Rocky a thirteen month old Leonberger

Rocky a thirteen month old Leonberger

This family have kept large and giant breed dogs for many years, including a Rough Collie and Bernese Mountain Dogs. They enjoy the larger-than-life personality that these breeds often seem to have. Living in the countryside, the family have the extra space that’s needed to look after them. In recent years, they have kept mostly male dogs, and they have always taken an individual approach towards having them neutered, deciding what to do depending on the characteristics of each dog. They have two dogs just now: as well as Rocky, they have Bobby, a four year old Bernese Mountain Dog, who was neutered a year ago. They love Rocky’s personality as he is: “crazy, boisterous, lively, exuberant and happy”. However, he has recently developed a few behavioural complications. They decided that they wanted to deal with his these issues while keeping his personality just as it is: after discussing this with me, they decided that neutering was the best answer. First, Rocky has begun to be more aggressive towards Bobby, trying to push him around, and jumping on top of him. Bobby is big and bossy enough to put him back in his place, but Darragh was concerned that as Rocky’s male hormones began to make him more masculine and more territorial, this could lead to increasing conflict between the two animals. Neutering (castration) removes the main source of testosterone in the body, which reduces the level of dog-to-dog aggression in males. Second, Rocky has recently begun to develop a habit of wandering away from home. He’s only allowed out into the families fenced-in back garden, but in recent...
Pepsi the 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier

Pepsi the 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier

Pepsi started to itch last week. He was using his hind leg to scratch the back of his neck, and he nibbled at his lower back with his teeth. When Leona had a closer look, she could see fleas crawling around in his coat.  Leona realised that the only answer was to get rid of the fleas, so she headed up to a local pet shop. She was sold three products: a shampoo, a flea collar and a spray for her house. She was told to leave Pepsi outdoors for two weeks. She carried out the instructions as best she could: she gave Pepsi a shampoo, put on the flea collar, and sprayed her bed, but she didn’t feel that it would be right to put her outside when she was used to being an indoor pet. A day later, Pepsi was still itching as much as ever, and she could still see fleas moving around her coat, so she decided to bring her to the vet. The first thing I did was to check up on the details of what Leona had bought in the pet shop: I needed to work out why the fleas were still there. I checked the small print on the various items, so that I could explain to Leona exactly what she had bought. The shampoo was just a coat cleaning shampoo, with no active ingredients that would kill fleas. The flea collar, in contrast, contained a potent organophosphate that was originally developed as a nerve gas in the Second World War. Flea collars of this type were banned in France two years...
Pumpkin was badly injured after going missing

Pumpkin was badly injured after going missing

Pumpkin came into in Ciaran’s life as a kitten two years ago: it was the day before Halloween, which explains her seasonal name. She’s been a healthy cat up until now, enjoying the freedom of living in the Wicklow countryside. She has a set routine: breakfast with Ciaran first thing in the morning before heading off for the day on her own, then returning for supper in the evening. She is a gentle, friendly cat, enjoying attention from humans and purring almost continually. On the Sunday before Halloween, she had her breakfast as normal, but this time, she didn’t come back in the evening. When she still hadn’t returned the following morning, Ciaran was seriously worried: he spent the whole day searching the local area, looking for her. He knocked on neighbours’ doors, asking if anyone had seen her, but she seemed to have completely vanished. As darkness fell in the evening, Ciaran had just come home when he heard a noise at the back door: Pumpkin had returned. Ciaran could see straight away that she had been injured: she was dragging her back legs behind her rather than walking on them normally. She wasn’t crying as if in pain and she seemed comfortable, so Ciaran got her settled in a warm bed. She slept deeply that night, as if she had been utterly exhausted after her adventure. The next morning, she was still unable to get up on her back legs, and she had refused to eat or drink anything, so Ciaran brought her in to see me. She was quiet, almost dull, as I examined her and...
Monty a 10 week old Bulldog-Beagle cross

Monty a 10 week old Bulldog-Beagle cross

Kyra chose Monty as her new family dog carefully: she wanted a cross-bred animal to avoid the common illnesses and genetic issues that are seen in some pedigree dogs. She found out about Monty online: his breeder had just taken one litter from his family dog, and Monty was one of the five puppies that had been born. Everything had been done properly, in the same way as it would normally be done for well-bred pedigree dogs. Monty had been microchipped, wormed, and he’d had his first vaccinations. He had been well socialised, mixing with his litter mates and with the humans in the household where he’d been born. Kyra knew that he was the right one as soon as she met him: he’s a tail-wagging, bright, cheerful puppy. Monty was in great form when Kyra picked him up from his breeder’s house, and he was well-behaved on the one hour drive to his new home. He ate his supper hungrily and he was keen to play with his new human housemates. But a couple of hours after arriving, the problem started: Monty began to cough. At first Kyra thought that he might have just eaten his food too quickly, and inhaled a few crumbs. But he kept coughing throughout the evening, and she heard him coughing overnight when he should have been sleeping. Kyra brought him in to see me first thing the following morning. Monty was bright and cheerful when I examined him, with bright eyes and a wagging tail. His temperature was normal, but his breathing was laboured, and he was coughing several times a minute....
Lilly a one year old American Bull Terrier

Lilly a one year old American Bull Terrier

A couple of months ago, Lilly started limping on her right fore leg. She was admitted to our clinic for a work up, including x-rays, and the most likely final diagnosis was that she had  sprained her shoulder and elbow joints. She’s a large, rapidly growing, active dog, and she puts a lot of pressure on her body as she charges around. The recommended treatment was simple: a combination of rest and strong pain relieving medication. Eva was supplied with a month’s supply of tablets, and after ten days’ treatment, Lilly was doing well. The lameness had vanished, and Lilly was in good form. She even enjoyed taking her medication: modern pet medicines are designed to be tasty, making it much easier to give them to dogs and cats. Eva wrapped the tablets up in a piece of cheese every morning, and Lilly ate them with no problem. The crisis happened on a Monday. Eva remembers the facts clearly: she had been given thirty tablets, and Lilly had taken one tablet per day for eleven days, so there were nineteen left in the package. Eva stored the medication at the back of the kitchen counter, behind a heavy knife block. The counter was higher than in a typical kitchen, at bar-height, so the tablets were out of sight, and Eva was sure that they were well out of reach of Lilly when she headed out for a few hours one afternoon. Lilly lives in the kitchen area, along with Eva’s older dog Tia. The two dogs are always taken for a long walk before being left alone indoors, so...