British Pets Are ‘Forgotten Victims’ Of Deadly Disease

dog at vets

Experts have joined forces to raise awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease following new research highlighting a worrying lack of knowledge about the deadly disease.

Despite recent media attention highlighting the risk of Lyme disease, 44 per cent* of British pet owners admit they don’t provide regular preventative tick treatment for their pet, as experts join forces to warn that tick borne disease can be severely debilitating to pets as well as humans.

The disease can lead to kidney disease and death although the primary symptoms include  a fever of between 103 and 105°, lameness, swelling in the joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

More than 60 per cent (61 per cent) of pet owners admit they are worried about ticks spreading disease to their pet, as nearly a third (29 per cent) say they have discovered a tick on their pet.

The research among 4,000 dog and cat owners, commissioned by Bayer Animal Health, supports the national tick awareness campaign ‘No Bite Is Right’, which aims to educate pet owners about the importance of tick prevention. Owners are also encouraged to speak to their vet about preventative tick products.

Signs of Lyme disease

Signs of Lyme disease

Ticks can carry a number of diseases, many of which are harmful to both pets and humans, and can be transmitted in less than a day after being bitten by an infected tick**. One of these diseases is Lyme Disease which can result in symptoms including: fever, lameness, lethargy, swollen joints and loss of appetite. Other diseases include: Ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection which attacks white blood cells and Babesiosis, a malaria-like parasitic disease which causes fever and aching.

Jenny Helm, University of Glasgow Veterinary Clinician, says: “In recent years I have noticed and been made aware from owners and other vets, of a steady rise in tick numbers across the country. With this there is an increased risk of potentially fatal tick-borne diseases being transmitted to pets. However, if a tick can be killed before it bites, this avoids the risk and provides vital protection to the pet”.

Richard Wall, Professor of Zoology at Bristol University, says: “Research has shown that in recent years, tick abundance has increased and the period of seasonal activity has extended in many areas. Climate change, particularly warmer, wet winters have had direct effects on tick feeding as well as impacting indirectly on vegetation cover and creating a more suitable habitat. The increase in deer numbers, habitat modification by conservation and changes in farming practices have also all contributed to the growth in numbers.”

It is estimated there are between 2,000 and 3,000 new confirmed human cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year***, although 15 per cent of these are acquired while people are abroad.

Stella Huyshe-Shires, from charity Lyme Disease Action, says: “Lyme is a rapidly emerging disease in the UK and a number of experienced healthcare professionals believe the increase in reported cases reflects a genuine rise over the last 20 years, and not just increased awareness leading to more diagnosis. There appears to have been an increase in ticks and, in turn, an increase in the prevalence of Lyme borreliosis in ticks.”

Supporting this latest survey, findings from previous pet owner research**** confirmed that 96% of pet owners would be happier using a tick product knowing that ticks are repelled before biting and feeding.

Belinda Kinnon, Product Manager at Bayer Animal Health says: “Owner education is key when it comes to communicating the ‘No Bite Is Right’ message. Awareness that preventative products against ticks are available, is crucial to ensure they are giving their pets the best chance of protection against tick bites and helping to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases.”

‘No Bite Is Right’ is part of Bayer Animal Health’s wider ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ parasite protection initiative. A series of campaign roadshows for pet owners will be taking place this year at the Ayr, Devon and New Forest County Shows. Find out how to get tickets to the shows and if your pet and family could be at risk from ticks by following the conversation on www.facebook.com/jungleforpets.

Article References
*OnePoll survey of 4,000 UK dog and cat owners, conducted January 2016
**Public Health England factsheet, National Archives: webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140714084352/http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317138937172
***Public Health England Signs & Symptoms factsheet: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/463701/LymeDisease_SignsAndSymptoms.pdf
****Opinion Matters, November 2014, 4955 Dog and/or Cat Owners

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Our Pets Can, And Do, Love Us…

By MARIE CARTER, Editor of Pets Magazine

Our pets have the capacity to love us too

Our pets have the capacity to love us too

Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows they have the capacity for the kind of unconditional love that is seen otherwise only between a human and its offspring. The gentle nudge of a wet nose or a lick on the hand comes unbidden when we’re upset or feeling down. The bounding dash to the door to greet us is also a demonstrable sign of the strength of the human – canine bond, in particular. A subtle change in our demeanor can be picked up and registered by our dogs or cats. Cats, although fiercely independent by nature, do possess the same capacity for love and nurture as my cat-owning friends can testify.

