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In recent years, the month of June has been dubbed “microchip month” where implantation of microchips in our pets has been promoted – often accompanied by discounts. This is still the case, but things have changed somewhat for our canine companions.
As of April 6, 2016 in England and March 1, 2015 in Wales, it will become compulsory for dogs to be implanted with microchips in order to promote responsible dog ownership. To aid this, the Kennel Club have donated scanners to local authorities in England and Wales and the Dogs Trust are offering free chips as well as setting up a scheme to provide free chips through participating veterinary practices from April 2014 to April 2015. Contact your vet to see if they are participating or visit chipmydog.org.uk. The various branches of Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership are participating and there has been a very good response so far.
Microchipping is a simple, safe procedure. The chip is the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades (much like an annual booster) and stays in for life. Each chip has its own unique code that is registered on a database and linked with the pet owner’s contact details. In this way, microchips have been remarkable at reuniting lost pets with their owners, however this can only happen if the owner keeps their contact details up-to-date. And just for clarification, the chips do not act as GPS tracking devices.
Remember when getting any pet microchipped to ensure it is done by someone trained to do so, and that the chips are registered with a national database that is open 24/7.
Monica Kelly asks via Twitter to @Norfolkmagazine about her daughter’s young rescue cat which has been diagnosed with a liver shunt. The question is whether surgery would be worthwhile or just too risky?
Porto-systemic (liver) shunts are not that common, but there are certainly other pet owners out there who may be faced with the same concerns.
A liver shunt is difficult to explain simply, but effectively the blood vessels either in or around the liver are not in the proper orientation and the dirty blood (containing the products of digestion) from the intestines bypasses the liver (which normally cleans the dirty blood) and enters the systemic circulation. Single (one blood vessel) shunts that occur on the outside of the liver are more common in cats and if that’s the case then they are easier to operate on than shunts within the liver. Having said that, the surgery difficult and it is usually performed at referral centres – and not without significant costs. Animals undergoing surgery need a period of medical management prior to surgery and a period of medical management post-operatively. There is also the possibility they will need long-term medical management if the surgery is only partially successful. Medical management includes a special diet and lactulose, and possibly antibiotic therapy. It is also recommended in cases where surgery is not feasible or appropriate.
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Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership: 21 Chapelfield Road, Norwich, NR2 1RP, 01603 629046; Post Mill Close, Wymondham, NR18 0NL, 01953 602139; Wellesley Road, Long Stratton, NR15 2PD, 01508 530686; Bungay Road, Brooke, NR15 1DX, 01508 558228; 160-162 Norwich Road, New Costessey, NR5 0EH, 01603 743725.