Edition 03 - Spring 2022
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Great British Dog Walks Follow your noses to wild and wonderful places
A Day in the Life of a Vet Nurse What really goes on in a veteri nary practice Feline Focus
The ‘Energetic and Chatty’ Bengal Cat
Leeloo & Letty
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Welcome... to edition 3 of #BestForPets magazine, a publication packed full of advice, features and fun for both you and your pet. In this issue, we have a spring in our step ready to embrace the warmer weather and the great outdoors. We’ve compiled a list of the top British dog walks, as voted for by both two-legged and four-legged friends. Why not take a look and see where your noses might lead you? In preparation for any travel plans on the horizon, we also give you some top tips on how to coax your feline friend into the dreaded cat carrier! Hopefully, we can help you make it a less claw-some process for all parties involved. We love to give you the lowdown on practice life, so we’re taking a peek into the day in the life of a veterinary nurse. Holly gives us the lowdown by walking us through a typical day at her busy surgery, Larwood & Kennedy . Did you know that the role of the vet nurse is just as important to your pet’s welfare and happiness during their treatment as the vet themselves? Our resident vet, Shula Berg, is here again to answer your pet’s pressing questions. If you have anything you’d love Shula to answer in our ‘Ask the Vet’ feature, please get in touch by sending an email to email@example.com . Stay furbulous! Rebecca Editor
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Pet news Feline friends or foes? Pet pawtraits A day in the life of... a consulting vet nurse The UK’s most pup-ular dog walking spots
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Lifetime Flex Our comprehensive lifetime policy to suit your pet’s needs... and your budget Our LifetimeFlex cover includes: A choice of veterinary fee cover between £2,000 to £12,000 Complementary treatment as recommended by your vet
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Horoscopes Ask the vet The dangers of chocolate for pets Cat Vs carrier Feline Focus: The Bengal Cat Pet pawtraits How to keep rabbits active Barking Breeds: Cockerpoo When it’s time to say goodbye Percy’s Puzzle Time Problem cat Percy’s Puzzle Time answers
Additional benefits including third party liability cover (dogs only), advertising & reward, holiday cancellation, boarding and kennel fees cover, emergency treatment abroad, and many more benefits
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The #BestForPets magazine team Design: danidixondesign.co.uk Contributors: Rebecca Gardiner, Audra Shreeve, Linda Simon, Holly East, Heather Grace, Jo McKeown, Bronte Stephenson Clinical contributor: Shula Berg
*5% multi pet discount. Minimum premiums apply. Please see mipetcover.co.uk/multi-pet-insurance. 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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Check out the new Healthy Pet Club Video Find out more about the benefits included in The Healthy Pet Club membership in this wag-tastic new video.
The legend of the Easter Bunny
Helping our deaf clients access veterinary care for their pets
Since February 2020, all Healthy Pet Club veterinary practices have offered the SignVideo service to our deaf clients. This enables them to communicate with our veterinary teams on the phone or in person via a video call with a qualified British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter. Having this service available means that we can support our deaf clients with looking after their pets, giving them confidence that their pets are getting the best care possible. Our ambassador Julie Beckett (right), who is a deaf Animal Nursing Assistant at Marske Vets, was a huge driver in getting this service off the ground. Julie continues to work towards giving deaf pet owners informative and engaging pet advice via videos in BSL. These cover a range of topics from learning about keeping pets safe from parasites to top tips on managing dental disease in pets. In the meantime, legislation for British Sign Language to be recognised as an official language in the United Kingdom is currently going through the final stages to be made law in England and Wales.
Do you know the story about how the Easter Bunny came about? As rabbits often give birth to large litters of baby bunnies (known as ‘kittens’), they became known as a symbol of new life. Some would also say that the Easter bunny is also responsible for the fun that comes with the festivities by laying, hiding and decorating the eggs in springtime.
It seems we have those furry friends to thank for the eggcellent chocolate egg hunts many families enjoy at this time of year.
Now, where did I leave my basket?
Strike a pose! Hey pets! We’re on the lookout for future cover stars. You could win an exclusive goody bag and get your paws on a share of the limelight. You’ll feature on a future front cover of #BestForPets magazine, plus you’ll occupy the banners on The Healthy Pet Club and MiPet Cover’s social media pages for an entire month. To get involved, please email your most pawfect piccie to firstname.lastname@example.org or pop it on our social media posts.
