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Alabama Rot Disease

Alabama Rot Disease

You may have heard things about Alabama Rot but how much do you actually know? Alabama rot is on the rise in the UK and has been confirmed close to home in county Durham, but how big of a threat is it to your dog?

Alabama Rot was first identified amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama in the 1980s (hence the name). The mysterious disease presented with ulcer-like skin sores and/or sudden kidney failure in affected dogs. Unfortunately it is not yet fully understood what causes the disease, only that the clinical signs of dogs effected are relatively the same.

Since November 2012, a small number of dogs with similar clinical signs to what is described for Alabama Rot, have been reported across
the UK. Although the greatest number were seen in and around the New Forest region of Hampshire both confirmed and unconfirmed. By July 2014 a total of 44 cases had been confirmed across the UK. Alabama Rot is clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy or CRGV for short, which basically means an unknown cause that affects the skin (cutaneous) and the kidneys (renal).

The first signs of the disease are normally identified as skin lesions and sores that have not been caused by an injury. These sores are most commonly found around the legs and feet and appear as a distinctive swelling, open reddened and ulcerated skin, these usually develop within approximately 2-7 days. Once infected dogs can develop signs of sudden kidney failure. These signs include lethargy, vomiting, reduced hunger and in some in some cases abdominal pain.

As there is no known cause of Alabama rot (Scientists are still currently investigating the cause), there is no known way to prevent your dog from contracting the disease. It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas, therefore it has been suggested that owners should be washing their dogs feet, legs and underbelly straight after a walk. Unlike the Alabama rot that was presented in US Greyhounds, the disease in the UK does not follow a pattern therefore can affect any breed, age, sex or weight of the dog.

If your dog becomes infected with Alabama Rot or develops any of the clinical symptoms it is important to seek veterinary advice immediately. The best outcome in treating the disease is with early intensive veterinary care. Your vet will treat the skin sores and kidney failure through intensive care and hospitalisation which will include intravenous fluids to support the kidneys.

Although some infected dogs have successfully recovered after treatment, many do not, – it is estimated that treatment is only successful in around 20-30% of cases. The Percentage of dogs in the UK who have contracted the disease is very small however it is vital that you understand the problem and know what to look out for.

Our staff have been fully advised of the changes found in the UK and can help answer any questions you may have, If you are worried at all then please give the surgery a call on 01670457271.

Nurse Volunteer Work

Lauren our nurse is off on her travels …Can you help her raise money for an awesome cause?

Lauren one of our RVNs is off to the amazing Thailand in November!. No she’s not going for a relaxing sunny holiday she’s off to work at animal sanctuary on Koh Mak Island for 3 weeks!!!

We are all unbelievably proud of Lauren for taking on such a task and we know she is going to help make a huge difference to the lives of many of the animals that inhabit Koh Mak while she is there…..BUT we don’t want to just stop at helping these animals while she is there we want the help to continue when she comes home…and yes unfortunately Lauren you do have to come home we NEED you here too!.

Lauren leaves the UK on Thursday 1st of November and arrives in Koh Mak on the 3rd of November she has a looonnggg three days travelling and she’s going at it alone!

The Island of Koh Mak is located in an archipelago of 50+ Islands on the far eastern seaboard of Thailand; it is home to lots of strays and wildlife.
The clinic Lauren will be working at as a nursing volunteer, cares for and provides help and treatment for the many strays on the Island, it also provides care for the animals belonging to the Temples, and for pets belonging to the inhabitants and those from the neighbouring island of Cambodia.

The clinic is a non profiting organisation and relies solely on volunteers, the owners and local monks to run it. They fund the whole thing themselves and rely on donations so they can provide the much needed care the animals require.
This not only improves the quality of life for all of the animals they treat but also helps educate their owners on basic animal care.

The animal centre opened in 2015 after a husband and wife visited the island on holiday, they were so taken aback by the help that was needed for the animals they decided to return and open a clinic. The clinic was finally finished in 2017!
Of course we think Lauren is doing an amazing selfless gesture and we are behind her 100%, we hope it will change the lives of many of the animals in Koh Mak and we need your help.

Lauren has set herself the task of raising some much needed funds that this clinic is desperate for. As a practice we will be donating many of the veterinary supplies the clinic needs so Lauren can take them with her, but Lauren also wants to raise as much money as she can, to donate to the clinic so they continue this care.

We know each and every one of our clients will see how amazing this is and we are asking if you can donate any money no matter how small, the clinic and animals of Koh Mak will appreciate every penny and it will be put to good use not only when she visits but for years to come.
This is the link to Laurens just giving page:

Thank you everyone from all the St Clair team

Nail Confidence Clinics


Nail clipping,

For some dogs and their owners its a terrifying subject. The fact is not many dogs like having their feet touched and the noise from the clippers can make the situation seem a lot scarier.

Did you know here at St Clair vets we offer a FREE Nail confidence programme.
This entails regular trips to see our nurses in a free consultation whereby we will assess how anxious your dog is and start a desensitisation programme.
At each visit the nurses will gain your dogs trust allowing them to become more confident not only with visits to the vets but also with having their nails clipped and examined. This starts slow and on the first visit we may not clip your dogs nails. Every step forward is a positive one and we will move forward at the pace your dog is happy with, there will also be lots of treats on hand and of course lots of cuddles if they allow it. We will also aim for you to see the same nurse each time.
Our nail clips service is £11 or FREE if your part of our Happy paws club. You will only pay this fee if we clip your dogs nails. No charge will be made for any of the confidence building appointments.
We have ran this programme for a few years now and we have many dogs who required sedation and muzzling just to examine their feet/ nails. We are now able to clip their nails without any muzzles or sedation.

The programme works and not only does it make the visit less stressful for the dogs it means their owners are less anxious too.
The length of the appointment will vary as we will take as much time as your dog needs.
If you would like more information on this service please contact the practice via message or call us on 01670457271.

Chronic Kidney Disease


Just like people, dogs and cats have two kidneys located either side of the abdomen.

The kidneys are a vitally important organ, and play a part in many different functions within the body. They are responsible not only for filtration of the blood, and excretion of waste products via the urine; but also for control of fluid balance, stimulation of red blood cell production, regulation of blood pressure, production of certain hormones, and electrolyte balance.

The kidneys are roughly oval shaped (The same shape as a kidney bean, hence the name!), and in a medium sized dog, they will be approximately the size of a chickens egg.

The kidneys are vital to life, and when they begin to fail, the effects can be seen in a number of different ways.

Despite all of this, the kidneys are a remarkably resilient organ, and it is not until approximately 75% of function is lost that signs will become visible.

Unfortunately, this often means that animals may be living with some degree of kidney failure for many months, or even years before any symptoms are seen!

Thankfully, recent advances in medical care have provided us with a new way to detect acute kidney damage and chronic kidney disease earlier than ever before.

Previously, kidney damage would not be able to be detected on a routine blood test until around 75% of kidney function had been lost, however thanks to a simple new blood test, a specific indicator of kidney function can be assessed. This test is much more sensitive than our in house blood tests, and can detect even very early kidney dysfunction, before any outward symptoms are shown, allowing us to begin pro-active treatment much earlier.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is one of the most common conditions affecting older animals, with up to 31% of cats over the age of 15 being affected. It is a progressive disease, which means that the kidneys’ ability to function normally will deteriorate over time, with the end result being the kidneys failing to perform their normal functions. This will result in abnormal filtration, leading to a build up of waste products in the blood. Symptoms of this can include:

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea

  • Increased thirst

  • Increased urination

  • Ulceration of the oral cavity

  • Dehydration


Failure of the kidneys to produce hormones can result in high blood pressure, a decrease in red blood cell production resulting in anaemia, and an inability to adequately concentrate the urine, leading to dehydration and protein loss.

