Welcome...to your Spring issue of #BestForPets Magazine. Spring has sprung, so we’re pouncing for joy as nature starts to awaken once again. If you’re green-fingered, now’s a great time to start working on your garden, but this may come with some perils for our pets. A number of plants and flowers, that make your garden colourful and tranquil, could in fact contain toxins resulting in an unexpected visit to the vets. Check out the round-up on page 22 so you can stay savvy and your pet safe. Wonderful Walkies takes a trip to the historic village of Corfe in Dorset, with a moderately challenging circular walk along the Purbeck Way that delivers stunning views of the famous castle remains, surrounding picturesque villages and Poole Bay. Have you ever wondered how our bunny buddies became domesticated? We binky back in time to reveal the history behind our happy household hoppers. Have a furbulous springtime!
Edition 07 - Spring 2023
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Countryside Capers Wonderful walkies at Corfe Castle Keith
Hopping History We binky back in time!
Feline Focus The purrpular Domestic Shorthair
Elsa & Maude
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Contents Click on the page you’d like to read Pet news Get set for kitten season Pet pawtraits Dog Agility: Go Tunnel, Go Weaves, Run Run, Targetttttt! Rabbit History: Binky back in time Caring for our environment - Safe
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Welcome... to your Spring issue of #BestForPets Magazine. Spring has sprung, so we’re pouncing for joy as nature starts to awaken once again. If you’re green-fingered, now’s a great time to start working on your garden, but this may come with some perils for our pets. A number of plants and flowers, that make your garden colourful and tranquil, could in fact contain toxins resulting in an unexpected visit to the vets. Check out the round-up on page 22 so you can stay savvy and your pet safe. Wonderful Walkies takes a trip to the historic village of Corfe in Dorset, with a moderately challenging circular walk along the Purbeck Way that delivers stunning views of the famous castle remains, surrounding picturesque villages and Poole Bay. Have you ever wondered how our bunny buddies became domesticated? We binky back in time to reveal the history behind our happy household hoppers. Have a furbulous springtime! Rebecca Editor
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To get a free quote in minutes, visit mipetcover.co.uk Shorthair Cat Pet pawtraits Wonderful Walkies: Corfe Castle Barking Breeds: English Cocker Spaniel MiPet Club: Guide to Spring disposal of unused medication Snack-cidents: The true cost of naughty nibbles Pet pawtraits Ask the vet Garden perils for pets Pet pawtraits Feline Focus: Domestic fun and frolics Pet pawtraits Horoscopes Percy’s Puzzle Time Problem cat Percy’s Puzzle Time answers
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The #BestForPets magazine team Editor: Rebecca Gardiner Design: danidixondesign.co.uk Clinical contributor: Shula Berg Contributors: Rebecca Gardiner, Audra Shreeve, Linda Simon, Johanna Page and Karen White
2 10% discount code expires 30 June 2023. *5% multi pet discount. Minimum premiums apply (including Insurance Premium Tax) of £98.16 for dogs and £67.88 for cats. See more reviews at smartmoneypeople.com/mipet-cover-reviews. MiPet Cover is a trading name of CVS (UK) Limited which is an appointed representative of Insurance Factory Limited. Insurance Factory Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 306164). Registered in England and Wales number 02982445. Registered office: Markerstudy House, 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB. You can check this by visiting the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk/register
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From June 2024, microchipping our feline friends will become compulsory in England, helping more cats to be reunited with their families should they become lost or stolen. The law, introduced by DEFRA, requires kittens to be microchipped before the age of 20 weeks, with pet parents facing fines of up to £500 if they fail to do so. Compulsory Microchipping for Cats Announced
Did you know that a membership with The Healthy Pet Club ’s cat and kitten health care plans include a free microchip? MiPet Cover also offers ‘advertising and reward’ as part of the policy benefits, to help pets get home to you, exactly where they belong. How are we doing the #BestForPets?
Let’s Celebrate the Wonderful World of Veterinary Nursing!
During the month of May, we take time to recognise the veterinary nurse profession by celebrating Vet Nurse Awareness Month (VNAM ). Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) and the wider nursing team of Patient Care Assistants are a fundamental part of practice clinical teams, taking a leading role in preventative health care, care of hospitalised patients and running of diagnostic tests. Depending on the procedure, registered veterinary nurses also support with or undertake surgical procedures and provide care during anaesthesia and in the recovery period too. To get into the profession, veterinary nurses can train via a university degree course, or by
completing a level 3 diploma while working in practice. Both require three years of rigorous training with challenging written and practical examinations. These must be passed to gain the title of Veterinary Nurse, and to qualify for entry on to the Register of Veterinary Nurses upheld by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. As a registered professional, RVNs are required to maintain their clinical knowledge with mandatory annual training (continuing professional development) and adhere to a professional code of conduct. Interested? To find out more about to how become a vet nurse and VNAM, visit the British Veterinary Nursing Association at bvna.org.uk .
