Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is caused by a parasite called Borrelia Burgdorferi and is transmitted via tick bites.

Ticks in Jersey are typically found in grassland, scrub, shrubs and on low-hanging tree branches. They tend to climb on board an animal when they brush against them.

Female ticks lay eggs each spring. They can lay around 2000, which are tiny (0.7mm long). After laying their eggs, female ticks shrivel and die.

Tick eggs hatch as six-legged larvae in the summer of the same year they are laid. They’re about the size of a full stop.

The larvae remain inactive until the following spring when they climb grass shoots or trees and wait for a host such as a dog, cat, mouse, squirrel, rabbit, bird, deer, cow or sheep to pass.

They then spend up to a week sucking the blood of their host, before falling to the ground.

A year later they re-emerge to search for another host to latch on to. This time they feed for up to 11 days before detaching and falling to the ground. At this point, the tick matures into an adult.

Once again, the tick will remain inactive until the following spring, when they’ll start their third and final search for another host.

Once they find it, adult female ticks will feed for between eight and 12 days. During this feeding frenzy, their weight will increase by as much as 100 times before they lay their eggs and die off. The three-year tick cycle will then start all over again.

The transmission of the parasite begins 36 to 48 hours after the tick has started feeding.

Ticks are most acitive from March to November.

Lyme disease

This is an inflammatory disorder, which can become chronic if left untreated.

Humans can get the disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.

In dogs, the most obvious signs of Lyme disease include a distinctive “bull’s eye” lesion around the site of the bite (see photo) lameness, inflamed (enlarged) lymph nodes and fever.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans are flu-like, including extreme tiredness, muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint pain and headaches.

They can also include stomach ache, poor sleep, disturbances of the central nervous system and the distinctive “bull’s eye” rash.

If you or your pet suffer any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor or vet immediately.

Groom your dog regularly to check for infestations and discuss tick control for your pet with our staff.

If you think your dog has ticks or is carrying a tick-borne disease, contact your vet straight away. This is especially the case if your pet suffers unexplained lameness, joint stiffness, fever, lethargy or loss of appetite after being bitten.

In-house MRI now Available!

We are pleased to announce that our in house MRI scanner is now up and running!

We now have a permanent MRI scanner available at our Oak Farm surgery in St Clement!

Whilst we hope that your pet will not need serious treatment, it may be reassuring for you to know that we have immediate access to MRI should it be required!


During the cold weather, please be aware of the severe toxic effects AntiFreeze has on pets!


ETHYLENE GLYCOL is found in most commercial antifreeze preparations; ETHYLENE GLYCOL tastes SWEET; ETHYLENE GLYCOL is the most common toxicity seen in small animals because of its SWEET TASTE.

Only 6 ml of antifreeze will cause LETHAL poisoning in a 4 kg cat!

Symptoms start showing 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion and include increased thirst, depression and sometimes seizures.


  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Check car regularly for leaks
  • Store antifreeze containers sealed and clearly marked in areas inacessible for pets
  • Don’t allow pets to have access to an area where radiator fluid is drained from car

If you suspect your pet has been exposed, call the surgery immediately. Early treatment, ideally within 1 hour of ingestion, will be life saving!!!


Please stay safe this Christmas ❤️


ETHYLENE GLYCOL is found in most commercial antifreeze preparations; ETHYLENE GLYCOL tastes SWEET; ETHYLENE GLYCOL is the most common toxicity seen in small animals because of its SWEET TASTE.

Only 6 ml of antifreeze will cause LETHAL poisoning in a 4 kg cat!

Symptoms start showing 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion and include increased thirst, depression and sometimes seizures.


  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Check car regularly for leaks
  • Store antifreeze containers sealed and clearly marked in areas inacessible for pets
  • Don’t allow pets to have access to an area where radiator fluid is drained from car


Eating grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs.

Clinical signs are usually seen several hours after ingestion. The dog may vomit and be depressed and go into renal failure within 24 hours.

Just 200 grams of raisins or grapes is enough to kill a 10kg dog!

The effect of eating grapes and raisins varies considerably from dog to dog and is it is recommended that you avoid giving any at all.


 Did you know that your favourite Christmas treat could actually kill your dog?

Dogs need only a relatively small amount of chocolate to suffer fatal consequences:

  • 50g of baking chocolate powder causes death in a 10kg dog
  • 100g of dark sweet chocolate will cause seizures in a 10kg dog
  • 200g milk chocolate will cause seizures in a 10kg dog


  • 200g of white chocolate will probably not cause any adverse effects in a 10kg dog

Giving chocolate to dogs should be avoided completely.

