Avian Flu in Seals

Avian Flu in Seals

Test For Species-Crossing Avian Flu Helps Cornish Sanctuary Save Seals

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is devastating wild seabird colonies and commercial poultry flocks worldwide. Scavenging on HPAI infected seabird carcasses is blamed for increased avian flu deaths in seal populations.

Now Vetlab Supplies is partnering the Cornish Seal Sanctuary to help avert a potential UK wild seal catastrophe, by supplying Avian Flu Test Kits to screen for AI in rescued and rehabilitated seals.

Background: A New Strain Of Avian Influenza

In the late summer and autumn of 2022, The UK Department for The Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), together with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) reported the appearance of a highly pathogenic strain of the avian influenza virus (HPAI).

Detection and Early Action Key To Preventing Spread Of HPAI

Earlier in the year, The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned that, although the transmission of bird flu from birds to people is extremely rare, one such transmission was found in a keeper having close contact with a large number of infected birds over a prolonged period.

Also in the summer of 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published a report by their specialist Human Animals Infection Risk Surveillance Group (HAIRS).

Appearance Of Avian Influenza In UK Seal Populations

Sporadic and incidences of Avian Influenza in UK seals have been reported, including the H3N8 strain from a seal pup in Cornwall in 2017, and the H5N8 strain in grey and common seals at a marine rehabilitation centre on the Norfolk coast in 2020.

The UK is home to 38% of the entire world’s population of grey seals, and 30% of the European subspecies of common seals.

Keeping Wild, Rescued And Rehabilitated Seals Safe From HPAI

In The UK, The Seal Alliance is a collective of regional organisations focused on marine conservation work with seals. Set up by the Seal Protection Action Group with the Disturbance Working Group, members have decades of experience protecting seals.

Seal Alliance member, The UK Cornish Seal Sanctuary said, “Being able to test the new pups coming through our doors through the breeding season is absolutely vital to ensure we’re protecting all of our marine animals here on site, including our resident penguins”.

AI flu testing enables CSS to keep new seal pups isolated until they have an ‘all-clear’, mitigating the risks to seals already resident while continuing to offer help to new pups as they arrive.

Bird Flu Risk To UK Population From Animals Other Than Birds

A HAIRS report for UKHSA evidenced only 2 non-UK incidents of Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) transmission from seals to humans, concluding that any such risk to be ‘very low’, while acknowledging a lack of routine surveillance specifically in marine mammals.

The group also concluded the risk to the UK human population of avian influenza infection from seals to be low, with no cases of bird flu passing from seals to humans reported in the UK.

Lack of Routine Surveillance For AI In Marine Mammals

Although there are well developed testing and surveillance strategies for AI infection in commercial poultry and wild birds, there is no routine surveillance for diseases including AIV specifically in marine mammals.

As part of their work with animal charities, Vetlab Supplies is supporting the Cornish Seal Sanctuary to ensure that their pups and residents are as protected as possible as new rescues come into their care.

Avian Influenza In Seal Populations Worldwide

Although few AI incidents have been reported in UK seals, the situation for seal populations from the coastline of North America and Canada to the North Sea Coast of Germany, is more worrying.

As far back as September 2011, seals with severe pneumonia and skin lesions suddenly appeared on the US coast from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts. Most were less than 6 months old with a total of 162 dead or dying seals recovered over the next 3 months.

In August 2022, researchers in Canada detected avian flu in at least two species of seal. AI is suspected of contributing to the death of around 100 dead harbour seals found since January along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in eastern Quebec.

The first H5N1 flu cases are believed to have arrived in North America at the end of winter, from birds migrating from Europe.

UK Animal Charities Call for Public Caution and Government Action

The RSPCA, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) The Wildlife Trusts and Seal Alliance have all warned of the risks to public health from Avian Influenza, and raised a call for government action.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Avian influenza (AI) is primarily a disease of birds, though there have been reports of highly pathogenic AI in seals and foxes, so bird flu can cross into other species.”

Testing and Monitoring: The Key To Finding and Controlling Avian Influenza

Applicable to faecal or cloacal samples from chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, captive collections and wild bird populations, the Vetlab supplied FASTest AIV Ag is the fast and reliable veterinary-standard complete testing kit.

Suitable as a screening test, and for one-off individual tests, FASTest AIV Ag provides for the fast and simple detection of all Avian Influenza Virus type A subtypes in commercial, domestic and wild birds.

