Pets and Vets

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#StaySafe #PetSafe

The Global pandemic, Covid-19 has touched everyone including our pet population. During Covid-19, 2020, saw a huge rise in pets being bought by households where new pet owners find how rewarding and therapeutic it can be to own a pet during difficult times and still during 2021 the demand for dogs, in particular, has continued with an estimated one million dogs bought during this period.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that pets are able to transmit the virus to people. The OIE has put out updates from time to time as more has been found out about the virus.

Go Compare have a useful blog where you can check about the virus and how it affected pet health, insurance and more.

However, during this uncertain period, it’s important to remember to take precautions as advised by veterinary practices up and down the country to –

  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after touching an animal
  • Avoid close contact with pets from other households and stray animals as you simply do not know where they have been

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Winter Vets

Winter is a busy time for vets who see many Accident and Emergency pet accidents when poor weather arrives.

Lady walking dog in snow

One of the most common accidents vets see in winter in their practices is that of dogs that have licked and drank antifreeze lying around in water puddles which contains the dangerous chemical substance to dogs called ethylene glycol.

Signs of something seriously wrong often start within a couple of hours where your pet may start becoming wobbly, they may be very thirsty and urinating. It’s important not to delay calling your vet and attending their surgery as longer the symptoms have, the less likely your dog may survive.

Other accidents include running into boulders and other objects covered with snow needing veterinary care. Vets see many cases of hypothermia from dogs and cats getting cold, from a number of reasons such as being left in cold cars, owners not keeping their pets warm and from too long cold dog walks.

Some serious accidents happen to cats too who naturally seek somewhere warm during winter and climb into car bonnets or shelter under cars unbeknown to car drivers.

Salted roads and paths use chemicals and these chemicals are harmful to both dogs and cats when out walking causing chemical burns and ice balls form on their coats and between paws and toes particularly if they are long-haired. Pets need their coats to be cleaned thoroughly and dried when returning home from bad winter conditions.

It is these sort of hazards when having pet insurance can help unexpected veterinary bills and having the facility of a vet 24/7 call line to hand.

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One of the most common accidents vets see in winter in their practices is that of dogs that have licked and drank antifreeze lying around in water puddles which contains the dangerous chemical substance to dogs called ethylene glycol.

Signs of something seriously wrong often start within a couple of hours where your pet may start becoming wobbly, they may be very thirsty and urinating. It’s important not to delay calling your vet and attending their surgery as longer the symptoms have, the less likely your dog may survive.

Other accidents include running into boulders and other objects covered with snow needing veterinary care. Vets see many cases of hypothermia from dogs and cats getting cold, from a number of reasons such as being left in cold cars, owners not keeping their pets warm and from too long cold dog walks.

Some serious accidents happen to cats too who naturally seek somewhere warm during winter and climb into car bonnets or shelter under cars unbeknown to car drivers.

Salted roads and paths use chemicals and these chemicals are harmful to both dogs and cats when out walking causing chemical burns and ice balls form on their coats and between paws and toes particularly if they are long-haired. Pets need their coats to be cleaned thoroughly and dried when returning home from bad winter conditions.

It is these sort of hazards when having pet insurance can help unexpected veterinary bills and having the facility of a vet 24/7 call line to hand.

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What Do Vets Do?

With more than 45% of UK households owning a pet, vets are kept busy, with the most popular being dogs, followed by cats. Increasingly, households are choosing more unconventional pets such as reptiles and small mammals which need specialist vet care. 

The UK had just over 4,000 veterinary practices in 2019 for pet owners to choose from and approximately 25,000 registered veterinarians according to Statista.

Dog at the vets

Most of the UK public know that vets care for animals and try to keep them healthy.

Most veterinarians diagnose animal health problems, vaccinate against diseases, medicate animals suffering from infections or illnesses, take blood tests, treat and dress wounds, take x-rays, read other medical scans, set fractures, perform surgery, and advise owners about animal feeding, behaviour, and breeding, educating the public in the best care of their pet. 

They sadly also attend to end of life of the pet with euthanasia.