Studies have also shown that looking a dog in the eyes can boost levels of oxytocin (a hormone involved in social bonding)

Studies have also shown that looking a dog in the eyes can boost levels of oxytocin (a hormone involved in social bonding), in both the person and the dog. It’s not just ‘cupboard love’. There is in fact nothing artificial that could ever replace that sheer authenticity of feeling. Dogs are the only species that, like a human child, runs to its human when it is frightened, anxious or just pleased to see us. It is also the only animal, aside from other humans, that actively seeks out eye contact with people, and truly wants to be with us. Cats too come to us when we are down and will show they are pleased to see us with a lick on the hand or a gentle purr to express their own feelings of contentment.

Pets give people so much in terms of love and emotional support. Simply stroking a dog, cat, rabbit or even horse can lead to lower blood pressure and can combat stress. The feelings are reciprocated, as our touch can have therapeutic effects for our pets, particularly if they are feeling out of sorts.

Companion animals can provide support and friendship to society’s lonely, sick or elderly.

Companion animals can provide support and friendship to society’s lonely, sick or elderly. They can be friends to those who do not easily understand the world around them. Autistic children for instance can be guided gently from their closed, confusing and isolated worlds by a patient and loving dog or cat. Anxiety disorders and depression also can be eased by the loving presence of a pet.

Sophie, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, instinctively knows when I am under pressure or upset about something. She knows what a ‘hug’ and a ‘stroke’ mean; and offers both eagerly. She is aged eight now and suffers from an achy leg that is made worse by the UK’s cold and wet weather, and she too calls for a cuddle when she’s in pain. It’s a reciprocal relationship that has grown even stronger over time.

The wider bond between people and dogs has strengthened over time…

The wider bond between people and dogs has strengthened over time, around 30,000 years to be precise. Canines have the unique ability to pick up on how we are feeling according to various studies, and similar research is being carried out with cats. For example, animal cognition scientists at Emory University in the US trained dogs to lie still in an MRI machine and used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to track their neural responses to the smell of people and dogs, both familiar and unknown. Because dogs navigate the world through their noses, the way they process smell offers a lot of potential insight into how they interact with the world around them.

The scientists found that dog owners’ aroma actually sparked activation in the ‘reward center’ of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. This effectively found that canines have the ability to distinguish between us and the huge amount of other olfactory stimuli around them.

In Budapest, researchers at Eotvos Lorand University studied canine brain activity in response to different human and dog sounds, including voices, barks and the meaningful grunts and sighs both species emit. Researchers discovered that happy sounds in particular light up the auditory cortex in both people and dogs. This strengthens the argument that humans and canines have a uniquely strong and resilient bond.

Many people rail against the increasing ‘humanization’ of our pets, but I think that’s wrong. People aren’t generally trying to turn their pets into little humans. They are instead seeing companion animals increasingly as loving, sentient creatures that, as even science has proven, truly love us. Our pets deserve human-grade food, a warm and safe place to rest, plenty of exercise and our unconditional love and attention. Perhaps it’s a sign of the good side of our human nature that we are increasingly willing to provide these things?

A version of this article is also published at Huffington Post.

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Animal Charities Warn About ‘Millions Of Unwanted Kittens’

cat and kittens

Animal charities have revealed that more than 850,000 cats* in the UK have had unplanned litters, leaving many owners unprepared for the cost and commitment of raising kittens and struggling to find them suitable homes.

The charities are warning owners not having their cats neutered could lead to a population explosion as these unplanned litters could add up to as many as 4.3 million potentially unwanted kittens.**

These high numbers of unplanned and potentially unwanted kittens continue to cause strain on animal charities and rescue centres.

