Why Some Mice Just Want to Be Caught

Why Some Mice Just Want to Be Caught

How Toxoplasma Makes Infection More Likely

Toxoplasmosis in cats is caused by infection with the single-celled organism Toxoplasma gondii. Manifesting itself in symptoms including anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, jaundice and difficulty breathing, infection is diagnosed by the detection of T.gondii IgG antibodies.

The Parasite That Plays Cat and Mouse

Passed from the cat in its faeces, the eggs (oocysts) of T.gondii are inadvertently ingested by a ‘secondary host’ – such as a rat or mouse, ‘hatching’ to form large numbers of cysts in the animal’s muscle and nervous tissues. To complete its life-cycle, the immature parasite must get back into the primary host. This can only happen if the hapless secondary carrier is caught and eaten by a predatory cat.

Natural selection has equipped rodents with an acute sense of smell and the behavioural response to avoid anything that smells of cat. Current research indicates that the Toxoplasma parasite actually stacks the odds of survival against its secondary host and in favour of the cat getting its dinner – and re-infection with toxoplasmosis.

T.gondii Infected Mice Lose Their Fear of Cats

Controlled tests indicate that laboratory-bred rodents infected with Toxoplasma gondii can lose their fear of cats. Tests have shown that this response isn’t simply a reduction in sensitivity to the smell of cats, the parasite is apparently modifying the rodent’s behaviour increases the likelihood of its getting found, caught and eaten.

Rather than running from its nemesis, behavioural scientists have witnessed T.gondii infected animals courting disaster by cavorting in the presence of cat urine, rather than heading for the safety of the nearest hole.

The Fine Art of Behavioural Manipulation

Research shows that there is a careful balance. Although the infected rodents show a reduced fear of weak cat-urine smells, stronger smells override their faux courage allowing their instinct for self-preservation to take over. This finding suggests the parasite itself has evolved to exert just the right level of behavioural manipulation over its unfortunate secondary host.

Diagnostic Testing Protects Unborn Kittens from Toxoplasmosis

The animal welfare issue of Toxoplasma infection in cats is magnified in cat breeding centres and catteries. T.gondii not only infects adult cats, but it can also infect unborn kittens while still in the womb. Infected kittens may be stillborn or die even before weaning; survivors may be seriously weakened, show a lack of appetite, fever, dyspnoea or jaundice.

FASTest Toxoplasma-g provides vets serving catteries and cat breeders with a reliable veterinary diagnostic test for Toxoplasma gondii. Ready for instant use, the easy to use test kit stores at room temperature and gives a clear cut immunochromatographic response in 15 minutes.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Why Springtime is The Big Time for Ticks

Why Springtime is The Big Time for Ticks

It’s Not the Blood They Suck, It’s What They Leave Behind

Ticks are an unpleasant experience for dogs and people. Unlikely to cause lasting harm in themselves, the diseases and infections they carry, however, are another more serious story. FASTest Lyme and FASTest Bor-In-Tick help vets in the fight against Tick-Borne Diseases.

Cold Blooded Parasite Seeks Warm Blooded Host

Having no way to regulate their body heat, ticks are not normally inactive through the winter but begin actively feeding in the spring and early summer. In the heat summer, some species of tick reduce their parasitism greatly, though ticks often reach a second peak of activity in the autumn.

Most likely to sink its jaws into your dog is the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus), although ticks more commonly found on hedgehogs, (Ixodes hexagonus) or hosted by foxes and badgers (Ixodes canisuga), might also help themselves to a blood meal from you or your canine companion.

Picture of sheep Tick
Sheep Tick

The Three Blood-Sucking Stages of a Tick’s Life

Ticks have a 3-stage life cycle. Depending on the species of tick, each stage might feed on a different host or take a repeat meal from the same species type.

After hatching from over-wintering eggs, the six-legged tick larvae climb plant stems to hitch a lift and scrounge a blood-meal from a passing warm-blooded animal.

Suitably fed, the larvae releases its grip and falls to the ground where it grows, moults and develops into its second, immature form as an 8-legged nymph. The nymph stage repeats the behaviour of its younger self, again feeding and dropping off into the warm moist undergrowth where it matures into its hard coated, 8-legged adult form.

After mating, the adult female tick climbs out of the undergrowth one final time to suck the blood that will nourish her eggs before dropping back to earth to lay the eggs that will lie dormant and hatch out in the following spring.

