Advice and Offers

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URGENT: COVID-19 UPDATE

COVID-19 Update

In light of the new guidelines concerning COVID-19 we have had to make the decision to see urgent cases only. We will be maintaining staff in the building to deal with emergencies and we will be able to offer phone consultations where this is appropriate. We are also able to dispense medication however there will be protocols put in place to limit our contact with the public when collecting these. Please do not come to the practice without phoning ahead. We will be operating a closed door policy and we need to know who to expect.

Although these are drastic measures please be reassured that we are still here to help you and your pets. If you may require food or medication in the coming weeks please contact us by phone or email and we will make arrangements to provide these for you. We will continue to update you with specific protocols put in place to keep us all safe.

Please stay safe and follow the guidelines to stay at home.

With best wishes to all our clients in these worrying times and a reminder to call us if you are worried about your pet.

Doranne Ashley


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March 2020 is Dental Health Month at Ashley Vets!

Take advantage of our offer and save up to 50% off a scale and polish for your pet and give them a bright, healthy smile and fresher smelling breath!

 

 

 
Call us today to book for your pet’s dental treatment or for a free dental health assessment with our veterinary nurse.


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Does it really matter if my pet is obese?

Obesity affects both the quality and quantity of life for our pets which means that our pets live a longer, healthier and happier life when they are the correct weight.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing serious illnesses; one of the most salient ones being Diabetes mellitus.

In addition to this, overweight pets are of greater risk of anaesthetic complications, joint issues, breathing issues and other illnesses such as cancers.

My pet doesn’t look like he eats very much…..he can’t be overweight. Can he?

We love our pets, and we love nurturing our pets!

A lot of the incredibly strong bond between humans and their pets is made and maintained by feeding, as we see their enjoyment and happiness when receiving food from us!

However, approximately 56% of dogs and 60% of cats are overweight, and statistical trends show that this is only increasing. Studies also suggest that we as owners are not great at perceiving when our pets are overweight.

 

So how much should I be feeding him?

It’s very difficult to know how much to feed our pets, as different brands of foods can advise different things – which is why we are here to help!

Our nurse, Robyn, offers free weight clinics where she offers helpful and supportive advice for things you can implement at home.

We want to help by providing objective ways of measuring your dog or cat’s body condition, and we can show you this in practice if you are not sure if your pet is the correct weight.

We will run through what your pet is being fed at the moment and will advise if there’s any need to change the amount in a non-judgemental and encouraging way!

If you would like to book in for the weight clinic please give us a call to arrange an appointment.

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

 

 


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Fireworks

 

It is that time of year again; a lot of our furry friends become very distressed with fireworks. We as humans understand that the loud bangs are for celebrating and won’t do us harm, but these noises can be terrifying for our animals. Recent studies have shown up to 40% of dogs are scared of fireworks, but it’s not just dogs… Cats and rabbits show signs of anxiety with fireworks too. It’s really important to keep our pets calm during this time – if they run off from being spooked by the noise of a firework dogs can and do actually run into traffic which could be very dangerous.

None of us likes to see our pets suffer, so we’ve put together a few tips to help our beloved animals through this potentially stressful time.

The first thing is to know how to look out for signs of stress in our animals as they display these differently from us and sometimes are reluctant to show us at all!

Dogs

  • Shaking/ increased yawning or panting
  • Off food
  • Excessive barking
  • Digging
  • Destroying toys or other objects
  • Pacing or trying to run away

Cats

  • Hiding
  • Urinating or defecating outwith the litter tray
  • Off food
  • Trying to escape/ runaway

Rabbits

  • Thumping hindlimbs
  • Freezing or trying to runaway

Seeing our pets in fear can be distressing for both them and us as owners. There are a few things you can do prior to firework displays to help reduce stress and make your animal safe. Firework phobia is a serious, treatable condition and we are here to help. We have lots of options available in our practice, whether that’s a prescribed medication or helpful advice. Our vets are always on hand to give you some tips and tricks if you are concerned about your pet. This shouldn’t have to be a time of year that you and your pet dread!