Whilst there is ultimately nothing that can be done to prevent the eventual loss of function, there are various steps we can take to safeguard the remaining kidney function, and slow the progression of the disease. The idea is to reduce the workload of the kidneys, and improve the quality of life for the pet.

Often, patients with severe symptoms will need to be admitted into hospital, and given intravenous fluids (put on a drip) to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, alongside medications to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

If hospitalisation is not required, the vet may choose to start the pet on medications to be given at home, alongside a prescription kidney diet.

Diets such as Virbac’s Kidney support, or Hills’ K/d are specifically designed to have a reduced quantity of higher quality protein, as well as reduced phosphorus and sodium (salt) levels; making them an ideal treatment option of pets with CKD. These diets are specifically formulated to reduce the workload of the kidneys, and reduce high blood pressure which is a common problem in animals with CKD.

In cases where pets are not eating well, the vet may choose to prescribe appetite stimulants.

Fresh, clean water should always be available to your pet, however especially in cats with CKD, it is often beneficial to provide several different drinking options, for example using a water fountain, or leaving a tap dripping.

Some pets may be suitable candidates for owners to be taught how to inject fluids subcutaneously (under the skin) at home a few times a week to help prevent dehydration; however this would be something requiring discussion with the vet, and training to do competently.

If any secondary problems such as high blood pressure or anaemia are present, the vet will select the most appropriate treatments based on the severity.  

Thankfully, chronic kidney disease does not have to be a death sentence, in fact, in many instances, with careful management, pets receiving appropriate treatment can continue to live a happy life for many years to come.


If you have any concerns about your pets health, or if you have noticed any of the symptoms described above, please give us a call on 01670 457271 to arrange an appointment with one of our vets.

Happy Paws Club

The St Clair Happy Paws Club!

Happy Paws Club paint doc poster

Pet's can't tell you when they're feeling sick, and sometimes you can't see there's anything wrong. That's why, even more than you, they need regular check ups. Early detection of any potential problems could save you facing any unnecessary worry or stress, and of course the additional costs that might accompany later treatment.

Money is not as important as health and happiness, but by joining our St Clair Happy Paws Club you will make great savings on the annual cost of your pet's vaccinations, parasite treatments, plus many other benefits that will help to keep them in tip-top condition!

Flea's, ticks and worms can cause a great deal of discomfort to your pet, and some can even be passed onto your family! Year round parasite control is a key part of the Happy Paws Club, but what suits one pet, may not necessarily suit another! The St Clair Happy Paws Club is unique in that parasite treatments are tailored to your pets individual requirements. We begin with a free parasite assessment, to determine which parasites your pet is most at risk from, and which treatment options provide the most effective care. Based on these findings, we will recommend one of the five plans which combine the very best parasite control and vaccinations. We have a variety of plans available which include protection from flea's, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms, lungworms & more!

Prices start from as little as £10.95 per month, saving around £68.09 per year! And some larger dog owners may save in excess of £300 per year! The Happy Paws Club is designed to make responsible pet ownership as easy and cost effective as possible.

If you have already taken our Lifetime Immunity Package (LIP Service) for your dogs yearly booster vaccinations, don't worry! You will receive a FREE UPGRADE to include an annual kennel cough vaccination in place of your pets annual booster on the plan.

But that's not all...
In addition to the savings on parasite control and vaccinations, not to mention the peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected, you and your pet will also benefit from:

- Yearly full health examination with your Veterinary Surgeon.

- A full health check with your Veterinary Surgeon (Ideally 6 months after your pets annual booster vaccination).

- All routine yearly boosters including
Dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis.
Cats: Feline Leukaemia, Panleukopenia, Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis.

- Annual kennel cough vaccination (If chosen on your plan.)

- 10% OFF any additional vaccines (for example Rabies if going abroad), 10% off ALL SERVICES including in house procedures & treatments - including dentals, radiographs and ultrasounds.

- 10% OFF all life stage & prescription diets, 10% off any additional consultation fee's, 10% off all medication & supplements and 10% off internal or external laboratory fee's.

- FREE nurse consultations INCLUDING nail clips!

So, if you would like optimum health care for you pet & to save money at the same time, call us today on 01670 457271 to book an appointment for your pets parasite risk assessment & to join the St Clair Happy Paws Club.

*First payment required same day, where first month of treatment will be supplied. subsequent monthly payments will be paid via Direct Debit, on either the 1st or 15th of the month - at your choice*

January Weight Clinics

January Weight Clinic

Did you know almost 50% of the pet population is overweight. Even a little extra weight can impact your pets quality of life and affect the lifelong general health of your cat and dog. Obesity - or excessive body fat resulting in an overweight condition and preventable problem effecting out pets, with more and more cases seen every year.

Common canine problems suffered as a result of obesity includes diabetes, heart disease as well as arthritis. For felines obesity can also put you cat at risk of urinary health problems like bladder stones.

 Signs of canine and feline obesity include:

- Owners struggling to see or feel their pet's ribs, spine or waistline.
- abdominal sagging
- Bigger, rounder face
- Reluctance to go for walks, lagging behind
- Excessive panting
-  For cats reluctance to jump up and down from higher places
- Tired appearance
- Refusal to play with toys,

If your cat or dog is overweight then carefully start changing their feeding habits; increasing exercise (e.g. more or longer walks, using toys to encourage playing); looking at the type of food and his intake; creating a feeding plan; and incorporating regular visits to your vet for weight loss advice and to have free weight checks and record your success.

Through-out the whole of January we are offering FREE weight clinics with out nurses who can help you get your pet fit and lose some of that unnecessary weight that could be causing problems.


Cory's Christmas Toy Appeal!

Cory's Christmas Toy Appeal!



St Clair Vets are very proud to be supporting one of our local heroes Cory Davison.

Cory a Blyth school boy will once again be donning his magical elf costume and along with his dad dressed of course as Santa Claus, his twin brother Cain also an elf all with family and friends. He will be surprising those youngsters finding themselves spending Christmas in hospital this year, by delivering donated Christmas gifts to the wards.

He will be visiting the RVI at Newcastle and Cramlington Hospital on Christmas morning handing out the donated gifts to all of the children and teenagers who can't be at home this Christmas.

Corys knows all too well about spending time in children's wards at hospital after fighting a rare brain tumour. Cory has been in remission now for 6 years and is always putting everyone before himself.

The staff at St Clair think Cory is an amazing young role model and we would love to help support him in collecting gifts for the children's ward.

We will have a dedicated gift collection box in our waiting area where we kindly ask that anyone wanting to donate a gift can do so by placing it in the collection box for Corey to pick up. All gifts must be new and unwrapped so that they can be wrapped and given to the appropriate child or teenager. You can choose if the gift is for a girl or for a boy age ranging up to 21 years.

I am sure you will agree that Cory is a wonderful selfless individual giving up his Christmas day to deliever these amazing gifts, and I am sure with all of the wonderful clients we have, we can collect some great gifts for this fantastic cause.


