Category Archives: General

Worms in cats


Worming your cat

Did you know that there are lots of types of worms that cats get.

The most common worms that we see in cats are roundworms and tapeworms. Signs of worms can include vomiting, weight loss, poor coat quality and irritation around the anus. However many cats that are infected with worms will not show symptoms at all.

Tape worms are long flat worms made of of many segments. Cats can get tapeworms from eating fleas infected with tape worms, or from hunting small rodents. Cats with fleas should be assumed to have tapeworms and vice-versa.

Round worms are very common, particularly in kittens. Some roundworms are passed on to kittens from the mothers milk. Roundworm eggs can survive in the environment for long periods of time and infect the cat when ingested. Cats can also contract roundworms by eating rodents.

What worming treatments to use.

There are many worming treatments available from pet shops, supermarkets and vets. However the problem is that often these treatments are ineffective. In our clinics we typically prescribe Milbemax for cats. These worming tablets are very effective against round worms, and tape worms. They are small, palatable and easy to swallow. One small tablet is sufficient for cats weighing up to 8kg (which covers most cats.)

We also use Advocate a flea and worm treatment which is applied to the skin on the back of the neck.

Advocate is a monthly flea and worm control. We typically recommend that Milbemax be given every 3 months, however it is best to seek advice from our vets about your own cats needs.

Why cats hide their illness


Cats are known for hiding weakness, pain or illness—especially ongoing  conditions like thyroid, kidney and dental disease. This is due to their origins in the wild when trying  to remain under the radar of would be predators. This means it is important for pet owners to be observant and to know the signs that something is wrong with their cat.

Changes in any of the following areas can be significant

Weight – loss or gain

Appetite or thirst – an increase or decrease can be important

Toilet habits – look out for changes in habits, increased urination, abnormal sounds.

Energy levels and activity levels

Sleeping habits

Skin and coat – changes in grooming habits, hair loss, or poor coat appearance

Interactions with you or other pets.

Vocalisation – unusual sounds (is your cat trying to tell you something)

Breath – bad breath can indicate dental disease and also renal disease

Gum colour

You should also look for signs of vomiting or diarrhea, blood in the urine, any discharge from the eyes, nose or genitals, an unsteady gait and abnormal breathing/panting.

Cats are also great at hiding in quiet, dark places such as under a bed or in a wardrobe. It is not unusual for them to stay out of sight for long periods, however when they are not feeling well, cats may hide to conserve energy or avoid pain.

Regular check ups are essential to maintain good health particularly in older cats. Your vet will know the right questions to ask and may spot physical signs that are not obvious to you.  Sometimes blood tests are needed when to pick up signs of disease before it is too late. Cats commonly suffer from a number of very treatable conditions as they age. Early detection is key to maintaining quality of life in older cats.

If you have any concerns about your cat you can contact us at:

T: +353 (0) 98 26006


Promoting Responsible Pet Ownership


Several factors need to be considered when you first acquire a new puppy or kitten.

Following some basic guidelines will ensure your pet gets the best start in life.

Key points to remember are:

(1) Vaccinations:

Puppies can start their vaccination course at 6 weeks old followed by a second and final primary vaccination at 10 weeks.

This enables your dog to begin socialisation with other dogs from an early age which is important for their general development.

Puppies are vaccinated against 7 diseases which are:

Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Adenovirus 1&2, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis 1&2.

Here at Lodge Vet Hospital we also recommend vaccination against Kennel cough virus which can lead to a persistent dry choking cough which can be distressing for your pet.

Kittens start their vaccination course at 9 weeks old and have a final vaccination at 12 weeks.

We vaccinate against 4 diseases:

Feline Rhinotracheitis(Cat Flu), Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleucopaenia virus and Feline leukaemia virus.

Annual boosters are given to both cats and dogs once a year throughout their lives.

(2) Worming

Regular worming during the early stages is essential for both your puppy or kitten as worm burdens are common at a young age.

Failure to worm adequately can lead to poor weight gain and chronic diarrhea.

There is also a human health risk as these worms can be passed to children.

We suggest you worm your pet every 2 weeks until he/she is 12 weeks old; once monthly until 6 months old and then every 3 months long-term.

(3)Anti -parasite Control

Regular anti-parasitic control against Fleas and Mange mites is also recommended.

Failure to treat for common parasites found on your pet can lead to allergic skin disease and bacterial skin infections.

