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  • Protect your pets from Spring problems

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    In the run-up to Spring, our team want to highlight some common problems that may affect your pets. If you’d like to discuss any of the following points further, please contact the practice on 01327 350239.


    Plants and flowers


    As the weather improves and plants start sprouting, make sure you keep a close eye on your pets when out walking or in the garden. Some plants are known to be toxic to pets; giving your pet an upset stomach which may result in diarrhoea and vomiting. However, some plants have more serious effects that can even be fatal. If you are concerned your pet has ingested anything in the list below, contact your vet immediately so they can advise you on the best action moving forward.

    • Apples (pips)
    • Apricots (kernel)
    • Azalea
    • Bluebells
    • Buttercups
    • Cyclamen (root)
    • Daffodils/narcissus (blubs)
    • Elderberry
    • Foxglove (leaves and seeds)
    • Hyacinth (bulbs)
    • Ivy (whole plant)
    • Lupin (leaves, seeds)
    • Onion (causes anaemia)
    • Peach (stones and leaves)
    • Rhododendron
    • Rhubarb (leaves)
    • Sweetpea (stem)
    • Tulips
    • Wild cherry tree (twigs and foliage)
    • Yew (berries and foliage)


    In the run-up to Easter, hot cross buns containing raisins and sultanas are often found in our kitchens. Please make sure these are kept away from your pets. Dried grapes can be just as dangerous as ripe grapes to you dog. It’s a fruit, which is known to be toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure.


    Signs that your pet may be suffering from a seasonal allergy include:

    • Licking their paws
    • Constant scratching/itching
    • Excessive hair shedding
    • Inflamed or infected skin
    • Scooting their bum along the floor
    • Recurrent ear or respiratory infections
    • Discharge from their eyes

    If you notice your pet is affected by these, the best thing to do is to contact the vet who can examine and advise on what would make them comfortable. It is usually a case of managing the allergies rather than curing them and you may find that they experience the allergies every year.

    Easter egg chocolate

    “Theomobrine” is a substance found in chocolate that can make your dog very sick. Chocolate also contains caffeine which is toxic to your pets. It depends heavily on how much of the substance your pet has consumed but clinical signs of chocolate poisoning are: vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst and urination, panting, racing heart rate and restlessness. More severe poisoning cases can result in seizures, muscle tremors and heart failure – traumatic for any owner to witness. These clinical signs may take time to develop but can be present for a number of days. It’s crucial that you contact your vet if you think your pet has eaten chocolate so they can advise on a further course of action. Contact your vet practice as soon as possible as poisoning cases can develop secondary infections, such as pneumonia. Other services, such as the Animal Poison Line, are available to help identify whether your pet has eaten a dangerous substance.

    Slug and snail pellets

    With lots of owners tending to their garden, it’s important to remember that slug and snail pellets are poisonous to your pets. These pellets contain a substance called “Metaldehyde” which can cause rapid onset of agitation, tremors and seizures and if immediate treatment isn’t provided, there is the risk of secondary organ failure and sadly death.

    Hedgehogs are a natural way to control the slug and snail population in your garden so why not consider making the space more hospitable for them? Creating small access holes in fencing, providing water bowls and growing native plants are 3 easy ways to entice them into your garden. They’ll love the feast of insects and you get a pest free garden!

    Parasite prevention

    Spring always sees an increase in the activity of fleas, ticks and worms. Parasites are known to cause diseases, such as Lyme disease, which can affect both your pet and your family. Children and vulnerable adults are most at risk of contracting these diseases. Due to this, we encourage owners to make sure their pets are up to date with preventative health treatments. Effective treatment can be purchased from your veterinary practice as long as a vet has seen your pet within the last 12 months. These are usually available in a tablet or spot-on treatment and the veterinary team are able to advise you on what would be best for your pet(s). If you are already a client of our practice, we can offer you a postal delivery service of your pet’s flea, tick and worming medication paid for by monthly direct debits. Contact us on 01327 350239 for more information.