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Cat microchipping to become compulsory

Cat microchipping to become compulsory

Owners will be required to microchip their cats by 20 weeks of age.

Microchipping of pet cats will become mandatory under new rules announced by the Government today (4 December).

Under the plans, owners will be required to microchip their cats by the time they reach 20 weeks of age and their contact details stored and kept up to date in a pet microchipping database. 

Owners found not to have microchipped their cat will be given 21 days to get one implanted or could face a fine of up to £500. 

The rules follow a Government call for evidence and consultation on the issue in which 99 per cent of respondents expressed support for the measure.

Animal welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure that they’re microchipped is the best possible way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.

“These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Cats Protection’s head of advocacy & government relations Jacqui Cuff said: “As the UK’s leading cat charity, we have been at the forefront of the campaign for compulsory microchipping of pet cats. Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them – whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.

“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection. Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.” 

The Government has been working with the RCVS to introduce new guidance which requires vets to scan the microchips of healthy dogs to help ensure they are not put down unnecessarily. It is also conducting a review of the regulations on dog microchipping and the related microchipping database systems to consider whether improvements can be made.

The new cat microchipping rules will come into force when this review concludes to ensure that any changes to the operation of the microchipping regime are brought in at the same time as the new microchipping rules for cats.

Cats Protection welcomes debates on pet travel

Cats Protection welcomes debates on pet travel

“The current laws on importing kittens and cats are far too relaxed” - Jacqui Cuff.

Feline welfare charity Cats Protection has welcomed the news that MPs are to hold two debates on pet travel following concerns cats are getting left behind.

MPs are holding a general debate on pet travel in Westminster Hall today (2 December) and during oral questions in the House of Lords on Tuesday (7 December). 

The debates follow a recent Government consultation on pet travel that contained significant changes for dogs - including raising the minimum travel age and banning the movement of dogs that are heavily pregnant. However, the consultation failed to extend the same protection to cats. 

As such, Cats Protection is calling on the Government to introduce similar changes to cats - increasing the minimum age of travel from 15 weeks to six months and prohibiting the movement of pregnant cats in their last 42 days of gestation. 
The Charity is also pushing for a total ban on the importation of de-clawed cats. 

Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy & government relations at Cats Protection, said: “While the Government is looking at changes to improve the welfare of puppies and dogs being brought into the UK, it is not considering the same improvements for cats, which is a huge concern. 

“We know there has been an increase in the numbers of people looking to buy a kitten, and prices have also gone up. The current laws on importing kittens and cats are far too relaxed and urgently need to be tightened up to prevent a surge in unscrupulous traders importing kittens into Great Britain for onward sale.”

Lord Black of Brentwood, who will be raising the issue in an oral question in the House of Lords, said: “Over the years, I have been an advocate for the welfare of our companion animals. We are a nation of animal lovers, and pets are so important to the lives of many, an important part of the family, and providers of joy and companionship.

“There are risks in buying pets online, particularly from sellers based abroad, and the Government’s review of the pet travel provisions presents a real opportunity to clamp down on unscrupulous sellers smuggling pets into Great Britain.”

He added: “While the horrors of puppy smuggling are well publicised, we must not open the door to sellers turning their attention to bringing in kittens to meet the UK market. New pet travel provisions must apply to kittens as well as puppies, both of whom need legal protection.”

Puppyhood diet a 'significant factor' in allergy development

Puppyhood diet a 'significant factor' in allergy development

Findings suggest raw food could protect puppies against skin issues.

A puppy's diet could affect the onset of allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood, new research suggests.

The study by the University of Helsinki found that puppies whose diet consisted of at least 20 per cent raw food, or less than 80 per cent dry food, developed significantly fewer AASS in older age. 

Conversely, puppies that did not eat any raw food - or whose diet consisted of mostly dry food -  developed more AASS symptoms in later life. The findings are published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine

“The puppies that had been fed raw tripe, raw organ meats, and human meal leftovers during puppyhood showed significantly less allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adult life,” explained Anna Hielm-Björkman from the University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

“On the other hand, puppies not getting any raw foods, eating most of their food as dry food, i.e. kibble, being fed fruits, and heat-dried animal parts, had significantly more allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adulthood”.

