Pet Skin Conditions

Skin disease is quite common amongst pets, as up to 25% of small animal consultations relate to skin issues. Part of the reason why skin conditions are so common is that skin only reacts in certain ways despite many different causes, and don’t forget that ears are lined with skin as well. Skin conditions cause irritation and pain, therefore understanding the cause means a quicker resolution.

Common signs of dermatological issues in pets

Pets suffering from skin problems show a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Rubbing excessively against carpet or other surfaces
  • Chewing at the skin
  • Red, irritated skin, rashes, or sores
  • Weeping sores or spots
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the legs, feet, or body
  • Repeated rubbing of the face or ears
  • Flaky and dry skin
  • Loss of fur
  • Lumps and bumps

If you notice any of these symptoms, we advise you to book an appointment to see us.

Causes of dermatological issues

Pets can develop skin issues for many reasons. Some factors include allergies (environmental, food, or parasite), bacterial infections, acne, hair loss, or parasites such as fleas, ringworms, or ear mites.

The resulting skin irritation can vary from mild or temporary to severe infections or other health concerns.

Testing and treatment for dermatological issues

There are a variety of ways to test for dermatology issues. In many cases, one of our vets or nurses collects a small sample of material such as a fur pluck, skin scrapes, or skin swabs and examines them under a microscope. They will be looking for mites, yeast, bacteria, and other explanations for why your pet could be in discomfort. Allergy testing is commonly performed by a blood test or skin prick test.

The most common treatments available for dermatological issues are:

  • Flea and mite treatments
  • Oral or injectable anti-itch medication
  • Allergy desensitisation
  • Topical medications (creams or ear drops)
  • Medicated shampoos and conditioners
  • Skin supplements
  • Hypoallergenic diet

In many cases, we will ask you questions about what you have observed regarding your pet’s behaviour. This critical information, paired with their physical examination findings, will allow us to determine the best action plan to correct your pet’s skin condition.

Flea, tick and worm prevention for dogs

Your beloved dog is at risk of contracting parasites as they are ever-present in our environment, but you can keep your pet safe by regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment.

Ticks

Ticks are related to spiders and have eight legs. There are several different ticks species, and they vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. They are common in grasslands and woodlands but can also be found in domestic gardens. They are in all areas of the United Kingdom.

You are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, but they are active throughout the year. Unlike many other parasites, ticks do not fly or jump but climb or drop onto your dog’s coat when you enter their habitat, especially in long grass. Once on your dog, they screw themselves into the skin and feed on blood.

Ticks can irritate your dog and spread microbes that cause diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis. As a dog owner, it is good to use a tick treatment to either repel ticks or neutralise them. Tablets, spot-on treatments, and collars are available to help fight ticks, and it is best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.

Fleas

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are prevalent across the United Kingdom. Fleas on dogs are more than just a summer problem as they can survive and bother your pet all year-round.

Dogs typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or fleas in their environment. This insect’s robust back legs enable it to jump from a host or the surrounding environment onto your dog.

Fleas will make your pet uncomfortable and itchy; they can also pose a profoundly serious health risk. Severe flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by the parasites, and it can be fatal to puppies or immunocompromised dogs. Don’t forget fleas feed on people too, and a flea infestation can easily get into your home.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to consult your vet to find the safest, most effective, and most sustainable product for your dog. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting flea development – and some newer products on the market do both!

Worms

The thought of worms in our beloved dog can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in dogs is an integral part of responsible dog ownership.

Every dog is at risk for worms, no matter where they live or how much time they spend outside. There are three types of worms we worry about – Roundworms, Tapeworms, and Lungworms. Worms are usually transmitted through the faecal-oral method. That means that your pet may have come across microscopic parasitic eggs that are present in faecal material. Some worms, such as tapeworms, are transmitted via fleas. The parasite lives inside the flea, so when a dog accidentally eats fleas, they become infected. Some tapeworms can be transmitted when a dog eats raw meat. Lungworm is spread via foxes, slugs, and snails and is a potentially fatal parasite for dogs.

For most dogs, it is recommended to take some type of worm prevention year-round. Your vet will let you know what the best product is, based on the worms found in your part of the United Kingdom, and your dog’s lifestyle.