You can find all of Julie’s pet advice videos on The Healthy Pet Club Facebook page
You can find out more about how to use our SignVideo service here
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Food resources Cats within an established social circle may be willing to share some resources, but many cats will simply adapt to accept the resources they are offered. This doesn’t, however, mean they aren’t stressed by a lack of resources or the location of them, and they could be just trying to avoid hostility with their feline housemates. Ideally, you should aim to: • provide each cat with their own food bowl (this may mean completely separate rooms to prevent cats stealing one another’s food) • position food bowls in a corner, or an area where the cat is able to watch their surroundings as they eat • provide routine with feeding times (cats are creatures of habit!)
Water resources Our feline companions are generally not devoted consumers of water, but it’s important to encourage water intake and ensure that there is no physical barrier to stop them accessing it. For example, an aggressive cat may subtly block a more docile cat from accessing water if there are minimal options for hydration. Some ideas for ensuring water access in multi-cat households are: • enough water bowls for each cat within the household • place water bowls, or water fountains, in low-traffic areas • position water bowls in an area that a cat can watch their surroundings, such as high up on a shelf or in a corner • keep water bowls separate from food bowls,
Feline friends or foes? Keeping the Peace in Multi-Cat Households Bronte Stephenson gives us the low-down on the best approach to keeping things calm…
as cats may easily feel that the water is ‘contaminated’ if they have been eating next to it
Social groups Multiple cats within the same house can form sub-groups or social circles. For example, in a household of three cats, you may have one cat that desires not to interact with the other two, but the other two will play and groom one another. Identifying sub-groups helps to determine who may be willing to share territory and/or resources. A simple way to do this is to record the actions each cat carries out towards the other cats. Does Cat A sleep in close proximity to Cat B? Does Cat C hiss and swipe at Cat A whenever they are near one another? Determining a majority of positive interactions suggest a social circle, whereas mostly aggressive or disregarding actions indicate that there is no ‘friendship’ between two cats.
Cats are naturally solitary predators and, though they sometimes will form small colonies in the wild, many choose to live a more self- contained life. Domesticated cats will often choose to positively interact with other members of their species within the same household, and may carry out activities such as reciprocated grooming or sleeping next to one another. However, many prefer to ‘tolerate’ rather than intermingle with other cats within the household. Which often leads to stress and tension if there aren’t enough resources, or if a cat feels they don’t have enough of their own territory. Here are some tips for maintaining a stress-free environment within a multi-cat household.
Sprays and diffusers Many calming sprays and diffusers are available to purchase to aid in reducing stress and tension in multi-cat households. Some examples of the options available are: • Feliway Friends plug-in diffuser (contains a synthetic version of Cat Appeasing Pheromone, which mothers would naturally produce when nursing their kittens to help them feel safe and secure) • Pet Remedy spray (contains a calming essential oil blend)
You should always follow the instructions
provided for each specific product.
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Enrichment and sleeping arrangements It’s all about space and territory when it comes to multi-cat households, and toys, scratching posts and sleeping arrangements are no exception! Some tips for ensuring your feline housemates have enough options for entertainment and self-grooming are: • provide multiple sturdy scratching posts in low-traffic areas, where there is enough space for the cat to fully stretch out • for cats whom show aggression towards one another, you can separate them into different rooms at night time so that they can get some rest and down time away from one another • provide each cat with their own sleeping area and bed away from each other (cats whom get along well can they choose to sleep together if they wish) • provide safe high resting places (such as a perch with multiple exit routes)
Toileting As a general rule, there should be at least one litter tray/box per cat, in a low-traffic area, away from food and water, within the household, plus at least one extra. Some cats may prefer to urinate in one box and pass faeces in another, so the more litter trays you can comfortably provide, the better!
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Bronte is a Registered Veterinary Nurse at Evolution Animal Care, looking after pets in Thorne.
* Savings are based on the cost of purchasing these benefits separately (taking average prices charged across a sample of CVS practices) which would result in an average annual saving of up to £200 (more for larger breeds). Benefits, costs and savings vary depending on the type and size of your pet.
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Hattie and Margot
Alba and Otis
Leeloo and Letty
Moony, Hobnob and Buttercup
Check out page 4 to find out how your pet could become our cover star or be included in our next edition’s Pet Pawtraits… there’s prizes up for grabs!
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A day in the life of... a consulting vet nurse Holly East gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at what really goes on during a typical day in the life of a vet nurse.
rate of knots, leaving them ready to be attached to the correct products. It’s all in the teamwork and we always get it done. Occasionally I even get to the end of the list before lunch, but it’s unlikely, and even if I do, it’ll probably be just as long as it was when I come back to check it again! Once I’ve finished with a block of consults, I’ll head back into prep to help where I can. This might be cleaning down theatre, running some bloods up to the lab for testing or taking over from someone so that they can go for lunch. The afternoon consults might begin with another nail clip, or there might be an emergency that rushes through the door and needs our full attention. We grab stethoscopes and oxygen, catheters and equipment to place them so that we have access to veins, pain relief at the vet’s request and we all work together to stabilise the patient, talk to the client, find out what happened and go from there.
