Grass seed dangers to cats and dogs

Grass seeds are a common problem during the spring and summer months and can easily brush off the tops of long grass stems onto your pet’s body whilst they explore the outdoors. The seeds have pointed ends and are exceptionally sharp. They become trapped in your pet’s fur and, due to their shape, they can only travel in one direction, meaning they can often penetrate skin or move into ears.

If left untreated, grass seeds can cause a variety of problems from minor irritation to conditions that require surgery. They carry bacteria which can cause an infection if the skin of your pet is affected.

An untreated infection may spread, or the seed can cause severe internal damage as it travels through the body. Unfortunately, if the seed breaches the skin, surgery is often required to find the grass seed, along with the use of antibiotics and antifungals for treatment.

Symptoms

Your pet could experience different symptoms depending on what part of the body is affected. Look out for swelling, hair matting and irritation, however additional signs can include scratching, head shaking or discharge from the eyes or nose. The table below provides more detail on the main symptoms and potential damage caused by grass seeds:

Prevention is the best cure

Try to keep your pet away from long grassy areas since the seeds can catch onto their coat, skin or toes very easily. When you take your pet outdoors for a walk, check their fur for any grass seeds when you get home. The typical areas to check are eyes, ears, nose, armpits and their toes – as this is where the seeds often get lodged. Keep long-haired dogs clipped and well-groomed, especially around their feet and ears.

If you are concerned that your pet may have picked up a grass seed please get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity so that we can advise you on what to do.

Adopt a pet – save a life

If the recent months have meant your new pet plans have been on hold, you may now be starting to put the wheels in motion to extend your family and welcome a new member. In the first instance, many people research reputable breeders or consider designer dogs based on celebrity social media profiles. However, considering adopting a rescue animal can be hugely rewarding. 

Animal rescue homes are currently overwhelmed with abandoned animals. The Covid-19 pandemic has left many people unable to look after their pets due to financial constraints or the inability to give them the care and exercise they need due to medical shielding. Add to this that many rescue centres, who rely on public charity to cover their running costs, have also seen a huge drop in financial support and it’s clear there is a greater need than ever to consider giving a rescue animal it’s ‘fur-ever’ home.

Good reasons to adopt

There are thousands of animals around the UK who have been abandoned by their owners for one reason or another. They may have been badly treated or not well looked after and, as a result, not had the happy life that pets deserve. By giving one of these animals a second chance you’re contributing to giving them another, better life.

Things to consider

Rescue animals may come with a history, so you need to be prepared to deal with any issues which will be flagged to you by the animal shelter. Mistreatment may result in a nervous pet who will need lots of love, attention and reassurance, as well as the usual feeding, exercising and comfort elements.

Decide on what type of animal you can offer a good home to. For example, if you have children at home and a rescue cat doesn’t get on well with children, you’re not going to be able to change that. Adopting an animal isn’t just about saving them. It’s making sure they’re the right fit for you and your circumstances, and you’re right for them and theirs. If you’re looking for a dog, determine what is the right size breed based on the space you have at home. Don’t plan for a terrier and take home a Great Dane!

Most of all, make sure that – as far as is humanly possible – your new pet will be welcomed into your family. Having already gone through losing an owner for whatever reason, it would be heart-breaking for your adopted animal to have to go back into the re-homing process for a second time.

What to expect

Animal charities will want to know a little bit about your home life, what space you have available and whether you have children or other pets. They may want to visit you at home to assess the suitability of the space.

Once the process is complete and you’re officially matched, be prepared for some readjustment time. Even though you’ve made your home welcoming with comfy bedding, toys and good food, your new pet will need some time to get used to their new surroundings. They may be withdrawn, quiet or unresponsive in the early days. Try to reassure them without being overwhelming. Be patient with any toilet mishaps, speak to them with a gentle voice and don’t chastise them. They need to learn to trust you, so early impressions are essential.

Ready to start looking for a rescue pet? 

