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January 2020 Pet Newsletter

This month, we would like to share Vito’s story with you.

After a lovely family Christmas Day, Vito’s owners awoke at 4.30am on Boxing Day to find that Vito was very poorly. He was continually trying to vomit, was unsettled and his tummy looked swollen. Vito’s owners immediately called us and spoke to our on-call vet, who asked a few questions and immediately became concerned about Vito, asking for him to be brought to the surgery straight away.

When Vito arrived, his examination findings were suspicious of a Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), otherwise known as “bloat”. GDV is a condition that most often affects large and giant breeds (deep chested dogs), such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Weimaraners, St. Bernards and has even been seen in Labradors. The stomach enlarges and fills with air and twists (it is not known for certain which happens first), meaning that the air can’t escape, with the spleen commonly getting twisted along with the stomach. The pressure from the enlarged stomach affects the circulation and parts of the stomach, gut and spleen can begin to die off. As the condition progresses, dogs become weak and collapsed as the blood supply from the back end is affected, toxins build up, blood pressure changes and heart arrythmias start. Without immediate attention, the condition rapidly becomes fatal.

Xrays of Vito confirmed a GDV and Vito was stabilised and rushed to surgery. Thankfully the surgery went well and Vito recovered initially with us, then at home, and at the time of writing of this article is starting the gradual return to normal life.

We hope that Vito’s story will help to save other dog’s lives by raising awareness of this often fatal condition. If your dog is repeatedly retching or vomiting, drooling and is restless, especially if they are a deep chested breed and their abdomen looks swollen, don’t wait – contact us immediately. Time is definitely of the essence with a GDV and Vito’s owners certainly saved his life by their quick actions. Whilst we don’t always know what causes bloat, we always advise that large/giant breed dogs are not exercised after eating, are fed more than once per day and should be encouraged not to eat rapidly (perhaps with a special bowl to slow eating). Vito is 8 years old, which is typical as it appears that the risk increases with age.

If you would like any more information regarding GDV, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

This article is in no way intended to replace individual veterinary advice.

Taking Care of Your Pet’s Ears

Ear conditions are a very common problem for our pets. We see ear infections and sore, painful ears every week. This month, we discuss the various ear problems you and your pet may encounter and how you can prevent these issues.

Ear Infections

These are common in our pets, and may be caused by bacteria, yeasts or parasites. Mites are common in dogs, cats and rabbits but are readily treated once identified. Bacterial and yeast infections are most commonly seen in dogs, especially those who have a moist and warm environment in their ear canal.

Treatments for these infections include cleaning the ears, medicated drops/creams and in some cases, topical medications put on the skin to treat the mites. We may have to sedate or anaesthetise your pet to clean the ears thoroughly and inspect the canals. We may also want to take samples from the ears to view under a microscope or culture the bacteria/yeasts so that we can determine the best treatment to use.

It is important to note that the ear canals of our pets are longer than they appear from the outside and require an otoscope to effectively examine, so it is important that a vet examines the ears to check if the ear drum is intact before medications are given. It is also important to attend follow up appointments so that we can check that the infection has cleared all the way down the canal, and not just in the part of the canal you can see from the outside, otherwise the infection is likely to return, sometimes with bacteria now resistant to the treatment originally used.

Other Causes of Sore Ears

Sometimes, sore ears are caused by objects in the ear canal. These can include foreign objects such as grass seeds, or growths such as polyps. In order to remove these objects, we often need to sedate/anaesthetise your pet so that we can use retrieval instruments safely.

There are other causes of ear disease, usually relating to skin disease, such as allergies – an especially common problem in summer. The ears must be treated alongside the rest of the skin to provide relief. In addition, there are also some diseases of the middle or inner ear which must be treated differently.

Prevention of Ear Problems

Routine cleaning of the ears is a good idea to remove excessive wax/debris. It is important that the ears are cleaned effectively and using a suitable product, please speak to us for guidance. It is also important not to clean the ears too often, as this can interfere with the natural cleaning mechanism of the ear. Those animals who swim a lot or have moist wet ear canals may benefit from drying treatments.

