Image The importance of regular vet check-ups for your pet

The importance of regular vet check-ups for your pet

Regular vet check-ups are crucial for several reasons, all of which contribute to your pet living a long, healthy and happy life. During these routine appointments, your vet will be on the lookout for symptoms of illness, internal health issues and other conditions that may need addressing.

Here, our team at St Kitts Vets explain what makes regular check-ups so important.

Early detection of health issues

Unlike us, pets can’t communicate when they are feeling unwell or experiencing discomfort. During a routine check-up, our vets will perform a thorough examination to identify any potential health problems early on. Early detection allows for timely intervention and treatment, which can significantly improve the outcome and may even save your pet’s life.

Preventative care

Prevention is always better than cure. Regular vet check-ups help ensure that your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, parasite prevention, and other essential preventive measures. This significantly reduces the risk of your pet contracting avoidable diseases and infections.

Personalised health recommendations

Every pet is unique, and their healthcare needs may vary based on factors such as breed, age, lifestyle, and pre-existing conditions. During check-ups, our vets can provide tailored health recommendations, including dietary advice, exercise plans, and behavior tips, to help your pet live a healthier and happier life.

Dental health evaluation

Dental problems are common in pets and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Regular vet check-ups will mean your pet’s teeth, mouth and gums can be given a quick once over to help maintain good oral health.

Montior aging pets

As pets age, they become more susceptible to certain health conditions, just like humans. Regular check-ups for senior pets allow us to monitor their health closely, catch age-related issues early, and provide appropriate senior pet care to improve their quality of life.

Weight management

Pet obesity is a significant concern, as it can lead to various health problems. During vet check-ups, your pet’s weight can be monitored, and our vets and nurses can offer guidance on proper nutrition and weight management if needed.

Establishing a positive relationship

No one likes visiting the doctor or the dentist, pets included! However, regular visits are a great way to help your pet become familiar and comfortable with the clinic environment and our team. This will help to reduce stress and anxiety during subsequent visits.

Compliance with legal and travel requirements

Many countries have specific requirements for vaccinations and animal health certificates when traveling or moving with pets. Regular vet check-ups ensure your pet’s vaccinations and paperwork are up-to-date, making travel and relocation hassle-free.

Get FREE health checks with our Pet Healthcare Plans

As a member, you get two FREE health checks per year – one with a vet during your pet’s booster appointment, as well as one with a nurse 6 months later.

Other excellent benefits include:

  • Annual vaccinations
  • Flea, tick* and worming products that fit with your pet’s lifestyle delivered to your door
  • Unlimited nail trims**
  • Microchip (if required)
  • 10% off neutering, dentals & in-house laboratory

And more!

*Tick control included with Plus Plans only.
**One nail trim included with Standard Plans.

You can find out more about our Pet Healthcare Plans here.

You can book a check-up with our team online, or by getting in touch with your local practice:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image How to spot and remove ticks from dogs and cats

How to spot and remove ticks from dogs and cats

As we head into spring, it’s a crucial time to be aware of ticks, which are most commonly found between the spring and autumn months. These common parasites can pose threats to your pets and family if left untreated.

In this article, we’re sharing how you can identify and safely remove ticks from dogs and cats (as well your other pets!) to help protect them from infections like Lyme disease.

Understanding ticks

Ticks are small, spider-like parasites that have eight legs and an egg shaped body. They are typically found in long grass and woodland areas.

Unlike fleas, they don’t jump, but will latch onto your pet’s fur if they brush past. They can feed on their blood for a few days before dropping off once they’ve had enough. However, during this time, there’s a risk the tick could transmit a disease to your pet.

Spotting ticks

It’s important to check your pet’s fur regularly for ticks, paying close attention to areas like their ears, neck and paws.

You may notice ticks become darker in colour, as they feed on your pet’s blood.

How to remove ticks safely

When removing a tick, make sure you don’t squeeze the tick’s body or leave the head in, as this can push blood back into your pet and increase the chance of infection or disease transmission.

If you see a black spot, redness or swelling where the tick was located, it is likely the tick was only partially removed. In these cases, there is a higher risk of infection, so it’s best to book an appointment with your vet to get your pet checked over.

