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Any vet who has ever had to man the after hours phones will be able to sympathise with the RSPCA, who have released a list of some of the stranger calls they have received over the course of 2011.

Examples include:

A caller rang to complain that a neighbour’s power shower caused their dog to go to the toilet.

A concerned resident who thought gulls were in their area were radioactive – it turned out that nearby garden lights were illuminating them and turning them green.

A lady phoned in to complain that the blackbird in her garden didn’t sing.

—One caller rang to cancel a visit as their dead tortoise had ‘come back to life’.

Another caller rang in concerned about the talking meerkats on the Compare the Market advertisement. (continue reading…)

I’m sure a large percentage of vets in the profession today owe their career choice to James Herriot, the star of ‘All Creatures Great And Small’.

The television series was incredibly popular in the late 70’s and the 80’s, and was not-so- loosely based on the books by Alf Wright. Alf Wright, was, of course the ‘real’ James Herriot and his books were semi-biographical. Something you’d have to be very careful about doing in today’s society.

I adored these programs and have tried to indoctrinate my children into their simple charm with little success. (continue reading…)

When people find out what I do for a living, they often talk about how long it takes to become a vet. 5 years! they say.  Isn’t that longer than it takes to train a doctor?

And it does seem a long slog at the time. But as with most professionals, a vet’s education doesn’t end at graduation.

All practising veterinary surgeons must maintain and continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills, in order to make continuous improvements to the standard of service they provide to their patients and clients.

Currently the recommended minimum CPD is 105 hours over three years . This is an average of 35 hours per year. (continue reading…)

I have blogged about our sound-phobic collie in the previous post, ‘About Dogs and Fireworks’, here.

The Old Boy is not severely phobic. He doesn’t destroy things, but he does follow us from room to room painting and holding his tail between his legs. When he really can’t cope, he goes upstairs and hides in the shower.

We’ve always just managed his fear by ignoring his behaviour and letting him follow us around when he wants. I’ve tried a DAP diffuser, but it didn’t seem to help, and I don’t want to try drugs as his last blood test showed he has raised liver enzymes.

His behaviour doesn’t really  impact on us, but it’s clear that he’s scared by fireworks. So when I read about Thundershirts, I thought they might be worth a go. (continue reading…)

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are tumbling from the trees and pretty soon the firework season will be upon us.

We live in Greater London and fireworks are no longer confined to one night, or even one weekend. They go off for months around here! They usually start in October, carry on through November and December and tail off after January.

We have a sound phobic collie so for him that’s 4 months of terror. Our poor old dog stays upstairs, either under our bed or in the shower(!), unless the fireworks are very close. Then he comes downstairs and sits pressed up against us and pants.  (continue reading…)

Click on text to enlarge.

The Visiting Vet is out of the country until September. If you have an animal that requires urgent veterinary attention then please phone Medivet in Watford on 01923 243 429.

If you have a sick pet during Office hours, you can also try Stan Livy At Goddards in Eastcote, on 020 8866 1842.

If you have a non urgent query, then please feel free to leave a voice mail on 07904564713 or email me on jacq@thevisitingvet.co.uk.

Thank you.

Today, when I was in the woods with my dogs and children, we walked into a clearing and found a young rabbit wandering in circles.

The dogs couldn’t believe their eyes and of course jumped in, thinking it was dinner time. I managed to grab them, but this left me with a dog in each hand, and no way of attending to the poor bunny. Eventually, I got both dogs onto their leads and tied them up.

Of course the kids were hysterical by this time, and the rabbit was in a bad way. Its eyes were swollen shut and it had lumps all over its body. It had myxomatosis.

This is a horribly contagious disease that can kill up to 90% of rabbits that it infects. It is sometimes spread by contact with infected animals, or by exposure to something that has been in contact with a sick bunny. But more frequently it is spread by an insect, such as a fly or mosquito, that has landed on a rabbit with Myxomatosis. If this insect lands on your rabbit’s food or bites it, your bunny can get sick.