There are a number of national charities who have available pets listed on their websites. It is also worth considering local animal rescue centres in your area.

SSPCA

Borders Pet Rescue

Cats Protection

Top 10 hazards to watch out for this summertime to protect your pets

Summer brings longer days, warmer climates, new adventures and outdoor socialising, which with pets in tow, can be made even more enjoyable! However, when the temperatures rise, the dangers to our pets increase too. To keep pets safe, you should be aware of the potential hazards, as well as some top tips to help prevent your pet from endangering themselves throughout the summer months.

 

Heatstroke and dehydration
Our pet’s fur is great in the cold winter months, however, in the summer it can make them very uncomfortable; especially long-haired dogs, who require regular grooming. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises above its normal levels and therefore cannot accommodate any additional heat.

Some of the key symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Dry pale gums
  • Bright red tongue
  • Excessive panting
  • Agitated behaviour
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting

To minimise the risk of dehydration and heatstroke, your pet should have access to clean, fresh drinking water. You should avoid exercising your dog during the hottest part of the day and try and get out early morning or late evening. If you are out with your dog for the day, you should carry a portable drinking bottle or bowl which is easily accessible and dispensed as required. Short-nosed dogs, dark-coloured pets and animals that are overweight are more susceptible to heatstroke and should be carefully monitored.

If you do think that your dog is dehydrated, or is demonstrating one or more of the symptoms listed above, cool them down with a hose, or place a cool, damp towel over them and call us as soon as possible for advice.

 

Ticks
Our pets will be spending more time outside and will become more prone to ticks. Ticks are commonly found in woodland and grassland. Ticks are small parasites, which suck blood from other animals and have an egg-shaped body, which expands and becomes darker when they are filled with blood.

If you do discover a tick, and are confident to so do, you should remove it straight away. You should avoid squeezing the body or leaving the head in your pet. Removing a tick can be done using a tick removal tool, which can be purchased from your local practice.  If you are unsure how to remove a tick, please call us and we can assist. If the tick is not removed correctly, it can leave the tick’s head in your pet, which can cause a nasty reaction.

To prevent your pet from getting bitten, you can purchase preventative treatments from your local Practice which will repel ticks. Please call us to discuss and purchase the best treatment for your pet.

 

Bee or wasp stings
As humans, we fret around the buzzing noise when a bee comes close, however, an inquisitive pet may seek to investigate, and as a result, could get stung. Commonly, most stings will cause your pet some irritation and some pain. Dependent on where your pet has been stung, and if they have been stung before, there can be a lot of swelling and they may continually scratch the stung area, which can result in fur loss. If your pet shows any of the following symptoms, they could have been stung:

  • Drooling
  • Whining
  • Swelling
  • Pawing at the face, or mouth
  • Biting at the site of the sting
  • Holding up their paw (if that is where they have been stung)
  • Hives

If they have been stung near their mouth or nose, you should contact us straight away, as this can be a medical emergency.

 

Extra Fur
Keeping your pet well-groomed is particularly important in warmer weather. Brushing your pet to remove any excess or matted fur and to reduce the thickness of their hair will help. Having thick, ungroomed hair could contribute to heatstroke, as highlighted above. However, it is also important to remember that your pet’s coat also protects them from getting sunburnt.

Some pets are more susceptible to getting burnt by the sun. Fair haired animals, such as white dogs and cats, tend to have fair skin under their fur. Pets with fine, thin hair and hairless breeds are also at risk of sunburn. Remember, regardless of how much fur they have, all pets are vulnerable on areas which do not have much fur, including their ears, nose and on their tummy. To protect your pet, you can buy pet friendly sunblock.

 

Barbecues and alfresco dining
There’s nothing more enjoyable than cooking up a feast and enjoying your favourite tipple outdoors, however for your pet there are many things to be mindful of including hazardous foods, toxic drinks, scalding surfaces and kebab skewers to name a few.

