Often synonymous with fear and irrational superstition, Black Cats are a misunderstood creature of dark beauty. In folklore, it was proclaimed that Witches were accompanied by Black Cats, which probably explains where their odd reputation originates from.
Here are 4 interesting facts that you may not have known about this elusive feline:
Black Cats Culture
In some cultures, Black Cats are supposedly good luck. Places like Japan; in fact, most of Asia believe that these fury mammals will bring you good fortune. More specifically, a woman in Japan is more likely to find a partner if they own one.
Obviously, a cat can’t rust; don’t worry! However, depending on the furs’ hue and patterns, exposure to the sun can reveal “rusty” undertones. It’s all in the genes!
The gene that provides the cat with the charcoal mane, is the same gene that is known to give humans a resistance to diseases such as HIV. So, it turns out Black Cats are tough fur-balls after all!
These cats have an excess amount of melanin, which makes their irises yellow/golden. Melanism is what makes their fur black and is essentially the opposite of Albinism.
12 years ago, I went with my wife and my two young kids, to pick up a puppy from a litter of 8 Golden Retrievers. For anyone who has ever bought a puppy, you’ll know that it isn’t you who chooses the puppy, it’s the puppy that chooses you. This was the case with us. A little brown eyed pup, slightly smaller than his brothers and sisters, wouldn’t leave our side.
We fell in love with George instantly.
In more recent years, I’ve come to appreciate George even more than I once did back in the early days. As the years catch up on us both, I think we enjoy the calm tranquillity of each other’s company; no wailing, screaming kids or nagging wife (sorry). Just peace. To me, he is far more than a Dog. He is my child, and my lifelong friend.
Clearly, old age comes with its drawbacks. Mentally, you’re the same, but physically you begin to see the decline; I can relate to that! As much as I don’t want to accept it, George had been on that downward spiral, especially over the last year. He showed signs of tiredness after more strenuous activities such as walks, and visibly stiffened up when getting out of bed. I was worried about him, so I confided in friends to see whether they thought it would be worth speaking to our vet. Surprisingly, everyone I spoke to said the same thing; “it’ll be old age, nothing you can do.” You can understand that opinion. Old dog, stiff joints, tiredness – nothing extraordinary.
A few months went by, and George was just getting worse. By the time his regular boosters were due, I was ready for the vet’s advice; I knew I had to do anything to improve his quality of life. I mentioned the symptoms I’d noticed and was greeted by a very helpful, calming response by the Vet.
Firstly, she established through what I said and a routine blood test, that the issue was Osteoarthritis, and that she could help George. In addition, she offered an X-ray to rule out any more serious structural issues. However, we decided due to his age to give her prescribed method of treatment a go first before turning to an X-ray.
To deal with the issue at hand, she offered a three-way treatment method. Painkillers were prescribed to lessen any aches and pains of exercise, whilst joint supplements would hopefully rebuild his strength. Alongside this, she set out a clear and regimented exercise programme. I left this particular visit to the Vets with returned vigour, and hoped that the same would follow for George.
We are now 6 months on, and I can’t quite believe how much George has changed. He seems rejuvenated! Far from being stiff and tired, the excitable pup I once had has returned. He loves walks again, and spends a lot less time in bed. I feel like we have our dog back! Honestly, I thought the days of us enjoying a long stroll through the countryside were over, but after our visit to the vet, we have had some lovely days out.
The minimal veterinary bills that we incurred were worth every single penny. The kids have their dog back, we all do; but to be honest I feel like I’ve got my sanity back!
George in the water
If anything, this episode taught me that no matter how small you think a problem is, if its worth thinking, its worth asking. And more often, than not, Vets can offer a helping hand.
Trust your Vet, they do an amazing job.
My Vet has not only bettered the life of George, but brought a smile back to the whole family!
As an industry, we are making even more clients aware that cats feel pain just like dogs and that arthritic and age-related pain is as common in cats as dogs. So, what can we do to help prevent feline pain?
