Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chips with everything...

Just a reminder that as of 6th April 2016, it becomes a legal obligation for any dog in the UK over the age of 8 weeks to be identified by a microchip. So if you haven't had your dog microchipped yet, you'd better get on with it. Now is the time.

In a shameless piece of clinic promotion, I can let you know that we have plenty of microchips in stock at the clinic, so if your dog needs one, compliance is just a phone call away. And that phone number is 020 7723 0453, in case you forgot.

And another thing that many people don't realise is that even in the electronic microchip age, your dog still has to wear a collar with an ID tag at all times when out in public.

Funnily enough, we can supply these too. A wide range of perfectly delightful collars that your dog will be proud to wear in the best society, and some exquisitely designed and crafted ID tags to match.

And you of course, as their significant human other, are responsible for your dog's good behaviour at all times, so if you need a dog trainer (or in many cases, it's you that needs a little update on dog training), guess what, we can help with that too.

So many things to do and think about.

See you soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Hyde Park Vets

Not that anybody is really interested, But the Hyde Park Veterinary Centre came of age today. We turned 18!

There's been a clinic in Connaught Street continuously since 1872 which is rather more impressive, but it's current incarnation started on March 30th 1998.

The clinic was initially at the Connaught Square end, catering more for the many thousands of working horses in the capital. It moved about 30 years ago to the small rooms behind the flower shop, finally gravitating to 61 Connaught Street in the mid 1990's.

We expanded into number 63 just 4 years ago.

The Hyde Park Veterinary Centre at 18 years old - does that mean I finally get my own door key?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chocolate is NOT good for dogs. Just in case you didn't know

Easter weekend is just around the corner and we all know what that means...

It's probably going to rain and there's going to be a lot if chocolate around.

Which is great, because chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is a bit of a stimulant (like caffeine) and it makes some of us feel a bit better (in some cases a LOT better).

The problem is that some dogs find it hard to resist eating chocolate when they find it lying around at home and theobromine is quite poisonous for dogs. Too much theobromine affects the heart, nervous system and kidneys. It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness and agitation, a raised heart rate, muscle tension, loss of coordination, rapid breathing and in severe cases seizures and death.

Symptoms can start just a few hours after eating chocolate. 

Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine. For example white chocolate contains very little. Every 25 grams of milk chocolate contains around 50 milligrams of theobromine and unsweetened (baking) chocolate contains around 400 milligrams of theobromine in each 25 grams.

The toxic dose of theobromine for dogs is around 100-150 milligrams for each kilo of bodyweight. In real English that means that a 250 gram bar of dark chocolate can be fatal for a Labrador weighing around 25kg.

So what should you do if your dog eats some chocolate?
Our first advice would be to call your vet. Once they know your dog's body weight, what type of chocolate they've eaten and roughly how much (and it's best to over-estimate if you're not sure), they'll be able to calculate fairly precisely whether you need to be worried or not.

If your dog has eaten a toxic amount, veterinary treatment is likely to involve making your dog vomit, possibly washing out the stomach, and maybe giving a substance called activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxins. If this is done quickly, the prognosis is generally good, but far better to intervene quickly than to wait until it's too late.

On that happy note, have a Happy Easter but best to hide the chocolate!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Starving the vegetarians into submission.

It was a nice walk along the river, with the potentially delectable end point of a stop at a highly suitable pub for a pint and a bite to eat. What pleasant anticipation.

Once comfortable installed in said hostelry, it was time to take a look at the menu. 'V' denotes vegetarian - an excellent start for this new phase in my life. How pleasing - not for the first time since embarking on this journey - to have a feeling of riding a wave of responsible feeding.

Apart from the fact that nothing on the menu had a 'V' against it. The simple phrase that 'V denotes vegetarian' was simply an explanatory note on the off-chance that there might be a vegetarian option on said menu at some unspecified point in the future.

On more detailed inspection we found an unlabelled 'V': a chicory, carrot & tomato fondue with goat's cheese. 

Now I have never really taken to goat's cheese, but under the circumstances ie being faced with the alternative of a full-on meat-is-murder pub menu, I figured it would be an acceptable choice. And anyway fondues are great. Chunks of crusty local bread dripping great gloopy strands of slowly solidifying cheese, washed down with gallons of white wine, as you gaze out of the window across snow-covered mountains, your bones and muscles aching after a day of perilous downhill activity. What could be better. Yum.

But then it arrived. A small saucer with some even smaller pieces of vegetable sitting in a thin cheese-like soup. And err, that's it.

I mean, come on guys, at least try to make it a little bit easier for me. There I am, trying my hardest to save the planet by eating a more sustainable diet, and then you go and offer me something whose nutritional value might just about keep me going for the time it takes to finish this sentence.

I remembered many years ago a casually misogynistic acquaintance of mine venturing the view that goat's cheese was girl's food and therefore should not be eaten or approved of by those of a masculine disposition. And there was a small guilty part of me that felt I slightly agreed, but I had always tried to keep it to myself. But now here was a supposedly respectable pub chain endorsing the myth, as witnessed by the miniscule portion that clearly was aimed at a diner trying to stay alive on less than 3 calories a day. 

