Spring Poisons

1 Mar 2021

Pets can get themselves into mischief sometimes and the risks to them can be different depending on the time of year. 

With Spring in the air and #poisonpreventionawarenessmonth upon us, we wanted to share with you some information about the hazards that can cause your pet anything from an irritation to an emergency.

We don’t have much exotic wildlife in the UK but there is one critter that can cause your pet some trouble.  The Adder is the only native venomous snake in the UK.  Adder’s begin to emerge from hibernation during the months of March and April as the temperature begins to warm.  Adder’s are not by nature an aggressive snake but they will bite if provoked or feel threatened.  Rapid swelling around the bite area, with pain, lethargy and collapse of your pet are some of the symptoms of an Adder’s bite.  Owner’s should seek veterinary help if a pet gets bitten.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Adders are a protected species so attempting to catch the snake or cause it harm is not advised.


Hot cross buns are rife at this time of year. They taste great and us humans love them but they contain raisins or sultanas and ingestion of even a small quantity of this dried fruit can cause severe kidney failure.

Plant Life

Pets like to spend time in the garden. Owners should be aware of lawn feeds, weed and moss killers or fertilizers which can cause your pet to experience gastrointestinal upset in most cases.  Certain pest control products can also be toxic to your pet and products that contain a high level of iron can cause iron poisoning which can result in shock and liver failure.

There are also some plants which present a risk to our pets.  Mushrooms and toadstools are in abundance during wet and mild weather.  There are many species that can be difficult to identify which can cause gastrointestinal signs.  However, there are some that can cause kidney and liver failure so it is advised that veterinary attention is sought.

Photo by Adrian Infernus on Unsplash

Pets have a habit of chewing on things they shouldn’t and this is the case in the garden.  Spring plants, such as snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and tulips can cause gastrointestinal upset with some pets needing treatment to control vomiting and to replace lost fluids.

Download our leaflet HERE to refer to when needed and if you are concerned that your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t and want advice, contact the Animal Poison Line, details of which you can access via the following link HERE

Regurgitation or vomiting can be a normal digestive function of a cat or dog.  You may have already experienced this and in most cases it is nothing more than a result of eating something they shouldn’t have, a tummy bug or as a result of eating their food too quickly. 

But when is it more serious?  If your pet continues to vomit and are not their ‘usual selves’; perhaps they don’t want to eat, are lethargic or have diarrhoea, this might suggest that they will need to see a vet.  If your pet develops other symptoms such as a bloated abdomen or blood in their vomit then it’s important to seek advice quickly.

This is particularly important for young puppies and kittens and pets under 6 months old.  Just like human babies, they can become dehydrated and very unwell very quickly if they do not receive treatment quickly.  Vomiting and diarrhoea together can speed up this dehydration process so again, it’s important to seek veterinary advice.

‘Unproductive’ vomiting, or vomiting that does not produce any stomach contents, could suggest a foreign body.  This occurs when a pet eats a non-food object which cannot pass through the gastrointestinal tract i.e. sock.  This requires urgent veterinary attention as it can also cut off the blood supply making the issue potentially fatal.  

Click the link HERE for more information about vomiting in dogs and HERE about vomiting in cats.

If you are ever concerned about any aspect of your pet’s health, please do call the team who are trained to ask the right questions so as to understand yours and your pet’s needs. You can call on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or why not open a chat on PetsApp.

Hypertension in Cats

22 Feb 2021

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure which is a common condition in older cats.  The most common reason for a cat to have high blood pressure is as a result of another, underlying medical condition such as kidney disease or an overactive thyroid gland.

High blood pressure can cause damage to a cat’s body, the most serious of which are:

  • bleeding into the eye and changes to the retina, potentially causing detachment.  This can affect a cat’s vision and even blindness.
  • bleeding into the brain which can cause “odd” behaviour such as a wobbly or drunken gait, seizures, dementia or coma.
  • thickening of the heart muscle leading to heart failure.
  • damage to the kidneys and potentially kidney failure.

Owners should have their cat’s blood pressure checked regularly. It’s a great way to identify an issue before it affects other organs in the body.  If your cat is 7 or over, owners are advised to regularly attend health clinics where their cat’s blood pressure can be measured.  Early identification means treatment can be provided before damage to other organs can take place.

If you’re wondering how a cat’s blood pressure is taken, visit our YouTube channel HERE to see the process in action. As a Cat Friendly Clinic we ensure the cat remains as calm and stress free as possible in order to get an accurate reading.