Parasitic burdens are lower in the colder months but anti-parasitic spot-ons should be applied throughout the spring and summer once monthly.

Lung-worms have also become more prevalent and can be picked up by your pet by eating slugs and snails.

(4) Feeding

Ensuring your puppy or kitten is fed a balanced diet is essential in promoting proper physical development.

We suggest feeding a dry food diet as it helps reduce tartar build up on your pets teeth.It is also lower in sugar compared with canned food.

Once weaned your puppy or kitten no longer needs milk.Water is adequate.

Your pet may be allergic to lactose in cows milk and can lead to diarrhea.

It is also good practice to feed your pet 4 times daily.Small meals frequently through the day is advisable.

By 6 months old you can reduce the meals to twice daily.


Neutering is an important consideration in promoting responsible pet ownership.

Every year vet clinics and shelters can be heavily burdened with abandoned puppies and kittens born out of unplanned pregnancies.

If your are not planning to breed from your pet you should seriously consider neutering.

We routinely perform neutering at 6 months old.There are many medical benefits to having the surgery.

In Females it prevents uterine cancer, uterine infections, False pregnancies and reduces the risk of mammary cancer.

In males it prevents testicular cancer, reduces the risk of prostate conditions as your pet gets older and reduces the risk of your pet rambling when a female is in heat in the area.

This last point is an important consideration as many pets get lost and stray because of this.


More and more pet owners are having their pets micro-chipped. Not only is it the responsible thing to do but it also gives you the best chance to re-unite with your pet in the event they stray or lose their way when they are out and about which is more common than you think.

The microchip is the size of a rice grain and is implanted in the back of your pets neck.

It is quick and easy to place and lasts for the life of the pet.It does not require sedation.

The chip is not a tracking device. It contains a 15 digit number.

All vets and wardens have microchip scanners. In the event a stray animal is brought to the clinic we can scan for a chip.

If a chip is found we can enter the number into a computer database which brings up the owners name and contact details.

It is very rewarding to be able to re-unite a pet quickly with his/her owner.

It is equally frustrating when the pet is not chipped as the chances of re-uniting the pet with the owner is greatly reduced.

(6)Pet Insurance

Animals suffer from similar medical conditions that people can suffer from.

Depending on the illness the cost of treatment can be expensive.

Having insurance gives you the peace of mind that your pet receives the best treatment available without worrying about the financial implications.

In certain circumstances your pet may need to be referred to a veterinary specialist for complicated surgery or  medical management. Having insurance provides you with an option of referral.

Pet identification and microchips


Almost every day we are presented with a lost dog or cat that has been found by someone in their garden or wandering the roads.

It is a legal requirement in Ireland that all dogs must wear a collar with a tag or disc bearing the contact details of the owner, failure to do this can result in an on the spot fine from the dog warden.

We would also advise a ‘safety collar’ with an identity tag for cats – special cat collars have release catches or are elasticated in case your car gets caught on a branch etc.

As well as a collar with tag we strongly recommend that you have your pet microchipped. This is a permanent form of identification which cannot be removed or lost. The microchip contains a 15 digit number which is then registered on a database that is accessible to vets, wardens and certain welfare groups.

The microchipping procedure is quick, relatively pain free and affordable. We offer low cost microchipping with registration on the main Irish database

If your pet is already microchipped please ensure that is registered with the correct details on a reputable database. Your vet can check this for you.

Cold Wet Nose in your dog. Not a vital sign!


Every wondered why your vet doesn’t check to see if your dog has a cold wet nose? There are many important things we will check to help us figure out whether your dog is healthy or unwell but a cold wet nose isn’t one! A healthy dog can have a warm dry nose and a sick dog can have a cold wet nose.

Here is a list of the top ten important things our vets will check when examining your dog….

1. Colour of mucous membranes (gums and eyes) – very pale can mean anaemia or shock, very red can. Normal dog gums are a salmon pink colour, cats are usually a little paler. What is normal can be subjective and it helps if you look at loads of them every day!

2. Respiration rate and lung sounds – help us learn about the chest, but many illnesses and pain will cause rapid respiration rate.

3. Heart rate – can change with pain, nerves, hormonal conditions as well as heart conditions.

4. Heart sounds  – Your vet will listen to the heart and make sure there are no abnormal sounds usually known as murmurs.

