Marshall and Till Veterinary Surgeons


Current health problems in local pet species
RCVS Accredited Small Animal Practice
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.... might include the odd tennis ball, animal toys, stones and a stray sock ... well that’s according to some of our clients’ dogs and cats!

Ingesting a ‘foreign body’ can potentially cause major health issues.  Although a more common occurrence in dogs, cats are definitely not immune!  The signs can include lethargy, off food, vomiting (although of course these symptoms are not exclusive to ‘dietary indiscretion’).   We have dealt with 6 cases during the past 3 months.  Thankfully all made a good recovery, despite the seriousness of the problem (major surgery involving cutting into the guts to locate and retrieve the ‘offending article/s’).

If you have any cause to suspect that your dog/cat may have dined out on your underwear, its favourite toy, etc, then please don’t hesitate to call the surgery for advice.  We would far rather deal with a false alarm than delay checking over if there was a remote possibility of a blockage.



FLEAS are a year round problem, but during late spring/early summer their numbers can increase rapidly as the weather improves.

Fleas are the most common and well known parasite of the dog and cat (and other animals including rabbits and ferrets), and most pets will get fleas at some point during their lives. 

The best way to protect from fleas is prevention.  Once fleas get into your home, it will take a MINIMUM of three months to get rid of them.  This is because of the way that the life cycle works;

- The adult flea lands on an animal and feeds within minutes

- After a blood meal, the female flea can start laying eggs within 24 hours, and can lay up to 50 eggs a day!

- The eggs fall off the animal and land around the house, where they will hatch within 1-10 days depending on temperature and humidity

- The hatched larvae hide in dark areas feeding on flea faeces. 

- Once they have grown enough the larvae pupate in a sticky cocoon.  These are found in soil, carpets, animal bedding and under furniture  

- The pupae develop into adult fleas in the cocoon, and then emerge into the environment.  This can take up to 6 months depending on temperature, carbon dioxide and physical stimulus (such as movement of pets and people through the home). 

- The adult flea then lives up to 160 days, beginning the cycle again.

It is important to remember that if you see fleas on your pet only 5% are on the animal – the other 95% in the environment!  This means that it is essential to treat not only the pet that you have seen the fleas on, but all other pets in the house, and the house itself.

To prevent flea infestations

- Treat ALL pets in the household for fleas monthly with an appropriate product.  Cats should never be treated with products containing permethrin as it can kill them.  Bear in mind that pet shop products may be cheap, but are not always effective.

- Vacuum regularly, especially below curtains, under furniture and where your pet sleeps.

- Wash your pets’ bedding regularly

To treat flea infestations

- Treat the whole house with a spray to kill any remaining adults and prevent the development of eggs and larvae.  Even areas of the house that pets don’t go in will need treating.

- Treat your car, any pet carriers, and hot wash all of your pets bedding.

- Vacuum thoroughly, regularly, making sure to empty the bag or cylinder each time.

- Continue to treat all pets with an appropriate product and comb them regularly with a flea comb.

There are many products available to both prevent and treat fleas, including spot on treatments, tablets, collars and sprays.  We also offer free flea clinics where we can discuss how best to protect or treat your pets.



At the beginning of March, a member of the public brought in a beautiful Tawny Owl, which was had obviously sustained some injuries as it was not moving and didn’t offer any resistance when we attempted to (very gently and cautiously!!) handle/examine it.  We spoke to a local member of the National Raptor Rescue, and they advised us on the best method of treatment and appropriate pain relief (as we are the first to admit we are not a ‘Raptor’ specialist vet surgery although we will, of course, have an initial look at anything in distress to try and help!).  The rescue staff asked us to keep the owl overnight and if it survived they would come and collect it in the morning.  Our nurse managed to administer pain relief and a glucose solution, but at that point we weren’t convinced it would make it through the night. 

How wrong were we!!  ‘Orbit’ (yes, we always feel we have to name everything brought in to us) was alive and well, and could obviously fly!  (…. And that’s another story …..).  Anyway he/she (it’s very difficult to ascertain the sex of an owl apparently) was duly collected by the nice people from the Raptor Rescue and according to plan was released back into the wild approximately 1 week later.   



At the risk of being boring ... just one more reminder that from 6th April 2016 it is now mandatory for all dog owners to have their dogs implanted with an ID chip.  Failure to do so could potentially result in a fine of 500.


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