The nine animal welfare charities*** which make up the Cat Population Control Group (CPCG) are urging cat owners to get their animals neutered to avoid more unwanted felines ending up on the streets or in rescue centres that are already struggling to cope.

Research from vet charity PDSA has revealed that just 15% of cat owners whose animals had kittens had planned for the litters.

kitten

These high numbers of unplanned and potentially unwanted kittens continue to cause strain on animal charities and rescue centres. There are already over 11 million**** cats in the UK and thousands of these end up abandoned in rescue centres across the country every year.

The annual World Spay Day campaign will encourage more owners to get their cats neutered.

To tackle the issue, the CPCG today launched its annual World Spay Day campaign to encourage more owners to get their cats neutered.

Nicola Martin, Head of Pet Health & Welfare at PDSA, said: “Our research has shown that unprepared cat owners are putting themselves in an unnecessary and potentially challenging position by not getting their cats neutered.

“The impact of this can be both costly and stressful if a cat becomes pregnant as it can be very difficult to find loving new homes for large numbers of kittens. As a result, we know that sadly many cats end up in rehoming and rescue centres.”

According to PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, which was produced in conjunction with YouGov, nearly a quarter of cat owners (24%) whose cat has not been neutered said their felines had not been neutered because they “hadn’t thought about it”. Other top reasons for not getting the procedure done included simply not getting around to it (13%) and that it was too expensive (8%).

By getting your cat neutered, not only will you be avoiding the risk of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy but you will be reducing their risk of contracting diseases such as cancer or FIV – the feline equivalent of HIV.

Nicola added: “Neutering has numerous health benefits for your cat and is, in fact not as expensive as many people think. By getting your cat neutered, not only will you be avoiding the risk of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy but you will be reducing their risk of contracting diseases such as cancer or FIV – the feline equivalent of HIV.

“Many pet owners also believe that neutering should take place when their cat is around six-months-old but our advice is that for maximum health and welfare benefits, it should take place from four months of age.”

Thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA will be educating more owners about the benefits of neutering, through a team of Pet Wellbeing Champions in PDSA’s Pet Hospitals. The CPCG is using World Spay Day to encourage owners of unneutered cats to speak to their vet about neutering. For more information please visit www.pdsa.org.uk/worldspayday

*Source: PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2015: 12% of cat owners state that their cat has had a litter of kittens. Of those reporting that their cat has had at least one litter, 65% say their cat’s pregnancy was unplanned 12/100 x 11,100,000= 1,332,000 cats have had a litter of kittens. Of these, 65% were unplanned. 65/100 x 2,109,000= 865,800

All statistics (unless otherwise stated) are from the PAW Report 2015

**Average number of kittens per litter = 5 (Source: PDSA) 865,800 (number of cats with unplanned pregnancies) x 5 (average number of kittens per litter) = 4,329,000

***The Cat Population Control Group comprises Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Celia Hammond Animal Trust, International Cat Care, The Mayhew Animal Home, PDSA, RSPCA, Wood Green – The Animals Charity

**** 11,100,000 is the estimated UK cat population reported in the PAW Report 2015

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Demand For ‘Designer Dogs’ Fuelling Puppy Farms – Warns RSPCA

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The root cause of the puppy farming problem is the huge demand for puppies of certain breeds, an RSPCA report published today has revealed.

The demand for pups – particularly popular ‘designer’ breeds – drastically outweighs the numbers coming to market via legitimate and responsible sources, such as reputable breeders and rescue centres.

The annual market for puppies in the UK is unknown but estimates vary between 700,000 and 1.9 million. A recent study found that the trade in cats and dogs in the EU was worth €1.3 billion annually.

What are the sources of puppies?

The Kennel Club (KC) registers around 235,000 puppies each year but this is thought to be only fulfilling 30% of puppies sold annually. So the number of puppies registered with KC is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the demand for puppies per year, particularly on certain popular breeds. So where are the extra pups coming from?

