Lenny’s Story – By Veterinary Nurse Sue Drew

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Lenny is a Golden Retriever who we think was born in March 2012. He came into our lives when the RSPCA brought him in as an emergency case in October 2012. His owners had decided to sign him over to the RSPCA because they couldn’t give him the care he required.

When Lenny arrived at the surgery he was unable to walk because all of his joints in his right leg were sore and he was very lethargic. When he was examined by a vet we discovered he had a high temperature, a very fast heart rate and a really bad heart murmur. He received immediate medical treatment, including an ultrasound scan of his heart and x-rays of his leg. Unfortunately for Lenny the diagnosis was Bacterial Endocarditis.

Bacterial endocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection entering the body and infecting the blood stream; the bacteria settles on the heart valves causing permanent damage, and there is a possibility that the bacterial growths can also dislodge and cause an embolism anywhere in the body

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Bacterial Endocarditis In The Heart

Immediate pain relief and antibiotic treatment began for Lenny and over the next few days he began to improve and started walking slowly around the kennels area and the yard. During this period all the staff at Castle Vets became very attached to him and spoilt him rotten. He was a very nervous puppy who needed his confidence building so the nurses gave him plenty of attention and Carina even took him home for a couple of nights to see what he would be like in a home environment with other dogs.

Finding a permanent home for Lenny was always going to be difficult, because his life expectancy was so short (months rather than years) and he would need medical treatment and close monitoring. The thought of him spending his short life in kennels was heart breaking; so it was time to cook the hubby a nice meal with a bottle of wine and ask if I could bring him home for the weekend – It must have been a good meal, because Lenny came home permanently.

He was an immediate hit with the family and my other 2 dogs love him. Eva the lurcher took to him straight away and they now spend all their time playing. It was like having a very new puppy (except for his size), but he was worried about everything. Doors, gates and shopping bags were all out to get him and even going for a short walk was very scary to start with, but the company of confident companions soon made him realize what a great adventure it would be.

Lenny had decided that the car was obviously some sort of torture device and was terrified, so getting in the car for loads of exciting short trips had to be done. I am so glad he got over that fear quickly because 20kilos of dog refusing to climb into a car is a heavy weight and a cause of great hilarity to onlookers.

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Lenny and Eva

So far so good……

After 12 weeks of medication, we have been brave and are waiting to see what happens without the antibiotics. His heart still sounds terrible, but he is very active and enjoying life. Our aim is to keep him fit and slim and as happy as possible. I hope we will have this wonderful dog for a lot longer, but we all know to take each day as it comes.

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Lenny enjoying his walk

Recognising the symptoms of bacterial endocarditis
Endocarditis is more common in middle-sized to large breed dogs; although it can happen to any animal.. Most of the dogs affected by Endocarditis are male and aged between four and six years.

The clinical signs of bacterial endocarditis can vary because the bacteria can spread an affect other organs in the body, but the more commonly seen ones are

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Reluctance to move
  • Body aches and pains
  • Symptoms related to heart problems
  • Difficult breathing
  • Intermittent lameness
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

Treatments will not reverse any damage that has already been done to the heart, but drugs can be used to help support and improve the function of the heart. Life expectancy is not expected to be long, but there can be exceptions to every rule!

Here’s hoping………….

Sue and Lenny

This article was written by Veterinary Nurse Sue Drew as part of our heart to heart campaign.

Sue started work as a student nurse with Castle Vets in 1981 and qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1983. She loves all things animal related and has special interests in behaviour, pet companionship and is one of the nurses that run our puppy preschool. Sue also takes on and cares for poorly hedgehogs.

Sue lives in Reading with her husband, 2 children, a collie cross called Daisy, a lurcher called Eva, and a retriever called Lenny.

