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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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.

To find out more about this range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website www.vetlab supplies.co.uk or Telephone us: 01798 874567

Pets and Vets: What Has Covid 19 Done For Us?

Pets and Vets: What Has Covid 19 Done For Us?

Veterinary Practices Have Worked Hard To Serve Pets & Livestock

Through this time of Covid 19 pandemic, veterinary professionals and practices have worked hard to serve pets and public, maintain the health and well-being of their staff and function as viable businesses; but at what cost?

Early Effects Of Lockdown On Veterinary Practices

Successful veterinary practices must perform as commercially viable businesses as well as accessible and effective public services.

In April 2020, when the first nationwide lockdown was still in its early days, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons began a series of comprehensive monthly surveys of UK veterinary practices.
These RCVS surveys reveal that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the life and viability of UK veterinary practices.

Monthly Survey Tracks Progress Under Pandemic

Of the 532 practices that responded to the RCVS April survey, 80% of vet practices reported that they had been forced into ‘significant cuts to services’.

97% of practices said they were limited to emergencies or urgent cases only. Equine service practices suffered larger cuts (75%) than small animal (19%) and mixed animal (14%) practices.

On commercial viability, 66% of practices reported weekly turnover reductions of more than half, although 71% said they had no plans yet to close surgeries.

62% had placed veterinary surgeons on furlough or intended to do so. For other practice roles, the figures were 64% for veterinary nurses and 78% for other support staff.

Making Progress Under Changing Covid Conditions

The summer relaxation of some restrictions saw 85% of practices reporting a resumption of ‘near normal’ operating conditions with nearly a third reporting ‘business as usual’.

More recent RCVS surveys show UK veterinary practices adapting quickly with the more nuanced response necessary to maintaining the health of patients, public, practice staff and the business.
The situation for furloughed staff had improved greatly with only 10% of practices reporting furloughed veterinary surgeons, compared to 47% just three months earlier.

56% of practices said that cash flow had stabilised or improved on the situation 3 months earlier. Worryingly, 20% responded that cash flow had worsened since before the pandemic.

Uncertain Future For Vets Under Covid-19

Practices are likely to face continuing uncertainty as rules and guidance change quickly in response to changing Covid-19 infection rates.

Vets with a cross-border client base, and practices with surgeries in two or more UK regions, each setting their own regulations, may find difficulties in co-ordinating services and resources.
The effect of ‘track and trace’, and the consequent issue of quarantine and self-isolation, may have further unpredictable effects on the staffing of surgeries.

Changes to UK Government Support Schemes such as Business Interruption Loans and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme are likely to cause a further administrative burden, while their on-going future value and availability have yet to be ascertained.

However, practices are learning to be resilient and responsive in continuing the provision of emergency cover and essential or legally mandated services such as routine screening for Bovine TB.

Keeping Practices Safe And Well Under Covid-19

Resources and guidelines for maintaining the health and welfare of the public, patients and practitioners are much more readily available now than at the beginning of the pandemic.
Among those offering authoritative advice, The British Veterinary Association (BVA) are providing a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus for Veterinary Professionals and The Public.

Guidance on supporting the physical, mental, social and financial health and well-being of veterinary professionals is available in a Vetlife Helpful Guide produced by Helpline Manager, Dr. Rosie Allister.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for veterinary professionals is now more readily available than at the beginning of the pandemic.

Supplies of disposable nitrile gloves, disposable medical facemasks, hand sanitiser and surface cleaning solutions can be ordered efficiently and economically from Vetlab Supplies Consumables Range.

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

No Deal Brexit?

No Deal Brexit?

Challenge Or Opportunity for Official Vets

A no-deal Brexit will take the UK out of EU animal welfare legislation. Maintaining animal welfare standards at the UK border will increase the workload of Official Vets in Border Inspection Posts, abattoirs and in veterinary laboratories. Training and deploying the necessary vets and support personnel will be a challenge to animal welfare and an opportunity for the veterinary profession.

EU Animal Welfare and UK Law

The welfare of animals traded within the EU is covered in Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This document recognises in law the sentient nature of wild, commercial and companion animals. EU member states are legally bound to respect the welfare of animals in agriculture, fisheries, transport, laboratory research, development, and even space travel.

Animals brought into the EU, including the UK, must be checked and certified to EU standards. These standards are enforced at approved Veterinary Border Inspection Posts (BIPs). In the UK, the key personnel at these veterinary BIPS are the government authorised Official Vets (OVs).

Official Vets Crucial To Cross-border Animal Welfare

DEFRA defines an OV as a private practice vet who works on behalf of an EU member state. British OVs work on behalf of the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) monitoring compliance with a range of animal and public health regulations including commercial animal export certification and the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

Official Vets are in high demand, not only at BIPS, but in abattoirs, veterinary testing laboratories and other establishments where animal welfare and public health is a significant concern. Until 2011, the role of Official Vet was listed on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List, meaning that candidates could be sought from countries outside of the UK and EU.