Pet care insurance was first introduced in the UK during 1976 and has now grown to more than a quarter of pet owners choosing to insure their pets. Most veterinary practices will treat insured animals, but it’s best to check first before expecting treatment.

Veterinary practices are run as private enterprises and generally are either large group practices or smaller, localised practices. They do refer between practices, sharing the state of the art resources where possible.

What’s most important is to find a vet in a practice that may specialise in your pet care if it’s more of an unusual pet choice, including rabbit care. 

Veterinary Professional Associations

The UK practice of veterinary medicine is regulated by The RCVS – The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Veterinary medicine can only be performed by fully qualified and regulated professionals as subject to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. 

The BVA – British Veterinary Association represents it’s professional members’ interests. You can check if your vet is registered using the RCVS or BVA search facility.

Numerous individuals need to be DBS checked when working with animals called The UK Disclosure and Barring Service. One of the purposes of this legal checking system is to help recruitment decisions by ensuring unsuitable people do not work with pets. There are 3 levels of checking, basic, standard and enhanced tiers.


Vets on entry into their profession are eligible for a basic DBS check as are other animal-related jobs such as boarding kennel owners, pet sitters, dog walkers, therapy handlers who accompany animals on hospital and hospice visits.

CVS is the UK’s largest Veterinary practice group, and Vets4Pets the largest small animal veterinary practice. Vets Now have more than 60 locations across the UK. 

Dog at vet

5 TIPS Finding A Local Vet

  • 1. When searching for a vet, ask other pet owners, kennel owners, pet owners which vet they use and listen to their feedback. They will be dealing with a variety of different breeds but the same name may just pop up.
  • 2. Take a look at all local vets online presence, reading customer reviews before using any services.
  • 3. Choose an accessible practice for location and clinic hours with a friendly, efficient and organised team and who support your pet insurance policy before you undertake any treatment.
  • 4. If your pet is exotic then it’s worthwhile finding the appropriate specialist vet in your area preferably before, or at the time of purchase. 
  • 5. Some vets can offer a short free consultation if new to their practice. Take advantage and see if you like the practice, how clean it is, how caring the staff are, how organised their reception area is and how thorough the vet appears to be.

Microchipping Your Pet

Dog being read by microchip reader

Microchipping was made a legal requirement, introduced in the UK, April 2016, a law for all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has slightly different animal laws but pets are also required to be microchipped.

Owners of dogs and puppies over eight weeks had to have registered their pets on one of the authorised professional, private, databases detailed on the government website, which keep their owners’ details. This was necessary to help reunite the thousands of pets that go missing, stolen or stray each year. 

Cats can be microchipped depending on their size from about 10-12 weeks. Cats obtained from animal shelters are likely to have been chipped whilst in their care.

Only suitably trained persons can carry out microchipping which include veterinary practices. Likewise, veterinary practices can ‘read’ the microchip located in the scruff of the neck of the pet, with a special electronic non-evasive reader that will provide the important information registered about the chipped animal, linking to online records held by privately government approved companies.

Larger and exoctic animals can be microchipped to particularly stop pilfering and theft. Microchipped animals can also be monitored by the microchip readers by establishments across Europe and other international countries, particularly useful if dogs or animals stray and are found and can be repatriated to their owners.

Owners are advised to make sure vets check the microchip reading every time owners visit their vets.

The government website currently provides three charities who can microchip pets for free, ensuring all dog owners can comply with the Act.

The image above shows a dog being ‘read’ by a microchip reader. Watch the video ‘Microchipping a Pet’ in the video store to fully appreciate the procedure.

Dog eating flowers

Pet Poisoning

It’s frightening how easily pets can become poisoned around the home, garden and open spaces, 24/7. 


If you know what your pet has just eaten then a quick check online can often identify the toxicity symptoms they will be showing signs of, or shortly. This can be where a pet insurance plan really helps and a visit is needed to your vet urgently, taking the substance with you. 

Treatments are diverse according to what your pet has swallowed, whether it may be a foreign object, toxic and caustic substances or poisons such as chocolate, raisins or human pills.