For more detailed information relating to all poisons and household dangers please view the following page: Poisons and Household Dangers


After a recent case of human Leptospirosis infection in Jersey here is why we vaccinate against this disease.

Leptospirosis is the only bacterial disease included in dogs’ vaccine protocols.

Several forms of the Leptospira bacterium exist, but all cause liver and kidney disease and often failure of these organs.

This disease is a zoonosis, which means that humans can become infected too. In human medicine leptospirosis is known as ‘Weil’s disease’ and there is no vaccination available for humans.

Leptospirosis bacteria can survive for a long time in damp or wet surroundings (eg puddles or near rivers) and, as they are also transmitted by small mammals like mice or voles, dogs are potentially at risk on every walk.

Many dogs can survive with intensive treatment, but may be left with liver or kidney damage.

As infected dogs shed large amounts of Leptospira with their urine, owners are at risk of catching the disease from an infected pet.


A new strain of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease has been identified in rabbits in the UK!

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease variant (RVHD2) is a variation of the already recognised

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1) and BVA, BSAVA and BVZS are working with animal welfare organisations and owners to ensure rabbits are protected against this potentially devastating disease.

Vaccines for the original strain of RVHD do not appear to offer long term protection against RVHD2, however vaccines for this new strain are now available in the UK and Jersey.

There have been supply issues with this vaccination, however these are hoping to be remedied soon.

RVHD2 is more variable in its rate of disease progression than RVHD1, with presentation ranging from sudden death (with or without bleeding from the orifices), to a longer disease course of three to nine days, increasing the risk of unwell rabbits being brought into practices and in turn increasing the risk of transmission to other pet rabbits.

Until vaccination becomes more routine, avoiding the risk of infection is important!

Sean Wensley, BVA President, said: “Although the risk of a rabbit contracting RVHD2 appears highest in situations where rabbits are kept in large groups with regular new additions, such as at breeders or rescue centres, we encourage all owners to speak to their vet about vaccinating their rabbits against RVHD2.

“Veterinary advice from The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) has stated that the spread of RVHD2 may be facilitated by its apparent slower disease progression compared to RVHD1, and research suggests that we can expect to see RVHD2 starting to predominate in the UK’s wild rabbits over RVHD1 in the next five years or so.”

John Chitty, BSAVA Vice President, said:

“BSAVA would encourage practices to talk to rabbit owning clients about RVHD2 vaccines, and where there is deemed sufficient risk recommend the vaccine along with the essential vaccination against Myxomatosis – and it should be noted that this must not be done within two weeks of vaccination against RVHD2.”

BVZS President and veterinary pathologist Mark Stidworthy said:

“It is clear from post mortem examinations and PCR testing over the last 18 months that RVHD2 is now geographically widespread in the UK and all rabbits should be considered at risk from this potentially devastating disease.”’

So far there have been NO reported cases in Jersey!


Due to the recent warm and humid weather we have seen an increase in red mite infestation in chickens!

The common red mite Dermanyssus gallinae are blood sucking ectoparasites that can infest chickens and turkeys.

They can strike any hen house at anytime but especially during the warmer summer months.

Our best advice is to keep extremely vigilant where these parasites are concerned.

They can be quite difficult to spot as they come out at night to feed on your hen’s blood and hide during the day.

We suggest a regular check of your birds under their wings and around their vents, however, this will not always reveal their presence as they don’t spend all their time on the bird.

We recommend entering the house after dark with a torch and looking around the ends of the perches and cracks where they might be hiding.

You may see a grey dust-like substance, these are mites that have not yet fed.

Once they have feed, they turn bright red and then dark red. If you squash them you will see a trail of blood.

Alternatively, take a piece of white paper and swipe between the cracks and crevices – if red mite are present, you will see streaks of blood on your paper.

If you are concerned that your chickens are affected please call our surgeries and we will be happy to advise!


Following recent reports of cases in the UK, here is an update on the tick bourne disease Babesiosis!


Protozoal parasite of the red blood cell

Transmitted by: Ticks

Where do Ticks live?

Forest and rough grazing including campsites!