In the study, researchers observed more than 4,000 puppies to examine the link between diet and the prevalence of owner-reported allergy/atopy skin signs. Building on answers that owners had given in an independent online feeding survey, a total of 46 individual food items and four major diet types were studied for their association with AASS in adulthood.

Among their findings, researchers also discovered that processed commercial dog foods, such as canned foods, appeared to increase the prevalence of AASS in later life. Dogs that never ate such foods showed a significantly decreased prevalence of allergies and skin issues.

“These findings indicate that it was the raw food component that was the beneficial health promotor,” said Hielm-Björkman, “and that even as little as 20 per cent of the diet being raw foods, already gives health benefits”. 

The researchers conclude that the study only suggests a causal relationship but does not prove it, adding: ‘Puppyhood exposure to raw animal-based foods might have a protective influence on AASS incidence in adulthood, while puppyhood exposure to mixed oils, heat-processed foods and sugary fruits might be a potential risk factor of AASS incidence later.'

BVA asks owners to protect pets in winter

BVA asks owners to protect pets in winter

The BVA is offering top tips for avoiding cold weather hazards.

The BVA is reminding pet owners to take extra precautions to protect their pets over the winter months with six top tips to keep pets safe from the cold.

“Many of us will be wrapping up a little warmer over the coming weeks and its important to remember that freezing temperatures and icy conditions also call for extra precautions to protect pets,” said BVA president Justine Shotton. 

“If you have any concerns about your pet in this cold weather, please consult your local vet for advice.” 

The BVA's top tips for pet owners to keep pets safe in the cold weather are as follows: 

• Provide a warm, draught-free shelter, and for outdoor pets, ensure that the enclosure is in a sheltered position and at least 10cm off the ground.
• Take precautions such as coats during and after walks, and wipe down dog's paws and stomachs once home to remove ice or salt, and regularly check for cracks in paw-pads.
• Avoid antifreeze poisoning by wiping your pet's paws after they have been outside, and store and use antifreeze products carefully.
• Take care near frozen bodies of water, do not let your pet off the lead near them.
• Keep the temperature of rabbit homes between 10 and 20 degrees celsius and the temperature of guinea pig homes between five and 20 degrees celsius.
• Provide extra bedding for rabbits and guinea pigs, and cover outdoor enclosures with an old duvet, blanket or tarpaulin. Consider moving them inside to a well-ventilated space if the weather becomes particularly severe.

Dog lovers urged to avoid buying 'flat faced' breeds for Christmas

Dog lovers urged to avoid buying 'flat faced' breeds for Christmas

Figures suggest searches for French bulldogs and bulldog puppies peak during November.

Potential dog owners are being warned against buying brachycephalic breeds ahead of the festive season in a bid to crackdown on puppy farming and the ‘international smuggling of these dogs by profiteering cruel traders’.

The warning from the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) comes as new figures show that searches for French Bulldogs and Bulldog puppies rose during the second half of 2020, peaking on 21 and 1 November, respectively. 

In light of their findings, major stakeholders from the BWG, including the BVA and Dogs Trust, are calling on the public to ‘stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog’ - especially as the pandemic has impacted on the supply of responsibly-bred puppies.

Dr Dan O’Neill, chairman of the BWG, said: “Unlike some commodities which are reportedly going to be in short supply this Christmas, and which we’re being advised to ‘buy now to avoid disappointment later’, puppies are living, sentient creatures and must not be bought on a whim.

“We are particularly worried about rising demand for flat-faced puppies who often suffer from painful health conditions. This demand, spurred in part by the pandemic, coupled with rife puppy farming, rogue breeding and international smuggling of these dogs by profiteering cruel traders, means it’s incredibly difficult to responsibly source one of these dogs at any time of the year.