Shortfall In Veterinary Professionals Risk To Animal Welfare

A no-deal Brexit will leave the UK outside of the TFEU welfare standards. Animals traded across UK-EU and UK-worldwide borders will require Export Health Certificates (EHC) signed by Official Vets. Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, estimated that this extra work will require an increase of 225% in the number of OVs.

Removal of roles such as veterinary surgeon and veterinary laboratory scientist from the UK Shortage Occupation list means that veterinary recruitment is restricted by government immigration policy. A Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) survey showed a significant number of veterinary staff originated in the EU. The survey concluded that “…the UK veterinary profession will suffer considerably if European veterinary surgeons, and to a lesser extent European veterinary nurses, are no longer welcome here…”

RCVS findings are reinforced by the 2015 British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey which showed that 40% of UK veterinary practices took over 3 months to recruit professional staff or were forced to withdraw their vacancy altogether. A further 2018 BVA survey also showed a shortfall of 11.5% in vets and 7.6% vet nurses.

Opportunity and Challenge Of A No-deal Brexit

The UK traditionally aspires to the highest welfare standards in traded animals. Separation from European regulations could create the freedom to set new and higher welfare standards in the movement of commercial, companion and wild animals worldwide.

However, increased trade among countries with lower standards, apparently promising cheaper food imports, may drive UK farmers to resist higher standards and even press for less regulation. Whatever standards are adopted post-Brexit, the number of vets and vet professionals needed to monitor and maintain those standards in BIPs, abattoirs and veterinary laboratories is almost certain to increase. Meeting that need will be a challenge and an opportunity for the whole veterinary profession.

Visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk and see our full range of veterinary equipment and consumables.

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Diagnosis Needs This Test

New research reveals how the Giardia parasite causes intestinal tissue damage that allows other pathogens to flourish. However, the symptoms of giardiasis in animals (and humans) are not necessarily confirmatory. For vets, monoclonal antibody-mediated diagnostic Giardia test kits provide rapid, accurate detection both the active disease (trophozoite) and the carrier state (cyst).

The Giardia Parasite is One of Animal Health’s Oldest Enemies

The flagellated protozoan responsible for giardiasis is among the first microorganisms to be visually recognised by early day microbiologists. The motile, trophozoite, form of the Giardia parasite was first observed in 1681 by pioneer microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek from stools of his own diarrhoea.

Named in 1882 to honour of Professor Alfred Mathieu Giard, the genus includes G.lamblia (also known as G.intestinalis and G.duodenalis) infecting humans and other mammals, together with G.ardeae and G.psittaci specific to birds, G.agilis to amphibians, and G.microti to voles.

Giardia Poses a Zoonotic Infection Risk to Human Health

Giardia parasites represent a zoonotic risk, meaning that the infection can spread from animals to humans. In May 2018, Public Health England reported increasing Giardia infection in England and Wales from just over 3,600 cases in 2013 to almost 4,500 thousand in 2016.

The report largely attributed the rise in observed infection rates to the increased use of immunological diagnostic methods. The effectiveness of such methodology underlines the case for the specific monoclonal antibody-based techniques of Giardia.spp diagnostic testing.

Symptoms Alone May Not Be Diagnostic of Giardiasis

In January 2018, researchers at the University of East Anglia uncovered the pathology underlying the symptoms of Giardiasis. Published in the journal Gigascience, UEA scientists describe how the active parasite produces ‘copy-cat’ human Tenascin proteins.

Tenascins balance the need for cells to stick together or break apart during tissue repair and wound healing. Excess Tenascins, due to Giardia infection, upset this balance causing the cells that line the intestine to break apart and release nutrients, which other gut bacteria exploit as food.

The waste and toxins produced by these other organisms cause symptoms including diarrhoea, flatulence, light stools, abdominal pain, nausea and dehydration; symptoms in common with other mammalian diseases and infections.

Giardia Diagnostic Testing Relies on Monoclonal Antibodies

Spread through faeces contaminated water, and a particular danger to young, infirm and immunologically challenged animals, diagnosing Giardiasis requires accurate diagnostic testing as well as expert recognition of symptoms.

FASTest Giardia Strip is instantly ready for use and stores at room temperature for up to 18 months. Precise and specific monoclonal antibodies detect both the trophozoite and cyst antigen to provide a clear-cut diagnosis in minutes through a simple 2-step process.

For further information about the FASTest Giardia Veterinary Kit: Contact Vetlab Supplies on 01798 874567 or visit our website www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk

Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a seriously debilitating disease of dogs throughout southern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. Though not yet established in the UK, climate changes and the presence of mosquitoes capable of transmitting the parasite highlights the benefits a simple and reliable D.immitis diagnostic test with real-world practicality.

What Is Dog Heartworm?

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a thread-like parasitic worm that infects the heart, lungs and blood vessels of wild and domestic dog species as well as ferrets, bears, seals, sea lions and, more rarely, cats and humans.  Heartworms form a congestive mass in the heart of an infected animal severely restricted the circulation of blood through the lungs and around the body.

