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Post op care – patella luxation surgery

The Procedure

Up to five procedures may have been performed to allow the patella (knee cap) to run freely in its normal position and prevent it from luxating (dislocating). This may have involved using metal pins and wires to hold bone fragments together while they heal.

The Medication

  • Loxicom – is an anti-inflammatory pain killer. It is usually prescribed for 4 weeks following the surgery. Stop if vomiting or diarrhea is experienced and call for advice.
  • Noroclav or Cephacare – are antibiotics usually prescribed for 7 days following the procedure.
  • Other pain relief may be prescribed as necessary

Post op

  • Eating, drinking and urination should have been seen by the morning after surgery
  • Defaecation may be delayed for several days post-op
  • Cold compresses can be used on the wound for the first 72 hours. Ten minutes on and ten minutes off, if tolerated, throughout the day.
  • A course of laser therapy may be prescribed to reduce pain/swelling and improve healing

Exercise

  • Strict restriction and supervision of activity is required
  • Preventing running and jumping is essential until told otherwise (consider using stair gates and ramps)
  • Consider using a crate/cage to control activity when unsupervised
  • 1 – 10 days – 5 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • 10 – 20 days – 10 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • 20 + days – 15 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • Failure to follow these points may result in serious consequences including further surgery

Physiotherapy/hydrotherapy

  • Early gentle walking on the lead is helpful
  • Flexing and extending the leg through its normal range of motion several times a day is also of benefit
  • An appointment with a qualified physiotherapist may be recommended
  • Hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial from 4 weeks post op to improve flexibility and build muscle
  • Follow – up appointments:
    • 2-3 days to check the wound
    • 14 days to remove sutures
    • 6 – 8 weeks to assess the outcome of the surgery

What The Future Holds…

  • The future is usually bright. If the patella is stable after 6 weeks then usually it will stay that way.
  • Degenerative joint disease (arthritis) may develop later in life and require management
  • Further surgery is occasionally required if the patella remains unstable

Post op care – MMP cruciate surgery

The Procedure

A triangular titanium implant has been placed inside the tibia (shin bone) after a saw was used to make a cut (osteotomy). The implant is held in place with a pin and wires and the bone will grow through it and incorporate it in to the bone. The dynamics of the joint have been changed so that it is stable during weight bearing even though the cruciate ligament is not functioning properly. The bone is broken and will take 6 weeks to heal.

The Medication

  • Loxicom – is an anti-inflammatory pain killer. It is usually prescribed for 4 weeks following the surgery. Stop if vomiting or diarrhea is experienced and call for advice.
  • Noroclav or Cephacare – are antibiotics usually prescribed for 7 – 10 days following the procedure.
  • Other pain relief may be prescribed as necessary

Post op

  • Eating, drinking and urination should have been seen by the morning after surgery
  • Defaecation may be delayed for several days post-op
  • Cold compresses can be used on the wound for the first 72 hours. Ten minutes on and ten minutes off, if tolerated, throughout the day.
  • A course of laser therapy may be prescribed to reduce pain/swelling and improve healing.

Exercise

  • Strict restriction and supervision of activity is required
  • Preventing running and jumping is essential for at least 6 weeks (consider using stair gates and ramps)
  • Consider using a crate / cage to control activity when unsupervised
  • 1 – 10 days – 5 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • 10 – 20 days – 10 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • 20 + days – 15 minutes lead exercise 3 times daily
  • Failure to follow these points may result in serious consequences including further surgery

Physiotherapy / Hydrotherapy

  • Early gentle walking on the lead is helpful
  • Flexing and extending the leg through its normal range of motion several times a day is also of benefit
  • An appointment with a qualified physiotherapist may be recommended
  • Hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial from 4 weeks post op to improve flexibility and build muscle

Follow – up appointments

  • 2-3 days to check the wound
  • 14 days to remove sutures
  • 6 – 8 weeks for post-operative x-rays

What The Future Holds…

  • There is a 50% chance that the other cruciate ligament will develop instability later in life
  • 5-10% of cases may develop a cartilage tear (meniscus) weeks or months after the surgery. This would require a second smaller procedure to remove the torn cartilage.
  • Degenerative joint disease (arthritis) will continue to develop and require managing, usually in the following order:
    • Weight control
    • Regular gentle / moderate intensity exercise
    • Veterinary strength joint supplements
    • Hydrotherapy / Physiotherapy
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs

Breeding Your Dog

A bitch (female dog) can produce 1-2 litters of puppies each year. If you are not intending to let your bitch have puppies then you should have her neutered to prevent disease and extend her life expectancy.

