Millions of Animals Unprotected by EU law

Huge flaws in animal welfare policies in Europe have been uncovered, which campaigners say are putting millions of animals under unneccessary suffering.

A new European Parliament report shows slow progress on EU animal welfare policies and legislation has major negative effects for animals.

“Action must be taken”, says Animal Defenders International to redress the balance, with assurances given by the UK government to maintain, and improve upon, existing animal welfare measures after the country leaves the EU.

Jan Creamer, Animal Defenders International said: “The imbalance in animal welfare laws in Europe must be urgently addressed to provide protection to the millions of animals currently being failed. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is imperative existing welfare measures both remain in place and are strengthened.”

The study “Animal Welfare in the European Union”, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs and authored by Professor Donald Broom of University of Cambridge clearly states the situation needs to be urgently addressed. The report specifically recommends the development of a generic animal welfare law or species specific legislation.

The development of EU law over the past 44 years has led to 45 legislative acts relating to animal health and welfare. These legislative results culminated in the crucial acknowledgement of animals as sentient beings and the moral implications this brings as laid down in the Treaty for the European Union, a fundamental value which should underlie all EU legislation. However in the majority of EU law, animals so far are only recognised as goods, products or possessions.

Last years’ special Eurobarometer survey on “Attitudes of Europeans towards Animal Welfare” demonstrated a groundswell of support from European citizens to better protect all animal species. This mirrors the many animal welfare petitions the Petitions Committee, who requested the new report, has received over the past decade.

Despite the scientific evidence and public support, current EU legislation excludes several farmed species. Most notably, there is insufficient legislation for 340 million farmed rabbits, 170 million ducks, 150 million turkeys, 83 million sheep, 10 million goats, 88 million bovines (with the exclusion of calves kept for veal production). The second and third most farmed species, salmon and trout (1 billion and 440 million, respectively), are also not protected by any legislation.

Other animals such as equines, pets and wildlife also lack necessary legislative protection, as often only EU level actions can truly address the cross-border nature of the problems these species face. Deliberate or commercially-motivated cruelty to wild animals is not for example prevented by existing EU legislation. The use of traps for wild animals that result in severe suffering such as snares is still permitted in the EU.

Professor Broom states how animals in laboratories in the EU and worldwide have long suffered “widespread inadequate housing conditions that do not meet the needs of the animals”, particularly rodents, as attempts are made to maximise hygiene at the expense of providing other resources that animals need, like bedding and companions.

The study also recognises that most wild animals cannot adapt to a life in captivity and underlines that the trade and keeping of exotic pets can result in poor welfare and risks to biodiversity conservation. It stresses that the adoption of legislation including (positive) lists of allowed pet species could tackle these issues. The keeping and training of animals in circuses is identified as one of the priorities for new EU legislation; the UK government announced it would ban wild animal acts in 2012 but legislation has yet to be introduced.

While the report rightly emphasises how existing EU animal welfare legislation contributes substantially to improving the lives of many species, it also stresses that implementation and enforcement frequently remains problematic.

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Insight: How To Care For An Elderly Dog

Dogs make fantastic pets. They’re loyal, trusting, loving and lots of fun, especially when they’re puppies. But they don’t stay puppies, and there’s a lot you need to know about looking after an elderly dog to ensure its twilight years are as fantastic as its early years.

Don’t worry, though, the basics are below:

Take Your Dog To The Vet For A Check-Up At Least Once A Year

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons recommends you get your dog to see the vet at least yearly, even if your dog appears healthy. Because they can detect minute odor concentrations, one part per trillion (the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic size swimming pools), some dogs work as Medical Detection Dogs, helping to detect diseases early and save thousands of lives. But a human’s powers of perception are by comparison weak, so it’s best not to wait for signs which may not arrive before going for a check-up as many diseases are hidden and not easily detectable.

