If your bunny’s heart is not functioning as it should, then the rest of their body will become affected. Our Veterinary Surgeon Richard Black has put together information on the most common heart conditions that can affect rabbits and also tips on how you can improve their heart health below.
We’re hoping to raise awareness amongst East Renfrewshire rabbit owners, so please do share our article on your social media pages.
Our vets have also put together a factsheet to help you Spot Rabbit Heart Problems at Home
Common heart conditions in rabbits
Rouken Glen Vets wants to spread awareness of what conditions can potentially affect your rabbit. Have a read of the points below and if you have concerns about your own pet, book an appointment with our experienced team of rabbit loving vets at our Giffnock surgery.
Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that can lead to impaired heart function. It more commonly affects larger rabbit breeds, but all are susceptible. Richard advises that early diagnosis and treatment is key to keeping your rabbit’s quality of life – book a rabbit health check now.
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure in rabbits occurs when the left ventricle of the heart is malfunctioning. This means the heart is then unable to pump blood effectively, leading to a build-up in fluid.
Hypertension is when your rabbit’s blood pressure becomes elevated which then puts stress on their organs. According to Richard, stress is the major contributing factor which is why at Rouken Glen Vets we treat all our rabbit patients in quiet and calm consultation rooms.
Symptoms of heart conditions in rabbits
Symptoms of heart problems can be difficult to spot in rabbits, especially as they hide signs of pain and illness or purpose – a natural instinct to protect themselves from predators in the wild. You may be able to spot some signs at home. Take a look at our Rabbit Heart Symptoms Fact Sheet.
If you notice any of the symptoms in our fact sheet in your pet, contact us immediately on 0141 620 2580 as your rabbit may need emergency treatment.
How you can help to keep your rabbit healthy
Regular check-ups at Rouken Glen Vets
Routine examinations with our rabbit vets will help to provide early diagnosis for many heart conditions.
Proper hydration and a balanced diet
It is essential your rabbit has access to clean, fresh water constantly. They also need a constant diet of good quality hay and fresh vegetables. Rabbit pellets and fruit should be limited in your rabbit’s diet and avoid excessive treats which could lead to obesity.
Exercise and weight control
To prevent obesity, alongside a balanced diet you need to ensure you rabbit has plenty of space and opportunities to exercise. As naturally active mammals, physical activity will get their blood pumping and keep their heart healthy. You also need to provide enrichment – use toys and play tunnels to stimulate your bunny’s brain.
A healthy living environment
Keep their living space as stress-free as possible to reduce the risk of hypertension. Also, reduce their exposure to air pollutants and avoid smoking around your rabbit.
Rabbits thrive in companionship. They are naturally social animals so a bonded companion will help promote their overall wellbeing.
Monitoring your rabbit for any changes in their health is essential in ensuring they receive prompt treatment if they do become unwell. Breathing rates and behaviour will help indicate if they need to see Rouken Glen Vets’ team of experienced rabbit vets. Contact us on 0141 620 2580 and remember to share this article with other rabbit owners in East Renfrewshire.
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Sadly, heart disease is almost as common in dogs as it is in humans, especially as they age. Vet Richard Black and the rest of the veterinary team at our Giffnock practice, have pulled together their answers to commonly asked questions about heart disease in dogs. We want to help local pet owners understand why it’s so important their dogs attend regular health checks.
In its early stages, canine heart disease tends to be difficult to detect, so annual screening is important – Book a heart health check-up for your dog today.
Common questions on Canine Disease
What types of heart diseases affect dogs?
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): A condition where the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, leading to poor pumping function.
- Mitral Valve Disease (MVD): A condition where the mitral valve of the heart degenerates, leading to leakage of blood and reduced heart efficiency.
- Aortic Stenosis (AS): A common congenital heart defect in large breed dogs, typically caused by a ridge or ring of fibrotic tissue condition in the subaortic region.
- Pericardial effusion: An acquired cardiovascular disease in dogs, where excessive fluid accumulates within the pericardial sac, affecting the heart’s ability to pump effectively.
Are certain breeds more likely to develop canine heart disease?