France, Southern Europe but as far north as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, recently southern UK

Feeding activity of Tick

Especially Spring and Autumn

Prevention of Tick bites

Prevent tick attachment – repellent collars (Scalibor for dogs)

Treatments to kill attached ticks – Frontline (cats) or Advantix (dogs), Bravecto

Daily checking and removal of ticks using Tick Hook

Speed of onset of illness

Rapid onset disease is possible

Clinical signs of illness

Due to haemolytic anaemia (destruction of the red blood cells). Pale mucus membranes, jaundice, weakness, fast breathing, red urine, collapse, death


Here are some seasonal tips to keep your pets healthy during the cold winter months!


Look out for limps and difficulties in rising after rest. These are signs that your pet may have joint stiffness often made worse by colder weather. If your pet is showing any signs of limping or stiffness you should contact us. We have medication to make them feel more comfortable.

Can you pinch an inch?

With many pets spending more time indoors during the winter months they are getting less exercise and need correspondingly less food. Keep an eye for any weight gain since excess weight can cause a range of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and significantly worsen arthritis. Call us to arrange a free weight check with one of nurses. We can advise you on diet and exercise.                                   

Winter Flea Alert

With modern central heating fleas are no longer just a summer problem. Spot on treatments are ideal for treating your pet while lavicidal house sprays can be used to stop fleas developing in the home. Ask us for flea treatment advice. We can ensure you and your pet are flea free this winter.

Christmas Food

Chocolate is often found to be in abundance at this time of year and poses a significant hazard to dogs. In general the higher the cocoa content the more toxic the chocolate. Grapes raisins and sultanas are also known to be toxic to dogs so beware of your dog wolfing down left over Christmas cake or pudding! If you’re suspicious your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t contact us immediately.

Christmas Decorations

Ribbon and tinsel are very attractive to pets and if swallowed may lead to an intestinal blockage. Similarly make sure those turkey carcasses are safely disposed of. 

Outdoor Pets

The winter months can be very tough for rabbits and guinea pigs. It is important to make sure that hutches are warm, dry and clean and have plenty of bedding. Water problems should always be checked regularly to make sure they are not frozen.


At this time of year we do receive many telephone calls enquiring about tortoise hibernation.


To make sure the tortoise is in the best possible condition for hibernating, a good diet should be provided. Dandelion, timothy grass, clover, English plantain, land cress, water cress, coriander, pea leaves (also pods), alfalfa, broccoli, asparagus or chicory would be suitable vegetation. Some greens contain oxalates that prevent calcium absorption. These should only be used in very small quantities if at all (e.g. chives, parsley, spinach, beet leaves, chard and bok choy). It is also advisable to use a good quality calcium & vitamin D­­­3 supplement such as Nutrobal.


You should decide whether your tortoise has put on suitable weight and is fit for hibernation around the middle of August. In order to survive hibernation your tortoise should have put on sufficient stores of fat (and with it, vitamins and water) during the most active summer months. From August onwards the tortoise’s appetite will start to decline. So if he is not fit in August, he won’t be in October/November.

We advise that you have your tortoise examined by a vet in late August or early September to check for signs of disease. Once it has been established that the animal is in good condition for hibernation, an approximate date should be planned for starting hibernation – usually the end of October or early November. This is important as the tortoise needs to have all food removed 6 weeks prior to this date, so that his intestines are free of food during hibernation. If this is not done, bacteria can grow on the rotting meal inside the tortoise and kill the tortoise during hibernation. While food should be withheld, drinking should be encouraged with daily shallow water baths in the 2 weeks prior to hibernation.


There are two main methods: a refrigerator or well-insulated box. The refrigerator is the preferred method but is not always practical.

1. Refrigerator method

A refrigerator is an ideal place to hibernate a tortoise as it provides a controlled cold temperature environment above freezing. To maintain hibernation, the tortoise must be kept between 10C and 100C (ideally at 50C). It is preferable to use a separate fridge – not one used to store food – due to food hygiene concerns. The fridge should be placed in a room where the temperature will be above freezing for the whole winter. You need a Max/Min digital thermometer with a probe. They cost about £12.00. Place the probe inside the fridge and slowly adjust the fridge thermostat until a consistent temperature of roughly 50C is achieved.

You need a plastic sandwich box a little larger than your tortoise. Make some air holes in the lid and place a pad of kitchen paper at the bottom of the box. Some authors like using a mixture of compost and sand in the bottom of the box, but I prefer the kitchen paper as it is easy to clean and does not harbour large numbers of bacteria. When hibernation time comes, place the tortoise inside the sandwich box which you then place in the fridge. Check your tortoise visually every day and weigh it twice a week. Just opening the fridge door provides enough fresh air. An average fridge will contain enough oxygen to sustain a hibernating tortoise for 1-2 weeks. You should monitor the temperature inside the fridge daily and make any necessary adjustments to the thermostat.