Feed Your Dog A High-Quality Diet

You should feed all of your pets the best diet you can afford. But it’s especially important to make sure your elderly dog is getting the essential nourishment. One thing to consider is fortifying your dog’s diet with fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. These are an excellent bulwark against mobility diseases like arthritis. If your dog as heart or kidney disease, you might consider a diet plan lower in sodium, an excess of which can lead to other diseases developing, including diabetes.

Keep Your Dog Warm

A dog in the prime of its life is resilient to the effects of the weather. However, older dogs are susceptible to Degenerative Joint Disease and arthritis and need warm shelter from the elements. Keep any hard surfaces, such as concrete, covered, perhaps with pieces of carpet – and perhaps consider custom dog beds. A good idea would be to line one with some towels or blankets. If your dog needs to get upstairs, or perhaps on to the couch for a cuddle, you might consider building wheeled-ramps to make it easier. Something else to consider is where you leave your dog when you go away. Some accommodations are, of course, better than others – so choose the best you can afford. *Tip: Call dog hotels in advance and let them know if your dog has special requirements.

Give Your Dog Plenty Of Gentle Exercise

Let’s face it; an elderly dog will probably want to leave the chasing cars and swimming after ducks in the local reservoir in the past. But that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t still important. It is. Both for optimal organ function and for maintaining strong joints and lean muscles. The trick is to tailor your dog’s exercise regime. For a large healthy dog, a walk around the block might not be enough. But a Yorkie might be spent after the same distance. Keep things slow and steady – and again, remember to consult your veterinary professional at least yearly.

 

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Thai-Based Animal Welfare Organisation Soi Dog Foundation Wins at Prestigious British Charity Film Awards Ceremony

“People’s Choice” Award for Short Film of Thai Dog Who Had Front Legs Hacked Off With A Sword

Cola, who had his front legs chopped off for playing, is one of the dogs helped by Thai based Soi Dog Foundation

Soi Dog Foundation, the Thai-based street dog and cat welfare organisation responsible for fighting the Asian dog meat trade, was awarded the “People’s Choice” award at the inaugural British Charity Film Awards in London on 15 March.

The short film entitled “Love Will Always Triumph Over Evil” tells the true story of a pup called Cola from Bangkok whose front legs were hacked off by a sword by an angry neighbour, because Cola had chewed his shoes. The pup was saved by Soi Dog who paid for emergency medical treatment and fitting of prosthetic legs, before bringing him to Phuket, where he was adopted by co-founder of Soi Dog, Gill Dalley, herself a double amputee.

The British Charity Film Awards celebrate the charity sector’s use of film, whether for awareness building, changing attitudes and behaviours, or for fund raising.

From left: A representative from the British Charity Film Awards with Suzanne Woodhead (Soi Dog UK lead volunteer), Donna Freelove (Soi Dog UK lead volunteer), and Sally Phillips, British acress and comedienne, and host of the awards ceremony.

Over 375 charities entered the Awards, with just 36 actually making it through to the finals. Soi Dog’s “People’s Choice” award was voted for by members of the public. Over 65,000 people voted, with Soi Dog collecting just over 30,000 votes.

John Dalley, co-founder and President of Soi Dog Foundation said: “We are very grateful to all those who voted for us. It helps to bring knowledge of our work to a wider audience, and highlights the plight of many homeless dogs and cats in this part of the world, as well as the cruel and horrific dog meat trade in Asia that we are trying to end. It is also more than a fitting tribute to Gill, who passed away last month, with the film demonstrating her pure compassion for animals who otherwise would have no-one else to help them. Gill would have been particularly happy at winning the People’s Choice awards. She was a woman of the people”.

Gill Dalley passed away last month following a brief battle with cancer. As a double leg amputee herself, Gill had formed an instant bond with Cola, understanding the issues he was going through in adjusting to life with prosthetic legs. The two became inseparable in the few months following Cola’s adoption by the couple. Cola is now being looked after by John at the family house in Phuket, along with numerous other street dogs and cats that the couple had adopted over the years.

This is the first time a Thai-based organisation has received a charity award in the United Kingdom, and highlights the great efforts of all Asian-based not-for-profit organisations in making a sustainable difference to the lives of people, animals and the environment.

