Bad breath - difficulty eating or a change in eating habits, depression and weight loss, eating on one side of the mouth, pawing at the mouth, chipped or broken teeth, red, swollen or bleeding gums, salivation, facial swellings - all are clear signs of teeth or gum problems. Sometimes the signs are more subtle and your pet will not show obvious symptoms, so its always best they have regular check ups. Please do bring your pet in to see us without delay if you suspect a problem, as periodontal disease can be very painful and severely affect the health of your pet.
Cats - in particular are very careful not to demonstrate pain so it may not be obvious they have teeth problems, but they unfortunately have a high incidence of dental disease and also a condition known as Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions or simply tooth resorption. This is very painful condition where the teeth begin to be destroyed usually just below the gum line, so it can be a tricky problem to spot unless a dental examination is performed. Please do bring your kitty in for regular check ups.
Get them checked out - simply checking your pet's mouth can highlight a problem, and we can help you do this - our nurses run free dental clinics to help identify issues and to offer great advice on how to care for your pet's teeth, such as brushing. Cleaning their teeth may seem daunting but they will soon get used to it if you introduce things gradually as part of their routine - Brushing really is the best way to help ensure that your dog or cat lives a happy and healthy life without the pain, discomfort and associated serious health problems of periodontal disease. If brushing the teeth is not an option for you and your pet, we will advise you on other ways you can help their teeth stay as healthy as they can be.
NEVER brush your pet's teeth with human toothpaste - this could harm your pet if swallowed. Good brands of pet toothpaste have been designed so you don't have to do too much brushing and no rinsing - they are flavoured to make it easier for you and a nicer experience for your pet - also if they swallow some it won't harm them.
Home care - There are many products on the market that claim to help clean your pet's teeth and some may be beneficial, particularly feeding a good quality dried food or dried biscuits as part to your pets diet - however nothing comes close to the effectiveness of daily tooth brushing. Our nurses can show you how and help you get started - the best time to begin getting them used to tooth brushing is of course when they are young - but even older pets can learn to have their teeth cleaned. Its particularly recommended after a scale and polish, as the plaque can start building up again very quickly. If you need further help or advice please book in to see us for a chat, we would love to see you.
Fleas are tricky little blood sucking insects that cause a lot of problems if allowed to establish themselves in your home. The females lay eggs in your pet's fur, which then drop to the ground within a few hours. A single female can lay thousands of eggs. After a few days maggot-like larvae hatch from the eggs. These larvae migrate to dark places such as carpets, cracks in the floor or in pets bedding. The larvae feed on house dust for about 2 to 4 weeks before developing into adult fleas searching for a blood meal- typically from your dog or cat but occasionally they may get you first! The typical time from an egg falling to the floor to becoming a fully formed adult in a cocoon is 3-4 weeks in summer, but it can vary. Fleas can also wait as cocoons for in excess of 6 months, explaining why some people have recurring problems.
Symptoms of flea infestation
If fleas are present in large numbers on any animal they will cause irritation and itchiness and can even cause anaemia. Some animals are allergic to substances in flea saliva and in these cases only a few bites can cause severe discomfort. Flea allergic dermatitis (FAD) is the most common skin disease of dogs and cats. In dogs, FAD will often affect the rear half of the body, with hair loss and itchiness. In cats, FAD will often cause scabs over the body (miliary dermatitis) or a symmetrical hair loss, they may excessively groom themselves or self harm in severe cases. Fleas can also carry an immature form of tapeworm. If the flea is swallowed by the animal the tapeworm can then go on to grow inside your pet's gut. Regular flea and worm control will really help avoid these problems
- Please do bring your pet to see us if you suspect a flea allergy or if your pet has a persistent skin irritation, as they may require further treatments other than flea products.
Diagnosis of flea infestation
The easiest way to diagnose fleas is to see the flea. but they can be elusive. Your vet may use a flea comb to groom through your pets coat to look for evidence. such as flea dirt/faeces. Flea dirt appears as small dark particles, often comma shaped, in your pet's coat. If the particles are placed on damp white paper or cotton wool and rubbed they will leave a reddish brown trace - this is the dried blood in the flea droppings. Sometimes you or your vet will not see any evidence of fleas or flea dirt, as persistent grooming and licking can remove the flea dirt, but if symptoms are suspicious it is still important to treat your pet.
