Newsletter Jan/Feb/March 2010 Are you Arthritis Aware? Arthritis is very common in our older pets, both dogs and cats, and symptoms can be worse in the win- ter months because of the cold. Often it is hard to spot when your pet has sore joints as they will not always limp. Some pets will become generally more subdued and interact less with the family, maybe eating less as well. Cats will sleep more, groom less and stay indoors. They may not sleep in their nor- mal location such as the sofa or their favourite chair as they find it hard to jump up there. You may notice your dog may not play so much with that favourite toy or be dragging their feet on their walk or just can’t make it into the back of the car at the end of the walk. Both cats and dogs may get a little grumpy! Because arthritis can be such a painful and debilitating condition for our cherished pets, it is important A dog receiving acupuncture to try and maximise pain management which allows our senior pets to continue to enjoy a happy and fulfilled retirement! Here at Lancaster Veterinary Centre we use a variety of medication, special diets and supplements to help with the ongoing discomfort of arthritis. After assessment by a vet, your pet may need medication such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) to help with everyday discomfort, this medi- cation can be used long term if necessary. A lot of people take glucosamine and chondroitin joint sup- plements to help ease our aches and pains and now there are many excellent veterinary products avail- able for this purpose. At LVC we use ‘Nutraquin’ a joint supplement containing glucosamine, chon- Lancaster droitin, vitamin C and zinc, all important molecules for the repair and maintenance of joint function. Veterinary As this is NOT a drug it can be used completely safely, long term, in your older pet even if they have other age related problems such as heart or kidney disease. Centre 10th services. This successfully used in conjunc- Birthday Party Recently we added veterinary acupuncture to ourprovide ongoingcan berelief very safely. Cats, dogs and tion with other medications and supplements to pain Saturday 27th rabbits can respond very well to acupuncture. It involves the placement of very fine needles into spe- cific points on the body to stimulate the release of the body’s natural pain relieving hormones March 2010 ‘endorphins’. 80% of pets will gain some benefit from acupuncture and again it can be useful if your pet has other age related problems that prevent the use of conventional medicines. 12pm—3pm A final note - don’t forget that keeping your older pet at the correct weight can really help with those Join us for aches and pains!! Birthday Cake, If you are worried that your cat or dog may be suffering from arthritis please ring to make an appoint- ment with one of our vets for a chat and assessment. games and competitions. Love is in the air…... For some the idea of breeding • Prevent unwanted pregnan- The operation can be done from their pets is quite appeal- cies—there are already thou- from 6 months of age in both ing...until you think about what is sands of stray and abandoned males and females. actually involved. Not only are pets in the UK. The Dogs Trust there the health considerations of Although to some the and Cats Protection helped with procedure may seem expensive both the mother and father to the cost of neutering around when you compare the cost of take into account, what genetic 190,000 animals last year. raising a litter, or treatment faults might be passed on to the • Help behavioural problems. following a fight or road acci- offspring, but also are you able to Entire male cats are more likely dent the cost is actually quite find homes for the puppies/ Normal cat uterus to roam, making them more small. kittens; can you afford to treat the mother and offspring for worms; prone to fighting and at risk For people on means tested can you afford the cost of vaccina- from disease. Female dogs can benefits the Dogs Trust and tion; could you afford vets bills if have false pregnancies following Cats Protection will help with something goes wrong during the a season, showing nesting the cost of neutering. birth (unless you have specific behaviours. breeders insurance any problems Please ring the surgery if you Neutering is the general term used require more information relating to the pregnancy and for the surgical removal of the about Dogs Trust and Cats birth are not usually covered un- Infected cat uterus reproductive organs in both male Protection or if you would like der insurance policies). and female animals. to book your pet in for neuter- There are many other reasons to ing. Castration is the removal of the have your pet neutered: testicles in the male. • Prevent illnesses—such as pyo- Spaying is the