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Physiotherapy

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Physiotherapy is defined as the use of physical techniques for the treatment of injuries and movement dysfunction. In the world of human medicine, physiotherapy is already a valuable aid in the recovery of many conditions.
Physiotherapy is available for dogs, cats and other animals and is rapidly becoming recognised as a useful therapy for the prevention, cure and rehabilitation of animals following soft tissue injuries, fractures, trauma or surgery, and it helps greatly with the rehabilitation process. It is used to help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation and it provides optimum conditions to help restore normal movement and function and build strength and muscle mass.

Animal physiotherapists will use a variety of physical methods to restore movement and function to your pet’s body.

Massage helps mobilise and manipulate soft tissues and bones to decrease pain and stiffness and increase mobility.
Machines such as ultrasound, laser, tens and electrical muscle stimulation, complement manual therapies and aid tissue repair and pain relief .
Application of heat or cold to decrease pain and swelling, relax muscles, encourage blood and nutrients to an injured area speeding up the healing process.
Rehabilitative exercise to strengthen, restore physical function and increase range of motion.

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Our Physiotherapist with a patient

Physiotherapy is highly versatile and many conditions can be treated and rehabilitated,

  • Orthopaedic injuries such as Cruciate rupture, Fractures (broken bones) and Dislocations
  • Orthopaedic problems such as Hip and Elbow dysplasia, Luxating patella and Osteochondrosis Dissecans.
  • Muscle and tendon injuries such as Sprains, Ruptures, Inflammation, Strains, Tension and Muscle atrophy.
  • Arthritic conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Spondylosis
  • Back injury and pain such as Spinal disk prolapse, Degenerative disk disease and after Spinal surgeries
  • Neurological issues (nerves): such as Ataxia, Paralysis, Paresis and Nerve damage
  • General fitness and mobility such as helping get your dog fit for agility or other activities
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A feline patient

Physiotherapy Treatments

Methods and treatments will vary depending on the problem so the ways in which the physiotherapist will rehabilitate and reduce pain will be specifically tailored to each individual pet. The physiotherapist will look at the pet as a whole to decide on the best treatments and the first session is usually spent bonding with the pet to build up trust which is important for future sessions. We also find that many patients look forward to and really enjoy their physio sessions.

Massage: therapists use their hands to work on muscle and soft tissue. This improves movement and circulation, reduces and relieves pain and helps with relaxation. It also strengthens the muscles around the injured or painful area which can then provide greater support.

Exercise: This will involve programs of exercise for the pet and, depending on the problem, may be anything from tiny little stretches or flexing of the injured limb to full exercise programs that focus on fitness for agility or working dogs. Exercises may also involve the use of equipment to encourage stretching or bandaging techniques to make the pet more aware of certain parts of his or her body.


Other therapies can include

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy: This is used for many things including encouraging bone deposition, reducing the degenerating enzymes associated with Osteoarthritis, pain relief, reduction of swelling, increasing blood flow, soft tissue healing and stimulating endorphin release.
Intrasound: used to free muscle adhesions, increase blood flow, relieve muscle spasm and knots.
Static Magnets: These help increase circulation and are used for many ailments.
Red Light Therapy: Can relieve muscle spasm, encourage endorphin release, increase blood flow, relax the patient and encourage wound healing whilst discouraging scar formation.
Blue Light Therapy: This kills bacteria in a wound and so is used with the red light. It also helps other skin complaints heal.
Thermo Therapy: Relives muscle spasm and increases blood flow
Cryo Therapy: Reduces inflammation
Stimulator: To help rebuild muscle
Neurotrac: Helps incontinent patients to regain bladder control.
TENs machine: Is used for pain relief.

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Physiotherapy can help pets a great deal but please remember that it is important your pet should always be referred from your vet so that the physiotherapist knows exactly what the condition is, what treatments have been given, or what surgery has been performed and any other problems your pet may have that could affect treatment.

Animal physiotherapists are not yet regulated by law which means that anyone could call themselves an animal physiotherapist without having any real knowledge. Therefore we advise that you only visit a physiotherapist that has been recommended by your vet.

