Chocolate and Hot Cross Buns – for humans not dogs!

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Happy Easter!

A time for chocolate eggs and hot cross buns – but not for dogs!

Chocolate, while delicious, contains a substance called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs. Raisins in hot cross buns and other tasty Easter treats are toxic to dogs. Both can make your pet ill and can cause long term issues if not dealt with quickly.

Signs include: vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness and lethargy, tremors and in the long term – kidney problems.

If your dog eats chocolate or anything containing raisins, please call to book an appointment with us as soon as possible on 01442 833198, or call Vets Now Out-of-hours in Hemel Hempstead 01442 768 484. Please retain the packaging if possible so that we know exactly what has been ingested.

Be selfish this Easter, and keep all your goodies to yourself!


Tablet vs Spot-on

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There are now two main ways to battle parasites – do you prefer tablets or spot ons?heather-2

A tablet once a month will cover your dog’s main parasites such as fleas, roundworms, lungworms* and mites* and even ticks!!

Or use a spot-on once a month to cover your dog’s main parasites such as fleas, roundworms, lungworms and mites.

With these main treatments only tapeworms are left to consider. Tapeworms are picked up from fleas or carcasses, meaning that it will only be an issue for certain pets. A simple tablet can be given to protect against tapeworm on top of either main parasite treatments.

If you’re interested in any of these products for your pet, please just give us a call or pop in and ask at reception. They are prescription products so we will need to have seen your pet in the last year to be able to prescribe them. However if we haven’t seen your pet recently you can come in for a free check up to dispense anti-parasite treatment.

*Off licence use.


Ticks on the increase!

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You may have seen the news headlines recently stating that nearly 1 in 3 dogs visiting vets last summer were found to be carrying at least one tick. This stat is taken from the results of a large research study undertaken last year called “The Big Tick Project”. Hope Vets contributed to this project and it may be that we sent in one of your very own dogs’ ticks!

So what are ticks and why should we care?
Pretty gross eh? This is a typical tick that we might find on dogs. They start off tiny and as they feed they get bigger and bigger. Because they numb the area of skin that they have attached to, the dog won’t necessarily bother at the area.
Ticks (quite apart from looking like foul alien invaders) are important because they can cause local skin reactions but much more importantly because they can transmit other diseases. Tick-borne disease is prevalent in the rest of Europe but up to now we have been less affected and the only disease an English tick was able to give you or your dog was Lymes disease (which can be really serious and difficult to treat). More recently ticks have been found in the UK carrying a parasite called Babesia which can give dogs severe anaemia.

Don’t panic…..
Well it isn’t all bad news. Although there is no question that ticks are an increasing problem in the UK, the good news is that they are visible and feel-able. If you check your dogs carefully after walks you will find them. More good news is that in our little corner of the world, although in the study we are rated 4/5 in terms of risk of ticks, Hope Vets patients still are only rarely effected by ticks. We don’t seem to have large populations of ticks in our immediate area but be warned, we have definitely seen more this year than previously and if the rest of the country is anything to go by, ticks are on the up.

What should we do to protect our dogs?
If you have seen ticks on your dogs previously or if you are travelling to areas with a high risk of ticks then we recommend adding tick control to your parasite regime. There are lots of products you can use. Some repel ticks and kill them and others just kill them. All the products we recommend for ticks kill them within 24 hours, this is important as the tick-borne diseases are only usually transmitted after the tick has been feeding more than 24 hours.
It is really important to check your dogs for ticks after a walk by feeling through all areas of their coat. You will feel a little lump which if you then look closely has a little mouth and legs. If you find a tick it is important not to pull them out. The mouthparts are corkscrew-like so you need to twist them anti-clockwise to ensure you don’t leave the head embedded in your dog’s skin. We stock little plastic tick twisters to help you, but if you are worried about doing it yourself we can remove the ticks for you.

If you would like more information:
Full access to the Big Tick Project research paper

Video on how to check your dog for ticks

Video on how to remove a tick from your dog
Tick photo


Neither you nor your rabbit ever want maggots!

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The warmer months can be a worrying time to care for our little (or big) bunnies. This is due to something called “flystrike”. It occurs when flies lay their eggs in the skin around wounds, sore skin or fur contaminated with wee and poo. When the eggs hatch they become larvae and – this next part is somewhat gruesome – start to eat away at the surrounding tissue. They literally can eat through the skin and into the deeper tissues, which very quickly (over 6-24 hours) can become life-threatening if not dealt with immediately.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent flystrike: keep your rabbits bum clean; check your rabbit’s skin (particularly around the bottom) twice daily; clean out the bedding regularly and remove all faeces; use an effective fly repellent product such as Rearguard.

If flystrike occurs or you are worried, please call us on 01442 833198, or the Emergency Out of Hours in Hemel Hempstead, Vets Now on 01442 768484.

rabbit in clean bedding bluebottle fly