Pet Blood Bank

What if your gundog needed a blood transfusion one day?

“When my lovely cocker spaniel, Flick, was only five months old, she needed nine (yes nine!) blood transfusions. If it wasn’t for a charity called Pet Blood Bank UK, she would not be here just now. Can you spread the word?”  Steve Finney, North Yorkshire Blood transfusions vital It seems…

Clumber spaniel in sugar beet

How to protect dogs from poisonous slug pellets

I can’t think of 
a worse way to lose a fit and healthy dog than through poisoning, 
as I was reminded by Lyn Monk at the Game Fair last month. Slug pellets can be lethal for dogs Her lagotto Romagnolo bitch ate slug pellets during a walk on farmland in…

when to call the vet

When should you call the vet?

Q: Whenever my dog is unwell 
I take it to the vet, but the practice is usually very busy and 
I worry about bothering my vet unnecessarily (especially if it is out of hours). Can you advise of the situations when I really must contact the vet about my dog? Call…

Gundog anxiety

Dog first aid you need to know

Q:  Until recently I was fairly confident I knew the basics 
of dog first aid, but on hearing 
a friend’s story of how he had to deal with his dog when it got into difficulties recently, I realised 
I wouldn’t have a clue what to do should my dogs have…

dog at the vet

How to reduce stress for your dog at the vet

It is always amusing sitting in the waiting room of a veterinary surgery and seeing the various customers come in. Many gundogs, of course, are petrified of visiting the vet and are well aware of where they are as soon as the 
car arrives in the vet’s car park. These…

English spaniels

Is your gundog a fussy eater?

One of the remarkable things about dogs is that they will apparently happily eat the same thing every day, every week, throughout the year. A skinny spaniel stayed with us recently while its owners were away on holiday. The dog was delivered with its bed, food bowl and a big sack of so-called complete food. “She loves…

Working gundog

How Camrosa can treat spaniels with skin problems

FOLLOWING A RECENT column when I wrote about problems with working spaniels’ ears, I had a charming letter from Edwina Le May, founder and director of the company that markets Camrosa Ointment. It is aimed specifically at treating animals with skin problems, especially those caused by mites. Though I was aware of Camrosa, I’d never tried it, but when I mentioned…

English bulldogs are trendy dogs

Trendy dogs are not always the most healthy

I am a diligent reader of dog stories, 
but one I missed earlier this year 
was a regional map of dog-breed popularity, based on Kennel Club registrations in 2016. As with so many statistics, the results are fascinating but mustn’t be taken too seriously. I wouldn’t mind betting that cockerpoos…

springer spaniel retrieving

Why you should beware of early neutering

David Tomlinson recently wrote about the physical downsides of early neutering for dogs of either gender, but the behavioural effects are less well known. Many people who experience problems with their dogs, especially male dogs, will be on the receiving end of assurances from all and sundry that any issues…

glaucoma in dogs

Why it’s crucial to spot signs of glaucoma in dogs

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eyeball becomes higher than normal, which can damage the eye’s internal structure. The retina and optic nerve are particularly sensitive. Vet Neil McIntosh of Abbey Veterinary Group advises: “Glaucoma is not a specific diagnosis but a general term for increased…

Elbow dysplasia in gundogs

Elbow dysplasia in gundogs

Q: I have just retired my Labrador after he went lame with elbow dysplasia (ED). I want to get another dog and was planning on buying 
a puppy from a breeder who tests her dogs and only breeds from those clear of ED. However, I was told 
I could still…

chocolate Labrador picking up

How to treat paw injuries in the field

A: It can affect a dog but tetanus is relatively uncommon, particularly if a wound bleeds to any extent. There is no equivalent vaccination available for dogs as there is for humans. Treatment for paw injuries Though small wounds are probably best left open to heal naturally and larger wounds may require stitches, when you are out…

Are DNA tests required for breeding gun dogs?

Are DNA tests required for breeding gun dogs?

A: The advantage of DNA testing is that not only does it indicate if a dog is affected by an inherited disease but it also determines the likelihood of the dog passing on the disease to its offspring. Consequently it enables owners to make informed choices of suitable dogs to use to avoid breeding clinically affected puppies. For…

Kennel cough vaccination for dog

My dog hates having the kennel cough vaccine!

Neil says: Kennel cough is a bad name really. Most of the affected dogs that we see have never been near a kennel but have caught it in the park, on the street or at a training class. Or even at a shoot! The causal agent, Bordetella bronchiseptica, is airborne and, if it lands on the…

Golden retriever in field

How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?

A: The build-up of tartar on dogs’ teeth seems worse in those dogs that are fed on all-in-one kibbled dog foods, especially when it is soaked with water before feeding. A more natural diet avoids this build-up occurring. A dog needs to chew to keep its teeth clean and raw marrow bones will have the desired effect. I…


Scottish Government turns tail on working dog tail docking

Those of us with British passports may think that we live in a united kingdom, but that’s certainly not the case, as a look at the law will soon confirm. In Northern Ireland, it is legal to shoot a jack snipe or a scaup, but not a moorhen. It is the other way round in mainland Britain.…

Gundog ears

Gundog ears badly designed

All our gundog breeds have floppy ears though, of course, some are a great deal floppier than others. Labrador ears may turn downwards, but they are functional and only covered in short hair, which might explain why ears are one of the areas of least concern with the breed (don’t mention hips or elbows). It is the…

dog tail injury

Scotland drops its ban on tail docking

Holyrood has announced plans to change tail docking legislation to allow the tails of spaniel and hunt, point, retrieve (HPR) puppies to be shortened wherever a vet believes they are likely to be used as a working dog and risk serious tail injury in later life. Tail docking was banned in Scotland in 2007 as part of…

Labradors in pickup

Fruit-loving Labradors

Neil says: Clever boy indeed to be skinning his bananas himself! Patience with food such as this is unusual in Labradors. Yes they will eat anything. A Labrador patient of mine recently made a valiant attempt to eat the entire contents of the coal bunker. It took three days of enemas to get it all out. You could say a “miner” issue…