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Fly Strike Season

Fly strike, also known as ‘myiasis‘, occurs when a fly lays eggs on your rabbit, which then hatch into maggots. Unfortunately, this conditions is an emergency as these maggots can hatch in hours and eat your rabbits flesh, causing death in a very short time. If you notice any signs of maggots on your rabbit, bring them into the practice immediately.

Prevention is much better than cure in this condition, and between the months of April till October we advice you to apply RearGuard to your rabbit rear end every 10 weeks. We also recommend checking your rabbits bottom twice daily and keeping the area clean as dirty bottoms will attract far more flies. Keep their environment clean, and remove any soiled bedding daily.

If your rabbit has an unusually dirty bottom, it may be worth a visit to the vet. This can occur for a number of reasons, including a change in diet, digestive upset, arthritis, obesity, and many more.

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Getting the Best for your Animal

The relationship between a client and their chosen veterinary practice is a unique one that requires understanding on both parts of what we expect from each other to achieve the best care for your pets. The RCVS have produced a very useful poster detailing this partnership, helping us to understand each others expectations.
“By stating the expected parameters around which the client-practice partnership should be based, the poster helped to remind clients about their own responsibilities as animal owners, whilst reassuring them as to the standards of service and professionalism the practice team provided.- Director of Communications RCVS Ian Holloway
Thank you for putting your trust in Astonlee.


Easter Bunnies!

It’s coming round to that time of year where we all love to celebrate the cute and cuddly bunny, but please do not succumb to temptation and purchase a rabbit as an Easter gift!

Whilst rabbits can make lovely pets, they require a lot of care and understanding to look after them correctly. They are not always the ‘child friendly’ pet people assume they are.

We really encourage that you think long and hard before ever buying anyone a live pet as a gift, but especially a rabbit for Easter.

If you are genuinely considering buying a rabbit (we must insist you get 2 for company!) then please read our Guide to Getting a New Rabbit for information on their habitat, diet, preventative healthcare and environmental stimulation.

We are very proud of our Rabbit Friendly Award here at Astonlee Veterinary Hospital and look forward to seeing you and your bunnies soon!

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Weight Management

Our nurses operate free “weight-clinics”, where practical and realistic advice is given to help your pet get into the ideal condition.
Once we find the plan that works best for your pet, we encourage regular free clinics to have “weigh-ins” so as to check your pets progress, until he gets to the ideal body condition.
By joining our fight against obesity, you can help decrease your pet’s risk of future weight—related health issues and the medical costs associated with treating them.

Even just a little extra weight, as little as 20%, can affect the general health of pets, as well as predisposing animals to some diseases that can shorten their lives.
Such as;

Exercise intolerance
Heat intolerance
Liver disease
Respiratory distress
Heart disease
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Increased surgical risk
Weak immune system
Increased risk of developing malignant tumours
Feline lower tract disease (cats)
Decreased quality of life

Book your pet in for a FREE Weight Management Clinic and receive discount on any Metabolic diet*


*Whilst stocks last


Pre Anaesthetic Blood Testing

We recommend a Pre Anaesthetic Blood Test for all our patients, but critically for those over 7 years of age. The aim of the blood test is to detect things that a full examination by the vet may not find. We test kidney function, liver function and other parameters that help us evaluate the health status of your pet. This allows us to tailor the anaesthetic protocol specifically to each patient, making sure they have the most appropriate drugs and closer observation and monitoring if required.

It may also help in the future when looking at changes over time. It provides a ‘baseline’ from which we can identify even early changes that may occur at a later date, therefore allowing us to identify any potential health conditions earlier, giving them the best chance.

A blood test that is ‘normal’ isn’t a waste of money, it confirms your pet is healthy and gives us confidence that the risks of the anaesthetic have been fully assessed. #optYESforthetest


Dog Attacks on the Increase

In recent weeks Astonlee has seen a number of injuries resulting from dog attacks. Most cases are dog-on-dog attacks, but we have also seen a few cats with dog bite injuries.

The majority of dog attacks occur when the attacking dog is off the lead and consequently not under the owner’s control. Very often the dog that is attacked has done nothing wrong, and has not aggravated the attacking dog. This type of attack is most upsetting for both the dog and owner, and most frustrating for the vets who see it happen time and again! In one case a harmless un-suspecting dog was even attacked in its own enclosed garden by a vicious dog that was not kept under control and was allowed to roam free. Who knows what would have happened if it had been a child in the garden…

Whilst it is perfectly legal for dogs to be off the lead in public, there are laws to protect responsible dog owners and their dogs. It is an offence for a dangerously out of control dog to be in a public place. In fact, the police are within their rights to take action BEFORE such a dog has bitten anybody. If the dog acts in a way in which someone thinks they will be attacked, then an offence has been committed and the owner/dog walker fined or even imprisoned for a short time. Magistrate can also order the dog to be destroyed.

