In the past it was recognised that some Greyhounds seemed to be bleed more than was anticipated after undergoing dental extractions. This has been a cause of concern for us and also for many Greyhound owners. Recent research has shown that this increased tendency to bleed is cause by a condition called “hyperfibrinolysis syndrome”1.
What can we do?
Unfortunately, a test that can identify which individual dogs that are at risk of bleeding after dentals is not widely available. However, resent research has shown that medicating Greyhounds with antifibrinolytic drugs is safe and does reduced the incidence of post-operative bleeding 2.
Therefore, we recommend treating all Greyhounds and Sighthounds that are having a dental procedure with an anti-fibrinolytic drug call Tranexaminc acid. Treatment is started on the morning of the dental procedure and continued for 6 days after the procedure.
Please contact the veterinary team if you have any questions regarding the use of Tranexamic acid in Greyhounds and Sighthounds who are having dental procedures.
- Lara-Garcia A., et al., (2008) “Post-operative bleeding in retired racing greyhound”. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 22, pp. 525-533
- Martin, L. M., et al., (2012) Epsilon aminocaproic acid for the prevention of delayed post-operative bleeding in retired racing greyhounds undergoing gonadectomy. Veterinary Surgeon, 41, pp. 594-603
What are ticks?
Ticks are blood sucking parasites related to spiders. Adults have a pointed head, a body and four pairs of legs. Mouth parts, which possess a barbed structure, protrude from the head. A tick’s body is capable of considerable distension to accommodate the blood that the tick sucks from the host animal it infests.
The tick lifecycle
Hungry ticks position themselves on vegetation and attach to passing animals.
The mouthparts pierce the animal’s skin and the barbed structure is then used to anchor the tick to the animal for several days.
A tick will then feed over several days, sucking blood and passing saliva back into the host.
Once a female tick is fully fed or engorged, she drops off the host animal to lay her thousands of eggs in the environment.
Tiny larval ticks (1mm in size) that hatch from the eggs have to find a host on which to feed. They then moult to the nymph stage which also feeds on blood.
After a second moult, the tick develops into a male or female approximately 4-6 mm in size. Only the female takes blood to any extent and they can reach the size of a small grape.
Tick species and where they are found
In the UK
The species of tick most likely to infest dogs in the UK is Ixodes ricinus. It is found in woodland and rough upland regions and is well known in deer parks. The immature stages of this tick often infest small mammals or birds, but the adult stages tend to attach to larger animals such as deer, sheep or dogs.
In parks and urban environments it is often the hedgehog tick, Ixodes hexagonus that is found on dogs and cats. As its name suggests, it is related to the sheep tick and it is a specialised skill to tell the two species apart.
Dermacentor reticulatus is the so-called ornate tick; its back is covered in brown and cream patterning. This tick occurs in some parts of England but is predominantly found across Continental Europe from southern Germany southwards.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus is also known as the brown dog tick. It occurs worldwide and is found in more southern areas of Europe. It is typically associated with dogs and their accommodation. It can survive and replicate (breed) indoors in the UK. This is of concern because from 1st January 2012 under the new Pet Travel Scheme rules there is no longer a compulsory requirement to treat cats or dogs with tick treatments before entering the UK. This is likely to result in increased numbers of this tick entering the country and the possible wide spread establishment of tick populations principally in urban areas.
Ixodes ricinus is common in more northern areas of Europe in particular.
Why I should I worry about ticks?
Ticks can cause localised irritation to pets and, if they are scratched off and the mouthparts left behind, small abscesses can result.
Ticks can spread diseases such as:
Lyme Disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium can affect both people and animals. Lyme disease causes flu like symptoms on initial infection. Left untreated, muscles, joints, the heart and nervous system can become affected. Lyme disease is present in the UK.
Babesiosis is carried mainly by the foreign or ‘exotic’ species of ticks. Babesia are microscopic parasites that live in red blood cells and can cause serious illness in both animals and people. In the acute form of the disease, Babesia cause sudden rupture of red blood cells resulting in a life threatening form of anaemia. In the subacute or chronic forms, animals are anaemic, lethargic and debilitated. Diagnostic tests often show kidney and liver damage caused by Babesia.