While we may be better at advising this and providing medication, what are the home care measures people can take to provide an improved quality of life for cats at home?
We know clients often comment on the reduced mobility of older or arthritic cats. A reluctance to climb or jump up to favoured sleeping spaces is a sign we would urge owners to watch out for. Once this has started happening it can be easy to focus on medication, but are there ways to help our cats reach their special spots?
Stepping stones for cats…
There are plenty of ramps for dogs around; for cars, beds, and sofas. These can be quite bulky as they are designed for the weight of small to medium dogs. A cat ramp or ladder would be quite easy to make. We know cats prefer to be up high so it can help their emotional well-being if they can continue with their usual routine. If ramps aren’t the right thing then thoughtfully placed tables or footstools can provide a ‘stepping stone’ effect of furniture to cats. We have taken the legs off tall footstools and placed them beside the sofa. Although our cat, Tillie, prefers to use them as a vantage point for the garden!
Leaving gaps in book cases or book shelves also provides a path to high spaces and can be easily achieved – if you can bear to part with some books.
Another area where clients notice whether their cat has changed their routine is when and where they are toileting. Cats may “suddenly” decide to toilet indoors if they normally go outdoors or to toilet somewhere apart from their litter tray. Both can be signs that their usual toilet areas are no longer suitable.
This can be because it’s too much effort to reach the toilet area – the litter tray is too high sided or the outdoor area too far away. It can also be a sign that the cat litter is too uncomfortable. While we are told not to change cat litter, and many rescues use compacted recycled paper litter, it can mean many cats are using quite hard cat litter, when in nature they would use soft tilled soil or sand. If you’ve ever knelt on a piece of cat litter of the brand most often used in vet practice you will know it feels like your patella is being pulled off. Imagine having to push your delicate paws onto this while you poo? When young and fit this seems fine but if your hip or spine is painful you won’t want to do this.
So, what are the options? For cats who may like to toilet outdoors it’s is worth trying to build a little outdoor tray closer to their home. A small sheltered area with sand and soil together can make an outdoor space that is more ‘old cat’ friendly. Although it may be appealing to other cats so it may be best to offer a litter tray indoors.
If an indoor tray is being ignored check the litter and offer a second tray with a soft, sandy, clumping style cat litter. You also need to look at the size of the litter tray. As mobility reduces, your cat may need a larger tray. Consider looking for one that is 1.5-2 x the length of your cat’s body. The height of the edge of the tray is also important. Many litter trays have quite high sides, which do help keeping the litter in, but can be a real problem for older cats getting into and out of the tray.
The best solution I’ve found so far is from a garden centre! This potting tray is large and square. Offering a better space to turn around in. The potting tray also has one side that is very low allowing easy access.
It is still deep enough to allow a decent depth of litter.
Finally, we need to consider sleeping. A more supportive bed to sleep in may be preferred and there are now memory foam beds for pets! It’s ideal to offer it with a blanket or a cover on top that is easily washed.
Ideally, place the bed away from drafts, but we know that cats sleep where they want so try to place any new beds in a place they use regularly. This still might not guarantee they use it so be prepared to wait for it to become a familiar piece of the environment!
We know that heat can help our aches and pains and the same is true for pets.
A heat pad can help ease arthritic pain and allow for better quality sleep. There are numerous pet heat pads on sale and they are usually capped at around 38 degrees in temperature ensuring that in a healthy pet with some padding placed on top they won’t cause burns. When we first got a heat pad for our cat, I put one of my husbands’ jumpers on it and she hopped straight on!
While we can offer a lot through medication and neutraceuticals in practice, there are many ways to improve quality of life at home.
Like many vets, I have a love-hate relationship with “first puppy consults”.
On the one hand, they can be the most enjoyable consultations of all: adorable puppies, doting owners, and not a hint of sickness, euthanasia or negativity of any kind at all.