If you have any questions about ear care, please contact us at the surgeries, or attend a nurse clinic where our nurses will be happy to assist you.

Online Booking and Reminder Service

At Peel Vets we are constantly working to improve the service we provide to our clients. As part of this, we have undergone significant upgrades to our IT systems in the last 18 months. This has allowed us to offer new was to interact with us for our clients. This article explains these improvements and what this means for you.

1) Online Booking

As long as you have registered your email address with us (this is used as part of the security needed to log in to your account with us), you are now able to book your pet in for many common appointments online. Simply log in via our website and select an available appointment!

Available options include both vet and nurse appointments, at both our Hornsea and Beverley clinics. You can select an appointment for many common ailments including skin/ear/eye problems, diarrhoea or lump checking, as well as routine treatments such as vaccinations, flea and worm clinics and anal gland emptying.

In addition, you can use the online portal to view and update your contact information.

Please note that this service is not suitable for emergencies or sick pets – please phone reception to book an appointment in these situations as it is important that we can triage your pet over the phone and make a suitable appointment.

We hope that this facility will make appointment booking quick and easy and reduce telephone waiting times.

2) Upgraded Reminder Service

We will be rolling out our new reminder service very soon. This will be for vaccinations and soon afterwards, for worming and flea treatment reminders.

At Peel Vets we are keen to do our part for the environment, so this service will be mainly electronic, meaning that reminders will be primarily email based, with text message reminders to your mobile phone as an alternative. Postcard reminders will be discontinued, vastly reducing our carbon footprint, so we ask that all our clients ensure that we hold the correct email and mobile phone number information as soon as possible. (Should you be unable to provide us with an email address or mobile phone number, please contact reception as we may be able to help you).

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the surgeries.

New Reminder Service Coming Soon!

We are proud to announce that we are updating our reminder service for vaccinations and in the future, to include worming and flea treatment reminders. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and as such, will be stopping paper reminders soon. Instead, reminders will go out primarily in the form of emails, with text messages as an alternative.

In order to do this, we are asking all clients to please update us with their correct email and mobile phone numbers so that they may continue to receive reminders.

However, if you are unable to provide an email address/mobile phone number, please speak to us at reception as we may be able to help you.

Online Booking Available Now!

We are pleased to announce that our clients are now able to book appointments with our vets and nurses via our website. Simply provide us with your email address and then use the link at the top of the page to access our booking system. Whilst online booking is not suitable for emergencies or urgent appointments, we are able to take bookings for many routine procedures, such as vaccinations, nail clipping, post-operative check ups and many more. We can also take bookings online for non-emergency ailments such as ear or skin problems.

In addition to booking appointments, our online system allows you to access your records, keep your contact information up to date and change your preferences. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the surgery.

Getting Ready for GDPR

Here at Peel Vets we have been working hard to prepare for the new GDPR regulations becoming law on Friday 25th May 2018. We take protection of you personal data seriously and have updated our general privacy policy and website privacy policies accordingly.

As part of this, we are asking all clients to confirm with us that the data we hold for you is up to date. Please contact the surgery to do this. We may also ask you to check your data when you next visit us.

If you have any questions regarding data protection, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Update on Allergies

Just like us, our pets can suffer from allergies, particularly in the summer months. This is mostly due to the immune system over-reacting to the cause of the allergy. However, unlike hayfever, our pets often show skin symptoms. This is often seen in dogs as red and inflamed skin, itching, rubbing the nose/ears/face and hair loss around the eyes. Cats may be itchy, but may also show a variety of less straight forward skin issues, such as small lumpy scab like lesions, overgrooming resulting in sharp short hairs and ulcers of the mouth, lip, feet or skin.

Controlling allergic reactions depends greatly on their cause. Short term reactions, such as insect bites, may only require a short course of treatment, such as injections or creams. However, most allergic skin disease requires lifelong control.