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Donna Wills from Animal Physiotherapy Ltd is the visiting animal physiotherapist at Castle Vets Reading. Donna is a fully qualified and registered veterinary nurse who went on to pass a post-graduate qualification in animal physiotherapy with distinction. Donna offers physiotherapy to all animals in need of the therapeutic touch and has a many years experience in working with domestic pets, horses and farm animals. She has also cared for many exotic and zoo animals.

For more information visit http://www.animalphysiotherapy.org.uk/

Castle Vets Guide To Getting A New Pet

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New year, new pet?  It’s great if you are  considering a new addition to your family, but there are a few things to think about before your commit to and bring home your new bundle of fun and cuteness.

Cost

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Can you afford the costs necessary to give your chosen pet the correct care? The average annual costs of owning a pet can be quite high and have been estimated at £1000 – £1500 for a dog, £1000 for a cat, £400 – £500 for a ferret, £500 for a rabbit and £400 for a guinea pig. (For cats and dogs that amounts to approximately £12000 – £18000 over a lifetime!) You will need to think about the costs of providing food, bedding, Housing for small animals, a bed, routine vet bills and pet insurance for accidents and illnesses.

Size of the petsize of pet

Do you have enough space at home and in the garden for your chosen pet? Even small pets like hamsters and rats require fairly big cages. Where will your pet eat, drink and sleep? The size of the pet will also effect how expensive it will be  for vet bills, insurance, food, housing and equipment.

 

Breed of pet

Different breeds of animals often have very different personality traits so you should consider what your pet has been bred to do in the past before making your decision; for example everyone loves the look of the sweet-natured Dalmatian or the handsome Siberian Husky, but forget that these dogs were originally bred to run for miles and have huge amounts of stamina so, therefore, require lots and lots of exercise. Terriers have been bred for their ability to dispatch rodent pests quickly so don’t be surprised at their feisty and bold behaviour. In the cat world the Siamese can be very vocal, Maine Coons are known for being very affectionate and Bengals can be very destructive when they get bored. With rabbits the Dwarf-Lop is generally friendly and outgoing where as Netherland Dwarfs can be very skittish and are generally unsuitable for children.

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Coat types and grooming

Most pets will require grooming of some sort and you will need to check their coats, mouths, ears, eyes and bottoms every day to make sure they are clean and healthy.
Pets with long coats will require daily grooming to prevent matting and you will need to consider if you will have the time to do this. Some animals shed lots of fur which may not be good for allergy sufferers.

long haired pets

Time

Do you have enough time to keep your chosen pet properly exercised and mentally stimulated? Exercise is really important for the health, fitness and well-being of your pet and you will also need to spend time with your pet so you can play with it and provide any training it might need.
All dogs need at least 2 20 minute walks a day (most breeds need much more than this) and the opportunity to run about off the lead in a safe area and meet other dogs if they are socially inclined. Depending on the breed of dog you choose, you may need to provide activities such as agility and training classes to keep it fit and stimulated.
In an ideal world a cat should be able to get outside, but if you have decided to keep your cat indoors then you must provide adequate mental stimulation for it and it will need much more of your time than an outside cat would to prevent boredom.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets need an outside enclosed run or they can be exercised on harnesses in safe areas.

Exercise

Genetic problems

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Some breeds of animals have inherited genetic problems and this should be researched before you get a pet as these problems can cost a lot of money to treat. For  example hip dysplasia, heart disease, respiratory problems, eye problems and dental problems. If you are buying from a breeder you should always ask if the parents have been tested for disease and problems associated with the breed.

Once you have decided on a type and breed of pet you need to start looking for places to get one from and there are several options.

Pedigree Breeders

These are ideal if you are looking for a specific breed of pet. A good breeder will normally do a home check and ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet. Do your research regarding the average cost of the breed you are interested in and expect to pay quite a lot for rarer breeds. The Kennel Club has a list of breed clubs and breeders for puppies (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/2101) and is a good place to start looking.