We’ve put a list together of things you can try at home yourself to mitigate your pet’s stress:

Preparing for fireworks

  • Check when and where local firework displays are being held
  • Check microchip details are up to date
  • Ask neighbours If they are planning to have unofficial firework displays
  • Use pheromone plug in or sprays to help reduce anxiety – contact the clinic or make an appointment and we can provide further information about these.
  • Make a safe space/ den for your pet. Cats like to be up high so a bed at height with a cover over it is ideal.
  • Walk dogs before dusk
  • Top up water bowls – stressed animals can become more thirsty
  • Shut all doors and windows, lock cat flaps. Close curtains to reduce the stress from flashing lights and dull the noise.

During Fireworks

  • Have the TV or radio on to help muffle out the bangs and distract your pet
  • Try not to act differently around your pet, this can make them more anxious. If your pet seeks reassurance comfort as you would normally and try to stay calm and positive
  • Never force your pet out or tell them off for showing anxious behavioural it will only make them more distressed.

Some of the medications we prescribe here and tips for you to try at home can be used for other phobias your pet may have such as travelling, other noise phobias or general anxiety disorders.

If your pet has severe noise phobia please contact the clinic to discuss medication that can be prescribed to help reduce the stress.

                                                                                      

 


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So What Are Supplements for Pets, and Why Do They Matter?

There is a legal definition of pet supplements (they are called ‘nutraceuticals’ in legislation), but essentially they are a food additive that’s marketed as having some kind of beneficial effect on health. They can be combined into pet food (lots of prescription diets make use of these to boost their effectiveness), or used separately as a tablet or liquid, and are commonly used orally (by mouth). Typically, they’re made or derived from natural ingredients.

They are very useful things for a few different reasons, but the main reason we use them is that they can often be used alongside prescription medications. This means that we can add in extra treatment without interfering with any treatment the pet may already be on, which is very useful for conditions which require multiple medications to manage, or older pets who may already be receiving treatment for something else. They’re also very helpful for more mild conditions which may not be severe enough to need a prescription medication (for example, very early arthritis or mild anxiety), and some of them can even be useful to help lessen the long-term side effects of some prescription medications.

So does your pet need a supplement? The honest answer is probably not, but there will be pets who could benefit whose owners maybe don’t know about the options available. We’ll be covering the range of conditions that we have some pretty good evidence for in later blogs this month, but we know that certain supplements can be helpful with joint conditions, skin conditions, mild behaviour issues, urinary issues and UTIs in cats, and liver conditions.

When talking about supplements, it’s always important to note that not all supplements are created equal! Unfortunately, there isn’t much regulation around supplements because they’re not classed as ‘medications’, so it’s very easy for people or companies to sell fake ‘supplements’ which may contain absolutely no active ingredient, or even harmful ingredients. Naturally, the internet is a big part of this – after all, anyone can list just about anything on Amazon! We’re also seeing more and more people selling ‘supplements’ on sites like Gumtree and Facebook, which is incredibly dangerous. Again, we’ll post something more in-depth on all of this later this month, but the general advice is always to seek supplements from your vet, or seek a well-known brand from a reputable shop!


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Heat Stroke – the facts


Sometimes it’s hard to believe that even in Scotland dogs die from heatstroke but believe me – THEY DO!

Dogs can’t tolerate high temperatures as well as humans because they only have sweat glands in their feet and around their nose so they are less able to cool themselves down.

As a result, dogs typically rely on panting to keep themselves cool. Panting is one of the most important ways dogs regulate their temperature.

Tips to keep your dog cool

  1. Restrict exercise on hot days
  2. Never leave dogs in hot rooms or sun traps
  3. Avoid long car journeys
  4. Make sure they have access to a cool shaded place and cool drinking water
  5. Always take water on a walk
  6. In summer, walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening
  7. Spray your dog with cool water
  8. Never leave your dog in a parked car

Heat stroke takes effect very quickly and is an emergency!