Treatment of flea infestation
If there is a problem with fleas then all the animals in the household and their environment should be treated to reduce the risk of re-infestation. It is really important to treat the house as well as 95% of the flea population will be in your home. Large accumulations of eggs and larvae can build up in areas where your pet spends a lot of time e.g. bedding or a favourite armchair and these areas should have particular attention paid to them with regular vacuuming and washing in addition to the use of a good quality environmental spray - used carefully following all directions and properly airing rooms afterwards. Flea control products are available at the surgery, please telephone us to check we have the correct product in stock for you.
Always seek our advice before treating your pet for fleas - many of the readily available products could be harmful to your pet if you use the wrong ones - also they may be ineffective and a waste of money.
The latest flea treatments we use will also help prevent Ticks - ticks will appear as small, grey nodules - very firmly attached to our pets. It is very important not to pull off the tick as it may leave it mouth parts behind and cause an infection - our nurses can very quickly and safely remove the tick for you, so please call us if you find one. Pets can occasionally contract tick borne diseases so it is always a good idea to use year round flea/tick protection for your pet.
When we examine your pets skin, fur and ears, we are looking for signs of parasites, such as lice and mites. Lice and mites can cause a range of symptoms in varying degrees of severity, depending on the level of infestation - factors affecting this include the health status of the pet and the length of time the infection has progressed for. Mild symptoms can be quickly treated and dealt with whilst more established infections can take longer to resolve.
Never be tempted to self diagnose your pets skin irritation and treat them with something purchased over the counter - this can be dangerous for your pet and its really important they have an examination by the vet, so we can properly identify the source of the problem and treat them accordingly
Mites can be divided into two groups- the burrowing mites and surface mites that live and feed amongst skin debris on the surface of the skin - they are often not host specific and can be transferred between species. To diagnose skin mites the vet may take coat brushings, plucks, skin scrapings and sometimes blood samples from your pet. We will examine the samples microscopically and then decide on the best treatment options for you pet. Mites commonly identified include Sarcoptic and Demodectic mange mites - these mites live in the skin and hair follicle and can lead to horrendous, intensely irritating and painful skin infections if left untreated. Harvest mites can be picked up in rural areas - they can cause very itchy feet and legs. Cheyletiella mites are often describes as walking dandruff - we will often take a tape sample of your pets dandruff to identify them then prescribe some treatment.
Ear Mites are also a common problem in animals and we will always examine the ears of our furry friends to check for evidence of these irritating infections. Regular flea treatments if appropriate for the species should help keep this problem at bay.
If your pet is scratching at themselves or their ears or if they have signs of a skin infection its so important they are examined before treatment so we can decide on the best course of action - also, although ear mites are quite common it can often be a different type of problem affecting ears such as an allergy, that requires further investigation and an appropriate treatment plan.
As mites may be at various stages of their life cycle on your pet we may often recommend repeat treatments in order to fully eliminate them.
Lice are insects that can be either biting or sucking - they are host specific and prefer to spend their entire life on one animal but can be spread by close contact. We mainly see lice on young animals and large numbers can cause problems - if you suspect lice have infected your pet please do pop them in for examination and treatment
Video showing demodex mite found on a skin scrape from a dog.
Video showing close up of a demodex head.
The European Pet Passport scheme has changed and may well change again depending on the category the UK will become in January 2021.
To make sure your pet is able to travel you must contact your vet at least 4 months before you are wishing to travel, in order to comply with the latest advice. Basic information is still as follows -
1. Your dog, cat or ferret needs a working identichip placed.
2. Your pet needs a rabies vaccination given every three years by a DEFRA official veterinarian (OV), the pet passport will be updated by the OV whenever a vaccine or booster is administered.
3.Your pet needs a blood sample taking 30 days after the vaccination - the blood sample will be sent to an EU approved lab. The Animal Health Certificate will be updated with the date the blood sample was taken and the blood test results. If the vaccination was unsuccessful your pet will need another vaccine and then a further blood test 30 days later.
