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Calming tips for dogs during fireworks

Photo by Vets Now via https://www.vets-now.com/fireworks-and-pets/

Bonfire night is almost upon us and fireworks are already going off most nights – here are some tips brought to you by our colleagues at Vets Now for helping to keep our dogs calm during this time!

1. Keep your dog indoors

There is a chance your dog could run off if they are spooked by loud bangs and sadly our vets regularly see pets who have been hit by cars as a result of this. During fireworks, make sure they are safely indoors with windows and doors securely closed. Be sure to walk them well in advance of fireworks starting and keep them on a lead.

2. Leave internal doors open

The inescapable booming sounds are distressing enough for your dog without them feeling trapped. Help them feel more in control by keeping internal doors open so they can settle themselves wherever they want.

3. Provide a safe space

Ensure your dog has access to a comforting place they can settle in if they’re distressed, (their usual bed or a quiet spot with some of your old clothes are usually good bets).

4. ‘Soundproof’ your house

Help block out the noise as much as possible, by drawing the curtains, for example.

5. Play background noise

Playing “white noise” such as the TV, radio or other music, in advance of the fireworks starting, can help drown out the noise.

6. Provide your dog with nutritious treats

Offering tasty, healthy treats while the fireworks are going off may distract and help calm your dog down.

7. Offer praise and comfort

If they are scared of the fireworks this can help calm and reassure your dog that there is nothing to worry about. Stroking and cuddling is fine if they need comforting, but if they choose to hide it’s best to let them.

8. Act natural

While it’s ok to praise and comfort your dog if they are scared of the fireworks, be sure to stay calm to avoid reinforcing their behaviour. In other words, if you act worried your dog will think there is a reason for them to be worried. Acting as normal as possible is key.

9. Try a thundershirt

Thundershirts, or pressure vests, provide consistent pressure on a dog’s core and are designed to have a calming effect. Studies suggest they may have a small but beneficial impact on anxiety. However, it’s unlikely your dog’s anxiety will be fully alleviated by wearing a thundershirt, and, in some cases, these products may have no beneficial effect at all.

The original article by Laura Playforth at Vets Now can found here.

There’s also some great tips for cats and rabbits during firework season which can be found by clicking here.

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Rabbits – combined RHD, RHD-2 and Myxo vaccination

In the last decade a new strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) has become prevalent in the UK. This variant strain is known as RHD-2 and is now responsible for a significant proportion of all RHD cases across the country.

All breeds of rabbit, including both pet and wild rabbits, can be affected by both strains of RHD as well as myxomatosis. Both fatal diseases are endemic to the UK.

Most rabbits affected by RHD die rapidly often without showing obvious clinical signs apart from a short period of dullness and lethargy. If the rabbit does show symptoms, these can include widespread haemorrhages, fever and organ dysfunction before they die.

Myxomatosis causes puffy swellings around the head, face and genitals as well as a high fever. These swellings can be so severe that they can cause blindness. Affected rabbits typically cease eating and drinking and death typically follows within 12 days.

Ultimately, both diseases are typically fatal. The diseases are spread by insects, meaning contact with other rabbits isn’t necessary for disease transmission.

These diseases cannot be cured, only prevented.

We are now able to vaccinate against Myxomatosis and both strains of RHD in a single vaccine.

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Cats and arthritis

As they get older cats often begin to suffer with arthritis.

This can have a negative impact on their quality of life – affecting their ability to move and jump around comfortably and keep themselves clean and tidy by grooming themselves. Being less active and not grooming properly can cause a range of secondary issues such as loss of muscle mass and tone, fur matting and skin infections.

Osteoarthritis is usually a painful condition but being a predatory species cats can be very good at hiding obvious signs of being in pain. This means that cats don’t recieve treatment as often or as early as dogs where the problem is much easier to spot.

The chart below shows a number of signs you can watch out for that might suggest your cat is suffering with arthritis – if you start to see any of these changes it can be worth getting in touch to have your cat checked over as there are things that can be done to help and treat the condition.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about your cat!

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Home deliveries of medication

Please contact us by telephone on 01302 785549 if you would like us to post out ongoing medication to your home address.

Routine medications such as flea / worm / tick control can be sent out as long as we have a fairly recent weight for your pet on file.

Medication for ongoing health issues can also be posted to you – if your pet is due for a check up then depending on the condition we may be able to prescribe extra medication to ensure you do not run out if you are physically unable to attend the practice due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please check here for updates on our services in general during this time.

Medication will be posted 1st class signed for via the Royal Mail unless we have discussed otherwise – please bear in mind that postage is taking longer than normal at present and let us know if you require something urgently so that we can arrange a next day delivery where possible.

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COVID-19 Updates

We are currently able to offer most services and will remain open during the second lockdown commencing 05/11/20 but please be aware that there may be a longer wait time than normal for non emergency appointments. To discuss an appointment please call us on 01302 785549.

At present we require all our clients to adhere to social distancing guidelines put forward by the government and our governing bodies. Please observe the following when you come for your appointment:


• Be prepared to wait outside or in your car until we are ready for you – please either ring the doorbell or ideally phone us to let us know you are waiting.

• Wear a face covering to cover your mouth and nostrils. Please note that there are no exceptions to this rule. If you have a medical reason that you cannot wear a mask or young children that cannot wear a mask then we will not be able to permit you access to the building. We will still be able to treat your pet but you will need to wait outside and we will speak to you over the phone where necessary.

• Attend the practice as a group of 2 or less where possible.

Do your best to remain 2 metres away from staff member or any other clients waiting outside. Please be aware that we will need to ask you to wait outside the consulting room whilst we examine your pet – you will be able to see and converse with the vet but will need to remain at a safe distance.

If you are self isolating due to symptoms of coronavirus please arrange for a friend or relative who is not self isolating to bring your pet to the practice.

Pay by card if at all possible.

For collections of medication, parasite treatments, food etc. please come between 1pm and 3pm on a weekday so that we are able to assist you quickly without crossover between clients waiting for appointments (home delivery of medication is available where appropriate.)




There is currently no evidence that pets can transmit this strain of coronovirus to humans – please see the WHO’s current advice for further information or updates on this. It is however theoretically possible that an infected person could transfer the virus onto a pets fur as with any other object so we would encourage you to try avoiding petting animals you don’t know and to wash your hands well before and after handling any pets.

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