 

However, if you do decide to breed from your bitch there are many things to consider to ensure that both mother and puppies are strong and healthy.

 

How do I go about choosing a mate for my dog?

 

A bitch in season will often attract an army of potential suitors from the local dog population and around the time she is most fertile she may become desperate to escape to meet up with them! You will probably want to have some say in her choice and it is essential to keep her securely indoors and walk her on a lead or away from other dogs during this time. There are already many unwanted dogs and puppies, the majority arising from the consequences of such chance matings.

 

If you have a pedigree dog you might want to find a partner of the same breed so that the puppies are purebred and you should speak to an experienced breeder of your breed well in advance of planning the mating. Information on local breeders can be obtained from the breed club secretary or the Kennel Club web site:

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/8261/breeding.pdf

 

What information do I need?

 

Certain breeds have particular problems when giving birth so it is advisable to speak to an experienced breeder of these breeds before going ahead with a mating. There is a high incidence of some genetic problems in certain breeds and many breeds operate screening schemes to prevent breeding from affected animals. Your dog may have to undergo X-rays, eye examination or other tests at your vets before being mated.

 

When is the right time to breed from my dog?

 

Bitches should not be allowed to have puppies until they are fully grown and are mature themselves. This age will vary from breed to breed and between individuals. The first season may occur between 6 months and 18 months of age but few recommend allowing a bitch to become pregnant at her first season. Most breed societies recommend breeding from bitches that are older than 2 years at the time of birth.

 

How often will my bitch come into season?

Most bitches develop a pattern of seasons which usually occur with a regular interval between 5 months and 1 year. Seasons usually last around 3 weeks and bitches are most receptive around 10-14 days into the cycle

 

When should my dog mate?

Bitches are usually mated twice during the receptive period. You can start counting the days of her cycle from when you first see signs of bloody discharge at the vulva. However some bitches have very light discharge and you may easily miss the first few days. The best way to find the right time of mating is to do some blood tests starting around day 7-9.

 

Bitches produce a hormone called progesterone at the time that they release the eggs (ovulate) to be fertilised and this can be used to time the mating. The tests have to be repeated every 2-3 days to find the right time for mating. If the bitch ovulates between day 12-15, as most of them do, two or three tests should give you the expected result.

 

‘Late’ bitches can require more testing, but it is worth doing these tests as these bitches would not conceive at the normal time. There are other signs to look out for like the bitch standing and turning her tail and her discharge changing from bloody to a lighter colour.

How do I know if my bitch is pregnant?

The hormonal changes following a bitch’s season follow a very similar pattern whether or not she is pregnant. Therefore many bitches develop a so-called ‘false pregnancy’ and often show changes in behaviour and may even show mammary development and milk production.

 

It can be very difficult to be sure your bitch is pregnant merely by feeling her tummy. In the early stages the developing foetuses are very small and easy to miss. If only 1 pup is present it might be difficult to locate even at full term. The best way to confirm that your bitch is pregnant is to ask your vet to perform an ultrasound scan around 2-3 weeks after mating. At this time the scan should also give an indication of roughly how many puppies are present. Of course some of these foetuses may not make it to full term but it provides a good guide to litter size. There is also a blood test for a hormone called ‘Relaxin’, the pregnancy specific hormone in dogs. This test can be useful if ultrasound is not available.

 

Is there anything else I need to do?

In the last third of the pregnancy you may want to increase the amount you feed your bitch. However, if she has a large number of puppies (or they are large) the distended womb may fill her belly and make it difficult for her to eat larger meals. It is a good idea to split feeding into 3 smaller meals throughout the day. Many breeders will switch to feeding the bitch on puppy food in the last trimester, as this has higher energy and protein level as well as more Calcium and Phosphorus (minerals which are important for the development of healthy bones and teeth).

 

When your bitch has given birth she will need a secure bed in which to raise the puppies. Prepare this a few weeks before the puppies are due so that the mother can get used to sleeping there and is settled for the birth.

 

When will the puppies be born?

Normal pregnancy in the bitch is 63 days from conception although smaller dog breeds often have shorter pregnancies. The time from mating to conception can be very variable in the dog and it is possible for conception to occur up to 7 days after mating. Calculation of the delivery date is best based on results of examination of smears taken from the vagina or hormone tests made before conception. Alternatively ultrasound in the first few weeks of pregnancy may allow ageing of the foetuses.

Anal Sac Disease

 

Anal sac problems are very common in pet dogs and are frequently seen by veterinary surgeons. In most cases, the conditions are easily treated, though they can sometimes recur.

 

What are anal sacs?