FASTest AIV Ag provides the veterinarian, commercial flock manager, conservationist and recreational bird keeper with on-site confirmation of any clinical suspicion.

Rapid testing and clear results offered by FASTest AIV Ag enables the timely initiation of any mandatory measures to reduce infection within and beyond the tested population, provides peace of mind to keepers and managers, and reduces the risk of cross-species transmission into wildlife and human populations.

For further information on this Diagnostic Test Kit & others visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or call  01798 874567

Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

Safe, Simple and Mess Free Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

As pets, companion animals, for commercial recreation or as a source of quality textiles, alpacas and llamas require constant monitoring for intestinal worms and parasites. StatSpin Ovatube® makes DIY faecal egg testing economical and practical for camelid owners and keepers.

Impact Of Intestinal Worms And Parasites On Camelid Herds

Veterinary research on alpacas suggests that around 90% of intestinal worms in an alpaca herd are produced by only 10% of the animals. So detecting which animals are infected is an efficient and cost effective approach to controlling the potential for wider parasite infestation.

Active intestinal parasite worms are difficult to detect because they are hidden inside an animal’s gut. Worm infections can be more easily diagnosed by microscopically examining an extract an animal’s faeces for the presence of parasite eggs, referred to by vets as oocysts or ovas.

Need For Clean, Convenient, Cost Effective ‘At-Home’ Parasite Egg Detection

In the past, lab based faecal parasite egg detection has relied on first mixing a small quantity of alpaca or llama faeces with either water or a ‘flotation solution’, and then microscopically searching a sample volume in a specialised glass slide counting chamber.

These methods are slow, messy, and relatively inaccurate, for most DIY at-home keepers of llamas and alpacas. Worse, they could miss detecting the oocysts causing the potentially deadly condition, coccidiosis, caused by the gut parasite, Eimeria macusensis.

Now For The Simple, Straightforward, On Site Parasite Egg Monitoring

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Worm Detection Technique gives alpaca and llama keepers a worm egg monitoring test that’s not only quicker, cleaner and cost effective, it’s also more convenient than sending samples to off-site veterinary laboratories and then waiting for test results.

With Statspin Ovatube®, faecal parasite oocyst & ova detection is easily and accurately performed. A small sample of the animal’s faeces is first collected with the tool supplied with the Statspin kit. The sample is then mixed in the Ovatube with the special ‘flotation solution’.

A few minutes standing in the Ovatube Rack, and faecal debris will sink to the bottom of the Ovatube while the oocysts & ova float to the surface for collection and counting by examination under a laboratory microscope.

Alternatively, the Ovatube can be spun at low speed in a veterinary laboratory centrifuge in order to enhance oocyst recovery. However this requires a centrifuge specially adapted to hold 15ml tubes. In the experience of Vetlab’s experts, this centrifugation step entails significant extra cost and is not strictly necessary.

All this makes StatSpin OvaTube® the simple, centrifuge-free, parasite egg monitoring test that’s easy enough for the DIY camelid keeper to perform without the mess, and with little specialised equipment other than an economically priced microscope of the type readily available from Vetlab.

Statspin Ovatube: The Simple 4-Step Parasite Egg Detection Test

For keepers of alpacas and llamas, and for other animal care facilities where intestinal health is a priority, The Statspin Ovatube® Method provides for simple at-home, all-in-one, sampling, debris removal and parasite egg detection.

Follow The Simple, 4-Step, Mess Free Ovatube Test

1. Push the Ovatube sampling tool into a sample of faeces to collect around 1 gram of material.
2. Plunge the sample into the Ovatube, filled with approximately 15ml of floatation solution (specific gravity 1.27), and mix thoroughly to release any parasite eggs.
3. Insert the supplied filter tool into the Ovatube with a twisting motion to drive any large particles of organic material to the bottom of the Ovatube.
4. Place the Ovatube in the Staspin Rack and leave it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Finally, further twist the filter to raise the oocysts, floating on the solution, level with the top of the tube.
To recover and count any parasite eggs, place a microscope cover slip over the mouth of the Ovatube, then transfer it to a microscope slide for viewing under a microscope.

Using The Statspin Ovatube® Egg Count Test Is Simplicity Itself

The sampling tool ensures the right measure of sample is taken right from the centre of the faeces without contaminating hands, clothes or other laboratory equipment. The Statspin Ovatube ensures the right amount of a ‘floatation solution’ is always used.

Inserting the sampling tool, mixing faeces and solution, then simply leaving the rest to gravity, settles out the heavier faecal matter to the base of the Ovatube, while the parasite eggs float cleanly to the surface for easy assessment under the microscope.