4. You must wait 3 months after successful rabies vaccination before travelling. You will need to see the vet 10 days before the date of travel to have the AHC updated with all relevant information, the AHC will be valid for 4 months after this.
5. Dogs require a treatment for tapeworm to be given by a veterinarian no less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1 to 5 days) before scheduled arrival time back in the UK and the treatment must be recorded in the passport.
For more detailed information regarding the pet passport please visit the DEFRA Pet Passport website. The rules regarding the pet passport do change periodically due to these uncertain times so it is very important you check the DEFRA website before each trip abroad to ensure you don't get caught out.
TRAVELLING WITH YOUR PET HAS CHANGED NOW WE ARE NO LONGER PART OF THE EU - The following link has the latest information regarding pet travel after BREXIT, Please do have a look or call the surgery for advice well in advance of travel.
You must visit the vet at least 4 months before travelling to an EU country.
Witnessing your pet having a fit is very upsetting situation, if this happens to your pet try to remain calm - observe them and try to ensure they do not hurt themselves. Do not try to intervene or put your hand near or in their mouth as you may be injured. It is generally not advisable to move your pet during a fit unless they require immediate veterinary intervention - please read on for further advice regarding this. In general its important to time the episode and when they start to recover, allow them peace, quiet and dim the lights a little. The following is a little more advice about fits - but please do contact us as soon as possible for first aid advice and support if this happens to your pet.
Pets have seizures for different reasons that will require investigation - these reasons could be something that has happened inside the brain, something that has happened outside the brain, or idiopathic epilepsy. Whatever has caused the seizure may require emergency intervention - so always contact your vet for advice if your pet suffers a seizure.
Has my pet had a fit?
A seizure occurs when there is an abnormal burst of electrical activity within the brain, leading to the following signs in your pet -
- Loss of consciousness
- Shaking and convulsions
- Lying on their side, scrambling or 'paddling' with their paws
- Loss of control of motions and urine
- Stiffness of the body
- Arching of back
- Loss of balance
- Foaming at the mouth
- They may also act strangely before or after the fit -
The fit may last for 30 seconds to a few minutes, however:- If a seizure lasts longer than 4 minutes THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!
Cats may more often exhibit partial seizures - the signs may be subtle and only effect part of the body, such as face/eyelid twitching, abnormal movements or drooling, vocalisation and growling - these signs may then progress to a more obvious seizure resulting in loss of awareness, violent shaking and chewing.
What to do if your pet has a seizure -
*Try not to panic
*Time the seizure if you can as this is important information for your vet. It is likely to seem like an eternity but it may only be 20 seconds, so try and get an accurate time - most seizures will stop within one to three minutes.
*Avoid injury to your pet during the seizure by removing obstacles out of their way, and try to ensure they are not in a dangerous area. If possible, pad around them and under their head to prevent further injury.
*Make notes of what your animal is doing physically during the seizure if you feel able, as your vet may ask about it.
*Do not attempt to open your animal's mouth and pull out their tongue to stop choking as this is unlikely to happen and you may get bitten.
* Call your vet immediately if the seizure is lasting more than 4 minutes - Also if more seizures follow or begin before your animal has recovered from the previous one. FAST INTERVENTION WILL BE NEEDED IN THESE SITUATIONS do not wait to see what happens - call your vet for advice.
What to do after the seizure is finished -
*Call your vet and let them know what happened
*Observe your pet's behaviour - keep an eye on them for signs of another onset.
*Allow them time to recover in a quiet, dark area - they will be confused and disorientated - soothe and reassure them - offer them a cool drink
Aftercare - When you bring your pet to see the vet after a seizure they will try to identify the underlying cause - this will involve physical and neurological examinations, then further diagnostics as required. If the vet can identify no other cause they may diagnose primary idiopathic epilepsy. The vet will discuss what this means for your pet but it can often be well managed and there are some good support groups out there.The vet will discuss the best treatment options with you depending on how your pet is doing and the types of seizures they are experiencing - medications if prescribed aim to reduce the frequency, the severity and length of your pets seizures - so keeping a diary will be a good idea
There are also other types of fits that may be confused for a seizure:-
Petite Mal - this is less severe than a grand mal seizure, and you may not even notice it has occurred. Brain activity is only mildly disrupted. Your pet will still have some control of their movement, only appearing slightly uncoordinated. They may stagger about, lose focus, tremor and drool.
