Spring is well and truly underway and with it the birds are singing and baby birds are hatching. We would like to remind people that guidance from the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is that when a member of the public comes across non injured fledgling birds not to disturb them. The parent bird/s will usually stay close by to their offspring, coming down to feed them when they feel it is safe. The best chance of survival for young chicks is to be reared by their parents. If you are concerned that the chick/s are in danger, for example in the middle of the road or close to a predatory animal, then with minimal handling (and ensuring that is safe for you to do so) it is appropriate to move them out of harms way as close as possible to where they were found. If a nest of chicks has found fallen out of a tree or a chimney the nest should ideally be placed back up, safely and securely, into the tree or nearby hedge, or on the roof. Whilst wildlife rescuers do their best to raise young birds sadly the success rates are poor overall. If you find a sick or injured chick, fledgling or bird we at Holmer Vets are happy to examine it and give appropriate treatment before passing it on to one of our local wildlife carers.
From Monday 22nd May the compulsory requirement for chickens and captive birds to be housed, as a control measure to help prevent the spread of Avian influenza, has been lifted. Whilst it will be a huge relief for bird keepers to be giving their flocks their freedom to go outdoors again effective biosecurity measures must still be observed. For further details visit : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
Last week we were presented with 4 stray dogs within 24hrs. Only 2 of the 4 dogs were legally microchipped enabling us to promptly contact their owners and reunite them with their pets. It seems a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring our pets are not only appropriately tagged and chipped but that the details on these are kept up to date. It has been a legal requirement for dogs to be tagged (owner name and address including postcode, telephone number advised but not compulsory) when in public since 1992. Since 2016 it has also been compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped and for the details on the microchip database to be kept up to date with changes of address, contact numbers and/or ownership. Legally all puppies should be microchipped by the breeder, with the breeders information, before they are homed and the microchip details then transferred to the those of the new owner.
It is the owners responsibility to contact the microchip company directly to ensure they have the correct contact details and to amend these details as necessary with any changes. When a dog strays from their owner, either from home or out on a walk, they usually end up at a vet practice or with the dog warden. If they have a collar with a tag sometimes the person finding the pet is able to call the owner directly. If not a vet can check the dogs chip, check the details on the database and use them to contact the owner, as long as the details are correct. We at Holmer Vets will do everything we can to reunite lost pets with their owners, all 4 of the dogs mentioned were eventually reunited with their owners. For the dogs not appropriately chipped we had to rely on contacting other local vet practices and posting on facebook to find the owners, one of dogs had no chip the other had a chip but out of date details. If we are unable to locate an owner then we have to call the dog warden who takes the pet to a local kennels. When a dog is taken by the warden, either directly or via a vets, there is a fee for their services which is around £55 for the 1st day with additional costs for boarding per day and any vet fees incurred. Dog warden charges must be paid before the dog is released back to their owner. In extreme cases failure to appropriately chip a dog can lead to up to £1000 fine. Aside from being a legal requirement dog microchipping is the best method we have for reuniting lost dogs with their owners, we urge you to ensure your dog is chipped and that you make sure your details are correct on the microchip database (we also urge cat owners to do the same although this is not as yet a legal requirement). We at Holmer Vets are always happy to check stray dogs and cats for microchips.
Once again March is pet awareness month. Pet anxiety has long been an issue for many owners with pets experiencing anxiety due to different triggers. Since lockdown even more pets have been seen to suffer anxiety related issues. Causes of pet anxiety can including separation, going to a new home, going to kennels/cattery, vet visits, changes in family unit (new pets, loss of companions, new baby) and noise related phobias, to note but a few. Pets can express anxiety through a number of presentations including: becoming withdrawn, yawning or lip smacking, showing defensive behaviour growling, barking and even biting or scratching in severe cases (which can be directed at other animals and/or humans), they may urinate and/or defecate inappropriately, show flight responses running away or digging which may observed as destructive behaviour.
For some pets the triggers for their anxiety may be clear but for others they may not. If you are concerned that your pet may be showing signs of anxiety then please call us at Holmer Veterinary Surgery for advice. Anxiety can be debilitating to the sufferer, with risk of injury to other animals and/or humans in some cases. For the more intense cases referral to a behavioural specialist to help better understand the individuals triggers and work on rehabilitation are likely to be needed. The drug company 'Ceva' has produced client information to help owners better understand pet anxiety in dogs and cats , including offering products which may help alleviate symptoms of pet anxiety, used either alone or as part of a more intense personalised therapy program.
We would like to advise cat clients that the cat vaccine manufacturers are slowly trickling cat vaccines to us. Sadly we are not in control of what we are supplied with as yet. We are allocating the vaccines, as they are delivered, starting with clients with cats who are most overdue since the vaccine supply issue started in October. We also have a small number of vaccines set aside for kittens and young cats who have not yet received any vaccinations, again due to the shortage. We are extremely sorry that we have as yet been unable to resume our normal cat vaccination routine. We are grateful for your ongoing patience and understanding and assure you we will contact all of our cat owners, who have been affected by this issue, as soon as we can.