In-Tick Test Puts Vets One Step Ahead of Borrelia-Lymes

Heavy infestations of ticks can take enough blood from their hosts to cause anaemia, and the wound caused by a tick bite can become infected, especially if its mouthparts remain embedded in the skin. The most serious potential for sickness and even death from tick bites comes from their role as vectors for blood-borne parasites. Perhaps the highest profile Tick-Borne Disease (TDB) is Lymes Disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lymes disease, in a blood sample from a suspected infection, is rapidly and reliably diagnosed with the FASTest Lyme diagnostic kit. Now, with FASTest Bor-in-Tick, Vets can test for B.burgdorferi in ticks found on animals or in their environment, putting vets and their clients one step ahead of a potential Lyme Borrelia outbreak.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Health Dangers That Can Harm Your Pet This Summer

Health Dangers That Can Harm Your Pet This Summer

While summertime staples like backyard barbecues and walks on the beach are a lot of fun, they can pose health risks for some pets. It is important to know how to keep your animals comfortable during the summer months, including what vet supplies to use, so that you can prevent any serious conditions, including life-threatening heat stroke.

There is only one place to begin, and this is with overheating. It is easy to underestimate how quickly an animal can react to overheating. Simply leaving your pet alone in a vehicle for a few minutes can be dangerous, as temperatures can go up by ten degrees in about ten minutes, even when the windows are left open. Pugs, bulldogs, and other brachycephalic dog breeds are most susceptible to overheating. You need to recognise signs of dehydration, including lethargy, shallow breathing, sunken eyes, and dry gums. If the symptoms don’t clear once you have given your pet plenty of water, you will need some specialist UK vet supplies.

Not all dogs are natural swimmers

There are also water dangers to bear in mind. Not all dogs are natural swimmers so don’t leave yours unattended. Plus, you should check their ears afterwards to ensure they aren’t waterlogged. Dogs are very prone to ear infections, which will also require vet supplies for them to be cleared. Also, your animal will require skin protection, just like we do, during the summer months. Pets can develop skin cancer and sunburn, especially those with short and light-coloured hair.

If you use human-formulated sunscreen, your pet may be tempted to lick it off. This can cause vomit and bloody diarrhoea. Instead, purchase sunscreen that has been formulated specifically for pets from a vet supplies UK store. Another thing that can easily cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal irritation are the rich, fatty foods that are eaten at barbecues, including corn on the cob and onion. Make sure you keep this away from your pet.

Summer allergies

Pets can also develop summer allergies. You need to watch out for ear infections, paw and skin irritations, as well as watery and itchy eyes. If you notice these symptoms, you should either try Benadryl or seek advice from someone at a specialist veterinary consumables store. Aside from this, you need to make sure your pet does not drink stagnant water, as this can harbour bacteria that causes leptospirosis. This is a disease that can also enter a pet’s body through broken skin, the mouth, nose, and eyes. There is a vaccine to prevent it, so it’s a good idea to consider this.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered during the summer months when it comes to the health of your pet. However, it’s important to shield them from the soaring temperatures and other risks that can cause harm. Plus, having vet supplies in the home just in case something goes wrong is always a good idea.

For further information about our products contact us on…Tel: 01798 874567

BOAS Constriction in Dogs

BOAS Constriction in Dogs

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Kennel Club figures show a 3000% rise in ownership of pugs, bulldogs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Shih Tzus and boxers since 2007. Yet many owners remain unaware of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and other health issues common to flat-faced, brachycephalic dog breeds.

Brachycephalic – meaning ‘short head’ – causes a squashing-up of the soft tissue within the dog’s nose and mouth. Folds of skin around the face further narrow and obstruct the dog’s airways causing wheezing, snorting and the struggle for breath that characterise flat-faced dogs that suffer Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome. But it’s not just breathing that’s a problem for flat-faced dog breeds.

Brachycephalic dogs can’t move enough air through their narrowed airways

In hot weather, we humans cool ourselves by sweating. Dogs can’t sweat. So when they’re too hot they have to cool down by moving more air over their moist tongues and airways. That’s why we see dogs ‘panting’ when they’re too hot. Brachycephalic dogs can’t move enough air through their narrowed airways so can easily overheat and even die in hot weather.

Flat-faced dogs still have the same number of teeth as longer nosed breeds. Fitting all 42 teeth into a shortened mouth causes overcrowded teeth to overlap making teeth and gums harder to keep clean and free from decay and disease.

High risk of conjunctivitis, ulcers and even sight-loss

Skin-folds around the face provide a hiding place for fleas, disease-carrying mites and other irritants that can cause hair loss and fungal skin infections. Shortened muzzles cause the eyes to stand out more allowing the thin film of protective moisture to dry more quickly risking conjunctivitis, ulcers and even sight-loss.