He continued: “Dog welfare concerns only grow at Christmas due to impulsive puppy buying decisions and gift-giving. With this newly released data showing a trend for ‘Christmas puppies’, the UK’s leading pet welfare experts are urging would-be owners to avoid buying any new four-legged friend at Christmas.”

Research by the BWG also found that during 2020, Kennel Club registrations for the French bulldog and English bulldog rose to record levels, increasing by 17 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

Catherine Dobbie, Dogs Trust veterinary surgeon, said: “As our famous slogan states, ‘A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas’. Welcoming a dog into your life is a wonderful thing, but it is big commitment and one that needs to be thought through."

Justine Shotton, BVA President, added: “We’d advise owners against getting a dog of any breed around Christmas time, as it’s a big commitment that extends far beyond the festive period and requires very clear and careful consideration."

Suffolk boy wins prestigious Kennel Club Award

Suffolk boy wins prestigious Kennel Club Award

Lewis Steven Garstang was presented with the award for personal achievement in dog training. 

A 12 year old boy from Suffolk has won the Young Kennel Club (YKC) Young Person of the Year Award at Discover Dogs.

Lewis Steven Garstang, from Haverhill, took on the training and running of his father's dogs in agility after his father sadly passed away in 2018.

Rosie and Willow, two rescue dogs with vastly different temperaments, have been trained by Lewis, and he has built a significant bond with both of them. 

The award, given annually to one young person who has done notable work in dog activities, such as volunteering and fundraising for dog charities, organising dog activities in their local area, or helping others through training and mentoring, is presented by Ed and Cindy McAlpine in memory of their late son Shaun, who had achieved success as a dog handler. 

Vanessa McAlpine, events and youth development executive at The Kennel Club, commented on the award: “Congratulations to Lewis for winning this year’s YKC Young Person of the Year award. He is a well-deserved winner and is a real inspiration to many other young dog lovers around the UK.

“Well done to our other nine finalists and to all of our other YKC members who were nominated this year. They truly deserve the recognition for all of their hard work, time and dedication that they put into helping the lives of dogs.”


Image (C) The Kennel Club

Vet uses lip filler to save cat's eyes

Vet uses lip filler to save cat's eyes

Novel procedure is less invasive compared to surgery. 

An innovative vet from Cheshire has successfully used a cosmetic procedure for humans to treat a cat with abnormal eyelids.

Natasha Carr-Sycheva from Eye Vet Referrals used human lip filler in place of reconstructive surgery to help a cat diagnosed with bilateral upper eyelid agenesis.

The two-year-old cat, named Oreo, was born with the congenital condition, which causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye surface. 

The most challenging aspect of the case was the extent of the agenesis. Three-quarters of the upper eyelid had not formed, and surgical repair would have required extensive skin grafting to repair.

After discussing the various surgical options with Oreo’s owner, it was agreed that Natasha would pursue the alternative solution of using hyaluronic acid filler injections. 

“These fillers are actually used in human aesthetic lip enhancement, but we were confident they could also be used in this different way to help Oreo,” Natasha explained. “The benefits of the injections are that they’re quicker, minimally invasive, only require sedation, not a general anaesthetic, and recovery is shorter and less painful. 

"There’s also an immediate beneficial effect with this technique, and once the patient has recovered from the sedation there is usually no further recovery period required.”

After sedating Oreo, Natasha and her team used surgical operating loupes to magnify his eyelids. The loupes enabled them to ensure the filler was injected into the correct position to direct the hairs away from the eye surface.

“When we heard about this ground-breaking treatment from Natasha and Eye Vet, we thought it was such a great idea,” said Oreo’s owner, Joanne Salomon. “It’s a much less invasive procedure compared to an operation, and without all the trauma and risks associated with surgery, so we were keen to try it. 

“We’re very pleased with the results. Oreo certainly seems happier, he has come out of himself more and is a lot more playful, which is all wonderful to see. We’re also now able to tell everyone that our cat’s had cosmetic surgery – and how many people can say that!” 