For more information on other issues that may affect an older cat, download our leaflet HERE and if you have any concerns about your cat’s blood pressure or health in general, call the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat in PetsApp.

The eyes are a sensitive organ and are susceptible to injury and infection.  Owners should act quickly if they suspect that their pet has an issue with their eyes because early intervention can protect the long term sight of your pet.

Your pet’s eyes should be bright, clear and shiny with both pupils looking the same.  If they are dull, cloudy or change in colour or if the pupils are different to each other then this could mean something is wrong.

Other visible clues

Inflamed (red), swollen or sore.

Excess tearing or discharge.

Your pet seems confused or is bumping into things.

Your pet is rubbing their eyes or blinking more than usual.

The eyes can also indicate other health issues.  In cats, it is possible to detect blood pressure issues from changes observed within the eye.

Corneal Ulcer

One of the more urgent eye conditions your pet may suffer from is a corneal ulcer.  The cornea is the transparent part of the eye and an ulcer can develop as a result of an injury or a foreign object causing trauma to the cornea.

An ulcer can be difficult to spot so is usually diagnosed with a special stain. The stain is dropped into the eye and binds to the ulcer making it more visible.  If an ulcer is left untreated it can deepen. This will cause pain and put the integrity of the eyeball at risk. Treatment should be sought quickly if an owner suspects an eye injury  It is important that if you suspect an eye injury that the eye is examined quickly so that treatment can be provided to ensure the best outcome for your pet.

For more information on eye health, visit the PDSA website HERE If you are concerned about your pet’s eyes or any aspect of their health, call the team for advice on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat on PetsApp.

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, in cats is a common disorder in older cats.  Hyperthyroidism is rarely seen in cats younger than 7 years old.

A cat has two thyroid glands situated just below the larynx on both sides of the trachea. The glands produce the thyroid hormone that is responsible for regulating many body processes. This includes the cat’s metabolic rate. Hyperthyroidism is when too much of the thyroid hormone is produced. The clinical signs can be quite dramatic and a cat can become seriously ill. An owner needs to understand how to identify if their cat is affected by observing some key symptoms.

The Signs

Signs of a Hyperthyroid Cat

The list below show some of the signs that your cat may display if they are affected by hyperthyroidism:

  • Weight loss
  • A good or increased appetite.
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased activity, restlessness or irritability
  • A poor and unkempt coat

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms owners should seek treatment. Not treating hyperthyroidism will have important consequences for your cat’s heart.  This will include both physical changes to the heart but also the development of high blood pressure. High blood pressure will cause damage to other organs such as the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain.

Detection of the condition is straight forward. A small blood sample will be taken so that the levels of the thyroid hormone can be measured.

Thankfully once the condition has been detected it can be treated very successfully with most cats making a complete recovery.

For more information on the condition you can download our leaflet HERE or click on the link HERE for the ICC website.

If you have any questions about hyperthyroidism or have any concerns about your cat’s health in general, call the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or why not open a chat on PetsApp

A challenging emergency for the team is called a GDV (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus).  This is a rapidly progressive, life-threatening condition in dogs and can result in death. The condition is commonly associated with large meals and causes the stomach to expand because of the food and gas.  This expansion can cause the stomach to rotate in the abdomen (volvulus) which leads to a blockage in the blood supply to the spleen and the stomach.  This in turn leads to the prevention of an adequate blood flow to the heart from the abdomen and pressure on the diaphragm, preventing the lungs from expanding adequately.  Dogs will quickly go into shock because of the effects on their entire body and will require urgent treatment. This involves stabilizing the dog, decompression of the stomach and surgery to return the stomach to it’s normal position permanently.

What is GDV?

The syndrome is not completely understood but there are certain breeds of dog; those that have a deep chest, are fed a single large meal once a day, are older or are related to other dogs that have experienced a GDV, that are prone to the condition. Many breeds have been known to have experienced stomach expansion with or without the stomach rotation but the more commonly affected breeds are those such as Great Danes, Weimaraners, St Bernards, Irish setters and Gordon setters.

It’s very important that owners know the symptoms to be aware of as time is of the essence.  Symptoms to look out for are:

  • an anxious look or looking at the abdomen
  • standing and stretching
  • drooling
  • distending their abdomen
  • retching without producing anything
  • bloating
  • panting
  • weakness and/or collapse
  • need to lay down

The treatment process itself isn’t without risk but without it the condition is fatal.  For more information and resources visit the PDSA website HERE .