Some food and drink that should be kept out of reach of your pet include:

  • Food containing bones
  • Food containing seeds
  • Grapes
  • Raw garlic
  • Raw onion
  • Raisins
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chocolate
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Coffee/coffee beans
  • Teas/tea bags

 

Swimming pools, sea, rivers, and lakes
For many dogs a pool, river or lake may look inviting when the temperatures are high, however, it’s important to remember that not all dogs like the water or can swim! If you are introducing your dog to water, we would advise initially trying a shallow children’s paddling pool. If they enjoy that, you could then introduce them to wider, deeper waters using a dog-specific flotation device for their safety. If you are near water with a current or tide, please be wary; even if your dog is a strong swimmer, they could quickly find themselves in trouble if swimming against a tide.

Keep a look out for blue-green algae and associated warning signs, as this is often poisonous for dogs. Don’t let your dog swim in or drink water which you suspect is contaminated. You should contact us straight away if you suspect your dog may have come in to contact with some.

If your dog does enjoy swimming, after they have played in the water you should ensure they are always thoroughly rinsed to wash away salt, chlorine and harmful bacteria.

 

Walking on hot pavements and artificial grass
Hot pavements can burn your pet’s paws. Their paws are just as sensitive as the bottom of our feet, so if it is unbearable for you to touch, then it will be the same for your pet. We would advise trying the seven-second rule; if you can place the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds or more, then your pet should be able to withstand the temperature of the surface. If you cannot, then it’s too hot for your pet to walk on.

To prevent your pet from burning its paws, you should follow the measures listed below:

  • Walk them in the cooler hours of the day – early morning or late evening
  • If you are out in the midday heat, try and walk them on the grass where possible
  • Clean and check your dog’s paws regularly

 

Fertiliser and pesticides
Most fertilisers contain nitrogen and iron, which can poison your pet and cause severe stomach problems which can lead to irritation. Coming in to contact with pesticides can cause your pet to have tremors and seizures. If you are not sure if your pet has been exposed to such chemicals (but your pet is showing one of the following symptoms) please call us and we can provide the appropriate treatment recommendations:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Dark, muddy coloured gums
  • Unusual posture due to abdominal pain.
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

 

Flowers and Plants
Many plants and flowers are poisonous to our pets. If they consume a poisonous plant, depending on how much and their level of toxicity, they may become quite unwell. Below is a shortlist of some of the plants you may find in the summer months, which can be hazardous to our pets:

 

  • Elder: The whole plant, including the elderberries, are poisonous for both cats and dogs.
  • Lilies: Containing a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, collapsing, fits, heart problems and renal failure (cats). Lily flowers and leaves are also often used in flower bouquets and are very poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Foxglove: Both the seeds and the leaves of a foxglove plant contain a toxin which can cause your pet to have heart problems, sickness, diarrhoea, fits and collapsing.
  • Geranium: The whole geranium plant is poisonous to both dogs and cats.
  • Hydrangea: Parts of a hydrangea plant contain cyanide which is toxic to both dogs and cats.

 

Cars
You should never leave your dog in a car on a hot day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Heatstroke can happen quickly, and it can be fatal. In warm weather, the temperature in a car can increase rapidly, making it hotter inside the car than outside. If your dog was to become distressed in your hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999 and the police will act to release the dog – even if that means damage to your vehicle.

 

Summer is an enjoyable time of year with our pets, but it pays to be aware of the hazards which your pet could be exposed to, to ensure they remain safe. If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice, please contact us.

Advice on helping injured wildlife in the summer

As we transition from lockdown, more of us are exploring the outdoors with our pets in the summer weather. With increased time outside, the chances of coming across injured or sick wildlife also multiply. If you encounter a wild animal in need, it can be hard to know what to do. Wild animals can be very unpredictable if approached by humans, especially when they are frightened or injured.

Many baby birds and mammals are mistakenly taken from their families each year by well-meaning people. Check to see if a baby animal is orphaned before intervening – often their parent is hiding just out of sight, ready to return as soon as the human danger is gone. Unless there are clear signs of injury or sickness, it is best to call the SSPCA or your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre before acting.

