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Views sought on feline hypertension

Views sought on feline hypertension

Survey will inform how best to support practices.

A new survey is seeking views from veterinary professionals on feline hypertension in a bid to see how teams currently assess blood pressure in cats.

The research is being led by Dr Sarah Caney, an RCVS registered specialist in feline medicine, and is set to be the biggest ever survey conducted on the condition.

Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses are being asked to share their views on when and how they measure blood pressure and their views on feline hypertension.

Dr Caney explains, “Feline hypertension is easily missed as clinical signs are often limited or non-existent, so regular, accurate blood pressure monitoring is essential, particularly for senior cats. We hope the results of this survey will help us to identify how we can best coach, support and develop practices in the future so they can identify more of these patients and improve their quality of life.”

All veterinary professionals taking part can receive a fob watch to thank them for their participation. To take part, visit

Battersea Old Windsor launches appeal for blankets

Battersea Old Windsor launches appeal for blankets

The charity is seeking blankets for the dogs after a shortage of donations.

Battersea Old Windsor, one of the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's rescue centres, is appealing to animal lovers for blankets for the dogs after a shortage of donations.

With not enough blankets to go round, the team at Battersea is having to share them out. 

Kaye Mughal, centre manager at Battersea Old Windsor, shared the story of Ruby, a two-year-old greyhound waiting at the centre to be adopted: “Ruby likes to sleep in a soft, comfy bed with a blanket over the top of her and absolutely loves to be gently tucked in at night. 

“With her fun and playful temperament and a tail that never stops wagging, she needs a steady supply of blankets, while she waits for the perfect home to come along.”

The team is seeking clean fleece blankets, throws or non-feather single duvets to ensure that the dogs always get a good night's sleep whilst in the centre's care. 

“Battersea rely on the generosity of our kind supporters to help keep our dogs warm and comfortable,” said Kaye.

“We have lots of different dogs of all shapes and sizes coming through our doors and as you can imagine we use a lot of blankets, they are washed every day, so we would be very grateful for any donations.”

Any animal lover with blankets to donate can contact Battersea Old Windsor on 01784 494 440, or email for details on how to donate. 

Review does not support use of ACEIs in dogs with preclinical MMVD

Review does not support use of ACEIs in dogs with preclinical MMVD

Researchers review adverse events of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use.

The use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) for managing preclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) in dogs results in little or no difference in the risk of developing conegestive heart failure, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, is the first comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis on the efficacy and adverse events of ACEIs for the condition, often seen in cavalier King Charles spaniels and dachshunds.

It found that administration of ACEIs to dogs with preclinical MMVD and cardiomegaly results in little or no difference in the risk of developing congestive heart failure and may result in little or no difference in cardiovascular-related and all-cause mortality. 

The study was conducted by researchers in Argentina, Italy, Austria and Chile, who set out to evaluate the efficacy of and adverse events from the administration of ACEIs, via a systematic review of published evidence conducted according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Certainty of evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach, and the main finding in relation to dogs with preclinical MMVD and cardiomegaly backed by a high certainty of evidence. The certainty of evidence relating to the efficacy of ACEI administration in dogs without cardiomegaly was low.

Dr Pablo Donati, corresponding author for the paper, commented: “In recent times, multiple clinical trials have provided fundamental information to veterinary cardiology. In the era of evidence-based medicine, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have emerged as a fundamental tool for clinical decision-making by gathering, appraising and summarizing the best available evidence. 

"It is the hope of the authors that this systematic review and meta-analysis helps in the decision-making process for the treatment of preclinical myxomatous mitral disease with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in dogs.” 

Nicola Di Girolamo, Editor of JSAP, added: “In line with other leading journals, the JSAP is prioritizing the publication of methodologically sound systematic reviews such as this one. However, our readers should be aware that the findings of systematic reviews should always be considered in light of their internal validity, i.e. the quality of the included studies, and their external validity, i.e. the generalizability of the included studied to the individual patient.”

Image (C) Dr Pablo Donati.


Pug no longer 'typical dog' from a health perspective

Pug no longer 'typical dog' from a health perspective

RVC research highlights the health crisis experienced by UK pugs. 

New research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has revealed that pugs can no longer be considered 'typical dogs' from a health perspective.

