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All posts in June, 2011

Annaliese Morgan worked as a veterinary Nurse for 15 years before she opened Fuchsia Pet Health Spa in July 2008.  She has written many articles, and 4 veterinary nursing text books over her years in the veterinary profession, and now has a book out that is aimed at pet owners.

Desperate Housepets sports a tagline on the cover that states it is ‘The Single Person’s Guide to Healthy Pets’. I have no idea why it is being marketed for single people, as the information inside it is equally as useful for people that are in a relationship, engaged, married, divorced or otherwise!

There is a wealth of information in this book but you’ll have to work reasonably hard to get at it. Mrs Morgan’s experience in writing textbooks comes through in her writing and some of the more technical chapters will be skimmed over by pet owners who don’t require a diploma-level knowledge of animal nutrition or parasitology. However, should you seek this level of understanding of these aspects of pet care, the details can be found between these pages.

There is a good chapter on ears, and another on teeth which should help any pet owner keep their pets body parts in good order. A special mention must go to the detailed explanation of the flea life cycle that every pet owner should be forced to read before taking their furry little bundle home, and the chapter on emergencies ( Call 999!) is also a must, in my opinion. There are also a number of Appendices that will prove invaluable to the majority of pet owners at some point.

This is a handy little volume which contains all those tips that vets really want their clients to know, but never have time to divulge. It retails at £12.99 and is available from Amazon.

I was sent a copy of ‘Desperate Housepets‘  to review and have another copy to give away. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this very useful book, reply to this post telling me who wrote this book before noon on the 8th July.

You’ll also get an extra entry if you follow me at @thevisitingvet so mention it if you do when you reply.

I will draw the winner at random in the afternoon of the 8th July and their name will be posted on my blog.

Paul Walker FMPA is one of the UK’s best pet photographers and author of the internationally selling book “Pet Photography Now”. He has extensive experience of photographing pets and animals with many different temperaments, from rescue dogs through to highly trained dogs at Crufts. His bespoke pet imagery and attitude to pet photography is well regarded, as are his crazy “animal wizardry tricks”. These have been learned and refined over many years, guaranteeing the personality of the pet will be more than just captured with a resulting set of professional images to treasure for a lifetime.

The Visiting Vet was lucky enough to get him to answer a number of questions about how to get the best  possible home photos of your pet.

1/ How do I get my pet to sit still?

Either obedience training, or food treats are the main two methods, though I always prefer the former method if the owner has put the work in.  For cats, it may well be food treats or perhaps after exercise a dog will be that bit more compliant.

2/ How do I get my pet to look at the camera ?

You need to entertain the pet’s senses, whether it be sound or smell (food).  I have a large repertoire of different sound makers together with other noises, its about arousing the pets curiosity.

3/ What’s the easiest way to get a good action shot?

Have another person throw an object that interests the pet from left to right in front of your line, so that the pet is running perpendicular to you.  Cameras often focus easier when the pet is running from left to right or right to left rather than straight at the camera.

4/ How do you photograph a black animal?

It really is all about the light and where it is falling on to the pet subject.  Black dogs and white dogs can be hard because you need to get the detail showing in the fur of the pet.  Sometimes you can have black and white pets and in such cases I’d opt to have the detail retained in the white fur.  The key is in setting the correct exposure with your camera and having the light in the direction that shows the level of detail required.

5/ How do you photograph a white animal?

Very similar to that of the black pet – get the correct exposure so the detail is retained in the white fur.  With a very high midday sun, sometimes positioning the white pet in an area with top shade can help reduce the harsh light that is falling from above.

6/ What’s the best way to get a good picture of a ‘small furry’ or reptile.

Often food is the main way of directing such pets, so observe the light and background and position the food in any area that will tempt the pet into such places.

7/ Is there anything I can do for a nervous or camera shy pet?

yes, take your time, be patient and gentle, do not move around too abruptly or make too loud a noise, build the session up gently and get the respect and trust of the pet.  Involve yourself in some of the pet’s favourite activities.

8/ How to get a good photo of a child and their pet?