Figure 1

The RSPCA’s Puppy Report regarding the issue in England, published in February, revealed that around 70,000 puppies come from the 895 licensed dog breeding establishments in Great Britain.

Figure 1.jpgRescue organisations, including the RSPCA, account for around 50,000 dogs rehomed every year, but the majority of these are adults. It is thought only around 3,000 puppies are rehomed annually. And it is believed only 3-5% of puppies are sold via commercial pet shops.

The huge gap between the number of puppies in demand and the number coming to market nationwide creates an opportunity for unscrupulous breeders, traders and traffickers to exploit members of the public, leaving a trail of sick and dying puppies behind.

The RSPCA’s Puppy Report: ‘Sold a pup? Exposing the breeding, trade and sale of puppies’ estimates that around 30,000 puppies are being imported from the continent each year, while up to 40,000 are coming in from Ireland.

And the report also estimates a total of around 430,000 puppies coming from unlicensed breeders each year. It is thought that around 20% of puppies are obtained from neighbours or friends who breed accidentally or to supplement their income.

That equates to around 770,000 puppies coming onto the market each year but polling shows the actual number may be double this.

In response to an 88% increase in the number of calls about the puppy trade over three years, the RSPCA launched its Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign in England in October.

It aims to educate the public on sourcing puppies responsibly, as well as calling on the Westminster government to introduce laws to combat puppy dealers. We are calling for mandatory licensing for anyone selling puppies in England to try to hit the puppy trade as a whole – from organised illegal trafficking to opportunistic backstreet breeding.

The demand for many puppies appears to be focused on certain breeds which, in turn, is often dictated by childhood experiences, family and friends, and celebrities which can change over time due to fashions or fads.

IMGP0007

Over the last decade, the demand for ‘designer’ cross-breed dogs and ‘handbag’ dogs has soared. Breeds such as French bulldogs, Pomeranians, shih-tzus, Yorkshire terriers, and pugs has increased significantly. This has led to a large increase in the numbers of KC registered puppies being born to these breeds.

For example, 10,087 pugs were registered in 2015 – a five-fold increase over the past 10 years. And, also in 2015, 14,607 French bulldogs were registered – 40 times more than the those registered a decade ago.

RSPCA’s assistant director of public affairs, David Bowles, said: “It is unclear if this demand for these specific breeds can be met from existing registered breeders within the UK, but what is clear is that the puppy dealers are one step ahead of the regulators and have already responded to these changing demands and are sourcing these breeds from overseas or large scale commercial puppy farms.”

The RSPCA is now seeing the welfare problems these puppy dealers and traffickers cause at first hand.

In 2013, RSPCA inspector Caroline Doe discovered 19 British bulldogs, French bulldogs (pictured below) and pugs being imported via Dover. All 19 dogs had respiratory problems and were suffering from various infections. They were signed over to the RSPCA and taken to Leybourne Animal Centre, in Kent, where they were later rehomed.

In a separate case, three puppy dealers based in Manchester were found guilty last year of animal welfare and fraud offences in connection with puppies being imported from Ireland. When the business was raided, 87 dogs were found, including breeds such as Pomeranians, French bulldogs, shih-tzu and Yorkshire terriers.

Meanwhile, in statistics released by DEFRA last month, revealed that 93,424 animals were imported into the UK in 2015 for commercial and noncommercial reasons. More than 85,000 of those came from within the EU and 33,249 were from Ireland, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Romania – all countries known to have large puppy farming operations. That’s up 75% from the previous year.

David added: “The market and trade in puppies is largely unregulated resulting in welfare problems with puppies and the breeding stock, dissatisfied often distressed consumers, and a hidden economy.

“The growing demand for puppies does not seem to be satisfied by the existing small scale breeder, and appears to have resulted in unregulated large scale commercial breeding of puppies and imports of puppies from Ireland and continental Europe. This trade poses health and welfare risks to the dogs.”