 

Anal sacs (sometimes referred to by vets as anal glands) are two small pockets located on either side of the dog’s bottom with openings to the surface at about the 4 and 8 o’clock positions. They produce a strongly scented substance that is deposited on the faeces and contributes to scent and territorial marking in dogs. The passage of faeces usually results in emptying of the glands in healthy dogs. The strong scent, designed to last a long time in the environment, is part of the way dogs communicate with one another.

 

Anal sacs may also occasionally be emptied in times of distress or panic, eg a dog fight or a road traffic accident, resulting in a strong smell coming from the injured dog. The secretion usually has an unusual fishy odour, unpleasant to the human nose.

 

Blocked anal sacs or glands

 

In this very common condition, the anal sacs fail to empty, possibly because the ducts leading to the surface are too narrow, or because the consistency of the dog’s faeces is too loose. Many dogs have anal sacs that do not empty normally. When they get very full, they can cause discomfort, usually showing as:

 

Licking the anal area excessively.

Sitting down abruptly and clamping the tail.

Dragging the bottom along the ground (‘scooting’) – often misunderstood by owners as a symptom of worms.

 

Infected anal sacs or anal sac abscess

The anal sacs can become infected, possibly as a result of chronic blockage (see above). If an abscess develops, the symptoms can be severe. All the signs of anal sac blockage may be present and the affected dog may be very uncomfortable and even aggressive if the hind quarters are approached or touched. The abscess may burst out to the surface, producing a foul smelling or bloody discharge. Symptoms usually ease off at this point as pressure is released and pain decreases.

 

Treatment of common anal sac problems

In the case of straightforward blockage, periodic emptying by the veterinary surgeon is required. Some dogs need this done every 4-8 weeks; in others it is a much less frequent occurrence. Occasionally, it may be possible for an owner to learn how to perform this task, though many prefer to leave it to their vet.

 

Sometimes changing the composition of the diet may help. Adding more fibre to promote a bulkier stool is often recommended. It has to be said that this does not always work but is certainly worth trying.

 

If infection is present, a course of antibiotics may be needed. The anal sacs may also be flushed with saline or dilute antiseptic solutions under sedation or anaesthesia to help eliminate the problem.

 

Abscesses may require surgery to aid drainage and resolution of the infection, together with a course of antibiotics and, often, painkillers.

 

Persistent anal sac problems may be treated by surgical removal of the anal sacs. This tends to be reserved for dogs experiencing frequent, moderate to severe problems with early recurrence after the above treatments. Removal of the anal sacs carries a small risk of incontinence due to the proximity of important nerves in the area. This may be temporary or permanent.

Lung Worm (Angiostrongylus Vasorum)

 

Although the early stages of the parasite do affect the lungs and severely infected dogs may show signs of coughing, other signs are far more common. This is a parasite where the adult worm infects dogs but the young stages are carried by slugs and snails.

The parasite itself may not cause the dog any problems unless present in very large numbers. However, in order to survive in the blood vessels the parasite releases substances which affect the clotting of the host’s blood. Thus infected dogs are more prone to bleeding than normal dogs.

This bleeding can pose a life-threatening risk to an affected pet. Thus this parasite can be more dangerous to a dog than the more common worms that live in the intestine and it is very important to take precautions to prevent infection.

This disease used to be confined to dogs living in the South of the country (especially the South East, South West and South Wales). However, in the last ten years the disease has become much more common and has been seen in dogs as far North as Scotland. All dogs in the UK should now be considered potentially at risk.

How could my dog get infected?

The adult worms spend most of their lives in the blood vessels close to the heart. However, when the eggs laid by the adults hatch, the immature worms (larvae) force their way through the walls of the blood vessels and into the lungs. The dog then coughs up the larvae and swallows them. The larvae pass into the faeces which is in turn eaten by slugs and snails (which love dog poo!). The larvae develop in their new host until this is eaten by a dog.

Slugs and snails often crawl into dog’s food bowls or onto toys if these are left outside. Dogs also eat these garden pests when drinking from outdoor water sources and eating grass. Once back in the dog the young worms make their way back through the dog’s body to the blood vessels.

How do I know if my dog is infected?

Many infected dogs show no signs of illness. Dogs that are unwell show a wide range of symptoms: breathing problems, coughing, bleeding excessively from cuts or bleeding internally with no signs of trauma, anaemia and loss of condition. Other animals may show neurological changes including seizures. If your dog is unwell in any way make an appointment to see your vet at Saint Leonard Vet Centre.

How would my vet know what is wrong with my dog?

