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Useful hints and tips to caring for your pet



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The most common disease that our pets suffer from is gum disease

  • Pre-operative Instructions
  • Basic Post-operative Care
  • Care of Dressings
  • Antifreeze Poisoning
  • Fleas and Ticks
  • Leptospirosis
  • Puppy Parties
  • Worms

Pre-operative Instructions

If your pet is scheduled to have an anaesthetic or sedation please read and follow the following directions.

While no procedure or anaesthetic can ever be guaranteed safe, by following these instructions you help us to make your pets visit as smooth and safe as possible.

  • If your pet has been unwell or their condition has deteriorated before admission please let us know.
  • Please ensure food is available at all times before admission. It will also help us if you bring some of your pets favourite food with them on the day of the surgery.
  • Please leave water available for your pet at all times unless you have been specifically advised not to.

Your pet will be admitted at a set appointment time between 8:30am and 9:00am.

Please allow at least 15 minutes for this appointment and the paperwork.

Please ask for an estimate of costs if one has not already been given to you at booking.

We will take contact numbers for you in case we require to speak to you when your pet is with us.

We will ask you to call at a set time to enable us to give you an update and confirm a time for discharge.

Basic Post-operative Care

Your pet may appear drowsy. This is because of the anaesthetic and should wear off during the next 24-hours. They will also have had painkillers to keep them comfortable post-operatively.

Your pet may also have been discharged with some pain medication to continue at home. Please read the label and instructions carefully and dose only as recommended.

If your pet has been given any antibiotic medication to continue at home, it is very important that you complete the course. If you are having difficulty administering medication, please contact us.

A clipped area may be present on one of your pets forelegs. This is where the anaesthetic was injected through an IV catheter. A little bruising in this area is not unusual and will recede with time. The hair will usually grow back in 4-6 weeks.

Your pet should be offered a small amount of light food (chicken, rice, fish, scrambled egg or a little of their normal food if they are on any special diets) and water when you get them home. They may already have had a small amount of food while in with us.

Do not be surprised if they are not completely hungry but please contact us if they do not return to full appetite over the next 24 hours.

If your cat has a surgical wound, please keep them indoors with a litter tray until any stitches are removed or they have been given the all-clear by us at a post-operative check up.

If your dog has a surgical wound, please keep them quiet (restrict jumping up etc) and confined to short lead walks only until any stitches are removed or they have been given the all-clear by us at a post-operative check up.

Occasionally, pets may have a slight cough post surgery. This is due to the tube that is placed in the windpipe to deliver oxygen and anaesthetic during surgery. If present though, this cough will usually be mild and resolve within a couple of days.

Pets should not be allowed to lick any surgical wounds. You may have been sent home with an Elizabethan Collar to prevent licking and we strongly advise that they wear this at all times when you cannot supervise them 100%.

Any surgical wound should be check at least twice daily. You should not need to do anything with the wound, it should take care of itself. However, if there is excessive bleeding, swelling or discharge please contact the surgery for advice. The wound should be comfortable and your pet not overly interested in it.

Please make sure you keep ALL post-operative appointments, as these are important for us to assess your pets' recovery.

If your dog has been in for castration, please be aware that he may still be able to impregnate a female for 6 weeks post surgery and should not be left with any bitch in season in this time period.

If your pet has had dental work and teeth extracted, please feed only soft foods for a few days post-operatively as their gums may be tender and they may also have dissolving sutures in their gums.

Care of Dressings

If your pet has had a dressing applied by us then the following will help, as good care of a dressing is vital.

Dressings MUST be kept dry. Temporarily a plastic bag can be used for this purpose when outside for short periods.We may have given you an old IV Fluids "drip-bag" to cover the foot as you left the surgery. These are usually quite hard wearing and good for this purpose but any plastic bag will do.

NEVER leave the plastic bag on as this will cause the foot to sweat and hence make the dressing wet.

Don't let your pet chew at the dressing. If you were given an elizabethan collar, then please make sure your pet wears it. Some pets will try to chew or lick a bandage off just because it is an alien object to them. However, if your pet has been OK with the bandage and suddenly seems bothered by it, then please get in touch as below.

ALWAYS contact the surgery if you notice any of the following:

  • Swelling or soreness around the dressing
  • Sudden Discomfort
  • Discharge or sudden smell

If the dressing slips, please make an appointment as soon as possible as it may need replacing. Due to having fur, this is a common complication of dressing applications in animals.

Antifreeze Poisoning

Ethylene glycol, the main constituent of antifreeze is poisonous for dogs and cats. It is a true emergency that usually results in death. Statistically, in the UK each year more cats are poisoned than dogs, probably because more cats than dogs are able to access open containers of antifreeze stored on garage shelves. More cases obviously occur during winter.

How does the poisoning occur?

Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of ethylene glycol. Many will lap antifreeze spilled or leaking on to garage floors or driveways. The main source of poisoning is the jug of antifreeze left on the garage shelf for instant top-up purposes.

What are the signs of antifreeze poisoning?

This depends on the amount of ethylene glycol ingested. A small quantity of concentrated antifreeze can result in signs within an hour. These involve depression, incoordination, and vomiting. Sometimes there is excessive thirst and urination. These signs can be followed by muscle twitching and in 12-24 hours acute renal failure resulting in minimum urine production and depression, often with vomiting and excessive salivation. Seizures and death can quickly follow due to increasing uraemia.