Christmas Hazards

Christmas Hazards from The Veterinary Poisons Information Service & The Blue Cross!




This time of year there are lots of tempting treats for your furry friend however some of our festive foods are toxic to animals so be aware. With Christmas just weeks away, many of us have now put up the Christmas tree ready for the big day.  Some pets may not be able to resist the temptation of chewing the branches on our decorative holiday plants.

The most common types of Christmas trees belong to the Pinaceae family, which include the Fir, Pine, and Spruce. They are all evergreen, resinous and monoecious plant species, with needle like leaves.

Christmas trees are considered to be of low toxicity. Most cases remain well or develop mild symptoms only. Ingestion may cause local ulceration, GI irritation (vomiting and diarrhoea), GI obstruction or physical injury (some needles can be very sharp).  Contact dermatitis has also occurred in humans following chronic exposure, although there have been no reports of this in animals. A boxer developed haematemesis (vomiting blood), collapse and weakness after a large ingestion of pine tree bark. He was given cimetidine, oral fluids and sucralfate and made a full recovery within 24 hours.

If pets are seen chewing on the Christmas tree, they should be observed closely for any changes in behaviour. If the owner becomes concerned the practice is welcome to call the VPIS over the upcoming Christmas holidays for emergency advice.


Artificial Snow

During the festive season, artificial or fake snow may be used for window shop displays, events and family parties.  The products generally contain synthetic acrylate polymers such as polyacrylate, which aid in the overall strength and resistance of the material.  Some fake snow products also contain polyethylene emulsions. These products have recently been mislabelled as toxic on social media platforms.

Polyacrylate based products are generally regarded as having a low acute toxicity, but can cause GI irritation including vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal tenderness. Most clinical effects are mild and self-limiting, and animals can be managed at home with oral fluids. If clinical signs persist, or the animal has ingested a very large quantity, it may be necessary to assess for any GI obstruction, although this is unlikely due to the flaky and particulate nature of the product.

Poylethylene is also considered of low toxicity. Systemic toxicity is not to be expected, given that it is chemically inert. Polyethylene fake snow did cause mild clinical signs in a 6kg dog, which included vomiting, hypersalivation and lethargy. However, the animal made a full recovery with supportive care and oral fluids.

The VPIS has not recorded any severe cases of poisoning reported to date, following ingestion of fake snow.


Festive Plants

There are many plants traditionally associated with Christmas, bringing colour and joy to our homes and gardens. However, such plants may pose a risk to our beloved pets this time of year.

The genusIlex comprises over 400 species. English holly (I. aquifolium) is used for decoration at Christmas, with its characteristic glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries. All parts of the plant can be deemed toxic. The leaves and berries contain saponins which may cause local irritation. The leaves, berries and stems also contain cyanogenic glycosides, although clinical signs are largely due to the saponins. Such signs are expected within a few hours of ingestion. Gastrointestinal signs are common. Animals may also shake their heads and smack their lips in distress. Although gastric decontamination is not required, the throat should be checked for lodged leaves. Treatment is supportive.

Viscum album, European mistletoe, is also used as a festive decoration. The leaves and stems of the plant contain toxic proteins, however, most animals remain asymptomatic. Some animals may develop gastrointestinal irritation, with occasional reports of ataxia, hyperaesthesia and tremor. Gut decontamination is only advisable following ingestions of large quantities of plant material. Treatment is again supportive to control persistent GI disturbance and/or neurological signs.

The ivy that tends to be used in wreaths and decorations is Hedera helix (not Toxicodendron radicans, the American poison ivy). But the Hedera species can still cause a tummy upset when ingested. Where there is significant or prolonged skin contact, Hedera species can also cause both irritant and allergic contact dermatitis.


Vitis Vinifera: grapes, raisins and currants

Tis' the season to be jolly and, of course, to eat Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies!

Vitis vinifera (common grape vine), produces a berry which is known as a grape. Grapes can be eaten fresh, processed to make wine or juice, or dried to produce; raisins, sultanas and currants. With Christmas round the corner, we are likely to have an increasing number of foodstuffs containing currants and raisins in our homes. This increases the risk of our pets getting hold of them.

VPIS recommends treatment for ingestion of any amount of grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants ingested in cats and dogs. Unfortunately, a toxic dose has not yet been established, as clinical signs have occurred at variable quantities ingested. There does not appear to be a dose-response relationship.

The main concern with the ingestion of grape products is renal failure. Clinical signs are expected to onset set within 24 hours. Vomiting occurs in the majority of cases. Bloody stools, tender abdomen, weakness and lethargy may also been seen. Renal failure can develop within 72 hours post ingestion.

Treatment must include gastric decontamination, aggressive intravenous fluid therapy and monitoring kidney function. Please see below some interesting cases of Christmas past:

A 7.1 kg border terrier ingested a substantial amount of Christmas cake. An x-ray revealed lots of material in the stomach. The dog presented vomiting. The renal parameters were normal within the first 24 hours post ingestion and the owner refused fluid therapy. However, the dog developed ataxia and weakness the next day and was brought back into practice. By 48 hours post ingestion, raised urea, raised creatinine and dehydration occurred. Despite intravenous fluids at twice maintenance rate for 36 hours, the dog was weak and frail and sadly did not respond to treatment. The owners elected for euthanasia.

A 32 kg labradoodle ingested part of a Christmas cake and, two days later, one mince pie. He suffered persistent vomiting for the two day duration. Following repeat doses of activated charcoal and intravenous fluids at twice maintenance rate over 48 hours, the dog made a full recovery.

Please do not hesitate to contact VPIS for treatment recommendations. Please be aware that our treatment protocols are updated regularly, as we are always receiving new cases and undergoing research.



The chemical theobromine, which is a bit like caffeine, is found in chocolate and is toxic to pets. Even small amounts can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heartThe darker the chocolate, the more potent levels of theobromine become – with baker’s chocolate the most dangerous. Chocolate should be avoided at all costs. But what do you do if your pet does eat chocolate? Even small amounts have the potential to make them feel sick, but veterinary treatment should be sought for any pet ingesting more than 20 mg/kg of theobromine – that’s equivalent to 3.5 g/kg of plain or dark chocolate and 14 g/kg milk chocolate. White chocolate does not contain enough theobromine to cause toxicity, but it can be fatty and pose a potential risk of pancreatitis.  Avoid putting any chocolate on or under the Christmas tree, as the temptation might be too great for our four legged friends.


Onions (and garlic, leeks, shallots and chives)

Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives all belong to the Allium species of plants and can cause toxicity, whether uncooked or cooked. Initially there can be 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.



Alcohol can have a similar effect in dogs as it does in their owners when drunk in excess. They can become wobbly and drowsy and in severe cases, there is a risk of low body temperature, low blood sugar and coma. Dogs may help themselves to any unattended alcohol left lying around over Christmas, so ensure it's always out of their reach.


Macadamia nuts

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



If there is any food left over at Christmas, be careful to dispose of it well and keep it out of the reach of your four-legged friend. Not only may the food include ingredients toxic to dogs, mould in leftovers (including yoghurt, bread and cheese) can produce toxins that cause rapid onset convulsions in dogs.

Artificial sweeteners

A sugar-free sweetener called xylitol is often found in the sweets we consume over Christmas, as well as chewing gums, mouthwashes, toothpastes and supplements. It is poisonous to dogs and, although the amounts in different products vary, event one to two pieces of chewing gum can cause toxic effects in a small dog. It can induce the release of insulin in the body, resulting in low blood sugar and sometimes liver damage. Signs of poisoning can be rapid or delayed, and include vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and comas. The prognosis is good if the low blood sugar is treated quickly.