Use a tick removal tool

To avoid causing the tick to split, you’ll need to twist it off. This can be done easily using a tick removal tool, widely available at vets and pet shops.

Some people try to burn ticks off, or use lotion to suffocate them; we strongly advise against this. These methods can harm your pets and will not prevent disease.

Easy to follow steps for tick removal

Step 1: Slide a tick remover under the tick
  • Slide a tick remover under the tick, keeping as close to your pet’s skin as possible.
  • If the tool doesn’t fit closely, try a different size (packs usually come with 2 or 3 different size options).
  • If you don’t have a tick remover, you can carefully use ordinary tweezers. Hold the tick gently and as close to the skin as possible.
Step 2: Twist the tick
  • Twist the tool in one direction, without pulling upwards, until you feel the tick loosen. It will release when you’ve turned enough.
Step 3: Remove the tick
  • Slowly lift the tool away from your pet; the tick should release and remain in the hook.
  • Dispose of it to prevent it attaching to other people or animals.
Step 4: Clean the area
  • Clean the affected area with warm salty water.
  • Monitor your pet for any signs of illness.

Look for symptoms of Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a severe bacterial infection carried by ticks. Dogs, cats and humans can all get Lyme disease, although it’s rare in cats.

Symptoms to look out for include (but may not be limited to):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lameness
  • Depression

Treatment for Lyme disease

Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, if detected early. If you are concerned that your pet may have Lyme disease or is showing any of the listed symptoms, contact your vet immediately for tests and prompt treatment.

Preventing ticks

It’s possible to protect your pet from ticks. With different types of preventative tick treatments, such as spot-on treatments and tablets available, that kill or repel ticks if they attach themselves.

Tick treatment is included with our Pet Healthcare Plus Plans, with products delivered straight to your door. Our Plus Plans also cover:

  • Annual vaccinations
  • Six monthly health checks
  • Flea and worming products
  • Unlimited nail trims
  • Discounts on selected services at St Kitts Vets
  • Free microchip (if required)

To find out more about our Pet Healthcare Plans, click here.

If you are worried about removing the tick yourself, or have concerns about your pet’s health, contact your local St Kitts practice immediately:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image Don’t egg-nore these Easter dangers for pets!

Don’t egg-nore these Easter dangers for pets!

Easter is a time of joy, celebration, warmer weather and, of course, lots of chocolate! But it also brings potential hazards for our furry friends. Pets, curious and eager to explore, may find themselves in risky situations, whether it be around certain foods or even out in the beauty of nature. In this article, we’re highlighting some of the common Easter dangers for pets and tips on how to keep them safe.

Chocolate and sweets

Generally, at this time of year, there’s no shortage of sweet treats in our homes, though this does mean there are more opportunities for our pets to get their paws on whatever they may find lying around.

Surveys by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) have found that around three in five vets treated pets for chocolate poisoning during the Easter holidays. These stats have changed very little over the years, indicating that more needs to be done to highlight the danger chocolate poses to pets.

Chocolate and sweets are toxic to both dogs and cats, containing substances like theobromine, xylitol and caffeine that can cause side effects like vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid breathing and increased heart rate, among others. Symptoms can take anywhere between 4-24 hours to show, so it’s really important to get in touch with your vet immediately if your pet has eaten anything they shouldn’t have.

Dogs are typically the ones who are most tempted, as cats and rabbits can’t taste the sweetness, but it’s best to keep any Easter eggs and other human treats far out of reach in fridges, cupboards or drawers.

Spring plants and flowers

While spring is a time where our gardens and homes brighten up with beautiful blooms, it can also pose a serious problem in cases where some plants are toxic to our pets.

  • Lilies: Every part of the lily is dangerous to pets, even the water they have been sitting in. They are particularly harmful to cats, with ingestion causing lethargy, vomiting, seizures and even kidney failure.
  • Tulips: Though serious cases (heart problems or breathing difficulties) are rare, ingesting tulips can still cause some other unpleasant side effects, including vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling and loss of coordination.
  • Amaryllis: The bulb is the most harmful part of the amaryllis, and a nibble on this can even be fatal for dogs. Look out for lethargy, an upset stomach, tremors and vomiting.
  • Daffodils: Containing a toxic alkaloid called lycorine, daffodils can cause upset stomachs for pets. In more serious cases, especially in dogs, they may experience fits and changes to heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure.
  • Azaleas: If eaten in larger quantities, azaleas can be fatal. Most commonly, symptoms include diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, vomiting, tremors and seizures.

