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news, information and advice from dave cumber vets

Summer dangers for dog owners

Blue-green Algae

Over the past few weeks we have enjoyed some amazing summer weather; however this has not come without its problems for dogs and their owners. One of the summer dangers has been the emergence of Blue-green algae in our rivers and waterways. These Blue-green algae are bacteria that under certain environmental conditions (such as the recent heat wave) form blooms in still water; this algae can be toxic to animals. Dogs can develop tummy upsets in the early stages but symptoms can escalate if not treated quickly.

Dave Cumber of Dave Cumber Vets said “Blooms of blue-green algae can produce harmful toxins which stop a dog’s liver from functioning properly. Sadly, exposure to toxic blue-green algae is often fatal, and can also cause long term health problems in dogs that survive after drinking or swimming in algae-contaminated water. Dogs who have been swimming in water can get the algae caught in their fur, and can ingest it while cleaning themselves later on.  Concentrations of the algae vary throughout the year and may not always be harmful – but you can’t tell simply by looking at them whether or not they are dangerous, so it is best not to run the risk of allowing your dog to come into contact with water where the algae may be present.”

If your dog shows any of the following signs after drinking from, or swimming or paddling in water, contact your vet immediately and tell them you are concerned about blue-green algae:

  • Vomiting/being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures/fitting
  • Weakness/collapse/unconsciousness
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Drooling
  • Breathing difficulties


Wasps & Bees

Dogs love to chase buzzing insects, but getting too close can be dangerous. It’s better to get your dog to leave bees and wasps alone as stings can cause allergic reactions.

Most insect stings will simply be painful or irritating for your dog, but being stung multiple times can be fatal.

bumble bee sting

Many dogs are stung on the paws or the face or mouth, as they go to investigate the insect using this part of their bodies. When dogs snap at bees and wasps, they are more likely to be stung in the mouth or throat. Stings in these areas, particularly inside the mouth, are hazardous because any swelling can block your pet’s airway. If your dog is stung in the mouth, contact your vet quickly for further advice.

Signs that your dog has been stung

  • Whining
  • Holding up a paw (if stung on the paw)
  • Biting or nibbling at the site of the sting
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Swelling
  • Hives

Signs that your dog is having an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the mouth and/or throat
  • Collapse

If you notice one or more of these signs when your dog has been stung, take them to the vet immediately for treatment.

Desensitisation treatment for dogs who have a firework phobia

Whilst firework night might seem like an age away, now is the perfect time to start preparing your dog for the festive season if it suffers from noise related anxiety. Fear caused by fireworks can be distressing for many dogs and cause outwards displays of stress such as shaking, hiding or whimpering.

There are many treatments and techniques that purport to help such phobias, however more often than not these are not administered until the event, when it is sometimes too late. For maximum effectiveness it is essential to begin preparations early and take a broad approach, which encompasses different strategies.

Behavioural therapies

Behavioural therapies, such as systematic desensitisation and counter-conditioning can be highly effective at reducing fear, if they are administered early and over a prolonged period of time.

dog scared of fireworks

Where should you start?

Begin your training programme a couple of months before firework season, so that you have as much control as possible over the immediate environment and the noises that your dog is likely to hear.

Begin quietly

Once your dog is settled and comfortable, start the desensitisation process by playing an audio clip of fireworks. Desensitisation tapes are available. To begin with it is essential that the volume is very low so as not to scare the dog. It is important to remember that dogs hear much lower levels of noise than the human ear, so it is best to begin with noise that is barely audible.

During this programme be sure to reward your dog at regular intervals either with a tasty treat or fussing and attention when it displays calm and settled behaviour. Always end your session at this point, never on a negative reaction.

Be patient with the process and it can take a couple of weeks or even months and progress can be slow. Persistence will pay off and hopefully by the end of the programme your dog will be able to experience loud firework problems without reduced fear.

What happens if it doesn’t work?

As dog owners, we always have the best intentions for our four legged friends; however do not be disheartened if it doesn’t work. Just like in humans, phobias can be deep-rooted and there is no one size fits all approach. If your dog is not reacting as expected to the programme, even after a period of time, consult your vet. They will be able to offer advice or alternative medicines to try.

Preparing to bring your new cat or kitten home

Welcoming a new cat or kitten into the family can be an incredibly exciting experience. Any animal lover will attest to the fact that pets greatly enrich our lives and quickly become a much-loved and irreplaceable member of the family. With this in mind, in preparation for bringing your new bundle of fluff home, there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration. Planning carefully will ensure your cat has a happy and healthy life in it’s new home and that the move is as stress free as possible.