Hoppy Birthday to The Healthy Pet Club
In February, The Healthy Pet Club turned 15, with celebrations taking place throughout the UK across hundreds of veterinary practices. Over the years, this great-value pet health plan has helped hundreds of thousands of furry friends with their preventative health care, meaning they can live a happy and healthy life. If you pet is not part of the paw-ty yet, why not check out all the discounts and benefits you could enjoy as part of a membership, starting from as little as 53p per day!
Goodbye my Friend: Supporting Children through Pet Loss
It’s understandable that it may be difficult to initiate conversations with youngsters about an impending or sudden loss of a beloved companion. To help with this, a new booklet has launched to support families with coming to terms should a furry friend depart
to go over the rainbow bridge.
Featuring activities, stories, poetry and memory-making, Goodbye my Friend is available free online and across a number of CVS veterinary practices and crematorium locations.
Visit thehealthypetclub.co.uk now!
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Litter tray training It’s important to teach your kitten to use their litter tray. Offer a clean litter tray (refresh daily) in a quiet place away from food and water. Get your furry friends used to using the tray first thing in the morning, last thing at night, mealtimes and whenever they look like they might want to ‘go’.
Vaccinations, health checks, their flea and worming treatments, microchip and a free starter bag of kitten food are all part of the Kitten Healthy Pet Club, so you can enjoy savings and these benefits straight away at a local participating veterinary surgery . Diet and nutrition There’s a huge variety of wet and dry foods on the market, perhaps making it difficult for you to decide which is the most appropriate. When choosing a food, it’s important to know that the needs of your pet will change throughout their life and will vary for different species and breeds. Initially they will need specialised kitten food which will contain all the right ingredients. Bedtime A new kitten isn’t a whole lot different to a new baby, in that you’ll need to get them used to sleeping through the night.
Reward successful tray trips with treats and affection and never punish for mishaps.
Kitten Season April marks the start of ‘Kitten Season’, where a bundle of cute new kittens are born, ready for love and cuddles! If you’re welcoming a mini meower into your family, here’s some handy hints and tips to get them off to a great start in life.
Settling in Bringing home a new kitten can be really exciting, but it can be an anxious time for your furry friend. The change in environment and routine can be extremely disorientating and unnerving, especially if they have come from a place in which they felt comfortable and secure, or straight from their mother. Start by setting up a space where they can feel safe, as this is where they can sleep, eat, play and go to the toilet. Don’t be tempted to let your new furry friend loose in the house as soon as you get home, as they will already be nervous about their new home and will quickly become overwhelmed if children or other pets are brought to their attention too quickly.
If you have other pets, let your new kitten get used to their smell first. On the first introduction keep your new pet in a carrier. Never leave them unsupervised straight away. Your first visit to the vets together It’s important to register with a local veterinary practice and book your kitten in for their vaccinations and a health check as soon as you can. It is recommended that kittens are given their initial course of vaccinations from around nine weeks of age to help protect your cat against Cat Flu, Feline Leukaemia Virus and Feline Enteritis. At the time of vaccination, your vet will also give your cat a thorough clinical examination that can alert you to problems, ranging from hernias, ear mites, fleas, check their gender and heart murmurs.
Kittens will often decide it’s time to play at night and most won’t like being left alone.
Make sure your pet’s bed is comfy and somewhere they enjoy spending time.
Tip Include something that smells like you in their bed area and they may sleep better.
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Astrid & Ozzy
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Jo & Jelli Jo has had Cocker Spaniels as part of her family for 15 years and a talent for training dogs. She competed with her older cocker spaniel, Isla, in obedience and qualified her twice for the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Pre Beginners Semi Finals held at Discover Dogs. In the last few years, Jo discovered a new found passion in agility. Jelli, who is now five years old, has gone from Grade 1 to Grade 7, taken part in the Team GB showcase event in 2022 and is qualified to run in Championship classes.Jo hopes to make the most of the 2023 season, spending most of her free time driving all over the UK entering Championship classes and training foundations with her new puppy, Willow. your dog needs to stand still underneath a hoop that stands on a table. For example, if the medium hoop does not sit flat on the table then your dog will have the intermediate hoop placed over them and if this sits flat then they will be classed as intermediate height. You dog will also need to be officially measured after the age of 15 months in readiness for the minimum age of competing, which is 18 months. There’s no rush to be measured or compete, this is just the minimum ages. Measuring is generally straight forward;
You can of course enter unaffiliated shows that do not require measuring or being registered with the Kennel Club but these will not count towards progression through the grades.
“Go Tunnel, Go Weaves, Run Run, Targettttttt!”
To find a club in your area to train with, visit Agility Net: agilitynet.co.uk/clutch/clubs.htm
These are all words you might hear a handler saying (or shouting) during an agility competition!
Agility is a really fun and addictive way of mentally and physically stimulating your pawfect pal whilst keeping fit and active yourself. What’s great is that all breeds can take part; it doesn’t matter if you have a small dog or a big dog, as the height your dog jumps is determined by their size. In an agility competition, you need to navigate your dog around a course which comprises of jumps, tunnels, weave poles, a seesaw, dog walk and an A frame. The jumps may also be varied and include a wall, tyre or spread jump. Safety is key, so if a dog mis-jumps and touches a pole, the inside of the tyre or the wall, the equipment is designed to fall so they do not get injured. If any obstacles are dislodged or ‘contact areas’ are missed on the seesaw, dog walk and a frame then the canine competitor is given faults. The winner is the handler with the furry friend clocking the fastest time and fewest number of faults.