For an extended list of plants that are harmful to pets, please read our other articles:

Hot cross buns

They’re an Easter favourite for us humans, but come with a word of warning: don’t share these with your pets! Raisins and sultanas, along with many other dried fruits, are known causes of kidney failure in both cats and dogs, even it’s just a small quantity.

Easter eggs

If you arrange an Easter egg hunt in your garden, just make sure that all have been found before you let your dog outside, as they’ll easily find any that have been left behind. Even if you’ve used plastic or hard boiled eggs instead of chocolate ones, these can still be harmful, causing blockages or other digestive issues.

Holiday stress

The hustle and bustle of Easter celebrations can be overwhelming for pets – particularly if travel is involved. Many pets don’t respond well to changes in routine, which can cause stress. Look out for changes in their behaviour, including becoming withdrawn or more reactive, panting and shaking, or needing the toilet more than usual.

We hope you and your pets have a safe and wonderful Easter!

If you suspect your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, please get in touch with your local St Kitts practice:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image How to keep your pet a healthy weight

How to keep your pet a healthy weight

It may surprise you to hear that 65% of dogs and 39% of cats in the UK are either overweight or obese – something that is definitely a growing concern.

In fact, a recent study found the average dog is being overfed by 54,000 calories a year – that’s the equivalent of a human consuming 402 burgers!

To help you keep your pet a healthy weight, we consulted with the team at St Kitts to put together their top tips. It’s important to note that your pet’s specific breed characteristics will need to be considered individually, as all will have varying body types.

Signs your pet is overweight

Can’t feel their ribs

A subtle change to your pet’s physical appearance can be a sign your pet is becoming overweight. To check, see if you can easily feel your pet’s ribs without pressing too hard. If you can’t feel them, this may mean your pet is overweight.

No waistline

Look at your pet – if there is no distinct waist or if it appears to be bulging, your pet may be carrying excess weight. Having a noticeable waist, between the ribs and hips, is a healthy sign.

No abdominal tuck

A slight tuck in the abdomen is normal for many pets. If there is no discernible tuck or if the belly hangs down, it could indicate excess weight.

Lethargic

If your pet seems to be lacking in energy and unwilling to play or explore, it could be a sign that excess weight is causing them discomfort when actively moving about.

Mobility issues

If your pet is having difficulty moving around, jumping or exercising, it might be due to excess weight. Observe their activity level and consult your vet if there are any concerns.

How to keep your pet a healthy weight

Balanced diet

Feed your pet a well-balanced and nutritional diet, suitable for their age, size and breed. You can always ask your vet for advice on the appropriate type and amount of food for your pet.

Track weight

Keep track of your pet’s weight over time. Sudden or consistent weight gain could be a sign of an issue. Regular visits to your vet for weight checks can help monitor this.

Monitor diet

Be observant – keep an eye on what your pet is eating, as it might be more than you think! If you make any changes to their diet, check their weight and monitor their progress.

Avoid feeding leftovers

Be mindful that leftovers aren’t really meant for pets, especially ones with a high fat content; It can be easy to pile on the pounds when regularly feeding them bits and pieces. Eating inappropriate food can also lead to the development of other conditions, such as pancreatitis.

Reduce calories

A new lower calorie diet could be key to helping your pet lose weight. Be sure to check with your vet before introducing a new diet to make sure it’s appropriate.

Limit treats

Treats are great as a reward, but they should be just that, a treat, not part of your pet’s regular diet. Take care to only offer treats intended for pets and opt for healthier alternatives to keep the calories under check.

Increase exercise

Regular exercise is an important part of staying fit and healthy. It’s reported that 44% of dog walks are less than 30 minutes, with 13% of dogs not being walked every day.

