Hawick Vets COVID-19 Update

Following the recent ‘stay at home’ and lockdown orders issued on 4th January 2021, we are continuing to offer as full a range of services as possible for our patients, whilst adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

As a practice, we have adopted a contactless approach to appointments. We will continue to provide the same high-quality services with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a way that protects our clients and teams from local outbreaks of COVID-19.

We are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and therefore lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.

Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe, please help us by:

·        Maintaining social distancing

·        Wearing a face covering where possible. If this is not possible, please contact us before your appointment so that we can discuss how best to support you and your pet

·        Sanitising your hands before and after your pet’s appointment

·        Using contactless payment methods wherever possible

·        Maintaining a safe distance from the practice entrance until you are contacted by a member of our team. If you are on foot, please ensure you are wearing suitable outdoor clothing to remain warm in cold weather spells. If you arrive by car, please remain inside the vehicle awaiting further instruction

When attending an appointment with your pet:

·        Be aware that our teams will be in full PPE at all times

·        Please phone us from outside the Practice to inform us you have arrived

·        A member of our team will alert you to when they are ready to collect your pet and how best to do this safely and without contact (i.e asking you to stand away, whilst your pet is retrieved from the car)

·        The vet will contact you by phone should they need to discuss anything with you during the consultation

·        Once the consultation has been completed, a member of our team will return your pet to you in a safe, contactless way, talk you through the appointment and arrange for payment to be made.

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients, and staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Tortoise parasite prevention

Do you have a tortoise? If so, it is recommended to have a worm count carried out on your tortoise twice a year.

A worm count can be carried out by obtaining a faecal sample, which can be tested in practice. It is common for tortoises to have a low-level worm burden; however, when this increases, it can cause issues such as diarrhoea, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients, and subsequently, weight loss. It is particularly important to control before hibernation, after moving to a new enclosure, before meeting a new tortoise, or if they stop eating or have diarrhoea.

If a positive test is returned, we would recommend booking in for worming treatment. Many wormers will only kill the live worms and not the eggs and, for this reason, we may advise on repeat doses and another faecal count at the end of the treatment.

Whilst your tortoise is undergoing worming treatment it is important to remove all substrate and replace it with newspaper. Throughout this time, you should feed your tortoise with high fibre, high water content food. It would help if you did not feed them fruit, as sugar can lead to worms reproducing more rapidly.

For more information, please contact us.

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.

Starting your puppy off right!

If you’ve recently got a new puppy, you may be wondering how to give them the best start to life. According to Dogs Trust, the first four months of a puppy’s life are crucial, as it is when they learn what to make of all they experience in the world.

Problems can arise when puppies do not receive training or are not familiarised with their environment early on. As dogs get older, they can become stressed about things that they did not encounter when they were young. As you can imagine, adjusting to all the changes caused by the COVID-19 control measures and transitioning to the new ‘normal’ can be confusing to a puppy.

When you start to train your puppy, we recommend using methods that rely on positive reinforcement and gentle teaching. Puppies have short attention spans, so training sessions should be brief but should occur routinely.

Teaching your puppy to be alone

Your puppy needs to feel stress-free and confident to be left alone. You can start training by putting your puppy behind child gates or playpens, then quietly walking out of the room. Return immediately and reward them with praise. Repeat the process, slowly increasing how long you are away each time. In the beginning, even a single minute might feel too long for your puppy, but over time, you should be able to build up to reasonably long periods.

Once your puppy starts to feel confident, you can get them used to you leaving the house. Start slowly by going outside and returning straight away. If your puppy stays relaxed, you can increase the time that you are out. This will leave them well-prepared when the time comes for you to transition away from working from home or when your social diary fills up.

Creating a routine

Some basic structure will help your puppy feel secure and know what is expected of him or her. The best way to do this is to create a basic schedule. Try and develop a routine of exercise, mealtimes, potty breaks and training sessions. No matter how tempting it is to play with your puppy all the time while you are at home, it is essential to give your puppy rest throughout the day.

By establishing the routine from the very start, you will be on your way to a well-adjusted dog. It is worth putting in the time right now so that undesirable behaviours will not develop in the long run.

Socialising with dogs

Puppies need to learn how to communicate with other dogs. This task became tricky due to COVID-19 limitations and social distancing. Many behavioural problems can arise when a dog has been inadequately socialised as a puppy. For this reason, it is best to aim for early controlled socialisation as much as possible. To keep them safe, we recommend that your puppy receives all the necessary vaccinations before they start interacting with other dogs.

Socialising with people

A major component of a dog’s life is meeting new people, whether when out on exercise or when visitors are able to come to your home.  Dogs Trust highlights that you can have great fun introducing them to how different people might appear, by:

  • Trying on different outfits around the home.
  • Getting into a big hat or a wig.
  • Introducing things like walking sticks or high-vis clothing if you have them.


Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears and paws. If unsure, ask one of our team members to show you how you can do this gently.

Play

Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could practise inside your home or garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.

Cars

Although it’s important to get puppies used to going out in the car at an early age, it may not be possible to do this under the current circumstances. If you have a travel crate in the boot, now’s a good time to introduce them to it.  Sit the puppy in the crate in your car whilst stationary on your drive or outside your house, to get them used to being in the car. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car, giving plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car.

Children

The actions of children can be scary to adult dogs that are not socialised with children during puppyhood. Children tend to get excited around puppies and may incite them to play and chase, therefore it’s important that they are taught how to behave around each other. We do not recommend leaving your new puppy unsupervised with any children until you are certain they can get along well.

The best way to build a good relationship between your dog and children is to use positive reinforcement. When your dog is behaving well around children, be sure to give them lots of praise and treats. Your dog will learn that good things happen whenever kids are around.

For additional tips, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/behaviour/puppy-socialisation-introduction 

Exercising your pet in the house during colder months

As the weather gets colder, you and your pet may be spending more time indoors on the sofa. The lack of exercise can have a negative impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of both you and your pet. With ongoing limitations to outdoor activities because of COVID-19, knowing how to keep your pet fit at home could help keep them healthy and happy.

As with any exercise, the amount and type of activity will vary according to the age, species, breed, and overall health of your pet. If you are unsure if these activities are suitable for your pet, please contact us.

Here are some ideas on how you can keep your pet healthy with some indoor exercises:

  • Brain games. You can get special interactive brain games for pets through major online pet supply retailers. These can help with their mental and physical wellbeing. You can also save money and create a game on your own. The simplest one could be hiding a favourite toy under a plastic bucket and mixing it up with other empty buckets. Then get your pet to try and pick the correct one.
  • Hide and seek. If you have a dog, you can play an exciting game of hide and seek with your pet. They will use a variety of their senses to discover where you have gone. When they find you, they will be extremely excited!
  • Laser pointer. Cats are natural predators and love capturing things. A laser pointer provides an outlet for cats to have fun chasing and “batting” about the moving dot. Please use laser pointers explicitly designed to play with cats, as some can be harmful to your pet. You should always avoid pointing the laser at their eyes. Low wattage lasers designed for cat toys should not be a risk if the light flashes across their eyes for a split second. Try pointing the laser at the ground in front of them or beside them. Please remember that they can also cause frustration as the laser can never be ‘caught’. Finishing your play session by aiming the dot on a small toy or treat can help alleviate this.
  • Introduce some new toys. There is a lot of research that suggests that pets love new toys. The festive season is a period where many pet supply retailers have many sales on pet toys. By adding new toys to their collection – it will maintain their interest and keep them active.
  • Rotate existing toys. As a pet owner, you can quickly build an extensive collection of toys that your pet eventually disregards. Rotate toys this winter so that they do not get bored of them – bringing one out of storage elicits a new bout of excitement and hopefully some exercise!
  • Puzzle feeder. You can make dinner exciting with puzzle feeders. There are some super engaging puzzle feeders available to buy that can be filled with your pet’s regular food, which make them use their brain before they eat.

Remember that your pet may have even less self-control than you do over the cold winter days during the festive season! Keep them from piling on the pounds by ensuring everyone within the household does not continually give food or treats to your pets. You can get your family or household members involved in playtime to keep everyone entertained, healthy, and happy!

If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, please give us a call.

Road Safety Week

From 16-22 November, it is Road Safety Week in the UK.

This week aims to inspire the country to take action on road safety, promoting lifesaving and awareness around speeding. When walking your dog you should be extra careful, especially during this winter season. Information on how to make sure your dog can be seen, and other helpful tips, can be found below:

  • Always make sure your dog is kept on a lead. For more tips on walking your dog safely, read our post here.
  • Make sure you teach your dog road awareness by training them when to “stop” and “come away”.
  • Wear light coloured or hi-vis clothing to ensure you and your dog can be seen.
  • Ensure your dog is microchipped so you can be reunited with them in the worst case of them going missing.

 

Source: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/road-safety-tips-for-dog-owners

Holiday Season 2020 Opening Hours

With Christmas around the corner and continued uncertainty, we wanted to ensure we had our opening times for the festive period in place. 

Please see below for our opening times over Christmas and New Year.

 

Christmas Eve:                       8:45am – 6:00pm

Christmas Day:                      Closed 

Boxing Day:                            Closed

27th December:                     Closed 

28th December:                     Closed 

New Years Eve:                      8:45am – 6:00pm

New Years Day:                      Closed

2nd January                            Closed

3rd January                             Closed

4th January                             Closed

 

If your pet requires a prescription or specific food over the festive period, we kindly ask that you request this well in advance.

If you require any further information, please contact us.

If your pet requires out-of-hours emergency care, please call 01450 372 038