Veterinary Poisons Information Service: Fabric Washing Capsules and e-cigarettes.


The Veterinary Poisons Information Service has highlighted two products which may be a risk to your pet; fabric washing capsules and e-cigarettes/ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems).

Fabric Washing Capsules/liquitabs

These may be eaten by pets if dropped on the floor or visible in kitchen cupboards. The jelly-like presentation may encourage curious animals to play with the liquitabs until they eventually burst in the animals mouth.

Recently the VPIS was contacted about a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had bit through a liquitab. He became depressed and started vomiting over night. When he presented at the vets the next morning, he was severely dehydrated with pale gums and aspiration pneumonia. He developed renal failure and had convulsions. He died 2 hours after presentation, approximately 24 hours after ingestion.


The liquids in e-cigarettes have been shown to be serious or fatal to both humans and dogs. E-cigarettes and their refills contain large doses of nicotine (up to 36mg per ml). Nicotine in all forms is highly toxic.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

Nursing Clinics

Microchipping: We recommend microchipping your pet to protect it from theft or loss. It is a simple procedure which only takes a few seconds and is relatively painless.

Nail clipping: We sell nail clippers in our waiting room but, if you find nail clipping difficult, then we will be happy to help.

Puppy parties: We run monthly puppy parties where your puppy can socialise with new people and other puppies, as well as trying some training. Leave your name with our receptionists if you’re interested and we’ll send you an invitation for the next session.

Behaviour: We have nurses who take a special interest in behaviour and can help with most behavioural problems.

Weight: We can help you monitor your pet’s weight and recommend diets for weight loss.

Bereavement: Our staff can help you and your family move on after the loss of a pet.


If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

Adder bites in dogs


The only venomous snake native to the UK is the European adder. They can be 50cm long with a black/brown zigzag pattern along their back and V shaped marking on the back of the head. They are commonly found on dry sandy heaths, sand dunes, rocky hillsides, moorland and woodland edges.

Snakes generally only bite in self-defence when stood on or disturbed. Bites are more common in the spring or summer, when snakes are more active.

Symptoms of a snake bite:

Adder bites will present as a dark-coloured, localised swelling with 2 small puncture marks in the centre. They most commonly occur on the face and legs. Your dog may appear to be nervous or in pain. They may have pale gums, bruising, dribbling, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, restlessness, drowsiness and lethargy. Eventually dogs may collapse, have blood clotting problems, tremors or convulsions.

What to do if your dog has a snake bite:

Seek veterinary attention IMMEDIATELY if your dog is bitten. Carry your dog (rather than letting him walk) to reduce the spread of the venom and bathe the wound in cold water to control the swelling. Try to keep your dog calm and warm as you transport them to the vet.

The vet will give your dog pain relief, treat the swelling and administer anti-venom if available. Most cases survive with appropriate treatment.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD)

Soya and Danielle


Myxomatosis is a virus spread by fleas, mites and mosquitoes. Symptoms include puffy swellings around the face, blindness, high fever and usually death within 10-14 days. This condition is widespread in British wild rabbits. Since the disease us spread by biting insects, even indoor rabbits can be, and often are infected. There is no specific treatment and recovery is rare. It is therefore important to focus on prevention and protection.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease is also prevalent in British wild rabbits. It causes high fever, internal bleeding and liver disease. It is almost always fatal. Pet rabbits may be found dead with bloodstained fluid at their nose or no other visible signs. It is spread by rabbit-to-rabbit contact and persists in the environment (eg carriers). There is no treatment so vaccination is essential.

Prevention and protection

Rabbits should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Rabbit (Viral) Haemorrhagic Disease, to help protect against possible suffering. There is a new vaccination which combines Myxomatosis and RHD. This only needs to be given annually but we recommend a 6 month check up too as a lot can change in 6 months.

Ensure your pets are treated for fleas, as infection can be spread by insects. You should also regularly clean and disinfect your rabbit’s enclosure. If possible, prevent contact with wild or affected domestic rabbits and keep hutches away from ponds that may collect mosquitoes.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or



Dogs expel heat by panting; however, this is ineffective if the environment is too humid or hot. In cases of heat-stroke, a dog’s body temperature can rise over 42°c (normal body temperature is around 38°c).