You should always follow these check lists if you are buying a puppy, kitten or rabbit from a breeder.

Dogs, Cats and Rabbits

  • Always visit the breeders home to meet the litter.
  • See the mother with her litter
  • Handle the litter (as long as they are over 4 weeks old)
  • Are the litter and mother looking healthy and happy
  • Ask about any genetic/hereditary problems in the breed and what tests have been done to ensure that the parents don’t have these. A good breeder will have no problems discussing these issues with you and will have had the appropriate tests done on the parents.
  • Expect lots of questions from a breeder that cares about where the pets are going to and how you will look after them.
  • Ask about the type of food they will be weaned on to
  • Ask whether the parents have been routinely vaccinated, flea treated and wormed
  • You will need to obtain a pedigree certificate and a contract of sale when you take your new pet home with you
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the cuteness of the animals in the first litter you visit! If things don’t feel 100% right to you walk away, the right pet is worth waiting for.

Cats Only

  • Ask if the parents tested for Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukaemia before mating

Dogs only

  • Handle the mother so you can get an idea of her temperament (it is not always possible but if you get the opportunity, meet the father too)
  • Ask about how the puppies will be socialised and what experiences they will have had before they come home to you (will they have seen lots of people, travelled in a car, experienced household noises such as the washing machine and vacuum cleaner).
  • A good breeder will ask you to spend time with adult dogs of the same breed and chat to other owners so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for! This is particularly important if you have chosen one of the less common breeds.

mums and babies

Hobby and ‘Accidental’ Breeders

These may be owners who have decided to breed a one-off litter from their pet or their pet has had an accidental mating. All of the same guidelines above should apply when you are visiting and asking questions of the owner. If the pets are crossbreeds you should also try and find out what the breeds are so you will have an idea about how big your new pet may grow.

Rescue Centers

These places have lots of pets in need of new homes and are a good place to start if you don’t want a pedigree animal. They may visit your home and ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet and that you understand how to care for it correctly.
Some places to try are
http://www.woodgreen.org.uk/
http://www.battersea.org.uk/
http://rspca-reading.org.uk/
http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1710/adopt-an-animal.html
http://www.dbarc.org.uk/
http://www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

NEVER Buy From Puppy  ‘Farms’

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These are commercial dog breeding facilities that are operated with an emphasis on profits above animal welfare and are often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of animals in their care. The animals from these places are not looked after properly and will not have been bred for good temperaments and health. Some times puppies are then sold on to middle parties or pet shops before being sold on to new owners. 


To avoid falling into the puppy ‘farm’ trap

  • Don’t buy from any breeder that has more than two breeds of dogs with puppies
  • Always buy puppies that have been raised in a household environment rather than a shed or barn (these puppies will not have been used to human contact or common household noises and events, which can make them fearful and nervous and can lead to behavioural problems)
  • Always see the mother with the puppies – if you cant see the mother with the pups how do you know she is the mother? Don’t accept excuses about the mother being out for a walk or sick – if you don’t see the mother how do you know that she has a good temperament?
  • Never let the breeder bring the puppy to you – if they offer this how will you know anything about the environment they have grown up in or the temperament of the parents?
  • Don’t buy puppies from pet shops or garden centres – these puppies are usually from puppy farms and you will have no idea about their history, temperament or if their parents suffered from any genetic disease or conditions.

If you find yourself at what you suspect is a puppy farm, please do not buy a puppy out of sympathy because any purchase will only encourage these people to continue. If you feel that the adult dogs or puppies are being neglected in any way contact the RSPCA.

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Castle Vets Reading hope this guide is useful to anyone considering getting a new pet. For further advice you can telephone the surgery and speak to, or make an appointment with, one of our veterinary nurses who will be happy to discuss breed types and personality traits of pets with you before you buy. You can contact us by telephone: 0118 9574488  or by email:  castlenurse2012@gmail.com

Boris’s Story – The Cat Who Lost His Meow

Boris

I was born in Wimbledon fortnight in 2002, hence the name Boris.