It is important that you recognise the signs and make sure your pet gets treatment straight away. Otherwise, it can result in death.

It’s particularly devastating as it’s easily avoided so make sure you know how to recognise the signs.

Signs of heat stroke in dogs

  1. Faster, heavier panting
  2. Barking, whining or signs of agitation
  3. Excessive thirst
  4. Excessive drooling
  5. Increased pulse and heartbeat
  6. Dark-coloured (red or purple) gums or tongue
  7. Glassy eyes
  8. Elevated body temperature of 40ºC (104ºF) and up
  9. Staggering, weakness or collapse
  10. Seizures
  11. Unconsciousness

Detecting heat stroke early and treating it promptly is essential to your dog recovering successfully.

We will most likely try to cool your dog gradually and put him on a drip to replace lost fluids and minerals. We may also instruct you to try to cool your dog down on the journey. Please call us for advice on the safest way to do this.

 Never immerse your dog in cold water as this can lead to shock.

If you are concerned at all about your pet in the heat please call us. We are here to help!


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Ashley Vets is 10 Years Old!!

 

Come and help us celebrate while raising money for Charity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 23rd March at Knightswood Community Centre 2-4pm

We have competitions, home-baking, face-painting for the kids, teddy bear vet clinic, pet photo competition and a great raffle with amazing prizes. The Fire Brigade are coming along with the fire engine for the kids to see.

We are raising money for The Cinnamon Trust

www.cinnamon.org.uk

Please come – we would really love to see you there!

 

Doranne and the Ashley Vets Team


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Vaccines and Your Pet – Dispelling the myths

We commonly vaccinate three species at Ashley Vets – dogs, cats, and rabbits. In the last few years, we’ve had increasing numbers of owners concerned about the effects that vaccination may have on their pets, particularly with regards to ‘over-vaccination’ and side effects, with some owners opting not to vaccinate their pet at all because of their concerns.

Unfortunately, the diseases which we vaccinate against are serious and often fatal. It is thanks to widespread vaccination that we have seen a significant drop in these diseases over the past 30-40 years, and increasing numbers of owners, thankfully, having never come across them. There is no cure for the diseases we vaccinate against. In many cases, hospitalisation and intensive care for up to several weeks are all we can do, and this is not always successful depending on how serious the infection is.

Vaccination not only protects your pet against these diseases, but thanks to an effect called ‘herd immunity’, it also protects every pet they interact with. Some pets are unable to ever be vaccinated due to a weakened immune system (such as pets undergoing cancer or intensive allergy treatments), and they depend on other pets being vaccinated for protection.

For these reasons, we cannot recommend vaccination strongly enough. Vaccinations are life-saving, and considerably cheaper than the intensive care required to treat the diseases we prevent. Many insurance policies also insist on pets being vaccinated, and may be invalidated in certain cases if not.

However, we do understand some of the concerns surrounding vaccination. Some pets do have adverse reactions to vaccines which are very similar to adverse reactions in humans. The more common reactions are a swelling at the injection site, a mild fever, or lethargy and/or a reduced appetite. These are all generally self-limiting and do not require treatment. Very rarely (defined as less than 1 animal in 10,000 or isolated reports), pets can suffer from hypersensitivity or anaphylactic reactions. These would typically begin whilst the pet is still in the practice, so identification and treatment could begin very rapidly. There is no scientific evidence available of any other side effects, including behavioural effects.

The presence of these side effects is why the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) has published guidelines on the safe and effective use of vaccines. We do strive to follow these guidelines where possible.

WSAVA has defined several ‘core vaccines’ for dogs and cats, which should be administered regardless of lifestyle to all pets who do not have an existing health problem which does not respond well to vaccination. In dogs, these are distemper, adenovirus/canine infectious hepatitis, and parvovirus. In cats, these are feline parvovirus/panleukopenia, calicivirus, and feline herpesvirus/rhinotracheitis. The recommendation is that pets receive these vaccines as puppies/kittens, then again at the first booster at 6 months to 1 year of age, then no more often than three-yearly. We follow this recommendation, except that we carry out the first booster at around 1 year of age, as it gives us the chance to give your pet a full health check as they mature.

