Pet health care
Pet health care covers many areas of your pet's life e.g. exercise, diet, vaccination, grooming, and dental care. Different types and different age groups of pets all have different needs and requirements.
The young puppy or kitten needs a well balanced diet, containing protein, calcium and essential fatty acids in the correct proportions to obtain optimum growth and development. The adult animal needs these dietary components in a different ratio as it is no longer growing. The older dog or cat (i.e. over seven years of age) has a slower metabolism, may not be able to cope with high protein foods and will usually be exercising less. Thus an optimum diet must reflect these needs. Modern complete diets have been developed for every stage of your pet's life-span. All branches of the practice carry this wide range of diets, in both canned and dried forms and the staff are happy to give you informed advice as to the right choice for your pet.
Obesity is one of the commonest problems in the pet population. It is often brought about by the best of intentions but can lead to serious medical conditions and complications (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, increased anaesthetic risks). Neutered animals can easily become obese as their metabolism is altered so that they will commonly put on weight if they are fed the same amount and type of food as they were before neutering. A practice obesity clinic is currently being run at the hospital, by our trained nurses, as a free service to our clients. Please contact the hospital for an appointment.
Many dogs and cats suffer from tartar, plaque and gum disease. These are uncomfortable conditions and are also potentially very dangerous as they can act as a source of bacteria which can travel around the body via the blood-stream to the major organs (e.g. kidneys and heart). Early use of a toothbrush and toothpaste is to be recommended. However, this is not possible in all animals. In these individuals a specially formulated diet is now available which cleans the teeth as they chew. Just as with humans regular dental check ups are a good idea. These can be carried out by your vet at the time of annual vaccination as part of the animal's general 'medical' examination or as a free service offered by the practice, by appointment, with a vet or trained nurse. If the teeth require treatment (e.g. a scale and polish, or extraction) advice will be given along with an estimated price. If the teeth are in good condition then tooth brushing techniques or the special diet can be demonstrated.
Prevention is better than cure
It is advisable to get your pet accustomed to being handled and examined at home from an early age. Check the ears, eyes, mouth, skin and paws once or twice a week. Make it into a pleasurable experience for your pet, with lots of praise. This procedure has many benefits, it enables you to pick up any medical problems at an early stage and also gets the animal used to being examined. Ask your vet at the time of vaccination to demonstrate these techniques, if you are unsure. Monitor your pet's toileting habits, if you are concerned then bring a sample of urine or faeces along with you to the consultation. Suitable receptacles are available free from reception on request.
Rabbits and guinea pigs
All the above advice is equally applicable to our smaller furry friends. A special area of concern in these animals is the risk of maggot infestation so a daily check, especially around the back passage, is advised during the summer, especially if there is soiling of this region with faeces. Another common problem is overgrown front or back teeth. This is usually characterised by a reluctance to eat hard food and excessive salivation which tends to collect under the chin. Rabbit vaccinations are available against myxomatosis and HVD, two fatal viral diseases.
24 Hour Emergency Service
This service is available to all our clients. Please telephone the main hospital on 01329 833112. All out of hours emergency telephone calls are answered by veterinary nurses who can give first-aid advice. If the condition is of a more serious nature they will advise you to come directly to the hospital at Shedfield to see a veterinary surgeon. Non-urgent calls and routine appointments should be made between 9am and 5pm.