Image (C) Eye Vet Referrals.

Kennel Club welcomes new dog theft offence

Kennel Club welcomes new dog theft offence

“This is a win that can help to deliver justice to both the poor dogs and families victim to this devastating crime" - Mark Beazley, Kennel Club.

The Kennel Club has welcomed the Government’s plans to introduce legislation that will make abducting dogs a criminal offence in England.

Under the new law, set out within the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, those found guilty of dog theft could face up to five years in jail. 

The move follows extensive lobbying by the Kennel Club and other animal organisations to bring about stronger sentencing and better reporting to tackle this devastating crime.

Mark Beazley, chief executive at The Kennel Club, commented: “We wholeheartedly welcome this next step from the Government, introducing a new and specific offence to tackle pet theft, and highly commend the hard and persistent work of every organisation who has been raising awareness of this issue and calling for action for many years.

 “This is a win that can help to deliver justice to both the poor dogs and families victim to this devastating crime, and we hope that this amendment moves swiftly through parliament, to protect the nation’s much-loved pets.” 

Dogs are currently treated in law in the same way as stolen laptops or mobile phones. This new offence, announced on Thursday (18 November), will reflect the emotional distress of pet theft and help judges hand down more targeted penalties. 

In May this year, the Government formed a Pet Theft Taskforce to help tackle the surge in animal abductions resulting from the coronavirus lockdowns.  Throughout its Paw and Order Campaign, the Kennel Club urged action from the Taskforce and encouraged thousands of UK dog lovers to write to their MP.

Statistics garnered as part of the campaign revealed the scale of pet theft, showing that a staggering 196 families every month are affected by the crime. The statistics also revealed that just two per cent of dog theft cases in 2020 resulted in a criminal charge. 

Dog theft offence moves step closer

Dog theft offence moves step closer

Thieves will face up to five years in prison.

A new offence that will see the introduction of tougher prison sentences for those who abduct dogs has moved a step closer under plans announced by the Government.

The dog abduction offence, announced by Defra in September, has been added by ministers to the Kept Animals Bill, which was set out in parliament today (18 November).

The move aims to crack down the surge in dog theft and will see those who steal much-loved pets face up to five years in jail.

Currently, dogs are treated in law in the same way as inanimate objects, like laptops or mobile phones. This new offence will consider the emotional distress caused to both pup and owner and will help judges
hand down more targeted sentences and penalties.

Defra states that a provision will be included in the Bill to extend the offence to other pets in the future, 'should evidence support this'.

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Christine Middlemiss welcomed the move, adding: “The recognition of the distress caused to animals by pet theft is an important step forward, treating them as sentient beings rather than merely property. The new offence should build greater awareness of the significant impacts of dog theft on people and animals, and reassure pet owners that these crimes are being taken seriously.”

Environment secretary George Eustice added: “The loss of a much-loved pet causes unique distress. I am pleased that we are legislating to recognise this specific crime. The new dog abduction offence will reflect the impact on animals in penalties for criminals, and deliver justice for victims.”

The announcement forms part of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Pet Theft Taskforce, which was launched in May 2021 in response to a reported rise in pet thefts during the pandemic.

According to Defra, there were more than 2,000 incidents reported to the police last year, and around seven in 10 crimes involving animals recorded by police involve dogs.

David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said: “The theft of a pet is devastating and we’re pleased the Government has announced these amendments which we hope will act as a real deterrent to those who carry out this crime.

"While the current proposed law applies to dogs, we are really pleased to see the Government has also recognised how much other animals mean to people as well and put in provision to extend it to other pets. We hope this new law, which will see sentences up to five years, will help crackdown on the heart-breaking issue of pet theft.”

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust veterinary director, added: “Having your beloved pet stolen is an extremely stressful, often heart-breaking experience. For years, Dogs Trust has called for harsher penalties to deter those who profit from this despicable crime.

"We wholeheartedly welcome the measures the Government has taken today to tackle pet theft and prioritise the welfare of our pets as sentient beings, and very much hope that the increased sentencing will make pet thieves think twice.”