Other hazards:

Silica gel

Silica gel comes in small sachets and is often found in the packaging of new shoes, handbags, cameras or electrical equipment which we unwrap over Christmas. 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 stomach. Glass decorations could pose a risk if chewed or swallowed.

Wrapping or crepe paper

Ingestion may cause staining in the mouth which may look alarming, but the toxicity is considered to be low. But if your dog eats a large amount, it may cause an obstruction to the stomach.


Although candles, even scented ones, are considered to be of low toxicity, ingestion could potentially block the intestine or cause choking.


Euphorbia pulcherrima, known as poinsettia, is a popular ornamental houseplant at Christmas time. Although this plant has the reputation of being toxic, almost half of VPIS cases in cats and dogs remain asymptomatic. Vomiting, hypersalivation and depression may occur.  Effects are expected to be rapid in onset, but are often mild and self-limiting. Supportive care is advised for symptomatic cases, which may include rehydration and an antiemetic.


If your worried that your pet has ingested any of the above during the festive season, please call us immediately on 01670 457271.


It's Mo-vember!

It's Mo-vember!

Movember paint doc 2017

Research shows that over 80% of entire (un-neutered) dogs over five years old are likely to suffer from prostate disease. Whilst symptoms such as constipation, lameness and difficulty passing urine can occur, usually the dog shows no obvious signs of the disease.  However, a simple test can now be done to check for the disease which, if left untreated, can progress quickly, causing serious health problems.

Prostate enlargement can be caused by various diseases in dogs including
•    (BPH) Benign Prostate Hyperplasia
•    Prostatitis / Prostatic Abscess
•    Prostatic Cysts
•    Prostatic Tumours

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a small gland located near the neck of the bladder in male dogs. The urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) passes through the prostate. The purpose of the prostate is to produce some of the fluids found in semen.

What is Canine Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?

Canine Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. It is associated with the male sex hormone testosterone and is the most common disease of the prostate. Prostate disease is common in middle aged to older dogs that have not been castrated.

What are the signs of prostate disease?

A dog with prostate enlargement often has a history of straining to urinate and/or defecate. Dogs will spend a prolonged time trying to urinate and this urine can also be bloody, with blood sometimes dripping from the penis. Dogs that also have difficulty in passing faeces (constipation) will often produce flattened/squashed faeces. Some dogs will also have a stiff gait and arched back.

How is prostate disease diagnosed?

To see if the prostate is enlarged your vet will attempt to feel the prostate either through the abdominal wall or through the rectal wall. Radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasound may be required to help diagnosis. A microscopic examination of the cells in the prostate from fluid obtained from the prostate is often taken to rule out other cause of prostate enlargement.

How is Canine Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia treated?

Enlargement of the gland is caused by testosterone which is produced by the testicles. Surgical Treatment involves removing the testicles (castration) which generally restores the prostate to normal size within 1 month of castration.

How is Canine Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia prevented?

Getting your male dog neutered (castrated) is the only prevention for Canine Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

Prostate Tumours

Unfortunately, some cases of prostate enlargement can be caused by a nasty tumour called an adenocarcinoma, which is a malignant tumour originating in the tissue of the prostate gland. Adenocarcinoma’s have the capability for growing and metastasizing (spreading) rapidly to other parts and organs of body, including the lungs, bones, and lymph nodes.

In honour of Canine Prostate Awareness Month this November, we will be offering FREE prostate checks and 10% OFF any recommended investigations, to all adult & senior entire male dogs.

To book an appointment for your dogs FREE prostate check, please call us on 01670 457271.


SHAK Christmas Shoe Box Appeal

The SHAK Christmas Shoe Box Appeal 2017!


As you are all aware, the team at St Clair put a lot of effort into supporting our smaller, local animal charities, and after the success of the SHAK Christmas Shoe Box Appeal which we launched for Christmas 2016; we will be continuing the Shoe Box Appeal for Christmas 2017! SHAK Rescue is a sanctuary for abused, mistreated and neglected togs, based locally in Northumberland. SHAK cares for the dogs who no one else wants, most of which are found abandoned, abused and frightened, or are saved from death row. SHAKs aim is to provide rehabilitation, environmental enrichment and physical and mental stimulation for their dogs and to make their lives as full and as normal as they would if they had homes to call their own. After such work, some dogs are ready to go on the "Forever Foster" scheme where specialised homes are found to continue the dog’s development and to provide the love and care that they deserve.

SHAK Rescue completely relies on charity funding to care for their dogs and to maintain their premises, and with this year being the worst on record with almost 100 unwanted dogs in their care, this is becoming increasingly difficult. The aim of the SHAK Shoe Box Appeal is to give all of SHAKs dogs a gift at Christmas! We are asking for shoe boxes containing tinned dog food, dog treats, large collars, leads, blankets & toys - and anything else doggy related that you can fit in! All shoe boxes can be handed in to the staff at our reception desk at St Clair Vets, where the boxes will then be transported straight to the dogs at SHAK. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated, even old toys, collars and leads that your dogs no longer play with or use, and of course any other donations you may wish to give. Please share and support our fantastic cause to give the SHAK dogs the Christmas they deserve. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Please bring in your shoe boxes & any Christmas donations between Wednesday 1st November & Friday 22nd December, so we can arrange for them to be transported to the SHAK kennels in time for Santa Paws coming!





Firework Phobia Clinics!

Firework Phobia Clinics!


November is creeping up fast meaning bonfire night is just around the corner, and while some families look forward to spectacular firework displays and sparklers in the garden, others will be dreading another season of sleepless nights, worry and stress with their frightened pets.

The nursing team at St Clair Vets are offering FREE firework phobia clinics throughout October for you and your worried pets, where we can discuss how to deal with noise phobias and supplements to help calm your anxious pets. We will also be offering 10% DISCOUNT on all recommended products.

·  Pheromones such as ADAPTIL diffusers and collars, as well as FELIWAY diffusers and sprays (the equivalent for cats), can be a significant help. Diffusers which release these calming pheromones into the room are not detected by us, but are picked up by the animals’ more sensitive noses, encouraging a feeling of well-being and calm. They are proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in pets, and therefore calm many behaviour problems associated with noise phobias

·  Nutracalm is a non-prescription nutraceutical which is available for dogs and cats. It can have a dramatic calming effect on some individuals, and can be given for the whole of the firework period. It does not require any loading doses and works very quickly. Our nurses can advise and prescribe this during your FREE appointment, if you feel it would benefit your pets.

· Sometimes mild sedative drugs are appropriate, and your vet can prescribe useful medication if it is needed. This will require a consultation with one of our vets.

·  Remember noise desensitisation can and will work. Our nurses can help you with this.

There are many actions that can be undertaken by pet owners in the weeks running up to firework season. Some of these steps are really easy and simple, others take a little preparation, but could make a huge difference to your pets.

We always recommend to:

·  Keep animals safe. They are much better kept indoors. Cats should be locked inside (remember the cat flap) and dogs should be exercised before the noises start. Ideally have pets microchipped, so that if they do get out and try and escape, they can be traced and reunited quickly.