WSAVA have also defined ‘non-core’ vaccines for dogs and cats, which can be given based on local risk and the pet’s lifestyle. This includes leptospirosis in dogs, feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) in cats, and rabies in both species where the pet is not traveling outside of the UK. Leptospirosis and FeLV are present in Scotland and cases are seen across the central belt every so often. Leptospirosis is transmitted via the urine of infected dogs, and FeLV by contact with any body fluid. Therefore, we strongly recommend that any dog or cat who goes outdoors (including cats who ‘just’ go out into the garden or the veranda) or lives with other dogs or cats are vaccinated. Due to the way these viruses work, the WSAVA recommend that these vaccines are given annually unless risk factors change. Rabies is not currently required if the pet is not travelling outside of the UK.

We do know that immunity against some diseases can persist for much longer than the recommended dosing schedule. We can test the levels of immunity against a virus with titre testing. Unfortunately, there are no reliable titre tests which exist for the majority of the diseases we vaccinate for in cats, but testing is reliable and effective for distemper, canine infectious hepatitis, and parvovirus in dogs.

Titre testing involves taking a small blood sample and sending it to a lab, who then are able to determine the level of immunity present with a series of tests. A positive result means that there is no need to give the DHP vaccine again for at least 1 year. In cases of positive results, we would always recommend repeating the test every year so that we can be certain your pet has the required immunity. A negative result means that the pet does not have sufficient immunity to last a full year, and revaccination is recommended.

Titre testing may not entirely replace vaccination for every owner due to the slightly higher costs involved, and the need to vaccinate against leptospirosis annually in many dogs regardless, but it is a very useful tool and is readily available to any owner who wishes it. However, we would recommend checking with your insurance company to make sure they accept titre testing in lieu of vaccination.

Unfortunately, none of these guidelines apply to rabbits. However, both myxomatosis and rabbit/viral haemorrhagic disease are extremely infectious and commonly fatal, so we strongly recommend annual vaccination.

If you have any further questions, please contact the practice or speak to a member of staff next time you’re in.

You can also access the WSAVA vaccination guidelines here

 


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What’s the point of senior diets and what should I feed my older pet?


Pets are living longer than ever – so much so that some breeds are now considered ‘senior’ for almost half of their lives. The signs of ageing in some pets are obvious – black Labradors seem to get their grey muzzle much earlier than they start to feel old! Some signs aren’t so obvious though, and one of the big ones we often miss as pet owners is the changes in digestion.

The most important thing for dogs is managing their calorie intake. Dogs often need fewer calories as they get older because they aren’t as active as they used to be (though there are always exceptions to this rule!). Being overweight has been shown to worsen arthritis and has been linked to a decreased life expectancy, so it’s extremely important to avoid feeding excess calories. However, we don’t want our senior dogs to be too lean either, because a healthy amount of fat will help them cope with any periods of illness. The appetite can also decrease as age really starts to advance, so we sometimes need to balance feeding the right amount of calories with how much dogs will eat. Finding this balance can be one of the trickiest things about feeding older dogs.

That’s not all though! Dogs’ ability to digest nutrients doesn’t change with age, but the digestion isn’t as adaptable, and it can’t cope as well with any deficiencies or, more commonly, excesses of nutrients. This means it’s vital to get the balance just right, and it’s especially important with protein.

Senior dogs tend to lose muscle mass. This is what makes older dogs look frail or delicate, and it can also make arthritic pain worse. Loss of muscle does happen in humans too – it’s called sarcopenia. To help combat this, we want to feed extra protein, but this can be complicated if the dog develops a health condition made worse by too much protein in the diet – like kidney disease.