On the other hand, first puppy consults involve hard work: enjoyable work, but hard work nonetheless. Often the owners have never owned a pet before, so they need a full education about their new family member. My clinic makes sure that we have plenty of time to do this: a full half hour consultation time is allotted to make sure there is plenty of time for everything to be covered in detail. We also have a checklist to work through, to be double-sure that we don’t miss anything out.
So, what do vets need to tell new puppy owners?
Vaccines are the main prompt for people to visit the vet with puppies: there may be debate over how often booster vaccinations are given to adult dogs, but there is uniform acceptance of the absolute need for puppies to be given at least two vaccinations to protect them against the main serious canine infectious diseases in the UK: Distemper, Infectious Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis. Every practice has its own vaccine protocol, and it’s important to understand the rationale, and to comply with this. Vaccinations against Kennel Cough are often recommended too, especially as puppies are likely to meet many other dogs during training classes.
Worm and flea control is another key focus of this first puppy consult: this is a topic too broad for this blog post, but again, it’s important to understand your practice’s recommendations, based on local conditions and expectations.
What sort of food should the new pup be fed? The old adage “You are what you eat” applies as much to pets as it does to humans. Yet just as we humans seem to forget this as we munch our way through crisps, chips and burgers, so we forget when we feed our pets. Many animals are fed on diets that are chosen more for convenience, low cost or a human whim, rather than for the nutritional benefits to the animal.
There are many ways of feeding dogs, and no one method is universally acknowledged as the best, despite the claims of proponents (and vendors) of products and methods. Complete dry diets, tinned and sachet moist foods, fresh meat or home cooked meals? There are hundreds of different brands and flavours, and thousands of ingredients. It can be difficult for pet owners to select nutrition for their animal.
There are three important factors.
First, any nutrition should be balanced with sufficient protein, carbohydrate, fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals in the correct proportions. I have seen puppies that have been fed on nothing but porridge, resulting in severe health problems.
Second, the pup needs to enjoy eating the food.
Third, the diet must be affordable and readily available: whether you buy it from your local vet clinic, the supermarket, a pet shop, or online, you need to be sure that you can easily obtain a regular supply.
The safest way to ensure a balanced diet is to choose a high quality commercial diet, formulated to meet the precise needs of the pup.
People often worry about how much to give, and my simple rule of thumb is “as much as they want, within reason”. Pups rarely get fat, and if they don’t get enough, bad habits like coprophagia can start due to simple hunger. Feeding around three meals a day up to around 4 months of age, then reducing to two meals a day, seems about right, but these are not fixed rules. And give the pup as much food as it wants, “within reason”. I always add this proviso, after one owner changed from half-starving her dog to allowing the poor creature free access to an entire sack: the pup ate as if there was no tomorrow and ended up with severe gastroenteritis. This is easily avoided by gradually allowing the pup more food, until the pup seems happy when finished: if they are chasing the empty bowl around the room afterwards, it’s a sign they need more food.
The rule of thumb is that adult dogs should be exercised for around half an hour twice a day for their entire lives. This is a reasonable guide for puppies too, although they probably enjoy shorter more frequent bursts of play, rather than long boring walks. With large and giant breeds, it’s important to stress that long arduous bouts of exercise should be avoided until the animal is skeletally mature (around 18 months of age) to avoid undue stress to the growing joints.
Most new pup owners are unaware of the potential for high veterinary bills: this first visit is a useful opportunity to educate them. Pet insurance is a no-brainer: the public may accuse vets of encouraging this so that we can line our nests with more cash, but we vets know the real reason why we approve of pet insurance: it allows us to give the pet the best possible care, which means a higher chance of a happy ending, and a more fulfilling and rewarding day’s work for the vet.
Personality/ Training/ Behaviour
Different breeds have different personalities: from soft, gentle Cavaliers to energetic enthusiastic Dalmatians. The first puppy consult is a good opportunity to assess the personality of the new pup, giving the owner a few tips on what sort of behavioural approach they should take. Puppy classes are a good idea – check what your practice has on offer, or what’s available locally.