Signs that your help is needed

There are a few common signs that you can look out for to help:

  • The animal is brought to you by your cat or dog.
  • There is evidence of bleeding.
  • The animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb.


Top tips to remember

If you find an injured, orphaned, or trapped animal, it’s important to approach carefully – and remember to place your own safety first. By using some of these tips, you can ensure a better outcome for wildlife:

  • Gently place an injured bird in a cardboard box and a mammal in a pet carrier, with a non-frayed towel on the bottom, and place somewhere quiet until they can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
  • Please try to put uninjured baby birds with no feathers that are found on the ground back into the nest. Mother birds will not reject babies that have been handled by people.
  • Keep birds away from your face as their beaks can cause injuries.
  • Always check long grass for rabbit nests before mowing. Keep an eye out for hedgehog nests; they can be found at the base of thick hedges, garden sheds or piles of rubbish.
  • If you are transporting an injured animal in your car, leave the radio off and keep talking to a minimum. Since wild animals aren’t accustomed to our voices, they can become very stressed by noise. Keeping their stress level to a minimum will help keep them alive.
  • Wear gloves if possible – gardening gloves work well if you have them. Proper protection is especially vital with injured bats as their bites can transmit rabies-like disease. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling an animal.
  • Never lift a wild animal, unless you are sure that you can do so without risk to yourself or others.

Feel free to contact us if you are uncertain on what to do, however if you need to bring an animal for care, the SSPCA and local wildlife rehabilitation centres are better suited for injured wildlife than most vets. We can refer you to a local contact who specialise in treating wildlife. For more details on injured wildlife, please visit https://www.scottishspca.org/advice/wildlife

The importance of microchipping your pet

Keeping our pets safe is important to all of us as pet owners. They trust us with their care and protection and, as well as feeding, exercising and cuddling them, that includes identifying them so that we can be reunited if we are parted.

A microchip literally identifies your pet as belonging to you. It contains your details as an owner, which are stored on a central pet database. By scanning this microchip, a vet can get you and your pet back together as a family, whatever the circumstances may be.

You may be concerned that microchipping is an intrusive process, but the chip is tiny – the size of a grain of rice – and the procedure takes seconds; it doesn’t even require an anaesthetic. It’s usually inserted under the skin in the scruff of the neck, and once it’s there, you (or your pet) won’t even notice it.

Hopefully you’ll never need to use the microchip, because your pet will live a safe, happy and long life with you. But there may be circumstances where you’ll be glad it’s there, such as:

Your pet is lost
It’s easily done – even the most careful of owners are at risk of their pet running away; whether it’s a dog that bolts out of the front door when you take a delivery, a rabbit that escapes its hutch, or a cat that gets stuck in a neighbour’s shed. When your pet is found, it will most likely be taken to a local vet practice or a charity rescue home. One quick scan of the microchip and a phone call later, and your pet is back where they belong – with you!

Your pet is stolen
It’s an unfortunate reality that some pets – especially purebreds with high value – are stolen to order and resold. Without a microchip you wouldn’t be able to trace them. With a chip your animal can be identified and brought back home.

Your pet is in an accident
Outdoor pets, especially cats, are prone to injury; whether that’s fighting with another animal or being involved in an accident. Injured pets found by members of the public are usually taken to a local vet practice, who will treat the animal whilst also trying to track down the owner. As long as your pet is microchipped and the details are up to date, you’ll be reunited with each other in no time.

There are certain things to consider about microchipping:

  • It’s a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped in England, Wales and Scotland.
  • It’s illegal for breeders to sell puppies over 8 weeks old that are not microchipped and on a registered database.
  • There is no legal requirement to microchip other pets, but it is strongly advised by animal charities, and by us here at Greenside Vets
  • Do remember to keep your details up to date if you move house or change telephone number, so that you can be contacted if necessary.