Cat proof your house

Cats are notoriously curious and like to hide in small and confined spaces, especially if they are startled or scared. Make efforts to plug small gaps and cubbyholes such as behind appliances to prevent your new cat getting lost or stuck. Try to tuck electrical cables away and be mindful of the strings on blinds, as these can be dangerous if your cat gets tangled. It is also essential to remove small objects that may present a choking hazard if they are swallowed.

Create a safe and secure environment

Provide your cat with a comfy and cosy place to sleep that is free from noise and bother from other pets. Beds are often best placed high, as cats like to climb and often feel safe and secure away from the ground.

preparing your home for a new cat or kitten.

Keep your cat inside

Even if you are planning for you cat to be allowed outdoors, it is sensible to keep it inside for at least two weeks so that it can become familiar with its surroundings. If you have a cat flap ensure it is sealed shut and that open windows and doors are kept closed.

Microchip your cat

Sometimes even the best made plans don’t come to fruition and your cat may managed to escape the confines of your home before you had planned. Prepare for all eventualities and ensure that your cat has appropriate identification so it can be safely returned to your home if it gets lost. Micro chipping is the best method and is a quick procedure that lasts a lifetime. At the very least ensure your cat is wearing a collar with an identification tag containing a contact telephone number. We recommend breakaway collars that detach should your cat get caught.

Ensure you have access to a carry basket

Bringing your cat home is a wonderful experience but care needs to be taken to transport them safely in a way that causes as little distress as possible. A carry basket is the best option as it will help contain your cat during the journey. Often this can be a nerve wracking experience, so help to keep your cat calm by lining the basket with a blanket that has a familiar scent.

Remove anything toxic

There are a number of seemingly innocent household items that can be potentially lethal to cats if ingested. Some plants such as lilies, ivy and azaleas are particularly dangerous. Also, make sure that domestic products that contain harmful chemicals are kept in a safe place out of reach. These include items such as cleaning fluids and slug pellets.

Register with a trusted vet

Register your kitten a cat with a trusted vet as soon as it is home. They will be able to check your cat’s general health and advise you on necessary vaccinations. Your vet will also be able to provide expert guidance on maintaining your cats ongoing health and advise on neutering, flea treatments and worming. Signing up to an ongoing plan, such as our Pet Health Club will ensure that all preventative care measures are undertaken.

looking after your new cat or kitten

Get peace of mind from pet insurance

Like all animals, cats and kittens can sometimes get themselves in a bit of bother. It is always best to be prepared for such eventualities and have appropriate insurance cover in place to cover veterinary expenses. These can be relatively inexpensive and can often be paid monthly to ease financial burden.

Set up your cats things

Choose an area of your home such as the kitchen or utility room that is suitable for your bet to eat, drink and go to the toilet. Having a consistent place to feed will help your cat settle in and become familiar with your home. 

Pick out a selection of toys

Play is a great way to bond with your new pet and can provide mental and physical stimulation that will help prevent boredom. Prior to collecting your new cat purchase a selection of toys to help keep them entertained. Scratch posts are also essential as they provide your cat with a special place to scratch their claws, which keeps them healthy and in good condition.

Top tips for keeping your dog cool this summer

Whilst the recent hot and sunny weather has been a welcome break from the treacherous weather we had over winter, it’s important to remember that this can be a difficult time for our four legged friends. With this in mind, we’ve devised a list of our top tips to give you peace of mind and keep your dog cool in this warm weather.

Exercise in the early morning or late evening

It is important to keep your dog well exercised, but with temperatures rising to the mid 20’s before 9am, it’s best to do this early or after the sun goes down. Reduce the length of your walk and try to choose a route that is not in direct sunlight, such as in the woods. Swimming is an excellent alternative to walking during the summer as it provides fantastic exercise whilst keeping your dog cool.

Avoid hot pavements

Whilst we understand that dogs are very much part of the family, assess whether they would be better left at home during a family day out. Concrete and tarmac pavements can become unbearably hot and can damage dogs pads on the bottom of their paws. As a rule of thumb, if it’s too hot for your hand its too hot for your dog.

dogs on hot pavements infographic. tips to keep your dog cool.
Keep your dog hydrated

Always take water with you on a walk and make sure your dog can drink this easily. Collapsible silicone dog bowls are a great as they can fold up and be carried in your backpack or pocket. At home, ensure your dog always has access to fresh cold water throughout the day. Change the water regularly and if possible fill the bowl to the brim.