Join our Pet Health for Life

If you join our Pet Health for Life plan, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your dog free from ticks, fleas, and worms alongside routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!

Flea, tick and worm prevention for cats

Your feline friend can always be at risk of contracting parasites with them being ever-present in our environment. However, regularly providing them with tick, flea, and worm treatment is the best way to protect them, your home, and yourselves from infestation.

Fleas

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are found year-round across the United Kingdom and are the most prevalent skin parasite found in cats.

Cats typically get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or from their environment. A house with central heating and fitted carpets creates a warm and humid condition that is perfect for fleas to flourish. Fleas feed on blood and then lay eggs. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day which fall off wherever your cat goes. The eggs hatch into larvae which live in dark recesses of your home. Eventually, the larvae spin a cocoon that can be present in the environment for as long as two years, waiting for the right signals to hatch into an adult flea when the whole cycle starts again.

Fleas are likely to make your cat uncomfortable and itchy, and you may notice they have inflamed skin or small scabs at the base of their tails or around their necks. Flea infestations can cause anaemia due to blood loss caused by parasites, which can be especially dangerous in kittens. Fleas also don’t mind who they bite and will commonly feed on you and your family.

There are numerous flea treatments on the market which provide year-round prevention. It is best to contact us to find out what we can offer and recommend. Spot-on treatments and medication in tablets and injections are the preferred long-term flea control methods. Some products attack adult fleas, while others work by interrupting fleas’ development – and some newer products on the market do both! Products intended for treating fleas in cats must not be used on cats as they can be toxic.

Treating your cat will only go part way to controlling any flea infestation – it is also crucial to ensure that they are killed and removed from the environment to prevent reinfestation.

Ticks

Ticks are 8 legged creatures related to spiders and are most commonly found in long grass and woodlands. Ticks can be harmful to cats as they can transmit disease and can be locally irritating. Although you are most likely to come across ticks during the spring and autumn seasons, they are active throughout the year.

Ticks will attach themselves to your cat as they pass by, jumping from the foliage and climbing up their legs. Once attached, they remain there for five days, drinking your cat’s blood. Ticks are visible with the naked eye but can be hard to spot amongst the fur. They prefer to attach around the head and ears.

As the well-known saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, and there are various products available to help treat your cat to prevent them from becoming infested by ticks. We can recommend the best product for your pet. If your cat has a tick, then contact us to arrange an appointment to remove it, as if they are not removed correctly the mouthparts of the tick can remain in the skin leading to infection.

Worms

The thought of worms in your beloved cat can be very unpleasant. However, understanding prevention options for worms in cats is an integral part of responsible pet ownership.

There are two types of internal parasites that are commonly found in the gut of cats – tapeworms and roundworms.

Tapeworms are flat, tape-like worms that attach to the wall of the gut. Your cat may become infected with tapeworm if they were to ingest something that was a host for the tapeworm eggs, such as a flea or rodent.  As fleas can transmit tapeworm, if your cat shows signs of having fleas, then there is a good chance they have tapeworm too.

Roundworms live in the intestine of your cat and are more resembling of an earthworm. Like tapeworms, their eggs are passed in the faeces, and although not infectious straight away after being passed, they will be after only a couple of days and remain infectious for years! It is also common for roundworms to be passed on from a mother to her kittens through the milk.

Although not fatal, the presence of worms in cats can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, irritation, and diarrhoea.

For most cats, it is recommended to take year-round worm prevention. We can advise you on the best product based on the type of worm found and your cat’s lifestyle.

By becoming a member of our Pet Health for Life plan, you will receive all the essential medication to keep your cat free from ticks, fleas, and worms, as well as routine checks to make sure they are doing well. Ask a member of our team for details or sign up online today!

Easter Bank Holiday hours

With Easter just around the corner, our opening hours may vary from our usual times. Please see below for our opening times over the Bank Holiday weekend:

Friday 2nd April                      08.45 – 18.00
Saturday 3rd April                  Closed
Sunday 4th April                     Closed
Monday 5th April                    08.45 – 18.00

Out of Hours service will be available by calling 01450 372038 as usual.

Thank you for your co-operation.