Longer term, it’s a good rule of thumb to aim at spending 15 minutes every day training a dog: this is the best way to ensure a calm, obedient pet.
Puppy owners should be encouraged to think of the medium term; what will they do when they go away on holiday? From local dog boarding kennels, to pet sitters, to home care set ups, it’s important that you are aware of what’s available in your own area. Our clinic has a printed list of kennels and pet sitters that we hand out: people appreciate this customer service, even though we try not to recommend particular establishments. This is because we’ve learned that facilities and services can change quickly, and we aren’t in a position to carry out regular inspections to ensure that all is unchanged. But our clients do appreciate the overall list: at least it gives them a starting point to do their own research.
You are no doubt reading this because you have a new puppy, or you are thinking of getting a new puppy, either way, along with you needing the patience of a saint, puppies bring so much joy to our lives and you will not regret making the decision to own one.
I’ve been writing for Recruit4vets for just over a year, and it’s been really good fun. I’ve had the chance to get my blogs sent directly to your email inbox and write more often, which I always enjoy. There has also been great feedback from the website, Facebook and Indeed. All very much appreciated.
When I was first approached to write for a recruitment company I was a little sceptical. Would I want to put my name to content for people from the dark side of the vet world? For the people we love to hate, but still sometimes need?
Before I agreed to write I had a few questions. From personal experience, I know what can happen when recruitment companies try and place unqualified people as nurses. It really can end in disaster. I wanted to know how they handled placing students or lay staff, how many people they represented and how they checked a person’s status on the register.
Obviously, what I found out was good news, as I’m writing this now, but I thought it’s time to share with you what I found out. Recruitment companies easily get a bad name. It can be very simple to think they are all the same – but I was surprised to find they aren’t.
The first piece of good news was that Recruit4vets don’t place lay staff.
If you aren’t an RVN or an MRCVS they don’t place you in a vet practice. Their services are for registered vets and nurses only. It might seem obvious that a veterinary recruitment agency only places qualified staff, but I’ve encountered more situations than I’d like to say where a recruitment agency has placed someone based on their version of their own expertise and qualifications and it hasn’t ended well.
I recall one person who arrived as a locum receptionist, but spent all her time telling people she was a student vet nurse. On chatting to her it became clear she wanted to be a student vet nurse. I spent some time explaining the difference between the two and that if she said to people she was an SVN they may ask her to do things that legally (morally, ethically…) she shouldn’t be doing. I thought I had gotten through to her but found out later she had been placed as sole charge nurse in another practice where she was expected to carry out ALL nursing duties. It luckily became obvious she didn’t have a clue and she was moved on. But to where? Who knows where else she caused havoc?
I’m sure you will agree that a recruitment company who refuses to put practices in these situations is better than an agency that merrily places anyone anywhere, relying only on the applicant’s version of their skills.
Secondly, I was really surprised and pleased to find out they had more than 4,000 RVN’s registered.
While I’m happy to write, its better to know there are a few people who will read it. Shouting in an empty room is no fun! There are also almost 4,000 MRCVS registered who get blogs emailed too. The blogs cover everything and there’s quite a gang of us writing! Don’t worry p, they won’t all be job hunting right now so there are plenty of job opportunities if you want to sign up.
The agents also know about the RCVS register and use this to verify an applicant’s status. The RCVS website is regularly visited to enter details and check the status of applicants – make sure you keep your details up to date!
Now, if only all recruitment companies could do this the world would be a better.
As an ‘oldies lover’, I’ve probably faced the worst decisions surrounding euthanasia more times than is usual for a pet owner. It’s really the only downside I can find for the amazing love our older pets bestow on us.
Rehoming older pets and those with health needs means we know they may not spend as long with us as puppies or kittens. Despite this I’m not always sure I’m prepared for all the decisions that are needed once you have decided it is time to say goodbye.