Make your own cooling treats

For a fun way to keep your dog hydrated and entertained, fillable toys such as Kong’s can also be popped into the freezer to create a tasty cooling snack.

Spot the signs of heatstroke and dehydration early

Dogs can suffer the detrimental effects of heatstroke in minutes, so it’s important to know the signs and spot them early. If your dog begins to breath rapidly, shake, dribble excessively or collapse consult your vet immediately and move it to a cool place with access to water. You could even try draping a cold wet towel over them paying close attention to the armpit and groin area.

Create a cooling place to lie

Ensure your dog has a space to lay out of direct sunlight, ideally with a breeze. A cooling mat or a wet towel would be beneficial as would access to a paddling pool if they are still struggling. Hosing your dog down or wetting their coat will also help to keep them cool, however it’s important to remember that dogs cool from the bottom up, so pay particular attention to their legs and belly.

Pets on holiday. Dog in hammock

Never leave your dog in the car

Try to avoid car travel during the summer, as this can be distressing for your dog. Under no circumstances should your dog ever be left in a car, even if the windows have been left ajar as temperatures can quickly reach 50 degrees, causing the onset of heatstroke which can be fatal.

Book a trip to the groomers

Longhaired dog breeds may benefit from a trim from a trained dog groomer in the warmer months to avoid them over heating. Be careful however, not do expose their skin as light haired dogs can experience sunburn in the same way as humans.

Dog grooming in Weymouth at Dave Cumber Vets.

If you have any questions regarding your dogs’ health during this hot spell, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our friendly team are always on hand to offer expert advice and guidance.

Rabbit Awareness – What is Flystrike?

Flystrike can be fatal for rabbits

Flystrike is a distressing condition which takes place mainly in the summer months. Flies lay eggs on the rabbit’s skin (usually around their bottom) the eggs then hatch into maggots. The maggots eat and can often burrow into the rabbit’s skin. Minor cases caught early may be treatable but this condition is often fatal and can take place within hours.

Flystrike can be fatal for rabbits.

Prevention is better than cure

  • Feed a diet of mainly hay and grass to keep the guts working properly and prevent diarrhoea.
  • Check your pet’s back end daily to ensure it is clean and dry
  • Change soiled bedding daily using plenty of absorbent bedding such as shavings.
  • Clean and disinfect the hutch weekly. We recommend “Keep it Clean” spray
  • Fly prevention around the hutch. Flies do not like the smell of citronella oil so this can be used on the outside of the hutch. Sticky fly paper can also be used as long as the rabbit cannot get to it.
  • Do not let your rabbit get overweight as it will be unable to clean itself and the soft faeces will cake and attract flies
  • Hang fly strips or put on fly nets if possible.
  • Fly prevention on your rabbit “Rearguard” is a liquid that is applied to the rabbit’s hindquarters. An application of one bottle will last 10 weeks, preventing the maggots developing to the stage when they cause damage.

Dave Cumber owner of Dave Cumber Vets said “This can be an extremely distressing experience for both the rabbit and owner but it is easily treatable if the rabbit is brought into the surgery early to see one of our vets. It is also essential that rabbits have plenty of hay and grass available at all times. This is to prevent teeth overgrowing and to keep the intestines working properly. Rabbit’s teeth can grow between 2mm and 3mm a week and in the wild they would spend 75% of their time outside the burrow grazing.”

More information on caring for your rabbit can be found on rabbits page.

Pets on Holiday – Home and Away

Holidays usually mean there are a hundred and one things to think about, but how to care for your pets on holiday should be one of the first. Planning in advance is very important. Reliable neighbours or friends may be prepared to help with cats, rabbits and goldfish but more thought needs to go into caring for your dog whilst you are away or making plans for taking your pet with you.

Many people book their beloved animals in kennels or catteries, many take the time to check the facilities in advance and check out for bright clean surroundings, warm sleeping quarters and adequate exercise areas. It might be a good idea to ask around for recommendations and remember that any good cattery or kennel will always want to check your vaccination certificates are up to date.

Pets on holiday. Cat looking at map.