·  Close all doors and windows to help keep the noise out. Close curtains where possible, to help muffle sounds and control flashes of light. Playing music and turning up the TV can also help to distract them.

·  Try and stay with your pet, and be as calm and relaxed as possible. Do not try to over assure your pet, or make a fuss of them. It can in fact cause greater stress and anxiety. Never show any anger, or punish any unwanted behaviour. Try and ignore what is going on as much as possible. If your pet wants attention, give them a quiet stroke, then try and occupy yourself. Making any sort of fuss can signal to your pet that there is a problem and it can increase their worry.

· Try to provide a den or safe place. It should be enclosed and have lots of soft bedding. A wardrobe or cupboard might work for cats. Lots of blankets or old duvets will help to make it cosy and absorb some of the sound. Cats like to get up high and be out of the way. If possible try to leave them in a hiding place. They are best left there if this is what they choose, but try to remain quietly nearby if you can. Being there and being relaxed is a great help.

Noise phobias are common in pets, and you don't have to suffer in silence. Call us today on 01670 457271 to book your pets FREE appointment.


Puppy Awareness Week 2017!

Puppy Awareness Week is running from 4th-10th September 2017!


PAW aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners by spreading the 'be puppy aware' message.

Being puppy aware involves making sure you know which dog and breed is right for your lifestyle so that you can care for it for life, and making sure you can separate responsible breeders from puppy farmers. Every year the Kennel Club holds a Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) to spread this message.

The cost of sickly puppies soars when puppies are bought from disreputable sources. Puppies from puppy farms are bred with no regard for their health and well-being and are kept in appalling, unsanitary conditions.

STOP puppy farming!

Research carried out by the Kennel Club shows that a shocking:

·         Half of pups (49%) bought online or from newspaper ads, without being seen first, fall sick and around one in five pups (17%) end up with serious gastro-intestinal problems.

·         One in five who bought a pup online or from newspaper ads are forced to spend between £500 and £1,000 on vet bills in the first six months of the puppy’s life – often more than the original cost of the puppy.

  • Over a third of people (37%) who ended up with a sick pup after buying online or from newspaper ads experienced financial problems due to cost, and 35% suffered from emotional problems.

  • Over a third of puppies (37%) bought online or from a newspaper ad without being seen first were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with almost two thirds being bought solely because of the way they looked.

  • Buying a pup from a responsible breeder can cost owners 18% less in unplanned veterinary fees and pups are 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet.

Kennel Club research has shown a shocking number of people still buying puppies from disreputable sources: one in three revealed their puppies were sourced on internet sites, through social media, in pet shops and newspapers advertisements - all sources popularly used by puppy farmers. Make sure that you don't buy from a puppy farmer, or from an ill-informed and unknowledgeable breeder, who has not taken all of the steps to give your puppy the best chance in life. The Kennel Club recommends and always advises people to go to a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. The Kennel Club has United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) accreditation to certify breeders on the scheme and it is the only one in the UK that sets standards for and inspects dog breeders.

Click to watch video ->Do's and Don'ts of Buying a Puppy.


Click to watch video -> Stop the Suffering, Stop Puppy Farming.

Responsible Dog Breeding


Many people see dog breeding as a quick way to make some extra cash, or simply because they would love a puppy from their adorable bitch. However, it is often under estimated the time, money and effort that is needed for well produced, healthy puppies.

Firstly, when breeding your bitch you should look at the bitch herself. Does she have the best temperament to be potentially passing to her offspring? Is she fully vaccinated? Is she the correct age for breeding? Has she passed all relevant breed specific health tests? After all, we don’t want to produce a litter of potentially unhealthy puppies because Mum has passed on her faulty genes. Most importantly, do you have the time and money to care for Mum and a potentially large litter of puppies?
When assessing temperament, we should be breeding a happy bitch without any aggressive tendencies, whether this is aggression shown to people or to other dogs. The bitch should be of a nice nature, pleasantly trained and be happy to please her owner. If she get’s a big thumb up, great! Now we need to think about her maternal antibodies which she will pass to her litter. Is your bitch up to date with her annual vaccinations? You should not breed a bitch that has not had sufficient immunisations to infectious diseases. Mum passes her maternally derived antibodies to her litter during pregnancy, which last in the puppies immune systems until around 8 weeks old – which is why we then vaccinate the puppies at that age to produce new life long antibodies. If Mum has had no vaccinations, or her vaccinations have ‘ran out’ by the time she falls pregnant, her litter will not receive necessary antibodies and are therefore susceptible to nasty and infectious diseases.

   If your bitch has passed the previous assessments, we now need to ensure she is the correct age for breeding. Overall we recommend that bitches are bred between 2-5 years of age, however The Kennel Club provide breed-specific requirements for individual breeds, some stating exact ages bitches should be bred. If you breed your bitch outside of the time frame provided by The Kennel Club, then you may not be able to Kennel Club register your litter of puppies.

   Once you have made the decision to breed from your bitch, approaching the suitable breeding age you should then take responsibility for the health of your future puppies by ensuring Mum passes all relevant breed specific health tests. These tests differ for individual breeds as different breeds of dogs are susceptible to different genetically inherited health problems. All recommended breed specific health screening tests can be found on The Kennel Club website, and can be completed and sent away for analysis by your Veterinary Surgeon.

   Breeding from your bitch is not a quick, easy and cheap process. You should have money put a side to pay for health screening and to provide relevant treatment to Mum & puppies when necessary, and to ensure that puppies receive gold standard care once they arrive. It is not uncommon for bitches to have birth complications, this means you are required to pay for medical treatment if complications at birth occur, and this can also mean paying the high costs of a caesarean section. We also have to take into consideration the chance of Mum rejecting her new arrivals, do you have the time and money to hand rear her litter every hour until they are weaned?

By this point, your bitch should be healthy, happy, passed all relevant health screens and be at a suitable breeding age. You should now find a similarly exceptional stud dog that has also passed relevant health screens. Once your bitch comes into season, you need to ensure she is mated on the correct days of her cycle for a successful mating. You should educate yourself on this before your bitch comes into season so you can be fully prepared for the mating process. Ovulation kits are available to track your bitch’s cycle, or you can monitor Mum’s discharge and behaviour to decide when is the correct time to mate. There are some fantastic books to help educate you on the tricky mating process – my personal favourite is ‘The Book of The Bitch’ by J.M. Evans & Kay White, which covers all aspects of breeding.

   After what we hope is a successful mating, you have a few weeks wait until your Veterinary Surgeon can confirm pregnancy by ultrasound scan – we aim to scan potential pregnant bitches between 5-6 weeks of pregnancy. Once pregnancy is confirmed, you should then change your expecting Mum to a good quality puppy food, which should be offered until the litter has been weaned onto their own food at around 5 weeks of age. We should also ensure that Mum is regularly treated for internal and external parasites, including a prescription strength flea treatment which is licensed for pregnant and lactating bitches, and also given regular worming treatments. We recommend Panacur oral paste for worming Mum and puppies, which should be given from day 40 of pregnancy to day 2 post-whelping (approximately 25 days). Puppies should also be routinely wormed with Panacur oral paste at 2, 5 & 8 weeks of age.

   You should educate yourself on how to plan for your fury new arrivals prior to birth, including how to prepare Mum’s nest and also how to recognise any early signs of complications. It is important to have a vet on hand to contact if required, and have transport encase an emergency veterinary visit is required. Be prepared that high cost veterinary treatment may be required if your bitch faces complications out of hours.