The decision to let a pet pass in a peaceful manner is enough of a decision in itself, and while I’m grateful for the options we have with pet cemeteries and crematoriums it can be bewildering for owners.
The options– crematoria
There are many options a client can choose from. While some may not be available in every location in the UK it is a good idea to be aware of what a client can find on the internet.
Crematoriums tend to offer similar services. There is standard cremation where the pet is cremated and the ashes scattered at the crematorium. Many have places the clients can visit and while I’ve not found many people take up this the offer of this can be of some comfort. With standard cremation, the pet is not individually cremated and ashes cannot be returned but it is a more affordable option and the pets are still treated with respect and the crematorium still needs to follow. It is worth reading the guidelines from the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries so you are fully aware that your crematorium is a member and what that means.
Premium or individual cremation means that when the pet is cremated, the ashes are available for the owner to have at home. This is a higher cost service and requires some more thought. Ashes may be delivered back to the home or vet practice and there is a casket to choose. This can lead to more decisions and families may not always agree on what they plan to do with ashes. Speaking as an owner we have opted for scatter boxes for our last pets. I intended to scatter the ashes of Wilson and Flump in our garden and in a place by the sea we could always visit. However, the husband has other ideas and some 5 years after they both passed we still have the full scatter boxes in our flat. Luckily the scatter boxes look lovely but you can see why having more options for what you can do with your pet can raise more issues for clients.
There is also the option of plaques or memorials for gardens. These are often helpful if a client hasn’t had the ability to have the ashes returned but a friend or family member wishes to commemorate the pet for them.
The options – burial
There are more pet cemeteries opening as time goes on but the service is still limited by geography. A client is unlikely to want to bury a pet if the cemetery is far away. Burial may be preferred by some people if they have a religious preference for burial and some people just prefer their pets not to be cremated.
There are a growing number of cemeteries that allow joint burial. A place where you can be laid to rest with your pet. I really like this idea and I’m pleased its happening here in the UK, be aware of it as an option that clients may request. If I don’t start scattering my pets’ ashes soon I’m going to need a large plot when my time comes.
I mentioned religious needs in the burial section and it’s important to know what common religions regard as the usual path for the recently departed. As we cannot judge a persons religion by their looks or clothing be prepared to ask if they have any religious beliefs that will apply to the passing of their pet. Many people haven’t considered their religion and their pet and so may be happy with what the practice offers but don’t be afraid to ask if they would like the service personalised to their needs.
As a brief summary of common religions on the UK from Funeral Wise
Slowly becoming acceptable
Burials are usually carried out as soon as practical after a person has occurred so clients may wish the same for a pet. There is a 7-day mourning period.
Burials are usually carried out as soon as possible after death and usually within 2 days. Death is seen as a transition from one state to another if a life has been well lived there is only beauty in the afterlife.
Preferred and ashes may be submerged in a river
If cremation is not possible
Believe in reincarnation of the soul
There are many varities of Christianity. There will be differing preferences according to type and country. Burial and cremation are often both acceptable.
Some noted differences:
Catholicism – ashes not to be scattered
Differences between different Buddhist “schools depending on country.
Non-religious ceremonies are held by celebrants
There are many forms of Hindu worship, called sects. These may have individual preferences.
Believe in reincarnation. Most people wear white to the funeral. Cremation is preferred within 24 hours after a person has passed away.
Ashes may be scattered in a sacred body of water.
What else can you do?
Even if all decisions are made easily there is still the process of gathering this information, sharing it to those who need to know and getting payment. This can be difficult to achieve in a sensitive manner during emergencies, or if there has been a change of shift and a relationship needs to be built with clients quickly.
I was surprised and pleased in December when we lost LB that the crematorium we used did 2 services I hadn’t encountered. There was the option to plan in advance with the Farewell Planner. Allowing clients to leave on record with you and/or the crematorium their wishes for their pet. This could be so helpful in times of stress to know that the clients wishes have been written down and just need confirmation they wish to proceed with their plans.