Signs of heat-stroke

Signs of heat-stroke include panting excessively, anxious behaviour, very red gums (turning blue in extreme circumstances), salivating, very rapid heart rate, collapse, convulsions or shock.
Heat-stroke must be treated IMMEDIATELY otherwise it can be fatal.

What to do if your dog is suffering from heat-stroke:

Remove the dog from the hot environment.
Reduce the body temperature GRADUALLY by using a shower spray and fan (to increase air flow). Then douse the dog in cool water, especially the head and neck (DO NOT USE ICE COLD WATER) or cover your dog in wet sheets. Continue until his breathing starts to settle.
Allow your dog to drink as much as he wants in small quantities at a time.
Seek veterinary advice immediately as it can be difficult to be sure how serious the situation is and urgent treatment may be needed.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

The Yellow Dog Project: Some Dogs Need Space

The Official Yellow Dog UK poster

The Yellow Dog Project was created to bring awareness to dogs who need space while training, recovering from surgery, or being rehabilitated.

If you see a dog with a YELLOW ribbon, bandanna or similar on the leash or on the dog, this is a dog which needs some space. Please, do not approach this dog or its people with your dog. They are indicating that their dog cannot be close to other dogs. How close is too close? Only the dog or his people know, so maintain distance and give them time to move out of your way.

You can read more here:


Lungworm dog and bone

The larvae of the lungworm parasite are carried by slugs, snails and frogs. They can cause a problem if the dog eats them either purposefully or accidently (by eating grass, drinking from puddles, etc). Dogs or foxes infected with lungworm can spread the parasite into the environment as the larvae are expelled in the animal’s poo.


After infection, you may see worsening signs of cardiac and respiratory disease. This can include a chronic cough that gets worse over time, exercise intolerance, difficulty breathing and weight loss. Initially symptoms are only seen at extremes of exercise, gradually becoming more obvious as the disease progresses. Affected dogs can develop a diarrhoea that rapidly becomes bloody. They may also bleed from the nose or elsewhere. Infection can cause serious health problems and even be fatal if untreated, so seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns.

Your vet may be able to diagnose lungworm by looking at your pets faeces under a microscope, examining their history, compatible clinical signs and response to treatment.

Prevention and treatment of lungworm

Dealing with the health problems caused by lung worm can be very difficult but killing the actual worm is relatively simple and cheap. We therefore recommend that you include lungworm treatment into your normal worming routine. Your vet will be able to advise you of the best product for your pet.


If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

Average Day in the Life of a Vet


8.15am Arrive at work

Hospital rounds: Vets and nurses check on all the animals in hospital and review their treatment.

Discuss the operations for the day, go through each patient’s history and decide which vet will be responsible for each surgery.

Consulting: See new and follow up cases including 2 tortoises, a puppy for first vaccinationss, a cat that’s turning ginger (hyperthyroidism) and a dog that’s drinking a lot. Write up patient notes on the computer after each consultation. Complete urinalysis on a couple of samples in between consults and look at some skin scrapings under the microscope.

Meanwhile the nurses are organising blood tests and pre-operation injections as well as cleaning and feeding the hospital cases.

10.30am Start operations including castrating a cat, spaying a dog, spaying a rabbit, treating a road traffic accident and X-raying a limping dog. Also treat hospital cases and set up drips for intravenous fluids. Nurses monitor the anaesthetics and help hold animals.

Check the prescriptions that they nurses have prepared, so that they are ready to be collected by clients this afternoon.

2.45pm Afternoon consulting and discharging hospital cases. Explain blood test results and x-rays to clients and discuss post-operation treatment.

7.00pm Finish consulting and phone clients back. Make sure that external laboratory results are sent out. Meanwhile the nurses are getting ready for puppy parties.

Caring for your rat



Female: Doe
Male: Buck
Young: Pups
Lifespan: 2-4 years
Average weight: 400-800gms
Diet: Omnivorous (average 20-25 grams per day)


Rats can be housed in a wire cage with a plastic base, a plastic rat home or in a large viviarium with a well-ventilated cover. Wooden cages should not be used as rats will chew their way out. A rat enclosure can never be too big as they love to explore and exercise. Multi-level cages are a good idea as they add interest for the rat.