Sometimes rabbits with Myxomatosis will survive but most often they die, even with careful and expensive medical treatment and nursing. If a rabbit is presented with signs of this disease in summer, with no history of vaccination, then most vets will recommend euthanasia on humane grounds.

If you have a pet rabbit, please make sure it is vaccinated against Myxomatosis. Some vaccinated bunnies still get ill but it’s a much milder form of the disease and they rarely die.

Using Advantage or Xeno100 on your rabbits will help prevent flea infestations and bites from mosquitoes.

And if you live near a lake or pond, then mosquito control is more important and it is wise to use a mosquito net to cover the hutch during  summer evenings. Dry bedding also discourages mosquitoes, so make sure you  keep your rabbit’s home clean and dry.

We were walking in Bayhurst Woods, which are part of Ruislip Woods in Hillingdon. If you live nearby and your rabbit hasn’t been vaccinated in the last 6 months, you should contact your vet and arrange an appointment now.

If you live elsewhere, there is also a good chance that a wild rabbit colony near you is harbouring Myxomatosis. Don’t hedge your bets when it comes to your family pet, get them vaccinated against this fatal disease.


Many thousands of cats get hit by vehicles on our roads every year in the UK. In the last weeks I’ve heard about a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) on an online forum I frequent, and also had one of my clients contact me to take their now deceased pet off my books.

At least 4 cats owned by either me, or my family while I was growing up, were killed by cars and another three were badly injured but survived. But that was in NZ, here in the UK RTA’s do seem to occur less frequently.

About half of cats hit by cars will die from their injuries; many more survive but are permanently damaged having lost a leg, hip or tail. A few lucky felines recover completely from their injuries but most RTA survivors  become very wary of vehicles and roads for the rest of their lives. Of course, there are always exceptions.

It’s true that once you let your cat out of the house you have no control of where it goes but there are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of your pet being run over or hit by a car.

1/ Consider keeping your cat as a house cat. A house cat never gets to go outside, and as such is not at risk of being run over. The downside to having an inside cat is that you do need to work a bit harder to look after your pet. You will have to change litter trays and make sure your cat gets enough exercise and doesn’t get bored. And if a house cat ever escapes outside, they will not be very streetwise so are probably in greater danger of being hit by a car than a cat allowed to roam freely.

Variations on the theme of keeping a cat indoors permanently include

a/allowing them outdoors only on harness and lead a few times a day

b/Building them a cat run so they can get outside but not roam free.

2/ Keep your cat in overnight. Most RTA’s happen at night so if you keep your cat in from dusk to dawn, you reduce the chances of your cat becoming a statistic. There is a very clever cat door that can sense when it’s night and when it’s day and locks itself at night!

3/ Have your cat neutered. Neutered cats roam less so are less likely to get run over.

4/If you move house, consider the road your potential house is on. A very busy road is less of a danger than one where traffic moves along it intermittently. Cats see a constant traffic flow as a kind of wall to be avoided, whereas a quiet road is seen as safe place to cross. Just because you have a large garden out the back doesn’t mean cats will never go out the front.

5/ Don’t allow your cat to lie or climb on stationary cars. Use a water pistol to train them not to sleep under cars or walk near them. If you come home and find your cat sitting in your driveway, shoo it away before you drive towards it. Putting the car in neutral so it can’t move, flashing lights and revving your engine can help persuade your cat that cars are scary, and should be avoided.

If you think your cat has been hit by a car, even if it seems fine, you should visit your vet for a check up.

And if you run over someone else’s cat, please stop and see if you can find the owner. A lot of cats manage to get themselves off the road when they are hit, and run for a short period of time but will collapse nearby. These cats will probably die without urgent veterinary attention so it’s probably more important to get them to a surgery than find an owner.

Number 2.

Suzie Cantlay.

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