Payment for services related to a pet dying can sometimes feel difficult to talk about. Especially if a client feels they would like a more expensive option they cannot afford. This breaks my heart as I know that the love shown for a pet is not demonstrated in the type of casket chosen or the money spent. The love has been in being there until the end. However, there is a payment plan that can be organised with the crematorium. It can be easier for the client to talk to someone else about their finances when it comes to caring for their pet after it has passed. I know many clients feel they should spend as much as they can yet I’m sure most of us vet nurses would rather they spend what they are comfortable with and treasure memories rather than spending their last penny on every possible option in bereavement.
Conversations around euthanasia, and what to do after a pet has died, are never the nicest ones to have with a client. Make them easier by knowing as much as you can about the options available. The decision is still the clients but they will be comforted and more confident making decisions if you can provide information and support.
With high demand for Veterinary staff continuing, Recruit4vets is identifying trends to highlight and some advice to share, in order to help practices, achieve higher returns on recruitment investment.
So, let’s consider the trends:
Hiring the best available rather than best possible staff – desperate times are driving desperate measures with practices hiring who they can rather than the very best fit for their organisation. This in turn leads to churn as clinical staff underperform, don’t fit in and leads to further recruitment costs.
‘’Our advice is to slow down, hire a suitable locum as a stop gap then focus on values as part of the process’’
Candidates who buy into your values will stay longer and contribute more. When recruiting look at the potential of the person and how they will grow with your practice.
Engaging increasing numbers of agencies rather than getting more from a lower number of quality suppliers. This is a big de-motivator for agencies as there is only a finite number of candidates looking for work. Spreading the net wider reduces agency commitment and leads to poor practices of submitting unsuitable, uncommitted candidates quickly just in case another recruiter gets there first. This is then compounded as the recruitment process slows and means that quality, highly relevant candidates can slip through the net or are put off as they’re contacted by multiple agencies about the same clinic so assume there must be something wrong with working there.
Our advice is to engage with select agencies who really understand your offer and can work to develop your employer brand. Consider building your own recruitment function or outsourcing it to a managing supplier, it’s not simply about who can send you CV’s and the recruiters sending them. A great service and contributor to your growth and success can be unlocked with more symbiotic supplier relationships – knowing the owners and managers of agencies and working with them to determine the strategy… Such relationships take time, work and give and take and long term will yield results.
Hiring new staff on variable salaries and packages. News gets around and can cause unrest especially where there is no performance and competency matrix to benchmark against.
Our advice is to create a talent matrix and map your staff against it to ensure consistency and fairness that is connected directly to individual contribution within the context of your variables.
‘’Overly fixed salary banding can reduce access to talent and can be a barrier to retaining very high performers.’’
Well thought out remuneration systems will go some way to increasing return on your talent investment.
As a recruitment director who has experienced very similar dynamics in other industries, such as medical, pharmaceutical and technology, I can say there’s no magic wand solution to the challenges we face. Simply a series of well thought out and planned processes that create access and improve engagement with the talent that will take your clinic closer to your vision.
Please feel free to get in touch should you require further information on the areas covered in this blog.
As a vet, some of the most difficult types of cases to deal with are those where the owner is at fault for causing their pet’s problem. Their grief and distress at their pet’s predicament is compounded by their sense of guilt that they are to blame for the animal’s difficulties.
Two common examples include dogs being run over in the driveway (common in older pets, with poor hearing and a reduced ability to get out of the way quickly and, in the summer months, dogs suffering from heat stroke.
This latter problem is common: one recent study found that 48% of vets see cases of heat stroke every year. And in nearly every case, the condition is preventable, if the owner is careful.
So the question is: can we vets do more to help people avoid causing their pets illness, suffering and possible death from heat stroke?