One appointment down, about twenty more to go…
A vet nurse’s day starts with putting the kettle on. Mostly because we need the caffeine but also it’s the only hot cuppa we’re guaranteed to drink that day!
waiting patiently while I gently snip their nails to the correct length and solemnly listening to my profuse compliments and thanks while I tell them that they are “the best and most wonderful, brave good-boy”. Other times, the patient is having none of it. I call it the “alligator death roll” when the (usually small) patient is so determined not to have their nails clipped that they begin doing 360-degree spins in their owner’s arms in an attempt to evade me and my trusty nail clippers. Sweating profusely and using every yoga position ever invented to reach these evasive poddle-paws, nine times out of ten I wave goodbye to the patient and their freshly pedicured feet with a sense of achievement and still proclaiming that they are the “best, brave good-boy”. The one time out of ten we do what we can, wave them goodbye and go in search of a lint roller, some deodorant and the kettle.
The consults fly by in a whirlwind of second vaccines, health checks, anal gland expressions, weight checks, injections, blood tests, post- operative checks, more nails clips, ear checks, treatment applications and so much more. It’s so rewarding when the cat whose spay you monitored the anaesthetic for a few days ago comes back with a beautifully healing wound and sits purring in your arms while you check them over and congratulate their owners on their excellent post-op care. Or when the elderly dog who was struggling with arthritis comes bounding in for their monthly injection and you barely even need to ask how they’re getting on at home because they’re standing on their back legs covering you in kisses. In the meantime, fifty or so people (ok, I may be exaggerating a little bit) have called in to request flea and worm products. I make a start working through the list, much to the delight of reception who get the fright of their lives when the label machine starts spitting out labels at a
Once that important bit is completed, it’s time to enter into the fray and get stuck in wherever I’m needed the most. This might be holding a patient for a blood sample, taking a temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR) reading for an in-patient, helping to place a catheter in preparation for an operation or simply popping a load of washing in.
Once my appointments start, I’ll find myself a consult room, check it has everything I need for the day and read through my cases so that I’m prepared for my patients. Nurses see a huge variety of appointments so no two days are ever the same.
Today, my first appointment is a nail clip. Now, these can go one of two ways. They can either go really well or really… not so well! Sometimes the patient is wonderfully genial; politely offering me their paw,
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Once everything is under control, I can head back to my consult room to finish my day consulting. I weigh puppies (and give them
This consulting nurse’s day has been full of hair, slobber and love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tomorrow is a new day and I may be consulting again, or I may be in theatre, or recovering patients in their kennels after their procedures. That’s one of the best bits of vet nursing, every day is so different, and so rewarding. It’s great to know that you’re making a difference to the lives of your patients and clients and to put our nursing skills and knowledge to good use every day. There are long days and tough days, but a love for the job and excellent team work makes it all worthwhile so for now, I’m off to put the kettle on.
When you join The Healthy Pet Club, your rabbit’s routine health care is covered, so you don’t have to worry. The following benefits are included:
cuddles), vaccinate kittens (and give them kisses), talk diets and weight loss (with lots of ear scratches) and everything in between (with oodles of treats handed out to those that are allowed them). Once the last waggy tail disappears back into reception, it’s time to tidy up, restock whatever I’ve used from the drawers and cupboards, sweep up the dust-bunnies that accumulate after a particularly rambunctious appointment and turn off the light in my consult room.
plus much more...
Holly is a Registered Veterinary Nurse at Larwood & Kennedy Veterinary Surgeons, caring for pets in Dereham, Norfolk.
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The UK’s Most Pup-ular Dog Walking Spots One of the joys of canine companionship has to be a good dog walk – boosting wellbeing, stimulation, fitness and bond for both you, the owner, and your four-legged friend.
The top 10 dog walking spots The following list shows the top ten dog walking spots, organised by number of dog walking reviews.
Pedigree, rescue or mixed breed, all dogs need taking out regularly for ‘comfort breaks’, exercise and to keep them stimulated. Where you and your pooch live will largely determine where and how you exercise them from day to day. It might be a quick game of fetch in the local park during the week, but what about those special days and weekends when there’s more time to dedicate to your furry chum? Using Tripadvisor data, Animed Direct looked at 200 of the top dog walking spots within the UK. They collected this data by analysing how many times ‘dog walking’ is referenced in the reviews for these places.