Led by the RVC's VetCompass programme, the study compared the health of random samples of 4,308 pugs and 21,835 non-pugs to document and fully understand the serious health crisis in UK pugs.

Dr Dan O'Neill, associate professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the paper, explained the need for the study: “Although hugely popular as pets, we now know that that several severe health issues are linked to the extreme body shape of pugs that many humans find so cute.

“It is time now that we focus on the health of the dog rather than the whims of the owner when we are choosing what type of dog to own.”

The findings of the study showed that pugs were 1.9 times more likely to have one or more disorders recorded in a single year in comparison to non-pugs, highlighting the breed's overall bad health.

Out of the 40 most common disorders across groups of dogs, pugs were found to have a higher risk of 57.5 per cent of the disorders, and a lower risk of just 17.5 per cent of the disorders.

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) was identified as the disorder with the highest risk in pugs. Compared to non-pugs, pugs were almost 54 times more likely to have the condition.

RVC veterinary student and co-author of the study, Jaya Sahota, said: “Demographic statistics from this Pug study show that the current Pug population is predominately young with a wide variety of health disorders recorded.

“This leads to serious concerns of an impending brachycephalic ‘health crisis’ as this young population ages.

“Widespread ownership of Pugs with extreme facial and body conformations should be discouraged until measures are in place to ensure stricter and more acceptable breed standards.”

Although pugs were found to have such severe health issues that the breed can no longer be considered 'typical' from a health perspective, there were a few conditions that the breed had a reduced risk of, including heart murmur, aggression and wounds.
As the RVC notes, pugs' lack of aggression and gentle temperament may make them appear to be a good pet from a human perspective, the quality of life that a dog will experience should be taken into consideration.

British Veterinary Association president Dr Justine Shotton added: “These statistics are shocking but, sadly, they will not be surprising to our members.

“Vet teams see pugs with these distressing health problems – from breathing difficulties to eye ulcers and painful spine abnormalities - in veterinary practices across the UK on a daily basis.

“This study clearly demonstrates how it is the extreme characteristics many owners find so appealing, such as squashed faces, big eyes and curly tails, which are seriously compromising pugs’ health and welfare and often result in a lifetime of suffering.

“While these extreme, unhealthy characteristics remain, we will continue to strongly recommend potential owners do not buy brachycephalic breeds such as pugs."

Published in Canine Medicine and Genetics, the study is available to read online here.

Companionship is main motivation for dog ownership, study reveals

Companionship is main motivation for dog ownership, study reveals

Dogs Trust study explores reasons for UK dog acquisition. 

A new study carried out by Dogs Trust has revealed that the most common motivation for dog ownership in the UK is companionship.

Although dogs are hugely popular in the UK, there is a gap in published evidence exploring owner motivation for dog ownership, and Dogs Trust hoped to address this gap. 

The findings of the study could be used to develop interventions to support owners' decision-making when thinking of getting a dog, and to help ensure that potential owners have realistic expectations of ownership. 

Using both quantitative and qualitative research, researchers found that eight in 10 owners said that companionship for themselves was the reason they got a dog.

From the findings, other popular reasons for dog ownership were cited as to help a dog in need (51.1 per cent of current owners) and to facilitate exercise (48.2 per cent of current owners). 

Dogs Trust researchers Katrina Holland and Rebecca Mead commented on their study: “Despite the huge popularity of dogs in the UK, there is a lack of published evidence exploring exactly why people get dogs. 

“As the UK’s leading canine charity, we wanted to address this gap and, while there are no big surprises from what we found, we’re really glad to have some solid evidence about why people choose to bring a dog into their life.”

From the findings, researchers identified three key themes in motivation for dog ownership, the first of these being self-related ownership – the ways in which owners perceived dogs to benefit and enrich their lives.

Social-based motivation was the second broad theme identified, with motivation for getting a dog influenced by others, either by other people, or by dogs.

The third theme found was dog-related positive affect-based motivation, with the role of previous experiences owning or meeting dogs shown to be important in motivating the decision to own a dog. 

A summary of the report can be accessed online here, and the full report can be read in Frontiers in Veterinary Science journal.