While laboratory centrifugation after step 3 is an option, in the opinion of Vetlab’s experts, this is an unnecessary expense.

Professional Veterinary Endorsement For The Statspin Ovatube®

Published studies by the Companion Animal Parasitology Council (CAPC) showed that Ovatube performed as well as, and in some cases better than, standard parasite egg detection methods. The report concluded that: “Ovatube offers a much simpler and cleaner procedure than the standard centrifugal method”.

Research published in Veterinary Technician concluded that: “In our study, we found no significant diagnostic difference between CF [centrifugation] and standing flotation,” and “… that centrifugation did not increase parasite egg and oocyst detection. Thus, centrifugation was not needed…”


Everything you and the animals in your care need for Statspin Ovatube parasite egg detection is available from Vetlab Supplies, specialists in veterinary laboratory supplies. Just click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment

For further information visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or call 01798 874567

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Egg Detection Method

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Egg Detection Method

Statspin Ovatube®: Reliable DIY Parasitic Worm Egg Monitoring for Animal Keepers

Keepers and handlers of companion, recreational and rescue animals will find the Statspin Ovatube® Test is the quick, clean and convenient do-it-yourself method for detecting and monitoring intestinal worms and parasites.

With only basic laboratory space and an economically available veterinary microscope, Statspin Ovatube® provides a simple four-step DIY faecal parasite egg detection with no labour-intensive preparation, minimal sample handling and without the need for off-site processing.

Need For Reliable Parasite Egg Detection in Companion and Domestic Animal Faeces

Intestinal parasites can cause serious clinical problems in companion and domestic animals, including weight loss and diarrhoea, especially in young animals. In some animals, such as alpaca and llamas, intestinal parasites can even prove fatal underlining the importance of detecting intestinal parasites in young animals and those in close contact with others.

Detection and monitoring of intestinal parasites in domestic animals can be achieved indirectly by microscopic examination of their faeces for the presence of parasite worm eggs, known as ova or oocysts. However, most of the methods for parasite egg detection are difficult to perform, time consuming and require expensive veterinary laboratory equipment.

The Practical DIY Alternative to Traditional Intestinal Worm Egg Detection

The most used veterinary laboratory method for parasite egg detection is the McMaster Slide Technique. Despite being a veterinary standard, The McMaster test is limited to counting the number of eggs in a diluted sample of faeces. The uneven distribution of parasite worm eggs in animal faeces limits the accuracy of the McMaster test, making it suitable only for larger grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and horses.

For smaller companion animals, the Statspin Ovatube® is much more suitable requiring no dilution step prior to microscopic examination. This makes Ovatube not only more accurate, but faster and more practical for veterinary laboratories and for DIY parasite egg monitoring.

Statspin Ovatube® Makes DIY Parasite Egg Detection Clean, Quick and Cost effective

Statspin Ovatube® is the ideal all-in-one kit for veterinary practices and for owners and keepers of smaller animals such dogs, cats and even birds and reptiles. The Ovatube is also the technique of choice for monitoring intestinal parasite eggs in the faeces of rescue animals such as hedgehogs, and camelids including the increasingly popular llamas and alpacas.

Accurate, fast and reliable as an indirect method for detecting intestinal worm parasites, the only piece of necessary laboratory equipment is an economically priced microscope. All other consumable items and solutions are provided to ensure full detection of worm eggs without any messy, time-consuming preparation.


Ovatube: Quick, Clean Four-Step DIY Intestinal Parasite Worm Egg Detection

The Ovatube 4 stage technique simplifies oocyst egg detection into four key steps of sampling, mixing, filtering and separation with the easy to use three-part, single-use plastic ‘Ovatube’.

Ovatube Step 1: Faeces Sampling

Pushing the plastic sampling tool right into the centre of the faeces allows the removal of a measured sample without contaminating hands, clothes or other items.

Ovatube Step 2: Mixing the Faeces Sample With ‘Flotation Solution’

Placing it into the Ovatube, filled to the line with specially made ‘flotation solution’, then twisting and shaking the tool and faeces sample, causes the lighter parasite worm eggs to float, and the heavier faecal debris to sink out of suspension.

Ovatube Step 3: Filtering Out Larger Particles of Faecal Debris

Removing the larger particles of faecal debris is simply a matter of twisting the provided filter tool partway down the screw-thread conveniently pre-moulded into the inside of the Ovatube. This action forces the larger debris particles further toward the base of the tube.