Taking top spot, Hengistbury Head Beach boasts unspoilt golden sands backed by low sand dunes. It’s in an area that’s designated as a Site of Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve. There’s plenty of room to roam, air to breathe and space to think. Although largely uncommercialised, there’s a sizeable car park and cafe to make your dog walking experience even better. Most dogs love beach life! And this is reflected in the results here with three beaches in the top five. There’s little better than watching your furry friend dash around, digging, playing in the surf and generally having a whale (ahem!) of a time.
1. Hengistbury Head Beach , Bournemouth, Dorset 2. Bradgate Park , Newton Linford, Leicestershire 3. Attingham Park , Shrewsbury, Shropshire 4. Wells-Next-The-Sea Beach , Norfolk, East Anglia 5. Filey Beach , Filey, North Yorkshire 6. Newmillerdam Country Park , Wakefield, West Yorkshire
7. Roundhay Park , Leeds, West Yorkshire 8. Ingleton Waterfalls Trail , The Yorkshire Dales 9. Woolacombe Beach , Devon 10. Ogden Water Country Park & Nature Reserve , Halifax, West Yorkshire
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(20 Apr – 20 May)
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 incase you follow your nose a smidge too far. 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!
Please do check before taking your canine chum to the seaside, as many resorts only allow them on the sand at certain times of year (often October to February, i.e. in winter). You could also ask local dog walkers when you get there. There are no problems with the beaches listed previously as dogs are allowed on all four sandy beaches year-round. There are restrictions or small restricted areas for all except Hengistbury Head , however. In second place, Bradgate Park was originally a deer park for hunting, enclosed in the 12th century. Today it offers 800+ acres of greenery, river, reservoir, ruins of an old country house, paths, woodland and various different areas within easy access of Leicester city centre. Great for socialising puppies (and grown dogs) but, one word of caution, any unsteady dogs (potential ‘Fentons’) need to be kept on a short lead to avoid chasing the deer in certain parts of the park.
Coming in third place, family-friendly Attingham Park in Shrewsbury is an 18th-century stately home and estate run by the National Trust. It offers acres and acres of grounds and gardens for you to explore with your faithful friend. All well behaved dogs are welcome on the lead outdoors but only therapy dogs can access the indoor spaces. There is even a designated off- lead dog walking area for burning off that extra bit of steam! Now you know where’s good to go, why not grab the dog’s lead and head on out for some new adventures together?
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.
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My male six month old kitten has just started spraying all over the house and meowing a lot more, I’ve got him booked in for neutering in a months’ time – is there anything I can do to soothe him in the mean time? You’re exactly right that spraying and vocalising can be signs of sexual maturity, but these can also be signs of stress. Has anything changed around the house? Are his eating and toileting habits otherwise normal? While castration can reduce spraying behaviour, the longer a cat’s been spraying before surgery the more likely it is that they continue afterwards, so it might be worth having him checked over by your vet and see whether they can move his theatre slot sooner. If that’s not possible, plug-in pheromone diffusers can help take the edge off in the meantime.
My cat is obsessed with my clothes! Every day she’ll curl up on my pyjamas and snuggle her nose right in – do you have any idea why she may do this? You should be very honoured, your cat clearly feels cosy and safe surrounded by your smell! It’s certainly nothing to worry about, but if it’s a problem then placing clothes out of reach is the best solution. Unfortunately, cats are great at sensing exactly where we don’t want them to sit before settling down there!
I’ve just brought home a one year old Romanian rescue dog, she’s a really sweet girl, but whenever we walk past another dog, she lunges forward and barks at them – have you got any advice? Unfortunately a lot of foreign rescue dogs have had very hard lives; they may have lived on the streets and/or spent long periods in kennels before being transported to the UK. As a result they can find adjusting to a domestic pet lifestyle very challenging. Acting aggressively towards other dogs is often a fear response, either because she missed out on vital socialisation as a puppy or because she’s unused to interacting while restrained on a lead. There is no quick fix for behavioural problems, and I would strongly recommend finding a qualified veterinary behaviourist to help work through this. It’s important to differentiate between a behaviourist and a trainer; look for someone accredited by the Association of Pet Behaviour Councellors (CCAB certified).
One of my rabbits keeps scratching at their ears, is this normal behaviour or could there be something wrong? Occasional scratching can be normal, but if it’s persistent or a new behaviour, it could suggest there’s something wrong. Like cats and dogs, rabbits can get both ear infections and ear mites. Often the ear will be red and may have discharge inside, but if in doubt a check with your vet is best. They can use an otoscope to check much further down the ear than we can see at home.
Please email your questions for our resident vet, Shula Berg to email@example.com
Provided by Shula Berg
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Low blood pressure
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning The symptoms of theobromine poisoning include:
The dangers of chocolate for pets
Increased heart rate
Why not have a go at baking your own treats?