The full report can be viewed at: https://view.pagetiger.com/RSPCAPuppyTradeReport

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Paralympian Libby Clegg And Her Guide Dog Hatti

Libby and guidedog Hatti

Libby and guide dog Hatti

Libby Clegg is one of Great Britain and Scotland’s most successful track and field athletes of recent years. With two Paralympic Games Silvers, World Championship Gold and European Championship Gold, she is one of the UK’s brightest young stars. Libby is originally from the Scottish Borders and moved to Cheshire at 19 to pursue her running career.

Libby suffers from a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease, which means she only has slight peripheral vision in her left eye, and is registered as blind. Last year, Libby became the proud owner of Hatti, her guide dog. She went through a number of stages at the beginning of 2014 and successfully completed all her training to have Hatti full time in May. We were delighted to speak to Libby about the special role Hatti plays in her life.

WHAT BREED IS HATTI & WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HER? Hatti is a lab retriever cross. I wasn’t aware but with guide dogs you can actually choose your breed. Initially I did really want one of the German Shepard puppies because they look so cute but I was really happy when I met Hatti because she was so friendly and I instantly knew she was the perfect match.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD HATTI? I have had Hatti for nearly two years, yet it feels a lot longer than that because I can’t really remember what it was like not having her with me. We had such a great connection when I first met her that it feels like she has been with me forever.

DOES HATTI COME TO WORK WITH YOU? Hatti comes pretty much everywhere with me. I know that when I take her places I don’t have to worry about her not getting on with people because she gets on with absolutely everyone. Even people who aren’t keen on dogs! She probably spends most of her time with me at the track watching me train. At the beginning she was kept on a lead but now I let her off and she sits so patiently waiting for me. We do let her have a little run around and play after training and it is fun to see her enjoy herself and play with us.

Libby and Hatti

Libby and Hatti

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES HATTI MAKE TO YOUR LIFE? She makes a huge difference. Not only with her general guide dog duties of helping me get around, and giving me more confidence and independence but we also have a great companionship.

DO YOU TAKE HATTI ON HOLIDAY WITH YOU? I haven’t taken her abroad yet but I’m planning on doing that when I have more free time. When I go away for training or take some time off, Hatti will go to my parents’ house in Scotland and has her own little holiday. Both of my parents have dogs as well, so when Hatti gets there she is able to play with the other dogs and have a break from her day-to-day guide dog duties. I love that she is able to enjoy herself and be the dog she is. When she is away she doesn’t work at all as I want her to be able to relax just like me.

DO YOU TAKE HER TO PUBS / RESTAURANTS? I haven’t taken her to a pub yet but we do go out for lunches. She is really well behaved in restaurants and usually just sits under the table and sleeps or tries to catch any left overs if she can! Most people are a bit shocked to see a dog in the restaurant because you just don’t expect it but they all understand. There is a place I go to a lot in Edinburgh with my brother because it is a dog friendly pub and I love the food too! It’s great being able to walk into a restaurant where I know Hatti will feel welcome.

WHAT ARE HATTI’S FAVOURITE THINGS? Hatti’s favourite thing in the world is food! Labradors are obsessed with eating food and Hatti lives up to her breed. She also loves walks in the forest, especially back home in Scotland as she gets to play like a normal dog. Oh yeah and also trying to get onto my bed! That’s a favourite thing of hers too but food is her number one love.

DOES HATTI HAVE ANY SPECIAL TRICKS? I have sort of taught her how to high five but that is the only trick I have managed to teach her. Obviously she has her guide dog qualities but she can just about do a high five, it is very selective and usually only happens if food is involved!
She does like to go play fetch and is great at catching a ball and bringing it back to you. Encouraging her to let it go is a whole other story though. She likes to trick you and pretend she is going to let you pick it up before she grabs it and runs back away with it. She is a bit of a tease!

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ANIMAL WELFARE? I would say you need to understand that a pet is for life. They need to have regular checks at the vet, make sure they have a pet plan in place and they are fed the best product that supports their overall nutrition. I feed Hatti with Eukanuba because it provides her the right amount of nutrition to allow her to be the working dog that she is.

