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Pet Advice

Top tips on looking after your pet

  • Canine Blood Donors
  • Cat Soiling
  • Coping with Death
  • The Pet Travel Scheme

Canine Blood Donors

Unlike in human hospitals we are not permitted by law to collect and store blood supplies for animal use. Severe sudden blood loss can be life threatening and a blood transfusion could be the only way to save a dog’s life.

We are therefore dependent on the help of willing volunteers who can come in at short notice and allow us to collect blood from their dog for transfusion.

There are a few criteria your dog must meet before becoming a blood donor:

  • It must be over 25kg (55lb) in weight
  • It must be fully vaccinated
  • It must be fit and healthy
  • It should be between 1 and 6 years old

If your dog meets these criteria and you would be willing for your pet to provide a lifeline for a fellow dog in need, please let us know.

Cat Soiling

Is your cat urinating or defaecating in the house?

Feline inappropriate elimination is one of the most common behavioural complaints of cat owners and can involve either urine or faeces.

Cats can do this for a number of behavioural reasons but it is important that they have a thorough health check to rule out any common medical causes- for example cystitis (see separate advice on feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)), or arthritis.

Simple solutions:

Some cats as they get older find it difficult to negotiate a cat flap (or it is simply too cold!). The problem of house soiling may therefore be solved by the provision of  one or more litter trays in easily accessible locations. One litter tray should be provided for each cat in the household, plus an extra one, and should be cleaned daily.

If a litter tray is already provided, your cat may object to a change in substrate, or it may be sited in a busy thoroughfare (eg next to a catflap). Moving the tray to somewhere more private or using a covered tray may be helpful.

If your cat is returning to the same site to urinate or defaecate then preventing access to that area is a good short term solution, but it may mean that that his or her attentions turn elsewhere! Thorough cleaning of the soiled area is important- many cleaners will simply mask the odour rather than get rid of it.

A good homemade cleaning protocol is to spray the area with a 1 in 10 solution of biological washing detergent (test an area first to ensure it does not remove colour from the carpet), leave to soak, blot dry then rinse with clean water. Finally spray with surgical spirit. This ensures that the lipid and protein elements of the urine and faeces are removed, which constitutes the odour.

Stress!! Sudden onset of house soiling can be triggered by stress. Having building work carried out, introduction of a new cat or dog,  a new baby, bullying by neighbourhood cats or busy Christmas family gatherings are common causes of stress to cats.

Consider installing a microchip reader cat flap which allows only your cat access to your house, and prevents bully cats from entering. These are more expensive than conventional flaps but are a worthwhile investment.

Feliway pheromone either sprayed directly onto the soiled area or in the form of a plug in diffuser can help to relieve stress. Nutraceutical products such as Zylkene and Nutracys+ both help to relieve stress and are available at reception. Waltham Royal Canin Calm diet is a food with a product similar to Zylkene added to it. They can all be used long term, or can be used at times of stress if preferred.

If these steps are followed and the problem is unresolved, then your vet may prescribe medication to reduce stress or anxiety. It is worth noting that most behaviour modifying medications are not licensed for cats and their effects can be variable.

Please arrange an appointment to discuss any concerns; one of our vets will be happy to help.

Coping with Death

Coping with the death of a pet in any circumstances is very difficult for all concerned and we will always do our utmost at Wendover Heights to help and support you as much as we can.

The most difficult decision that any pet owner has to make is the decision to put a pet to sleep.  We are not complacent in any way about the feelings of the individuals and families concerned and we fully respect that the process will be an incredibly difficult time and that everyone deals with it in different ways.

Your vet is the most qualified person to assist you with an informed decision and it is not a decision that they themselves will come to lightly. They will consider all aspects of the circumstances involved and ascertain the quality of life that your animal is experiencing. You yourself know your pet better than anyone else and will probably know when the time has come to let your pet go, but your vet will be there to provide advice when you require it.

The link below provides some information which you may find helpful if you are trying to deal with the loss of a pet.

Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support

We also have available at the Practice a book, ‘Missing My Pet’, which could prove helpful with the difficult task of helping support children trying to come to terms with the death of a pet.

Written by 6-year-old Alex Lambert whose much loved dog, Star, has died, it gives a child’s perspective on the time surrounding Star’s death.  It also includes a section written by Alex’s mum, containing practical help and advice aimed at parents.

The Pet Travel Scheme

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) was introduced in 2000 and is the system that allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine, as long as the rules of the scheme are adhered to. It also means that people living in the UK can take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other European Union (EU) countries and return with them to the UK without the need for quarantine.

The Regulations are very detailed and we would recommend that your first step should be to visit the gov.uk website for information. It is well worth researching the regulations in good time before traveling, as it can be stressful arranging travel at the last minute.

Pet Travel Scheme at a glance (regulations as of 1st Jan 2012):

The MINIMUM amount of time needed is 21 days – this is from the day after the rabies vaccination to the first date at which you are allowed to travel. It is strongly recommended that you leave at least a month, and ideally longer, before travelling. If there are unforeseen circumstances such as your vaccination having to be delayed due to your pets’ illness, or for any other reason, you will not be allowed to travel – and we would hate for your trip to be delayed or ruined!


Each pet will need an official passport, issued by a registered vet, before being allowed to travel abroad. Our receptionists will make you a double appointment so you have plenty of time to ask any questions you may have.

We will check all of your contact and animal details are correct, and will endeavour to fill in the paperwork and issue your passport to be collected within a few days. Please inform reception when booking if you need the passport completed on the day and we will do our best to accommodate you.


We will ensure your pet has a functioning microchip, and that the number is correct. If necessary, we are happy to implant a chip during the appointment.

Rabies Vaccination

Your pet will need an up-to-date rabies vaccination, consisting of a single vaccine followed by boosters every three years.

Tapeworm Treatment

Before returning to the UK after traveling abroad, your pet will need a licensed tapeworm treatment to be administered by a vet in the country you are visiting and recorded in your pets’ passport, within 24 and 120 hours before returning to the UK.

There are additional regulations regarding the mode of transport and specified carriers you are permitted to use.

The above regulations apply to EU or non-EU listed countries, as defined on the DEFRA website. There will be additional rules relating to non-listed countries. There may well be other specific threats that you need to be aware of depending on where you are traveling to (including certain more exotic diseases and parasites).

Read the full regulations on the government website and if you have any questions then please ask one of our vets and we will be pleased to help.