Defra warns public of 'petfishing' dangers

Defra warns public of 'petfishing' dangers

A Christmas-themed video has been released to help owners identify signs. 

Defra is warning the public about the dangers of 'petfishing' practices ahead of the increased demand for pets over the Christmas period.

Today (18 November), Defra has launched its Christmas Petfished campaign, which warns potential pet owners of deceitful low-welfare sellers, who breed and keep animals in bad conditions for financial gain. 

A recent BVA and BVNA survey discovered that almost two thirds (68 per cent) of pet owners were unaware that the clinical and behavioural signs of their pet may be linked to low welfare breeding practices. 

Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer, commented: “Christmas can be a difficult time to settle a pet into a new home and it’s vitally important that people not only research the breed of animal they want, but also the person selling it to them.

“Puppies and kittens bred in low-welfare conditions can often be separated from their mother too soon which can lead to severe health and behavioural problems, heartache and high vet bills for their new family. 

“We urge people to remain vigilant and to always thoroughly research pet sellers before getting in touch.”

Defra is encouraging the public to use the acronym S.P.O.T to notice vital warning signs when researching sellers: 

•  Seller – Put the seller's name and details into a search engine, and avoid those with multiple adverts
•  Parent – Ensure that you see puppies and kittens in their home with their mothe
•  Old enough – Check that puppies and kittens are at least eight weeks old before taking them home
•  Treatment – Ask to see the animal's health records, and avoid any sellers who can't provide them.

The campaign features a YouTube video, titled 'Buying a pet this Christmas?.. Don't get petfished!', which features talking animals explaining what petfishing is, and why it's bad. The video encourages potential pet owners to search 'get your pet safely' for more information on what to do before contacting a seller. 

iCatCare chief executive announces retirement

iCatCare chief executive announces retirement

Claire Bessant steps down after 28 years in the role. 

Cat welfare charity International Cat Care (iCatCare) has announced that its chief executive Claire Bessant will retire in the third quarter of 2022, following 28 years in the role.

Claire announced her intention to retire in a news release: “I have been here, initially with the Feline Advisory Bureau and now iCatCare, through many phases in the development of understanding of feline health and wellbeing. 

“While I was not with the charity for that initial and very tough struggle to put cats on the veterinary map, I had the privilege of knowing our founder Joan Judd in the following years. 

“I joined at a time of accelerating discovery of disease and treatment, through funding and working with many of our leading cat people of today, to the growth of behavioural understanding and a holistic approach to the cat, and now the development of our Cat Friendly Principles.

"We work in all areas of cat care and with a diverse group of stakeholders from cat owners to breeders, catteries, those interested in cat behaviour, veterinary practitioners, specialist cat vets, and now also in the area of unowned cats – and there is still much to do.  

“We are in a place where we can stand proudly next to our accomplishments for cats – the most obvious of these being: (in the early days) the Boarding Cattery Listing Scheme and the FAB Journal and Conference and our FAB members, our funded residents and lecturers over many years, the birth of the International Society of Feline Medicine in 1996 and, in 1999, the publication of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 

“We have developed world class international congresses of our own.  and with other organisations, influenced the design of feline medicines with our Easy to Give Awards, celebrated our 50th and 60th anniversaries, developed excellent distance learning courses, negotiated the world of unowned cats and, of course, developed the Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation scheme (which has its 10th anniversary in 2022). 

“We have also recently negotiated the unexpected challenges of COVID and a fire in our offices which led to a steep learning curve to be able to put on virtual congresses!

“It has been a fascinating and enjoyable privilege to lead the charity and I feel enormously proud of what the staff and trustee team, past and present, as well as those fantastic people (too many to mention individually) who have generously contributed time, expertise, and a passion for cats, have achieved during that period. 

“Thank you too to those who have supported us with donations and remembered us in their wills, enabling us to do more for cats.   The charity has grown in size and sophistication and has many new ambitions. 