As you progress up the grades (all new handlers start in Grade 1 and aim to reach Grade 7), the complexity of the courses increases and you may be asked to send your dog round the back of a jump or run into the unobvious end of a tunnel. If you would like to get started in agility, it’s really important to start training with a registered club who can teach you both properly in a controlled environment with safe equipment. Once you have trained the basics, and both you and your pooch are confident, you can enter shows and be in with the chance of winning lovely trophies and rosettes. To do this, your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club to take part in KC shows. This can be the breed register for pedigree dogs or the activity register for crossbreeds and rescue dogs.
No dog is excluded from this fantastic sport!
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Hopping History We love our rabbits today, we even let them live in our homes with us! Let’s take a hop back in time to find out how our beautiful buns came into our lives as pets.
All the wild rabbits in this country and all the 305 global rabbit breeds have descended from the European rabbit. Recent research has shown that all European rabbits carry common genetic markers and descend from one of two maternal lines. These lines originated many millions of years ago when glaciers isolated two populations. One on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and one in Southern France. It can be assumed that early human species began hunting rabbits as a food source, but little comprehensive evidence of the relationship with humans exists until Roman times. There seems to be a lot of debate and controversy about the timing of domestication of the rabbit. That is history for you! One of the theories is that wild rabbits were first tamed in 600 A.D. by French monks. History of rabbits through the ages
Introduction of pet rabbits The rabbit’s emergence as a household pet began during the Victorian era, when a lot of selective breeding went on. Variations include size and body shape, coat type, including hair length and texture, coat colour and markings and of course ear carriage. Rabbit shows started to be widespread and with the development of organisations such as The British Rabbit Council (BRC) in the 1920s, interest in rabbits as show animals has had a knock on effect on the pet rabbit market. Today there are many different breeds of rabbit that are frequently kept as pets. Like everything else we humans do; the breeding of rabbits is
subject to fashion, and just as has happened in pedigree dog breeding, some breeding has led to extremes of conformation not beneficial to the individual. Today, The BRC encourages research into diseases amongst other topical issues relating to all rabbits. As the role of the rabbit has developed into a popular pet, The BRC actively encourages good welfare and husbandry amongst pet owners. So today’s pet rabbit may look and behave differently from its wild cousin, but underneath it’s just the same. Interestingly, genetically they are practically identical!
In any event rabbits were introduced from Spain and France to many countries including Britain. The historical evidence credits the Romans with the earliest written records of rabbits and as being the first to use hutches and walled enclosures. By the middle ages, rabbits were regularly transported across Europe. It took more than 2,000 years for differences to be noted between the bones of wild or captive/ domesticated rabbits. So it has been concluded that the domestication of rabbits was a cumulative effect rather than happening at any set date.
To help you care for your bun, The Healthy Pet Club offers a rabbit health plan to take care of their everyday health care needs. With memberships costing the equivalent of just 40p per day, join today to start saving money.
Join today >
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Safe disposal Let’s help to protect our environment
Guidance on returning medicines to your veterinary practice Liquid medication
Unused tablets These should remain in their original packaging (blister packs) if possible. If tablets are now separated, those of the same type should be gathered together and placed in a sealable, child-proof container.
Please ensure the tops or lids are secured tightly on any spot-on pipettes, bottles or jars, and if you can, place them in a sealed, leak- proof bag.
Empty blister packs You can dispose of these in your normal household waste.
Pipette tubes (such as spot on flea treatment) Replace cap securely in case there are any drops of product left inside and dispose of in your normal household waste.
How to dispose of used packaging at home
Card packaging It’s a good idea to remove any label with your personal details on (or make it illegible), then dispose of the card in your recycling bin.
Safe disposal of your pet’s unused flea and worm treatments and veterinary medicines Did you know that the safest way to dispose of your pet’s unused flea and worm treatments and medicines is to return them to your veterinary surgery? You can help out by checking your household’s cupboards for any unused or partially used medicines. This includes any out of date and any tablets or pipettes that you have removed from the blister pack but not used or opened within 28 days. You can return all of these to your veterinary practice for safe disposal.
We all need to be responsible in protecting our environment. When it comes to our pet’s care, you can help out when it comes to the disposal of your pet’s unused medications and used medication packaging. Here, we explain how we can all work together to do the right thing. Scoop the poop! Please remember to clear up your pet’s poop when out walking or even from your garden. This is because traces of some veterinary medicines can remain in your pet’s poop, which could also lead to environmental contamination if not cleared up.
Why is it good to help? Please do not pour away of any unused flea and worm treatments or medicines via wastewater, like disposing of it down the sink, toilet or drain. Getting rid of products this way can contribute to environmental contamination. Did you know that traces of animal medicines have been detected in rivers throughout the UK?
Tip Reminder: Never share any unused medication, as your pet’s prescription is only intended for their condition and could cause more harm than good to another pet.
These products should not enter watercourses as they could be dangerous to fish and other aquatic organisms.