There are now many vet businesses offering emergency video chats as part of their practice services, linking up with insurance firms, as part of pet insurance policies. Vets can advise short-term best practices but a speedy emergency trip to the vet is inevitable. 

If you think your dog has been eating snails, slugs or even frogs, visit the vet immediately. 

Cat wearing veterinary protective collar

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Best Tip

Most vets offer free pet weighing services helping to keep pets healthy fit and positively encourage frequent weigh-ins.

Important

Rabbits can catch fleas from other pets such as dogs and cats in the family household and all pets should be treated for fleas at the same time together.


What Should A Dog’s Temperature Be?

A dog and cats temperature should be between 38 to 39.2° Celsius (101° and 102.5°F). Your dog’s body temperature is naturally higher than a human’s. If your pet has a higher temperature of 39.5°C (103°F) or more, contact a vet.


\\\ Pet Routine Treatments

Routine Treatments – Pet Dental Care
Dog teeth being examined

Just like humans, pets need dental care especially with help particularly preventing plaque building up.

Brushing pet’s teeth is essential, with a toothbrush every day but NOT with human toothpaste. Replace the brush every month to six weeks. 

Providing your pet with a regular dental routine can make real differences to their long-term oral health. Dog dental toys, chews and sticks are available in a wide range of sizes and flavours. from pet stores. 

Dry dental health foods include hard food particles that clean pet’s teeth as they chew, which help prevent plaque build-up. 

Vets are always happy to help with advice and care to prevent later problems in life.

Cat having veterinary treatment
Routine Care – Insurers

It’s essential to keep routine jabs for your pets up to date as insurers may not insure your pet if they lapse. Vets recommend dogs, cats and rabbits are protected against diseases at annual appointments.  


Routine Treatments – Fleas

Routine treatments are those generally that can be provided regularly by the pet owner including flea treatments, worming treatments, lice, ticks, and dental care.

Dog having routine treatments at vet

Insurance does not cover pets suffering from preventable illnesses caused by failure to keep up routine treatments such as flea treatments.

Fleas are living parasites and can cause much discomfort and other health conditions to pets including dogs, cats, rabbits and small pets.

Fleas can easily be found living in pet’s coats and affect the whole household very quickly. The first signs are generally a pet scratching itself continuously particularly around the scruff, head neck and ears, and back end and as an owner, you may have also been bitten. 

Flea treatments need to be applied immediately, and regularly. There are many available on the market place for puppies, dogs and kitten and cats. 

As well as flea infestations, worming treatments for dogs and cats is also highly recommended by vets at the same time as applying flea treatments. 


Routine Care And Insurers

Most pet insurers – but not all – expect pet owners to pay for routine, preventative and elective care of the pet, which includes neutering and microchipping, also regular flea treatment, annual vaccinations and other treatments. Likewise, kennels and catteries will ask to see proof of these when booking your pet in using their services.


Routine Treatments – Worming Pets
Dog being treated for fleas

Worming puppies at five weeks, eight weeks and twelve weeks is recommended and thereafter, at least every 3 months, as responsible pet ownership.  

Two main UK worm types are roundworm and tapeworm, are parasites and can cause harm to your pet and ultimately humans. 

Puppies are more commonly affected than dogs. Puppies and dogs can show signs by eating more, or by loss of weight, Diarrhoea or vomiting, scooting and dragging their bottom along the ground, swollen tummy, and visible worms or eggs in their faeces (or fur) around their bottoms.  

Ringworm caused by a fungus is not an internal parasite and is not prevented by using worming treatments.  

Lungworms live in a dog’s respiratory system. Dogs acquire lungworm eating grass where snails or snail trails are attached, as well as playing with toys that have been left outside where snails can contact. 

A course of worming tablets, liquid or paste will ease any discomfort, available from pet stores. Several companies offer a handy monthly bundle treatment subscription package service delivered to your door. Handy, where you’ll never forget. 

Kittens require similar worming treatments from 12 weeks onwards, as do cats about every three months throughout their life.   


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