How to choose a scratching post for your cat

Scratching posts are essential items for cats. They provide a dedicated place for your cat to scratch and ensure that your walls and soft furnishings avoid unnecessary damage.

The reasons cats scratch are:

  • for claw maintenance – to shed the outer sheath of the claw and sharpen the tips of the claws
  • to exercise the muscles and maintain the system that allows claw extension and withdrawal, used in hunting and climbing
  • for territorial marking – scratching leaves a visual marker in the form of scratch lines and a chemical marker as pheromones are released from the plantar pad glands

There are many different types of scratching posts available suitable for all budgets. Some may come with hiding places, platforms at different heights, and dangling toys.

Things to look out for when shopping for a post:

  • You will want to make sure the post is rigid and stable. We would recommend attaching it to the wall with a wall bracket for a taller modular style post for extra safety
  • The post will need to include enough height to ensure your cat can fully stretch to provide the scratch room that they require
  • Many cat scratching posts are covered in a variety of carpeting. However, it’s important to choose a post with a covering different from your home’s material, as you wouldn’t want to send mixed messages that scratching one type of carpet is ok, however not scratching other areas of your house with the same material is not!
  • For claw maintenance, the option of having horizontal and vertical surfaces for scratching is preferred
  • The number of scratching facilities in your home very much depends on the number of cats you have in your house. If you have several cats living in a home, then you should avoid cats having to share scratching posts, which will help prevent competition and anxiety.

Where to place your post:

Ideally, you will want to place the post near your cats’ bed so that they can scratch first thing in the morning. A location near a window or radiator in a room that your cat prefers would be a great place to start.

If your cat loves to hang out with you, you could put posts with beds in areas close to where you spend most of your time. Cats want their scratches to be visible to humans, and for other household pets to see and smell.

Getting your cat used to the post:

When you first introduce the post to your cat, they may avoid it. If they do, you can encourage them to engage with the post by playing a game with your cat around it. Alternatively, you could place some dry food on different levels of the platform to encourage your cat to jump up.

We hope that your cat enjoys its new safe space.

Rabbit space requirements

When purchasing your pet rabbit, it is important to carefully consider the amount of space they require. The SSPCA advises the below as a minimum space requirement for two average-sized rabbits.

Of course, if you can provide more space, that is even better for your rabbit’s welfare.

 

 

Top tips:

  • It is important to note that space must be across a single level, therefore raised hutches within the space will not count towards the minimum space requirement.
  • If you can provide free-range space that is even better, but please ensure roaming is supervised.
  • The minimum height requirement is 1m
  • The main thing to remember is, the bigger the space, the more room they will have to exercise and keep in shape!

How do you show your pet affection?

Showing your pet that you love and care for them doesn’t have to be complicated. We have pulled together some simple ideas of ways to show your pet that you love them.

Keep active together
Exercise not only benefits your physical and mental wellbeing but your pet’s too. Spend quality time together by taking your dog on long walks, varying the route each day.

Why not combine your dog walk with a run? Couch to 5k is a great initiative, and introduces exercise into your life, and keeps your pet fit and active, by introducing interval training. Whilst out on walks, you could also encourage catch and fetch games to keep your pet engaged and active.

At home, you could build a mini obstacle or agility course using household items such as large boxes, laundry baskets, cones, and cushions. You should incorporate chase toys into your cat’s routine to keep them active.

Teach them new skills
To keep your pet’s mind active teach them new skills. Not only will these break up the day, but tricks also keep their mind sharp too.

Show physical affection
Throughout the day ensure you include lots of belly rubs, ear scratching, and stroking.

For cats, stroke them from the top of their heads down to the tail and encourage them to sit on your lap whilst you stroke them.

Grooming
We all love being pampered as it makes us feel good. Take time to groom your pet and make a fuss over them. This time is great for reinforcing the bond between the two of you. You can also use this time to check for any issues or injuries.

Could you treat them?
Reinforce positive behaviour with a healthy treat. If your pet has mastered a new trick, reward them, but take note to ensure this comes from their daily food allowance.

Are any of their toys looking used or worn? If so, invest in some new toys to stimulate your pet, but ensure to rotate toys to keep your pet engaged.

There are many ways to show your pet that you love them, and just by implementing some of the suggestions above, your pet will thrive from the love and attention that they receive.