Returning unused or out-of-date flea and worm treatments and medicines to your veterinary practice ensures their safe disposal by a licenced operator.
Scooping it into a biodegradable poop bag and dropping it in to a dog waste bin is always the best option.
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Snack-cidents The true cost of veterinary care when pets eat things they really shouldn’t Chocolate
Raisins Generally found in fruit cakes and mince pies, many people don’t realise just how toxic raisins are for our precious pets. This is a common reason for pet parents claiming for the costs of emergency care required, with treatment costing from hundreds into thousands depending on the severity. This is because the toxicity of raisins can be especially damaging to the kidneys, with symptoms including loss of appetite, lethargy or weakness, abdominal pain, dehydration, increased thirst, increased or decreased urine production, vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
Socks Dogs are often known to be cheeky sock thieves, but you’d never imagine that a number of them would end up with an emergency visit to the vets having actually eaten a sock or two! Ingested foreign objects, like small items of clothing, made up 4% of claims in 2022, with the most notable sock- related incident at a whopping £2,700 in clinical fees.
Although the occasional payment of the Cheese Tax is fine for when our puppies come looking, we must remain vigilant in the foods and household items we leave lying around. Here, we take a look at some of the recent pet insurance claims MiPet Cover has seen when it comes to ingested items. Tummy troubles, foreign objects and poisoning all feature in the most common pet insurance claims from 2022, and all of these can be associated with naughty nibbles our pets have somehow consumed. Any pet parent knows what our cats and dogs are like when it comes to seeking out additional treats. Ribbons and string Parties, gardening, shoe laces and gifts… snips of ribbon and string are everywhere, helping us to keep things tied together and secure. But these bits and bobs can sometimes find themselves consumed, leading to tummy troubles. With recent claims almost topping £2,000 , it’s good to keep your peepers peeled for odds and ends laying around the house.
Widely enjoyed by us humans, especially around seasonal celebrations such as Easter and Valentine’s Day, chocolate is one of the constant offenders. The presence of theobromine is the main reason as to why pets cannot safely consume chocolate. Whereas humans can easily break down theobromine, this is much more difficult for pets. Because of this, pets are much more likely to develop chocolate poisoning. In even small amounts, chocolate can lead to diarrhoea and sickness. It can be much more serious than this though and as a worst case scenario, it could even prove fatal. Chocolate muffins, cakes, bars and even a Chocolate Orange all make an appearance on the list, with one particular claim topping almost £1,700 , we can all agree that keeping these goodies well out of paws’ reach is the best option.
Xylitol Xylitol is a sweet sugar substitute, derived from plants, including many fruits and vegetables. As it is found in so many everyday food products, it’s often the cause of snacking mishaps. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, so much so that even a smidge may lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even fatality. Claims involving Xylitol ingestion have hit over £1,400 , so it worthwhile exercising vigilance when you open the kitchen cupboards. Examples of products containing Xylitol are: • Sugar-free mints and gum • Human toothpaste and mouthwash
• Plums • Oats • Some peanut and nut butters • Over-the-counter human medicines • Sugar-free desserts
• Baked goods • Mushrooms • Lettuces • Strawberries
If you have any immediate concerns that your pet has ingested foods or items they should not have, seek emergency veterinary advice as soon as possible. It is always worthwhile having a pet insurance policy in place for unexpected incidents, such as the above snack-cidents. Get cover now at mipetcover.co.uk
Data source: MiPet Cover pet insurance claims, 2022.
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I’ve just brought a new kitten home and my two year old cat is acting really withdrawn and depressed. I’m worried that we’ve really upset him by bringing another cat into the house. Do you have any advice? Cats are quite solitary creatures who like their own space, so often aren’t as thrilled as we are at the idea of a new addition. It’s important to make sure your older cat has some places to escape to (such as high up on furniture, or a room the kitten isn’t allowed in) so he can get some quiet time. Always have separate food and water for each cat, so they aren’t competing for resources, and one more litter tray than the number of cats in the house. Lastly, make time to give your older cat some one-on-one attention so he doesn’t feel left out. The majority of cats will learn to live comfortably together with time, and some even become friends, so don’t feel too disheartened!
My 14 year old Border Collie’s legs are starting to look a bit stiff whenever she gets up after a lie down. She seems to shake it off and is ok after a bit. Should I be getting her checked over by our vet? Stiffness after rest is a classic symptom of arthritis (joint inflammation), which affects an estimated 80% of dogs over 8 years old. It’s definitely a good idea to get her checked over by your vet and discuss your options; there are many treatments for arthritis, some of which have few or no side effects but could make her a lot more comfortable. For more general advice the Canine Arthritis Management website is a great resource.
To ask our resident vet, Shula, a question for the next issue, please email email@example.com. If your pet needs help sooner, please speak to your local vet in the first instance.
Provided by Shula Berg
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Escape As the weather gets warmer, we often leave the back door open for pets to come and go as they please. Always check your garden borders thoroughly at the start of the year to identify any damaged or dislodged fencing that could provide an escape route. This is especially important for rabbits in outdoor runs or free roaming as they can escape through even the tiniest of gaps!