   It is recommended that Mum whelps no more than 4 litters in her lifetime, any more than this will be declined for registration by The Kennel Club – nor should Mum undergo more than one pregnancy per 12 month period. Your bitch must not undergo more than two caesarean sections in her lifetime, whether these are booked as elective caesareans for breeds with known birthing difficulties, or emergency caesareans. A caesarean section is classed as ‘A procedure which alters the natural conformation of a dog’ and again, The Kennel Club will not register a litter of puppies from a Mum who has undergone more than two caesarean sections. As a veterinary practice, we also have a professional obligation to report such procedures to The Kennel Club.

   At St Clair we take pride in promoting responsible dog breeding, and our fully qualified staff are on hand to help you along the way. If you have any more queries that I haven’t already covered, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01670 457271.

 Click to watch video -> What to Expect When Buying a Puppy from an Assured Breeder.

Responsible Puppy Ownership



Annual vaccinations are an important part of pet ownership, and are given to prevent certain diseases and illness caused by micro-organisms, often viruses. These diseases can be difficult, and sometimes impossible to treat and can be fatal. Infectious and contagious diseases are spread by physical contact or via contact with bodily fluids, or they may be picked up from the environment or water if either are contaminated. Disease can also be airborne and pass from one animal to another. Protecting your puppy from these deadly diseases is as easy as visiting us for a small course of puppy injections, and repeating the annual booster each year. At St Clair we provide specialised puppy vaccination packages, lifetime immunity packages and monthly health plans to make the upkeep of annual vaccinations even easier and even more affordable. However, despite it being so simple to vaccinate your puppy, many puppies are still left unvaccinated which mean they are vulnerable to serious illness and may die if they are exposed to an infectious disease.  Protecting your puppy in this way helps to protect everyone else's pet because the more animals that are immune to a disease, the more difficult it is for a disease to spread. This is the same as vaccinations given to people to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like measles and to stop an epidemic from taking place. As with people, there can be some mild side effects with vaccinations but these are usually short-lived. Serious or allergic reactions are rare.

   Remember, prevention is always better than cure! There is often no cure and animals that do survive can be left with permanent damage from a disease. Common diseases you can protect your dog against include:

·         Canine Parvovirus -  This causes severe, life-threatening gastro-enteritis.

·         Canine Distemper Virus - This causes fever, digestive and breathing symptoms. It then effects the nervous system, commonly causing convulsions and then death.

·         Leptospirosis - This causes severe kidney and liver problems. Some strains are also infectious to people and can be potentially fatal.

·         Canine Infectious Hepatitis - This causes digestive problems, fever and jaundice. 50% of young dogs affected die.

·         Kennel Cough - This is not life-threatening but if your dog is mixing with other dogs the vaccination is recommended. It causes q hacking cough and can cause other breathing problems.


Welfare benefits of spaying for bitches

·         No false pregnancy, which is common in bitches and can occur after each season. It can result in distress to the bitch and anguish to the owner. A bitch undergoing a false pregnancy may produce milk, lose her appetite and exhibit adverse behavioural problems.

·         Pyometra and other uterine diseases are avoided - unspayed bitches can develop pyometra later in life, which then requires life-saving surgery. Spaying a healthy bitch does not involve the risks of spaying an older bitch with toxaemia arising from the pyometra.

·         Reduces risk of mammary tumours as the relative risk of mammary tumours increases progressively with each successive season. Bitches spayed before the second season have a lower prevalence of mammary tumours than entire bitches.

·         No oestrus: oestrus (season or "heat") occurs about every six months in entire bitches. During this time bitches have to be kept away from other dogs and walked under close supervision.

There are some reservations about spaying but most are not justified when examined more closely. Spaying may predispose to weight increase but dietary management can control this. Urinary incontinence can occasionally be associated with spaying but whether that relates to the age at which the bitch was spayed is unknown. Spaying is irreversible and a decision to spay a young bitch may be postponed by controlling her oestrus with drugs under veterinary direction. BVA believes the benefits of spaying a bitch outweigh any potential risks that are involved with the procedure.

Welfare benefits of castration for dogs

Castration rarely produces undesirable changes in temperament. Any weight change can be controlled by management of the diet. There is little problem with male guide dogs that are all castrated. Veterinary advice should always be sought on each individual case. Benefits of castration include:

·         It limits straying, particularly in response to bitches in season, which causes nuisance and unwanted litters

·         As a treatment for excessive and unacceptable sexual behaviour towards bitches, people and inanimate objects

·         For medical reasons eg. to prevent or remove testicular tumours or reduce perianal adenoma or prostatic hyperplasia

Parasite Control


   Fleas tend to be highly visible and many of you know that once you get a flea infestation in your home it can take at least 3 months to break the lifecycle. But there are other parasites that can affect your pet’s health, or even that of the human members of your family. Those parasites may leave no visible signs in the initial stages, but the consequences of infestation can be very serious. The Pet Parasite Action campaign surveyed over 1000 dog owners and found that one in six had not treated their pet against ticks, lungworm, tapeworm or roundworm in the last year. In fact, nearly a quarter didn’t know if their pet had EVER been treated for lungworm. What makes this so surprising is that over 80% of those surveyed knew that lungworm could be fatal to their dog.

Ticks are widespread – they can latch on to your pet in parks and gardens and are not just limited to rural locations. The common tick species in this country can transmit Lyme disease to both dogs and humans, resulting in fever, swollen joints, loss of appetite and even long term health problems. A new tick is also gaining a foothold in the UK and is spreading rapidly! This tick species can transmit a disease called Babesiosis, which can be fatal to dogs. While you might think that ticks are easy to spot, they can be very tiny until they start to feed and by this point they may have already transmitted disease! indeed it’s estimated that 15% of dogs play host to ticks without their owner being aware.

If you haven’t heard about lungworm, it’s a parasite that is a growing threat. Lungworm is a potentially fatal disease for dogs, and dogs are most likely to get infected by swallowing slugs or snails infected with the parasite. But the slime left behind by slugs and snails can also contain infectious lungworm larvae, so dogs that chew grass or drink from puddles are also at risk. You might not initially realise that your pet is infected until it starts to show signs. Some dogs will seem depressed and subdued, while others may have a cough, difficulty breathing, or develop nosebleeds. In some cases infection can be fatal. Unfortunately, Lungworm is becoming increasingly common and spreading throughout the UK into previously unaffected areas.
Pets contract tapeworm by ingesting an infected intermediate host, and pets that frequently hunt or scavenge, or have access to sheep/cattle carcasses – such as farm dogs may require tapeworm treatment more often. A flea is the intermediate host for the most common tapeworm of dogs and cats. If your pet has a tapeworm infection, you may not realise as cats and dogs infected with adult forms of the tapeworm often show no symptoms, but sometimes you may see segments containing eggs, that pass out in your pets poo! Tapeworm segments in the poo can cause irritation resulting in pets licking the area excessively, and they may ‘scoot’ across the ground. In extreme cases, and if humans inadvertently ingest some types of tapeworm eggs, cysts can develop within human body tissues! You might think this is unlikely, but how often do you stroke your pet before eating a meal or even biting your finger nails?! And how often do you kiss your pet or let them lick yours or your children’s face?