“It is time to hand the baton to a new leader to take it through to the next stage of its progression and growth, still with the needs of cats firmly at its heart. I look forward to supporting our Chair Lynne Hill and the trustees in putting in place the plans to recruit for my successor.”

International Canine Health Awards open for nominations

International Canine Health Awards open for nominations

Awards celebrate innovative researchers, scientists, veterinary professionals and students. 

Nominations are now open for the prestigious 2022 International Canine Health Awards, with a prize fund totalling £70,000 for the winners.

Now in its tenth year, the International Canine Health Awards recognise and celebrate innovative researchers, veterinary professionals and scientists whose work has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of dogs.

The awards are run by the Kennel Club Charitable Trust with support from Metro Bank founders Vernon and Shirley Hill.

Dr Andrew Higgins, chairman of the judging panel and trustee of The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, said: "The International Canine Health Awards recognise and commend the commitment shown by researchers, veterinarians, and students dedicated to the improvement of dog health through science.

“We are also delighted to recognise the amazing work of our UK breed health coordinators who do such a good job supporting health and welfare programmes within breeds.

“Over the past decade we have awarded many outstanding recipients who have made significant contributions to the health and welfare of dogs and we look forward to seeing who will win at next year’s ceremony.”

The four awards are:

International Prize in Canine Health – for outstanding contributions in the field of canine health and welfare, with a prize of £40,000 towards future projects. The award will be presented to one individual or a group currently involved in world-class innovation, with more still to contribute.

Lifetime Achievement Award – with a £10,000 prize, this award will go to a vet or scientist, who has dedicated much of their career to advancing the health and welfare of dogs. The award will be presented to an individual who has made a significant lifetime impact to benefit canine health and welfare on a world stage.

UK Student Inspiration Awards – these comprise postgraduate and undergraduate awards, with prizes of £10,000 and £5,000 respectively to aid further education costs, the development of their careers, or the creation/continuation of a project. The awards will be presented to extraordinary students studying at a British veterinary school who demonstrate the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of veterinary medicine and research to benefit dogs. Post-graduate applicants must be within five years of receiving their first degree.
UK Breed Health Coordinator Award – with a £5,000 prize, judges will be looking for individuals from UK Kennel Club breed clubs or councils who have demonstrated a dedication to supporting health and welfare within their breed over the previous year. Some of the aspects that will be considered include starting or coordinating a new project or resource for the breed, such as a health website or health survey, and good communication with The Kennel Club and other key stakeholders.

Nominations will remain open on the Kennel Club Charitable Trust website until 28 February 2022, with the awards ceremony taking place in June 2022.

Image (C) Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

PDSA asks pet owners to 'paws for traffic'

PDSA asks pet owners to 'paws for traffic'

The charity is encouraging owners to make pets visible in the dark. 

Veterinary surgeons from the UK's largest national veterinary charity PDSA are encouraging pet owners to 'protect their pets' as the evenings get darker over autumn and winter.

First and foremost, the charity is encouraging pet owners to have pet insurance in place, to assist in case of road accidents. PDSA veterinary surgeon Lynne James suggested that pet owners ensure they have pet insurance, “before [they] do anything else.” 

In a press release Lynne offered pet owners advice, including the use of reflective collars for ease of visibility, letting cats out in daylight hours only, and keeping dogs on a short and strong lead. 

Lynne also advised that dog owners use simple commands to keep their pets safe whilst outside in the dark: “While you won’t be able to teach your canine companion to look left and right, you can use simple commands to help keep them safe by busy roads. 

“When approaching a road with your dog on a lead, ask them to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’. Once your dog has sat calmly and you’re happy it’s clear, give the command to ‘walk’ and cross the road together carefully.” 

The charity is also stressing the importance of visibility in the dark, and is encouraging dog owners to wear brightly coloured clothing or visibility jackets whilst walking dogs at night, and suggests that owners could provide their dogs with high visibility dog coats or LED tags and collars for safety. 