Many owners decide to take their dogs on holiday with them. Most holidays will mean a car journey and a car safety harness for medium and large dogs and a carrier for small dogs is recommended. A loose dog in the car can cause serious injury to itself and to the humans travelling in the car. At 30mph an unrestrained Border collie size dog would be hurled forward with the force equivalent to the weight of a Polar Bear so the damage can be significant and sometimes fatal.

Remember to always carry plenty of water and have frequent stops, but always make sure your dog is on the lead BEFORE you open the car door. Never let your dog stick its head out of the window during car journeys, this can result in eye injuries from stones and insects.

Taking Your Pets on Holiday Abroad

Holidays outside of the UK are becoming more and more popular and if you are planning to take your pets on holiday abroad then you need to check with your vet regarding the legal requirements for paper work, rabies vaccine requirements. All of this can take time so please plan in order to get all of this in order. The Pet Travel Scheme and Pet Passport process can be a lengthy and time consuming process.

Pets on holiday. Dog in hammock

Top Tips – Pet Passport

  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • A rabies vaccination (must be given 21 days prior to holiday)
  • You will be issued with an EU passport for your pet
  • Protect your pets against parasites which are common in mainland Europe such as
    • Leishmaniasis – often fatal and spread by sand flies
    • Canine Babesiosis and Erlichiosis – spread by ticks
    • Heartworm – invades blood stream and causes heart failure
  • More info at www.defra.gov.uk/pets or pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk Helpline +44 370 2411710
  • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for ensuring your pet meets all the rules for travelling

Top Tips – Pet Travel in UK

  • Accommodation: When thinking about where you want to stay, take your dog’s needs into account as well as yours.
  • Booking: Having found somewhere you want to stay, double-check that dogs are definitely welcome. Ask at the same time if there are any restrictions on the size, breed or number that you can and find out how much it will cost – dogs don’t always go free!
  • Driving there: Make sure your dog will be comfortable on the way to your destination. Give him a comfy blanket to snooze on, ensure he has adequate ventilation, and either has drinking water available in a non-spill travel bowl or offer him some whenever you stop. Take a break every two hours at a suitable place to let him stretch his legs and spend a penny.
  • Insurance: Make sure your pet is insured, not just for accidents and illness, but also for third party liability.
  • Microchip: Microchipping is now compulsory for all dog owners in the UK. All dogs in England, Scotland and Wales are now legally required to have been chipped by the time they are eight weeks old. This permanent form of ID will improve the chances of being reunited should he stray.

Award Nomination for Best Community Engagement Business

We are delighted to have been nominated for the 2018 Dorset Echo Industry Awards. We have been short listed for the best community engagement business award specifically for our involvement with the Wessex FM Big Weymouth Walkies event which took place on Sunday 25th March 2018, which was the last Sunday that dogs were officially allowed on the whole stretch of Weymouth beach.

In 2016 Weymouth & Portland Borough Council changed the rules reducing the time period that dogs are allowed to be exercised on parts of Weymouth Beach. Dogs are not allowed on the beach area between Greenhill Groyne and the Pier end of Weymouth beach from Good Friday 30th March 2018 – 31 October inclusive. Over 800 dog owners, families and friends turned out to walk the length of Weymouth beach with their dogs and enjoyed the event very much, a real community spirit and show of support for responsible dog ownership in the community.

Dave Cumber, owner of Dave Cumber Vets in Dorset said “It is very important that dogs and their owners take regular exercise. Weymouth beach and many other Dorset beaches make a perfect exercise route for a lot of people. The whole family can enjoy a day out at the beach whilst taking some good exercise in the fresh sea air. During the summer months our beautiful countryside can be a great alternative to the beach. We wanted to host this event to promote the merits of responsible dog ownership which can be simple things like, keeping your dog safely on a lead, picking up dog mess, safe interaction with other dogs and respect for public spaces.”

During the “Weymouth Walkies” event there was lots of things to do including refreshments which were being sold to raise money for Margaret Green Animal Rescue, pet food and supplies from Pet Experience and CC Moore plus advice and guidance from the Dave Cumber Vets team. Walkers also enjoyed goody bags and FREE poo bags.

If we win we will receive £250 of advertising in the Dorset Echo or on dorsetecho.co.uk and will also be featured in the category winners’ coverage in the Dorset Echo and online at dorsetecho.co.uk. However just being nominated and recognised for the recent work we have done with the local community is great.