John Dalley said: “Thailand should be very proud of this award. It demonstrates how far the country has come in terms of improving the welfare of its animals. We are eternally grateful to the Thai people for all their support and assistance in improving the lives of street dogs and cats, and in ending the dog meat trade here”.

The Soi Dog Foundation short film on Cola and Gill was surprisingly made on a zero budget, in stark contrast to the professionally made films entered by the other charities. John Dalley added: “Our supporters don’t want us to spend their money on initiatives that do not directly impact on the welfare of the dogs and cats here., We spend 92% of all donations directly on the animal welfare programmes we run on behalf of our supporters”.

Soi Dog Foundation lead UK volunteers Donna Freelove and Suzanne Woodhead were on hand at the ceremony to collect the award, which will be dedicated to the memory and legacy of Gill Dalley.

Other winners at the British Charity Awards ceremony included St John’s Ambulance, Alzheimer’s Society, Royal Trinity Hospice, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum, Support and Love Via Education International, The Loss Foundation, Communities for Development, and The Restorative Justice Council with Fully Focussed Productions.

A link to the winning film can be found here: Cola’s story

Soi Dog Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003, is a legally registered charity in Thailand, Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland. Its mission statement is to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia, resulting in better lives for both the animal and human communities, to create a society without homeless animals, and to ultimately end animal cruelty. John Dalley, co-founder and president, is available for interview.

For more information please visit www.soidog.org or www.facebook.com/SoiDogPageInEnglish

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Cheshire Rescue Dog Awarded ‘Animal OBE’

Bryn served in disaster zones in Japan and Nepal

An extraordinary search and rescue dog from Cheshire was honoured today (Thursday 16 March 2017) by leading vet charity PDSA for his devotion to duty in some of the world’s most challenging regions.

At a special ceremony at Manchester Town Hall, Border Collie Bryn became the latest recipient of the prestigious PDSA Order of Merit* – the animals’ OBE.  Bryn’s award is in recognition of his exemplary service as a search and rescue dog, working with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and UK’s International Search and Rescue Team.

Commenting on the award, PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said: “Bryn has displayed extraordinary devotion throughout his career and made a monumental difference to search and rescue operations across the world.   His story demonstrates the huge contribution that animals make to our lives.”

Bryn’s Story

Border Collie Bryn has worked as a search and rescue dog alongside his handler Steve Buckley since he was a puppy.

Steve requested a rescue dog for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, where he worked as a firefighter, after witnessing the incredible work of search dogs while on a rescue mission in India following the 2001 earthquake. Bryn was handpicked from a litter of puppies due to his nature and intelligence.

Steve and Bryn started training and in 2005, at the age of four, Bryn became fully qualified and UKISAR graded.

In 2009, they became one of only four UK dog teams to attain the International Rescue Dog Organisation’s ‘mission readiness test’. The test consisted of seven searches over 36 hours, a 10km march, dog first aid and working at height.

Alongside his work with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Bryn has been deployed to building collapses, missing persons’ searches and gas explosions throughout the UK.

His international work involved working in Japan (2011) after the earthquake and tsunami, and in Nepal (2015) following the devastating earthquake which killed and injured thousands.

Bryn’s ability to search large areas for casualties, with greater speed and efficiency than his human counterparts, was invaluable. It minimised the need for risky interventions when faced with precarious and volatile rescue situations.

As well as helping find casualties within disaster areas, Bryn’s skills have also helped reunite families with lost loved ones, allowing them to be laid to rest.

Later in their career Steve and Bryn also worked for Avon Urban Search and Rescue team.  Bryn retired in May 2016 after an outstanding 11-year career.

Commenting on the award, Steve Buckley said: “Bryn has been a dedicated and exemplary search dog throughout his career.  He never wavered from his mission and those working with him had complete faith in his detection skills.  His skills have been used to set training standards across the world.