We may also want older dogs to have extra antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. There is some limited evidence to say that these supplements may help prevent reducing brain function (dogs can develop dementia-like symptoms in very advanced age) and help with arthritis. These aren’t considered essential, but they’re worth considering for the majority of older dogs.

In cats, things are even more complicated – of course! Senior cats aren’t able to digest fat and protein as well as they used to, and their calorie requirements actually increase after 13 years of age. This is a huge problem when you’re a carnivore and these two nutrients are where you get all of your calories from, and you can suffer from loss of muscle in the same way as humans and dogs. We still need to balance calorie content carefully and make sure older cats aren’t overweight, but we do need to feed older cats more calorie-dense foods with higher-quality protein to help meet their calorie requirements. We can also include antioxidants and omega-3s to help combat senility – it’s common for very old cats to forget their house training.

Believe it or not, cats do need their joints looked after. Cats can and do get arthritis, and it’s believed to be one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in older cats. There are a variety of supplements we can add to the diet to help maintain joints, and finding the right mix for individual cats can make a big difference.

Who knew feeding senior pets was so complicated!

Luckily, this is where senior diets come in.

Pet food companies have already done all the hard work for us, and senior diets are specially formulated to meet all of these needs as closely as possible. As with all pet foods, it’s worth getting the highest-quality diet you can.

If you’re not sure if a diet is the right choice for your pet or you’re not sure if you’re feeding the right amounts, just get in touch! We can make diet recommendations, and take all the guesswork out of feeding your senior pet.


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Care of senior pets

As well as being a vet, I am also the owner of a 14 year old spaniel, so the care of older pets is something I am dealing with on a full-time basis!

When our pet is defined as ‘senior’ depends on the species and breed. In cats this is usually from 10 years old, in dogs from around 8 years old (younger in some giant breeds).

The most important thing to remember is that – age is not a disease!

 

While our pets are more prone to developing various diseases and conditions as they get older, they should still be able to live a comfortable and fulfilling life – so if you are noticing changes in your pet’s behaviour, it’s always worth getting them checked over by a vet.

For example:

‘Slowing down’

If your dog is slow on walks, or less interested in going out, this could indicate painful joints, heart or respiratory problems, neurological disease, hormone imbalance, anxiety… it’s usually not just a sign of ‘old age!’ In cats, ‘slowing down’ can be harder to notice, but if your cat is less playful or staying in one area for long periods, the same issues could apply.

Behaviour changes 

This could include toileting in the house/outside the litter tray, excessive vocalisation, pet seeming more grumpy or fearful than usual or less responsive to commands. There are a few medical issues that would cause these symptoms – one is ‘cognitive dysfuction’.

This is similar to dementia in humans.
There isn’t a cure, but there are a few medications and diets that can help support mental function in our pets – for example, Nutramind. These supplements can safely be used in older pets even if they have no symptoms, to help promote a healthy brain.

Loss of senses

We often observe loss of sight and hearing in older pets, as they age. Many times, this is due to old age and your pet can still live a happy life. However, sometimes these changes can occur as a result of other problems – for example, cataracts could be a sign of diabetes, and sudden blindness can result from high blood pressure.

Change in appetite

Studies have found that appetite does decrease in animals as they age, so you may find your dog or cat doesn’t eat as much as they used to. Again, it’s important to make sure they are regularly checked by a vet to look for other signs of poor appetite, such as dental disease, pain or gastrointestinal issues. It’s worth making sure your pet is being fed a senior diet, which is nutritionally balanced to meet their needs.

To discuss your pet’s diet, pop in or make an appointment with our vet nurse Robyn who can advise what is most appropriate.

So, it’s really important to have your senior pet checked regularly so we can spot any health issues and help them live life to the fullest! We would recommend a health check every 6 months for older pets. We then may advise blood tests, urine testing and/or blood pressure measurement – which can all be done at the practice. To help you get started, we are offering a free senior health check for eligible pets in October 2018 – give us a call if you would like to book.

Katy Anderson BVMS MRCVS