Syncope - This is defined by your pet passing out and possibly remaining unconscious for a few seconds, then they may get up immediately. Syncope is usually associated with exercise, but can occur when resting. Your pet may urinate, also brief stiffening of the body might be seen, but no paddling or vocalisation (unlike a seizure). Minor twitching may be seen all over. Syncope is a circulatory problem not epilepsy but both conditions can look very similar. If you notice any signs such as these in your pet, no matter how subtle - please contact us straight away.
My pet is vomiting, what should I do? - although the odd pile of vomit may appear without further problems - vomiting often requires prompt veterinary treatment if it does not resolve quickly.
Vomiting may be a problem that occurs now and again in our pets and can be caused by a variety of factors - sometimes our pets may vomit up something unpleasant and then get back to normal fairly quickly - however vomiting is also a symptom of many serious conditions, so it is important that if it persists or is frequent or severe then we should see your pet without delay, as they can very quickly dehydrate and deteriorate.
* Please note that if your dog is going through the motions of being sick and NOT producing ANY vomit -retching unproductively or seems depressed or has a swollen belly then you should contact us straight away as this could be very serious - do not wait to see if they improve but contact us immediately*
Please do phone us for advice appropriate for your pet - but general advice for mild symptoms is to try to get them to take fluids or an electrolyte solution designed for animals little and often and see if they can keep that down - If your pet is keen to eat follow the advice below for feeding through diarrhoea – small, bland meals, little and often.
Diarrhoea - another common problem with varying levels of severity
It is important that we should see your pet as soon as possible if the diarrhoea:-
Is combined with vomiting - this increases the risk of dangerous levels of dehydration
Is present in a young or older animal - immature or senior pets may become very unwell very quickly
Has lasted longer than 2 days
Has blood present - fresh red blood may be seen or poo may be black and tarry looking or very dark in colour
Your pet is depressed and seems unwell - always get them checked sooner rather than later.
The following symptoms should be noted and the information relayed to your vet:-
Frequency of diarrhoea?
How many times per day?
How long has your pet had diarrhoea for?
Are there secondary symptoms such as vomiting, straining?
Has your pet seemed unwell previously to the episode?
Is there blood or mucus in the diarrhoea?
What colour is the diarrhoea; brown, orange, green?
What is the consistency/thickness of the diarrhoea?
In some cases we may recommend the following treatment for uncomplicated diarrhoea:-
1. FEED THROUGH THE DIARRHOEA, LITTLE AND OFTEN, SMALL BLAND MEALS such as cooked chicken, white fish and boiled, plain rice.
We no longer recommend starving for 24 hours in cases of diarrhoea. This is because the intestines get most of their energy from the eaten food and therefore stopping feeding can limit the intestines food supply and therefore their ability to heal quickly.
Initially you should start with a LIGHT DIET, we will be able to supply you with one specifically designed for diarrhoea cases. These diets contain all the correct nutrient requirements for your pet, and save you the bother of preparing fresh food for each meal.
Alternatively, you can feed a white meat diet (chicken or fish, steamed or boiled) combined with plain boiled rice or pasta. Regardless of which diet you choose, it is important to feed little and often, small meals.
As long as the diarrhoea continues to lessen, the size of the meals can be slowly increased. Normal food can be reintroduced after about four or five days. Again, do this gradually over several days, mixing the normal food in with the bland diet. If you try and short-cut this procedure you may well upset things and be back where you started!
2. PROBIOTICS - We also recommend using probiotics for cases of diarrhoea - using probiotics replaces the natural bacteria found in the gut. These are products which you can buy thorough ourselves without needing a veterinary appointment. Please call reception if you would like to purchase these.
3. WATER - Access to plenty of fresh water or an electrolyte solution should be available at all times. Animals often need to drink more than normal if they have diarrhoea to replace the liquid being lost in their faeces. Give water at room temperature.