This feature was first published in Pets Magazine February available to read at: www.petsmag.co.uk.

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‘PETE THE VET’: How To Get The Most From Your Pup’s Early Days

By Dr Pete Wedderburn

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This feature was first printed in the February edition of Pets Magazine – available to read online at www.petsmag.co.uk.

Before you bring the puppy home:

Choose the right animal and set up his new home in advance.The biggest mistake people make is choosing the wrong pup in the first place, ending up with a pet that’s inappropriate for their situation.e.g. too big, too bouncy, too anxious, too assertive. To avoid this, first consider getting a pup from a rescue group: when you do this, you automatically get the back up of experienced dog people who will help to make sure that you are well matched to the pup. Alternatively, choose a pup from a private breeder and meet both the father and mother of the pup on the premises: if they are both good-natured, healthy animals, it’s far more likely that the pup will turn out that way too.

Meanwhile, buy a puppy crate, bedding and food/water bowls so that his home is ready for him.

Rebecca, a client at my practice, chose a 12 week old Labrador-Collie cross from a local rescue centre: she could not meet his parents, but the staff assured her that the pup was good natured, placid and healthy.

 

Make sure you have a good “new home” package from the pup’s breeder:

Ideally, the person giving you the puppy will do this automatically, giving you written instructions on how to care for the pup, including details of all vaccines and parasite control that’s been given and microchip registration details.

They should also give you a small amount of the food that the pup is used to eating: you should continue to feed the same food for the first few days in your home, and only then making a gradual change to a new diet of your choice.

The rescue centre gave Rebecca their standard “new puppy pack” with all the information she needed as well as a small bag of the puppy food that they recommended.

 

Take the puppy to your own vet as soon as possible:

Before you get too emotionally involved with your new friend, it makes sense to ask your vet for a full, independent medical check over. Sometimes pups have hidden congenital problems, like heart murmurs, hernias or cleft palates, and very rarely, your vet may recommend that the pup is returned to the place where he came from. During the visit to the vet, you’ll also be given plenty of good quality information about important puppy issues – such as vaccinations, parasites, nutrition, pet insurance and behaviour.

Rebecca took the new pup – now named Harry – to her vet on the way back from collecting him from the rescue centre. The vet gave him a clean bill of health, and at the same visit, he gave him his final vaccination, so that a week later, Rebecca would be able to start to take him out and about without the fear of picking up a viral infection.

 

Be very gentle with your pup for the first few days:

Your pup has just left everything he has ever known behind, and everything is new to him. Go easy on him, giving him plenty of loving attention, minimising stress.

Make new introductions slowly and cautiously (such as to children and other pets). You will notice him becoming more lively and active as he adjusts to his new situation.

Harry whined at night in his crate for the first evening. Rebecca left the radio on beside him, and he soon quietened down, sleeping well at night time.

 

Focus on socialisation and training from the start:

The most common reason for puppies not working out in their new home is “bad behaviour” as they grow older. This is often the owner’s fault rather than the unfortunate dog’s. Engage with a good trainer from the start (ask your vet for a recommendation), so that you learn the best way to interact with him, and he learns the best way to behave to fit in with your home.

Rebecca took Harry to puppy socialisation classes immediately, and then she took him to a weekly course in basic training at the local doggy daycare centre for the next two months: they both learned a lot.

If you follow these simple steps, you and your new pup will be more likely to live happily ever after, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

 

ABOUT Dr Pete Wedderburn: Pete qualified as a vet from Edinburgh thirty years ago in 1985. He has worked in his own four-veterinarian companion animal practice in County Wicklow, Ireland, since 1991, and he has his own menagerie of dogs, cats, ducks, hens and others including a pet rabbit in his kitchen.

Pete is well known as a media veterinarian in Ireland and the UK, with a weekly breakfast television slot on national television for the past fourteen years. He is a prolific writer on animal topics, with weekly columns in the Ireland’s Herald newspaper and the UK’s Daily Telegraph. Pete is known as “Pete the Vet” on his busy Facebook and Twitter pages, regularly posting information on topical subjects and real-life cases from his clinic. He also writes a regular blog at www.petethevet.com.

