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Vets Advice (2004)

Page updated - 10 March 2005

Contact Details:

Simon Bailey. Ardmore Veterinary Group, 57 Cornard Road, Sudbury, Suffolk. CO10 2XB

Tel: (01787) 372588.     Visit the Ardmore Vets Website

Cornard News - This advice was previously published in Cornard News

2004 Spring

Issue 17

PETS & 'UNWELCOME' GUESTS

With the onset of the milder weather, the most common parasite seen on our pets is ….. FLEAS!!!

The idea of fleas on our pets and, even worse in our homes, sends a shiver down most peoples spines.  These ‘parasites’ have the ability to breed rapidly, infest our homes and can cause intense irritation to both your pets and yourself.  The adult flea feeds by biting your pet and sucking their blood, and they can consume up to 15 times their bodyweight in blood.

After a feed the flea will breed and lay up to 500 eggs on the animals coat. These then drop off into their environment, usually your house.  The eggs hatch into larvae over the next few days, and they then form a cocoon.  When the conditions are favourable the new adult flea will emerge from the cocoon to continue the cycle.  At it’s fastest the full life cycle can occur in approximately 3 weeks.

Traditionally fleas are a summer problem but with central heating, and climate change in the UK this is no longer the case and they will be active throughout the whole year.  The things to look for are the fleas themselves and ‘flea-dirts’, which are small black/grey speck in the pets fur.  Also the animal will be scratching/biting or excessively grooming itself, and in some cases the pet is allergic to the bites and can get infected sore areas, which require further treatment.

As with most situations prevention is better than cure, therefore nowadays there is a wide range of flea products available.  I would urge anyone seeking to use these products to contact their vet for advice, as there can be contra-indications to their use, and problems of toxicity and sickness can be encountered if they are used inappropriately.

For information about fleas or any other veterinary related topic please contact me at Ardmore Veterinary Group.

Simon Bailey

2004 Summer

Issue 18

RABBIT DISEASES

With the onset of the summer weather there are a few diseases in rabbits that can easily be avoided. The condition seen mostly is called ‘Blowfly Strike’ (or maggot infestation). Flies lay their eggs that develop into maggots and then eat away at the skin and flesh of the rabbit. This is painful and can be life threatening if severe enough.  Rabbits at the highest risk are those that suffer from obesity, dental disease, diarrhoea, skin wounds and poor hygiene, e.g. dirty hutches, as these factors will attract flies.  Effective prevention involves regular cleaning and checking of your rabbit and it’s environment, and the use of fly repellent or medications which prevent maggots developing if the eggs are laid.

A second common disease at its peak in the spring and early autumn is Myxomatosis, which is common in wild and domestic rabbits. The virus which causes the disease is spread by blood sucking insects, and if a rabbit is infected it’s chances of survival are relatively low. The good news is prevention is available by combining effective insect control with a vaccination given every six months by your vet.

If you require further information about these or any other veterinary related topic please contact me at Ardmore Veterinary Group.

Simon Bailey

2004 Autumn

Issue 19

2004 Winter

Issue 20

OLDER CATS

Hyperthyroidism is a very common hormonal disease seen in middle aged to older cats and the disease is caused by an increase production and release of hormone from a benign tumour in the thyroid gland, which is located by the windpipe at the base of the neck.

Thyroid hormone controls the cat’s rate of metabolism, when it is in excess the body will go into ‘overdrive’ and left untreated it will eventually be fatal. The first indication anything is wrong is the cat has an increase in appetite, but is still losing weight and has a very poor hair coat. Other signs, which may become obvious, are hyperactivity and restlessness, an increased heart rate with an abnormal rhythm, more frequent drinking, urination and vomiting.

If some or all of these changes are apparent I would suggest getting the cat assessed by your vet.  To confirm hyperthyroidism a full examination followed by a blood test is usually performed to rule out other diseases and also to measure the thyroid hormone levels.

Once diagnosed there are two approaches to treatment. The first is anti-thyroid drugs, in the form of tablets, usually given twice daily to block the production of the hormone and these will be required for the rest of the cat’s life. The second treatment is to surgically remove the abnormal gland and will remove the benign tumour producing the excessive amounts of hormone. Your vet will discuss the most appropriate course of action for each individual case.

I hope this has given an insight, albeit brief into the most common hormonal disease in older cat. If you require further information about these or any other veterinary related topic please contact me at Ardmore Veterinary Group, 57 Cornard Road, Sudbury or www.ardmorevets.co.uk

Simon Bailey