Dogs have been in the news quite a bit recently with two main stories of which dog owners should be aware.
Compulsory microchipping came into force in England on the 6th April 2016. It is hoped this will provide multiple benefits to help control the stray dog population, to help control puppy farming and to help control dangerous dogs. For anyone with further queries about how the new legislation works a useful resource is www.chipitcheckit.co.uk and you can also speak to a member of staff at the practice. The main implications for owners are to both ensure your dog is microchipped and to ensure all contact information with the chip is kept up to date (e.g. when moving house or transferring ownership). It’s important to note that there is still a requirement for dogs out in public to wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or a plate or badge attached to it, as dictated by the Control of Dogs Order. It is not a requirement to include a contact telephone number on the collar, but this is very useful when trying to reunite a stray dog with it’s owner.
Babesia in the UK
You may have heard the recent news that Babesia, a disease affecting dogs and spread by ticks, has been diagnosed in non-travelled dogs in the UK for the first time. It’s a disease seen in other parts of the world, including mainland Europe, but prior to this year has only been seen in UK dogs who have been infected while travelling abroad. At the time of writing 5 UK dogs who have never travelled out of the UK have been infected. The dogs have all been from the Essex area, and infected ticks have been found where the dogs were walked. There are concerns the risk of infection may spread across the UK. When infected the typical sign is anaemia (pale gums, lethargy) which can also be caused by a number of other diseases.
Current advice is to ensure good tick control in at risk dogs, and prompt removal of ticks as this can prevent transmission of infection. This is particularly important in dogs travelling outside of the UK. There are several products available for tick control and special tick removers which ensure all parts of the tick is removed when one becomes attached. Speak to a member of staff about what may be best for your dog. If you find a tick on your dog we can assist with removal and can send the tick to Public Health England for surveillance purposes. The presence of Babesia in the UK has been widely discussed in the veterinary press so UK vets will now be considering Babesia as a possible (although still rare) cause for dogs who present with suspicious symptoms.