Ovatube Step 4: Separation of Intestinal Worm Parasite Eggs

Simply allowing the Ovatube to stand vertically in the tube Rack for 5 to 10 minutes is all that’s necessary for any intestinal parasites, ova or oocysts to float right to the surface of the solution.

Alternatively, the Ovatube can be spun at low speed in a veterinary laboratory centrifuge in order to speed oocyst recovery. However, this requires a centrifuge specially adapted to hold 15ml tubes. In the experience of Vetlab’s experts, this centrifugation step entails significant extra cost and is not strictly necessary.

Finally, place a glass microscope cover-slip squarely over the top of the Ovatube, and screw the filter one more twist to bring the fluid in the tube into contact with the cover-slip. Transferring the cover-slip to a microscope slide is all that’s necessary to prepare any worm eggs for viewing under a veterinary laboratory microscope.


Praise For The Ovatube Parasite Egg Detection Method

Veterinary research sponsored at the Companion Animal Parasitology Council (CAPC) showed that Ovatube performed as well as, and in some cases better than, standard parasite egg detection. Easier and cleaner than the McMaster Technique, the CAPC report concluded that: “Ovatube offers a much simpler and cleaner procedure than the standard centrifugal method”.

Simple Parasite Egg Monitoring for At-Home Testing

Research published in Veterinary Technician showed that the Statspin Ovatube method needed no specialised equipment, making DIY parasite egg detection a practical at-home technique. Where other oocyte monitoring tests use a high-speed centrifuge to spin-out faecal debris, simply leaving the Ovatube to stand causes the heavier faecal matter to settle out.

The Veterinary Technician report concluded that: “In our study, we found no significant diagnostic difference between CF [centrifugation] and standing flotation,” and “… that centrifugation did not increase parasite egg and oocyst detection. Thus, centrifugation was not needed…”

Everything you and the animals in your care need for Statspin Ovatube parasite egg detection is available from Vetlab Supplies, specialists in veterinary laboratory supplies. Just click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment

For further information visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or call 01798 874567

McMaster Slide Test: Starting Out in DIY Animal Parasite Load Testing

McMaster Slide Test: Starting Out in DIY Animal Parasite Load Testing

The restrictions imposed during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic forced keepers of pet, domestic and rescued animals to carry out their own parasite load monitoring using the McMaster Slide Faecal Egg Count (FEC) test.

With veterinary practices and diagnostics mostly back to normal, many keepers continue to easily and cost effectively monitor their own animals. Here’s how to get started with only the most essential of veterinary laboratory equipment and an easy to follow McMaster Slide Counting Method.

Get Started In DIY Faecal Egg Monitoring

The McMaster Slide method of estimating the parasite load of an animal is made up of just four easy to understand and perform steps.

First, separate the worm eggs from a sample of the animal’s faeces. Second, find the eggs (oocytes) using a microscope and, third, count them. Finally, knowing both the weight of faeces sampled and the number of worm eggs counted, calculate the animal’s likely level of worm infection.

Egg Counting: What You Need – Flotation Solutions

Not as obvious as the microscope and McMaster counting slide, the Flotation Solutions are the key to the success of egg counting and identification. Flotation solutions are made to a standard or customer specified, specific gravity (SG) more usually known as density.

The fluid density is chosen such that faecal matter and other debris is more dense than the solution and so sinks. But the parasite eggs are less dense, and so float to the top making finding, counting and identifying them straightforward with the right equipment.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The Microscope

Essential to starting out on faecal egg monitoring is a microscope capable of ranging from 40-times (x40) to 100-times (x100) magnification. The Vetlab Premiere Range of microscopes are economical, easy to use and popular with diagnostic and teaching laboratories.

The microscope will be used to find and count the number of parasite eggs present in a small sample of animal faeces. With a bit of practice it’ll become straightforward not only to estimate the number of eggs, but even identify the likely species of worm causing infection.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The McMaster Counting Slide

The McMaster Counting Slide is the simple yet brilliantly adapted microscope slide used and relied upon by animal health practitioners since 1939. Made in glass or tough acrylic plastic, the slide is basically the carrier for a square cavity of known volume – usually 0.15ml.