Not all dogs with lungworm show breathing-associated signs. The adult worms in the blood vessels and heart can cause heart failure but also produce a substance to stop the blood clotting. This can cause your dog to bleed, with or without an injury. The bleeding can take place inside the body and may affect the brain or eyes resulting in seizures or blindness.

It is unlikely that your vet will know straight away what is wrong with your dog and they will need to do a number of tests in most cases to make the diagnosis. If you live in an area where lungworm is common your vet may be more familiar with the disease and may be suspicious of the signs at an earlier stage. If there is a suspicion that your dog is infected your vet can do a test for lungworms.

If my dog is infected can it pass disease to me or my other pets?

The infection can’t pass direct from to dog without first passing through a slug or snail. However, if you have several dogs living in the same household and one is found to be infected it is likely that the others will also be at high risk of infection. The common lungworm of dogs (Angiostrongylus vasorum) does not affect cats or people.

What is the treatment for lungworm?

The aims of treatment are to eliminate the lungworm infection and also to manage the clinical signs. There are a number of drugs that can be used to eliminate the worms but infected dogs should be monitored carefully when receiving treatment as the sudden killing of the worms could result in a severe allergic reaction.

If your dog has severe signs (particularly affecting the brain or signs of heart failure) your vet will want to keep your pet in the hospital for specialised care.

Will my dog get better?

Most dogs go on to make a full recovery with appropriate treatment. However, infection can prove fatal for some dogs despite intensive treatment.

How can I protect my dog against lungworm?

Most dogs are infected by contact with slugs or snails (and usually from eating these) – so if you can reduce your dog’s exposure to these that will reduce the risk.

Regular treatment of your dog with a product that can kill the worms can help to protect them against infection. The standard worming treatment that you give your pet every 3 months or so may not protect them from lungworm infections.

You will need to get additional treatment from your vet.

Fireworks

It is estimated that between 45% and 70% of dogs and cats are afraid of fireworks, and of these, perhaps one in 10 requires veterinary treatment. To a great extent, however, it is a treatable problem and we have a few pointers here to get you started. Should your pet be severely affected, do seek help from your vet and/or a behaviourist

Signs that might suggest your pet is struggling to cope with loud noises are: trembling or shaking, clinging to owners, barking excessively, cowering or hiding behind furniture, pacing and panting, refusing food, soiling the house and trying to run away. Many owners will try to reassure their pets as they do their loved ones – with stroking/physical contact or talking to them. This unfortunately reinforces the idea that pets should be afraid and it is preferable to ignore fearful behaviour, whilst remembering that animals will be more relaxed with a familiar person present. Dogs are likely to pick up on any anxiety their owners are feeling so staying calm and relaxed for them is paramount! Their usual routine may benefit from slight changes to ensure they are not taken for walks after dark when fireworks may be let off. In addition, try to feed and settle them for the evening before any whizzes or bangs begin and keep cats in the house for the night. Make sure your house and garden are secure in case your pet is suddenly startled and tries to run away – microchipping and a dog tag are essential. Keep pets indoors, close the curtains and play music or turn the television on to disguise the noises, consider making a den of old, familiar blankets to enable your pet to hide away and settle. Similarly, if your cat is happier hidden under the dresser, leave them there as long as they need.

Adaptil (DAP) – Dog Appeasing Pheromone is a synthetic version of a chemical produced by the mother after birth and can naturally calm older dogs. It is best to place a diffuser near your dog’s favourite spot and turn it on several days before the firework period begins. There is a CD that can be used in conjunction with Adaptil to desensitise your dog to typical firework noises. It usually takes several weeks to see a marked improvement and so is best carried out well in advance – contact Knutsford Vets if you would like to know more. For cats, Feliway performs a similar function, although there is not as much information as to whether desensitisation to loud noises works. There are herbal remedies available for both dogs and cats which are worth trying to see what your pet responds to best. If your pet becomes severely stressed, then do approach your vet to discuss sedatives but beware that all drugs have potential side effects. Especially in older pets, blood testing to check kidney and liver function is preferable before starting medication, especially as fireworks can be a concern for several weeks.
If you have any queries or would like to know more information about any of the products mentioned, or any veterinary treatments available, please do contact us on 01332 345119.

Obesity (Excessive Weight)

Excessive Weight

Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Animals that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese. Obesity can result in serious adverse health effects, such as reducing the lifespan, even if your pet is only moderately obese. Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.

Obesity is common in pets of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged animals, and generally in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered and indoor pets also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.