Dave Cumber Vets are planning to repeat the event in March 2019 when dog who do great things in the community will be invited to attend for example Guide dogs for the blind, Hearing dogs and Pets as Therapy. We can’t wait for the awards ceremony at Weymouth College on 15th June, where the winners will be announced.

dave cumber vets – spring 2018

Finally, after all the awful weather it looks as if Spring has sprung!  We seem to have spent weeks wading through knee-deep mud every time we take the dogs out, never mind the snow!

Dave cumber vets warn about Alabama Rot

Getting out and walking with your dog in the beautiful Dorset countryside is a great way to keep fit.   It is wise however to be aware of a couple of potential hazards that could cause a problem to your pet.  Click her to see what to look out for to ensure that your pet stays safe and well when out and about.

There has been so much going on at the surgery in the last few weeks.  As well as our main role in helping you keep your pets as healthy and happy as possible, we have been involved in several ways in the wider community.

We were delighted to be the initiators and sponsors of the first “Big Weymouth Walkies” along with wessex fm.  The idea started several months ago when we thought it would be great to celebrate the wonderful dog walking we have in the area with a mass dog walk along Weymouth beach on the last Sunday dogs are allowed on the full length of the sands.  What a response!  We were thrilled when hundreds of you and your furry best friends turned up to help us celebrate.  Click here to read all about it and see all the fabulous photos in our news item.

As part of our community involvement, Dave has made several visits to local schools recently.  Alongside other local businesses, he has been talking to students about careers in and around the veterinary profession – not just as vets and vet nurses but also in the customer care, admin and business side.  Veterinary surgeries could not run without these vital non-clinical roles.

Following the popularity of our surgery tours, we are planning to organise some more tours of our great new Weymouth surgery.  If you want a sneak preview, why not take a virtual tour of our Link Park surgery.  Click here for a behind the scenes look at what we have to offer.

Wednesday Morning closures – from now on we are closing every Wednesday from 9am to 10am for staff training.  Please have a look at the news item to see how this may affect you and your pet.  We will of course still be available for emergencies.

We have been working very hard on improving the veterinary experience for our cat patients and it is now official – we are a Gold Standard Cat Friendly practice!  You can see just how this affects you and your cat by reading all about it in our news item.

Adder Bites and Alabama Rot: Protecting Your Dog

Dangers to Look out for When Walking with Dogs in Dorset

Dave Cumber Vets have treated their first adder bite case of the year. Last year the Dave Cumber Vets had to pull out all of the stops when they were asked to treat 5 dogs which had been bitten by adders around Weymouth in a few days.

Adder bites are a medical emergency and can be fatal so dog owners need to act quickly if they think their dog has been bitten. There is usually severe swelling around the bite area and owners may see two puncture wounds. Bites around the face and throat are particularly dangerous because of the swelling.

dave cumber vets says beware of adder bites on dogs.

Top tips if bitten:

  • Try and keep the dog as calm and still as possible.
  • It is better to bring transport to the dog rather than making them walk back.
  • Go straight to your vet
  • Do not interfere with the wound or tie any sort of tourniquet because there is a danger of tissue damage around the bite.

Treatment may include:

  • anti-venom
  • anti-inflammatory drugs
  • antibiotics
  • painkillers
  • fluids

Early treatment is essential as dogs that have been bitten and not treated can go on to develop heart, kidney and liver failure over the next few days. Adders are the only poisonous snake in Britain and can be active between February and October especially during the warm summer months.  They are quite common in Dorset, favouring open rough ground, heathland and the edge of woodland.

Another danger to be aware of between November and June is Alabama Rot which seems to be associated with muddy fields. There were 40 cases last year in the UK.

Mr Cumber said “Dog owners have been warned to keep their pets away from mud this winter. We recommend that owners wash mud off their dogs when they return home and check for any small wounds especially on lower limbs and muzzle. The cause of Alabama Rot is unknown, and it affects all breeds. If it’s not spotted early it could lead to potentially fatal kidney failure, with 80% of cases leading to death within a week as the diagnosis often comes too late.”

Lastly, there is always the danger of dogs picking up something potentially toxic while out walking.

Dave Cumber said “Getting out and walking with your dog on our wonderful local beaches and countryside is a great way to keep healthy but owners should be aware of possible dangers. Recently we have had a few cases of poisoning where dogs have come into the surgery in a very poorly state due to eating something they should not have done. Owners need to get their dog checked by a vet if they notice any unusual behaviour such as vomiting, seizures or drowsiness”.