Fungi There are thousands of types of fungi, or wild mushrooms, in the UK.
Harmful plants Many plants are toxic to our pets, but the majority will only cause mild gastrointestinal upset and need to be eaten in fairly large quantities to cause serious harm. The one exception is lilies as these are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure after even tiny amounts are ingested, including licking the pollen off fur.
Some are edible while others are incredibly toxic, and many look almost identical.
If you notice fungi growing in your garden (often in a shady spot under the trees) it is best to remove them rather than take any chances.
For many plants only certain parts are toxic, such as daffodil bulbs.
If your pet is a chewer, especially young puppies, it’s better to prevent access to flower-beds all together and always keep seeds and bulbs out of reach. Know what is in your garden, and if your pet does eat something call the VPIS (see details on page 24) or your vet as soon as possible.
Garden perils for pets As the weather warms up and Spring is in the air, we start getting the urge to spend more time outdoors. For many of us, there aren’t many nicer ways to spend an afternoon than pottering around the garden in the sunshine, preferably with our furry friend for company. Many cats and dogs enjoy nothing more than lazing in the sun, but for our more inquisitive pets there are a few ways they can get into bother outside.
Compost bins Compost bins are great to reduce
household waste and help nourish the garden. However, they are a prime place for the development of toxic moulds. Many of these are impossible to identify, can cause a wide range of symptoms, and don’t have specific treatments. Rotting food smells great to dogs so compost bins must always be kept securely shut and inaccessible.
Here we share the most common garden hazards and the best ways to avoid them…
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Foreign bodies For pets who tend to eat things they shouldn’t (yes, we are looking at you, Labradors!) the garden is a great source of foreign bodies. Stones and sticks can cause nasty injuries or obstructions if swallowed, so consider limiting access or replacing ground coverings if your pet sees stones as a snack. Be especially careful with natural stones such as those found in plums, cherries and damsons. Not only can these cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, they also contain cyanogenic glycosides which are very toxic if chewed or digested.
What to do if you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic • Firstly, don’t panic. If you can, identify what they have eaten, when and how much of it as this will help the vet to treat them effectively. • If they are unwell and showing symptoms, call your vet and explain the situation; they will advise what to do • If they are currently well, call the Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000. This 24-hour service is run by specialist vets and scientists who will advise you on what, if any, treatment is needed. Calls cost £35 during the week, or £45 out of hours, and any specific treatment information can be passed directly to your vets if needed.
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What health conditions might affect the Domestic Shorthair? The DSH is a very healthy cat, especially compared to pedigrees. This is thanks to their diverse genetic pool, meaning that health conditions which are recessively inherited are less commonly seen. Health issues you should be aware of include:
Osteoarthritis: A staggering 90% of cats over the age of 12 will have some degree of joint disease. Many owners will miss the signs as they are subtle and are easily missed. They can include a reluctance to play as much and hesitation before jumping. Over time, you may notice your cat grooms less and loses muscle around their spine and hips. Arthritis can be managed by keeping cats slim and providing joint supplements as well as ongoing medicine such as pain relief and anti- inflammatories.
Hyperthyroidism: When a DSH cat has an overactive thyroid, we tend to see signs including hyperactivity, being excessively vocal, diarrhoea and visible weight loss. Cats are usually over the age of 10 when first affected. Thankfully, there are a range of treatment options and this condition is something we should be able to manage. Treatment may consist of oral medicine, aural cream (cream that is applied to the ear), a surgery to remove the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) or radioactive iodine therapy.
The purr-pular Domestic Shorthair Cat
A Domestic Shorthair (DSH) is any cat that is not a pedigree, with short fur. They are a hugely popular pet around the world and they are the most prevalent cat type there is. Amazingly, it’s estimated that over 90% of all cats in the UK are Domestic Shorthairs. While western DSHs have a rather stocky build, those found in Asia tend to be more slender; resembling the silhouette of the Siamese. This reflects how their genetic makeup varies depending on where in the world they are. While this collection of cats encompasses a range of different personality types and appearances, many things hold true amongst the DSH population. As they aren’t specifically inbred, they tend to be hardy and are not prone to as many health issues as pedigrees. Most are
sociable, docile and confident, as long as they have been well socialised in their early weeks.
DSHs come in a wide range of coat types and colours and the average weight is about 4kg. Their lifespan is from 13 to 17 years, with many living into their later teens. Is the Domestic Shorthair the cat for me? The DSH cat is a popular choice of pet for good reason. They are prevalent around the world and tend to have a sweet nature. They blend well into the family home and get on well with grown-ups and children alike. Their short coat is easy to maintain and they are arguably the healthiest cat ‘breed’ in existence.
Cystitis: An inflammation of the bladder that is often confused with a urinary infection. The bladder wall becomes inflamed and the affected cat has the urge to strain, so may urinate often and sometimes outside of their tray. Blood may be visible within the urine. For many, cystitis will be triggered by a stress of some kind. Treatments include joint supplements, a specific diet and anti-inflammatories. Long term, the aim is to minimise stress and to ensure all of our cat’s needs are met.