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that ALL dogs must wear a collar and an identity tag whilst in a public place (there are exceptions for working dogs), even if they are microchipped. The ID tag must show the name and address of the owner (a telephone number is not sufficient). Any animal without such identification can be treated as a stray, and can therefore be rehomed (or even destroyed) after 7 days.

If you are fearful of a dog that appears to be dangerous and out of control, we advise that you contact the police immediately. Do not approach the dog, just keep an eye on where it has gone and warn other dog owners of its presence, until you are happy that it is under control. Ensure your own dog is adequately identified with a collar and ID tag. If you do know of a potentially dangerous dog that is regularly off the lead in your area, do not feel afraid to inform the police. Better safe than sorry!

Being able to recall your dog on command is also important. If you see a potentially dangerous scenario ahead, you can recall your pet back to you for safety. This also applies to dogs near roads, where an out-of-control dog can cause an accident. Don’t forget that if your dog is out of control and causes an accident on the road, you may be help legally responsible for the consequences. This is another reason why pet insurance is useful, as most companies also include third liability insurance for such cases.

Finally, if your dog is unlucky enough to be involved in a dog attack, please do the responsible thing and seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. What looks like a small puncture wound in the skin could be worse under the skin, and untreated wounds can become infected.[/ffb_param][/ffb_paragraph_0]


We’re a Cat Friendly Clinic

Astonlee has been awarded the Gold Standard as a ‘Cat Friendly Clinic’. You can read more about this by clicking on this link:

We are delighted to receive this award which recognises the practical ways in which we provide standards of care that really matter to our feline friends and their owners.

This is a really interesting new piece of research on facial expressions of cats which is of special interest to vets, vet nurses and cat owners:


Nutrition : the best diets for your pets

The health of your pet does depend at least in part on the food you feed them. ‘You are what you eat’ is a phrase which does have meaning, although there are obviously many other things that contribute to our own or our pet’s health.

At Astonlee we have worked closely with Hills Nutrition for over 25 years because we believe the health benefits we have seen in many of our normal active patients as well as those who are ageing and many with various illnesses. Having the most appropriate diet can make all the difference to the health of your pet.

Quality of nutrition includes the proivision of all the essential ingredients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins and roughage) in the correct proportions, with the presence of small but essential elements such as minerals and omega 3 oils which help our bones, joints and other organs.

The quality of the ingredients especially the protein source is very important for the quality of the food, and this is one key reason why the cost of low quality food can be significantly less than high quality food.

In addition, Hills have created a new food called Vet Essentials which incorporates technology which uses a large centriguge to spin the food down so that all the fibres are aligned in the biscuit which makes the dog or cat have to bite all the way through the dried food before it breaks, and therefore the teeth are cleaned and kept healthier as a result.

The first of the special diets that I ever introduced to the practice was Hills Feline Kd which I recommended rather tentatively and sceptically to the first client with a cat with severe kidney problems. I and the owner were delighted that the cat lived anotyher 2 years, and the cat clearly must have heard us talking about the alternative of euthanasia if the cat did not eat the food because he enjoyed an extra 2 years of happy life that would almost certainly not have happened without the benefit of the special food.

Another case where diet was very helpful was a 46 kg labrador who was always haveing difficulty walking, with arthritis and needing pain killers. I managed to persuade the owner that buying a concept of ‘thin air’ was more beneficial; ie: I meant that buying weight loss was more effective than buying pain killers. Sure enough, the owner managed to get the dog to lose 6kg bodyweight on the Hills RD diet, and therefdter the dog did not only not need pain killers, but was much better at walking and running than he ever was being overweight and on the pain killers.

Many clients have seen many and varied benefits with these quality foods and diets, and as a very special offer for 6 months from June to December 2011, Astonlee is having a massive SALE with special offers on the prices of HILLS DIETS so that those who are buying it already can benefit more with cost savings, and those dog and cat owners who might like to try the Hills diets for the first time can have a significantly enhanced opportunity to see the benefits of buying these diets from Astonlee.

Our team has been well trained in advising on the best nutrition in ths comprehensive Hills range, so we hope you will take advantage of this service and our special offer.