It is important to make sure that any cause of skin irritation or itching is removed. This lowers the chance of itching and makes your pet more comfortable. This can include regular emptying of anal glands, consistent effective parasite control (particularly fleas) and bathing using soothing shampoos or foams. There are also supplements available as liquids or tablets to help to promote a normal skin layer, which can help to control allergies.

Allergies have a variety of causes, but some examples include foods, pollens, grasses, mites (both parasitic and environmental, such as storage or dust mites) and chemicals. Removing the animal from the cause of the allergy (allergen) is the ideal treatment and for that allergy testing can be very useful. An example of this is food allergens. We may also want to perform skin testing to rule out other causes of skin disease such as ringworm or certain types of skin mite.

Where removing the allergen is not possible, there are a variety of other options available. Where the allergen has been identified by testing, immunotherapy may be used. This involves injections which, following a period of building the dose, are given monthly to try and normalise the body’s response to the particular allergens.

Another option is using medicines to change the body’s immune reaction to allergens in general, or reducing the causes of itching within the body. There are several of these medications and they can be as given as tablets, liquids to put on food or most recently, long lasting injections which target even more precisely the causes of itching.

Steroids may be used in the short term as tablets, injections or creams. We try to avoid long term steroid use due to potentially life altering side effects, however we may also choose to use them in a particular type of spray formulation which reduces the likelihood of side effects when used correctly (please note this is a specific spray formulation which must be used at the correct dosage – please ask us for more details before deciding to use steroids, this article is in no way intended as a substitute for veterinary advice and there may be reasons why this option is unsuitable for your pet).

Every pet is different, so allergy treatments need to be tailored to each pet. Every pet’s allergies involve different body areas, so treatments for eyes or ears may be necessary too. Unfortunately, there is no easy and quick solution, but given time and investigation, pets can be relieved of the unpleasant itching.

If you would like to discuss any of the options in this article, or discuss an issue with your pet, please do not hesitate to call us at the surgery.

Alabama Rot – What should I know?

Anyone who reads the papers or looks at social media will most likely have heard about this devastating disease over the last few weeks. Cutaneaous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRVG), thought to be what we know as “Alabama Rot”, is a condition affecting the skin and kidneys of dogs. It was named after the location of the first recognised cases, Alabama in the USA. Cases have been seen in various parts of the UK, with skin lesions on the lower part of the limbs being the first noted signs by most owners. These skin lesions look like ulcers and can also be seen in the mouth. Usually about 3-7 days later, signs of kidney failure can be seen, such as increased thirst, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, collapse and even death. However, some dogs do not develop kidney disease. Dogs may go on to develop anaemia and other blood cell changes.

It is not known what causes CRVG. We know that it affects various breeds, of varying age, sex or bodyweight. It is thought to be more prevalent between November and June, but this is not confirmed. The seasonal nature has meant that some people suspect an environmental cause, however the truth is that we do not know.

Diagnosing CRVG is difficult as a certain diagnosis can only be made at post mortem. However, we can become suspicious based on the types of skin lesions and blood test results. If you notice any skin lesions on the lower limbs of your pet, it is advisable to have them checked by a vet. If we are concerned, we may suggest blood tests to look further, however these blood tests may not show any changes in the early stages of disease. Many dogs with CRVG do not survive despite intensive treatment, but for those who do, early treatment is vital. Please bear in mind, there are many skin diseases that can look like CRVG and indeed many more common causes of kidney failure, so please be reassured that CRVG is rare.

Recently, there have been rumours that CRVG has been in our region. We would like to reassure you that no confirmed cases have been seen in our region. There has been a lot of concern in recent weeks about mud being part of the cause of CRVG. There currently is no certain evidence of this, however it is never a bad idea to clean your dog’s coat and skin thoroughly following a walk in muddy areas.

In summary, CRVG is rare, not well understood and we do not know the cause, however if you suspect your dog may have CRVG, it is vital that you seek veterinary advice immediately as prompt care gives the best chance of survival.