Chronic Kidney Failure: A hugely common disease in the older feline, DSHs are prone to chronic kidney disease in the second half of their life. Signs can start off slowly and tend to include excessive thirst, increased urination, nausea and weight loss. A vet can diagnose kidney failure through blood and urine tests. While there is no cure, this condition can be managed with diet and medication and many cats go on to live for years past their diagnosis.
Cats are full of surprises
With the average pet insurance claim currently standing at £848 (ABI Report, 2022), it’s always worth having cat cover in place in case of an unexpected accident or illness. Don’t leave it until it’s too late. Cover your cat throughout all of their adventures with MiPet Cover’s cat insurance.
Get a quote >
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Jack & Russell
Dee Dee, Dizzy & Darcy
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Stonehill Down Nature Reserve
Exploring Corfe Castle We take a trip to Dorset for some trail walking adventures with Rebecca and Cavalier, Lily.
Let’s go! To get started, make your way to The Square and pass the National Trust coffee shop and visitor entrance to the castle. Here, you’ll follow a tarmac path in between the castle’s perimeter walls and the River Corfe. Cross the road and pass through a gate, over the footbridge and head to the left. You’ll then bear to the right and reach another gate, proceed through and pick up a path (the Hardy Way) that inclines gently towards the Purbeck Ridge, with a fence along the left. You’ll eventually reach a marker stone and here, continue ahead towards Knoll Hill and Cocknowle until you pass through a gate. Look for another marker stone at a fork in the path, choosing the right hand side to follow an uphill track towards the Ridge Path.
Heading through a metal gate guides you up to the top of the ridge onto a wide, grassy walk across Knoll Hill. Take a moment to appreciate the panoramic views across the Purbecks, Egdon Heath and Wareham Forest. A glance to the left showcases the pretty little settlement of Church Knowle, where the Margaret Green Animal Sanctuary can be found, a rescue centre that’s been in the village since 1965, helping pets to find their forever homes. Two further gates await ahead. Go through these, continuing past a commemorative stone, then descend, making your way through a metal gate on to a lane. Here you’ll observe a quarry. Continue along for a short while (approx. 50m) and pass through another metal gate that leads you onto the path for Ridgeway Hill. Once at the top, you’ll find a handy marker where you’ll need to turn right downhill following a track that leads you to another metal gate.
About this wonderful walkie Over in the Purbecks, a Jurassic landscape in the heart of Dorset, you’ll discover the village of Corfe, home to the historic ruins of a 1,000 year old castle. With enticing views across Poole Bay, on a clear day stretching as far as the Isle of Wight, taking a trip up to the Purbeck Ridge is both a challenge and a reward. This circular six-mile amble requires a good level of fitness for both yourself and your four-legged friends. Canine companions will need to be kept on lead due to the wildlife and livestock scattered across the fields and hills…there’s even a duck pond along the way. Make your way round and then rewards await for your efforts in Corfe’s centre with a number of delightful places for a post-trek beverage and re-fuel.
Walk Profile Distance: Approx six miles Duration: Allow 2-3 hours
Terrain: A mixture of grassy, woodland and stone paths with a section of road Parking: West Street car park (BH20 5HH) Refreshments: Corfe Castle coffee shop, The Greyhound and The Bankes Arms
Steam train leaving Corfe heading to Swanage
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Follow the obvious pathway, which may be muddy in areas. Here, you’re fairly close to The Blue Pool , a nature reserve and visitor attraction, where you can enjoy a unique body of water with a plethora of flora and fauna. Pressing on, you’ll discover a number of ponds along the way, and I’ve always observed that the colour of the water is visually different to your average pond water! Whether that has anything to do with the proximity to The Blue Pool, I’m not sure. It may be that they have formed from the old clay pits. You may also pick up the scent of wild garlic as you wander through. Cross over two footbridges as you meander along the woodland path. Keep your peepers peeled for a stile on the right that takes you out of the woods. You’ll cross over a field that leads you alongside Norden Farm campsite. There’s a bit of a sharpish uphill that takes you over a number of stiles. Take a left leading you through bracken, gorse and woodland with a wire fence to guide you to your left.
The Bankes Arms Pub, Corfe
Stonehill Down Nature Reserve
Wander through this gate and bear right where you’ll meet a country lane which offers a glorious downhill saunter into the village of East Creech, taking the right at the first T junction. East Creech is a beauty to behold in terms of quintessential English country hamlets, with a few picturesque cottages, a peaceful campsite and a working family farm. The lovely treat is a duck pond, where you can observe its residents having a jolly good splash and paddle. Continue ahead until you reach the T junction where you’ll take a left turn to continue along the road, keeping a look out for any oncoming vehicles. You’ll reach a bend in the road where you will find a footpath through the woods, waymarked in blue, to the right of the road. You have now reached Norden Wood.
The real treat on this wonderful walkie is the surprisingly sudden view of Corfe Castle. Here, take a right and follow the path back to the first footbridge you crossed, and re-trace your footsteps and pawprints back to the start.
There’s a choice of eateries and a National Trust gift shop in the Square where you can get your paws on a few souvenirs.