If you want to know more about getting your pet microchipped, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.  There’s also some information available on the Government website which you may find useful https://www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-microchipped

Caring for your cat – An owner’s guide

Many of us are spending more time at home than usual, and as a result, you may be wondering if and how this may be affecting your feline friends. Below we have put together some useful hints and tips to help you create the perfect home environment all year round, but especially during the summer months. We’ve even thrown in some child-friendly activities too, to keep the ‘little ones’ occupied!

While many cats are adaptable to changing environments, it’s important to keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible. Take a look below at some of our advice and top tips for supporting you and your cat.

 

1) A SAFE PLACE 

While there may be a lot of movement in the house, with it being a little busier than normal, it’s important that your cat has somewhere quiet and secluded to rest, sleep, escape, and most importantly, feel secure in. Our feline friends are most likely to be set in their own routine, and with us humans spending more time at home, your cat is subsequently forced to adapt its routine and share their core territory, which some may find a little stressful.

Top Tips
We’ve compiled a list of places where your cat may like to escape to – so you can ensure you have a few places prepared and ready for them, including:

  • Top of the cupboard – make sure it’s safe and there’s ample amount of room for them to rest and reach safely
  • Underneath the bed – make a small space and ensure it’s safe
  • A raised shelf – clear a space on a bookshelf or on top of a chest of drawers
  • Inside of a box – you may have an old box in the garage or loft which may come in handy

Involve the Children
If you have children in the house, why not make a hide-out activity for them to get involved in, such as:

  • Turning a cardboard box into a ‘hidey-hole’ by making a little entrance
  • Using their tepee tent (if they have one) and are happy to give it another use, as this can be nicely set up for a cat
  • Creating a little nest by putting a long cloth over a breakfast stool
  • Placing a comfy blanket under the bed

It’s also important for children to learn when to leave and not disturb the cat such as when it’s hiding or sleeping. If the cat seeks attention then give it, but seeking and disturbing your cat, when it’s not on their terms, could lead the cat to feel trapped, and as a result, it may become stressed.

 

 

2) PLAYTIME AND PREDATORY BEHAVIOUR 

While you’re at home, your cat may enjoy playing with you. Not only will both you and your cat enjoy this time, but you may also learn about your cat’s personality, which could help build a strong bond between you and them. Both kittens and cats need to play and, although cats can entertain themselves during the times you are busy, it’s important that they have interactive games or toys.

Playtime will develop their social and communication skills, and whilst improving their physical development and co-ordination, it also helps relieve boredom and provide an outlet for your cat’s predatory instincts. This will prevent behavioural problems and ensure your cat is getting the exercise it needs. Indoor exercise is particularly important for those cats without outdoor access. Below are some ideas to help keep your cat entertained:

Top Tips – Food Foraging
Problem-solving toys and puzzle feeders allow cats to use their senses to forage for food or play with/ release food. If your cat is new to puzzles, you may need to make them relatively easy to begin with, increasing the difficulty over time.

Involve the Children
If you’ve got children at home, why not get them to make some puzzles using items such as toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes, egg boxes and yoghurt boxes – let their imaginations run wild! A couple of things to be aware of though:

  1. Do not use paint to add colour to your homemade puzzle
  2. Do not use small parts that can be hazardous to your cat

Top Tips – Interactive/object play
Interactive play and object play are short and intense predatory games that will also burn some of their energy off too.

Involve the Children
Make your own fishing rod for interactive play, or a furry, feathery catnip toy. Be creative and give old or unused objects a new life. A few things to consider:

  1. Play sessions should be carried out at set times (this will give them back the sense of routine). Cats are normally more active early morning or evening.
  2. Rotation is key! It’s important to provide only a small selection of toys per day to maintain the novelty factor.
  3. Children should be supervised with fishing rod type toys.

Top Tips – Exploring
Cats are naturally curious, so why not look at your house through the eyes of a curious cat and make sure there are plenty of different things for them to explore.