Tick-borne diseases such as that caused by Babesia are more likely to be acquired after a tick has been attached for more than 24 hours. Daily checking for ticks and removing them promptly will greatly reduce the chance of ticks spreading tick borne diseases to your pet.
How can I tell if my pet has ticks?
Ticks attach to an animal by embedding their mouthparts into the skin. The size of a small bean, they often look like an immobile growth or wart attached to the pet.
As they continue to suck blood, the body of the tick expands. Many owners only notice a tick when it has already been feeding for several days and has engorged to full size.
An engorged tick will often have a grey or brown body, larval stages (hardly ever seen) or ticks that are not yet engorged look lighter in colour, sometimes white.
Ticks commonly attach to an animal’s head and legs but they can be found anywhere on an animal’s body.
What should I do if I find a tick on my pet?
Use a proprietary ‘tick remover’ that enables the tick to be removed without the embedded mouth parts being left behind to cause a small abscess. It is a good idea to have one of these tick removers as part of a first aid box for your pet. Alternatively contact your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets and your veterinary nurse will be happy to remove them for you.
Check your pet on a daily basis for ticks and remove them before they have been attached for any length of time.
Consider using a tick control product on a regular basis to reduce the number of ticks that can establish a hold on your pet and to reduce the chances of any ticks that do attach from spreading tick-borne diseases.
A vaccine is available for dogs to help protect against Lyme Disease which is transmitted by the Ixodes species of ticks. A primary vaccine course of two injections would be required followed by annual boosters. Please contact us for more information.
Please note that some tick control products can be toxic to cats therefore please talk to your vet about using regular tick control products to ensure they are used correctly and safely and part of a parasite control programme tailored to the individual pet and its specific lifestyle factors.
‘Ticks And How To Prevent Them’
Please see ‘Travelling with Your Pet’ in our Information sheets for more guidance on parasite control abroad.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small blood sucking insects that live on cats, dogs, hedgehogs, rabbits and various other species of wildlife. The adult fleas lay eggs that fall out of your pet’s coat into their environment-your carpets, bedding, and furniture. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day! The eggs hatch out and release larvae which feed and then pupate. Pupae can remain dormant for many months, eventually hatching (stimulated by vibration, carbon dioxide and warmth) into young adults. 95% of the flea life cycle occurs in the environment – the fleas you see on your pet are therefore just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
What problems do fleas cause?
The major sign of flea infestation is scratching. There are other causes of scratching but fleas are the most common cause that we encounter.
A number of pets develop an allergic reaction to the saliva of the flea bite and become hypersensitive. Just one bite can trigger severe skin disease in these individuals. Typically dogs persistently nibble over their back and rump and will eventually lose their hair. Cats tend to develop a scabby reaction along their back and neck called miliary eczema.
Excessive grooming and nibbling causes loss of hair over their back and groin.
Severe flea infestations in puppies and kittens can cause blood loss and anaemia.
Fleas are involved in the transmission of tapeworms.
‘Fleas And Tapeworm’
Can fleas infest humans?
Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) is the most common type of flea found on both cats and dogs. They will bite humans, but they will not survive and stay on us – they much prefer our pets!
How do you treat and control fleas?
This has to be considered a two-pronged attack:
1. Killing the adult fleas on your pet
2. Dealing with eggs, larvae and pupae in the environment.
How to get rid of a flea infestation
- Correctly apply a pipette of your veterinary supplied ‘spot on’ treatment to all the dogs and cats in your home. You must make sure you use the correct size for each of your pet’s weight. This will kill any adult fleas on your pet within 24 hours. It will also kill any more that jump on and sterilise their eggs so they don’t hatch.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly moving all the furniture, even if you have wooden or laminate flooring. This removes some but NOT ALL of the eggs, larvae and pupae.
- Wash all your pets bedding at 60°C to kill any of the immature stages.
