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Animal Medical Centre News

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Practice News

Practice News

New Microchip Legislation Effective April 2016


Lost and stolen dogs cost the taxpayer and welfare charities £33 million per year. A microchip makes it much easier to reunite dogs with their owner.

110,000 stray dogs are picked up by police, local authorities and animal welfare charities each year.

Over half (52%) of these stray dogs could not be rehomed because their owner could not be identified.

6,000 dogs are put down each year because their owner is unknown and they cannot be rehomed.

From 6 April 2016 all dogs in England will be required to have a microchip.

Wales has not yet announced their regulations and Scotland is still considering whether to make microchipping compulsory for dogs.

 From the 6th of April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old. For every dog that is currently not microchipped, you will have until 6th of April to get them microchipped and registered on an approved database.

After 6 April 2016, owners of dogs found by the police or local authorities not to have a microchip will have the benefits explained to them and be given 21 days to comply with the microchipping law. If they do not, they will face a fine of to £500.

Dog breeders will be responsible for microchipping their puppies before they sell or give them to new owners. All imported dogs require a microchip. Breeders will be required to register their own details and these will be recorded against the microchip number for the life of the dog, so that any breeding issues can be investigated.

This will help tackle the growing problem of stray dogs, and will help to reunite owners with lost or stolen pets more quickly. It will relieve the burden on animal charities and local authorities and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.


The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014 will be enforced by local authorities, police constables, community support officers and any other person which the Secretary of State may authorise to act as an enforcer of the regulations. The Kennel Club and Petlog will be assisting enforcers, as it is donating a scanner to every local authority in England and Wales.

The breeder must always be the first registered keeper of the puppies and it will be illegal for the breeder to not be listed as a keeper on the database. The breeder must also provide microchipping documents to the puppy buyer to ensure the new owner can update their details in order to comply with the law.

You can check if your dog is registered on Petlog’s database on the website


Please call Animal Medical Centre on 020 8450 2228 for any further advice or too book you dog (or cat) in to be microchippped


Pet passengers...Are fleas and ticks an issue?

Pet passengers...Are fleas and ticks an issue?

AT LAST - The warmer weather is on the way! but beware - any flea eggs lurking in carpets and bedding, or outside in parks and gardens, will start to hatch and develop into adult fleas! Worse still, adult fees are very able hoppers and will quickly make their home in your pet's coat, where they will repeatedly feed on their blood. Fleas can cause a multitude of problems including skin itchiness, rashes, infections, hair loss and extreme cases anaemia. And if this isn't bad enough, they can bite us as well! Most troubling of all, a single adult flea can lay around 50 eggs per day! These fall off your pet and are deposited in carpets, bedding and also in outside areas. Whilst the eggs can sometimes remain dormant for many months, in warm weather they will rapidly hatch out and develop (via larval stages) into adult fleas. As a result, it is easy to see how a small number of flea eggs can lead to a flea problem of epidemic proportions in just a few weeks!
Ticks are another problem to contend with at this time of year. In contrast to fleas, ticks live in areas of long grass, woodland and heathland, waiting to attach themselves to passing pets. Once attached, ticks feed on your pet's blood, sometimes for several days.
Ticks can cause problems in two ways: firstly they can sometimes cause quite marked tissue reactions at the attachment site and secondly, while feeding, they can transmit dangerous inflections such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis. Don't let pesky parasites make your life a misery! Make sure you are up to date with flea and tick treatments - please let us advise you on the best form of flea an tick control on your pet.

Kennel cough - Is your dog protected?

Kennel cough - Is your dog protected?

DID YOU Know that wherever dogs meet they run the risk of picking up Kennel Cough? This is a highly infectious cough, rapidly causing symptoms of severe coughing and breathlessness as well as high temperatures, sore throats and loss of appetite. In the worst cases it can cause severe and prolonged disease and may even be associated with death. Even in young healthy dogs it can cause weeks of coughing. The condition is caused by a mixture of viruses and a bacterium - Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Although your pet's regular booster vaccinations should provide protection against the viral components of the cough, only intanasal vaccine drops can offer protection against Bordetella. We recommend that dogs are vaccinated against kennel cough before going into kennels or at any time when the disease is rife. Please contact us if you would like further information.