Symptoms

• Weight gain
• Excess body fat
• The inability (or unwillingness) to exercise
• An above-ideal score in a body condition assessment

Causes

There are several causes of obesity. It is mostly commonly caused by an imbalance between the energy intake and its usage ie eating more than the animal can possibly burn off during exercise. Obesity also becomes more common in old age because of the normal decrease in a pet’s ability to exercise. Unhealthy eating habits, such as high-calorie foods, an alternating diet, and frequent treats can also bring on this condition.

Other common causes include:
• Neutering
• Underactive Thyroid

Diagnosis

Obesity is diagnosed primarily by measuring the animal’s body weight or by scoring its body condition, which involves assessing its body composition. Your veterinarian will do this by examining your pet, palpating its ribs, lumbar area, tail, and head. The results are then compared to the breed standard.

If a pet is obese, it will have an excess body weight of approximately 10 to 15 percent. In the nine-point scoring system, animals which have a body condition score greater than seven are considered to be obese.

Obesity can increase the risk of many diseases including:

1. Arthritis
2. Diabetes
3. Cancer
4. Heart Disease

We run free weight clinics so please get your pet booked in if you think they may be over-weight.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is the most contagious disease in the domestic canine population and spreads rapidly.

Although not generally life threatening, it can cause serious debilitation and upper respiratory pain for up to a month! Medication such as anti-inflammatory pain killers and antibiotics can be used to help treat the disease.

A common misconception is that this disease can only be contracted while boarding in kennels. It can be passed between dogs in contact in ANY situation.

How do I prevent my dog catching it?

We actively encourage all of our canine patients to be vaccinated against this disease. The dogs on our Gold Plan Healthy Pet Club get this vaccination free of charge.

Good kennels will insist that your dog is vaccinated against this disease before agreeing to take them for boarding. The vaccination is most effective 2 weeks after administration. Resistance to infection then slowly reduces during the year.

What causes Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria including:

Canine parainfluenzavirus
Canine adenovirus
Bordetella bronchiseptica

Dental Disease (Periodontal disease)

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable.

By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, other than bad breath, there are few signs of the disease process evident to the owner, and professional dental cleaning and periodontal therapy often comes too late to prevent extensive disease or to save teeth.

As a result, periodontal disease is usually under-treated, and may cause multiple problems in the oral cavity and may be associated with damage to internal organs in some patients as they age.

Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tartar above the gum line is obvious to many owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease.

The real problem develops as plaque and calculus spread under the gum line. Bacteria in this ‘sub-gingival’ plaque set in motion a cycle of damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth, eventually leading to loss of the tooth. Bacteria under the gum line secrete toxins, which contribute to the tissue damage if untreated. These bacteria also stimulate the animal’s immune system. The initial changes cause white blood cells and inflammatory chemical signals to move into the periodontal space (between the gum or bone and the tooth).

The function of the white blood cells is to destroy the bacterial invaders, but chemicals released by the overwhelmed white blood cells cause damage to the supporting tissues of the tooth. Instead of helping the problem, the patient’s own protective system actually worsens the disease when there is severe build-up of plaque and tartar.

Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation [reddening] of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia for veterinary patients.

Effects within the oral cavity include damage to or loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth, development of a hole (‘fistula’) from the oral cavity into the nasal passages causing nasal discharge, fractures of the jaw following weakening of the jaw bone, and bone infection (‘osteomyelititis’). Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body.

Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Studies in humans have linked periodontal disease to a variety of health problems including poor control of diabetes mellitus and increased severity of diabetic complications. Additionally, it has been shown that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontal disease.

Treatment of periodontal disease is multi-faceted. If your pet has tartar or large amounts of plaque present, professional dental cleaning is required, which includes a thorough oral examination, scaling and polishing.

Abnormalities found are recorded on a dental chart. When periodontitis is present, several treatment options may be employed to save the teeth. The patient’s overall health, the cost of specific treatments, and the owner’s willingness to provide home oral hygiene must be taken into account prior to performing periodontal therapy – without likelihood of diligent homecare subsequently, periodontal therapy is not indicated, and severely involved teeth should be extracted.

Home oral hygiene can improve the periodontal health of the patient, decrease the progression of the disease and decrease the frequency of or eliminate the need for professional dental cleaning. Implementing home oral hygiene at a young age can help the pet accept life-long oral care.

Consult your veterinarian about proven home oral hygiene strategies that can be employed to help maintain your pet’s dental health. Be cautious about miracle remedies advertised on the internet or sold in pet stores. Many of these are unproven and may be worthless – like many other things in life, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

When properly cared for, teeth can remain in healthy condition in the mouth, and the risk of associated health complications can be reduced.