I weigh 95kg for goodness'sake. I need food.

You, you pub chefs, restauranteurs, managers, bosses, buyers and decision makers, have all contributed yet further to global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer by making me eat both a starter and a sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream just to have enough energy to get out of the door, let alone walk home again.

Shame on you.

#campaignforpropersizedvegetarianandveganportionsin publiceatingplaces is not exactly trending on Twitter right now, but it should be.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How old is your cat?

Translating a cat's age in real years into the human equivalent often seems to make it easier to understand quite where they are in their life cycle when we're talking about age-related health problems
Everyone has been younger than they are now, and most of us know at least some older people and the health issues they're going through. So when we think of Mr Tibbles as being the cat equivalent of a 15 year old boy or a 45 or 75 year old man rather than his real 1, 7 or  15 years, his health and vitality issues can make a bit more sense.
There's far too much nonsense about each cat year being 7 human years or variations on that theme - if it were true, the average life expectancy for a cat in the UK - measured in human equivalent years - would be just over 100.
I suggest you use this: it's from International Cat Care 

Monday, February 1, 2016

How can we best look after our elderly cats?

    Older cats are susceptible to quite a number of aged-related diseases, many of which are treatable if caught early enough. So how often should we be checking them over to make sure that everything is going OK?
    Sometimes it's a difficult decision, particularly when they look so comfortable at home, they don't go out much any more and suddenly the whole idea starts to seem a bit stressful (for you if not for them)
    International Cat Care - formerly the Feline Advisory Bureau, one of the UK's leading veterinary cat health resources - suggests that cats of all ages should be assessed at a veterinary practice at least once a year. They should have a general physical examination and discussion of appropriate preventive health care including diet, parasite control and any vaccine requirements, and their weight and body condition score should be recorded.
    In addition to this:
• Mature cats – those aged seven years or older should come in once a year for a blood pressure and their urine concentration checked. Dilute urine can be a sign of underlying disease with the most common causes being chronic kidney disease, over-active thyroid glands and diabetes. Cats whose urine is too dilute should be further investigated by checking their urine chemistry and taking a blood sample for a blood cell count, chemistry check and measurement of their thyroid hormone levels. 
• Senior cats – those aged 11 years or older should come in at least once a year for a full examination, blood pressure check and urine & blood tests as above to check the blood cell counts, chemistry and thyroid hormone levels. The less healthy ones should have these checkups more frequently, in some cases every six months.
• Geriatric cats – those aged 15 years or older should come in every six months for a full clinical examination, weight check, body condition score, blood pressure and urine test. Blood tests should continue to be done annually unless there is any clinical reason to take them more frequently.
    If you manage to follow this protocol, you will pick up on signs of chronic disease much earlier and we'll be able to get them on the right diet and medication for them to be able to enjoy many more years of active, healthy and comfortable life. Call for your appointment on 0207 723 0453 or email us at and one of our nurses will call you back.
0-7 years: Physical examination every 12 months
7-11 years: Physical examination, blood pressure and urine test every 12 months
11-15 years:  Physical examination, blood pressure, urine and blood tests every 6-12 months
Over 15 years: Physical examination, blood pressure, urine every 3-6 months, with blood tests every 6-12 months

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vegetarian hell

You might be getting the impression that I spend my entire life in a pub, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I just so happened to be in one recently and was in need of sustenance after a long day in the proverbial office.

What, I asked myself, were going to be the vegetarian options in this salubrious establishment? Surely here, in the heart of a posh bit of London, we were going to find a feast of fruits, flowers, beans, nuts and vegetables from around the world, to satisfy the appetites of a thousand bright young things hell bent on changing the world. Here, if  anywhere, would I find a culinary delight for my new-fangled dietary fastidiousness.

Mushroom dumplings! Wow! Sounds good. In a beetroot sauce, with turnip tops (??). OK let's go for it. The waitress agrees it's delicious but diplomatically suggests a side. Perhaps the cauliflower cheese, yes that would be the best accompaniment. Hmm.

And the beluga lentils! With pomegranate! And other things to make it doubly delicious! Yum - can't wait and now feverishly hungry.

And then it arrived.

The dumplings were delicious, all 6 of them. But they looked like Hula hoops, with a combined mass of maybe 5 grams, lying on a thin bed of lawn trimmings, with a side pot of beetroot water. Clearly designed to be eaten by an anorexic dragonfly.

The lentil thing was equally tasty but in need of an electron microscope to identify it's exact location on the great Kalahari desert of an otherwise empty plate.

Come on guys, help me out here. I'm trying to do the right thing by eating less meat - none in fact - and in the process both purify the temple that is my body and do my bit to stop the imminent destruction of our dear planet's fragile environment.

But you ain't making it easy for me. I weigh 95 kg and work hard all day - I need to eat, not peck.

My 18 year old son went for the chicken breast on a bed of a thick bean and vegetable sauce, and announced towards the end that it was not only delicious but so gargantuan in portion size, he was struggling to finish it.