Dogs suffering from heartworm infestation can show symptoms including weight loss or anorexia, a soft but persistent cough, lethargy or a reluctance to exercise, rapid or difficult breathing, decreased appetite, swelling around the chest or abdomen and – in the worst cases – sudden collapse and even death.

Changing-up: The Risk of Heartworm In The UK

Heartworm is a ‘vector-borne’ parasite transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Immature D.immitis larvae are injected, by mosquito bite, into the bloodstream of a domestic or wild population dog. With hundreds of others, they grow into adult heartworm forming a tangled, congestive mass in the dog’s blood vessels, organs and heart. Mating, they produce more larvae which are taken up by a feeding mosquito to continue the cycle of infection.

Vector-borne diseases require a ‘perfect triangle’ of hosts, vectors and a transmissible parasite. The UK already has a population of dog hosts and the mosquitoes capable of carrying the infective larvae, though a cool climate keeps the mosquito population low. Increased foreign travel under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), together with illegal dog imports heightens the risk of dogs arriving in the UK with a D.immitis infection. Climate change is likely to increase the numbers, lifespan and spread of the home mosquito population.

Early Detection of Heartworm Is The Key To The Cure

Dogs suffering from heartworm can be treated with a combined regime of medication and rest. Some degree of preventative treatment may also be available for dogs travelling to areas where D.immitis infection is more common. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to advise on the best course of action for you and your dog.

Where infection by, or exposure to, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes is suspected an immediate visit to your vet is essential. Vets and veterinary laboratories are equipped to carry out a range of procedures, including X-ray, ultrasound, ECG and highly specific veterinary diagnostic tests to detect clinical and early-stage signs of heartworm infection.

FASTest Heartworm Ag is a simple, 15-minute test for detecting specific Dirofilaria immitis markers (antigens) in whole blood, plasma or serum from dogs thought to have been exposed to infected mosquitoes. Test data shows the clear, colour-change test to be 98.6 % sensitive and 99.1% specific. Storage at room temperature (15-25° C) and long shelf life makes the all-in-one test kit a practical and economical veterinary field and laboratory diagnostic test.

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

StreetVet Homeless Pets Charity

StreetVet Homeless Pets Charity

Officially Registered

Registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and now an officially listed Registered Charity, StreetVet provides a comprehensive ‘out on the streets’ veterinary diagnostics, treatment, welfare and owner education service for the pets of Britain’s homeless.

StreetVet: How It All Began

StreetVet began with just two vets out on the streets of London back in 2016. Armed with only what veterinary supplies and equipment could be fitted into a backpack, ‎Jade Statt and Sam Joseph set out to honour the bond of loyalty they had witnessed between one homeless man and his dog.

Back then, Gary Spall, with his staffie-cross Lola, was among the homeless still to be found on the streets around Covent Garden, London. Lola, a rescue dog from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home shared every moment of Gary’s street life, building a mutual bond of loyalty and dependence. Gary attributed his survival through the worst of times to Lola, telling news reporters: “I don’t know what I’d do without her… It’d break me if I ever lost her.”

Homeless Pets: A Reason to Keep On Keeping On

As with Gary, a pet on the streets provides more than simply companionship for many homeless. A dog or, less usually, a cat or other animal provides a focus for living and a reason just to keep on going. Unfortunately, loved as they are, street pets can find themselves excluded from the professional veterinary healthcare, diagnosis and treatment expected for homed pets. A particular worry for the homeless is who will look after their pet if and when a stay in hospital becomes unavoidable.

StreetVet, now with 300 volunteers on its books, and supported by animal charity Blue Cross, also links homeless pet owners into the charity StreetKitchen with support for their owners too. Owner education is one of the key service points that StreetVet offers, giving owners the vital information they need to understand the particular health risks to pets of a life on the streets.

Continuing Care: Vaccinations and Follow-ups

Emergency care, veterinary diagnosis and treatment is only part of the animal charity’s work with Britain’s homeless pets. Just as with any pet and owner fortunate enough to a have a roof over their heads, regular health checks, vaccinations and follow-up appointments are all part of assuring a pet’s continuing well being even after the crisis has passed.

Now an officially registered charity, StreetVet operates in Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Plymouth, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Southampton as well as in London and Cornwall. In their first year and a half, over 200 street dogs were vaccinated, microchipped (now a legal requirement), treated for fleas and medicated against parasites such as lungworm. Other pets were prescribed pain relief and some even received surgery.

Veterinary and Public Support: Vital for Pet Charities

As with all charities helping people or pets, StreetVet and Blue Cross are dependent on the generosity of the public, veterinary professionals and specialists in veterinary supplies and equipment. Vetlab supplies helps support animal charities through preferential relationships in the supply of veterinary laboratory equipment, laboratory consumables and diagnostic test kits.

Contact us about our Charity Discounts! Telephone: 01798 874567 and we will be delighted to help you.