There is usually a reason why these animals have come out of the sea in the first place.

At St Clair Veterinary Care, we don’t only look after dogs, cats and small furries, we also like to ensure all animals are provided with the best care possible. We do not see a lot of exotic species and so do not have the experience to provide the best care for birds and reptiles at present and so recommend visiting a vet with more experience for an exotic pet, however we do try our best for local wildlife, this way we can gain experience for looking after more exotic pets in the future.

Marine animals have very sensitive skin, they are not used to being handled and it is very easy to damage their skin allowing infections to get in. Whales, dolphins and porpoises also breathe differently to other mammals and are very prone to stress. Inappropriate handling is a common cause of death. They also carry different bacteria compared to other mammals so any injuries you obtain are likely to confuse your doctor. Seals in particular, although cute looking, can be extremely aggressive and carry a very nasty bite, their bite has the power to crush bones.

If you come across one of these marine animals take a step back to allow them some space, keep other people and dogs away from the animal and please contact British Divers and Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) on their 24 hour helpline 01825 765 546 during office hours and 07787433412 out of office hours and they can arrange for a trained marine mammal medic to assess the situation and arrange for treatment to be provided where necessary prior to rehabilitation.

If you are interested in learning how to become a marine mammal medic please visit http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/index.php?page=training-course . The Whitley Bay course in December is fully booked, however if there is enough interest another course can be organised in this area next year. There are also regular courses elsewhere in the country if you are not from the north east.

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You should NEVER give a human drug to your pet.
Of course most drugs that are prescribed for animals by veterinarians are drugs that physicians prescribe for similar human ailments – but there are huge differences in the way that different species species of animal deal with a drug once it is their system.

Some drugs that are safe to use in humans are positively dangerous to give to pets and other animals. Even very small amounts can be extremely harmful or fatal to some pets.

A well known example of this is aspirin, which if given at human dose rates, can easily cause toxicity in both dogs and cats because they cannot detoxify and eliminate it from their bodies as quickly as humans can. The result is a severe gastroenteritis – which may cause them to vomit blood.
Ibuprofen is particularly poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, gastric ulceration and kidney failure.

There are literally hundreds of examples of human prescription drugs which can cause toxicity to dogs, cats or other pets.
Other common medicines and so called social “drugs” which definitely should not be given by owners to their pets are:

– Paracetamol
– Ibuprofen
– The laxative phenolphthalein
– Iron supplements
– Vitamin D supplements
– Nebuliser medications prescribed for asthma
– Drugs used to control “fits” e.g. phenytoin (toxic in cats)
– Coffee and tea (due to the caffeine content)
– Cannabis or any other illegal drug.

NO human medication should be given to an animal. If your pet has an ailment please contact your vet for advice before giving any medication, no matter how safe you may think it is.

All of the above have been documented to cause serious illness – and are potentially fatal . The message is – NEVER assume what is safe for you and your children is safe for your pet – the chances are it isn’t.

For any more information please contact us on 01670 457271

Fleas may just seem like a nuisance but they can be fatal.

Today we have unfortunately seen two 4 week old kittens with fleas. Both kittens were very anaemic due to the flea burden and sadly one of the kittens has died as a result of this. The other kitten is currently in a critical condition.

We have treated the fleas and have tried to remove as many fleas as possible from her but it could take weeks for the anaemia to resolve – if the kitten manages to pull through. As well as causing anaemia, fleas can also cause tapeworm, mycoplasma haemophilis, lyme disease and murine typhus.


just some of the fleas taken off the kitten


As you can see from the photos the difference between our kittens gums (photo on the left) and the healthy gums (on the right) is significant. The gums should normally be a salmon pink colour but our kitten’s are completely white.

gum compare

Most pet shop products have poor efficacy but and those that are effective are not safe to use on kittens under 4 weeks or under a certain weight. Please also ensure that it is a CAT flea treatment as many dog flea treatments sold in pet shops are toxic and can kill your cat.

There are very few flea treatments licensed in young kittens, the most effective are veterinary products so if you have any concerns about your pet and fleas please contact us as we offer a FREE flea check where we will be able to prescribe the correct and safest product for your pet.