My new owner’s daughter had suggested to him that a ginger kitten would be lovely company for him as he was scheduled for a hip replacement. He was none to keen, but I duly arrived and the hip operation was cancelled!.

I travelled all the way from Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, tapping the dashboard of the car with my little paws. On arrival I met George, an older puss, and we soon became firm friends.  I settled in to my new home well but I was a very naughty kitten (I like to think I was mischievous, but my owners thought otherwise) – and an animal behaviourist was called in for advice; she recommended that my owner should play with me for 20 minutes every evening (which she refused to do). I eventually settled down and started behaving, the years passed normally and I always received a clean bill of health at my annual vaccination check.

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Boris and George

In June 2011 I started sneezing and coughing a lot and I lost my meow. The vet said I had laryngitis and I was given some antibiotics, which helped and I recovered well and regained my meow.

In October 2011 I lost my meow again – I was still voiceless but able to purr! At this time my owner and the vet decided further examination was necessary and I was given an anaesthetic so she could examine my throat – Nothing abnormal was discovered. My meow came back in mid November and I was fine until April 2012.

In April 2012 I started sneezing and dribbling, I had a very sore mouth so I did not feel like eating very much, I could not groom myself properly and I lost my meow again. The vet tried different antibiotics and pain relief but nothing helped me to get better. I had flu-like symptoms throughout May, and in June I was worse and feeling very sorry for myself because I had developed a mouth ulcer, gingivitis and had a sore nose. I improved again after lots of antibiotics and some steroids and I even got a little squeak back. We had many trips to the vet over those months and I had to behave myself for lots of tests.

July 2012 was a better month for me and although I was still dribbling and had a sore mouth, I was a lot more comfortable and managing to eat well. I still could not groom myself properly but George was helping with that so I felt much better.

Boris and George

George grooming Boris

On Friday 10th August my condition had deteriorated, I was poorly and miserable and had to be admitted to the veterinary surgery for intravenous fluids because I had become dehydrated. My mouth ulcers had returned and I could not eat again. The antibiotics were not working again so more tests were run and the vet phoned my owner to say I had been diagnosed with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) – my immune system was failing so my body could not fight off infection properly.
It was very sad news for my owners as there is no cure for FIV, but the vet suggested that we could try using a drug called Interferon which can stimulate the immune system and slow down the disease process. Unfortunately this drug is very expensive as it is difficult to make, and would cost about £750.00 for a course, but thankfully I was insured and the company agreed to pay for the drug. The vet explained that I would need daily injections of the drug for 5 days, then I would have a break before restarting for another 5 days on the 28th August and then again on the 9th October.

I spent the weekend at the vets on intravenous fluids. Mum and Dad came to visit me and tempt me with my favourite foods (custard, yoghurt and pate) and on Monday 13th August I had my first injection of Interferon and stayed in another night for observation. On Tuesday I was allowed to go home and when I got there I ate everything i was given straight away; It was lovely to see George again and go outside for some fresh air.
I visited the vets every day for the rest of the week to have my Interferon injection and by the following week my meow had returned, I had stopped dribbling and ate normally until the end of the week. I restarted my injections on the 28th August for another 5 days. While I was having the injections my health improved and I was happier but in between doses I started to deteriorate and lose weight even though I was eating and still no meow.

In September Mum and Dad went on holiday, they were really concerned about leaving me but the vet recommended Kitty Daycare, which is run by a veterinary nurse called Tracy. Me and George were looked after very well and I was felling better; I had no ulcers, no dribbling and I was eating huge amounts – in fact Tracy had to go out and buy more food!  By the 29th September I was feeling much better and eating everything in sight (including mum’s sponge cake), putting on weight and being quite mischievous again.

On Tuesday the 9th October I started the first of my final 5 injections of Interferon and I was still doing fairly well but my mouth was sore again. I brightened up after the injections and was better throughout the rest of the month. I even managed a few squeaks again but no proper meow.