Don’t they say “never work with children and animals” – think of ways that they could interact whether it be a child throwing a ball, running together etc..ensure that safety and welfare is key and that there are enough handlers to help out.

9/ Whats the best way to photograph fish in a tank?

Unless you are going to use an underwater camera, fish can be tricky, ensure the flash is turned off and ensure that the tank is illuminated or positioned next to an area of great light.  Fish often do not stay still for long periods but some great images can be taken around feeding time, you can easily position certain types of food in the best places in terms of light or backgrounds.  Tubifex worms are a great sight to see in the open mouth of a goldfish as it tussles with the food cube.

Paul takes photographs his subjects on location. He is based in Scotland but travels down to London 4 times a year.

Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or enquire about booking a session with him by clicking here.

I’ve just been to the park to walk the dogs while it’s not raining.

While there I met up with a lady who owns a one eyed lurcher and we had a chat because her dog is now a one-eyed, 3-legged lurcher. The dog developed bone cancer in one of her hind legs and although has had it amputated, she’s doing really well. She’s now a very distinctive dog and I doubt her owner gets far on their walks before someone asks about her pet.

This lovely lady took one look at The Lurcher and said, ‘Oh, she’s been in the wars too’.
At first I couldn’t work out what she was talking about and then I realised she was pointing to the 2 remaining staples in the almost-healed wound on her side. This not the wound she got from jumping into a tree, but the one that was inflicted by The Old Boy, about a week later.

The Lurcher likes to tease our older dog but is sometimes just that bit slow about getting out of the way, and The  Old Boy’s teeth are still sharp enough to do some damage. It hadn’t been a very big hole, so I left it for a couple of days before I decided I did probably did need to intervene. So The Lurcher had a light sedation, and I cleaned and stapled her up on one side, and removed the staples from the other side at the same time.

The first ‘bad-owner’ thing I did, was not leave an Elizabethan Collar, or ‘lampshade’ on her for long enough. The Lurcher is devastating with one of these one, marking furniture, knocking down children and damaging shins as she goes. So I took it off after a couple of hours and as a result she ate 3 of the staples out herself.

The second was leaving the staples in for too long. I should have removed them about a week ago but was distracted by half term. The remaining 2 staples were firmly embedded in the skin and one had turned back to front as a result of her harassment. They were more difficult to remove than they should have been

But it was all okay in the end despite my ‘bad owner’ tendencies. But I’m a vet and can fix things if it all goes wrong. I’d advise you to listen to your vet when it comes to Elizabethan collars and suture/ staple removal..

The other example of a Bad Dog Owner I want to bring to you today, isn’t me.

On the way home I spotted a big, white dog ambling along the footpath, who then strolled out into the middle of the road and stood there. I parked the car and he walked back onto the pavement. A lady with a couple of small, toy breeds came out of the park entrance and I asked her if she’d seen anyone looking for a dog.

There was no one obviously looking for a dog in the park, but it seemed to be hanging around a particular house on the street, so I knocked on the door. There was no reply so I got a lead onto its choke chain so it couldn’t wander off again.

He was a big, handsome boxer/ mastiff type dog and seemed quite young. I didn’t quite trust him though, he was an unneutered male and was nervous, which can turn to aggression when a dog feels threatened.

The lady with the small dogs lived nearby, so she dropped her pets home and came back with some friends, one of whom offered to walk the dog down to the closest vet clinic where it could be scanned to see if it had a microchip. The dog was not keen on getting into my car, and there was no way we were going to be able to force him!

I drove down ahead of them, and about 10 mins later the guy turned up with my lead, but no dog! It seems the owner met them as he was walking back from the shops and was hugely aggressive about the fact that some stranger had his dog. Luckily our good Samaritan was okay about being abused for his attempt at a good deed but it certainly makes me wary about trying to help in this situation again.

But lessons to be learnt from this are : make sure your dog can’t get out of the garden, make sure your dog has a collar with a name tag on and make sure it’s microchipped.

I would lay money on the fact this dog wasn’t chipped, which means it would have been picked up by the dog warden  from the vet clinic, and probably ended up in Battersea by the end of the day. If the owner was keen to get it back, he would have found him in the end but it would have cost him a bit of time and some money as well.