After a sample of faeces, treated with a specific ‘flotation solution’ is placed in the McMaster Slide cavity and covered with a second, thinner slide. Parallel lines etched into this ‘cover slide’ create five equal divisions. Viewed with the microscope, the floating parasite eggs – just under the cover slip – can be counted and identified within each division.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The Simple Final Calculation

With a little practice, counting the number of parasite eggs seen within the grid lines of the McMaster Slide becomes a quick and easy routine.
As long as the Vetlab McMaster Slide Counting Method has been followed precisely, all that remains is to multiply the counted number of parasite eggs by 25 to get the number of eggs per gram (e.p.g.) of animal faeces.
For more information on the Vetlab McMaster Slide Count Method, veterinary laboratory equipment, ready-made or customised flotation solutions, search or click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment


For further information visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or call 01798 874567

Hedgehogs to Llamas: The McMaster DIY Faecal Egg Count

Hedgehogs to Llamas: The McMaster DIY Faecal Egg Count

Simple, reliable and cost effective, the McMaster slide Faecal Egg Count (FEC) test equips you to monitor the parasitic load and intestinal health of your pet, commercial and rescue animals.

Left untreated, parasitic intestinal worms in animals from hedgehogs to llamas and alpacas can cause serious illness and even death to infected animals.

A wide variety of parasitic worms can reproduce inside loved and valuable animals. Infection spreads through millions of microscopic eggs shed into the faeces of even one host animal to contaminate shared bedding, stabling, pasture or foodstuff.

Impact Of Covid 19 On Routine Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring

For pet, commercial and rescue animal keepers, restricted access to routine veterinary monitoring was one of many distressing side effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Managing the risks to animal health, even by such readily treatable conditions as parasitic intestinal worms, became much more critical in the absence of regular and reliable testing.

Do It Yourself Diagnostic Faecal Egg Counting (FEC) Techniques

Conveniently, for pet, commercial and rescue animal keepers, the veterinary standard diagnostic for intestinal worms can now be simply, reliably, and economically carried out as a DIY in-house test.
Although microscopic parasitic intestinal worms can be difficult to observe and identify, their eggs – and their potential to cause significant further infection – are larger and more easily observed and identified.

Identifying Intestinal Worms And Estimating Parasitic Load

Identifying and estimating an animal’s ‘parasitic load’ uses pre-prepared solutions and basic laboratory equipment, readily available from Vetlab Supplies. Vetlab’s easy-to-follow laboratory method guides you through the taking of samples, preparing the test, examination under the microscope and identifying the type and likely numbers of parasitic intestinal worms.
The straightforward method is known to veterinary surgeons as the McMaster Slide FEC (Faecal Egg Count) Test. A laboratory standard since 1939, The McMaster Slide is basically a small glass cavity of known volume with a calibrated transparent cover that can be viewed under a microscope.

The McMaster Slide Standard Laboratory Faecal Egg Count (FEC)

The McMaster Slide Test relies on the simple fact that, in specified flotation solutions, parasite worm eggs float, while most of the other solid matter in animal faeces tends to sink. So if the number of parasite eggs in a measured weight of faeces can be counted, then the parasitic load in the animal’s digestive system can be easily calculated.
And, because the eggs of different parasites have different characteristics, so the careful use of a veterinary microscope and a guided choice of specific flotation solutions, the type and species of intestinal worm can be identified for relevant treatment and control.

Identify Parasites With Off The Shelf Or Custom Made Flotation Solutions

Vetlab Supplies offers a range of off the shelf and customised faecal flotation solutions ideal for general and species specific egg count testing. Matching the density (specific gravity) of the flotation solution to the density of the target worm species eggs allows a qualitative as well as quantitative estimate of an animal’s parasitic load.

For McMaster Slides manufactured in glass and robust acrylic, together with all necessary flotation solutions, as well as economical easy to set up and use microscopes, just click or search Vetlab Supplies F.E.C Kits & Equipment


For further information visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or call 01798 874567

Pandemic Pet Boom

Pandemic Pet Boom

Pandemic Sees Pet Ownership Boom. But What About Life After Lockdown?

Data released by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) showed that 3.2 million UK households had expanded their family by acquiring a companion animal since the start of the pandemic. But what are the dangers for pets in life after lockdown?

Almost two thirds of this growth is accounted for by new pet lovers from Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1994/6). Unsurprisingly, perhaps, over half of pet-acquiring households have children at home.

UK Pet Population Soars to 34 Million Says PFMA

With the UK pet population now reaching 34 million, data shows that cats and dogs share the top place at 12 million each. Guinea pigs coming in next at 3.2 million and tortoises (with their turtle cousins) bringing up the rear at 400,000.Other popular pets – including rabbits, hamsters, indoor birds and aquaria – make up the remaining six and half million or so.