Dave Cumber Vets also has a surgery at 86, Mellstock Avenue, Dorchester.

Hundreds join the Dave Cumber Vets first “Weymouth Walkies” event

Dave Cumber Vets sponsored the first ever “Weymouth Walkies” dog walking event in Weymouth on Sunday 25th March 2018, which was the last Sunday that dogs are officially allowed on the whole stretch of Weymouth Beach.

In 2016 Weymouth & Portland Borough Council changed the rules reducing the time period that dogs are allowed to be exercised on parts of Weymouth Beach. Dogs are not allowed on the beach area between Greenhill Groyne and the Pier end of Weymouth beach from Good Friday 30th March 2018 – 31 October inclusive.

Hundreds of dog owners, families and friends turned out to walk the length of Weymouth beach with their dogs.

Dave Cumber, owner of Dave Cumber Vets said

“I am absolutely overwhelmed just how many people turned up to join us on the Weymouth Walkies event. It was wonderful to see so many types of dogs, breeds and ages all in one place, some as young as 13 weeks and some still walking at 13 years of age. The goody bags contained goodies from Dave Cumber Vets such as keyrings, fridge magnets, pens and the all-important poo bags! The goody bags were very popular and went very quickly. I really hope we can repeat this event which promotes responsible dog ownership again in the future.”

Other pet friendly businesses supported the event, CC Moore and Pet Experience donated vouchers and dog treats, Dog Friendly Social promoted the event, and Flyball Dorset were very busy with displays. I would like to thank my wonderful team who really worked very hard before and during the event, I am very proud of them. The staff from Dave Cumber Vets provided refreshments to the walkers and the proceeds will go to Margaret Green Animal rescue. It is hoped that the event will be repeated next year.  The team also ran a raffle in aid of Hounds for Heroes, a charity which helps ex-servicemen by using dog therapy. The raffle raised £130 and the lucky winner won a handmade pet blanket.

Following the Big Weymouth Walkies event a dog was taken ill and later sadly died. Dave Cumber said

“I would like to thank everyone for their messages of concern and support with regards to the dog that was taken ill on Sunday. The dog concerned was not registered at Dave Cumber Vets and therefore we are now working with other veterinary practices at the current time in regards to this sensitive matter. Please continue to be vigilant with your pets when out walking and report anything out of the ordinary.”

Weymouth Walkies Gallery

Dave Cumber Vets To Host First “Weymouth Walkies” Dog Event

Dave Cumber Vets are proud to announce that they will be sponsoring the first ever “Weymouth Walkies” dog walking event in Weymouth on Sunday 25th March 2018, which is the last Sunday that dogs are officially allowed on the whole stretch of Weymouth Beach.

In 2016 Weymouth & Portland Borough Council changed the rules reducing the time period that dogs are allowed to be exercised on parts of Weymouth Beach. Dogs are not allowed on the beach area between Greenhill Groyne and the Pier end of Weymouth beach from Good Friday 30th March 2018 – 31 October inclusive. All relevant information, maps and guidance can be found in the Dog Owners Guide from Dorset For You.

Dave Cumber, owner of Dave Cumber Vet said “It is very important that dogs and their owners take regular exercise. Weymouth beach and many other Dorset beaches make a perfect exercise route for a lot of people. The whole family can enjoy a day out at the beach whilst taking some good exercise in the fresh sea air. During the summer months our beautiful countryside can be a great alternative to the beach. During the “Weymouth Walkies” event there will be lots of things to do including, refreshments, music from Wessex FM, pet food and supplies, advice and guidance from the Dave Cumber Vets team plus goody bags and FREE poo bags”.

vet Dave Cumber with his dogs

The “Weymouth Walkies” event will start at 10.30am and there is no need to pre-register, simply turn up at the Pavilion end of the beach with your dog on a lead. The walk will continue up to Greenhill and then return to the Pavilion. Dog walkers are free to leave the walk at any time.

top 10 tips for keeping fit with your pet in 2018

How many of us have started the new year with a gym membership, new exercise bike orget fit with your dog by walking personal training sessions?  Of course, these can help keep us fit, but you may have your very own Mr Motivator living with you 24 hours a day at no extra cost.  Exercising with dogs is one of the best ways of improving your health and well-being as well as that of your dog.

