Spring newsletter.  Issue 5. March 2017.

Meopham Veterinary Hospital
01474 815333
Swanscombe Veterinary Surgery
01322 381999
Sevenoaks Veterinary Surgery
01732 740999
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With the warmer weather on it's way there are potential risks to be aware of for your pets:
  • Playing with sticks - although it is tempting to throw sticks for dogs these are hazardous and can cause awful injuries.  We see many stick related injuries each year and they are avoidable.  Please take a toy on walks, such as a ball or frisbee, for your dog and do not encourage them to carry or play with sticks.  Please see our Facebook page for two videos of patients we have removed sticks from, Baxter & Zebedee 
  • Poisons - Now is the time we may start to tidy up the garden again, but please be aware of dangers within your shed such as slug pellets, rat poison, weed killer and bulbs.  These are all poisonous to your pet and ingestion can be fatal.  Please use & store these products sensibly and always keep your pet away from such dangers.
  • Fly strike (Myiasis) is most common in rabbits, but any pet is at risk.  This occurs when flies lay their eggs (usually attracted by the smell of faeces/damp fur) around the rear end of your pet, which in turn hatch into maggots and feed from your pet's skin.  This stage can happen extremely quickly and injuries can be devastating and fatal. Please check rabbit's rear ends twice daily ensuring it is always clean & free from matted hair and faecal matter and always keep their house clean and free from soiled bedding.  Cats and dogs with matted fur, diarrhoea, urine leaking or open wounds are also susceptible and should also be checked daily.  Please speak to our nurses about prevention.
  • Lungworm - We may now start to see more snails and slugs around, and with this comes the risk of Lungworm.  This is a worm carried by slugs and snails which, if ingested by your dog, can cause Lungworm and can be fatal.  Discourage your pets from eating slugs & snails and do not leave bowls or toys in the garden over night as the slime also poses a risk.  Drinking from puddle water should not be encouraged.  Please speak to us about monthly prevention spot on treatment which is all included in our Pet Health Plan.
Alfie's case study - TPLO after cruciate ligament rupture
For more case studies please see our website
Alfie is an 11 year old chocolate Labrador who presented to us in January for lameness in his left hind leg.  He was admitted for radiographs and a cruciate rupture was diagnosed.  The cruciate ligament is a band of tough fibrous tissue that attaches the front of the femur (thigh bone) to the back of the tibia (shin bone).  It prevents the femur moving backwards relative to the tibia and helps to prevent the stifle (knee joint) over rotating or extending.  When this ligament ruptures it is due to the ligament fraying over a period of time  (much like fraying of a rope).  This can be caused by degeneration over time or due to breed disposition.  The frayed ligament causes inflammation within the knee.  This coupled with the mechanical lameness through loss of the ligament causes the dog to limp.  There are several treatment options available,  which is assessed case by case.  The recommendation for Alfie was a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy)  procedure.  Recovery after a TPLO has been shown to be advantageous over other techniques with a shorter recovery in the short-term and better long-term outcome.  As a general rule approximately 90% of dogs will return to normal activity after a TPLO.       
The TPLO procedure involves a semi-circular cut in the top of the tibia, the segment is then rotated to change the slope of the top of the tibia.  This prevents the femur 'sliding' off the back of the tibia.  The bone is then fixed in place with a metal plate and screws into the new position.  In Alfie's case the ligament was completely torn therefore all of the fragments were removed.   
As you can see from the images we perform this surgery under the highest possible standards.  We have a theatre dedicated to orthopaedic procedures and use pre-packaged, disposable consumables to ensure sterility is maintained throughout.  In Alfie's procedure Veterinary Surgeons Penny Barnard-Brown and Martin Hobbs performed the surgery with theatre nurse, Katie Piper RVN monitoring his anaesthetic.  Within the images you can see his leg with the implant in place (lower middle) and then Alfie after surgery (bottom right).
Alfie recovered very well and after an overnight stay in our hospital, to provide pain relief, he then went home.  
With all TPLO procedures the surgery is not the only part of the treatment.  His owners will now need to follow a strict physiotherapy regime at home, which will be regularly monitored, with hydrotherapy also being recommended as part of the plan.
Email us to book your grooming appointment

Raisins, saltanas, currants and grapes can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs.

It is not known why these fruits are so toxic but even a small quantity can be fatal, sharing a small treat with your pet just isn’t worth the risk.

Symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea and increased thirst. 

If your dog has eaten any of these fruits then please contact us straight away. 

Many species of Lilly are extremely toxic to cats, this includes Easter Lillies. 

Cats may be affected by chewing on leaves whilst sitting on a window sill or via grooming the pollen from their coat.  Ingestion of either of these can cause kidney failure.  All parts of the plant are highly toxic, even the pollen in the water of the vase.

If you suspect your cat has had access to any Lilly component then please contact us immed

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine

(a stimulant similar to caffeine) which is toxic to dogs.

Even a small quantity can cause seizures and heart problems.  Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, twitching, hyperexcitability and restlessness.

The darker the chocolate the more poisonous it is to your pet.

Please avoid giving your dog any chocolate at all.

If your dog has eaten chocolate please contact us ASAP, they are likely to induce vomiting.  Other treatment required will then be based on clinical signs, amount of chocolate eaten and length of time since ingestion.

Cats are also at risk of chocolate toxicity although they do not tend to be attracted to it as dogs are.

In the event of an emergency please call 01474 815333
Client information evening

This is a free of charge event and the topics covered are designed to make you, as the pet owner, more informed on all aspects of your pet’s well being.  Our previous events have been a real success & owner's said they found them very informative.
The next topic for discussion is 'Bunny Talk - understanding your pet rabbits needs and behaviour ' This will be held by two of our RVN's Franki Specht & Sophie Dunk.  They will also discuss the needs of guinea pigs as pets.  The date for your diary is Thursday 27th April and the talk will start at 8pm.  You are welcome to arrive from 7.30pm for refreshments & nibbles.

Spaces are limited so to book your place please email

We have received 3 Pet Plan Veterinary Awards 2017 nominations including Practice of the Year for our Meopham Hospital and Swanscombe Surgery branch. Bruce Mcleary also received nominations for Vet of the Year!!  Thank you so much to everyone that has voted for us, it really is amazing to know that the hard work and dedication from all of our staff is recognised. 
Please think very carefully before deciding to purchase a rabbit, especially as a gift for children.  They are the most neglected pet in the UK and are often forgotten about as they cannot demand attention, unlike cats and dogs.  They need to be neutered and vaccinated and can also be susceptible to many ailments requiring veterinary attention.  They should be kept in neutered pairs and have enough space and enrichment to satisfy their inquisitive needs. Please consider attending our client information evening and watch the video below if you are a rabbit owner, or considering purchasing a rabbit as a pet.
A hutch is not enough by
As a Practice it is our mission to provide compassionate, high quality care for our patients on a continuous basis. We aim to do this through the provision of first class facilities for our highly trained staff to work in. As part of this philosophy we are dedicated to ongoing staff training and continual investment to maintain our services at the fore front of general practice.
If you ever have any feedback, suggestions or ways we could improve our service to you then please let us know, we are listening.
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Copyright © 2017 The Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Swanscombe and Sevenoaks Surgeries, All rights reserved.

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