If you’ve noticed your dog is gaining weight, simply extend their walk by ten minutes, or take them out for another short walk during the day to help them burn fat. Interactive toys are another great way for your pet to burn calories.

Avoid free-feeding

Instead of leaving food out all day, establish a feeding schedule. This allows you to control the portions and monitor your pet’s eating habits.

Practice portion control

Measure your pets food to avoid overfeeding. Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the pet food manufacturer, and adjust as necessary based on your pet’s activity level and age.

Stay consistent

Consistency is key to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet. Stick to their feeding and exercise routine to avoid your pet becoming overweight and don’t be afraid to raise any concerns with your vet.

Try out our weight clinics

At St Kitts, we offer Weight Clinics run by our expert Veterinary Nurses for pets who are overweight, providing plans to suit the individual needs of the pet.

Our team will organise regular weigh-in appointments and can provide owners with expert advice on diet and exercise.

If you have concerns about your pet’s weight, contact your local St Kitts practice immediately:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image Christmas foods that are dangerous for pets

Christmas foods that are dangerous for pets

Over the Christmas period, we all like to tuck into some festive treats and it can be hard to say no to the puppy eyes and pawing at your leg from pets who are desperate to have a taste for themselves. However, while dinners with all the trimmings will go down a hit with us humans, there are a number of items that can be harmful to our pets.

To guide you through a safe and merry Christmas with your pets, we’ve put together a list of foods that may not agree with our pets’ digestive systems and should therefore be kept out of paw’s reach.

Caffeine

The caffeine found in everyday items such as coffee beans, tea bags and fizzy drinks can cause your pets harm. It’s important to keep them stored securely to avoid causing heart palpitations, rapid breathing and restlessness.

Chocolate

Be mindful of everyone’s festive favourite – chocolate – as the stimulant Theobromine found in this is poisonous to your pet. It can affect their digestive, heart and central nervous systems, causing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures. In some cases, these effects can be fatal.

Cooked bones

It’s common to want to share the odd tidbit with your pet while you’re cooking, but bones can be a big hazard, as they’re prone to splitting and can sometimes scratch or get lodged into your pet’s throat, as well as fracture their teeth.

Salmonella may also be present in raw bones, which is equally as dangerous and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, lethargy and fevers. It’s best not to share bones, particularly raw ones, to avoid any complications.

Corn on the cob

Large chunks of corn on the cob can be hard for your pet to digest and may cause serious blockages that often require emergency surgery. Symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhoea and stomach ache.

Dairy products

Most pets will find it difficult to properly digest the lactose in milk and cheese products, so it’s safer if you avoid giving them dairy altogether. In some cases, dairy can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and potential skin allergies.

Particular types of blue cheese, such as Roquefort, produced using a fungus that pets are commonly sensitive to. In extreme circumstances, animals can quickly develop muscle tremors and seizures.

Fortunately, there are plenty of pet-friendly alternatives you can try for a healthy and balanced diet, without the risk of digestive issues or allergic reactions associated with dairy consumption.

Dried fruits

Although small in size, fruits like grapes, raisins and sultanas are toxic and can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy and dehydration. In serious cases, these symptoms can lead to kidney failure, which is often fatal. Common festive treats like mince pies, stollen and Christmas pudding should be kept safely away, as they’re packed with these fruits.

Macadamia nuts

In general, it’s not advisable to give your pet any nuts, but this is especially important with macadamia nuts, as they are the most toxic. It can take just 12 hours after ingestion for the symptoms to appear, which include weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature. Effects can sometimes be fatal.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is often used to add spice to festive treats but it’s highly poisonous to pets. Symptoms to be aware of are tremors and seizures.

Pigs in blankets

Pigs in blankets tend to be a staple in UK homes over Christmas – and with good reason for us humans! However, because of the fat and salt content, you should avoid slipping one or two to your pets at the dinner table. When eaten, foods like this can cause digestive issues including pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes inflamed. Keep an eye out for vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal pain, as these can be common symptoms.

Raw ingredients

Offering your pets fat trimmings, raw meat, raw eggs and raw fish should be avoided at all costs. Raw ingredients like this can cause salmonella, which may induce vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. For cats in particular, too much fat can lead to pancreatitis.

