Vet's corner

Gundog medical queries

Veterinary expert John Houlton responds to your gundog medical queries.

Q. How do I treat a barbed wire injury in the field? Most barbed wire injuries occur when dogs misjudge the height of a fence or they run into a fence with loose wire. If they trap a leg between two strands it is essential to support their weight while freeing them. Throw a coat over the dog’s head for even the most docile dog may try to bite in these circumstances.  Many barbed wire injuries do not bleed as much as one might expect but if blood is spurting from a wound, this indicates...

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Dogs with tick bites

Author: Laura Hawkins

There’s much we can do to protect our dogs from the prolific parasites, says veterinary nurse Laura Hawkins.

Tick numbers are rising across the UK due to changing climates and habitats, along with an increasing number of hosts. But what does this mean for our dogs? Ticks are blood-sucking parasites which belong to the spider family. They are placed only behind mosquitoes in the disease transmission stakes, spreading infectious disease to humans and animals, and from one mammalian host to another. There are three types commonly found in the UK: Ixodes ricinus (the sheep/deer tick); Ixodes...

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The perfect kennel

Author: Ben Randall

There are a number of things to consider when investing in a kennel for your gundog, says Field Editor Ben Randall.

There are a number of points to consider when planning for and investing in a kennel for your gundog. Above all else, a kennel should be comfortable and hygienic for your dog, but also convenient and practical for you. Indoors or Outdoors? I personally like my kennels to be fitted within a building as the security is far better. When a kennel is inside another building, whether that be a stable, barn or shed, the dogs are also left in a calm, quiet environment out of direct sunlight,...

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When trouble strikes

Author: Laura Keyser

While most gundog owners can treat minor issues, some will require veterinary advice and attention. In this first of two articles, veterinary surgeon Laura Keyser shines a light on some common gundog injuries and how to deal with them.

TAIL INJURIES Docked or not, beating dogs charging through dense undergrowth are at risk of damaging the end of their tails. Without careful management, tail tip injuries are unlikely to heal and can rapidly develop into chronic bleeding wounds. These cause pain and suffering for the dog, not to mention the blood splatters all over the walls and carpet as they wag enthusiastically when you return from work. Avoiding tail tip injuries in an undocked dog can be difficult. Bandaging tails...

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Risky Business

Author: Will Hetherington

Insurance is always about attitude to risk, but you must be aware your working dogs can get hurt, and putting them right might cost more than you think.

In the spring of 2018 my two labradors stumbled across an unusually docile muntjac in the middle of a fallow field whilst we are out on a long walk. If it had got up and made a sharp exit, the dogs would have returned to me, and a lot of trouble would have been avoided. But I suspect it was an elderly animal because it wasn’t moving too well. It made a poor attempt at escape and evasion and my two otherwise well behaved and largely obedient dogs were suddenly experiencing the thrill of the...

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Looking for Trouble

Gundogs are susceptible to a number of different hereditary eye conditions and, as owners, we should be aware of them.

Healthy eyes are a paramount requirement for any working dog. Responsible and proactive breeders play a pivotal role in maintaining eye health in their dogs, and work closely with veterinary eye specialists and geneticists towards this goal. Inherited eye disease can affect any part of the eye – from the eyelids to the lens and the retina. Therefore a basic understanding of eye anatomy is really helpful to understand the various inherited eye conditions.   The anatomy of the eye The...

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An Unhealthy Obsession?

Author: Ben Randall

Are health tests jeopardising the future efficacy of our gundog breeds?

Photographer /  TONY RAINE and MARTIN CLAY Gundog breeding has changed in many ways over the past few decades. Mostly for the better; we’re now more informed than we’ve ever been. But is the growing trend to breed only from fully ‘clear’, health-tested dogs a step too far? Could it, in the long term, be narrowing the gene pool and distracting us from other key factors when breeding, such as trainability, temperament, game-finding prowess and, ironically, the health of our working...

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Arthritis in Focus

Author: Laura Hawkins RVN

Laura Hawkins talks us through how to identify arthritis in our dogs, and how this most debilitating of disorders can be prevented.