removal of the metra (infection of the uterus— ovaries and uterus in the female. see pictures) and some cancers. Why not check out our new website at www.lancastervets.co.uk for the latest offers, practice news and information? Can your pet be our ‘biggest loser’? Have you than we should, all the ‘bits of Throughout the first 3 months of noticed that toast’ or ‘a corner off a biscuit’ the year at Lancaster Veterinary Well your four- add up when given on a frequent Centre we are holding a competi- Done legged friend basis. The cat or dog rarely de- tion to see who our ‘biggest losers’ to may have cides to sit down for a cup of tea are. Zoe, started pil- and a biscuit - it is us that opens who ing on the the packets of treats or biscuits Sign your pet up to our weight many of you will see pounds? Possibly not, as many for our pets! Feeding your dog a management program; book an on reception. Zoe re- owners do not recognise that their small plain biscuit is equivalent to appointment with one of our cently passed her Ani- cat or dog is overweight. a person eating a hamburger and nurses to take your pets starting mal Nursing Assistant giving a cat a cup of milk is the weight, they will then work out a examinations with fly- It is believed that around 50% of same as a person eating 4½ ham- feeding guide and calculate what ing colours. the nation’s pets are overweight burgers! is a safe amount of weight for and often owners don’t realise your pet to lose on a weekly basis, that their pet is part of this statis- Some owners may not realise that follow-up weight check appoint- tic. At the surgery we often only their pet has gained weight, as it ments will be arranged as neces- see the animal once it has devel- may have been a gradual process, sary. So don’t delay ....... ring oped an obesity related condition which is why it is a good idea to today! such as heart disease, diabetes or have your pet weighted on a regu- arthritis. lar basis (a 1kg weight gain for a 4kg cat is equivalent to a person Weight gain in our pets can be gaining 14 to 19kg!!). There are a due to all sorts of reasons - the few tell tale signs that you can change in hormonal balance after check for at home. Try running neutering will slow down the me- your hands along your pet’s sides, tabolism a little, making him or if its ribs cannot easily be felt and her more prone to weight gain, a you cannot see an obvious waist Next reduction in your pet’s exercise then there may be some excess summer, regime (particularly during the fat. Nicky our colder months) may result in a weekend weight increase, certain breeds The great news is there receptionist, will be may be more prone to weight are plenty of ways to taking part in a volun- gain, but the most common prob- help your pet lose tary conservation lem is over-eating. weight and we offer lots of sup- project in South Af- port for pet and owner with our Our pets rely on us to provide a pet slimming program. rica. The placement healthy, balanced lifestyle and is completely self- often we indulge our pets more funding, so Nicky is asking for donations Pet Insurance—the cheaper option may not always be the best deal. of any unwanted jew- ellery (gold, silver, Pet Insurance has been one of the fastest growing types of insurance in recent years, this type of insur- costume jewellery or ance can now be found being offered by supermarkets, large stores, banks and various car/home/health watches) which can insurance companies along with specialist pet insurance companies. be recycled and There is a bewildering array of different types of policy available, with the cost of premiums and excesses turned into a dona- varying between companies. tion for her trip. If you have any items Due to the Insurance regulations we are unable to discuss individual companies or policies (with the you could donate exception of PetPlan as we are PetPlan representatives), but here is some general advice we would offer : please drop them into • Don’t just compare the excess and premium—find out what cover you are being offered—will your the surgery. pet be covered for life or when your ‘fund’ has been used will the company no longer cover the condition? • Does the company put exclusions on the policy after one year or will it continue to give cover for the life of your pet? • Be aware that if you decide to ‘shop around’ for cheaper insurance each year any previous condi- tions are likely to be excluded by the new company, and the practice is obligated to state when a condition first started—which may result in claims not being paid. Regardless of which policy you go for any insurance is better than none, last year 1 in 2 pet owners had an unexpected trip to the vets! If you would like more advice on pet insurance or PetPlan policies in par- ticular please contact the surgery.