According to Vet Richard Black, yes, some dog breeds are predisposed to certain types of heart disease. Just like in humans, genetics can play a significant role in the development of heart conditions in dogs. Some breeds are more prone to specific heart issues due to inherited traits and genetic factors, such as:
Dog breeds commonly predisposed to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) include:
- Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards
Dog breeds commonly predisposed to Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) include:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Miniature Poodles, Pomeranians, Shih-Tzus, Small Terrier Breeds
Dog breeds commonly predisposed to Aortic Stenosis (AS) include:
- Boxers, Bullmastiffs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers
Dog breeds commonly predisposed to Pericardial Effusion include:
- Afghan Hounds, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Salukis, Weimaraners
Richard wants East Renfrewshire dog owners to understand that although these breeds have a higher genetic predisposition to these heart conditions, it does not mean that every dog will develop heart disease.
Can other factors increase the risk of heart disease in dogs?
Yes, environmental factors (including second-hand cigarette smoke) and the below factors can affect a dog’s heart health.
- Age: Dogs entering their senior years are more at risk – typically 5-8 years of age for very large/giant dogs, 7-10 for medium-sized dogs, and 9-12 for small dogs.
- Excess Weight & Obesity: Increases risk of developing heart disease due to the strain on their hearts.
- Poor Diet: Lacking essential nutrients can impact heart health and contribute to the development of heart disease.
- Lack of Exercise: Insufficient physical activity can lead to obesity and cardiovascular health issues.
- Heartworm Disease: Parasitic heartworms are not found in the UK but dogs travelling abroad, and adopted from overseas may be at risk.
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Can put added stress on the heart and lead to heart disease.
- Thyroid Disease: Thyroid imbalances, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can affect heart function.
- Infections: Certain infections, like bacterial endocarditis, can lead to heart disease in dogs.
- Congenital Heart Defects: Some dogs are born with structural abnormalities in their hearts that can lead to heart disease.
- Toxins and Medications: Exposure to certain toxins or medications can damage the heart and lead to heart disease.
- Cushing’s Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism): This condition, which results in excess cortisol production, can impact heart health.
Can you spot heart disease in dogs at home?
Richard says it’s important to note that some cases of heart disease may progress slowly and show mild signs, while others can become more severe and acute, leading to more pronounced symptoms. This is why monitoring and screening for heart disease is so important.
There are some symptoms of heart disease that you may spot at home. Take a look at Rouken Glen Vets’ fact sheet: Heart Disease in Dogs Symptoms
Share our guide with other dog owners and help us to help other pets in East Renfrewshire.
How will a vet test for heart disease?
During a health check with one of our team, they will perform a thorough examination, listen for any abnormal heart sounds (heart murmur) or rhythms. They may recommend further tests, such as radiographs (X-rays) and echocardiography, to evaluate your dog’s heart health accurately. This, along with any symptoms your dog is displaying during the exam, or you have told us about, will help our veterinary surgeons to determine a diagnosis.
Early detection and appropriate management can improve the prognosis and quality of life for dogs with heart disease.
According to the veterinary team at Rouken Glen Vets, feline heart disease is relatively common in cats, especially as they age. It is estimated that around 10-15% of all cats may develop some form of heart disease during their lifetime. However, the prevalence of heart disease can vary based on several factors, including breed, age and overall health.
In this article, Veterinary Surgeon Richard Black explains these factors and the signs cat owners in East Renfrewshire should look out for. Early diagnosis is crucial to getting your cat the treatment they need.
Heart disease risk factors in cats
Richard wants East Renfrewshire cat owners to know that unfortunately, no cat is immune to the risks of heart disease. However, certain cat breeds, such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls, have a higher predisposition to certain types of heart disease, like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is one of the most common forms of heart disease in cats and involves the thickening of the heart muscles, leading to impaired heart function.
HCM has been shown to be inherited in purebred cats like Maine Coons and Ragdolls, often by genetic mutation. Other predisposed breeds for HCM and heart disease include the British Shorthairs, Persian, and Sphynx. Male cats are slightly more commonly affected.
Age is another significant factor. As cats age, their risk of developing heart conditions increases. Feline heart disease tends to occur more frequently in middle-aged and older cats, typically around 5 to 10 years and older.
There are several health conditions that can increase the likelihood of feline heart disease, some of these are listed below. Richard stresses that not all cats with the below health conditions will develop heart disease:
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): High blood pressure can strain the heart and blood vessels, leading to various heart problems, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and heart failure.
- Hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to an increased heart rate and stress on the heart.
- Obesity: Overweight and obese cats are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the increased workload on their hearts.
- Diabetes: Cats with diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to the metabolic changes associated with the condition.
- Feline Heartworm Disease: Thankfully not found in the UK, feline heartworm disease can be a risk for cats travelling abroad. This parasitic infection (transmitted by mosquitos) can cause heart and lung damage, so Richard advises that precautions should be taken for cats who leave the UK or are adopted from overseas.
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Cats with CKD can develop secondary heart problems due to fluid imbalances and increased strain on the heart.
- Infections: Certain infections, like feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), can cause inflammation in the heart and lead to heart disease.
- Anaemia: Severe anaemia can reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, placing additional stress on the heart.
If you have any concerns about your cat and feline heart disease, contact us to book a heart check-up with one of our veterinary surgeons.
Signs of heart disease in cats
Heart disease in cats can be challenging to detect, especially in its early stages, as cats are known for hiding signs of illness. Richard recommends regular check-ups for cats of all ages (but especially cats over 5 years and those pre-disposed) at our Giffnock practice, as early detection and intervention can lead to better disease management and improved quality of life.
There are however some symptoms of feline heart disease that you may be able to spot at home. Take a look at Rouken Glen Vets’ fact sheet: Heart Disease in Cats Symptoms
If you notice any signs or have concerns about your cat’s heart health, it’s crucial to contact us to book a check-up promptly.
Richard, or another of our vets, will perform a physical examination, listen for any abnormal heart sounds, and may recommend further tests, such as echocardiography, to evaluate your cat’s heart health.
Share our guide with other cat owners and help us to help other pets in East Renfrewshire.
As exciting as it is to be bringing home a new baby bunny, it is essential as an owner that you research and start to undertake some care tasks prior to their arrival. Remember to register your baby rabbit with Rouken Glen Vets and book their very first health check so our team can help you give them the best start in life.
What to do before bringing a rabbit home
Once your bunny arrives you will need to ensure you provide them with a nutritious diet, accessible fresh water, rabbit enrichment activities, exercise and veterinary care to keep them in tip top condition. Below is a list of things to start doing before your rabbit joins your family.
1) Research rabbit care
Early research can help you make informed decisions on their basic needs. These are housing, diet, enrichment and veterinary care. Our vets and nurses are highly experienced when it comes to rabbit care so make sure to register your new pet with our Giffnock practice straight away.
2) Making introductions
Deciding early on with your family how you will introduce your new baby bunny will help to reduce stress when the moment actually arrives. As bunnies can be easily overwhelmed, make sure all introductions are slow and calm. As a responsible owner, it is imperative you monitor children when handling your new family pet – rough handling can cause stress and harm to your bunny, plus they might nip someone out of fear.
It’s also wise to plan ahead when it comes to introducing a new bunny to an existing pet rabbit. It is best to let your new addition get settled in first and then introduce them slowly (so long as one of them is neutered) to the ‘OB’ (original bunny). You’ll need to do this through a barrier so that they can’t fight and let them get used to each other over time. You shouldn’t force them to be friends as not all rabbits will get along.
For advice on when is best to neuter a baby rabbit, contact Rouken Glen Vets’ friendly team on 0141 620 2580.
3) Create a safe living space for them
Your new baby bunny will need a safe space away from potential hazards. These include (but are not limited to) wiring, toxic plants and other pets. Their housing must also be large enough for water and food dishes, toys, plenty of bedding, a litter box, and room to hop around and explore.
4) Plan their diet
A full and nutritious diet must be followed to ensure your baby bunny consumes all the minerals and vitamins they need. This should be made up of good quality grass hay and a quality junior rabbit food (pellets) with a concentration of approximately 16% protein.
Fresh foods must be introduced slowly; try to stick to similar fresh fruit and vegetables to what your baby bunny’s mother was fed if you can find this out? Once you have registered with Rouken Glen Vets, you can ask our nursing team endless questions on the best rabbit diet!
Once your bunny is home
It is essential to spend time with your baby bunny as soon as they arrive home. This is a big part of building a strong, healthy relationship with your new pet. Provide plenty of opportunities for regular, gentle handling, playtime and cuddles.
