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BEWARE – Antifreeze Toxicity

Antifreeze, ethylene glycol, is notoriously dangerous to cats but can also cause severe toxicity in dogs, usually during the winter months.

Common sources of ethylene glycol include automotive antifreeze, radiator coolant, which typically contains 95% ethylene glycol, windshield deicing agents, motor oils, hydraulic brake fluid, developing solutions for photography, paints and solvents. Just a small quantity can result in severe renal toxicity in dogs.

Clinical signs can be categorised into 3 stages:

Stage 1: Clinical effects occur between 30 minutes and 12 hours. Common signs include in-coordination, salivation, vomiting, seizures, drinking and urinating more than normal.
Stage 2: This occurs within 12-24 hours post exposure, and cardiopulmonary signs such as difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, altered blood pressure, and circulatory shock may develop.
Stage 3: This final stage occurs 36-72 hours post ingestion in dogs. During this stage, severe kidney impairment is occurring. Late signs of inappetence, lethargy, bad breath, coma, depression, vomiting and seizures may be seen. Low blood calcium can cause muscle spasms.

Fluorescent Urine

If antifreeze has been ingested, the urine may fluoresce from the fluorescent dye in the product, when examined under ultraviolet light. Flourescien is present in many commercial antifreeze products which can be a good indicator but is not always reliable.

Dogs are more likely to be observed ingesting antifreeze and/or noticed to be unwell, unlike cats who tend to disappear overnight. Dogs are therefore more likely to receive prompt treatment, which is vital to secure a good outcome.

Treatment for ethylene glycol poisoning requires aggressive intervention and administration of the antidote, where possible.

Ethanol is the antidote and must be given intravenously.  The sooner the antidotal therapy is started after ingestion, the better the outcome.


Pumpkin Ingestion Warning!

This article has been provided tot he practice by the VPIS (Veterinary Poisons Information Service):

Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo pepo) is a popular autumnal fruit, which has become part of many families’ Halloween festivities. Pets may be exposed at this time of year and poisoning is possible, depending on the source of plant material.

Cucurbitaceae contain bitter tasting substances called tetracyclic triterpenoid cucurbitacins.

Although these substances tend to be bred out of shop-bought fruit, can sometimes be produced spontaneously in food products and lead to adverse effects. Very occasionally, these substances may be found in shop-bought pumpkins through mutation, environmental stress or cross contamination with a wild species. The higher the concentration of cucurbitacins, the more bitter the taste. Cucurbitacins are not denatured through cooking.

Ingestion of non-bitter plant material is unlikely to cause severe signs in animals. Mild, self-limiting gastrointestinal upset can be anticipated in non-herbivores.

However, ingestion of bitter fruit or roots can cause more significant gastrointestinal signs, including abdominal pain, haemorrhagic diarrhoea and severe vomiting. There have also been reports of dehydration, collapse, elevated liver and kidney enzymes. Supportive treatment should include aggressive rehydration and pain relief, as required. The liver and renal function should be monitored, as well as monitoring for potential anaemia.
Based on information from human reports, it can take several days for a full recovery. In chronic exposure, for example field animals which have grazed on the plants, the majority of cases are fatal and therefore the prognosis is poor.

When presented with a possible pumpkin toxicity, it is helpful to establish whether the plant material is bitter.

This may be determined by asking the owner if the plants are home-grown and whether the have eaten the pumpkin themselves.



Emma Taylor

Hi, my name is Emma Taylor.

My dog Charlie has been a member of this vets for over 15 years. I know, with working in retail that people are always quick to highlight the negatives in life and are quick to complain in general, but when exceptional work is shown, it’s never praised or appreciated. So I’m writing this to say a massive thank you to everyone who has treated my old boy and best friend over all of these years.

Thank you to Karl for always remembering us and taking extra special care of my boy.

Sadly, we have recently had to have Charlie put to sleep, this was the hardest thing we as a family had ever had to do in our entire lives. The decision was hard, but the time was right.
We arranged for it to be done at home so Charlie was more comfortable, as nice as you guys were… He hated visiting!

Now, the biggest amount of praise and thanks to Amiee and Dotty for everything they did for him and us on that difficult day. They were so so lovely with him and us too! They just really put us at ease.
They were the most professional and compassionate people I’d ever come across in all my life. It must be the hardest job in the world to do that, and especially as a stranger in our home.. Which was Charlie’s home. And they handled the situation perfectly. So respectful and even gave us a while with him after. These girls need thanking and you all need to know that they are a credit to themselves and the workplace. They stayed calm and composed whilst the whole family was there.. In pieces. And I have the most respect for them.

It’s taken me a while to right this as I filled with tears every time. But now I can see clearer I needed you all to know.
Thank you all again.. And thank you for the card and the forget me not seeds. It was a lovely gesture.

I’ve included a few pictures of him so you can see him when he wasn’t so grey in the face 😂


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:


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.

Team SLVC win the Willington Raft Race!!!

A brave team of vets, nurses and receptionists (plus a couple of others!) took part in this years Willington Raft Race in June.

A combination of grit, sweat, team work and pure adrenaline resulted in team SLVC winning the mixed competition with a time of 23.16 minutes!

The team came 6th overall out of 21 teams and were only beaten by 5 mens teams.

Go Team SLVC!!

raft race 2 raft race

New Branch Practice in Allestree

Following the success of our main hospital located on Osmaston Road in the centre of Derby we are proud to announce the opening of a new branch practice in Allestree in Spring 2016.

The location is 367A Duffield road, in close proximity to other amenities including a doctors surgery and two dentists as well as a variety of other establishments.

The branch practice will allow us to endeavour to provide the very same high level of service to the local people in Allestree and their pets, just like we already strive to do in Derby.

The branch practice will initially be open for consultations between the following hours:

0800-1000 and 1700-1900 Monday to Friday

0930-1230 Saturdays

We chose these hours to suit the needs of our clients and their working patterns.

Urgent cases between these hours will be seen at our Derby practice.

There will be no opening offers or gimmicks, we are interested only in forging long term relationships with clients built on trust and excellent service.


Storm Davis (via facebook)

Karl and the team are stars. They have always been so attentive and caring towards paddy and ourselves, throughout his operation and with our finale goodbye. They are all like a family to us, we owe them all so much for how they have helped us.
will all our love Jeanette, Lee, Naomi and Storm Davis.

Alice Bold (via facebook)

Saint Leonard’s is incredible. Both Hugo and Doug absolutely love coming to visit the practice and all the amazing vets, and love the treats and fuss. We are thankful to you all for making his breathing a lot easier so he can have many adventures with his big brother

Sheryl Leonardi of Lina’s Cat Rescue (via facebook)

I have used a lot of vet practices in the 5 years I have been involved in cat rescue and after seeing how Saint Leonard’s treat their patients, clients and their commitment to the welfare of animals in general I would never go anywhere else.

I have moved both of my own pet cats to this surgery and would highly recommend them.

November Stevie Nicks