Image (C) Dogs Trust

Canine Welfare Grants programme opens for applications

Canine Welfare Grants programme opens for applications

“Funding research is a vital part of the dog welfare jigsaw" - Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust is offering research grants to academics working on projects that aim to positively impact dog welfare.

The charity's Canine Welfare Grants programme is seeking preliminary applications from researchers across the UK until 9 June 2022. Full details can be found at

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, said: “Funding research is a vital part of the dog welfare jigsaw, and Dogs Trust is very proud to be one of the key distributors of such funding in the UK. Over the years, the Canine Welfare Grant projects have had far reaching impacts on dog welfare, making huge differences to the lives of dogs."

There are two funding models for the scheme, including:

  • the standard application model, welcoming applications from individual institutions and interdisciplinary groups
  • the collaborative grants programme to encourage wider collaboration with Dogs Trust's internal research team.

Key areas for the standard and larger fund applications include:

1. Preventing problems in dogs developing or becoming a crisis. This could range from understanding and providing solutions for the genetic basis of disease, healthy ageing and understanding canine behaviour as it related to canine welfare.

2. Epidemiology of canine disease: Dogs Trust recognises the importance of data to underpin research into canine health and is looking for applications that will help to address the current dearth of information available, including those that use big data sets.

3. The welfare of dogs suffering from chronic disease*: Dogs Trust will accept applications that cover the spectrum of chronic diseases in dogs, including obesity and can include applications that help us understand the biology of important canine diseases and ways in which outcomes and quality of life can be improved.

Paula added: “There is a range of grants available from pump priming (up to £20,000), PhD (up to £100,000) and experienced investigator (up to £200,000). We are looking for applications with very clear pathways to impact with a focus on ‘healthspan’, the healthy lifespan of a dog.”

BWG launches tool to help owners choose healthy dogs

BWG launches tool to help owners choose healthy dogs

Tool will help prospective owners to avoid extreme body shape. 

The Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) has released a new tool to help prospective dog owners choose healthy breeds when selecting their new furry friend.

Comprised of veterinary surgeons, dog breeders, welfare charities, academics, breed clubs and Defra, the BWG aims to improve and protect the health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs to improve conformation-related health issues. The group also aims to reduce the current trend of owning brachycephalic dogs. 

Named the 'innate health' tool, it highlights some of the basic bodily functions that all dogs should be expected to show including, the ability to blink fully, the ability to breathe easily and exercise without difficulty.

Also highlighted in the tool are the ability for dogs to sleep without difficulty, the ability to flex their backs and having a tail to wag. 

Chair of the BWG, Dr Dan O'Neill, explained: “Would-be owners should focus on the life that the dog will live;  the dog’s good health must be the number one priority. 

“Our new BWG innate health tool, based on decades of research, helps owners assess the body shape of different types of dogs out there and ask themselves basic but critical questions about how these body shapes could compromise the health of the dog.”

Dr O'Neill highlighted the usefulness of the tool for veterinary professionals when advising prospective owners: “During 20 years in general veterinary practice, countless owners have asked me ‘How do I pick a healthy dog?’ Well, the great news is that the new innate health tool allows owners to finally do just that. 

“Of course, once an owner had identified a type of dog with good innate health, consideration also needs to be given to the temperament and character of the dog, as well as how to responsibly source their new dog.”

Addressing potential dog owners, Dr Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “Breeding and hereditary defects are a top concern for vets and, as a practising vet, I often see the heartache and welfare concerns that come from health issues that are a result of the way a dog has been bred. 

“The new tool released by BWG should be useful for anyone looking to add a dog to the family. If the answer to any question is a negative, you should stop and carefully research the potential health and welfare issues that dog is likely to face and consider a healthier alternative.  

“Alongside the tool, you should also reach out to your local vet practice for advice and information about dog health and welfare and breed-related health issues. 

“Once you have considered innate health in your decision making, it is then equally important to use the free Puppy Contract to ensure you are buying a happy, healthy and well socialised puppy from a responsible breeder.”

Scottish SPCA unveils animal welfare strategy

Scottish SPCA unveils animal welfare strategy

Pledges include eliminating the low-welfare puppy and kitten trade.