“Dogs like Bryn only come along once in a lifetime and I’m incredibly lucky to have worked beside him for the past 11 years.  Receiving the PDSA Order of Merit is a fitting end to his distinguished career. I am so proud of him.”

The PDSA Order of Merit was presented to Bryn by PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin.

Jan said: “I’m proud and honoured to award Bryn his PDSA Order of Merit. His support for teams in dangerous search and rescue situations has made a profound difference to the lives of people across the world. His incredible talent and skills are truly rare.

“Today he joins an honourable line-up of animals that have displayed outstanding devotion and companionship in various walks of life. Although very different, they are all worthy recipients of the PDSA Order of Merit.”

Head of Operational Policy and Assurance at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Gus O’Rourke, added: “Bryn and Steve have been an integral part of our International Search and Rescue Team, always ready to fly out to wherever in the world they were needed. Bryn’s deployments haven’t been without incident; in Japan, where Steve and Bryn went to help in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Bryn received serious life-threatening injuries while searching through the debris. He was treated by a field surgeon for temporary respite until he could get expert veterinary treatment.

“The pair have also been at the forefront of training other dogs and handlers, both nationally and internationally, so the great work done by these teams will continue and evolve. Many, many people the world over owe their survival to the brave, courageous work done by the search and rescue dog teams and I am so proud of both Bryn and Steve for their massive and dedicated contribution. I wish them both a long, healthy and happy retirement.”

PDSA Medals

The PDSA Order of Merit recognises animals that display outstanding acts of devotion above and beyond normal companionship. It also recognises animal acts which represent the special relationship that exists between animals and humans. Bryn is the seventh canine recipient of the honour, which has been awarded 17 times since its institution in 2014.

For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk/OOMdogs.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, treating 470,000 pets annually across its 51 Pet Hospitals. The charity strives to improve all pets’ lives through education, preventive care and emergency treatment. For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk

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Why Does Nobody Want One-eyed Tyson?

Crossbreed dog is still waiting to find his fur-ever home…

RSPCA staff and volunteers in Buckinghamshire are desperately trying to find the paw-fect home for a one-eyed dog who is their loneliest pooch.

Tyson has been waiting for a home for 295 days (as of Thursday) and, despite having a small fan club online, still hasn’t found his perfect match.

As the five-year-old rottweiler-cross approaches his 300-day milestone, staff are doing all they can to find him a home to call his own.

Paula Flitney, deputy manager at RSPCA Blackberry Farm, where Tyson is currently living, said: “Poor Tyson is now officially our longest stay dog.

“We really can’t understand why he continues to be overlooked as he’s such a wonderful boy. How many dogs could pull off the pirate look?!”

Tyson ended up in RSPCA care in May last year after a cat scratched his eye. He needed treatment and, sadly, had to have the eye removed. But he has bounced back and isn’t letting a missing eye slow him down!

“He is such a sweetheart and will make a brilliant companion for the right person,” Paula added.

“Tyson loves a cuddle and is quite happy plodding around the field and going for a calm walk. He is happy to be left on his own for short periods and could live with older children and with a calm female dog, but can’t live with cats.

“Tyson is a lovely dog who is very special to everyone at the centre. He’s been waiting far too long for a home.”

If you think you could offer Tyson a home, please visit the website or contact Blackberry Farm on 0300 123 0752.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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Office Worker’s Pregancy ‘Outed’ at Work by Colleague’s Dog!

A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human’s (depending on the breed)

A Manchester office worker was surprised to find that a colleague’s dog was able to detect her pregnancy during a meeting, suggesting there may be some credence to the research that four legged friends are able to spot pregnancy ahead of their human owners.

Freya McNally, senior content manager at Pets at Home, was able to successfully conceal her pregnancy from all of her colleagues, except for one nosey office dog.

Freya said: “When I was about eight weeks pregnant – and long before I told anyone – I was in a meeting with a colleague, senior designer, Angie Keay and her dog, Chesney, a  a Yorkshire Terrier, Jack Russel, Chihuahua cross.