Also ensuring they receive their vaccinations and health checks will help to keep them in top condition as they mature. To chat to our rabbit-loving team about your bunny’s first veterinary appointment, contact us on 0141 620 2580.
Following Rouken Glen Vets’ above advice will ensure your new arrival will thrive in their new family. Our experienced team of vets and nurses are always here to answer any questions you may have about rabbit ownership so contact us today.
Spring is here, and for many of us, that means warmer East Renfrewshire weather, blooming flowers, and spending more time outdoors with our furry companions. However, for dogs, spring can also mean the development or flare-up of allergies…
According to our Vet, Richard Black, dogs can be allergic to a variety of things just like humans, including tree and grass pollens, insect and flea bites, dust, and mould. These allergens can be particularly prevalent during the spring.
Richard and our veterinary team have put together a handy Dog Allergy Guide to help you get to know the symptoms of allergies to look out for.
Spring/summer environmental dog allergies [H3] Hay fever in dogs
Pollen allergies from trees, grass, flowers, and weeds can start in spring and last until autumn for some dogs. All dogs can suffer from pollen allergies (or hay fever) however, it seems to be more common in females and some breeds can be more prone to it, like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, and West Highland Terriers.
With airborne allergens, like pollen, dogs can have symptoms even when they’re nowhere near the source I.e., on the grass. Whereas some dogs may sneeze due to pollen allergies, there are many other more common symptoms to look out for – learn more here.
Mould allergies can also affect dogs more when spring arrives, particularly in areas with high humidity; house mould should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Dust allergies can lead to sneezing, breathing difficulties, and other common allergy symptoms
We’ve mentioned this as a ‘spring allergen’ as although it can occur at any time, ‘spring cleaning’ can disturb large amounts of dust and debris.
A whopping 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment, not on pets. As the temperature warms up in spring, flea activity starts to ramp up. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva and may have an immediate (within 15 minutes) or a delayed (24 – 48 hours) reaction that is most visible on the skin. If your dog has atopic dermatitis, they will be more prone to a flea saliva allergy.
Richard explains that atopic dermatitis is a common condition that causes chronic itching, which leads to excessive scratching, biting or licking at the skin, resulting in inflammation of the skin and hair loss. This condition can be caused by an allergic reaction to environmental allergens, such as those above.
What to do if you think your dog is allergic?
If your dog is showing signs of allergies, it’s best to book an appointment with Richard or any of our Giffnock vets for advice. They can determine the cause of your dog’s symptoms and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. In some cases, they may recommend antihistamines or other medications to help control your dog’s symptoms. In more severe cases, they may also recommend an anti-allergy vaccination or topical medications to relieve the symptoms.
IMPORTANT: Never give your dog medication meant for humans, particularly antihistamines, without a vet’s explicit advice and dosage instructions. Some brands may contain harmful ingredients for pets and the dosage may not be the same as it is for humans. It’s also important to keep in mind that while spring is a common time for allergies to surface, dogs can develop allergies or have allergic reactions all year round.
Other reasons why your dog might be scratching
Richard advises that it’s important to understand there may be other reasons for your dog’s scratching and irritation such as:
- Food intolerances
- Dry skin (from a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet, cold weather, or grooming products)
- Over-production of skin yeast or bacteria
- Skin infection
- Mites or lice
- A tick bite
- Behavioural issues such as anxiety or boredom
This is why knowing the other common symptoms of allergies and booking an allergy appointment for your dog is important. The sooner our team can investigate and diagnose, the sooner a treatment plan can be started and you dog’s daily life improved.
New year brings new resolutions. One of those resolutions may be to try new things and get out more with your dog. In this article, our Vet, Richard Black has identified the top 10 things to do with your dog in 2023.
10 things to do with your dog in 2023
- Trying UK Agility at your local club
- Visit a dog friendly beach
- Try UK Hoopers
- Enjoy a fun swim at a Hydrotherapy pool
- National Trust days out (check for those that are dog friendly)
- Try Scentwork classes
- Enter Battersea muddy dog run
- Take a walk in your local forests with Forestry Commission
- Teach your dog a new trick
- Try Paddleboarding at a dog friendly centre
There are many different activities and places to visit with your dog, some of them even completely free or with a small fee and are available all over the country such as National Trust or local forests.