Rebecca and Lily>
< Lily takes a break
This walk was enjoyed by Rebecca and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lily. For more information about Corfe Castle including more things to do, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/dorset/corfe-castle
Duck pond at East Creech
Corfe Castle view
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Possible health conditions to be aware of in Cockers If you’re considering welcoming a Cocker, or already have one as part of your family, you should be aware of the following health conditions:
Atopic Dermatitis: For those of us who own dogs with atopy, we’ll be all too aware of how frustrating this condition can be. Dogs experience skin flare ups after allergen exposure and may show signs such as paw licking, face rubbing and scratching. Secondary skin and ear infections are not uncommon. Indeed, the floppy Spaniel ears make chronic ear infections common. The aim is to identify the dog’s trigger or triggers and to avoid them. When not possible, immunotherapy may be suggested. Ongoing medication, allergy tests and immunotherapy can cost several thousand pounds over a dog’s lifetime. Addison’s Disease: This relatively uncommon disease can cause vague symptoms that wax and wane, making it tricky to diagnose. Affected spaniels may show signs including chronic diarrhoea and vomiting, episodic tremors, lethargy and bloody stools. For some, they are not diagnosed until they become very unwell during an Addisonian crisis. Blood tests can confirm the vet’s suspicion and dogs will be treated with ongoing hormone replacement. As the condition is not curable and dogs require frequent check- ups, owners will end up spending hundreds of pounds every year.
Ocular Disease: There are several eye conditions that we should have breeding Cockers tested for. This is to prevent faulty genes being passed down to litters of puppies. There are a total of twelve eye diseases which can be tested for, including progressive retinal atrophy, persistent pupillary membrane and primary glaucoma.
English Cocker Spaniel The energetic and affectionate
The English Cocker Spaniel is classed as the most popular spaniel within the UK and is one of the most common pet dogs around. The reasons for this are simple; this is a fun-loving, energetic and affectionate dog. Their size is seen as an attractive feature, as they aren’t too large and can be accommodated in most homes. A versatile companion dog, the Cocker Spaniel makes an excellent hunter and can also be used as a sniffer dog. They take well to training and are keen to please their master. Intelligent and biddable, most can be trained to a high standard. These dogs need at least an hour of exercise each day and relish the opportunity to be outdoors. With the possible health care conditions to be aware of, it is always worthwhile considering a lifetime dog insurance policy to protect you against unexpected veterinary fees.
Life: 10+ years Exercise: One hour per day Size: Small Temperament: Fun-loving Grooming: Every day
Diabetes: An excessive amount of sugar in the blood results in symptoms including weight loss, an insatiable appetite and a perpetual thirst. This endocrine disorder is easily diagnosed as excess sugar is detected in both the blood and the urine. For most Cocker Spaniels, diabetes is managed and not cured. This can mean many years of expensive insulin and check-ups. The good news is, with the right ongoing care, most dogs have a good prognosis.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy: The Cocker Spaniel is one of several dog breeds to be prone to a heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM. As the heart becomes unable to pump blood efficiently, dogs suffer from episodes of weakness and collapse. We may also see ongoing coughing and shortness of breath. To diagnose DCM, your vet will want to run some tests such as a chest x-ray and echocardiogram. While we can’t cure DCM, Cocker Spaniels tend to have a slowly progressive form of the disease which can be managed with ongoing medication.
And so, on to the canine conclusion…
A dog breed suited to an outdoors and active lifestyle, the Cocker Spaniel can make a wonderful family pet, just as long as they get enough exercise. These dogs are fast learners and bond strongly with their owner. As there are a number of health conditions they can be prone to, it pays to purchase your pup from a reputable breeder who health screens their dogs.
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Guide to Spring fun and frolics
Give your pet some TLC If your child is keen to learn more about caring for their beloved pet then you could ask them to be in charge of keeping up with your pet’s daily or weekly grooming routine (depending on your pet’s grooming needs) as a small, regular task to do.
Do a pet treat hunt Take either your pet’s daily allowance of treats or a few treats and take them off your pet’s daily food measurement. With your supervision, give them to your little ones to hide either around the house or the garden (avoiding areas where there are flowers or plants) for your pet to find. A fun and engaging game for both children and your pets.
Tip Create a tick list, so all tasks are covered in the grooming schedule.
Play fetch A nice way for kids to bond with their barking buddies is to encourage them to play a game of fetch a couple of times a week. They will have stacks of fun and it is a fab way to keep them entertained over the holidays. This will also help your canine companions to get in some physical exercise and will help them with mental stimulation and co-ordination.
The abundance of bank holidays, combined with the Easter and May Spring weeks off school, means long weekends and weeks of fun with your little ones! To offer some inspiration on how to keep them entertained with their best pet buddy, we’ve created a bundle of fun things to do. Spring nature walk With spring in full swing, lots of beautiful, bright flowers will be popping up everywhere as nature starts to come back to life! Why not go for a walk together and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer? Not only could this improve your mood, it’s also a good opportunity to identify the spring wildflowers, birds and insects.
Tip Best not to do a chocolate egg hunt at the same time, so keep it four-legged friend
specific to avoid mishaps. Chocolate can be highly toxic for our furry friends.