“Although our pets often come to meetings with us, I had never spent much time around Chesney, so I was quite surprised when he snuggled up to me. Angie was a bit embarrassed and kept trying to remove Chesney, but he would just cuddle up again!”

When the meeting was over, Freya forgot all about it. But Angie told a mutual colleague that Chesney had a history of snuggling up to pregnant women, despite normally being very shy. Experts agree that both cats and dogs can detect when a woman’s pregnant, although they’re not sure exactly how. Some dogs detect very early hormonal changes using their sense of smell – and its thought this may be why Chesney reacted as he did.

So, when Freya announced her pregnancy at work a few weeks later, Angie wasn’t the least bit surprised. She said: “In fact, Angie said she was so glad she had told our colleague about Chesney’s super-sense because otherwise no one would have believed her!” says Freya.

“The hormonal changes must have made me smell different to Chesney, but it’s not something that can be detected by the human nose.

“I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family; it’s now my favourite work story!”

More information on pets and pregnancy can be found in the latest issue of Pets at Home’s My VIP magazine. The magazine is free to VIP club members and available at Pets at Home stores throughout the UK.

For more information about Pets at Home’s VIP club, please visit: vip.petsathome.com.

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Canine Health Campaigners “Dismayed” by Crufts ‘Best in Breed’ Champ

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Campaigners for tighter health checks on Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a breed beset by hereditary health issues, say they are “dismayed” the Kennel Club is “ignoring” their concerns – after a dog crowned ‘Best in Breed’ at Crufts has “been bred flouting health guidelines.”

Cavaliers suffer in high numbers from an inherited heart condition called Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Syringomyelia, a painful neurological disorder. Almost  31,000 have signed an online petition asking the Kennel Club to only register puppies from Cavaliers screened for these conditions.

Last Friday, Margaret Carter, Charlotte Mackaness and TV vet Emma Milne presented Bill Lambert, Health and Breeder Services Manager at the KC, with comments from the petition at Crufts. They told Mr Lambert that there would be no need to petition the KC if sufficient breeders were carrying out health checks and followed guidelines.

The three have since written an open letter to Mr Lambert expressing their dismay that the Cavalier that won the Best of Breed title at Crufts later that day had seven litters of puppies registered with the UK Kennel Club before he was 2.5 years old.

“Two years ago the Cavalier awarded Best of Breed had sired a litter of puppies before his first birthday. If one looks only at the dogs entered in the Crufts’ show guide for this year’s Open Dog Class, eight sired litters registered with the UK Kennel Club before they reached 2.5 years old, some well before this age,” they write.

Breeding guidelines put in place in the 1990s state that Cavaliers should not be bred before this age.

The Cavalier Club’s website states: “Reputable breeders are aware of these health problems. Those intending to purchase a puppy are recommended to buy from a breeder who health tests their stock, who follows breeding guidelines issued by veterinary experts, and who is prepared to discuss and advise the purchaser on health issues.”

Pets Magazine’s Sophie, a ruby Cavalier

 

In addition, the health campaigners claim that not only is the Best in Breed winning dog, Castlewytch Rave On With Russmic, owned by a Cavalier Club committee member but his second registered litter was bred by the then chair of the Cavalier Club who is still the Kennel Club Cavalier Breed Health Coordinator.

The group also highlights that one of the dogs entered for the class they examined starting siring puppies before his first birthday, despite being bred and owned by a regional Cavalier Club puppy coordinator.

TV vet Emma Milne explained: “When the people giving breed advice, including the Club’s own health liaison and puppy coordinators, are producing animals outside of protocols, what hope is there for the breed or for puppy buyers trying to be responsible.”

There is no official heart testing scheme in the UK for Cavaliers, despite MVD being their biggest killer and 20 times more prevalent than in other breeds. There is a long-standing heart scheme run by the Cavalier Club that campaigners would like the Kennel Club to adopt but make mandatory.

“Research published earlier this year by respected cardiologists found that in 20 years the age of onset of MVD has improved by only six months and only in bitches examined by a GP vet,” says Margaret Carter. “Only four per cent of breeders were following the MVD guidelines at some stages of the study.”