1 In 5 UK Households Find New Pet Care ‘Challenging’

All of this means there are now around 17 million UK households carrying the responsibility for one or more animals. Further questioning of new pet-owning households revealed that nearly one in five found the experience more challenging than expected. Sadly, in family situations, more than one in ten found keeping an animal companion so difficult that they had to give up their new pet.

Pet Charities Worry For Pets After Lockdown

PFMA deputy CEO, Nicole Paley, voiced her reassurance that pet ownership had brought mental health benefits to pet owners during the pandemic lockdown, but expressed concern that pet owners may need support when life returns to normal.

RSPCA pet welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, said that the animal welfare charity had real worries that life post-lockdown, both in terms of a new routine and spending time alone, could be really difficult for pets, who might yet face a crisis of their own.

Resumption Of Routine Veterinary Treatment

Lockdowns have inevitably reduced pet owners’ access to veterinary surgeons and practices. Consequently many owners, on BVA (British Veterinary Association) advice, have had to postpone routine vaccinations in order to protect veterinary staff.

The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) have had to pause their primary health care services, such as neutering, vaccinations, microchipping and flea/worm treatments, to protect their own staff from Covid infection.

Vaccination And Testing For Adult and Young Pets

Restarting routine vaccinations for adult pets, and first-round vaccinations for pups and kittens, will be essential for their continued protection against preventable diseases such as parvovirus, leptospirosis and infectious hepatitis (canine adenovirus).
Hopefully, where illness and infection are suspected, pet owners may soon have renewed access to veterinary diagnostic testing for ailments including Canine Parvovirus and Feline Leukaemia and Immunodeficiency Virus (FeLV/FIV).

Until normal veterinary service can be fully resumed, it will be vital that owners keep unvaccinated and vaccination-lapsed pets secure from infection risks such as other unvaccinated pets, and other potentially infectious animals.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or contact us on 01798 874567.



Dogs In Lockdown

Dogs In Lockdown

Why 8 Out Of 10 Dogs Love Lockdown

8 out of 10 dogs suffer separation anxiety when left alone. With many owners unable to go about their normal away from home activities, many more dogs have their owners undivided attention. And they’re loving it!

RSPCA researchers found that 8 out of 10 dogs don’t cope well with being left alone. A dog’s obvious delight at the return of their owner may be a sign of a deeper, more serious separation anxiety. But with pandemic-enforced working at home, all that changed.

Working At Home = Running With The Pack

Dog owners, weary of endless Zoom calls and screen-working, have been only too ready for that pleading look that says ‘take me for a walk and take me now’. Being more in control of their own time, owners have been more than happy to take longer walks, find different routes and socialise – at a Covid-safe distance – with other walkers and their dogs.

Essentially pack animals, dogs are never happier than when they’re surrounded by their home pack. With their human pack-partners spending more time at home, dogs feel an increased sense of belonging with all the security and stability that togetherness brings.

Mental Physical and Emotional Health Gains

Dogs thrive on company and attention. This is not only good for their mental and emotional health, but for their medical well-being too. Increased attention from their owners means an increase in opportunities to spot tell-tale signs and symptoms that something is not right with their pet.

Early diagnosis and testing is key to getting the most appropriate veterinary treatment especially in difficult times. This is true both for common canine ailments and for the more unusual or serious illnesses that can have a severe impact if not recognised and treated quickly.

Bad Behaviours Exposed In Lockdown

Of course, for every silver lining there has to be an overlying cloud. For dogs this the fact that, with their owners around more often and for longer, what they get up to in the absence of their human companions is no longer their guilty secret alone.

Bad-dog behaviours, such as sleeping on their owners beds, destroying items of furniture and clothing, forcing access to food cupboards and drinking from the toilet bowl, previously unseen by absent owners, have been openly and shamefully exposed.

More Dog Time Is Good For Owners Too

Not only has lockdown been good for dogs, dogs in lockdown have been good for owners. More time out exercising the dog means more physical activity for owners with all the health benefits that brings.

Keeping company with their dogs has long been known to reduce anxiety and stress levels in owners. During the upheaval and disruption of lockdown, the consistent company and attention of their dogs has provided a much needed sense of stability and contentment in life’s ‘new normals’.

Love For Dogs In And Out Of Lockdown

Dog charities have reason to be both thankful and fearful so many homes sought to adopt or acquire a new canine companion. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home reported a surge in applications to foster animals, while Dogs Trust revealed a spike in puppy prices to an all time high.