If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, please do call the team who will be happy to advise.  Call the team on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat on PetsApp.

A serious condition that can affect a male cat is “urethral obstruction” or a blocked bladder.  This condition is caused by the accumulation of proteins, cells and crystals and other debris in the bladder. The debris becomes lodged in the urethra making it impossible for the cat to urinate. It affects male cats because they have a much longer and much narrower urethra than a female cat and so more susceptible to becoming blocked.

This condition isn’t common. When it does happens it’s painful for the cat and, despite trying really hard, the cat will be unable to urinate.  Additional risk factors are male cats that are overweight, sedentary, middle aged, stressed or are “indoor” cats. 

This is a life-threatening emergency for the cat. If left untreated it can cause acute kidney failure and death within 2-3 days if it not addressed appropriately.

Signs and Symptoms

Owners should be aware of the following signs:

  • Repeated attempts to urinate without urine being expelled.
  • Crying or discomfort when trying to urinate.
  • Agitation and possible vomiting.

Owners may also notice an increase in frequency of urinating over the preceding few days and perhaps even some blood in the urine.

If your male cat is showing ANY of these signs it is very important that you seek veterinary advice immediately.


For more information on the condition click on the link HERE

There is more information on how to manage stress in your cat HERE and to understand more about stress and how it affects your cat, download our leaflet HERE

You can also help to ensure that your cat’s environment is meeting your cat’s needs. Download information HERE and if any of the information affects your cat, call the team today on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352 or open a chat on PetsApp.

Pet owners know their pets and notice small changes in them pretty quickly but it can be difficult to know when a symptom is in need of urgent treatment. During lockdown, staying home and limiting travel and contact are the messages we are receiving which makes it even more difficult to decide if your pet needs veterinary help urgently.

During the current restrictions we are not undertaking routine procedures such as neutering, vaccination boosters and some dental work.  However, to help you we will share a series of posts about some of the more serious conditions that can affect pets so you’ll know when to take action.  We will share information about the signs and symptoms of medical issues that would need urgent veterinary treatment.  In all instances, if you are at any time concerned about the health of your pet, do call the team for advice.  They will ask the right questions to understand your needs and the needs of your pet so they can advise as to the right course of action.

Hillock Lane – 01772 639800

Blackpool – 01253 766352

To access veterinary care when the practice is closed, call 01772 639800 and you will be put through to an ‘Out of Hours’ vet who can advise you.

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Cat’s tend to be more solitary creatures and it’s important that their environment meets not only their physical health needs but their mental health needs too.  As an owner it’s important to create the right home environment for your cat as they bond more strongly with their environment than they do to their humans. If you want to avoid unwanted behaviours, it really is worth putting in the time to take steps to provide that environment.

Multi-Cat Household

Most issues come from multi-cat households but the principles apply to single cat households too.  Download information HERE to look at ways in which you can provide your cat with a great home, reduce their stress and generally improve their quality of life!

For more information, visit the International Cat Care website HERE

Walking your dog isn’t just about taking them around the block to do their “business”.  It’s a simple activity that has SO many other benefits for your dog’s overall health, including their mental health.

Regular exercise is a great way to burn calories to keep excess pounds off and not just for your dog, but for us humans too!  Walking keeps those joints mobile and can regulate the digestive tract making the routine of a walk a great way to keep your dog on “poop schedule”.

Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Walking your dog is also a GREAT way to keep them mentally stimulated.  Dogs don’t like to be bored so if you give them something constructive to do, they may be less likely to do something destructive, like chewing the furniture!  Allowing your dog to sniff also helps them to explore and make sense of their environment and keeps them mentally stimulated.

You are also the center of your dog’s universe and they CRAVE your attention so what better way to spend quality time with your dog than by taking a walk together.  Spending one to one time with your dog will deepen your bond and help to deter any unwanted attention-seeking behaviours.

Stuck for some ideas on how to keep your dog entertained in the home?  Why not download these useful ideas and share your own game ideas with other owners! 

Although cats bond with their environment rather than their human, there are ways in which you can entertain and keep you cat active and mentally stimulated too. Download some ideas at the link below.

We’d LOVE to see pictures of the activities you come up with. Just tag us #rowanvets