Many European countries have mandatory health testing for Cavaliers, including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, which has seen it’s the risk of MVD in Cavaliers fall by 73 per cent since introducing a compulsory heart testing scheme for the breed.

“The winner of this year’s Best of Breed at Crufts makes a total mockery of the breed club and Kennel Club claims that they are committed to Cavaliers’ health and welfare,” believes Emma Milne. “Litters should not be registered from breeders that are so blatantly ignoring well-accepted specialist research and advice. These health problems are widespread and devastating for the dogs and their owners. Nothing concrete has been done to improve things for decades. It’s way past time for change.”

In response, Bill Lambert, Kennel Club Health and Breeder Services Manager, said: “We fully support attempts to highlight the health and welfare issues that can affect Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and as dog lovers, we fully understand how passionate those who have signed the petition are about their Cavaliers.  We are glad that Crufts is able to shine a spotlight on dogs and provides a chance for these types of issues to be discussed more widely.

“Whilst the Kennel Club promotes health screening and makes many tests a requirement under its Assured Breeder Scheme when they are proven to work, health testing is not a legal requirement for breeders and registration with the Kennel Club is only voluntary. Therefore making the test mandatory for registration will simply drive breeders away from the Kennel Club, where they will continue to breed, resulting is us having fewer health test results and less information about the specific condition.  The Kennel Club only registers an estimated thirty per cent of the pedigree dog population, so it is important that we maintain influence over those who do register their dogs with us.

Mr Lambert added: “Instead, we need to understand breeders’ concerns about tests if they are not all using them, and support and incentivise them to do so. Where tests do not produce definitive results about whether puppies will be affected by a condition, such as the CM/SM test for syringomyelia, and because of the cost and risks associated with tests like this, we believe collaboration with breeders who are passionate about improving breed health will be much more effective than making the test a mandatory requirement for Kennel Club registration.

“We are realistic and we know that not all breeders will wish to put their dog forward for testing, but we do not need large numbers to produce results and to build a picture about the health of the breed in order to improve it.

“We have recently agreed to publish results of the Danish heart scheme for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and are working with both breed representatives and veterinary cardiologists to develop a UK-based scheme that will be easier for breeders to access. We will continue to work with the relevant experts to develop solutions for all health conditions, to assist breeders in breeding healthy puppies and help buyers make informed choices.”

View and sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/the-uk-kennel-club-stop-registerin-g-cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-puppies-unless-their-parents-are-mri-scanned-and-heart-tested

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Insight: Horse Care Tips

Horses are beautiful creatures and buying your first one is sure to be one of the most exciting moments of your life, but you shouldn’t let your giddiness stop you from thinking about the needs of your horses.

If you’ve never owned a horse before, here are some key horse care tips to help you on your way:

Horse-y Language

As soon as you become a horse owner, you will be bombarded with a whole host of new words referring to your new companion. If you want to be able to chat with other horse owners, vets and other professionals, knowing your horse terminology is a must. It will make your life easier, and you’ll be more able to express any concerns you have regarding your horse.

Horse Nutrition

Even if you are planning to stable your horse at a facility that takes care of all their needs, it is important that you get to grips with the basics of equine nutrition.

Horses are natural grazers, who when left in the field will continue to much throughout the day. If you are keeping your horse in a stall and fed only one or two meals of concentrated horse food, they can develop digestive problems. In order to avoid this, you need to do what you can to ensure your horse always has a little bit of food in his digestive tract throughout the day.

You can achieve this by feeding your horse hay before you give him any grain. Horses tend to wolf down grain, but if they’ve quelled their hunger with a nice bit of hay, they are less likely to do so and will be less likely to develop digestive problems as a result.

Additionally, you should also try to feed your horse little and often, to mimic his natural grazing tendencies. Feeding grain around four times a day will reduce the likelihood of colic developing and help your horse’s gut to maintain constant levels of important bacteria.