Lumps may vary considerably in appearance. Some are fairly obvious whilst others are harder to detect. Some lumps move with the skin while others feel 'stuck' to underlying tissues. Some are associated with reddening or bleeding. others are surrounded by swollen or inflamed tissue. Early detection of lumps is always the golden rule.

Keep a watchful eye out for lumps and bumps!

In addition to the regular health checks your pet receives when visiting us, it's a great idea to perform some form of routine check yourself. Get your pet used to you looking at their eyes, ears, teeth and giving them a general check-over. This way will hopefully pick up early signs of problems including any abnormal lumps.
If you pet does develop a lump, there are several possible underlying causes - these include abscesses, hernias and tumours. The most serious of these tumours which are either benign - which tend to be slow growing and remain in one place or malignant which invade the surrounding tissues and may also spread to there parts of the body.
If you do discover a lump on your pet, it is important that we examine it as soon as possible in order that we may establish the underlying cause and start any treatment without delay. Timing is everything and delay in appropriate treatment can be the difference between a small mass that is easily treatable by surgical removal and one that is far more difficult to treat. So if you are concerned about a lump on your pet - or any other health problem, please contact us today for a appointment.

Does you pet drink like a fish?

Does you pet drink like a fish?

INCREASED thirst is commonly seen in older pets and whilst warm weather may be a factor, it is an important symptom that shouldn't be ignored, as it may be a sign of serious underlying disease. Pets may appear relatively normal or show a variety of other symptoms.
In cats it can be particularly noticeable, since most cats spend years showing no interest in water, and then suddenly you are regularly filling their water bowl. Increased drinking may point to a range of problems including: kidney or liver disease, diabetes mellitus, Cushings disease in dogs and hyperthyroiddism in cats (to name just a few!) Additionally, older unspayed female pets are predisposed to pyometra - a life threatening uterine infection that commonly has increased thirst as one of its presenting signs.
So if you think your pet is drinking more than normal, please bring them in for a check-up. As well as giving your pet a thorough clinical examination, urine and blood test are usually very helpful in making a diagnosis. Once the problem is identified, we can hopefully get treatment (tailored to the specific condition), speedily under way.
The good news is that although there is no cure for old age, we do have treatments for many of the conditions mentioned above which will hopefully ease the symptoms and prevent or slow the progression of the disease. Please call us if you are at all worried!

Insurance and Your Pet

Insurance and Your Pet

Insurance may not be the most exciting subject, but it is critical for the long-term well being of your pet.  Pets are living longer than ever, and medical advances mean that we can improve the quality of life for your pet, but the advances are often quite costly.


This costly treatment is usually required after many years together, when the bond between you is at its strongest.


The right Pet Insurance doesn’t just cover the accidents, such as broken bones, it also cover ongoing treatment, for example, pain relief for arthritis, or heart disease medication and dental treatment. The right Pet Insurance policy will also cover treatments you may not have considered before, such as behaviour treatment or acupuncture.


A proper pet insurance policy can remove the financial worry of doing the best for your pet, however it is not like insuring your car – shopping around for the lowest price will often mean that you could get caught out later.  It is important that you look for the following when buying a policy:


  • Make sure it does not limit or remove cover after you make a claim.  The insurance policy you want is one that will cover for life.  This means that they will not restrict the condition after 12 months, or provide an insufficient level of cover.
  • Make sure there are no exclusions built in to the cover. 
  • It should not stop when the pet reaches a certain age – just when they need the reassurance of a policy to cover lifetime illness.
  • All lower cost policies that we are aware of limit cover for dentistry or exclude it completely.  Claims for dentistry are the most common single claim made by our clients.
  • Make sure there is a ‘realistic’ vet fee policy cover, you never know when you may need to be referred to a specialist for treatment or your pet may need to undergo treatment and procedures that may not be fully covered financially by your policy.


Remember, once you have bought a policy and made a claim on it, it is difficult and can be more costly to change to another insurer if you are unhappy with the service or cost of the policy.  Your pet’s illness will be listed as a ‘pre-existing condition’ and a new insurance policy will not cover treatment should your pet still require treatment.