- Thoroughly spray all floor space in your home with a veterinary recommended household insecticidal spray. Remember to do everywhere your pet goes including the car. This kills flea eggs and larvae in your home but it DOES NOT kill the pupae.
- There is no product available which kills pupae so you must encourage the pupae to hatch out so they will jump onto your pet and be killed by the ‘spot on’ treatment. To do this you must provide warmth, vibration and humidity by turning up the heating and vacuuming to generate warmth and vibration.
- Continue to let your pets have their usual run of the house to allow the new adult fleas to jump onto your pet and be killed.
- Continue vacuuming and treatment with a ‘spot on’ product all year round for all your pets as it can take several months to remove a flea infestation from your home.
A common reason for disappointing results when using ‘spot on’ treatments on your pets is that the fleas in the environment are not dealt with. There is a vast array of veterinary supplied spot-on and spray products which are safe and effective to use on your pet and in the environment.
Another reason we see animals with fleas is due to ineffective treatment. While some other products available elsewhere may be cheaper, they are often not effective or cause reactions. All our products are safe, easy to use and effective so you will save yourself money in the long run by using the right product the first time.
If you are unsure on what treatment is best for your pet, then please feel free to come and talk to your receptionist, veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon at your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets. We will be able to advise you on the best products for your situation.
Hookworms are not a major problem in the UK although they can occur occasionally. The larvae burrow into your pet’s skin usually through their feet or they are ingested by pets cleaning their paws. Puppies and kittens can be infected via their mother’s milk. Cats can get hookworm from contaminated soil or infected rodents. The hookworm live off your pet’s blood and can cause diarrhoea, lethargy and weight loss. Despite being very small, they suck large amounts of blood from the tiny vessels in your pet’s intestinal wall and can cause anaemia in large numbers. Infection in humans is very rare, but may cause skin disease where they try and penetrate the skin.
Whipworms eggs are shed into the environment in the faeces of infected dogs. The worms live in the large intestine of your dog where they cause severe irritation to their intestinal lining. This results in watery, bloody diarrhoea, weight loss and general ill health. They can be very harmful in large numbers. They are not infectious to people. Most of the broad-spectrum worm remedies available from your veterinary practice are effective against hookworms and whipworms. Control and prevention is the same as for roundworms and tapeworms.
Heartworm live in the arteries and hearts of infected animals. They release larvae into their hosts’ bloodstream. When a mosquito feeds on the infected animal the larvae present in the blood are swallowed by the mosquito. These larvae are then passed via their saliva to the next animal they feed from, for example your dog or cat. As a mosquito is required for the lifecycle to be completed dogs and cats in this country are at little risk of contracting heartworm. Mosquitos easily spread heartworm and you should consider this risk when thinking of travelling with your pet. The risk of heartworm varies depending on where you intend to travel. As heartworm infection can be fatal please consult your veterinary surgeon before travelling with your pet as there are products available to help prevent heartworm.
Cinque Ports Vets run Travel Clinics to help offer advice on protecting your pet from parasites when travelling abroad. Dogs in particular are affected and signs can take months to develop. These include, excessive panting, weight loss, difficulty breathing, being easily tired following exercise and death if left untreated. To check which parasites your pet may be exposed to, log on to www.esccapuk.org.uk and under the ‘Travelling Pets’ section you will find European parasite distribution maps. These maps are designed to help inform you of the parasitic threats present in different countries.
ARTICLE REPRODUCED WITH THE KIND PERMISSION OF ROYAL CANIN
All Royal Canin food is made to the strictest quality requirements to ensure absolute safety. Because cats and dogs deserve the best nutrition to remain in the best of health, Royal Canin is committed to:
• Select the suppliers of raw materials in accordance with very strict specifications
• Test the quality of the ingredients before they are accepted for use in Royal Canin foods
• Only use meat from animals which are declared fit and healthy for human consumption
• Quality control from the moment the raw materials enter the factory right through to the packaging stage, thanks to systematic measures and analyses at all key stages
• Complete traceability and identification of all ingredients
Even the very best food, from a nutritional point of view, is worthless if it is not eaten.