Trying new challenges such as dog agility, paddle boarding or hoopers can really help stimulate your dog’s mind and body giving them new challenges from very energetic activities like agility through to the gentler activities such as hoopers or Scentwork training.
Just being in a new environment can have a huge impact not just physically but mentally also. Engaging their brain by introducing them to new activities and environments can have so many beneficial affects so why not make it a goal for 2023 to try new things.
Check your pet’s health
Before you do take on any new challenges however make sure your pet’s health is in good working order before pursuing an activity that may be difficult or put too much stress on them physically. Get in touch with our veterinary nursing team at Rouken Glen Vets to arrange a check-up.
If you have an older pet or one who struggles with strenuous activity then there are still ways to adapt the activities to suit them, whether it’s finding shorter easier walks or activities such as hoopers that are designed for those that struggle with impactful exercise.
This month is immunisation month, so what better time to discover why vaccinating your pet is so important? Our veterinary team in Giffnock have some advice to help dog owners understand more on this topic below.
Vaccinations are key to preventing the spread of disease in your pet as well the wider canine population. They improve the immune response your pet would have after being exposed to a specific disease, drastically increasing their likelihood of survival.
Core dog vaccines
The core canine vaccination protects dogs against 4 harmful diseases that can stay in the environment for months and spread between healthy dogs:
- Canine distemper virus – attacks brain, lungs & intestines
- Infectious canine hepatitis – causes severe liver disease, including jaundice, vomiting & diarrhoea
- Canine parvovirus – attacks bone marrow and gut lining, weakens immune system, causes bloody vomiting & diarrhoea, puppies can die from dehydration and sepsis
- Leptospirosis – hard to diagnose, transmitted by rat’s urine, usually picked up from farms, puddles, or watercourse – causes kidney & liver failure
According to our Vet Richard Black, this vaccine would be administered whilst your puppy is 6-10 weeks of age and consists of 2 injections 2-4 weeks apart. If you are purchasing a puppy from a breeder or a rescue centre, always check their vaccination status. Most of the time, your puppy will have received their primary injections before you take them home.
Richard advises that in some circumstances, puppies may need to restart their initial vaccination course. If your puppy’s first vaccine is not compatible with the vaccines stocked at your vet practice, or if the second vaccine is not given in time, the initial course may need to be restarted.
Being immunised gives your pet a high level of protection against diseases whilst preventing the spread of infection from animal to animal. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations are highly recommended for optimal ongoing protection.
Additional dog vaccines
Some other ‘non-core’ vaccines may be available for your dog if they are at risk of being exposed to other diseases. These diseases include:
• Rabies (if travelling under the Pet Travel Scheme)
• Leishmaniasis (if frequently travelling to the EU)
• Borrelia burgdorferi – for Lyme disease (if you live near/frequently visit tick-infested areas)
Although the Kennel Cough vaccine is technically considered a non-core vaccine, Richard and the team at our Giffnock practice recommend that dogs receive this with their core vaccinations annually. It is administered via a spray up the nostrils and protects dogs against this highly contagious disease.
Kennel cough doesn’t typically cause a serious illness in healthy dogs, but it can make your dog feel very uncomfortable and can expose some dogs to secondary infections. Kennel cough not only affects dogs in kennels, but unvaccinated dogs are at risk at the park, doggy day care, training classes, dog shows, and anywhere else they mix socially.
It is important to remember that all vaccines on the UK market are meticulously checked for safety, efficacy, and quality; serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare and the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh this small risk.
The take home message is that puppy and dog vaccinations are vital for the health and wellbeing of your dog and the wider canine population.
If you have any questions or want to book a dog vaccination in Giffnock, get in touch with our team.
Due to their thick covering of fur, rising temperatures can become dangerous for rabbits as summer approaches. Rabbits can easily overheat and develop life-threatening gut problems or disease with these seasonal changes. Do not panic, the team at Rouken Glen Vets are here to help you learn how to prepare your small furry pets for the warmer months ahead.
Rabbit checklist for dealing with rising temperatures
A big problem for rabbits during summer is overheating. Here are some ways to reduce that risk:
- Position the hutch in the shade – if outdoors, maybe think about creating a burrow (that they cannot escape from) to help them mimic their natural ‘wild’ behaviours.
- Rabbits do require some time in the sun during the day to get the vitamin D they need for digestion – give them short amounts of supervised time outdoors with shaded areas.