Egg-shaped peanut butter & banana cookie treats for dogs Not only will they find this recipe tasty, it also contains parsley to keep their breath fresh!
Cats are generally less enthusiastic about eating lots of chocolate compared to dogs. This makes it rarer than they will develop chocolate poisoning but it can still happen. Consuming around 20mg per pound of body weight can result in feline chocolate poisoning. Dogs are more at risk, especially given that they will often happily gorge on it. Eating 25g of chocolate has proved lethal for 20kg dogs in the past, especially with dark chocolate. It’s better to avoid giving your pet any access to chocolate to be on the safe side. If you suspect your pet has chocolate poisoning, the best course of action is to get them to the vet as soon as possible and definitely within four hours of the chocolate ingestion. There is no definitive cure for chocolate poisoning and treatment will usually be based on damage limitation. What to do if your cat or dog eats chocolate They may try to induce vomiting to limit the amount of theobromine that can get into your pet’s system, for example.
Many of us will be tucking into chocolate eggs and other sweet treats over the Easter weekend, but you won’t be doing your pets any favours if you offer them some of the goodies. Chocolate and dogs or cats are not a good combination as it can actually be very dangerous (if not lethal) if eaten by your pet. Why is chocolate is dangerous for dogs and cats? The presence of theobromine is the main reason as to why pets cannot safely consume chocolate. Whereas humans can easily break down theobromine down, 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. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous type as it contains more theobromine compared to white chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as risky as dark chocolate but can still be poisonous in the right quantities.
Ingredients: • One mashed banana • 225 grams plain flour • 100 grams dried parsley • Three tablespoons of peanut butter • One egg, beaten
Method: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line a baking tray. Thoroughly mix all ingredients and leave to rest for five minutes. You may need to add some extra flour if the mixture seems too wet. Roll out the mixture on a flat, floured surface and cut into egg shapes using a cookie cutter. Bake for around 35 minutes, or until golden, leaving to cool completely before giving to your dog.
Tuna bunny treats for cats It’s no secret that cats love tuna, so why not incorporate one of their favourite foods into treats?
Ingredients: • 175 grams drained tuna in spring water (not brine) • 225 grams plain flour • 220 grams dried polenta or cornmeal (plus extra for sprinkling)
Method: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line a baking tray. Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until a soft dough forms and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle some dried polenta over a flat surface and roll out the mixture before using a bunny shaped cutter to cut out the cookies. Bake for 15-20 minutes and leave the cool completely before feeding to your cat.
• One egg, beaten • Two tablespoons water
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Why does my cat hate the carrier so much?
“It smells funny!”
Cats have an extremely sensitive nose, and can smell a lot more then we can. A carrier that spends most of its time in a garage is not going to smell of home. If the cat was really stressed in the carrier the last time it was in there, it is likely to have left stress pheromones in there. These stress pheromones will also put off the cat from returning to it.
“It’s too small”
A cat needs to be able to stand and turn around in the carrier. A carrier that was bought when the cat was a kitten may not be suitable now the cat is older. If the carrier is too small, it is likely to make the cat feel trapped.
Get set for success with RVN Heather Grace’s top tips for coaxing your kitty into the cat carrier.
What can I do to help my cat like the carrier? Try to make a carrier part of the furniture! The carrier should not be stored in the garage but be something that the cat sees daily. When your cat then has to travel in it, the experience will not be so scary for them. Provide something reassuring in the cat carrier A blanket they often settle on or a toy they love. These should be put in there intermittently to help the cat associate the carrier with positive things. Train your cat to accept the carrier Firstly, by removing the top half of the carrier, and leaving the bottom in areas near where the
cat resides. Encouraging them to explore with treats and toys. Once the cat is happy to sit in the bottom, put the roof on, again encouraging the cat to settle. Only when the cat will happily sit in the carrier should the door be shut (further information can be sourced on the ISFM website). Ensure the carrier is the appropriate size and material The carrier should be large enough to allow the cat to stand and turn round. It should also be of an easily cleanable material. If the cat is really aversive with a specific cat carrier, it may be worth buying a new one of a slightly different design. Use this new carrier to start a fresh training programme.
Even if your cats get along at home, being trapped together in one carrier can be very stressful.
“I don’t like my travel buddy”
“I’m being taken somewhere scary…”
If the only time the cat sees the carrier is to go to the vets or cattery, they are going to associate it with something negative.
Heather Grace Heather is a Registered Veterinary Nurse at Greensands Vets, caring for pets in Milton Keynes.