Royal Canin study every possible parameter of its kibbles and food to ensure that it is as palatable as possible to the cats and dogs who eat it.
They look at everything from raw materials and formulation, to the size, shape, texture and density of the kibble, and finally the coating, smell and taste of the food, to find the most appealing formulation for their real customers – the cat and dog.
L.I.P. stands for Low Indigestible Proteins. When you see L.I.P. proteins in the ingredient list, this means that very high quality, highly digestible protein has been used in the food. For protein to be classified L.I.P. it must be over 90% digestible and easily assimilated into the body.
The use of high quality, easily assimilated proteins helps reduce the amount of undigested remains reaching the colon. If a large quantity of protein is undigested, it can lead to an increase in fermentation and result in soft and smelly stools.
All Royal Canin products use extremely high quality proteins which are rigorously selected and controlled throughout the manufacturing process.
Royal Canin products are packed in exclusive airtight bags in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere to ensure flavour and nutritional quality are perfectly preserved. Using this special method of packing, exclusive to Royal Canin, in association with hermetically sealed bags, ensures our food is always fresh and at optimum effectiveness.
Look out for the Controlled Atmosphere logo on all their product packs.
Importance of the kibble
Their innovation doesn’t stop with formulation. The breed, age, size and sensitivities of cats and dogs are also taken into account when they design kibbles.
The size, shape and texture of kibbles change according to the specific characteristics of the animal it is intended for. Junior small breed dogs have an easily re-hydratable kibble specially suited to their small jaws, with a crumbly texture to aid oral hygiene from early on in life.
Choosing a kibble
The final decision makers on which kibble shape, size and texture they use are the cats and dogs themselves. When developing kibble for their dog food, dogs tried out 10 different kibble designs. The dogs were given a meal in a see-through glass bowl, which was filmed from beneath with a hidden camera. From the video footage, each shape could be accurately assessed for ease of gripping and chewing, plus the time spent eating.
The key to a happy, healthy pet is feeding them the right type and right amount of food specific to their individual age and lifestyle. Their nutritional requirements vary according to their breed, size, age, lifestage and activity level.
Senior dogs require a diet which has an adjusted nutritional composition to cater for their different requirements as they age.
Depending on the size of your dog, they will mature at a different age. A small dog reaches their senior years at around 8 years old, a medium dog at 7 years and a large dog at 5 years.
When your dog ages they can start to experience a decline in the function of certain organs, including their immune system. They may become less active and their sense of smell and taste can be affected.
A diet which caters for supporting their vital organs for example reduced protein and phosphorus content to support kidneys as well as reduced calorie content should be fed. Also helping to boost their immune function as well as being extremely palatable is extremely important. There are a wide range of Senior diets available and where possible you should buy the best one you can afford. Premium dog foods offer health benefits as well as providing nutrition.
The Senior Consult Lifestage diets made by Royal Canin, contains a selection of nutrients that help to support vital functions in ageing dogs and cats. This food should be fed as an everyday complete diet for your senior pet regardless of whether they have any ageing signs.
The diet helps:
- support ageing cells by neutralising the free radicals by containing antioxidants
- preserves kidney function by having a reduced level of phosphorus
- supports brain health by containing L-tryptophan, an amino acid that plays an essential role in the regulation of anxiety, sleep and appetite
- helps preserve muscle mass which can be lost with old age by containing a specific balanced formulation of amino acids
- helps maintain mobility with chondroitin, glucosamine and Green Lipped Mussel extract
Weight gain as well as loss can also occur and close attention should be paid to your pet’s weight as being either overweight or underweight can lead to serious health problems. Weight gain can easily occur when your pet ages as they become less active and have a slower metabolism, needing less calories. The increase in weight can worsen health problems for example increasing the pressure on joints, worsening arthritis or increasing the pressure on their heart function worsening heart disease.
Weight loss occurs in some dogs just as easily. This can be because of deterioration in their sense of smell and taste or it can be attributed to underlying chronic disease or age related issues. It is important to come and see us if you are noticing any changes. Our veterinary nurses offer Senior Clubs to help care for your pet during their golden years.