Stuffing

Common types of stuffing – including sage and onion – contain a number of ingredients that can be dangerous to pets. Things like onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives (those that belong to the allium family) contain a substance that causes damage to the red blood cells of pets and can lead to life-threatening anaemia. Signs that your pet may have ingested these items include tiredness and lethargy.

Xylitol

The artificial sweetener, Xylitol (which is found in many sugar-free sweets, cakes, gum and diet foods) can trigger a sudden release of insulin in cats and dogs. This may cause seizures and damage to their livers. Be on the look out for signs such as vomiting, weakness and lack of coordination.

Yeast dough

Fermented yeast dough can produce alcohol which is toxic to your pet. Common symptoms to watch out for include bloating, excess gas and constipation.

Just because there are particular foods that your pet should steer clear, it doesn’t mean they can’t join in the festivities! Instead, why not treat them to some delicious cat and dog friendly treats that they’ll love just as much.

If you have concerns about your pet’s health, contact your local St Kitts practice immediately:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image Signs of eye problems in cats

Signs of eye problems in cats

Earlier this week, we shared a blog post on the signs of eye problems in dogs, as we look to support TVM’s annual Pet Eye Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th September 2023). Continuing our series, next up we’re looking at signs of eye problems in cats, highlighting common symptoms and conditions to be aware of.

Common symptoms of eye problems in cats

  • Blinking excessively
  • Redness or swelling
  • Weeping or discharge
  • Cloudiness
  • Blood in the eye
  • A change in the size or shape of the pupil
  • Bulging eye or sunken eyes
  • Keeping one or both eyes closed, or half-closed
  • A lump in or around the eye
  • Third eyelid (also known as haw) showing
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Behavioural changes: withdrawn or aggressive behaviour, linked to eye pain
  • Loss of vision

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, contact your local vet for an appointment.

Common eye conditions

Eye infections or conjunctivitis

Eye infections are one of the most common eye conditions in cats, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses. If your cat suffers from frequent eye infections, they might have an underlying condition, such as cat flu.

Eye ulcers

Eye ulcers are a wound on the surface of the eye (the cornea). If left untreated, ulcers can lead to loss of an eye.

Eyelid problems

Conditions such as entropion, where the eyelids can turn inwards and rub the eyeball, are quite common and can cause infections, pain and inflammation.

Cataracts

Cataracts, the clouding of the lens, is much less common in cats than in dogs, but does sometimes occur. Cataracts in cats are usually caused by another condition such as an injury – or glaucoma, uveitis or lens luxation (all of which we will come onto shortly).

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment is where the thin layer of cells (the retina), separates from the back of the eye, causing loss of vision. Retinal detachment is often due to high blood pressure and is common in cats with hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.

Uveitis

Uveitis is when the coloured part of the eye (the iris) and the area around it can get all inflamed. If you suspect this with your cat, it is best to get it checked out and treated as soon as possible.

Masses and tumours

Growths can occur in, around and behind the eye. It’s important to get any new lumps checked by your vet immediately, so your pet can receive vital, and often life-saving, treatment.

Lens luxation

Lens luxation is when the lens comes out of position, often because of another underlying condition, which can cause your pet discomfort. If not treated it can lead to the loss of vision.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a painful condition caused by the build-up of increased pressure inside the eye. If left untreated, unfortunately glaucoma can quickly lead to blindness.

If you have concerns about your cat’s eyes, contact your local St Kitts practice.

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image Cat microchipping to be made mandatory in 2024

Cat microchipping to be made mandatory in 2024

Cats love to roam and explore. It’s in their nature. So, no matter how hard you try, there will always be the risk that they may struggle to find their way home.

This is one of the reasons why cat microchipping is to be made mandatory in England from 10th June 2024. The chip will need to be implanted before the cat reaches 20 weeks old, with the owners details stored in a database that must be kept up to date.

Why has this new law been passed?

Here at St Kitts, we see countless numbers of cats brought in through our doors every year, with many unchipped, which makes it incredibly difficult to get them back home.