5.  Hydration status – Animals often become dehydrated when they are sick. Poor skin elasticity, rapid heart rate, dry gums and weak pulse are all signs of dehydration

6. Temperature – too low or too high can indicate a problem

7. Body condition –  Refers to an animals body fat – we are looking for the happy medium

8. Signs of pain – can vary from limping, aggression, tenderness, tense abdomen, dullness, rapid heart rate. Most animals will try to disguise pain – they rarely cry out in pain! Your vet is experienced in assessing these signs.

9.  Skin and coat – We check for sores, rashes, lumps and bumps. Signs of external parasites or allergies. The skin can sometimes mirror problems within the body.

10. Lymph nodes – There are lymph nodes throughout the body and they can increase in size with infections and certain types of cancer. An essential part of every clinical exam is checking the lymph nodes.

Winter Hazards for pets


As the colder weather starts to approach unfortunately so do some potential hazards for our pets. Here are some common things to look out for and try to keep our pets as happy and healthy as possible over the winter.

Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)

Both cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, and will often sample some if left out in a container or leaking from cars. Antifreeze is highly toxic – it is rapidly absorbed (initial signs appear approximately one hour post-ingestion), and there is a high mortality rate.

Acute cases (within 12 hours of ingestion) often present as if the animal was intoxicated with alcohol: stumbling, vomiting and depression are common signs. The kidneys are most severely affected, and even if the animal seems to improve initially with treatment, they may succumb shortly after to kidney failure. The kidneys shut down, and the animal is unable to produce urine. This type of kidney failure usually happens 12-24 hours after ingestion in cats, and 36-72 hours post ingestion in dogs. If you suspect that your animal has come into contact with antifreeze, contact your vet immediately.

Arthritis and Winter

Cold, damp weather aggravates arthritis in older cats and dogs. Some younger pets who have had a bone/joint injury may also suffer. Overweight animals also are more prone to arthritis.

If your pet is having trouble getting up or laying down, navigating the stairs, or has started to snap or cry when picked up, we would recommend a visit to your vet. There are many new arthritis treatments available, which can greatly improve your pet’s quality of life.

Please NEVER medicate your dog or cat with human prescriptions or over-the-counter medications! and remember paracetamol is extremely toxic to cats!

Outdoor Pets
If your pet lives mainly outside, make sure that a good shelter is provided — to shield from wind, rain, snow and cold. Take extra care to ensure that your pet is comfortable and can get into and out of their shelter easily.

If the weather is very cold make sure that your pets waterbowls do not freeze over and that there is always a supply of fresh water available.


As always, exercise is important! If there is snow on the ground, check your pet’s paws for ice balls or injuries. Rinse feet off if your pet has walked where de-icers have been used. Some de-icers are toxic when ingested (when pet licks paws). If your pet is having difficulty exercising due to depth of snow, slick icy surfaces, or appears to be winded, shorten the usual exercise times and monitor for any unusual signs.

Indoor hazards

  • Plants – certain plants which we tend to have around Christmas time can be dangerous for pets. Poinsettias irritate the stomach and eyes. Berries of the Jerusalem cherry are toxic, and cause pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Holly and mistletoe, amaryllis, chrysanthemum, rhododendron and winter broom as well as Christmas berry, cherry, pepper and rose can all cause problems to pets that ingest them. Note: Liquid potpourri can cause terrible burns in an animal’s mouth should it be ingested.
  • Fires/candles – Ensure pets are protected from any open flames; many cats especially like to get too close to open fires, burnt or singed whiskers may alert you to this. Candles can easily be knocked over by pets and cause serious harm to people and animals.
  • Trees/decorations/presents –  Christmas trees (real or artificial) can cause problems if ingested as can tree ornaments, tinsel etc. Avoid using chemicals/preservatives in your water stand if you have pets in the house.
  • Food Alcohol and chocolate are toxic. Keep drinks and sweets out of a pet’s reach. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, and even a tiny amount of pure chocolate can be lethal to a small dog. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolate are the most dangerous. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. Turkey bones left in an accessible place are almost irresistible to pets, but they can lodge in an animal’s throat or block the intestinal tract. Remove leftovers from the table and don’t leave rubbish where animals can get to it. Christmas cakes and puddings are also a big ‘no-no’ for dogs as grapes, raisins and sultanas are toxic to dogs.

If  you are concerned your pet has eaten something potentially dangerous please contact your veterinary clinic as soon as possible for advice.

Hoping everyone has a warm, safe, happy and healthy Winter!