Involve the Children
Take a plain box to the next level – a Cardboard Box Castle! Just remember:

  1. If you have more than one cat, make sure there are multiple entry and exit point
  2. Decorate your castle with pencils or felt tips but avoid using paint.

 

 

3) MULTIPLE AND SEPARATE KEY RESOURCES 

Key resources are essential necessities that cats need to be happy and healthy in the home, including food, water, toileting areas, scratching areas, play areas, and as mentioned above, safe resting and sleeping areas. If you have multiple cats, it’s important to ensure they have their own ‘key resources’ in separate areas of the house. Also, they should never be disturbed while making use of them – except for playtime of course!

Top Tips
Food
Food is an essential provision, however it’s important that it’s provided in a cat-friendly way. There are a variety of different bowls available, including glass, ceramic, plastic and stainless steel. However, if your cat wears a collar, a constant clinking noise on the side of a stainless-steel bowl could be very off-putting.

Water
Naturally, cats look for their food and water separately. Therefore, locating their water bowl away from their feed will promote hydration, and finding water can be extremely rewarding! It’s also important to have one water container per cat in the household and the bowl should be big enough so that your cat can drink from it without their whiskers touching the sides. They are also known to like their bowl full to the top so they can lap without putting their heads down.

Litter Trays
It’s essential to have a litter tray if your cat is housebound, but also highly recommended if your cat is free to explore outside too. When considering the location of your cat’s litter tray(s) they should be situated in a discreet corner away from their food, water and busy thoroughfares, as well as areas in the house that they might find stressful – i.e. Near a busy door.

 

 

4) RESPECT THE CAT’S SENSE OF SMELL 

A domestic cat’s sense of smell is about twenty times stronger than ours! Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell as they use scents to gather information and communicate.

Top Tips
To support your cat’s wellbeing around the house, you should avoid strong-smelling cleaning products, scented candles or room sprays. By providing scratching and facial rubbing areas, and by taking off your outdoor footwear when you enter your home, it will alleviate any new challenging smells in the house. It’s also important to provide places for appropriate scent marking (aka feline communication).

You could consider using pheromone products, such as plug-ins, as they may help to give your cat a sense of security and calm.

 

 

5) POSITIVE, CONSISTENT AND PREDICTABLE HUMAN-CAT SOCIAL INTERACTION 

Consistent and positive handling of your cat from a young age promotes positive behaviours, such as reduced fear and stress, but also initiates a strong human bond. As companion animals, cats benefit from friendly, regular and predictable social interaction with humans. Ways to recognise if your cat is receptive include:

  • Purring
  • Facial rubbing
  • Chirruping
  • Head bunting
  • Vertical tail
  • Relaxed roll

And remember… cats like:

  • To be in control
  • A gentle touch and voice
  • Low intensity and high-frequency contact

Top Tips
If you’re working from home, below are some top tips for how to support your cat:

  • Find a workstation in a room where your cat spends little time
  • If your cat enjoys being with you, set up a cosy bed on the table/desk
  • Adopt your normal working hours, and if possible, ignore your cats’ demands and attention-seeking behaviour during those hours.
  • Do not use food to treat or bribe your cat into not pestering you when you’re working (this may have the opposite effect)

 

The measures above can be used all year round and will help towards ensuring you have a happy and healthy cat.

Information source: Vicky Halls RVN DipCouns Reg. MBACP (iCatCare/ISFM)

Keeping your dog safe during car travel

It’s hard not to smile when you see a dog with its head out of the window in a travelling car. They look so happy and carefree! But travelling with an unrestrained dog could be a real risk – to them, to you, and to other drivers.

If you’re going to be out and about on the road with your dog this summer, here are some things to consider to keep everyone safe.

What does the law say?

Whilst it isn’t illegal to travel with an unrestrained dog, it is advised against it in the highway code:

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

UK Highway Code, rule 57.

We recommend restraining your dog while travelling. It will keep them safe and secure in the unfortunate case of an accident. It will also stop them from distracting the driver by moving around the vehicle and blocking the view, for example.