There are some situations in life where an element of uncertainty and ignorance is hard to avoid: going into a new workplace for the first time, bringing your first baby back from the hospital and yes, bringing your new puppy home for the first time. By the nature of the situation, there’s always going to be some degree of anxiety, but with some simple planning, it’s easy to avoid the worst mistakes.

In Pets Magazine March: Pete writes about how to raise a healthy indoor cat.

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Can You Give Gentle Giant Jagger His Forever Home?

Jagger 3.jpg

Great Dane-cross Jagger is looking for a home – and he’ll need a lot of space!

The RSPCA is searching for a special home for one of the largest dogs the charity has ever had to rehome.

Three-year-old Great Dane-cross Jagger will be dancing in the street when he finally secures a new home.

Poor Jagger ended up with the RSPCA as part of a cruelty case. He was abandoned, tied to a lamp post in Sheffield.

An RSPCA inspector managed to track down his owner through his microchip, who admitted Jagger had been kept outside as he was too big for them to cope.

Jagger 2.jpg

He had suffered lots of sores from living out in all the elements and, despite weighing 78kg, still needs to put on a little more until he reaches a healthy weight for his size. That’s about the same as super-middleweight boxer Joe Calzaghe!

Jagger is currently a resident at Millbrook Animal Centre, in Chobham, Surrey. But he can’t get no satisfaction in kennels. And deputy manager Liz Wood believes he’s the biggest dog they’ve ever seen.

“Jagger is probably the biggest dog we’ve ever had in – and we’ve been open for 50 years!” she said. “But he really is a gentle giant. He’s a lovely, docile and friendly boy.”

Jagger is, unsurprisingly, very strong on the lead and needs an owner who can continue his training.

The RSPCA would like him to go to a new home with owners with experience in keeping large breeds.

Jagger Mini 1.jpg

“It’s important for any potential new owners to consider the costs of keeping a dog the size of Jagger,” Liz added. “He eats almost 1kg of food every day so will be expensive to feed and he will require a house and garden with enough space for him.

“Whoever takes him on will also need a car with a rather large boot! He definitely won’t fit in a Mini comfortably!”

Jagger, who has now been with the charity for more than a year, could live with another, large neutered female dog but wouldn’t suit a home with another male. But he is very friendly towards dogs of all sizes – like fellow rescue dog Arthur, a young Chihuahua cross Chinese crested. He could also live with a family with children of around secondary school age.

Jagger & Arthur.JPG

He is a fun dog who loves to run, play and socialise. He is also very relaxed in his kennel so staff believe he could be left for a few hours during the day, once he’s settled in his new home.

“I know you can’t always get what you want, but we’re desperate to get Jagger out of kennels and into his new, forever home,” Liz said.

If you would like to offer Jagger a new home, please contact Millbrook by calling 0300 123 0740.

Jagger’s former owner was convicted of offences under the Animal Welfare Act, following an RSPCA investigation.

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Teenager Launches Online Dog Show For Dog A.I.D.

Megan and Ruby with their poster for the online dog show to raise funds for Dog A.I.D. (www.dogaid.org.uk)

Megan and Ruby with their poster for the online dog show to raise funds for Dog A.I.D. (www.dogaid.org.uk)

Megan Taylor (19) from Surbiton has this week launched an online dog show to raise funds for the Charity Dog A.I.D., sponsored by Barkbeats.

After a head injury in 2011, Megan suffers from dizziness, poor balance, hearing loss and frequent fainting episodes which occur 4-6 times a day.

Megan has been training superdog Ruby herself to carry out a number of helpful tasks and hopes to apply to Dog A.I.D. this year, who help people with disabilities to train their own dog to assistance dog level.

The online show is open to participants around the world who have a dog and costs just £2 per entry. There are ten classes such as Best Trick, Waggiest Tail, Muddy Mutts and Best Working Dog. Entries will be in the form of a submitted picture or video and will be judged an Animal Behaviour and Welfare university student. The deadline is 27th February and judges will choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each category with winners receiving a rosette, certificate and a selection of Fish4Dogs food and treats.

