocal problem- pets can be allergic to flowers, grasses, different foods, fleas, and even dust.  To help us figure out how to alleviate your pet’s symptoms, we may test them for parasites, take a blood sample for allergy testing, or trial them on a special diet.

There are also simple treatments which can give them relief from the itch!

If you are concerned your pet might have seasonal allergies, please call 0141 959 6100 and make an appointment with one of our vets.



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