Select the right type of restraint for your dog

Acceptable vehicle restraints include a travel cage or carrier (good for smaller dogs and short journeys), or a specially designed harness or seat belt. If you choose a travel cage, this should be placed in the footwell of the front seat or secured with the seatbelt on the rear seat. Never put animals on the front seat of a car. A harness should be properly fitted in the rear of the vehicle, and secured with a seat belt. There should be sufficient room for your dog to comfortably move, but not so they can escape.

Larger dogs may be more comfortable travelling in the boot of a hatchback car. You can use a dog guard to stop them jumping over the headrests. Ensure your dog has plenty of space.

Make sure your dog is comfortable

Give your dog some home comforts for their travels; add blankets and their favourite toy to carriers or cages. If you’re going on a long journey plan regular stops for water, snacks, toilet breaks and stretches. Be sure to keep your dog on a lead as they leave the vehicle; if they’re in an unfamiliar place with other people and traffic there’s a chance they could panic and run away.

Regulate the temperature inside the car; don’t open windows too much or have air conditioning blowing directly on your dog. Of course, it goes without saying, NEVER leave your dog in a warm car. Temperatures can quickly rise even on cooler days; leading to heatstroke, dehydration, and even death. If your dog becomes distressed in a hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999, and the police will act to release the dog – even if that means damage to your vehicle.

What’s more, if you fail to properly restrain your pet, it could invalidate both your car insurance and your pet insurance.

Greenside Vets COVID-19 Update – 8th June Update

Please note, as of 8th June, we may be able to offer additional services for our patients, while still adhering to COVID-19 social distancing rules. Any additional services we can offer will depend on a risk assessment which considers the safety of our clients and teams along with the welfare of your pet.  As we continue to comply with social distancing rules, we are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, lead times for appointments may be a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time.

Examples of services which may be possible:

Vaccination – We strongly believe in vaccination and the benefits of preventative healthcare, but risks vary based on geography, lifestyle and previous history. We will use our professional judgement and discretion to assess each individual situation and advise you on the best course of action.

Neutering – we will assess your pet’s situation based on welfare, population control and individual household circumstances to decide if the need for neutering your pet is essential or if it can be safely delayed further. We are also mindful of the need to preserve essential PPE and anaesthetic which are required by the NHS.

If your pet requires one of the above treatments, please get in touch. For existing clients, and where appointments have been postponed in the last 3 weeks, if we have not already been in touch with you, please contact us.

We are currently reviewing how best to re-introduce some of these services while keeping you and our teams as safe as possible – so please bear with us, it may take us longer to answer calls or respond to email/web requests. If you have any other concerns about your pet’s health, please contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Flea and worm treatments – will continue to be provided based on your pet’s need. Please call us to order more.

Prescriptions and food – will still be supplied, however the process for ordering may have changed. Please call us if you require more, allowing at least 48 hours notice.

We realise you may be feeling anxious about your pet’s wellbeing. However, we wanted to reassure you that we’ll do all we can to support you and your pet – should the need arise.

Guidance for visiting a practice:

We will continue to minimise face-to-face contact, to protect human health and curb the spread of COVID-19, and therefore if you are visiting us:

  • When you arrive, please wait outside and call our reception team to notify them of your arrival.
  • We will advise you of how we can safely take your pet into the practice to be examined.
  • To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, please do not enter the practice unless instructed to do so.
  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has, or you’re experiencing symptoms (new persistent cough and/or fever), and your pet needs veterinary care, please call us. We will be able to advise you on how your pets can receive the care they need.
  • If your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients not to visit their pet at this time.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.

We have made this decision as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority.

Thank you for your understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and for now, stay safe, we are here for you if you need us

Diabetes Week – 8 to 14 June 2020

Know the facts, reduce the risk

Spotting the signs of diabetes in your pets is crucial, as just like us, our pets can suffer from the complex disease, but it isn’t always easily identifiable. As we enter Diabetes Week, we wanted to raise awareness and share some advice about how you can help your pet by understanding what diabetes is, the causes and how to recognise the symptoms.