In November I started to deteriorate again, I lost weight and began the odd behaviour of licking stones. Mum took me back to the vets and I had lost about 1kg in weight (which is quite a lot for a cat), I had also started vomiting and the vet could feel an abdominal mass. He said that it was FIV related cancers that were spreading throughout my body; I was not in any pain at that time, so I was not suffering but the vet advised mum that if I stopped eating or being able to get about then the time will have come to put me to sleep. Mum and Dad were desperately unhappy, bit they did not want me to suffer in any way. The vet had given me a steroid injection to help me feel better and I managed to eat and get into the garden even though I had started to sleep for most of the time.

By the 11th December I was very poorly again, I was not eating and I couldn’t control my bladder. After a long chat with the vet mum and dad decided that it was time to let me go. Mum came with me to the vets and cuddled me on her lap as I passed away very peacefully after my injection.

I know my family and George miss me terribly but I had a wonderful life with them where I was a much loved family cat and they did everything possible to help me feel better when I was ill.

Boris laying down

Boris

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that affects domestic cats all over the world. It is transmitted through bite wounds and scratches, where the infected cat’s saliva enters the other cat’s bloodstream, and also from pregnant females to their offspring in the womb. Because the disease suppresses the immune system the cat has no defense against illnesses and infections and becomes ill very easily. There is currently no safe vaccine and no cure for this disease.

For more information about FIV visit the Feline Advisory Bureau website http://www.fabcats.org/owners/fiv/info.html

Make A New Years Resolution To Get Your Pet Fit And Healthy

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Obesity rates in Britain are soaring despite Government warnings that we are turning into a nation of couch potatoes and unfortunately our pets are heading the same way, with approximately 1 in 3 of our pets being overweight and unfit.  We know that exercise is good for us: it helps us maintain a healthy weight, gives us energy , keeps our muscles and joints flexible, helps us to live longer and makes us feel better. The same applies to our pets, but they have to rely on us to lead the way and provide safe, enjoyable exercise opportunities that will help keep them fit and happy. It is time to start making sure our pets eat properly, receive less of those unhealthy treats and get fitter.

Dogs
Dogs can be great fun to exercise and their enthusiasm will encourage you to be more active too. Exercise can be anything from slow and leisurely walks in the park or around the block, to racing after a ball or playing with other dogs.

  • If your dog isn’t used to lots of exercise, or the more intensive forms of exercise, make sure that you build up slowly to avoid any health problems or injuries. Start with a couple of 10-15 minute walks and build up to an hour or more over a few weeks.
  • Always make sure that your dog’s muscles are properly warmed up before allowing him or her to race about off the lead or before doing any other kind of activity. A 10-15 minute on-lead, brisk walk should be enough to warm up.
  • Keep a close eye on your dog to watch for any signs of tiredness, trouble breathing or lameness. If you see any of these your dog should see the vet.
  • The more active your dog is the more water he or she will need. Take some with you if you will be outside for a while, especially on hot days.
  • Make sure puppies have plenty of rest periods by putting them back on the lead for 5-10 minutes if they are running around. This is especially important for the larger breeds of dogs as it will help protect growing bones and muscles.
  • If you are taking up jogging and want to take your dog with you, it is worth investing in a runners lead which fastens around your waist, allowing you to keep your hands free. Remember that your dog will need to learn to run properly next to you and this can take time and practice.