Horse Insurance

It is essential that you take out an equine insurance policy on your horse as soon as you become his owner. Emergency vet treatments can be very expensive, so you need to take out a policy to ensure you can meet your horse’s health needs whatever they may be, and without delay. There is nothing worse than having to put a much-loved animal to sleep simply because you can’t afford the treatment they need. Don’t put yourself, or your horse through this when taking out a policy has never been easier.

Learn First Aid

No matter how careful you are and how well you look after your horse, accidents can and do happen, and you need to be able to look after your horse when they do. Luckily, there are quite a few horse first aid and equine health courses, which will not only teach you what to do in an emergency but which will also show you how to spot the tell-tale signs of a sick animal. Attending one of these courses is one of the best things you can do for your horse.

Enjoy your horse, but be mindful of your actions and you will have lots of great new experiences together.

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Arty Lobster to Show ‘3D Dogs’ at Crufts this Week

Visitors, and those showing dogs, at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show, this week (9-12 March), will be able to immortalise their beloved dog in 3D thanks to innovative technology from Arty Lobster.

3D printing experts Arty Lobster have taken a stand (Hall 2, Stand 1) at Crufts where breeders will be able to have their dogs presented in breed-specific showing, or ‘stacking’, positions. They will also be able to have the dog’s Cruft’s success engraved on the sculpture’s bronze base. Dog lovers can also have the name of their pet engraved.

Show goers will be able to take advantage of a 15% discount on the cost of having their dog immortalised in 3D.

Lars B. Andersen, Founder and CEO of Arty Lobster, said: “It’s exciting to be exhibiting at Crufts, as it’s such a vital part of the pet industry’s calendar, and the biggest and most important dog show in the world. The 3D sculptures are perfect mementos of Crufts, as winners will be able to celebrate their dogs’ success with a specially engraved sculpture, and have their dog presented in their breed’s stacking position.

“We’re bringing a wide selection of 3D sculptures of dog breeds that customers have ordered from snapshots of their own dogs. All people need to do to have their own 3D dog created for them is to upload several photos of their dog to our website at www.artylobster.com. The process is really simple.”

Visitors will be able to check out a recently created 3D sculpture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s dog ‘Beast’, a Hungarian Sheepdog.

Arty Lobster is known for taking 3D tech to the limit by creating items that are truly bespoke and unique. Highly skilled artists create the 3D pet sculptures from customers’ photos of their pet, which are then 3D printed before being delivered to the customer.

Lars added: “We’re finding that these sculptures are both perfect gifts for dog lovers and also unique and extremely fitting pet memorials for bereaved pet owners. It’s a growing market and these are hugely exciting times for us as we continue to innovate and invest in truly cutting edge equipment and hire additional world-class designers in 3D modelling.”

Arty Lobster produces 3D prints in three options, including sandstone, porcelain and bronze with prices starting at £195. To find out more, visit www.artylobster.com.

Every year, Crufts attracts around 140,000 dog fans with around 22,000 dogs taking part and 2.5 million watching on TV at home.

Crufts is taking part at the NEC in Birmingham and promises to be a hub of all things dog and a brilliant day out for all dog lovers.

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How to Spot Food Intolerance in your Cat

By Dr. Jeremy Campbell BVSc, MANZCVS (Feline Med) RCVS Advanced Practitioner (Feline Medicine) MRCVS

The Pets At Home AVA brand food recall over the Thiamine problems is the stuff of every cat owner’s nightmare. The cat is eating, everything seems to be fine but suddenly it begins to deteriorate. So how should we feed our cats and what are the signs to look out for if something is amiss?

Let’s start with a bit of background. Cats have non-negotiable requirements for certain essential nutrients that they would normally obtain from their natural diet of animal protein.

Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is a member of the B-complex group of water-soluble vitamins which are essential for the proper functioning of an almost infinite number of different molecular systems in your cat’s body.  Cats have increased requirement for these compared to other species and absence or reduced levels of these can result in significant wide-ranging health problems as seen with the Thiamine (B1) issue.