The Facts

Diabetes is a complex disease with a range of signs that you can look out for.  Diabetes occurs when our pet is unable to produce enough insulin, or their body doesn’t react to insulin effectively.

A lack of, or reduced response to insulin means your pet won’t be able to regulate the sugar levels in their blood, leading to some severe side effects.

Spotting the signs

Diabetes can be managed to give your pet a much better quality of life.  Below are some of the signs you might want to look out for in your pet to help you know when to consult your vet:

  • Drinking more often
  • Passing urine more frequently or in larger amounts
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping more or being less active
  • Urinary tract infection.


Can diabetes be treated?

Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be effectively treated with careful management, following the advice of your vet.  Any treatment plan will be tailored to address your pet’s specific condition.

Treatment can include:

  • A balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Insulin injections (you will be guided on how to administer these by your vet).

Keeping your pet healthy is vital in managing diabetes, ensuring they don’t become overweight. Advice for avoiding this includes walking dogs daily, varying their walking routes to keep exercise interesting, combining games with walks and trying to avoid feeding them table scraps, which can unbalance their diets.  If you are currently self-isolating or unable to leave the house, click here for some tips on how to exercise your pet during lockdown.

For cats, playtime is the best form of exercise, so they should be kept active with scratching posts and small toys.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice about diabetes, please contact us.

Looking after your pet rabbit in the current environment

Having been in lockdown, and with schools closed for almost ten weeks, there has been a surge in parents getting rabbits for their children. The general docile nature of rabbits makes it seem like they can be looked after by young children with minimal supervision. However, there are many things to consider before welcoming a rabbit to the family as their care can be more complex than imagined.

Rabbits require as much attention as any other pet, including a healthy diet, regular handling, routine monitoring, social interaction, and medical care from veterinary surgeons. They are highly social animals that crave contact and interaction with their human guardians. Rabbits are much happier living in pairs and will become very lonely if kept on their own.

Whether you are a new rabbit owner or have had your beloved pet for many years, there are several steps you can take to ensure they are protected in the current environment.

Veterinary care for your rabbit

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have advised veterinary practices to change how they work, and many routine procedures are being delayed. This is to conserve essential supplies, protect the health of veterinary staff and our clients, and to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

If your rabbit has not had their vaccinations yet, they will be at higher risk of developing diseases. Please speak to your vet about how you can get care for your pet.

Here are some actions you can take to look after your rabbit during this period:

  • As the weather gets warmer, the number of biting insects in your local area may increase. Keep your rabbit safe from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and midges because biting insects are the primary vector of both Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1 and 2) which can be fatal for your pet.
  • Look out for flystrike during the hot summer months. Flystrike is caused by flies that are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces, and the odour of the rabbit’s scent. The flies will land on the rabbit, typically around the rabbit’s rear end and lay eggs.
  • Practice good hygiene. When you interact with your rabbits, thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling them or any of their food and toys. There is currently no evidence that rabbits can spread COVID-19 to or from humans.
  • Since you are spending more time at home, it might be tempting to give your rabbits’ a variety of foods but to minimise the danger of gut problems, do not make substantial changes to their diets. If you are self-isolating, you might not be able to get your usual supplies but try to ensure that you maintain normal diets where possible. Good hay remains the mainstay of a healthy rabbit diet.
  • If your rabbit is housed with other rabbits, and they are not neutered yet, discuss the best options with your vet. It is advised to spay all female rabbits to prevent reproductive tract cancers.
  • Monitor the claws of your rabbit. Keep them trim, to avoid them catching and breaking them. If you do not have the necessary tools, contact your vet for guidance.

Finally, make the best of this period by spending some quality time with your rabbit. Should you require any specific advice for your rabbit during this period, please don’t hesitate to contact us.