The Scottish SPCA (SSPCA) has unveiled an ambitious 10-year strategy for animal welfare, with a commitment to reduce levels of abuse and eradicate the cruel puppy and kitten trade.

The strategy, entitled For All Animals, also contains a pledge to create a network of more than 250,000 Youth Ambassasors and to ensure all farmed animals in Scotland are raised to the charity's own high welfare standards.

The SSPCA aims to grow its net income by 20 per cent over the next decade and become a Net Zero organisation. It said it would use the increased revenue to develop new and exisiting facilities where the need is greatest and enhance staff and volunteer development. 

Scottish SPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: “Demand for our services is going to continue to grow and grow. That’s why many of the ambitions we have set out intend to get downstream of the main drivers of animal welfare issues and tackle them at their source. 

“We are at a critical juncture for animal welfare in Scotland, where pets, wild and farmed animals face increasingly complex challenges. These can’t be solved by any individual or agency and a key part of For All Animals is creating and building the right partnerships."

She continued: “Our vision for animal welfare in Scotland is one where it is the best place in the world for an animal to be. It is a country where abuse is in retreat, where profiteering from animals is a thing of the past and where people everywhere treat animals with respect and kindness. 

Scottish SPCA board chair, Fiona MacLeod, added: “Prevention is the P in SSPCA, and that will always be our ultimate aim. If an animal never needs our help that means their welfare has never been at risk or compromised. That is why this vision sets out what we think is required to create the circumstances which maximise the chances of every individual animal’s welfare requirements being met.”

“We will continue to resolutely support the animals who do need our help. Therefore, we are committed to becoming a more sustainable and resilient charity in terms of generating more net income, improving our environmental credentials and offering a first-class experience to not only the animals we care for but the people who so generously support and work with us.”

Image (C) Scottish SPCA

Charity helps retired police dog to afford emergency treatment

Charity helps retired police dog to afford emergency treatment

Bailey was on the 'brink of death' when Thin Blue Paw stepped in.

A retired police dog diagnosed with Cushing's disease has recovered well after receiving expert veterinary care, paid for via financial support from the Thin Blue Paw Foundation.

Bailey, a 10-year-old springer spaniel, spent more than eight years at Humberside Police, working as a cash, drugs and weapons detection dog. Joining the force at 14 months old, he was later partnered with PC Chris Wright.

When Chris left the section, the unit decided that both Bailey and Chris's general purpose dog, Pedro the German shepherd, could retire and live with him. 

Chris was determined to adopt his two partners as pets, but the cost of two older former police dogs, who had led strenuous working lives, would be his responsibility.

“When a former colleague told me about the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, I registered both dogs right away,” he said. “I hoped I’d never need to call on them for help, but it was a weight off my shoulders to know they were there.”

In early April, Chris found Bailey collapsed in his kennel surrounded by vomit and diarrhoea and took him straight to the veterinary clinic. Bailey stayed there for six days, and the veterinary surgeons suggest euthanising him as an option.

After Bailey began to recover, he was diagnosed with Cushing's disease, and Chris was faced with a bill of £1,500.

That's when Thin Blue Paw stepped in. Chris said: “We’re just so pleased that Bailey pulled through and that he’s now back home and recovering well.

“I had assumed that I’d cover the bill and was in a fortunate position where I had the funds if needed, but I was thrilled when the Foundation offered to cover the bill.”

Dave Wardell, Thin Blue Paw trustee, explained why the foundation offers this support to dogs like Bailey: “While those of us with pet dogs can take our insurance policies to help us should the worst happen and our beloved dog need life-saving treatment; it’s almost impossible to insure retired police dogs due to the strenuous working lives they’ve led.

“We founded the charity because we wanted to ensure that no owners, like Chris, would be in a position where they’d have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their bills, or paying for treatment for their dog.

“These dogs are unsung heroes who have dedicated their lives to fighting crime, bringing criminals to justice, and keeping the public safe. The least they, and their owners, deserve is a happy and healthy retirement.”


Image (C) The Thin Blue Paw Foundation

PDSA shares pet mental health advice

PDSA shares pet mental health advice

Considering pets during Mental Health Awareness Week. 

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), animal welfare and veterinary charity PDSA is advising pet owners on stress and anxiety in pets.

