Dark days and long nights.

Yeovil Vets | Winter

Tracey and I are back safely from our Oriental travels, having walked along part of the wilder stretch of the Great Wall near Beijing, raising money and awareness for the Carers UK charity. The experience was a little surreal as the village where we stayed seemed deserted, the air quality was excellent and the woods around the wall were very similar to ours here in Dorset. We felt quite at home but reality quickly returned when negotiating the sheer drops on the ruined parts of the Wall. We were accompanied by our English guide, William Lindesay and his young black Labrador, Hadrian, giving me a few anxious moments as dogs and drops are a dangerous combination.  Back in the city, one of the many things I liked about Beijing was the way animals were treated; many people owned dogs and they were all a bit fat and very happy.  Quite a contrast to countries in Eastern Europe and Africa where so many starving strays forage for scraps.  Our group has raised over £60,000 for Carers UK and hopefully the profile of the charity has benefited as well. So thank you once again for all the donations that have been made.

Back in the UK, the dark days and long nights have begun and so many of you will be walking dogs by torchlight. Reflective collars and vests are really useful to keep track of dogs off the lead and some have flashing LEDs built in. Probably best to stick to familiar routes in the dark as if you do get separated, at least you both know the way home. Cats all want to be out in the dark but they get dazzled by car headlights so badly that it disorientates them, making them vulnerable to collisions.  They always come off worse.

With the dark comes the chance of fireworks, obviously more likely around November 5th and Christmas/New Year but can happen any time.  In the countryside, the pheasant season gets underway in earnest in November and December and so expect volleys of gunshots on many Saturdays.  If you are planning a walk and you have a pet who is noise-phobic, try to check on any shoots in the area and avoid them.  Fireworks or shotguns, some dogs are so petrified they can just run off in a blind panic.  At home, make a shelter with duvets or blankets over a table or cage, play loud music and of course, close windows and curtains.  There are a number of natural and prescription medicines that can help stress in dogs so do call your surgery if you require some advice.

We will all be spending more time indoors in the coming months and that has repercussions on skin condition in cats and dogs. Allergies from house dust mite and fungal spores get worse in winter and any flea larvae left over from the autumn are activated by the central heating.  You can’t do much about the former but it’s worth making sure your flea prevention is up to date with a good quality product.  We all have our favourites and there are spot-ons, tablets and collars to choose from.  Again, if you need advice, just give us a call.

Reflecting on this year, much has happened, with our new surgery opening on Preston Road in Yeovil and new faces joining our nursing staff, all fully qualified veterinary nurses. We now have enough nurses to start nurse clinics in the New Year, providing professional services (blood samples, wound management, health care advice) with the backup of our veterinary surgeons.  This will allow our vets to spend longer with each patient in the consult room, allowing more time for complex problems to be fully investigated and explained.

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