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.

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 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.


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.

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 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!



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 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!

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.


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!