Picture and/or video entries can be sent as an attachment or YouTube link to [email protected]. Alternatively you can send your entries as an attachment via facebook messenger to Ruby the Superdog.

“I decided an online dog show would be an interesting twist on the more traditional format,” says Megan. “By hosting the dog show online, more people get to be involved and hopefully I can raise awareness and funds for the amazing work of Dog A.I.D. Every submission also gets entered for a prize draw to win some great goodies from Kong and Fish4Dogs, plus using our special code people can get £5 off a monthly box of toys and treats from Barkbeats!”

Dog A.I.D. was established in the 1990’s and there are currently 47 fully qualified dogs throughout the country. Training takes from 18 months to two years with both dog and owner receiving specialist education from a network of trainers based around the country. The dog owner is given all the tools required to constantly reinforce training methods learnt and also continue to teach their dog new cues and tasks independently.

For further information how you can support Dog A.I.D. via fundraising or volunteering please visit www.dogaid.org.uk.

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Arty Lobster at FSB Policy Conference 2016

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Four-legged Friend Helps Mum Train For 10 marathons In 10 days

Donna Fitzpatrick with her running companion Bess1

Donna Fitzpatrick, from Bearsted near Maidstone, will tackle 10 marathons in 10 days this May to fundraise for a charity that helps vulnerable children and young people.

Overcoming immense physical and psychological challenges as she re-runs the same marathon each day, Donna is hoping to raise over £3,000 for youth charity Brathay Trust who work with over 6,000 youngsters across the UK each year helping them to turn their lives around.

A full-time mum to two teens, the 47 year old is training hard with the help of a four-legged friend. Every other day Donna runs between 10 and 20 miles accompanied by the family dog Bess, a six year old Working Cocker Spaniel.

She said: “My running partner is my lovely, loyal working cocker spaniel Bess. She is a great companion and comes out with me on every run. No matter how long or short, cold, wet or hot our run is her tail never stops wagging with enjoyment. I make sure our route is close to home and that she gets lots of opportunities to be off the lead. I wish I could take her with me as I shall miss her.

“I started running for fitness and enjoyment a few years ago and I was persuaded to do the Brighton marathon. Since then I’ve done three other marathons. I am both scared and excited about the challenge. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of support from a local friend who has run the 10in10 twice now – Ellan Iaquaniello. My son and husband sometimes join me too on their bikes and it’s great to have their company.

“My goal is to just to complete the 10 marathons to the best of my ability and hopefully to avoid any injuries. I expect I will be running for about six hours every day.

Donna added: “I feel very honoured and privileged to have been chosen to join the 2016 10in10 team. Brathay Trust is a fantastic charity, they do amazing work and I am pleased to be supporting them. I hope to raise as much money as I can and I know it will go directly to supporting young people for whom all else has failed.”

Between Friday 13 and Sunday 22 May Donna will tackle an anti-clockwise route around England’s longest lake, Windermere, in the Lake District. Regarded as one of the toughest UK marathons because of its undulating nature it is also billed as one the most beautiful.

Adventurer and Everest climber Bear Grylls calls it “an epic challenge that will require an epic strength of mind.”

Brathay’s Head of Fundraising Scott Umpleby says the charity greatly appreciates Donna’s support –  one of 12 runners taking part:

“Donna’s fundraising is helping youngsters like Joe. He has been in care since he was seven years old and needs help to make the transition to independent living. And ‘D’, who had to live with his violent dad when his mum died.

“Whilst we can’t wipe away all the terrible things that have happened to the young people we work with we can put them on the path to new and better lives. Every penny raised leads to a new beginning for a child who has had a hard life.”

To sponsor Donna please visit https://www.justgiving.com/donna10in10/

For more details of Brathay’s 10th anniversary fundraising event and how to enter the Brathay Half Marathon and Windermere Marathon on Sunday 22 May please visit: Brathayrunning.com.

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