Selective breeding has so effectively accelerated the evolution of the larger head-size of flat-faced dogs that other, naturally evolving, parts of the anatomy haven’t been able to keep up. Brachycephalic bitches frequently require a caesarean section to deliver their pups. Pet charity, The Blue Cross, report that more than 80% of English Bulldog and French Bulldog pups are delivered by C-section births.

Pressure for change

Pressure for change is coming from a number of concerned sources. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat Faced Animals (CRUFFA) have begun educating advertising agencies against using flat-nosed dogs in ad campaigns. The more extreme breed standards are under review by The Kennel Club and other international breed regulators.

But the most effective pressure may yet prove to be economic. The increased risk of corneal ulcers and breathing problems in brachycephalic breeds means that owners are likely to have to pay more when insuring flat-faced breeds, with Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and related conditions possibly excluded from their insurance cover.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Dog Shows Like Crufts Dog Show

Dog Shows Like Crufts Dog Show

Constitute a Powerful Lever for Change

As significant an event as the Boat Race, Grand National, Trooping of the Colours and The FA Cup Final, Crufts Dog Show has become embedded in British National Culture.

Founded by pet food marketing genius, Charles Cruft, The Kennel Club’s flagship – and the world’s largest – canine showcase has established a leading role in raising the standards for breed health and welfare in dogs.

First ‘all-breeds’ dog show

Joining Spratts Patent Company Ltd at the age of 14, Charles Cruft showed great flair and imagination as a salesman for the company which, in the 1860s, made everything from lightning rods to dog biscuits. Cruft’s idea of using dog shows to excite the imagination, and attract public attention to Spratt’sproducts, became reality in his first ‘all-breeds’ dog show at the Royal Agricultural Halls in 1891.

Dubiously pitched as ‘the biggest dog show in the world’, the first Crufts attracted an alleged 2,437 entries. The 22,000 to 24,000 dogs showing over today’s 4-day event, is evidence of the show’s phenomenal growth. In 1939, the organisation of the show passed from Cruft’s second wife and widow, Emma Cruft to The Kennel Club.

Evidence from breeders and experts in genetics

In 2010, The Kennel Club together with Dogs Trust jointly funded an enquiry by Sir Patrick Bateson FRS into the effects of dog breeding on dog health and welfare. The Inquiry took evidence from breeders and experts in genetics as well as from animal welfare and veterinary professionals. The work of the Cambridge University-based team included visiting dog shows.

In the conclusions to his inquiry, Sir Patrick said that he was “persuaded that showing and judging [dogs] constitute a powerful lever for change”. Acknowledging that judging at shows cannot be an exact science, Sir Patrick proposed that shows such as Crufts could become a mechanism for rewarding excellence and educating both breeders and show-goers.

Proposals included educating owners and prospective owners

The inquiry featured contributions by The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary (BVA) aimed at preventing extreme breeding problems before they occurred. Proposals included educating owners and prospective owners to change their preferences and expectations of breed characteristics and buy only from accredited dog breeders.

Sir Patrick suggested that making these improvements could be especially successful if dog show judges picked up on specific health or welfare problems – such as difficulties with movement or breathing – in particular breeds of dog.

The Legacy left by Charles Cruft is more than just another date on the national calendar. Crufts Dog Show is a positive and ongoing contribution to progress in the breeding health, welfare and veterinary care of dogs worldwide.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Alabama Rot – Fishy Tale Opens New Research into Link with Mystery Dog Disease

Alabama Rot – Fishy Tale Opens New Research into Link with Mystery Dog Disease

2018 opened with yet more confirmed cases of Alabama Rot in UK dogs. With a fatality rate of 80%, the kidney disease, characterised by ulcer-like skin sores, has now affected over 100 dogs countrywide since the disease first appeared in the UK in Hampshire in 2012.

Suggested link between Alabama Rot and a micro-organism 

New research, carried out at a specialist fish health laboratory, may have found a link between Alabama Rot and a micro-organism known to infect fish. Dr Fiona MacDonald, founder of Hampshire’s specialist Fish Treatment Ltd, has suggested a link between a bacterial infection of fish and the tissue-destroying disease in dogs.

Veterinary laboratories and practitioners refer to Alabama Rot as ‘Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy’ or CRGV, acknowledging its twin characteristics of distressing, visible skin sores and life-threatening (renal) kidney failure, both caused by destruction of the vascular (blood supply) system.

