Surrey vet’s bite-size guide to protecting pets’ teeth

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A leading Surrey vet practice is giving pet owners advice on how to look after their animals’ dental health as part of an awareness campaign which launches this month.

Cathcart and Winn is urging people to be vigilant when looking after their pet’s pearly whites, as dental disease among cats, dogs and rabbits is one of the most common problems dealt with at its two branches across the county.

As part of its awareness campaign, Cathcart and Winn is offering free dental health checks with a vet nurse at both of its practices from now until March 31, during which nurses will examine pets’ mouths and give advice, if needed, on what treatment may be appropriate.

Dan Troup, Clinical Director at Cathcart and Winn, said the aim of the campaign was to encourage pet owners to be aware of the risks faced by animals and to prevent issues going forward.

Dan said: “Unfortunately, dental disease is extremely common in pets due to a combination of dietary and genetic factors. If we didn’t follow our dentist’s advice and look after our teeth by brushing twice a day, think what our mouths and teeth would be like – pets are no different.

“Without daily brushing, plaque can build up on animals’ teeth and this contains a complex film of bacteria which cannot always be seen by the naked eye but can be damaging to gums and roots.

“If plaque isn’t removed it can build up and become calcified. The brown substance which can be seen on the teeth of cats and dogs is tartar, which can allow more bacteria to grow and cause more damage if left untreated.

“This can eventually lead to toothache, gingivitis (gum infection) and tooth loss. All these conditions can be very painful and you may see your pet having difficulties eating.

“Regular proactive dental care can help prevent oral health issues. Daily brushing with pet-friendly toothpaste will help reduce the build-up of plaque and there are also a number of prescription dental diets which can be used to help prevent plaque build-up and keep teeth clean.

“For cats and dogs where tartar is already present, a scale and polish under a general anaesthetic is needed to remove the build-up.”

Dan also warned dog owners of potential dangers to their pet from chewing on what may seem an innocuous object, such as a tennis ball.

Dan said: “Without sounding like a killjoy, tennis balls are not best friends to our dogs’ teeth. The tennis ball fibres collect sand, dirt and grit which can be very abrasive and, along with the tennis ball fibres themselves, they can wear teeth down so the root is left exposed.

“When choosing a ball for your dog to play with, it’s best to choose a soft or rubber ball. It’s also important not to let your dog or cat chew and play with hard or brittle items which could cause painful fractures to their teeth.”

To find out more the dental health campaign being run by Cathcart and Winn Veterinary Hospital, which has branches in Farnham and Aldershot, browse this website or search for Cathcart and Winn on Facebook.

“We are proud to sponsor Wellies & Walkies – a brand new event coming to Farnham in 2019!

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Join us on Sunday 10th March as we stroll through Farnham Park with our four-legged friends, to raise vital funds to support local Hospice Care charity, Phyllis Tuckwell.

Where: Farnham Park (route to be confirmed soon)

When: 10th March 2019

Walk at your own pace, starting anytime between 10am and 11am

£10 per pooch, including doggie bag. Humans walk for free!

Sponsorship: We would love it if your pooches could raise £40 in sponsorship to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Phyliss Tuckwell and support them in continuing to provide vital local hospice care.

For further information and to buy tickets please head to the Phyliss Tuckwell website:

Our team look forward to seeing you all there on the day!

Protect pets as temperatures set to soar

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A Cathcarth & Winn vets are urging pet owners to keep their animals safe in the heat as forecasters predict a sizzling summer across the UK.

With the sun shining across the country and the temperatures set to stay high over the coming weeks they are urging people not to leave their pets in cars or conservatories, as well as being aware of the toll running around in the sun can take on dogs in particular.

Temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48C) within minutes and it’s possible for animals to die from heatstroke or dehydration.

We advise against taking pets outside on hot days and ensuring they have plenty of fresh water and cool areas to stay in.

Signs of dehydration include excessive panting and heaving flanks, which aids heat loss as dogs can only sweat through their pads. If a dog shows signs of heat exhaustion a vet must be called immediately and the dog hosed down, covered in wet towels or fanned.

We also advice to keep pets indoors or sheltered when temperatures are high, usually between 11am and 3pm. However, if animals enjoy basking under blue skies then a splash of sun cream could be the answer.

Many animals, particularly those with thin or light-coloured fur, are highly susceptible to sunburn and even skin cancer, so it’s important to protect areas such as the ears, nose, lips, eyelids and tummy, which often have little to no hair on them and are very much at risk.

Pets with light skin and short, or thin, hair, such as white dogs, are more susceptible to developing skin cancer, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. However, animals with hair can also suffer from the effects of the sun.

Finally, it’s crucial to ensure the sun cream is suitable for animals as many products contain toxic ingredients if your pet licks it off.

Important information for pet owners insured with More Than/Tesco

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If your pet has been newly insured or recently renewed with either More Than or Tesco, (underwritten by Royal Sun Alliance, RSA) and you are seeking referral for treatment elsewhere, there may be certain new restrictions on your policy.

RSA have formed a list of practices (currently 28 referral providers) as their ‘Preferred Providers’ of referral services. They have not been selected as the ‘best providers of referral services’ but they represent the practices who have agreed an arrangement with the RSA group.

This doesn’t stop you asking for a referral to any referral centre that you choose or that your veterinary surgeon advises but there may be certain new conditions imposed by the insurance provider.
If the referral practice you choose is not included in the insurers’ ‘Preferred Provider’ List, you will need to request permission of the insurance company to be referred to your chosen referral practice and you may be subject to an additional fee of £200.

There are currently only a small number of referral centres on this list but the list does not include many well respected referral practices who have elected not to join the list for their own reasons.

It is still your decision which referral practice you choose, this is not a restriction by the insurance company but you must make clear which referral centre you will attend with the insurance provider. If you choose one that is not on their list , you are likely to be required to pay an additional £200.

These conditions currently apply only to new or recently renewed policies.