   Roundworm is another worrying parasite, but again, you might not see any visible signs. Although often associated with puppies or kittens, adult dogs and cats can also be infested with roundworm and should be treated on a regular basis. Adult pets don’t often get ill as a result of roundworm, but the worms produce eggs which are passed out in your dog’s faeces. Those eggs can remain in soil or sand for a long time and if accidentally swallowed may cause severe health problems in people. A recent survey carried out by Pet Parasite Action has found that just 7% of dog owners know that roundworm, notably Toxocara, can be dangerous to people. If accidentally swallowed, eggs from this parasite can cause serious health issues in people, including neurological disease and even blindness! Children are especially at risk as they often play on the ground and in soil and sandpits. In fact, the survey highlighted that most dog owners (over 43%) believed that lungworm was most dangerous to human health, but while lungworm can be fatal to dogs there is no evidence that it harms people at all.
At St Clair we include your puppies first flea, tick, lungworm, roundworm & tapeworm treatments in their vaccination package, and we then offer an affordable monthly health plan called The Happy Paws Club, to provide your dog with all the cover they need, to protect them from parasitic infestations at an affordable price (this is also available for cats).

Pet Insurance


One of the most important roles of responsible pet ownership, is taking out a good quality lifetime cover pet insurance!

Did you know that it has been proven that persons claim more on pet insurance each day than car or home insurances? And that good quality pet insurance can provide life-long funds to ensure your pet is given the best care possible in any circumstance? The team at St Clair Vets are trained insurance advisers who can advise you on any pet insurance inquiries and recommend the best insurance policies.

By owning an animal, you have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care. This includes veterinary treatment when your pet is unwell or injured.

By neglecting your animal and not seeking veterinary attention when required, you could be breaking the animal welfare act and could be prosecuted for neglect of the animal. Some animals may become injured or ill and require immediate surgery or medical attention; other animals may become ill with long term, sometimes life-long illnesses where you are required to pay for veterinary treatment for the pet’s life. Pet insurance covers your pet for illness and injury, where depending on the individual case, you can claim back your money or submit a direct claim for your insurance company to pay the veterinary surgery directly, claim protocols depend on the veterinary surgery in use, direct claims at St Clair will only be considered for any claim greater than £500 and will be subject to pre-authorisation by the insurance company. This provides a peace of mind that you can provide the best standard of care for your animal, which in turn prevents stress, and prolongs the life of your pet. Unfortunately there is no NHS type of industry for animal care; therefore it is an owner’s responsibility to pay for animal medical care when necessary.

Many pet owners leave medical conditions until they worsen in the hope that they will improve and not require treatment due to funds; however this is known to cost more in the long run as each condition worsens and may cause further damage and distress for the animal, this situation can be prevented when an animal is covered under their pet insurance policy.

Which type of policy should I choose?

Lifetime Cover

Lifetime policies provide a pot of money for Veterinary Fees each year. Every time you renew your pet’s policy (without a break in cover) the pot of money is refreshed back to the original Veterinary Fees amount. This allows you to claim for ongoing conditions for the life of your pet as there is no time limit on how long each illness or injury can be claimed for. Please note that some insurance companies provide ‘lifetime cover’ but do not refresh this pot of money yearly, so although there may not be a 12 month limit for the condition, once you use up your pot of money you will no longer be able to claim for that condition.

12 Month Cover

Time limited policies provide a pot of money for each illness or injury for a 12 month period. At the end of the 12 month period the pot of money is taken away and the existing illness or injury will no longer be covered by the policy. This means that you will not be able to claim for ongoing conditions for any longer than 12 months but will continue to receive a new pot of money for 12 months for any new conditions that occur.

Maximum Benefit Policies

Maximum benefit policies provide a pot of money per condition. Once you have used up all of the money in the pot the existing illness or injury will no longer be covered by the policy. It could take you several months or several years to use up the pot of money depending on the condition. You will receive new pots of money for any new conditions that occur but again you will only be able to claim for each condition until the pot of money runs out.

PLEASE NOTE - Different companies many use different names for their policies, therefore it is important that you research the policy and provider before taking out the insurance cover. 

Pre-existing Conditions

A pre existing condition is a condition that has already occurred, i.e. an ear infection 1 year ago or a sore paw last month. Insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions that have occurred prior to insurance cover being taken, this means if your pet has become ill, you cannot then take out insurance in the future for that condition. This is why we strongly recommend good quality life cover from a young age. This is also the case if there is a lapse in your pet’s insurance policy, so please ensure that your pet’s policy is renewed annually so there is no break in cover.

We encourage all of our clients to ensure their pet has a form of pet insurance; Lifetime Cover is a great way to cover your pet for illness and injury for life. Not only does this prevent vets from providing restricted treatments, it also ensures that animals are covered for life for their conditions, as long as there are no breaks in the insurance policy. When claiming on your pet insurance, all you are required to do is hand the relevant pet insurance claim form into our reception with the client sections accurately completed, where we will then complete the veterinary section FREE OF CHARGE and submit the paperwork with the animal’s full clinical history to your pet insurance company.

If you want the privilege of owning an animal, please be responsible and ensure that you take out a good standard pet insurance for the life of your pet. It’s the least we can do in return for the many happy years they give us.

If you would like more information on pet insurance, please do not hesitate to contact the team at St Clair Vets on 01670 457271.

Life's a Beach

Life's A Beach

With recent sunny weather, many Families have been flocking to the seaside with their dogs.
Everyone loves a fun filled day at the beach, however we should be aware that a day at the beach can sometimes put dogs at risk. Not all dog owners are aware of the dangers lurking on the sand or in the water.

beach days 1

Salt water: dogs are very sensitive to the effects of salt water, (or sodium chloride). When swimming in the sea, they may ingest significant quantities very quickly. Dogs also have a habit of trying to lap this very salty water from rock pools and puddles that have formed on the beach.
Following ingestion of salt water, vomiting can occur within a few minutes. Neurological signs can also develop up to several hours later.
In severe cases muscular rigidity, convulsions, coma, kidney failure and shock may occur. The majority of cases of seawater ingestion reported to VPIS (veterinary poisons information service) are symptomatic and, sadly, hypernatremia (high levels of sodium in the blood) can prove fatal.
In mild cases, small amounts of fresh water should be offered frequently.
If you think your dog may have ingested sea water then veterinary advice should be sought immediately.

palm oil pic 3

Palm Oil: Palm oil has been seen washed up on beaches throughout the UK. While fats and oil do not cause outright toxicity if ingested acutely, they can cause a quick onset laxative effect, causing Vomiting and diarrhoea. There is risk of dehydration and pancreatitis in chronic cases and sometimes intestinal blockages can occur.

jelly fish pic 2

Jellyfish: Pretty but nasty, even dead jellyfish can sting, often for weeks after they have died.

Don’t let your dogs lick, step on, or eat jelly fish; keep them well away. Jelly fish stings hurt; those areas of your dogs’ body with less hair; such as the nose, mouth, abdomen, testicles, and around the eyes have more chance of exposure and a nasty sting. . Signs to look out for include: vomiting, swelling, excessive salivation, mouth irritation, distress, pain, overheating and diarrhoea. Twitching and respiratory signs may also occur.
Skin irritation can occur and be very distressing for your dogs. If your dog does get stung, the affected area should be washed with seawater immediately. Any remaining tentacles should be safely pulled off the skin (remember you can get stung too) but never rubbed off. The area must not be rubbed with sand. You should seek veterinary attention as painkillers and antihistamines may need to be given.