Dr MacDonald’s linking of CRGV in dogs with the haemorrhagic condition known as ‘red sore’ disease in fish comes from the discovery that the bacteria, Aeromonas hydrophila, which causes red sore disease, has been found in the kidneys of CRGV affected dogs.

What makes Aeromonas so toxic to some humans and animals?

Aeromonas hydrophila is visualised microscopically as a Gram-negative staining rod-shaped bacterium. Like other members of the Aeromonas genus, A.hydrophila is common, widespread and able to survive and grow with or without oxygen in fresh or salt water, at temperatures down to 4 degrees Celsius and resistant to many common antibiotics.

Exactly what makes Aeromonas so toxic to some humans and animals isn’t fully clear, but it’s thought that it might exploit an existing weakness or susceptibility in its host, possibly entering via the digestive system with contaminated food or water.

The microbe invades vital tissues and organs, such as the kidneys, via the bloodstream. Secreting a range of tissue-destroying toxins including the cytolytic (meaning cell-bursting) ‘aerolysin’, the microbe causes the open sores and renal failure that characterise CRGV.

Only hygiene, care and vigilance offers protection from Alabama Rot

The proposed fish connection needs further investigation and laboratory research is continuing. In the meantime, and in the absence of a clear cause, preventative or cure, only hygiene, care and vigilance offers protection from Alabama Rot.

With most cases reported in the wetter months from October to March, some vets suspect that CRGV begins with infected mud and water. Washing mud from your dog’s legs and body may be a sensible precaution, and may also help reduce the risk of other water-borne diseases.

Inspecting your dog for sores that may indicate Alabama Rot will also forewarn of other dermatological infections, and ulcerating diseases including Leishmaniasis. Reporting changes in your dog’s behaviour such as tiredness, reduced appetite and increased or reduced urination will help your vet provide early diagnostic testing and potentially life-saving treatment for CRGV and many other infections and dog diseases.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

The Mating Game – Breeding Assistance Dogs Isn’t A Game of Chance

The Mating Game – Breeding Assistance Dogs Isn’t A Game of Chance

The breeding of assistance dogs, under the supervision of the UK Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre. Each mating is carefully planned to guarantee the health and welfare of each breeding bitch and their potential pups.

Most assistance dog pups are born in the homes of volunteer puppy carers though many are born at the UK Guide Dogs NBC in Leamington Spa. Pups born at the centre are introduced to the sights and sounds of the domestic environment – including TV, radio, washing machine and vacuum cleaner noise, by teams of volunteers. Breeding never begins before a bitch is 19 months old and the breeding career ends after seven years.

Avoiding consecutive pregnancies

Great care is taken to avoid consecutive pregnancies giving a bitch time to recover from the stresses of pregnancy and motherhood before any further mating. Breeding bitches give birth to no more than 4 litters and never more than 5. A fifth litter is only allowed under exceptional circumstances and only with veterinary approval.

Planning the breeding of assistance dogs means breeders must know when a bitch is most fertile, known as ‘in oestrus’. The oestrus cycles of bitches that live mostly outdoors is influenced by seasonal, environmental factors including changes in day length. Bitches ready to mate and conceive are referred to as ‘in season’ and show behavioural changes described as their being ‘on heat’.

Recently, researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Nottingham, together with NBC staff, studied the oestrus cycles of breeding bitches kept mostly indoors. They found that, sheltered from seasonal variations, the number bitches ‘on heat’ at any one time was evenly spread throughout the year.

Breading centres require accurate knowledge

Breeding healthy puppies, maintaining the welfare of breeding bitches and efficiently manage the resources of a breeding centre requires accurate knowledge of when a bitch is about to come into season. In the absence of the defined ‘breeding season’ of outdoor and wild dog populations, breeders and managers must rely on other indicators of bitches breeding condition.

Monitoring changes in the bitch’s hormone levels is the most accurate way to predict ovulation and the best time for mating. TARGET Canine Ovulation Diagnostic Test Kit measures the level of the hormone progesterone, enabling breeders to predict the best time for conception – the period 5-6 days after the initial rise in Progesterone.

Following mating, pregnancy can be confirmed and monitored with the FASTest RELAXIN test; especially useful in excluding pseudopregnancy (false pregnancy) and where there are worries about any possible spontaneous abortion.