Seizures. My pet has had a seizure, what should I do?


Seizures are extremely common in dogs, less so in cats. I would say we will see or treat a dog for seizures every week in our veterinary clinic. A seizure is not a disease in itself – it is a symptom of a disease. Many different conditions can cause seizures but one of the most common is a condition called idiopathic epilepsy.

Other causes include

1. hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)

2. toxins/ poisoning – slug pellets are a common household poison which can cause your pet to seizures

3. trauma

4. Inflammation of the central nervous system

5. Lungworm – a parasite called Angiostrongylus Vasorum, usually contracted by eating slugs and snails.

6. Brain tumours

7. Liver problems (hepatic encephalopathy

What you should do if your pet has a seizure…

If your pet has a seizure don’t panic – they usually don’t last very long. In most cases pets have stopped having seizures by the time they reach our clinics. What you should do if your pet has a seizure is make sure they are in a safe place. Do not try to put anything in their mouths – you may get bitten…

Make a note of when the seizure starts and how long it lasts. If possible video the event as more often than not the episode will be over by the time you reach the nearest vet clinic. Contact your nearest clinic for an appointment as soon as possible. If you suspect your vet has ingested some poison please bring the packaging with you.

Our veterinary clinic details are Lodge Vet Hospital, Lodge Road, Westport, Co. Mayo 353 (0) 98 26006

What we will do when you get to us….

If your pet is still having a seizure or an episode we may have to admit him or her and administer medication to get the situation under control.

More commonly the pet will have recovered when we see them.

In this case your vet will take a detailed history and do a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. We may also want to run some routine blood tests to check for any less obvious causes of the seizure. There is no specific test for idiopathic epilipsy (which is the most common cause of seizures in dogs). Usually the diagnosis is made by clinical signs, history and a process of elimination.

We will then decide on what treatment, if any, is needed.

Dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy typically go on to require long term treatment, however it would be unusual to put a dog on long term medication based on a single seizure.

In most cases the condition can be well managed and these patients usually lead a normal happy life.

Keeping pets safe and happy at Halloween


Unfortunately Halloween and the weeks leading up to it can be a very distressing time for pets and also for pet owners.

Here are a few tips to try and make things as safe as possible and hopefully a little less stressful for your pets.

1. Keep pets indoors during Halloween (especially after dark) and make sure that they have a safe, quiet place where they aren’t frightened by all of the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape through a constantly open door. A quiet room e.g. a bedroom where they can’t hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Putting a radio or television on in the room can help block out some of the outdoor noise and closing blinds and curtains removes the visual stimulus from fireworks. If your pet looks for reassurance due to being scared of loud noises the worst thing you can do is to try and console them, this only makes the pet feel that it is appropriate to be scared. Try to carry on as if nothing is out of the ordinary, as your pet may feed off your anxiety, making the situation worse. Also never punish your pet for being scared, it will only make the situation worse.

Ask your vet for suitable calming treatments if necessary. A dog or cat plug-in Pheromone diffuser (DAP and Feliway) can be very useful for anxious pets. Other products such as Kalm aid are available over the counter and can help with stress reduction in some pets especially if used early enough before the stressful event – please ask you vet/vet nurse for advice.

For some pets (dogs especially) a prescription for a stronger anti-anxiety medication may be necessary especially if your dog has a history of extreme stress around Halloween. Please ask your vet for advice.

2. Make sure that pets always have good identification in case they escape from the house. Please ensure that your pet is wearing a collar with a clearly readable identity tag. We also recommend that you have your pet microchipped and to ensure that the microchip is registered to you on a database. Often when pets go missing an owner cannot be contacted as the microchip is still registered to a breeder or previous owner. If you are unsure whether your pet’s chip is correctly registered please ask your vet to check this for you.

3. Don’t take pets trick-or-treating. Dogs can become very distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells, costumes and loud bangs from fireworks.

4. Don’t let animals near bonfires, candles or other dangerous items. Avoid decorations that can be easily chewed or swallowed.

5. Make sure that your pet does not have access to any tasty Halloween treats. Chocolate can be very dangerous for dogs, even small amounts. If your pet accidentally eats chocolate please contact your vet immediately.

6. Finally if you are made aware of or see anyone mistreating an animal please report it immediately to the Gardaí.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Spay Ireland 2012. Spaying and Neutering. The latest facts.