Foreign Objects: dogs love to chase their favourite ball on the beach, but be aware they could also pick up other hazardous objects and ingest them.
We often see dogs that have swallowed foreign objects such as Stones, Shells, Seaweed and fish hooks.
These objects can cause serious illness and can become lodged inside your dogs stomach and intestines. Often exploratory surgery is required to remove these objects. Surgery can be risky and unfortunately also expensive.
Symptoms such as Vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhoea, may not start for days or sometimes even weeks after ingestion. If you think your dog may have swallowed any foreign objects they must see a vet immediately.


Sand: Some of us love it some of us hate it. Remember while you are feeling the sand between your toes your dog could be feeling it between their teeth!
We don’t understand why, but some dogs love to eat it. Sand can cause blockages in the intestines and cause an impaction. This requires immediate veterinary attention. As you can imagine it’s uncomfortable and can make your dogs very ill.
Refrain from dropping any edible items such as sandwiches or treats onto the sand, believe us even after the item has been swallowed dogs will still lick the area. If you have ever had a picnic on the beach you will know there is nothing worse than sandy sandwiches!
Please be aware that some of our beaches also have areas of quick sand and sink holes. If you notice areas on the beach please inform your local council so they can warn others of the risks. Stay away from these areas.


Sun: We all know the risks basking in the sun can have on our body. Dogs are also affected by excessive sun exposure. They can quickly overheat and develop heat exhaustion.
If you are planning a long day at the beach it may be best to leave your dogs at home. If you do take them with you ensure they have: a shaded area out of direct sunlight, access to cool fresh drinking water, and long periods of rest.
Please remember even in the shade they can overheat, and NEVER EVER leave a dog inside a car even with the windows down, cars act like ovens and your dog will die.
It is important not to exercise them excessively when in the hot sun, chasing a ball is fun but they will tire more quickly in the heat.
Any exposed areas such as sensitive ears, mouths, and tummy’s should have a suitable sun block applied, dogs can get sunburn just as we can and they can be at risk of developing skin cancers.


Swimming: Cooling down with a dip in the sea can be fun but it can also be dangerous. Tides can change quickly and rip tides can occur. If your dog loves a dip in the ocean please take care, Never allow your dog to swim when a red or yellow flag is displayed, never throw objects into the sea for your dog to fetch in rocky areas, never throw your dog into the water, never go out of your depth to reach your dog, and don’t allow your dogs into the water if you are unsure of the depth.


Local Wildlife: We are very lucky to have an abundance of beautiful wildlife that inhabits our coasts, seals and sea birds will often rest on the sand.
If you come across a resting seal or sea bird please keep your dogs away, seals look cute but can give a nasty bite, they can also carry diseases, some of which pose a potential risk to your dogs. Seals need to rest so NEVER chase a seal back into the water. Don’t allow your dogs to chase birds or approach any nests, birds are very protective of their young.
If you come across an injured seal don’t approach it as this can stress the seal further. Don’t draw attention to it and if possible contact the BDMLR (British Divers and Marine Life Rescue) 01825 765546.


The St Clair Happy Paws Club!

The St Clair Happy Paws Club!

Happy Paws Club paint doc poster

Pet's can't tell you when they're feeling sick, and sometimes you can't see there's anything wrong. That's why, even more than you, they need regular check ups. Early detection of any potential problems could save you facing any unnecessary worry or stress, and of course the additional costs that might accompany later treatment.

Money is not as important as health and happiness, but by joining our St Clair Happy Paws Club you will make great savings on the annual cost of your pet's vaccinations, parasite treatments, plus many other benefits that will help to keep them in tip-top condition!

Flea's, ticks and worms can cause a great deal of discomfort to your pet, and some can even be passed onto your family! Year round parasite control is a key part of the Happy Paws Club, but what suits one pet, may not necessarily suit another! The St Clair Happy Paws Club is unique in that parasite treatments are tailored to your pets individual requirements. We begin with a free parasite assessment, to determine which parasites your pet is most at risk from, and which treatment options provide the most effective care. Based on these findings, we will recommend one of the five plans which combine the very best parasite control and vaccinations. We have a variety of plans available which include protection from flea's, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms, lungworms & more!

Prices start from as little as £10.95 per month, saving around £68.09 per year! And some larger dog owners may save in excess of £300 per year! The Happy Paws Club is designed to make responsible pet ownership as easy and cost effective as possible.

If you have already taken our Lifetime Immunity Package (LIP Service) for your dogs yearly booster vaccinations, don't worry! You will receive a FREE UPGRADE to include an annual kennel cough vaccination in place of your pets annual booster on the plan.

But that's not all...
In addition to the savings on parasite control and vaccinations, not to mention the peace of mind knowing that your pet is protected, you and your pet will also benefit from:

- Yearly full health examination with your Veterinary Surgeon.

- A full health check with your Veterinary Surgeon (Ideally 6 months after your pets annual booster vaccination).

- All routine yearly boosters including
Dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis.
Cats: Feline Leukaemia, Panleukopenia, Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis.

- Annual kennel cough vaccination (If chosen on your plan.)

- 10% OFF any additional vaccines (for example Rabies if going abroad), 10% off ALL SERVICES including in house procedures & treatments - including dentals, radiographs and ultrasounds.

- 10% OFF all life stage & prescription diets, 10% off any additional consultation fee's, 10% off all medication & supplements and 10% off internal or external laboratory fee's.

- FREE nurse consultations INCLUDING nail clips!

So, if you would like optimum health care for you pet & to save money at the same time, call us today on 01670 457271 to book an appointment for your pets parasite risk assessment & to join the St Clair Happy Paws Club.

*First payment required same day, where first month of treatment will be supplied. subsequent monthly payments will be paid via Direct Debit, on either the 1st or 15th of the month - at your choice*

Pet Allergy Week 2017!

Pet Allergy Week 2017


Just like us, animals can have allergies…

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a common substance known as an allergen. There are a wide variety of allergens pets can have a reaction to, from foods, pollens from trees, grasses and flowering plants to moulds, fleas, dead skin, dust and storage mites. They can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin.


If your pet is repeatedly exposed to an allergen their immune system may react, often resulting in poor health.

Common symptoms of pet allergies include:
SKIN PROBLEMS – itching, scratching, rashes and redness.
EAR PROBLEMS – swelling, itching and soreness.
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS – diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight problems.
RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS – asthma/wheezing (in cats).
BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS – face rubbing, paw chewing, persistent licking and over grooming.

Because there are a number of potential causes to your pets discomfort and behaviour, your pets allergens may be unknown. Our vets, Rory & Andy can carry out a thorough work-up to identify these. Once the problem is identified there a number of treatment options which can overcome the symptoms and improve your pet’s quality of life. As part of this work-up, they may suggest sending off a small sample of blood to us to carry out a SENSITEST allergy test.

Following this we will provide you with your pet’s results and a personalised results pack. If allergy is identified as a contributing factor, Rory or Andy will provide you with suggestions for managing your pet’s condition.

The usual price of a SENITEST allergy test is £500! But in honour of Pet Allergy Week 2017, which runs from 5th-11th June.. we will be offering a 25% discount on every allergy test performed throughout the whole month of June.. saving £125!

The cost of your test and any treatment may be covered by your pet insurance.

Please check with us and your insurance company for details.

If you suspect one of your pets suffer from an allergy, please contact us on 01670 457271 to book an appointment.