How old is your dog?
Why not check the chart below and see how old your pet is in human years.
Click on the video below to find out more about feeding your older dog.
It is important to start looking after your pet’s teeth from an early age, all throughout their life. Imagine how our teeth would look and our breath would smell if we didn’t brush our teeth regularly. It is just the same for your pet. Ideally you should begin brushing their teeth between 8 and 12 weeks of age as this enables them to become accustomed to it before their permanent dentition develops- but it is never too late to start!
The brushing motion removes the plaque which builds up on their teeth. It is soft and pasty and not easy to see. It builds up on teeth 24 hours a day and harbours bacteria which infect the gum tissue and roots of the teeth. It also causes bad breath. Unless the plaque is removed on a regular basis their gums can become sore and inflamed.
The plaque eventually calcifies and turns into tartar which is the hard brown material that becomes visible on your pet’s teeth. If left, it can lead to periodontal disease and loss of their teeth. The bacteria in plaque can even spread to other parts of the body and have been linked to heart, liver and kidney disease.
Once the tartar is formed it can only be removed by your veterinary surgeon giving your pet a general anaesthetic and removing it using an ultrasonic scaler. Sometimes at this stage some teeth will require removing and the remainder will be polished. Strict aftercare at home will need to be undertaken to prevent another dental procedure being needed.
It is important to use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for animals as the brush is ultra soft and shaped to fit their mouth and teeth. The toothpaste is flavoured to appeal to animals- fish flavoured for cats and poultry flavoured for dogs. It is also fine to be swallowed unlike human toothpaste which requires rinsing and contains fluoride. The paste contains an ingredient which helps prevent plaque from sticking to your pet’s teeth after brushing. A range of kits are available at the veterinary practice.
Your pet’s normal diet, especially if tinned, allows for food to stick to their teeth and favours the growth of bacteria found in plaque which is why home dental care is so important. There is a range of dental biscuits, rinses and chews available from the practice which can help along with brushing to keep their teeth clean by limiting dental plaque and tartar formation.
The Royal Canin Dental diet, available for cats and dogs is specially formulated and works by 2 actions:
• Mechanical action: the kibble’s special texture means that when eaten the tooth will bite right into it. The abrasive effect of contact breaks down dental plaque and disperses bacteria.
• Biochemical action: micronised sodium polyphosphate is dispersed into the mouth and traps calcium present in saliva before it can build up on plaque which is present on the teeth. By making the calcium unavailable, tartar formation is delayed.
Small breed dogs are especially susceptible to dental problems, which is why Royal Canin also put sodium polyphosphate in their Vet Care range of diets as well for tartar control.
Chews are also very good at reducing plaque formation but generally they can only clean the prominent areas of your dog’s teeth.
To enable your pet to enjoy having their teeth cleaned be patient and take time with the process. Try following these steps and your pet will quickly get used to the process:
Day 1: Gently stroke the outside of your pet’s cheeks with your finger only (no brush) and slowly lift their lip for about 30 seconds. Reward, praise and treat at the end of each session.
Day 2: Repeat as above and also place a small amount of toothpaste on the end of your finger and let your pet sample it.
Day 3: Repeat Day 2, but this time, gently run your finger or toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste over your pet’s teeth for 30-45 seconds. Never start at the front of the mouth as this is the most sensitive part. Reward with praise and a treat. It sometimes helps to smear the toothpaste into the brush so your pet does not lick it off straight away!
Day 4: Repeat Day 3 adding 15 seconds to the time running over your pet’s teeth. Reward with praise and a treat.
Day 5: Gradually you should be aiming to spend about a minute on each side of their mouth, brushing horizontally for cheek teeth and vertically for their canine teeth.
Ideally try to brush your pet’s teeth once a day, usually bedtime is a good time followed by a dental biscuit or chew as a reward.
If you would like more advice on the best way to care for your pet’s teeth please speak to your veterinary nurse at your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets.
Please click on the videos below to watch how to brush your pet’s teeth.
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