St David Veterinary Centre Newsletter Summer 2016
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Fran's Story

I wanted to work with animals for as long as I can remember. After completing my GCSE's, I studied Animal Management at Pencoed College which just reinforced my desire to work with animals. I had various work placements in the animal industry from veterinary practices, the dog pound and working with the dog handlers in the police force. After a week with the police, I decided I wanted to become a police dog handler. My issue with this career prospect was that I would need to join the police force for a minimum of 2 years and then apply to become a dog handler. Because this was not a guaranteed career route for me, I opted to continue with my original career choice and become a Veterinary Nurse. After college I started studying at the University of Bristol and completed a 4 year degree in Veterinary Nursing and Practice Administartion. I started a summer placement at St David's after my first year of university in 2007. I then returned during the holidays for the remainder of my studies. I was then offered a job when I qualified in 2010 and I've been working full time at St David's ever since. I have a keen interest in orthopaedic nursing and small animal nutrition. I completed my Nursing Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition in February and regularly hold nutrition clinics here at St David's. During my spare time I enjoy training at my local gym, playing netball in Cardiff and Vale district leagues, socialising with friends and planning my next adventure. I'm currently planning my next trip which will be in December for a month.


Raising Awareness Of Dogs & Cats With Allergies

What is an allergy?
An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a common substance known as an allergen.
Known allergens are foods, pollens from trees, grasses, flowers, moulds, dust, storage mites, fleas, dander (dead skin) and many more.

Allergens can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion or even just skin contact. Allergies can be immediate (classical) or occur within a few hours or days (delayed).
Skin - itching, scratching, face rubbing, paw chewing, persistent licking and over grooming.
Ear - swelling, itching and soreness.
Gastrointestinal - diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight problems.
Hair loss.
Low stamina and energy levels.
Behaviour problems.

Please contact us at either branch to make an appointment with one of our Veterinary Surgeons, to discuss what the best options are for your pet.
Sometimes topical treatments like creams and shampoos, antihistamines, keeping up to date with flea control, change of diet, or even special vaccines can help with allergies.


Keeping Your Pets Cool This Summer

As the weather warms up, we all look forward to a bit of sunshine. It is important to be aware of the effects heat can have on your pets.
Pets are unable to cool down by releasing sweat from skin pores like we do. Cats, dogs and rabbits do sweat a little bit from their pads but if they want to cool down further they pant. However, this may not be sufficient in hot and humid weather, so it is up to us to stop them from getting too hot in the first place, and if they do overheat, knowing how to treat them.
- Walk your dog at cooler times of the day, early in the morning and late evening when the temperatures are cooler.
- Make sure your pet has fresh, clean water available at all times and change it regularly. If you are out for the day with your dog, make sure you have plenty of water with you.
- If animals are kept outdoors, make sure they have easy access to shade. Take in to consideration the movement of the sun over the day and that there is enough shade at all times.
- Pets can get sunburnt, especially those with light coloured or thin coats, on exposed areas such as ear tips and noses. Don't allow your pet to stay out in strong sunlight and speak to your vet about pet-safe sun-creams.
- Get your dog a haircut at the start of summer to keep it cool and groom regularly to remove excess hair from cats. 
- Don't forget small furries and birds kept indoors. Keep their cages out of direct sunlight and avoid locations that tend to heat up quickly.
- Check rabbits twice a day for dirty back ends as they are prone to flystrike in warm weather (maggot infestation). 

Never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm day! Even if the window is open, it's cloudy outside or you have a sunshield. The inside of a car temperature can rise dangerously high within a few minutes and heatstroke is a potentially fatal condition.
Signs of heatstroke - heavy panting, excessive salivation, lethargy, loss of consciousness and collapse.

If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke, contact us at the surgery immediately!  


Obesity is a common chronic condition in cats and dogs. Obesity in cats and dogs is on the rise. In the UK alone it is estimated that around 60% of cats and dogs are overweight or obese. If your animal is obese this indicates that your animal has a serious weight problem. Obesity is caused by having an imbalance between the number of calories your animal eats and the number of calories your animal burns. In order to tell if your animal is over weight or not, you should be able to feel your animals ribs and also the points that are on top of the spine. You should be able to feel these easily and there should just be a small amount of underlying fat. Your animal should also tuck in at their waist. Your pet is likely to have a weight problem if you cannot feel their ribs or spine. Your vet/vet nurse will be able to give you a better indication as to whether your pet has a weight problem or not.

Online Shop

Simply visit our online shop through our website on the link below. Here you will find our latest special offers and a wide range of products for our dogs, cats, small furries and birds.
This month we have a 10% discount off outdoor toys and games for our four legged friends and a great range of summer accessories.
On your first order you will receive a 20% discount, free delivery to our surgery and free delivery to your home when you spend over £25.

Blood Tests

In house laboratory at St David Vets
Has your pet had bloods that are run in our in house laboratory? Ever wondered where your pets sample goes?

We have three main machines that analyse your pets blood:

- First is the Biochemistry machine. This analyses the function of many of your pets organs. Glucose levels are one example of this, showing if your pet has a problem with regulating their sugar levels, has possibly got diabetes, or if it is low which is a serious problem. It can be falsely elevated in cats when stressed so this is why a Veterinary Surgeon has to interpret the results along with a clinical examination and history to make an accurate diagnosis.
- Second is the Haematology machine. This studies your pets blood cells, checking for any infection, disease indicators, low or high white or red blood cells and any disruption to the flow of oxygenated blood through the body. In the same way these are analysed along with history and signs by one of our veterinary surgeons.
- We have also got an in house microscopy unit that our vets and nurses use to look at specific haematology samples, parasite detection (such as mites) and looking at skin removed tissues (such as lumps removed) to see what cells are seen.
- The third is the snapshot machine. This analyses samples for a specific problem, such as pancreatitis, cushings disease and FIV/Felv (in cats).
- Sometimes we need specialist equipment or laboratory staff to look at our samples in more depth that is simply not possible in a Veterinary Surgery, so these samples are transferred by courier overnight to an external laboratory who analyse and report back to the vet with their findings.


Fran's Top Tips

After animals are neutered they tend to gain weight, as their metabolism slows down and they tend to become less active. In order to prevent weight gain post neutering you should reduce your animals food by a third or place them onto a neutered complete food.

Treats should contribute up to 15% of your pets daily calorie intake if they are at their ideal weight. Too many treats can then result in weight gain!

Having an animal that is overweight can reduce their life expectancy by 2 years. Obesity can predispose animals to a number of health implications including:
- Heart disease
- Osteoarthritis
- Cruciate disease
- Urinary problems
- Liver disease
- Skin disease
- Diabetes
- Pancreatitis  
See more on our website >>
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