Animal charities remain concerned that the current boom in dog ownership may result in a wave of abandonments once owners return to their busy, time starved lives. But, for the moment, there is no doubt that well loved dogs are loving lockdown, and loving owners are loving more time with their well loved dogs.

Visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Tel: 01798 874567

Cats In Lockdown

Cats In Lockdown

Could 8 Out of 10 Cats Loathe Lockdown?

While dogs seemed to have thoroughly loved locking down with their human companions, research indicates that cats haven’t enjoyed this constant attention quite so much. Responses to a survey of cat owners suggests many cats seem to have become depressed, stressed-out and even aggressive to their owners during the government imposed Covid lockdowns.

Some Cats Don’t React Well To Change

Findings by professor of veterinary behavioural medicine M. Leanne Lilly, of Ohio State University explained that pets – like people – show a variety of responses to change. Some animals love the fact their human companions are marooned at home, some don’t notice that their owners’ routines have changed at all, but still others are finding the sudden disruption of their routine a stressful experience.

Cats Become Resigned Rather Than Depressed

Graduate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, Dr Emmanuelle Titeux, argues that a diagnosis of ‘depression’ isn’t appropriate for animals.

Dr Titeux says that, in animals, what we call depression is actually a sort of ‘resignation’. The animal finds itself in new a situation but has no way of adapting to it. Instead, it enters a state of apathy. Such a situation might well be the sudden and constant intrusion of human attention. And just when they’ve got used to it all, everything changes yet again.

Preparing Cats For Life After Lockdown

While cats are very independent animals, they become deeply attached to human company during lockdown. Researchers for Petplan found that 49% of cat owners were concerned about their pet suffering separation anxiety when normal working life returns.

Suddenly being left alone may be confusing and stressful for cats who’ve grown used to the lockdown-love of constant company. This is especially true for cat breeds such as Burmese or Siamese, specifically bred for their suitability as house cats.

Patience Is Key To The Return To Normal

Cats and kittens, potentially stressed by the absence of human presence, need preparing for something more like normal feline behaviour. Petplan offers online advice on preparing potentially anxious cats for a stress-free home-alone life stress-free life after lockdown ends. The key to helping cats readjust to their owners’ absence is patience in resisting the urge to punish stress-related bad-behaviour.

Places to Rest, Play and Hide Away

Think how you might encourage your over-socialised cat back into its natural role of solitary independent hunter. Engaging them in short bursts of activity; such as by dangling toys or rolling balls of screwed up paper for them to hunt and chase. Hiding dried food for them to search out or to extract from an activity feeder will rekindle their curiosity and problem-solving ingenuity as well their natural dexterity, drive and determination.

A Feline Fortress Of Solitude

Cats need consistency and value cleanliness. So when you return to your daily out-of-the-house routine, make sure their indoor litter trays are accessible with plenty of room in and around, and topped up with clean dry litter. And even though you’re not at home, give your cat a place of safety to which he or she can retreat whenever the need is felt to hide away in their very own feline fortress of solitude.

Visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Tel: 01798 874567



Post Pandemic Pets

Post Pandemic Pets

Post-Covid Cats And Kittens Look To Life After Lockdown

Housebound cat lovers have sought out feline companionship to get them through the government enforced lockdown. In October 2020, the RSPCA posted a more than 188% rise in internet searches for ‘Kittens near me’ in just a few months.

Now, with lockdown easing, pet charities are concerned for the health and well-being of cats and kittens homed or re-homed during the Covid pandemic.

Pet owners are being urged to consider the long term physical and mental health of their companion animals as life returns to normal. But normal for owners is a disruption to their new pets’ settled routines of feeding, exercise and near constant human company.

When Lockdown Life Is Normal Life

Pets most likely to experience tough times post-lockdown are cats and kittens adopted into homes during the pandemic. Adult cats are creatures of habit. Kittens too become settled into everyday routines and take time to adjust to changing circumstances.

Felines joining a household under lockdown will not have experienced ‘normal life’ in terms of where and when their food is served, or when and how they can get outdoors and back in again.

Home-Alone Kittens In The Post Covid World

Kittens are adept at finding mischief when bored or unattended. Starved of the stimulation provided by human company, they’ll soon find ways to entertain themselves by scratching furniture, chewing cables, eating cat-poisonous house plants, getting trapped in small spaces and even falling into sinks and toilets.