It is not just vitamins that are important; there are also 11 essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) that cats must obtain from their diet, the two important ones being taurine and arginine. Taurine is very important for normal reproduction, neonatal health, vision and heart-muscle function. Your cat can make small amounts of this themselves but the vast majority of it is obtained from the protein in their diet.

Arginine is another essential amino acid and deficiency results in toxic levels of ammonia in the blood causing severe gastrointestinal and neurological signs. Arginine is only obtained from animal protein.

Being smaller mammals, cats don’t have large reserves of these key nutrients so it was no surprise that after less than two months on the thiamine deficient food they were seriously unwell and exhibiting alarming symptoms. Once the problem was identified all three affected pets made full and swift recoveries but how do we avoid the problem happening in the first place?

The fact is as yet we do not know what the optimal combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates (macronutrients) for the perfect feline diet is. We do know the minimal requirements and these are required to be supplemented or present in all manufactured complete cat foods. It is very rare when manufactured foods get the balance wrong and there is a lot of control measures usually in place to prevent this.

Some commercial foods will have higher quality ingredients than others and in order to choose a suitable diet for your cat research the company, the ingredient list and the nutrient profile of the foods you are feeding – Read the back of the pack!

However, as we have seen, mistakes can still occur and by having a degree of variety in your cat’s diet it is not only interesting for them it but it may also have the unexpected benefit of reducing the chance of a deficiency occurring. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Remember, food prepared for humans is not balanced for your cat’s requirements, cooked chicken for example can have a lot less taurine than cats need depending on the processing method. If this is fed alone as the sole source of food it can result in taurine deficiency causing eye and heart problems. Similarly, thiamine deficiency can occur when the vitamin is destroyed during food processing, it can also occur in meat products where sulphur dioxide is used as a preservative and interestingly by an enzyme present in certain types of fish. A 100% raw fish diet – not a good idea.

Remember, food prepared for humans is not balanced for your cat’s requirements

Any food labelled as complementary means that is has not been assessed for nutrient content and balance and should only be fed alongside a complete diet.

We generally recommend mixed 2/3 wet and 1/3 dry diet appropriate to your cat’s life stage and body condition. This enables them to experience a range of tastes and textures. When choosing a food choose the best quality you can comfortably afford. For canned or wet food go with the one that has the highest percentage of high quality protein (think mouse in a can!).  If your cat prefers dry food over wet, you will need to get creative to get a balance in there but this can be fun as well as challenging!

Signs that your cat may not be getting a complete diet:

A dull coat with flaky skin or a change in the colour of your cat’s coat to a lighter ‘dilute’ shade can be due to lack of quality protein and the essential amino acids they require.

  1. What goes in must come out…..if your cat uses a litter tray you should see their poo as a well-formed log that is moist. If it is runny or poorly formed or very hard and crumbly, diet may be a contributing factor
  2. Changes in your cat’s muscle condition and weight. If you cat is losing muscle (we look along their back and hind quarters) which you might have noticed when you stroke them, insufficient protein in the diet could be a cause.
  3. Bone problems -Your cat needs calcium to form strong bones and teeth. Often homemade diets are not adequately supplemented with calcium and phosphorus in the right proportions resulting in damage to bones.
  4. Your cat’s eyes and heart, if you have noticed your cat struggling to see where they are going, missing some easy jumps or they seem to be breathing more rapidly and you have been feeding what you now know might be an unbalanced diet, taurine deficiency could be to blame
  5. Changes in your cat’s behaviour, seizures, weakness and stumbling, unusual head position could all be attributed to a vitamin and amino acid deficient diet

If you are feeding your cat a 100% raw fish, cooked chicken, vegan, vegetarian or complementary manufactured diet, it is not balanced.

Dr. Jeremy Campbell is founder of The London Cat Clinic, a feline only veterinary practice opening in May 2017. In 2015 he became a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Advanced Practitioner in Feline Medicine, 1 of only 15 people to currently hold that qualification in the United Kingdom.

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