What can I do?

If you have any suspicion that your pet has had contact with antifreeze, call us without delay.

Are there specific tests you can do?

Ethylene glycol is converted in the body to toxic products which cause irreversible damage to the kidneys. Blood tests will show the extent of this kidney damage, and in addition a simple urine test will detect the presence of oxalate crystals which are one of the products formed after ingestion of the poison.

Is there an antidote?

Provided diagnosis is made before there is irreversible kidney damage, drugs are available to combat the ethylene glycol in the bloodstream. However, generally once an animal displays the symptoms it is likely to have irreversable kidney failure. Within hours of ingestion the ethylene glycol is converted into toxic products including calcium oxalate. This is a major and not uncommon emergency. If calcium oxalate crystals are detected in the urine, there is a history of possible antifreeze poisoning. Intensive care (provided this is started early and before too much damage has occurred) involving intravenous fluids and drugs will very occasionally result in improvement however in most cases the animal will unfortunately have severe and irreversable kidney damage.

Fleas and Ticks


No one likes fleas as their bite can be very annoying to both owners and their pets causing the animal to become irritated and start scratching. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs per day, usually on the host, although as these multiply they can roll off onto surrounding areas and therefore it is much easier to prevent an infestation rather than treat the pet and house afterwards. Remember 95% of a flea population during an infestation is not on the pet but in your home!

Not only that but the skin condition Flea Allergic Dermatitis can be very sore and expensive to treat. As well as being irritable, flea larva can be infected with tapeworm eggs and if eaten by your pet they can become a host to the parasite. The rabbit disease Myxomatosis can also be spread by fleas. Prevention is better than a cure!


Ticks are small arachnids who satisfy their nutritional requirements on a diet of blood. They are vectors for a number of diseases including Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis which can be passed on within 48 hours. Ticks will also attach themselves to humans and potentially pass on these diseases.

Ticks are more active during warmer weather and in areas with woods, bushes, high grass or leaf litter. They are also more common in areas populated with sheep and deer. Pets should be checked regularly during the summer months especially if they frequent areas listed above. If you do find a tick on your pet it will need to be removed, this can easily and safely be done using a tick remover which can be picked up at all our branches.

What products should I use to treat my pet against fleas and ticks?

The choice of product and route of administration will depend on the circumstances of the client and pet. We stock a number of products including spot-ons, tablets, sprays and collars to prevent an infestation of fleas and ticks. The products we stock are 'prescription only' and require pets to be examined yearly. We are able to provide FREE flea checks if you haven't seen a vet in the last twelve months.

Routine flea and tick treatment is provided as part of our Pet Health Club which provides a routine health plan at exceptional value.  


There have been recent reports of leptospirosis cases in dogs in the local area. In the last few years, new varieties (strains) of leptospirosis have emerged and newer vaccines (including the L4 vaccine) target four strains of the disease rather than just the two strains which were included in the older vaccines.

What is leptospirosis?

It is a widespread bacterial disease affecting a number of species of animals.

How is it transmitted?

It can be transmitted by contact with infected urine, either directly or indirectly from a contaminated environment e.g. stagnant water supplies, ponds or lakes (wild rodents such as rats can carry the disease, and without ever showing signs of illness, shed it in their urine).

What should I look out for?

  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy
  • High Fever
  • Acute Renal failure
  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea    
  • Jaundice (due to liver impairment)

How can I prevent my dog getting it?

Vaccination is considered the best way to protect your dog.

At Bruceview Vets we have been using the L4 vaccine, which includes protection against two new strains, since the summer of 2014.

If your dog has not been vaccinated (either via an initial course or booster) since then please contact your local surgery to arrange an appointment.

Puppy Parties

We are now running regular Puppy Parties, organised by Lorna, one of our nurses. These are a great way for the puppies to learn to socialise, and are great fun for the owner too.

Ask to speak to Lorna for more details.


Animals may be carrying large numbers of parasitic worms in their stomach or intestines without showing any symptoms. Infective stages of the common parasites survive for a long time in the environment and after treatment re-infection occurs frequently. Although some animals may show no signs of infection the symptoms can range from general ill-health with a dull coat, occasional vomiting through to anaemia, intestinal obstruction and death. Some worms are also transmissible to humans. It is therefore important to carry out routine treatment against the most common worms.


Infection occurs through ingestion of eggs in the environment e.g. eating faeces, grass or from grooming another animal and is transmissible from mother to offspring in milk. Ingestion of the eggs by humans can lead to potentially serious conditions including blindness so regular worming of pets and good hand hygiene is essential to reduce risk.


There are a number of different types and can be transferred by fleas and eaten in raw meat.


These enter the host through ingestion of infective larvae or penetration of the larvae through the skin.


These affect dogs and are ingested in faeces.


These are contracted through the ingestion of slugs and snails.


As this uses the mosquito for transmission it is not seen in the UK but it is necessary to ensure that any pet travelling abroad is protected.

There are many products available for the treatment against worm infestation and the choice of product and route of administration will depend on the circumstances of the client and pet. We stock a number of products including tablets, oral liquid or spot ons. The products we stock are 'prescription only' and require pets to be examined yearly.

Routine worming treatment is provided as part of our Pet Health Club which provides a routine health plan at exceptional value.