Keeping Kittens Healthy and Happy Alone Indoors

Given even the most basic items and materials, home-alone kittens have the imagination to make their own entertainment. Scrunched up paper bags, empty cardboard boxes, table-tennis balls and something to scratch – other than your furniture – can turn any space into a cheap and safe feline adventure park.

Every play-park needs some where to rest, somewhere to find refreshments and adequate hygienic toilet facilities. Equip your post-lockdown feline fun-room with easy access to clean water, sufficient dry food for the day, a soft warm bed to crash out on and at least one clean litter tray.

Preparing Cats and Kittens For The Great Outdoors

Looking to the future, as your new kitten approaches the end of its four-month stay-at-home, you’ll want to make sure your pet is fully protected for entry into the big exciting and potentially dangerous world outside your door.

The RSPCA’s guide to Looking After a New Kitten offers plenty of good advice to new cat owners both in and out of lockdown. Most important is checking with your vet that your new kitten is fit, healthy and fully vaccinated against those highly infectious feline viruses that cause cat flu, feline infectious enteritis and feline leukaemia even before it goes outdoors.

Until that day dawns, and as you re-enter your own world of pre-pandemic normality, a word of warning. Setting your home-bound kitten to play as you attempt to embark on your old post-lockdown daily routine, could be so distracting that you completely forget to leave for work at all!

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UK Animal Welfare After Brexit

UK Animal Welfare After Brexit

For Better Or Worse?

The Brexit Transition ends on 31 December 2020 with the UK will no longer subject to the EU legislation that sets 80% of British animal welfare standards. Will this be good or bad for Britain’s commercial, domestic and wild animals, and for the vets that maintain their health and well-being?

EU Regulation Of Animal Care And Welfare

Around 44 pieces of EU legislation regulate the trade, transport and testing of animals within and between European Union member states.  All are based on the recognition and acceptance that animals are ‘sentient beings’. 17 pieces of EU legislation govern farm animal welfare, with a further 11 laws relating to wild animals, 8 concerning laboratory animals and 4 protecting companion and pet animals.

UK As World Leader In Farm Animal Standards

At the start of Brexit, The House of Lords Farm Animal Welfare Enquiry noted that, “UK farmers and producers are rightly proud of their high animal welfare standards. “Our evidence suggests the industry is united in seeking to maintain these standards and the UK’s status as a world leader on farm animal welfare”.

UK Live Animal Welfare Outside The EU Single Market

Setting its own animal welfare measures, independently of the EU, could give the UK an opportunity to further raise its own farm, domestic and wild animal standards. This could include ending the export of live animals for slaughter as permitted under EU ‘single market’ rules. Currently, a unilateral ban could illegally breach the rules of free trade in the EU.

Future Animal Welfare Versus International Competitiveness

As Britain seeks new trade agreements with its former European partners, and with the rest of the world, the UK may find itself forced to balance higher welfare standards against its international competitiveness. In their Farm Animal Welfare Enquiry, The House of Lords expressed its concern that ‘…It may be hard to reconcile the Government’s wish for the UK to become a global leader in free trade with its desire to maintain high quality standards for agri-food products within the UK.”

Co-ordination And Cooperation After Brexit

Outside the EU, the UK will lose its influence on European food safety and animal welfare organisations such as the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW).

The RSPCA is pressing for “dynamic alignment” of animal welfare legislation as part of any free trade agreement so that if one country raises their standards, the others must do the same. It is hoped that this will provide the UK an opportunity for continued influence even after the Brexit deadline.

And What About The Vets?

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) fears that the UK would lose access to EU information and resources such as TRACES (Trade Control and Export System) and the EU disease surveillance system ADNS (Animal Disease Notification System).

The BVA also reported that figures from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) suggested that “…32 per cent of non-UK EU veterinary surgeons are considering a move back home and 18 per cent are actively looking for work outside the UK, indicating Brexit will exacerbate these shortages”.

So What Might Get Better And What Might Get Worse?

After Brexit, there is little doubt that the UK will be signing trade deals with countries holding a lower regard for animal welfare standards than Britain. As the House of Lords observed: “There is some doubt over whether animal welfare can be used as a rationale to restrict imports from other countries under WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules”. However, statistics provided by the RSPCA indicate that “55% of UK consumers surveyed looked for more information about animal welfare when shopping”.

Consumer demand, public expectations and the influence of UK veterinary professionals may well prove the best guarantee of farm animal welfare in the UK’s future outside of the EU.

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