Claire Roberts, a PDSA veterinary surgeon, is sharing top tips on identifying the signs of stress in pets, and how pet owners can reduce stress and help their pets to live happy and healthy lives. 

Sharing the common signs of stress in dogs, Claire explained that common signs of stress in dogs include behavioural changes, low energy and a lack of appetite. 

In a stressful situation, dogs may yawn, lick their lips or nose, pant, tuck their tail, tense their body, and try to hide or move away. 

PDSA is also highlighting stress in cats, sharing that cats may behave differently when stressed, and will often tense their bodies, puff their tails and arch their backs. Stress can also cause cats to become physically unwell, and some cats develop cystitis and other conditions as a result. 

In both cats and dogs, Claire explained that toileting in strange places can be a sign of ongoing stress. Longer-term stress in cats can also trigger behaviours such as hiding and eating less, while longer-term stress in dogs may be expressed in unwelcome and destructive behaviour. 

“Rabbits and other small pets aren’t immune to stress and anxiety either and as prey animals they can be very good at hiding it,” said Claire.

“Signs to watch for in rabbits can include flattened ears, a tense body or a lack of nose twitching.”

PDSA has identified three key areas of focus that pet owners can use to reduce stress in their pets. The first of these is quality time, and the charity is highlighting the importance of companionship to pets – particularly exercise and playtime. Pet owners are encouraged to take time to provide their pets with love and attention every day.

Creating a safe space is also a great way to reduce stress in pets, it is necessary for pets to have their own space to feel safe and secure in, such as a den, crate or bed. 

The charity is also stressing the importance of a consistent routine for reducing stress in pets. A regular routine, with food and exercise given at a consistent time each day, allows your pet to have a sense of security. 

Commenting on what to do when a pet is stressed, PDSA said: “If your pet is showing persistent signs of stress then ask your vet for professional advice or speak to an accredited behaviourist.”

Vet practices coped well with the pandemic, survey finds

Vet practices coped well with the pandemic, survey finds

Emergency care was available for 97 per cent of dog owners, despite severe restrictions. 

Urgent veterinary care was still available for more than 97 per cent of dog owners during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research.

A March to July 2020 survey conducted by Dogs Trust found that all those who made an emergency visit without an appointment during this time, were seen by a veterinary surgeon.

Of the 2,500 people that responded to the survey, a third of dog owners said they worried about getting access to veterinary healthcare. Reassuringly, however, most people were seen.

Dog Trust researchers analysed data from multiple sources to learn more about access to veterinary care during the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of dog owners in the UK and Republic of Ireland. 

Despite most emergency procedures going ahead, their survey found that many routine procedures were delayed or cancelled. Among them included 28 per cent of planned neuters and 34 per cent of scheduled vaccinations.

Dogs Trust warns that owners may need additional reminders in the future to ensure their dog's preventative care is up to date and to avoid health issues.

The survey also revealed that one-fifth of dog owners experienced remote consultations, with many praising their convenience and being particularly helpful for those shielding or unable to travel.

Some owners reported feeling stressed that they could not accompany their dog into practice, which led to a few delaying seeking veterinary care or seeking it elsewhere, such as a practice offering face-to-face consults.

A number of dog owners also adapted to the situation by carrying out minor tasks at home, such as nail clipping. 

In light of its findings, Dogs Trust is highlighting the importance of getting dogs used to being inside the vet practice and developing a positive relationship with veterinary checks to aid dogs in the future. 

To help dog owners get their dogs used to being in the clinic, the charity has issued a series of helpful tips, available at

Katrina Holland, a lead researcher on the study, said: “Being present during the consultation means owners can provide reassurance to their dog but may also help build owner–veterinarian relationships; shape owners’ perceptions of veterinary healthcare; and improve owners’ understanding of–and potentially compliance with–veterinary diagnoses and advice."

Call for collaboration on canine science

Call for collaboration on canine science

Kennel Club invites researchers the opportunity to work with dog activities sub-group.

Educational establishments interested in canine science are being offered the chance to collaborate with the Kennel Club to enhance collective knowledge and understanding of dog health and wellbeing.