Further testing with TARGET Canine Ovulation Diagnostic Test Kit toward the completion of pregnancy will help breeders of assistance dogs prepare for the arrival of the litter, and to martial their resources quickly and efficiently.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Kennel Club’s 3 Things Not To Do When Choosing Your New Puppy

Kennel Club’s 3 Things Not To Do When Choosing Your New Puppy

Over the 2016-17 Christmas fortnight of 20 December to 2 January, Dog’s Trust received 127 unwanted dogs and puppies – a 54% increase above the figure for the same period in 2015-16.

More than 300 animals given shelter

Over the whole of the festive season, the charity gave shelter to more than 300 animals but also received an average of 70 calls a day from people wanting to give up their dogs in the weeks immediately before and after Christmas.

The Dog’s Trust launched its ‘‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ not just for Christmas’ for the 1978 festive season. Back then, the charity was known by the more formal title of The National Canine Defence League.

The slogan, created by Clarissa Baldwin OBE, chief executive of the Dogs Trust since 1986, first hit the streets of Britain as a sticker campaign for 20,000 car windows and bumpers. Since then, the charity’s strap-line has gained an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and is now a registered trademark.

Online sales provide unscrupulous puppy dealers with the anonymity they need

In the 70s, many high street pet shops still sold puppies and kittens to casual buyers. Although this aspect of the pet trade has largely disappeared from the UK, it has been replaced by the practice of buying pups through online ads and social media contacts.

The internet can be worse for pups than a pet shop. Online sales provide unscrupulous puppy dealers with the anonymity they need. Reliable breeders will want to promote, not hide, themselves and will be more than keen to let you know who and where they are.

Reputable breeders are usually enthusiasts for the breed rather than the sale mostly specialising in one breed. They’ll be happy to provide you with pedigree and vaccination certificates – including distemper, parvovirus, kennel cough, leptospirosis and parainfluenza, respond positively to your requests to meet the pup more than once and even return your purchase if the new arrival proves unsuited to your lifestyle.

Choosing a registered breeder 

Choosing where to get your puppy is just as important as choosing what sort of puppy you want. You shouldn’t be bounced into a panic buy – especially at Christmas. If you know a highly regarded, Kennel Club Assured breeder, be prepared to on their waiting list. And always stick to the club’s 3 big don’ts: never buy a puppy from a pet shop, never pick your puppy up from a meeting in a car park or motorway service station and never buy a puppy because the seller made you feel like some sort of rescuer.

To be sure you’re doing the best for your new canine companion, for yourself and for everyone devoted to dog health and welfare. Make sure your puppy comes from a registered breeder such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

The Feline Five – Feline Personality Profiling Keeps Your Cat Healthy

The Feline Five – Feline Personality Profiling Keeps Your Cat Healthy

You know your cat has his or her own unique personality. Now studies in New Zealand and South Australia have shown that understanding your cat’s personality can help owners and vets give pets a happier, healthier life.

Most research into animal personality has been centred on what humans can learn or gain from an understanding of how an animal behaves. In this study, it was more about learning how to improve the welfare of any individual cat based on an understanding of its personality.

Cat behaviour in a domestic setting

Previous studies on the behaviour and personalities of felines were carried on wild or feral cat populations, or in ‘environment of a cattery or rescue centre. Lacking the interaction between cats and their owners, these don’t greatly advance the understanding of cat behaviour in a domestic setting.

As part of the larger ‘Cat Tracker’ online study of domestic cats and owners’ views on their management and welfare, owners of 2802 domestic cats scored their cats according to 52 behavioural characteristics. On a scale ranging from ‘not to all’ to ‘very much so’ owners recorded to what degree their pets expressed each behaviour type.

Based on their owners’ responses, these behavioural characteristics were summarised into ‘The Feline Five’ behavioural traits that describe an individual cat’s personality and temperament.

Impulsive feline traits

Scores representing highly erratic or reckless behaviour were deemed to represent an ‘impulsive’ feline trait. Those revealing a bullying, jealous or aggressive nature to other cats were labelled ‘dominance’ while expressions of affection and gentleness toward their owners were labelled ‘agreeable’.

The ‘extroversion’ trait was recognised by an animal’s vigilance, curiosity and playfulness, while ‘neuroticism’ was characterised by displays of insecurity, anxiety and shyness toward people.

The research team’s aim with the ‘Feline Five’ personality test is to help improve the health, welfare and happiness of domestic cats through promoting an understanding of each pet’s individual needs.

Displacement behaviour that can increase vulnerability

Cats scoring particularly high or low for a behavioural trait might signal a cause for concern prompting a change to a cat’s environment, management, diet or veterinary treatment. Cat’s returning a high score for the ‘extrovert’ trait might require environmental enhancement to prevent boredom, and the kind of displacement behaviour that can increase vulnerability to skin diseases.

