MSPCA column: We dread our pets becoming ill

in Other News

We all dread our pets becoming ill, particularly when there is no obvious cause for their illness.

How many times have we said ’I wish he/she could talk and tell us what’s wrong’ when our precious companion has been in obvious discomfort or is clearly under the weather?

A trip to the vet for an expert diagnosis is usually the next step, and we are blessed on the island with a good network of veterinary practices that operate an on-call system for out-of-hours emergencies.

Deciding upon whether to contact your vet will be a decision you make based on your pet’s symptoms - uncharacteristic behaviour, lethargy, excess salivation, disinterest in food, etc. Another excellent way to check your pet’s health (if it’s a mammal) is to assess the colour of their mucous membrane, and the most accessible place to do this is by looking inside the mouth.

If it is safe to do so, gently peel back your pet’s top lip and assess the colour of their gums which should be a healthy pink.

If the skin is a salmon pink colour this is indicative of poisoning; and if it is white this indicates that the animal is in severe shock or has suffered significant blood loss.

A blue skin colour often means that the animal is struggling to breathe and has respiratory problems; yellow gums can be a sign of liver failure; and gums with dark coloured splotches can be an indication of a blood clotting disorder. It is advisable to check your healthy pet’s gum colour on a regular basis so that you know what is normal, and if there is any natural pigmentation in the skin, and then you can pinpoint the abnormal more quickly.

The gums are also an excellent way to check for dehydration, and a healthy pet should have moist gums at all times.

Our animals are all thoroughly health checked before they are placed for adoption. In fact, it can quite often be the owner’s ill health that leads to a pet being gifted to us in the first place.

This was the case with Minnie and Honey, unrelated female cats aged five and six. They have clearly been very well looked after despite their owner’s ill health, and they love to be fussed over and stroked. Minnie, the black one, was brought to the island from a rescue centre in the UK and so she has already spent time in a cattery environment - even more reason for her to find a home that lasts forever.

They are both very friendly, well socialised cats but they are not too keen on children or dogs.

They are currently residing in one of the cattery socialisation rooms, and so please come and sit on their sofa and get to know them.

Freddie, an eight-year-old Jack Russell, also came to us as a result of his owner’s ill health.

He is a cheeky little dog but well-mannered at the same time, and he’s used to being the only animal in a household.

He has had good basic training, and is responsive to basic commands, but more than anything he likes to chase his favourite tennis ball and have fun.

He has a slight skin condition, as do many dogs at this time of year, but otherwise he is extremely fit and healthy.

We’re hoping he will have been adopted by the time we hold our summer open day here at Ard Jerkyll on Sunday, August 20.

We’re celebrating our 120th year with a fun event for the whole family with face-painting, a bouncy castle, a children’s disco, a vegan barbecue and cakes, Mr Whippy ice creams and lots of stalls.

The fun starts at 1pm and goes on until 4pm, and entrance is free.

Dogs are welcome too, and don’t forget you can also take them into the tearooms conservatory if you want to sample the fantastic food on offer there.

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