Researchers and students undertaking investigations or research relating to canine activities are being urged to contact the Kennel Club's Activities Health and Welfare Sub-Group (AHWSG). Activities can include but are not limited to agility, obedience, field trials, working trials and heelwork to music. 

AHWSG chair Dr Jacqueline Boyd said: “The AHWSG would be delighted to support students and researchers in any investigative work that is likely to support enhanced canine health and welfare in relation to canine activities and disciplines. We look forward to hearing from course managers, module leaders, dissertation supervisors and even interested and enthusiastic students who would like to ‘make a difference for dogs’”. 

The AHWSG is dedicated to ensuring the application of best practises for canine health and welfare across The Kennel Club's approved activities and disciplines through an evidence-based and consistent manner. 

With the previous 18 months having had a substantial influence on canine activities, The Kennel Club and the AHWSG are working to promote education and research by identifying areas within this area that require investigation.

The sub-group's broad membership provides an excellent opportunity for researchers at all levels to benefit from applied and subject expertise. For more information regarding potential student projects and research collaboration, email

Fire brigade rescues dog stuck in harness

Fire brigade rescues dog stuck in harness

Lola trapped her leg through the buckle of her car harness. 

A three-year-old miniature pinscher from Wolstanton had to be cut free by the fire service when she accidentally got her leg stuck in the buckle of her car seat harness.

Leighanne Harrison, explained how her dog Lola came to be in that situation: “Lola gets very excited in the car and likes to stand up on the seat being nosey and looking out of the window, so we always use a safety harness, attached to the seatbelt, to keep her safe and secure.

“However, when we were taking it off, she somehow managed to put her leg through the buckle and it quickly became completely stuck. 

“We knew we needed to get some help and decided to call White Cross Vets who we have been with since Lola was a puppy.”

The team at White Cross Vets tried to help Lola by lubricating the buckle and shaving the hair around it to make more space and slide her leg out, but it became apparent that none of the tactics the team was using would work.

Pulling Lola's leg could break the fragile bones in her leg, and the team didn't want to risk that, so they called the fire service, who quickly arrived to save the day.

Holly Ravenhall, clinic director at White Cross Vets, said: “This was a very unusual case and something we’d never seen before, but dogs have a habit of surprising us and Lola is no exception!

“In the end, it became clear that it needed to be cut off and that’s when we decided to call the fire service’s non-emergency number. They were fantastic and promptly turned up in a fire engine, with all the kit. 

“We initially thought she’d have to go under a general anaesthetic for the procedure, but they had a tool that was perfect for the job, and they cut it off in a matter of minutes, with Lola staying calm throughout, much to everyone’s relief.”

Leighanne, Lola's owner, added: “Thankfully Lola wasn’t traumatised by the incident and still loves her car journeys, but we now hold her paws when we’re taking the harness off to make sure it never happens again!”


Image (C) White Cross Vets

iCatCare reveals new cat-friendly principles

iCatCare reveals new cat-friendly principles

The new principles were announced in a London ceremony. 

Veterinary and animal welfare charity International Cat Care (iCatCare) has launched new Cat Friendly Principles to outline and inform the charity's work.

In a 'Being Cat Friendly' event, held on 29 April at Church House in London, iCatCare CEO Claire Bessant revealed the new principles in front of the charity's patron, Lord Black, past and recent trustees, supporters and friends of iCatCare. 

Claire Bessant explained: “We have always been a difficult charity to put neatly in a box with a short snappy sentence to explain about our work in the veterinary sector, with owners and caregivers, and those working with unowned cats on such a wide variety of subjects. 

“Over the past two years, we took the time to articulate what it is we have instinctively done over the years in our approach to cats.” 

The principles are as follows; 

•  respect cats - respect the diversity of the species and understand the individual cat

•  keep cats well - giving equal consideration to the physical health and mental wellbeing of cats

•  do cats no harm - ensure cats are no worse off as a result of people or their activities

•  be solution-driven - find evidence-based, pragmatic and sustainable solutions for cats

•  communicate for cats - communicate considerately and share knowledge generously for the sake of cats

•  collaborate for cats - work together, locally, internationally and with people from different backgrounds, always supporting and valuing each other

•  evolve for cats - be innovative, remain curious and keep learning for cats.