Get your paws on a MiPet Club activity booklet Do you know a youngster who dreams of becoming a vet or vet nurse when they grow up? The MiPet Club activity booklet has advice and fun activities to educate kids in the path to studying to be a vet or vet nurse, plus handy tips on helping to take care of their pet at home.
Tip Avoid using a ball throwing stick as this can lead to strain on your dog’s joints, muscles and cartilage.
Tip Now’s also a good time to understand which plants and flowers can be toxic to pets, including lillies, bluebells and daffodils.
Tip You can download and print the digital activity book. Simply grab some coloured pencils and you’re ready!
Pop into your local participating CVS veterinary practice to pick up a copy or check out the digital booklet now.
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Roxy & Reggie
Elsa & Maude
Hope & Willow
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Percy the Poodle’s Puzzle Time
Taurus (20 Apr – 20 May)
Can you find all the famous buns? JABEATR I XWECJ EARBUADD I NDOH LOSEN I L I YDATO DDBALYPETERTP RHUCABUGSHJOP EONCAR I LFFRNS BPNEUFLUHYPTL DSYTHROTTAEAU MNFFTHUMPER I F OCARROTTBUTLL PMOPRORDY I I XO SCHANYRFLOPSY YBUNSEYNABRYT RARI STY I I BENE BUNNY THUMPER COTTONTAIL FLOPSY MOPSY PETER BUGS CARROT BEATRIX HOP Can you hunt out the lost toy?
Can you spot the 6 differences?
Taurus pets are well known for their cuddles and affection and love nothing more than to curl up with their humans and enjoy some creature comforts. You are pets that adore a good pampering, so prepare to strut your stuff in the sunnier months by ensuring you get yourself a lovely grooming session scheduled in. If your two-legged friends like to keep you pawfectly preened and presentable at home, they can check out these dog grooming and cat grooming tips.
Gemini (21 May – 20 Jun)
Gemini pets are curious and adventurous! Never one to be held back, you need a close eye on you just in case you accidentally scamper off into the distance or stray away too far from home. It might be worthwhile getting your family to invest in some pet GPS and be sure you have your microchip just in case you follow your nose a smidge too far. Did you know that the microchipping of our feline friends will become the law in 2024? Be prepared and join The Healthy Pet Club as your pet’s microchip is included as part of the membership. As much as we all love a brilliant story of pets being reunited with their two-legged friends, it saves us all a lot of worry if you don’t play Houdini to start with!
Cancer (21 Jun – 22 Jul)
Pets with this star sign are very much a protective family pet. You’ll no doubt want to be near to everyone in your home, but don’t be afraid if they pop out and leave you behind for a bit… they’ll be back, don’t worry! You’re addicted to tummy rubs and undivided attention, but you also like the security of your own space. Felines may prefer a cat tower to climb all the way up to ‘keep watch’ but for a bit of peace and serenity, a den is always a good idea for a bit of escapism every so often.
See page 43 for the answers
Answers Did you get them all?
JABEATR I XWECJ EARBUADD I NDOH LOSEN I L I YDATO DDBALYPETERTP RHUCABUGSHJOP EONCAR I LFFRNS BPNEUFLUHYPTL DSYTHROTTAEAU MNFFTHUMPER I F OCARROTTBUTLL PMOPRORDY I I XO SCHANYRFLOPSY YBUNSEYNABRYT RARI STY I I BENE
Our resident feline agony aunt is back to help you clear up your quandaries.
Q Dear cat of conundrums, In the past few weeks, I have spotted what I can only refer to as the ‘box of doom’. It’s big enough for me to fit into, has some peepy holes and a cage door. It’s like some sort of posh, cat-sized handbag. I get the feeling that no good can come of it if I venture in there for a peek around. I have spied in on my humans talking about taking me on a trip to the cattery and the vets and, I fear this contraption is how they plan to take me there. I most certainly do not wish to be incarcerated in that thing. What do I do? Felix, Felixstowe A Felix, you most certainly do not want to be getting in that dreadful thing. It can only mean going to cat prison for a week or two or being prodded and poked on the vet’s table and we are not down for that sort of thing. The best thing you can do is show your distaste and pop in a gruesome gift like the remnants of one of your hunting trips. That’ll show ‘em.
Pets… if you’ve got a problem and you want Problem Cat to solve it… you’re wasting your time. Still, you never know, so pop PC an email to firstname.lastname@example.org But we are all special in our own way, so don’t try and conform to what’s pup-ular. Your humans chose you, and, at the end of the day, you know where your treats and cuddles are at. You do you and stay classy! Q D ear purrer of predicament, Why do I feel so different to all the other dogs? I’ve noticed over the past few years that whenever I go to the country park, all I see are these floofy, energetic Cockerpoos. Whichever way I look, it’s like there are hundreds of them in sight. Should I become a Cockerpoo too as I just don’t feel on trend. Dexter, Doncaster A Oh Dexter, I know what you mean. As I sit here gazing out of the window whilst writing this response from my diamante cat tower, the world is amok with these Cockerpoos.
Here are the 6 differences!
Here is your route through... >
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