In many ways, dogs are like humans, and like humans, dogs can get arthritis. Unlike us, however, they cannot voice their pain. This is why it is important for any dog owner to know the associated symptoms. It is equally important to understand the different causes and how this most debilitating of disorders can be prevented. There are many treatments for arthritis, but there is no doubt that the best one is prevention. This starts before birth with careful selection of the parents, who...

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Don't be an Easy Target

Author: Kate Dymock

With regular news of stolen gundogs making us all jittery, we asked BASC gundog expert Kate Dymock to explain a few things you can do to put your mind at ease.

The thought of my dog being stolen sends shivers down my spine. Like the majority of owners, my gundog is also a precious family pet and companion. It would be traumatic to lose him to theft. Gundogs are at increased risk of being stolen exactly because they are generally remarkable obedient, friendly, often pedigree and frequently kept in kennels. They are an easy target that can be sold on quickly.   It’s your responsibility Although dog theft is something a lot of people choose...

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The Trouble with Ticks

The continual threat posed by ticks and Lyme’s disease means constant vigilance is vital for gundog owners, as Laura Keyser explains.

Ask people what they associate with ticks and they will probably say bracken, summer weather and deer. However, with climate change and European pet travel on the increase, there is so much more to these arachnids than people think, and they are an ever-increasing risk to both dogs and humans alike. This means dog owners need to be more aware than ever and at all times of the year – particularly the increasingly warmer autumn months of September, October, and even November… Part of the...

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Gundog Stretches

Author: Sarah Guffogg

What do we mean by gundog physio and how can it benefit your dog following an injury or as part of their regular regime? Veterinary physio Sarah Guffogg has some answers.

Physiotherapy uses a range of techniques and equipment to optimise the health, performance and recovery of your dog following injury. Physiotherapy shouldn’t be painful although, in the acute stage of injury there may be some discomfort and stiffness following treatment but your physiotherapist will tell you what to expect after the treatment and give you any aftercare instructions. Physiotherapists make use of electrotherapies, manual techniques and exercise. Physiotherapy is beneficial...

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To Jab or Not to Jab?

Most British dog owners are familiar with the need for jabs and boosters, but here Laura Keyser explains more about the conditions we are vaccinating for.

Vaccinations help to prevent contagious and potentially fatal diseases in dogs. Vaccines work by stimulating an immune response, which lasts a varying amount of time depending on the vaccine and the disease it is trying to prevent. The vaccine contains a small dose of either dead or inactivated bacteria or virus. This means it is unable to cause disease, but is sufficient to invoke an immune response, so the immune system develops specific antibodies against the disease. There are four core...

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Time to say goodbye?

It’s the most traumatic decision dog owners have to make but veterinary surgeon Laura Keyser has some words of wisdom about the kindest options.

When is the right time to say goodbye to your beloved working dog, companion and family pet? As an owner of three spaniels that fit in to all of those categories I can honestly say that the answer is never. And as a vet, I’m frequently faced with owners asking me for advice as to when’s the right time and the ultimate conundrum: “What would you do if he/she was yours?” This really is an impossible question to answer, but I have to give my best and most honest advice at the time....

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In the summertime

Veterinary Nurse Laura Hawkins identifies what happens when dogs suffer from heatstroke and how to deal with it.

Heatstroke (also called hyperthermia) occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises above its normal level. The condition is not associated with fever or inflammation, instead heat stroke occurs when the dog’s body can no longer tolerate the external heat conditions, or get rid of excess heat fast enough, and so can occur in all types, sizes and ages of different dogs. Dogs have minimal sweat glands in the paws and nose but unlike humans cannot sweat alone to get rid of excess heat, and...

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5 classic feeding mistakes

Author: Victoria Rose

Too fat, too thin? It’s normal to worry about your dog’s body condition, and here Victoria Rose seeks expert advice to identify five common feeding errors and how to avoid them.

1 Overfeeding It is not uncommon for an inexperienced eye to deem a lean, fit working dog as being too thin. While there are breed and genetic variations at play, the field trial dogs of yesteryear were a very different-shaped creature to the working line athletes we see today. There is also the unfortunate reality that, as a society, we are becoming increasingly used to seeing overweight dogs, even within the gundog sector. “If the dog doesn’t clear up its food in 15 minutes, that is...

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