The new law will go towards making huge strides in improving animal welfare, and will help to reunite much-loved family cats with their rightful owners. It will also protect them from the unfortunate risk of theft.

How does microchipping work?

Microchipping is a quick procedure that causes minimal discomfort. It’s quite similar to your cat receiving their usual vaccinations.

It involves inserting a microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, under the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. Once in place, they won’t feel it, and it won’t need to be replaced.

The microchip has a unique serial number that you need to register, along with your details, on the pet microchipping database. When a cat is found, the microchip can be read with a scanner and the registered keeper will be identified, so you can be quickly reunited with your pet.

If you move home or your contact details change, it’s important that your cat’s microchip is updated. To do this, you simply need to contact the database where your pet is registered to make any necessary changes. This can usually be done online or over the phone.

If you’re unsure which database your pet is registered with, bring them in to your local practice and our team will be able to scan them to get the details for you.

Penalties

Owners who are found not to have microchipped their cat by 10th June 2024 will have 21 days to have one implanted, or may face a fine of up to £500.

Exemptions

Microchipping is not compulsory for free living cats that live with little or no human interaction or dependency, such as farm, feral or community cats.

Microchipping is FREE for Pet Healthcare Plan members!

Our Pet Healthcare Plans are designed to save you money by spreading the cost of routine and preventative treatments with low monthly payments. This includes a FREE microchip (if required), as well as lots of other benefits, including:

  • Annual vaccinations
  • Flea, tick* and worming products delivered to your door
  • Nail trims
  • Bi-annual health checks

And much more!

*Tick control included with Plus Plans only.

If you would like more specific advice about microchipping your cat, contact your local St Kitts practice:

St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image Pet Stories: Pufulete’s fracture journey

Pet Stories: Pufulete’s fracture journey

Pufulete, an adorable 6-year-old Ragdoll, was brought in to see vet Kristina where X-rays identified a short oblique fracture to his left hindlimb. The fracture of the tibia and fibula was further complicated by displacement (where the bone breaks in two and moves out of alignment), which had caused shortening of his leg.

After consulting with Pufulete’s owner on the best course of action, his implant was ordered and he was booked in for his op the following week. Vet Kristina carried out the repair procedure at our Firgrove practice, where she placed a minimal contact compression locking plate with cortical screws to help reduce the fracture.

Pufulete was back walking on the leg later that same day, and was able to go home with pain relief.

A few days after the op, Pufulete was back to see Kristina after injuring himself. Fortunately, as it was only a small wound, it could be treated with antibiotics and managed by his owner from home.

During his post-op checks at 5 and 7 weeks, we were delighted to see he was recovering brilliantly. He already had about 80% use of his leg at 5 weeks, with our 7 week X-rays showing the fracture healing nicely.

Image Steps to ease your pet’s anxiety for their next visit to the vet

Steps to ease your pet’s anxiety for their next visit to the vet

For some pets (and their owners), a trip to the vet can be daunting; conjuring up a mixture of emotions, from feeling anxious and nervous, to stressed. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In this blog, we’ve put together some top tips to ease your pet’s anxiety, so your next trip is as calm and stress-free as possible:

Before your vet visit

Get your pet comfortable with being handled

A good place to start is getting your pet used to being handled, so it doesn’t come as a shock at their appointment.

It’s worth performing mock examinations at home, inspecting their paws, teeth and ears on a daily basis. As well as touching their legs, head, chest and lifting their tail. Giving them a massage and lots of positive reinforcement can help to make it an enjoyable experience.

Once your pet is comfortable with you handling them, ask family members or friends to do the same, to help them get used to different people.

Gradually introduce the crate

If you’ll be using a crate to transport your pet to the vets, start introducing them to it early on to minimise any anxiety.

Leave the crate in a safe place, like your living room or bedroom, with the door open and toys or treats inside, so your pet can enter the crate freely.

It may take days or weeks until they are comfortable and confident to enter willingly. Make sure it is a positive experience, so don’t force them into the crate, or leave it until the day of the vet’s visit.

Take regular car journeys

Try to take your pet out in the car to visit different locations, so they don’t just associate getting in the car with a trip to the vets.