This 'Paws for traffic' campaign comes as part of Road Safety Week (15 – 21 November), and PDSA hopes that this advice will make pet owners more aware of the dangers that roads and traffic can pose to pets. 

Common household noises can cause dogs anxiety - study

Common household noises can cause dogs anxiety - study

A new study has discovered that owners may underestimate their dogs' stress.

Common household noises can cause dogs more stress than humans interpret, a new study from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) has discovered.

Published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, the study, entitled 'Stress-Related Behaviors in Companion Dogs Exposed to Common Household Noises, and Owners' Interpretations of Their Dogs' Behaviors', discovered that people may not recognise that their dog is stressed when exposed to common household noises.

Researchers conducted a survey of 386 dog owners about their dogs' responses to household sounds, such as vacuum cleaners and microwaves, and examined recorded dog behaviours and human reactions from 62 online videos.

The study found that the owners of dogs exhibiting signs of stress over household noises underestimated the dogs' fearful, and the majority of owners studied responded with amusement rather than concern.

Lead author Emma Grigg said in a news release by UC Davis: “There is a mismatch between owners’ perceptions of the fearfulness and the amount of fearful behavior actually present. Some react with amusement rather than concern.

“We hope this study gets people to think about the sources of sound that might be causing their dog stress, so they can take steps to minimize their dog’s exposure to it.

“Dogs use body language much more than vocalizing and we need to be aware of that.

“We feed them, house them, love them and we have a caretaker obligation to respond better to their anxiety.”

Chief vet confirms COVID-19 in pet dog

Chief vet confirms COVID-19 in pet dog

The confirmation follows laboratory tests by the APHA in Weybridge.

The virus responsive for COVID-19 has been identified in a pet dog, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, has confirmed.

Tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratory in Weybridge confirmed the virus on 3 November. The dog is said to be recovering at home.

Defra states that the dog contracted the disease from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and there is no evidence to suggest the animal passed the disease to its owners, or that pets can transmit the virus to humans.

CVO Christine Middlemiss said: “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet dog in the UK. The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is now recovering.

“It is very rare for dogs to be infected and they will usually only show mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.

“There is no clear evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.

“Dr Katherine Russell, Consultant Medical Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: COVID-19 is predominantly spread from person to person but in some situations, the virus can spread from people to animals. In line with general public health guidance, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.”

UK's first radiation therapy service for pets launches

UK's first radiation therapy service for pets launches

Pioneering system can treat skin cancer and dermatological disorders.

The UK's first superficial radiation therapy (SRT) service for pets has launched in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

The pioneering Xstrahl 100 superficial radiotherapy system, based at Paragon Referrals, is designed for skin cancer, dermatological disorders, certain types of benign disease and some palliative care. 

Its introduction follows the successful use of the therapy by oncology specialist, Dr Rodney Ayl, in the USA. Commonly used in human medicine, Dr Ayl successfully adapted the SRT system's use from humans to animals. 

“This is a very exciting development for us and our clients because Xstrahl systems have been used so successfully in human medicine for many years,” explained Dr Ayl. “This prompted us to explore adapting the SRT system for veterinary use in the UK and we hope to collaborate with Colorado State University, which has a similar unit, to develop protocols for pets.

“We believe this will be a significant advance in the treatment and care of animals, and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of introducing this new service,” he added. “It is the only one of its kind for pets in the UK, and there are very few units like this anywhere in the veterinary industry, so it really is an important move forward.”

Dr Ayl also believes that the SRT system for animals will not only transform their treatment, but also the logistics and cost of radiation therapy for dermatological conditions.

“The treatment is less stressful from the outset and, thanks to its mechanism of action, it is also pain-free,” he continued. “Its use of different size cones, directly over the lesion, minimises effects on healthy skin and the fast treatment means a large reduction in time and impact on the patient’s day-to-day life while providing a highly effective treatment.

“The machine’s flexibility also makes it particularly suited for treating multiple lesions that are difficult to access, such as the head and neck, without changing patient positioning,” he said.

Image (C) Paragon Referrals.