2. Box Method

This is the more traditional method but requires closer monitoring and is more difficult to monitor. Make a large outer box out of strong cardboard. It should be about 3ft or 1m square. Half-fill it with an insulating material. Polystyrene packing chips are ideal as they allow air flow, are a good insulator and do not harbour fungi and bacteria. Under no circumstances should hay or straw be used (as seen on Blue Peter!). These provide a very good place for fungi and bacteria to grow and can lead to very bad or fatal lung infections. You need a plastic sandwich box a little larger than the tortoise. Make some air holes in the lid and place a thick pad of kitchen paper at the bottom of the box. This provides air space and as the tortoise moves around during hibernation prevents the tortoise burrowing through the protective insulation. Place the tortoise in the plastic sandwich box, and then place that in the middle of the half filled cardboard box, on top of the insulation. Fill the cardboard box completely with the polystyrene chips. Place the cardboard box in a room where the temperature does not fluctuate above 100C or below 10C for a prolonged period of time and is free of rats or mice.

To monitor this, a Max/Min digital thermometer with a probe that reads the inside of the cardboard box (i.e. around the probe) and outside (i.e. around the display) is needed. Place the probe inside the centre of the insulated box near the tortoise with the display on the outside the box. This will tell you the hottest and coldest it has got to inside and outside the box. If the temperature inside the plastic box drops below freezing the tortoise will die, and if it stays above 10 0C for a prolonged time the tortoise will drift in and out of hibernation using up vital body reserves. The tortoise should ideally be checked daily and weighed twice a week. The insulation only slows the effects of room temperature variation on the tortoise.


In the wild, a tortoise will only hibernate for 1-2½ months depending on the species and the country. Our winter lasts for 4-5mths. This is far too long for the tortoise’s reserves, so a tortoise should never be hibernated for this length of time. In the lead-up to hibernation (from the end of summer), the tortoise should be kept warm and in a vivarium or tortoise table. Feeding should be kept up as normal until 6 weeks before the intended date of hibernation when it should be withdrawn completely. The tortoise should still be kept warm and given regular shallow water baths to encourage it to drink. Over the final 1-2 weeks the temperature should be reduced in the vivarium or table. The tortoise will slow down before being placed in the hibernation container. It should have drunk but not urinated. This is very important, as water is reabsorbed from the bladder during hibernation. Do NOT hibernate the tortoise if it has urinated recently and not drunk. Weigh the tortoise, then place it inside the plastic box which is then placed inside fridge or the insulated cardboard box. The tortoise should be visually checked daily for any signs of problems and the maximum and minimum temperature recorded and then reset. The tortoise should be weighed twice a week. It is normal for a healthy tortoise to lose 1% of its total body weight per month. There is no impact on hibernation or risk of “waking up” the tortoise by these checks. If a tortoise is losing too much weight, urinates or there are signs of any disease, the tortoise should be woken up immediately. If using the box method and the temperature of the room is consistently to low or too high, the box should be moved to a room with a more suitable environment.


If you use the refrigerator technique, you are controlling the temperature so the tortoise will not wake up by itself, so after 2-3 months of hibernation you will need to intiate this process. If you are using the box technique then if the tortoise starts waking up by itself (i.e. the temperature stays above 100C and the tortoise seems to be moving around) or it has been in hibernation for 2-3 months, it is time to bring it out of hibernation.

To do this, remove the tortoise from the fridge and place it near the heat source in the vivarium or tortoise table/box. The tortoise should gradually warm up over 2-3 hours and you should see it gradually becoming more active. The most important thing once it is active, is to encourage it to drink. This is best achieved by placing the tortoise in a shallow bath of warm water. Once the tortoise has drunk, the next important thing is to encourage it to eat. The tortoise should initially take food within the first 24 hours and be eating well within 72 hours. If this does not happen then it is unlikely the tortoise will start eating by itself. This known as “post hibernational anorexia”. When the tortoise first comes out of hibernation there is a surge of glucose released from the liver. This provides the tortoise with enough energy to find and eat food for 24-48 hours. So after this time if the tortoise has not found food it will not have enough energy to start eating by itself. There can be other more serious reasons (e.g. infection) for the lack of appetite, so if the tortoise has not started eating well within 72 hour after coming out of hibernation, please seek veterinary help.