Why Spay or Neuter your pet?

Spaying and neutering should be the natural choice for most pet owners. Apart from population control, there is evidence that early neutering is often better for the individual animal. There is an average of 15 dogs per day destroyed in Irish pounds. We have no official figures for cats but anecdotal evidence suggests the the country’s feline destruction rate is even higher than the canine equivalent.  It is for these reasons that you will see vets and animal welfare organisations reccomend neutering for your pet.

When to do it?

In our clinics we recommend the following:

Both male and female cats should be neutered at 4-6 months of age

Both male and female dogs should be neutered/spayed at 5-6 months of age.

What is the evidence for health benefits of early neutering

Female dogs

Itis nearly always better to spay a bitch before her first season. This eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and dramatically reduces the risk of mammary cancer. There is an increased risk of urinary incontinence in bitches that are spayed at any age however the majority of these dogs respond to simple treatment. Most vets would agree that this risk is much less serious than the alternative risk of malignant mammary cancer. Female cats can have up to 4 litters per year and are at increased risk of infections.

Male dogs

Castration eliminates the risk of testicular cancer – the second most common cancer in male dogs. Castration reduces the incidence of other non-cancerous conditions of the mature prostate. Castration drmatically reduces the risk of tumours of the perineum such as perianal adenoma. In male cats castration dramatically reduces incidences of fighting and therefore contraction of infections such as FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus).

Is there any evidence of any adverse effects of spaying and neutering in dogs?

There is an increased risk of weight gain in neutered and spayed animals. As with all animals this can be avoided by a sensible diet.  There are increased risks of urinary incontinence in female dogs but this is easily treated. Male dogs have an increased risk of certain types of prostatic tumours but the overall incidence is very low.  Anaesthetic risk is always a consideration, modern anaesthetics used in our clinics are very safe and complications are extremely unusual.

What does it cost?

Cost of neutering/ spaying varies between dogs and cats and also between male and female animals. Prices range from €76 to €225 depending on whether you have a dog/cat, weight and sex. Please phone your nearest clinic for an accurate quote.

Fear of Fireworks? Read our top tips here!


Veterinary Advice for Pet Owners during fireworks season.

  • Pets commonly suffer from noise phobia and Hallowe’en can be a very distressing time.
  • Up to 80% of pet owners report that their pet is afraid of fireworks.  Most pets will display mild symptoms of fear or anxiety initially but if improperly managed they tend to get worse.
  • Some of these animals will suffer from noise phobias  – their reaction to certain noises are sudden, extreme and excessive. This can be very distressing for pets as well as their owners and can result in harm to the pet.  For example dogs may panic and run blindly – Hallowe’en is a common time of year for pets to go missing or to be injured on the roads.

Some signs to look of anxiety to look out for in pets



  • Shivering or shaking
  • Destructive behaviour – chewing/scratching
  • Soiling the house
  • Panting excessively
  • Licking lips
  • Pacing
  • Attempting to run away


  • Cowering or hiding
  • House soiling
  • Refusing to eat
  • Attempting to run away

Top tips for pet owners in Dublin this Hallowe’en

  1. Provide a den or a hiding place where your pet can feel safe. Make your pet a comfortable bed here, with old sweatshirts and other clothing to give your pet a sense of your reassuring presence.   A crate with some blankets over it is ideal for a dog. A cat may prefer to hide in a high up location such as the top of a wardrobe.
  2. Keep your pet inside with the doors and windows closed and your favourite radio station switched on in the room. Provide an extra litter tray for cats.
  3. Make sure to exercise your dog early in the day, and give your pet something to do in the evening (such as chewing a frozen food-stuffed dog toy).
  4. Ensure that all pets are wearing identification tags and have microchip identification.
  5. Ignore fearful behaviour such as panting, shaking or whining. If owners give such animals extra attention in an attempt to “comfort” them, the pet will perceive this as a reward for displaying this type of behaviour and it can make matters worse over time.
  6. Do not punish your pet for anxious behaviour such as scratching at doors or house soiling. This also can tend to exacerbate anxiety and make matters worse.
  7. Call in to one of our vet clinics and pick up a DAP collar for your dog or Feliway for your cat. These pheromone releasing products have been proven to relieve anxiety in stressed pets!
  8. In severe cases you may need to make an appointment to see one of our vets. We may be able to prescribe something to help in the short term and devise a long term plan for noise desensitisation – for next year!