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Signs can start from just a few months of age and progress quickly. There is an inherited genetic mutation which can be screened for. This is an important test in breeding Bengals as there is no treatment for PRA. Bengals can be prone to traits of their wild ancestors (and vets often
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): It is generally accepted that the Bengal is more susceptible to FIP than other breeds. FIP is caused by a Coronavirus and signs can include abdominal
swelling and laboured breathing. This can be a
difficult condition to diagnose as the signs are vague and can occur in several other diseases. Sadly, we
note that they are very feisty when
cannot cure FIP and nearly all affected cats will ultimately pass away from the disease. Hip Dysplasia: Though more often associated with dogs, cats can suffer with hip dysplasia too. Affected kitties experience hip pain and hind limb lameness. Owners may notice they hesitate to jump and experience visible muscle wastage. X-rays that are taken under a general anaesthetic can diagnose the condition. While surgery is available for some patients, many cats are managed medically with pain relief and anti-inflammatories. As treatment is life long and cats require ongoing check-ups and blood tests, the cost of managing hip dysplasia can mount to several thousand pounds in a cat’s lifetime. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This devastating condition causes progressive loss of vision and eventual blindness in young Bengals.
having their consultations!). These cats are are physically very large... an average bengal cat is 4-5kg, where a fully grown bengal can often be 7-8kg. They benefit from having a bit of space; Bengals are often kept as house cats as they’re a valuable breed, but ideally garden access or an outdoor run is needed so they get enough exercise. The Bengal cat makes a wonderful family pet and has a curious and energetic character. While they may still look like a wild cat, they are real pussycats who bond strongly with their owners and enjoy their affection. They do need a good deal of exercise and can become bored easily, so owners need to work hard at keeping them entertained.
The Bengal Cat Energetic and Chatty
Health Conditions in Bengal Cats
With heaps of energy and a desire to ‘chat’ to their owners, many find that Bengals are little attention seekers who love to be in the limelight. A fiery, confident and intelligent cat, there’s no denying that the Bengal can be hard work. However, most owners would agree, it is all worth it in the end. Interestingly, the Bengal is a relatively new breed; not one that has been around since ancient times. The American Domestic Cat was bred with the Asian Leopard Cat to create this beautiful beast. The aim was to create a pet that resembled a wild cat but that was docile and loving. Their coat is soft and shiny and comes in three accepted colours. This includes silver, brown and snow. Those with snow coloured coats can be seal lynx, seal sepia or seal mink point. To confuse things a little more, we can see both ‘spotted’ and ‘marble’ coats in any colour.
While the Bengal cat typically enjoys good health, there are a small number of medical issues that can be inherited in this breed. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is the most common heart disease we see in our pet cats. As the heart walls thicken, they interfere with the normal pumping action of the heart. The heart cannot pump as effectively which can result in low oxygen levels and cardiac arrythmias. Cats can go on to develop heart failure and/or blood clots. Some affected cats are symptom free while others may experience fast breathing or lethargy. A scan of the heart can diagnose the condition and cats are managed on medication to improve their quality of life. Diagnostic tests and treatment can cost an owner from £600-£4,000, depending on how long their cat lives after diagnosis.
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Cats are full of surprises. Sadly, life can surprise us with an unexpected financial burden of a veterinary bill if our purrfect pals develop an unexpected illness or have an accident.
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Check out page 4 to find out how your pet could become our cover star or be included in our next edition’s Pet Pawtraits… there’s prizes up for grabs!
Tiggy & Milo
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Space requirements No rabbit can behave normally without enough space. So if you have a pair of rabbits – and remember that rabbits kept alone are very likely to be lonely, so keeping a pair is pretty much mandatory – then the total area of their house and run should be at least 6m2, with a run height of at least 1m (60 square feet; run height, 3 feet). So if you have a hutch that is 2.0 x 0.6 m (which is typical) then you need an attached run that is at least 2.0 x 2.5m. This may sound quite large but it will still only allow your rabbit to make about 4 hops before he has to stop – so bigger is always better when it comes to run size.
How to keep your rabbits active
Ways to increase activity If you provide the right environment, you can leave it to your rabbits to do the exercising. Here is what they need:
With the warmer weather upon us, it is great for your pet rabbits to be outside and active. Of course, they should have enough space to be active all year round, but now is a good time to think about what they need in the way of outdoor housing. If you need any advice on creating the perfect environment for your rabbits, contact the team at your local Healthy Pet Club practice for advice.
Enough space and height to: • Run • Binky • Jump • Stretch up to their full height
Platforms to jump onto
• Get away from each other and sit apart (see above for minimum requirements)
Places to hide
Somewhere to dig: If the run isn’t on grass, provide a large litter tray or an earth-filled planter
Access to the exercise run 24/7:
Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk so letting them out only during the middle of the day isn’t ideal.