“The cat friendly principles will guide us in what we do,” added Claire. “We hope that others will sign up to them and they will aid the navigation of the tricky cat dilemmas which face us all everyday.”

Alongside the unveiling of the new principles, iCatCare held a ceremony for the recipients of the Cat Friendly Clinic Awards. Orchid Vets was the winner of the physical category, for the separate cat friendly level the team created in the clinic. 

Niki Pullen RVN, who submitted the entry, commented: “Winning shows us it was worth it.. but even if we hadn’t won the evidence it was worth it shows in our clients and our patients.. since we have implemented these changes the (previously protective) cats are letting us examine them. 

“Those practices thinking about becoming cat friendly but (think) it’s a lot of effort, no, it is so worth it.”

The procedural change category was won by DAP De Witte Raff for its use of the lick mat as a distraction technique. 

The DAP De Witt team spoke of the achievement: “Winning the competition is the icing on the cake for our efforts to make our clinic as stress free as possible for our feline friends. 

“It’s the ideal incentive to keep searching for ways to improve our cat friendly approach!”


Image (C) International Cat Care

Glucose monitor proves invaluable in helping cat with diabetes

Glucose monitor proves invaluable in helping cat with diabetes

Shadow is in diabetic remission after being fitted with the Bluetooth device. 

A cat that developed diabetes from severe pancreatitis is set to make a full recovery, thanks to a glucose monitor fitted by specialists at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Ten-year-old Shadow presented to the School's Hospital for Small Animals as an emergency case, with free fluid in her chest and abdomen. The team quickly stabilised Shadow, and diagnosed her with severe pancreatitis and vasculitis, but she sadly also developed diabetes.

To monitor her condition, and following consultation with her primary vets and owners, the Internal Medicine team fitted Shadow with a permanent glucose-monitoring device. 

The device enabled Shadow's owners to take her home and measure her glucose levels through a Bluetooth reader. Shadow's blood glucose readings were then relayed back to the researchers, who adjusted her insulin as needed. 

Three months since being referred to the specialists, Shadow's pancreatitis has subsided, and she is in diabetic remission, with no more need for insulin. Her free fluid is gone, and she no longer requires a diabetic diet.

Shadow is still recuperating at home, and her glucose monitor has been removed. She does not require any more rechecks with the Internal Medicine Service, but she will be regularly evaluated by her primary care vet.

Silke Salavati, a senior lecturer in small animal internal medicine, commented: “These modern glucose monitors are invaluable when tracking an individual pet’s glucose levels in real-time. It can be done by the owner at home with minimum stress to the patient. 

“The detailed information they provide vets has vastly improved how we can monitor diabetic animals and treat them accurately with insulin. These devices increase the chances of cats successfully achieving diabetic remission and we are delighted that Shadow is doing so well.”

Image (C) University of Edinburgh.

RSPCA opens Young Photographer Awards

RSPCA opens Young Photographer Awards

Under-19s are encouraged to submit their best animal pictures.  

The RSPCA has officially opened its annual Young Photographer Awards, which sees young people under 19 get close to animals of all kinds to capture the perfect snap.

Now in its 32nd year, the competition will run until 16 August, with opportunities to enter into 10 categories.

The categories are; under 12 (taken with a camera), 12–15 years (taken with a camera), 16–18 years (taken with a camera), under 12 (taken on a mobile/device), 12–15 years (taken on a mobile/device), 16–18 years (taken on a mobile/device), Pet Personalities, Pet Portraits, Small World and Portfolio.

Inspiring young people to get involved in the animal world, the RSPCA says on its website that: “Lots of our past winners have gone on to careers in photography, animal welfare or conservation.”

Speaking about the competition, RSPCA photographer and judge Andrew Forsyth said: “I think the best thing about the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is, as judges, we're always seeing something new.

“The young photographers are not trying to copy other photographers. They're always bringing fresh ideas, trying different things, a new approach. It's always a real joy and a surprise to be looking through the entries every year.”

Trophies will be awarded in each category, and the judges will select an Overall Winner of the competition, who will receive a weekend photography break with award-winning wildlife photographer Danny Green's team. 

Entrants can visit to find out more about the competition and enter their photographs.


Image (C) Dan Hancock-Smith / RSPCA Young Photographer Awards