If you have an existing policy and are thinking of changing or cancelling, please call Animal Medical Centre for advice first.



Christmas Hazards

Christmas Hazards


Christmas can be a busy and chaotic time with large quantities of food and presents left unattended. Curious pets, particularly dogs, may investigate and eat gifts (including edible ones) left under the tree, food in the kitchen or chew on plants decorating the house.






If there are dogs in the household or visiting over Christmas do not put any chocolate under or on the Christmas tree; the temptation may be too great. Chocolate contains a chemical very similar to caffeine, which dogs do not tolerate very well.

White chocolate is generally not a risk but even a relatively small amount of dark chocolate can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heart.

Dogs will obviously not unwrap chocolate and can eat a very large quantity. The wrappers are not toxic but could cause obstruction of the gut.


Grapes and dried vine fruits (currants, sultanas, raisins)


Grapes and their dried products (currants, sultanas and raisins) are toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small quantity can cause severe kidney failure. Don’t forget this will include food items that contain dried fruits such as Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies. Be aware that chocolate-coated raisins are available so there is the additional risk of chocolate toxicity with these.


Onions (and garlic, leeks, shallots and chives)


Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives all belong to the Allium species of plants. They can cause toxicity even when cooked. Initially there can be gastrointestinal signs with vomiting and diarrhoea but the main effect is damage to red blood cells resulting in anaemia. This may not be apparent for several days after ingestion. Foods to avoid at Christmas include sage and onion stuffing.




Dogs may help themselves to any alcohol left unattended including wine and liqueurs and it can cause similar signs in them as it does in their owners when drunk in excess. Dogs can become wobbly and drowsy and in severe cases there is a risk of low body temperature, low blood sugar and coma.


Macadamia nuts


Macadamia nuts can cause lethargy, increased body temperature, tremor, lameness and stiffness in dogs.

Be aware that chocolate-coated macadamia nuts are available so there is also a risk of chocolate toxicity with these.




If there is any food left over at Christmas, be careful to dispose of it promptly and appropriately. Mouldy food (including yoghurt, bread and cheese) can contain toxins produced by the mould that cause rapid onset convulsions in dogs.






Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)


Poinsettia has the reputation of being a toxic plant, but this has been greatly exaggerated. It can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach with hypersalivation and sometimes vomiting.


Holly (Ilex species)


Although the plant is considered to be of low toxicity, ingestion of holly berries (Ilex aquifolium) may result in gastrointestinal upset.


Mistletoe (Viscum album)


The plant is considered to be of low toxicity. It is likely that reports of alarming effects refer to American mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens) and not European mistletoe (Viscum album). Ingestion of the berries of European mistletoe may cause gastrointestinal upset.


Christmas Trees


These trees are considered to be of low toxicity. Ingestion may cause a mild gastrointestinal upset and they could cause mechanical obstruction or physical injury (some needles are sharp).


Ivy (Hedera species)


The ivy used in wreaths and decorations is Hedera helix (not Toxicodendron radicans, the American poison ivy).

Ivy may cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested. Where there is significant or prolonged skin contact, Hedera species can cause both irritant and allergic contact dermatitis.


Lilies (Lilium species)


Many households will have lilies at Christmas, and all parts of this plant, even the pollen, are extremely toxic to cats and cause severe kidney damage. Lilies are not hazardous to dogs and may cause only mild gastrointestinal upset if ingested.





Silica Gel


Silica gel comes in small sachets and is often found in the packaging of new shoes, handbags, cameras or electrical equipment. Although it is labelled “Do not Eat” it is considered to be of low toxicity.


Christmas decorations


Decorations made of plastic, paper or foil are of low toxicity although may obstruct the gastrointestinal tract. Glass decorations could pose the risk of a mechanical injury to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.


Wrapping or crepe paper


Ingestion may cause staining of the mouth which may look alarming, although the toxicity is considered to be low. Ingestion of a large amount may cause obstruction to the gastrointestinal tract.




Although candles, even scented ones, are considered to be of low toxicity, ingestion could potentially cause obstruction or a choking hazard.


Pot Pourri


Ingestion of pot pourri causes significant gastrointestinal effects in dogs. These may last several days even after the material has passed through the gut