Routine trips to the vet

To make the trip to the vets easier, it’s beneficial to familiarise your pet with the setting – from the smells, to the experience of being with other animals and staff. A good way to do this is to attend regularly for non-invasive, routine check-ups, like getting your pet weighed. You can even ask your local St Kitts practice if you can pop in to get your pet used to the environment, when it’s not too busy.

Book your appointment for a quiet time of day

If your pet is particularly anxious and it worsens around other animals or humans, it’s a good idea to try and book your appointment for a quieter time of day. It will also mean less waiting time, which will help to reduce stress levels.

On the day of your visit

Bring treats

It’s good to come armed with plenty of your pet’s favourite treats to reward calm behaviour. This positive reinforcement works best after they’ve had their checks and treatments, but can be given for entering the crate willingly, being well-behaved on the journey and waiting nicely, to help alleviate any stress from the situation.

Keep calm

Your pet can pick up on any anxious behaviour, so keeping your body language and voice calm will help to reassure your pet.

Try to avoid stressful situations too; leaving plenty of time to get to your appointment is a simple way to reduce stress on the day.

Provide comfort

Packing a toy, their usual blanket or bed, will provide a familiar smell of home, which can be soothing for your pet, especially if they are having a longer stay.

Take a distraction

Bringing your pet’s favourite toy can help to distract them during the appointment, especially if they are having a procedure done, like a temperature check.

Wait outside or in the car

If your pet finds being at the vets stressful, turn it into a positive experience by taking them outside to play and have fun together – just ask to be called when it’s your turn.

Having distance from other anxious animals will help to keep your pet calm, so instead of waiting inside for your pet’s prescription or medication, head outside to play again and keep the experience positive.

You can book an appointment online for your local St Kitts practice or, alternatively, give one of our branches a call to speak with the team.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799

Image How to prepare your pet for fireworks

How to prepare your pet for fireworks

Although firework displays can be enjoyable for us, the unexpected loud bangs and flashes of light can be very scary for our pets.

With events such as Diwali and Guy Fawkes Night just around the corner, we’ve put together some of the best ways to help prepare your pet for fireworks.

Create a safe space

This can be done long before firework night. Simply transform a quiet area of your home into a safe place for your pet to retreat into and feel in control. Fill it with their favourite toys, so your pet associates it with positive experiences.

This area should bring them comfort when they are feeling anxious or scared, and should be left accessible to your pet even when you are not at home.

Hiding places

Cats may prefer to hide under furniture or in a quiet corner. It’s important not to try and coax them out, as this will add to their stress, just leave them feeling safe in a secure place.

Smaller animals will benefit from having lots of extra bedding so they can burrow down.

Keep pets indoors at night

It’s estimated 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks, so it is best to keep dog walks to the daytime. When you know there are going to be fireworks, keep your pet inside to prevent them from getting spooked.

You should move your pet to their safe place before the fireworks begin, kitting it out with toys and anything you need so you can comfortably stay with them.

If you have small animals who normally live outside, you’ll need to plan ahead and get them used to coming indoors first. Partially cover their cages, pens and aviaries with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed and your pet is still able to look out.

Don’t react to sounds

Your pet will observe how you react to the firework sounds, so it’s best to remain calm and reassuring. Playing with your pet, if they want to play, will be a good way to distract them.

Muffle the sounds

One of the best ways to limit the effect of the fireworks is to mask the sounds, so try playing music or switching on the TV. Closing the windows and curtains will help to limit the sounds entering into your home, while blackout blinds are ideal to block out flashes of light.

Try anti-anxiety products

If your pet struggles with loud noises and flashing lights during this time of year, you could try an anti-anxiety product to help them, including calming sprays, tablets, drops or diffusers.

There are a range of options available, but we typically recommend these to our clients:

  • DAP
  • Feliway
  • Pet Remedy
  • Nutracalm

All the above products are available in our clinics without an appointment.

Ideally, supplements need to be used a few weeks in advance to work their best, so remember introduce them early on in preparation.

Our lovely team of nurses are on hand to offer advice, so if you are concerned about your pet or have any questions, contact your local St Kitts practice to book an appointment.

St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799