Enriching their environment with tubes, tunnels, hideouts, willow balls, and hidden food will also help to keep them happy and active. Always be sure to leave both ends of tunnels unblocked, though – to feel safe, rabbits need to know that they have an escape route.
Do the best for your bunny by providing an environment that allows your rabbit to do all of these things.
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Health Conditions in Cockerpoos It is generally true that cross-breeds are healthier than pedigrees due to their wider gene pool. Most Cockerpoos enjoy good health and will live into their early teens when well cared for. Their ‘teddy bear’ good looks, cheerful personalities and zest for life mean they are likely to remain a popular companion dog for many years to come. However, this does not mean the Cockerpoo is immune to becoming unwell. In fact, there are a number of health conditions that we see more frequently in the Cockerpoo than in other breeds.
Eye Disease: There are a number of eye diseases that occur within the Cockerpoo breed. Progressive retinal atrophy and primary glaucoma are just two of the inherited conditions that can occur. Ideally, parent breeds would be screened for these conditions before breeding.
Ear infections (Otitis Externa): Ear infections can go hand in hand with allergies, though also occur on their own. Unfortunately, the thick and pendulous ears of the Cockerapoo mean ear infections are common. Signs can include head shaking, a foul smell and bright red ear canals. Treatment will usually consist of medicated ear drops and oral anti-inflammatories. Owners can help prevent infections by regularly cleaning ears and ensuring they are thoroughly dried after bathing or swimming.
The Cockerpoo Affectionate and Fun-Loving
Patellar Luxation: When the knee cap pops out of place, it is said to be ‘luxated’. For some affected
For most, a minimum of an hour’s exercise is needed every day. Under-exercising these dogs can result in behavioural issues such as furniture chewing and excessive vocalisation. Clever and quick to learn, don’t skimp on the mental stimulation and environmental enrichment. Cockerpoos love to participate in daily training sessions, sniff out hidden treats and complete mini agility courses in the home or garden.
A handsome mix of the energetic Cocker Spaniel and the affectionate and intelligent Poodle, the Cockerpoo is one of the most popular hybrid dogs in the world. Did you know, the Cockerpoo is one of the oldest ‘designer dogs’ and has been in existence for over 50 years? Though many breeders claim this is a hypoallergenic ‘low-shedding’ breed, this won’t be the case for every individual. Affectionate and fun-loving, the personality of the Cockerpoo makes it an excellent family pet. They slot well into the lives of families who like to be outdoors and active. If well socialised from a young age, these dogs are usually very tolerant of children.
Cockerpoos, signs are sporadic and mild. For others, however, they experience a great deal of discomfort associated with the condition. Diagnosis of patellar luxation is with an orthopaedic exam and knee x-rays. For many, surgery will be required to get the best results. Surgery alone will cost from £2,000 to £4,000 for one knee.
Hip dysplasia: As this orthopaedic disease is common in both the Poodle and Cocker Spaniel, it is little wonder the Cockerpoo is often affected. This is a chronic, debilitating condition that leads to joint pain and mobility issues. Early signs can
include ‘bunny hopping’ when
running and a reluctance to exercise. Affected dogs are
typically managed with ongoing pain relief and anti-inflammatories. Adjunctive care including canine massage and hydrotherapy may help too. Depending on your insurance policy, the cost of this may be covered. Remember, it is important that affected dogs are not bred from.
Allergic Skin Disease: It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that allergic skin disease can be one of the most frustrating and disheartening conditions to manage. Just when we think we’ve gotten on top of things, a dog may experience yet another flare up of pink and itchy skin. Cockerpoos can be allergic to a range of things including foods, pollens, grasses and house dust mites. It can be worthwhile pursuing allergy testing and immunotherapy, especially in younger adults. Keep in mind, diagnosing allergies can be an expensive process and owners will end up spending thousands of pounds on their allergic pets through the years.
Looking for Cockerpoo Insurance? As with any pedigree or cross-breed, it’s always a good idea to have a dog insurance policy in place to help with unexpected vet fees.
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When it’s time to say goodbye
Back in October 2014, I sat in a consulting room with my little dog Stretch, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel I had helped to deliver via Cesarean section 12 years ago whilst on night duty. His name came about because he’d been stuck in the birth canal causing the blockage that had led to the Cesarean. Fair to say, he was pretty lifeless when I first saw him! He amazed us all when I managed to revive him by giving him some breaths and cardiac massage. His neck, however, took a few days to un-stretch but his name stuck. Shortly after Stretch was born, I took a job as a lecturer. For eleven years he was my sidekick in the classroom and helped over 900 students with their studies, not only in animal care but with behavioral and personal issues too. We taught in an inner city setting and he worked his magic. I loved him so much for this amongst other things. Stretch was one of those legends I mentioned earlier and he had kindness and un-quavering love for all he met. He was my world and, with this in mind, it takes me back to that day in 2014 where I was sat in the consulting room waiting for the emergency vet.