Worms to worry about
Commonly when we worm our pets we are thinking about roundworms and tapeworms - but lately there has also been an increase in cases of lungworm associated disease in dogs, so any worming treatment you give to your dog should include treatment for Angiostrongylus Vasorum or lungworm.
Puppies and Kittens
Puppies and kittens should be wormed monthly until they are six months old with our recommended product for their age and weight - this is to control any worms that may have reached the young animal from its mother. Repeated doses are required as the worms may only be killed while in the guts, not during their migration through the young animals body - our team will advise you on the latest products.
Six months of age and older
After 6 months of age, common advice used to be to worm dogs and cats between two and four times a year - but the latest advice and combined products on the market advise treating them more often. However this will depend on the lifestyle of your pet, so our team will advise you on how to provide the best protection. Cats should also be wormed more frequently if they hunt and eat wildlife - also tapeworms are passed on by fleas so it's very important to treat for both fleas and worms. Dogs should be wormed more frequently if they spend time in the same areas as small children as the dog round worm, Toxocara can very rarely cause blindness if contracted by humans - its so important to be responsible for your dog's mess and clean it up - worming them regularly will help safeguard yourself and others from health problems associated with worm eggs building up in the environment.
Pregnant bitches can be wormed daily from day 40 of the pregnancy with the product recommended by your vet, this is to to try and reduce the flow of worm larvae from the dam to the growing pups - then the pups are wormed monthly or as advised by your veterinary team. Remember that wormers should only ever be obtained from veterinary surgeries or pharmacists trained to advise you as as many 'over the counter products' have very limited effect.
What do worms look like -
Tapeworms can be very long worms and are made up of individual segments. The most common evidence of a tapeworm though is seeing a small, sticky white segment, with the appearance of a rice grain, being passed or crawling out of the animal's anus. Animals become infected with tapeworms by eating an intermediate host. Intermediate hosts include fleas, worms, snails, slugs, frogs, rodents, and birds. Tapeworms are not usually a particular problem in puppies and kittens but are fairly often seen in cats due to the prevalence of cat fleas.
Roundworms vary in size but are classically described as having the appearance of spaghetti or noodles. Roundworms can be contracted by eating intermediate hosts as with tapeworms, by eating grass or other vegetation with eggs on and in young animals from their mother via the placenta and milk.
Lungworm has become more prevalent recently and it is not really clear why this is - but it is to be recommended that a routine wormer for your dog should always now include treatment for lungworm. The intermediate hosts for these worms are slugs and snails - so your dog is particularly at risk is they eat grass, soil and mud outside or leave their toys in the garden. You will not see these worms as they live within the heart and blood vessels supplying the lungs - but if your pet unfortunately becomes infected you may see symptoms such as coughing, depression, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhoea - all could be signs of other diseases. The vet will be able to run tests to determine if they have been infected and treat accordingly. To protect your pet we advise regular flea/worm treatments with our recommended product - please talk to our team for more information.
We can't thank everyone at Charlesworths enough for getting Poppy back on her paws! since having physio and laser sessions she has had a new lease of life. She loves coming in to see Dani, I can't thank her enough.
Caring and very friendly staff, they are just amazing!
We have entrusted the care of our precious furry family members to Charlesworth vets for around 30 yrs. In all that time we have always been so thankful for the compassion, professionalism and care provided by everyone at the surgery. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Bought my little pearl for her first visit last week.
Purred her little head off for Jane! Wouldn't take my pets anywhere else!
All staff are really friendly and welcoming. I know my pal will be well looked after in their care. Lovely. Thanks.
From booking the appointment to checking in afterwards, all of the staff were amazing and Marmalade had absolutely no issues in recovery whatsoever. Thank you to Charlesworth Veterinary Surgery staff for looking after my boy. Marmalade thanks you.
Thank you to your amazing team for everything you did to help Milo out, he recovered very quickly with no nasty side effects He is back to his very bubbly self, and still loving his walks and exploring the woods.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Rita for her care and kindness recently when my dog Billy was so very poorly.....I think you have a very bright future ahead of you and very lucky to have you at Charlesworths
What a lovely team! I work with rescue shepherds and have been to the surgery several times. On each occasion my dogs have been well looked after with the latest technology. Wouldn't ever change from Charlesworths now.