Other than walking, there are plenty of other activities you can get involved in to improve your dogs fitness including

  • Swimming: This will improve muscle tone, help with weight loss and increase general fitness. As with people it is a great way of keeping fit, especially if you already have joint or muscle problems. Swimming is safest at a hydrotherapy pool where your dog can be properly supervised and programs can be tailored to each individual. If you decide to let your dog swim in lakes or the sea make sure that the area is safe and that you are prepared to get your dog out if it gets into trouble.
  • Agility: For dogs over 12 months old this is a great way to keep them fit and prevent boredom. It is also great for keeping owners fit.
  • Obedience Training: This is not only a great way of communicating and bonding with your dog it also provides gentle exercise and great mental stimulation.
  • Rally: This is a combination of obedience and agility training and is suitable for any breed.
  • Flyball: Dogs need to be extremely fit for this exciting sport
  • Heel-work to music: This combination of obedience and dance can be gentle or fast paced to suit you and your dog and is a lot of fun.
  • Working trials: These are usually for working and gun dog breeds but any type of dog can do it. The trials are based around searching, tracking and retrieving and demonstrate obedience and control.
Dog activities

Canine Activities

Cats
Our cats can sometimes take laziness to dizzying heights; such as snoozing in the afternoon sun (usually indoors, on the windowsill, above the radiator), taking cat naps after each strenuous activity (walking into the kitchen to eat or use the litter tray) and helping you watch the telly while curled up asleep on your lap. There are plenty of things you can do to encourage your cat to exercise, but bear in mind that cats are designed for short, frequent periods of activity and usually play is limited to 5-10 minute bursts. Cats like to explore, stalk, chase, bat and catch prey.

Exploration: Empty cardboard boxes – some with cat-sized holes and some without – and paper bags make wonderfully cheap toys for cats, especially if there is the possibility of finding a few small treats in them. Climbing towers can also be made at home or purchased from pet shops.
Chasing/stalking toys: Dangling things attached to string will encourage even the laziest cat into activity, you can use shop bought toys or make your own (a piece of string or ribbon will work).
Batting toys: Anything light that moves easily across a floor will encourage your cat to hit and chase. Rolled up paper and ping-pong type balls work well.
Scratch stations/posts: Cats love scratching posts and surfaces as it enables them to stretch and tone their muscles properly, maintain their claws and mark their territory.
Walkies: Some cats will tolerate a harness and lead and happily go for walks with their owners. This could be the ideal solution if you keep your cat indoors because you are worried he or she may go missing if allowed out alone.
Training: It is possible to train some cats to perform activities, some examples are; playing fetch with paper or toys, sitting on command and giving high fives to their owners. If they are food motivated this is much easier to do and will encourage activity.

cat activities

Feline Activities

Small Pets
Pets in cages also need to have the opportunity to exercise and get some fresh air and it is important not to overlook them.

Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Ferrets: These pets should have access to an outside safe area or enclosed run. They can be encouraged to exercise and forage for tasty food quite easily. Plastic tubes and cardboard boxes can be used to encourage exploration and play and there are also lots of activity toys available in pet stores. Many of these pets also enjoy walking on a harness, but be wary of predators if you take them outside your home environment.

Rodents: Can be provided with exercise wheels in the cage or exercise balls hat can be placed onto the floor at home. You can also invest in special plastic tunneling systems that attach to the cage and run around the outside of it to offer them more room. Providing ladders and rope bridges also encourages activity.

Birds: Should be given flying time out of their cage when it is safe to do so – just make sure you close all of the windows and doors first! If they have had their wings clipped and cannot fly they can at least be encourage to walk about outside the cage.

small furries activities

Small Pets

Useful Contacts
Agility clubs  This website has information about agility and lists of local clubs    http://www.agilityclub.org/

Pets In Practise Our local club offers dog training, kennel club good citizen scheme, and Rally classes   http://www.petsinpractise.co.uk/dog-training.html

The Kennel Club Offfer lots of information on dog related activities     http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/activities

Cat Clicker Training A good article on training your cat     http://www.for-cats-only.com/cat-clicker-training-start.htm

Cat Entertainment How to make a box tower for your cat    http://www.funinthemaking.net/2010/06/29/make-a-playhouse-box-tower-for-your-cat/

The Hay Experts Some ideas on activities for small pets    http:// http://www.thehayexperts.co.uk

Ferret Couture Lots of useful ferret information     http://www.ferretcouture.co.uk

Some of the above pictures are courtesy of our clients and their wonderful pets