pets who have helped to raise children and grandchildren, been there for major life events, loss of spouses, loved ones and more. These are the legends who are loved by all. I can say with confidence that the seldom asked question among pet owners of young and healthy animals is, ‘what do I do if I need to have him or her put to sleep?’ Often, they grimace and say to me ‘I would not like to think about what I would do if they go’. This statement reveals that they are subconsciously processing the inevitable loss ahead, whenever that may be. People say to me all the time, ‘I couldn’t do what you do, I couldn’t put animals to sleep’. It is the saddest part of my day. Always has been, always will be. If I was no longer touched by the passing of a pet or the grieving family member left holding them, I think I would be in the wrong job. I feel it’s important to mention at this point where this passion and drive for supporting people and animals through loss has come from.
Jo McKeown , Lead Consult Nurse at Animed Veterinary Hospital and Equine Unit, takes a look at the subject we’re often too scared to talk about.
I’m so lucky to have the best job in the world. I see clients with their pets in nurse consults at the hospital, at our branch practice and visit people’s homes in my role as a district nurse. I see pets who are well for their six-month Healthy Pet Club checks, puppies and kittens for their second and third vaccines, pets with diabetes, pets who need a nail trim, cats with knotty fur, lumps and bumps and heaps of others… it’s a lovely opportunity to meet and talk to clients who love their pets and, every day, I get to see the special bond and love they share with each other and their families. I also run a senior life clinic where arthritis, dental hygiene, coat condition, slight sagging and the occasional odd whiff are the stuff of normality. No judgement for these wise old
How many times have you seen an advert on the TV about planning your own send off? The options seem to be endless, funeral, no funeral, woodland burial… you can even be made into ash and fired into space! The point is, we sometimes think about what will happen to us before we pass away. We plan for the future, the inevitable, to help our families, to relieve stress, to ease the heartache of the decisions and the burden of our care. When we adopt, rescue, buy or acquire a companion animal, sadly, there will come a time when we’ll be separated from them, one or the other of us being left behind. A gloomy thought I grant you and surely one that is best swept under the carpet and left for another day?
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Percy the Poodle’s Puzzle Time
I knew Stretch was going to go, I knew he was going to leave me. I remember thinking so many racing thoughts… what will happen to him? Will I leave him here? Is he scared? Is he in pain? I’m scared. Do I have his ashes back or will I bury him? Not long after Stretch passed, I went back in to practice as an RVN. In addition to all of the tasks that are included in my wonderful career, I had pretty much decided that his legacy would be to help clients to make informed decisions about the end of their pet’s life, after all euthanasia means ‘good death’ and by making their passing as smooth, pain and fear free as possible we offer them the last kindness we can.
Through educating clients and discussing the ‘elephant in the room’, we can make a difficult decision a little more bearable. This conversation does not need to be gloomy, it is just better that it happens. It’s not necessary to plan everything to the nth degree but it may help with the grieving process to know that you had a part in the choices that were made for your pet. It’s important to mention that no single decision is ‘one size fits all’. Every family is different and to that extent every euthanasia, as I mentioned previously, when an animal passes it is usually the love, special bond and compassion between human and animal that is so apparent. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in discussing end of life plans with your veterinary nurse. It’s a service of kindness we’re able to offer to you. I wish this service would’ve been available to me when Stretch was alive. Things would’ve been different for him. I simply just had not thought about how I would like our final goodbye to be. Sadly, in the event of a traumatic situation, such as an accident or sudden onset of illness, it may not be possible to follow through with plans exactly as we’d hoped. However, an understanding of choices that are available and tucked away in the wings can help at a difficult time.
Can you find all the rabbit words? C P Y S D E F R M O P S Y O A W H B E A K B T I O D I G R O U B E B E B R E F T B N M G T A J H E F A R C O R M S A C H A A L Q O O N A F B B A Y S T O U G T G E L U S R H E R A S E T G E U N E R K R I P C R O B R D N R O D R X G V Y N I A S Y R T H U L H O P T S F L O P S Y L O P K K A A T H U M P E R L H R O I C H A S N D A V E V B P L H J N N Y I O P F D E S CARROTS
Sniff out the bone...
THUMPER ROGER HOP BUGSBUNNY
FLOPSY MOPSY COTTONTAIL
Can you spot the 5 differences?
Jo McKeown Jo has spent the last seven and a half years studying and completing a Pet Bereavement Counselling Diploma to help those who are coming to terms with the loss of their beloved pet.
See page 39 for the answers
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