Rats are best kept indoors in an area with a constant temperature, away from direct sunlight and draughts and out of reach of other pets. Their hearing is extremely sensitive so they should be kept away from loud noises such as a stereo or washing machine.

Cages should be cleaned out on a regular basis. Rats should be provided with absorbent, dust-extracted bedding.

Feeding your rat:

It is not recommended to feed your rat human food as this may be high in sugars and fat. They should be given food specially designed for them, preferably one portion in the morning and one in the evening. Follow the feeding guidelines on the pack. A mono component diet will prevent selective feeding and ensure that your pet gets all the nutrients it needs.

Treating your rat:

Rats can occasionally have treats, as long as they are good for them. Try hiding some in the cage to encourage them to forage.


You need to provide a large, secure run for daily exercise. This can be free-standing or attached to the cage. You could use a large cardboard box and put bedding on the bottom. Put in some toilet rolls and hang a piece of rope for them to climb on. They will also love a piece of apple wood to gnaw on. Make sure you always keep an eye on your rat while it’s in the play area.

If you provide a wheel, make sure it is big enough for them to run in without bending their back. Also ensure that it has a solid floor and not rungs, as they can cause injuries to their feet and tail. Although rats sleep during the day, they are really energetic and will exercise for 3-4 hours a night.

Handling your rat:

Make sure your rat is awake before handling them, as they may bite if startled. Let them sniff your hand and climb into your open palm if possible. If they don’t approach you, you can grasp them around the shoulders, with your thumb just behind the front leg and supporting the hindfeet with the other hand. Never pick up a rat by its tail.


Rats are social animals and will become unhappy if left alone. Keeping them in pairs or single-sex groups from the same litter are best. Rats enjoy play-fighting but may fight seriously if you introduce an older rat to a younger one. Males should be neutered to avoid unwanted litters.

Common illnesses:

Mites: You may see your rat itching, especially around the neck, shoulders and ears. Scratching can damage the skin so seek treatment from a veterinarian.

Respiratory disease: Signs include struggling to breathe, ‘rattling’ breathing sounds, snuffling, sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, weight loss and ruffled coat. Take your pet to the vet at the first signs of illness.

Overgrown teeth: Rats’ teeth continue to grow throughout their life, so they need to gnaw to keep their teeth in trim. If there is a chipped tooth or their teeth don’t meet, your vet can trim them.

Overgrown nails: Nails can also become overgrown and therefore should be trimmed by a vet to ensure that your rat is comfortable.

Always consult a vet if you have any reason for concern.


If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or

Feeding your Dog

Lucy and Mojo

Your puppy’s nutritional requirements will vary with his size. To make sure you are feeding your pet the right amount, follow the directions on your food packaging and weigh your puppy regularly. It’s important that they don’t gain too much weight, as this may lead them to be obese and develop health problems later on.

A balanced diet is a key factor in preventing illness. A single form of food e.g. chicken can never give all the vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fatty acids.mOne of the main issues we see is people feeding their dog too many treats or leftover food from the table. This is a problem because dogs’ nutritional requirements are completely different to humans, and they need a food tailored to their needs. Dogs don’t need variety and will happily eat the same dogfood each day. This is also important as sudden changes in diet can cause digestive complications.

Young animals need much higher levels of protein and carbohydrates. Animals over seven years need less protein, phosphorus, copper and higher levels of fibre. Changing the diet according to the age of your pet can prevent serious problems later in life. Once animals reach maturity (usually at the time of neutering) they require lower levels of carbohydrates to prevent them becoming overweight. During times of illness or pregnancy, your pet may need higher levels of certain components.

For an adult dog, one meal a day is enough. For puppies, 4 meals a day are generally advised at first, the frequency to be gradually reduced. For all dogs and puppies, fresh water should be available at all times.

Unless you brush your pets teeth, it is important to feed a diet that will help keep the teeth clean. We can advise on which diets will help.

There are a wide variety of manufactured dogfoods available. At Tiptree and Willows Veterinary Centres we particularly recommend Vet Essentials, as it is designed to help prevent certain health problems. We also have Hills Prescription foods, which are designed to help manage specific conditions like urinary problems, dental problems and obesity.

If you would like any more information then phone 01621 818282 (Tiptree Veterinary Centre) or 01206 561407 (Willows Veterinary Centre) to book an appointment with one of our vets. You can also visit our websites at or