Everyone knows about not leaving dogs in parked cars
The classic cause of heat stroke in dogs – being left in a parked car on a sunny day – is well known, and so there’s no need for vets to keep talking about this. But there are other risk factors that are not so well known: we should all do our best to make sure that owners learn about these.
Explain about less well-known causes of heat stroke in dogs
I have seen my fair share of dogs suffering from heat stroke, and I have compiled a list of the risk factors that I have seen for myself.
Black dogs: their coats absorb the heat from sunlight, in contrast with white dogs whose coats reflect light. Owners of black dogs should be aware of the increased risk.
Dogs travelling in the boot of cars: a surprising number of owners transport their dogs in the boot of the car for short distances. While this may be fine on cool days for brief journeys. it’s shockingly dangerous in warm weather. I witnessed one owner opening the boot of her car after being stuck in a traffic jam to find both dogs on the point of death from heatstroke. She simply had not realised that this was a high risk way of transporting her pets.
Exercising in the middle of the day. When a dog is exercising vigorously, the muscles produce heat. This is useful in the cooler months of the year, but on a hot day in the summer, it’s dangerous. Owners need to know that in summer, dogs should only be exercised at cooler times: early morning or late evening.
Lack of water makes heat stroke far worse. Dogs lose heat by panting which uses up high volumes of water: if a water bowl is not topped up frequently and left within reach of a warm dog, the risk of heat stroke is far higher.
Talk about poorly recognised signs of heat stroke in dogs
While owners may be quick to recognise heat stroke in their dog in an obviously risky situation (such as the classic dog-in-parked-car), they are much slower to spot the signs when it’s not suspected. So it’s worth highlighting these to all owners in warm weather.
Unwillingness to do anything other than just lie down
Of course there are many other reasons why a dog could show these signs, but if owners at least ask themselves “could this be heat stroke” when their pets show these signs, the chance of earlier recognition is higher.
Tell owners what they can do as first aid for dogs with heat stroke
A recent study demonstrated the value of first aid by owners for dogs with heatstroke: only 38% of dogs died when cooled by the owner before going to the vet, compared to 61% dying after being taken to the vet without being cooled down by their owner first.
There are five simple first aid actions that owners should know about:
Take the dog out of the heat
Soaking the animal with water.
Ideally use lukewarm water rather than ice-cold water. (If the water is too cold, peripheral vasoconstriction will limit the loss of body heat from the dog)
Continue cooling the dog till the panting eases
When the dog is cool enough to walk normally, take them at once to the vet.
Explain to owners why overheated dogs need to go to the vet, even after they have cooled down
Owners often mistakenly believe that if they have cooled their pet down, nothing more needs to be done. They don’t realise that dogs affected by heatstroke often seem to recover initially but then die the following day because of the damage to their liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract, as well as the disruption to their blood clotting system. Extra treatments from the vet, like intravenous fluids to maintain the blood pressure, ensuring continued high blood flow to essential organs, reduce the risk of this happening. It’s up to us vets to tell people about this: they just don’t realise the risks and the potential difference that veterinary intervention can make.
The importance of sharing this information with pet owners
We vets are busy people, but we can make a difference to dogs in hot weather by sharing this essential information. We can do this in a number of ways.
Waiting room notices
Short conversations during consultations
Brief our support staff to pass on the information at the reception desk
Hundreds of dogs die every year from heat stroke: if vets do more to spread good quality information about heat stroke, we’ll save many lives and prevent much suffering.
The aim of this survey is to help our veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons understand their current pay rate and the current pay rate which other veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses get and asses the trend in comparison to our survey results 2016.
Earlier this year, we also surveyed surveyed locum vets and vet nurses on the benefits they currently receive as a locum worker. You can find the survey here.
Locum Pay Rate Survey 2017
Items on the survey were worded as positive statements or direct questions, and included the following topics:
Carried out Locum work in the past 12 months
Your current pay rate
Has the demand on your current services over the last 12 months changed?
Where do you current locum
When carrying out locum work, do you take your pets with you?