High scores on impulsiveness 

High scores on ‘impulsiveness’ might indicate a stressful environment with potentially damaging effects on a cat’s health such as depressing its immune response resulting in a weakened ability to fight off infection.

Cats high on the ‘neuroticism’ scale might require safe places to hide within the home. Reacting badly to stress, they might need extra reassurance when being transported to the vets for routine vaccination, examination and diagnostic testing for virus, bacteria or parasite infection.

Understanding the personality of a resident cat could inform the decision making of households thinking of introducing a second feline or another animal. Knowing more about a pet’s individual character will help owners predict how their pet might react to changes to the home environment by guiding their provision of appropriate support and reassurance.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

If Only They Could Talk – Animal Pain In Home and Veterinary Practice

If Only They Could Talk – Animal Pain In Home and Veterinary Practice

Whether it’s the chronic pain of illness and age or the acute pain of accident and intervention, it’s generally accepted that animals experience not just pain, but emotional distress. But how to recognise and evaluate pain in animals? The Glasgow Composite Pain Scale (GCPS) provides an objective assessment.

Assessment of an animal’s pain

For the veterinary professional, there’s a whole range of measurable indicators on which to base an assessment of an animal’s pain. Changes in an animal’s blood pressure and heart rate may be interpreted as indications of stress or a response to physical trauma related to the experience of pain.

With the resources of a veterinary laboratory, hormonal, metabolic, gastrointestinal and homeostatic changes – such as blood clotting times, provide further validation or contradiction of opinions formed in the veterinary surgery.

Evidence-based veterinary response

These ‘professional’ assessments of an animal’s pain status depend on physiological information not available to an animal’s owner or keeper. For the animal’s closest companion, the best available indicators of pain are changes in their animal’s normal patterns of behaviour, development and expression. For the veterinary clinician, behavioural signs – together with the observations of owners and keepers, contribute to a complete, evidence-based veterinary response.

Non-physiological indicators of pain might include changes in activity, the development of new activities – such as limping, vocalisation, body language, excessive scratching or licking, and even facial expressions. For example, a relaxed and comfortable cat will normally sit feet curled under the body, head up, ears up and eyes wide open. While cats suffering discomfort will often lie flat and with half-closed or squinting eyes.

Owners need to develop a high degree of familiarity with their pet

Neurological studies on rodents support the ‘pained face’ as a reliable indicator of pain, showing that there is an emotional factor in an animal’s response. Picking up these non-verbal signals requires owners to develop a high degree of familiarity with their pet’s ‘normal’ behavioural state. It also requires a consistent, validated scale of measurement.

The Glasgow Composite Pain Scale (GCPS) provides an objective assessment of pain and allows subsequent assessments to help determine if an animal’s pain is getting better or worse. Devised by Glasgow vet school, the scale helps to improve veterinary diagnosis of acute, postoperative pain and the appropriate treatment of long-term, chronic pain.

The Glasgow Scale questions behaviours including vocalisation, attention to wound, mobility, sensitivity to touch, demeanour and activity. Responses are scored as to which best describes the animal’s behaviour and scores totalled to give a maximum pain score from 0 to 24.

Animals might not be able to communicate verbally, but with the GCPS objective scale of measurement, vets can encourage owners and keepers to speak up on their behalf.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

COVID-19 Update

As the impact of COVID-19, is being felt around the world, the well-being of our employees and their families is of the highest importance to us.

By putting the safety of our employees first, we have reduced our on-site staff to a minimum and we will endeavour to maintain our business operations to the highest standard possible.

We are carefully monitoring and following official guidance from the UK Government, Public Health England, WHO and CDC guidelines and in line with these; we are currently operating business as usual.

We are monitoring our stock levels on a daily basis ensuring a fair distribution of our products. We are fully committed to maintaining the supply of products during these unprecedented times.

We are open for orders from Monday through to Thursday and closing on Fridays:

Friday Closure:  For any technical queries, orders or enquiries please do one of the following:
• Email: info@vetlabsupplies.co.uk.
• Fax: 01798 874787
• Telephone & leave a message: 01798 874567

We will endeavour to contact you on Friday and Monday if it is non-urgent.

If you require any further information, please contact Vetlab Supplies Ltd Customer Services on 01798 874567 or email info@vetlabsupplies.co.uk.

Thank you to all our customers and suppliers for their support during these temporary measures.

Stay Safe