- Make sure their water bowl/bottle is filled up with fresh water more regularly.
- Wrap an ice pack or a 2-litre drink bottle of frozen water in a towel for them to lean on.
- Provide a cooler space to lie on such as a cooling mat or a cold tile.
- Use water in a misting spray bottle on their ears to cool them down – never soak them as this could put them at risk of respiratory problems if they catch a chill.
- Make sure their hutch is well-ventilated – a fan can be used but avoid pointing it directly at your bunnies and make sure they have enough space to move away from it if they want to.
- Give frozen veggies as a cooling treat.
The signs of heat stroke in rabbits include:
- Increased heart rate
- Head tossing
- Red or hot ears
- Seizures or a coma
If your rabbits are suffering from heat stroke, do not submerge them in water or leave them unattended for long periods of time. Dampen their fur, offer them cool water, and call our Rouken Glen Road vet practice right away for advice on 0141 620 2580.
Despite the warmer weather during spring and summer, there can still be cold spells, so make sure there is extra insulation and bedding if required. In addition, spring grass (which is high in sugars) can cause gut issues in your rabbits, so gradually introduce them to this within their feed.
Summer rabbit diseases
Another topic of concern is disease. During warmer months, the risk of diseases such as flystrike, myxomatosis, and VHD (Viral Haemorrhage Disease), as well as parasite infections increases. You can significantly reduce the risks with optimal hutch hygiene and the correct vaccinations. If you are concerned about any of these, contact us right away on 0141 620 2580 to book a rabbit check-up.
A great way to reduce both the risk of overheating and disease is grooming. Brushing can help to remove some of their thicker winter fur and any debris, which will help to cool them down. If your rabbits have long fur that needs a trim, it is wise to consider using a professional groomer for this as a rabbit’s skin is quite thin and easily damaged.
Should I bathe my rabbit to cool or clean them?
Rabbits tend to keep themselves meticulously clean. If your rabbit gets extremely dirty and needs some help, spot cleaning is the safest method. If they get hot, it is best to follow the advice above. Being bathed could frighten your rabbit, leading to injury from thrashing about. Also, they could catch a chill and suffer from pneumonia, respiratory infections, hypothermia, and other life-threatening health conditions. If your rabbit is struggling to clean themselves or you spot urine or faeces on their fur, contact our veterinary team as soon as possible as they may be at risk of
We hope our tips on how to keep rabbits cool and healthy in summer will help you have a happy and trouble-free season with them in East Renfrewshire.
People often think about how to look after their dogs in the summer months but may not think they need to do anything different for their feline friends. Our Giffnock Vet Nurses are here to tell you why it is just as important to make sure your cat is prepared for summer. Get stuck into their summer prep list for cats below.
Did you know May is Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month? Why not share why your pets love our Vet Nurses on our Facebook page? If you include the hashtag #VNAM on your post, you can help to spread the word about our fantastic nursing team.
How to ensure a happy summer for your cat
1. Summer cat health check
A lot can happen for pets in six months or a year, which is why it’s a good idea to get your cat checked by one of our Vets in Giffnock in time for summer. A cat check will help to put your mind at rest, and it enables the Vet to make sure your cat is in good health for the hot season ahead and treat any ailments.
2. Parasite control for cats
Parasite control is very important as more cats will be roaming around East Renfrewshire during the summer, encountering more species and more parasites! When is a good time to check your cat for fleas? When you are grooming them, which brings us nicely to…
3. Feline grooming
Our Giffnock Vet Nurses advise that cat grooming is important ahead of the summer months, especially for long-haired cats. There is no need to shave cats but if they have thick fur, regular brushing can ensure their coat is not as dense, which will keep them cooler.
4. Holiday cat sitter
Making holiday plans is high on most people’s to-do-list at the beginning of summer, but don’t forget to organise your cat’s holiday care. This could be a live-in or drop-in service, or a visit to the cattery. Either way, it is important to ensure whoever is responsible for your cat while you are away is adequately insured and qualified to do so. If your cat is staying at a cattery, they will need to be fully vaccinated and you will need to take their up-to-date vaccination certificate with you. Book your cat’s booster vaccination now.
5. Cats and heat
When thinking about the heat, it is important to protect cats. You should ensure they have plenty of access to water bowls, shade, hiding places away from the sun, and encourage them to stay indoors during the hotter times of the day. Cats can get heat stroke just like dogs, so be sure to keep an eye on them.
6. Cat ‘traps’
Our Vet Nurses warn owners to be extra vigilant in making sure their cat comes back every day. Cats seem to have a habit of getting themselves trapped in sheds, garages, and other outbuildings that may have been left open during the day. Ask people in your local area to check their outbuildings if your cat is missing.
7. Update your cat’s microchip details
Ensure your contact information that is connected to your cat’s microchip is up-to-date. This will give you peace of mind that if your cat wanders off in the warmer weather and gets taken to a vet practice, they are identifiable. If your cat has not been microchipped yet, give us a call on 0141 620 2580 and our team can book that in for you.
Is your cat due for a booster? Our team can check and book for you – contact us.
We hope you found our Veterinary Nurses’ advice helpful and are ready to get started with your cat’s summer prep. If your pet has a favourite Nurse, or two, pop over to our Facebook page and share it for #VNAM – Visit Rouken Glen Vets’ Facebook page.
If you need to book your cat’s health check, vaccinations, microchip, or anything else, we are here to help.
Dog bite prevention week is recognised in many countries between April & May each year to bring attention to the risk of dog bites and share preventative advice. In this article, the team from Rouken Glen Vets are sharing important tips and resources to help East Renfrewshire residents prevent dog bites in children and adults.
April 1st – May 2nd is also National Pet Month, in which responsible pet ownership is the theme and a perfect backdrop for this article’s topic.
13 tips for preventing dog bites
Most dog bites don’t come from dogs who are deemed ‘aggressive’, they occur in the home with family dogs or dogs who are well known. Pets who are described by their owners as placid, loving, and “wouldn’t hurt a fly” can all snap and bite if they feel agitated, threatened, frightened, vulnerable, unwell, or in pain.
As well as the obvious physical injury, a dog bite can cause complex psychological issues. If a dog bites a child (or lunges at them) especially, they can develop a long-term fear of all dogs. Dogs can ‘learn’ that this behaviour is needed to stop the action that is bothering them. This is a real shame as children and dogs can both benefit from forming a close bond together.
Therefore, it is advisable to practice these 13 do’s & don’ts of dog interactions:
- Do choose the right dog breed for your family and home setup – remember, all cute puppies grow into adult dogs with big teeth
- Do ensure your puppy’s (or older dog’s if you missed this stage) socialisation experiences include being around children
- Do train your pet from a puppy into adulthood on how to be well-mannered in the home and out & about
- Don’t use fear to train a dog as this is harmful and can lead to unwanted reactions in everyday situations
- Don’t assume your dog won’t bite just because you perceive it not to be in their nature
- Don’t leave children alone with dogs
- Do teach children from a young age how to behave around dogs, including not playing aggressive games with them, pulling their ears or tail, or anything else that may agitate them
- Do act calm around dogs, especially if they are unfamiliar to you
- Do supervise children feeding or walking a dog
- Don’t let your child discipline a dog
- Don’t invade a dog’s space without their permission – let them come to you (avoid letting young children hug & kiss dogs)
- Do teach children to always ask the owner’s permission to stroke their dog and where the dog likes to be stroked
- Don’t allow your child to approach a dog in someone else’s garden or car
Socialisation & training
Socialisation should ideally be started around 8 – 16 weeks of age, when a puppy’s brain is like a sponge absorbing all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences, and opportunities to learn that they can. Most older dogs can be socialised too with a little more time and patience.
Socialisation and training (into adulthood) are not about obedience. They are about building confidence and developing clear communication with your dog. If your dog understands your request and how to respond to it and has self-confidence, they are less likely to get fearful or frustrated, which are both common causes of dog bites.
Ask our Giffnock nurses for puppy socialisation advice on our Facebook page here
Learn how to be safe around dogs
The team from Rouken Glen Vets recommend these helpful resources below to help your whole family become smarter and safer around dogs.
First, take our Dog Safety Quiz to test how much your family members currently know.
Then, work through these Dogs Trust resources and get everyone to re-take our Quiz.
Remember, don’t give the answers away until after retaking the quiz!
Let us know how you got on by sharing your results on our Facebook page.