Its not just we humans that are getting fatter, statistics show that up to 60% of dogs and cats in the UK are clinically obese.   It’s not rocket science, we all know this stuff – too much food & too little exercise.  And we all know the possible consequences for people & pets: Diabetes Mellitus, orthopaedic disease, heart disease, respiratory distress, high blood pressure and cancers.  Let’s face it, it’s not much fun when every move you make leaves you breathless and exhausted.  Your pet relies on you to make the best decisions for their health and well-being so why not get fitter together.

Here are 10 top tips to help you and your furry friend get the New Year off to a happier, healthier start

  1. Get advice: here at Dave Cumber Vets we offer free weight clinics at both are Dorchester & Weymouth surgeries.  These are run by our highly experienced nurses who will help set an appropriate goal weight for your pet and give you advice & support on how to achieve it
  2. Be aware: risk factors for obesity include:  age, certain breeds, being female, neutering and having an overweight owner – sorry, but that’s actually true!  These are risk factors NOT excuses
  3. Portion size: this applies to pets as much as people.  There is a natural tendency for portion size to creep upwards, so weigh your pet’s food and mark your scoop so that you give the correct amount at every meal
  4. Tit-bits and treats: snacks between meals make your pet fat – don’t do it, it’s not fair to them.  If you give treats as a reward, keep them small and limit the number per day.
  5. Walking: surveys have shown that 1 in 4 people admit to NEVER taking their dog for a walk.  Start gently and build up to 30-60 minutes a day.  Its great exercise for you and your pooch and it’s a great de-stresser
  6. Play: You are your dog’s best friend and playmate – so play!  Run around, get your pet to chase you, play hide and seek or play catch with a ball.  Dogs get bored just as people do, so liven things up a bit.
  7. Play dates: many dogs love playing with other dogs and will run around playing chase for ages.  Its great exercise and great for socialisation – dogs are pack animals, most enjoy canine company. Look for a local park where others walk their dogs and you and your pet can make some new friends
  8. Exercise for the brain & body: many dogs enjoy a mental as well as physical challenge.  Why not have a go at agility classes or Flyball.  They are a fantastic way to keep your best friend entertained, socialised and fit – and you get to socialise as well.  They cater for all abilities so why not give it a go?
  9. CaniX: pronounced canicross, is getting out with your best friend and doing what they love best – running.  You run attached to your dog by a harness and most dogs take to it very quickly because dogs love to run, and it taps into their natural instincts. Take a look at canix.co.uk to find out more
  10. Again – get advice: you don’t have to do this by yourself.  Our team will be delightedly to help and keep helping.  When your pet is the correct weight it will be happier and healthier which is every vet’s ultimate goaldogs love to play

You may feel your pet loves you when you give them food, but they will love you even more if you give them quality time, attention and the health to be able to get out there and enjoy life. You benefit, they benefit it’s a WIN WIN – happy New year!


dave cumber vets – winter 2017

The first snow of the year (albeit a bit sleety here in Dorset), really makes it feel like Christmas is coming.  There’s always so much to do and not nearly enough time, but if you have a minute, take a look at our “12 days of Christmas” – a potted guide to what to watch out for with your pet as the festivities get into full swing!  It’s all too easy for your pet to get a bit forgotten in the hurly burly which surrounds the holidays, but our quick guide will help to jog your memory about the possible dangers.

We really hope that your pet stays happy and healthy over Christmas, but should you need us, we are only a phone call away, 24 hours a day, every day.  Click here for a full list of our surgery opening times over the holidays.

We are again supporting the Scout Christmas Post which is excellent value at a suggested donation of 25p per card with all donations going to Scout funds.  You will find their post boxes in many locations in Dorchester & the surrounding villages including our Dorchester surgery in Mellstock Road.  Last collection before Christmas is 12 noon on 19th December.

we are planning to organise some more tours of our great new Weymouth surgery but if you missed out on our surgery tours at the open day, why not take a virtual tour of our Link Park surgery.  Click here for a behind the scenes look at what we have to offer.

Wednesday Morning closures – from now on we are closing every Wednesday from 9am to 10am for staff training.  Please have a look at the news item to see how this may affect you and your pet.  We will of course still be available for emergencies.

We have been working very hard on improving the veterinary experience for our cat patients and it is now official – we are a Gold Standard Cat Friendly practice!  You can see just how this affects you and your cat by reading all about it in our news item.

Finally all the team at Dave cumber Vets would like to wish you and your pets a very Happy & Healthy Christmas!

Rabbit disease VHD2 confirmed in Weymouth

We have had 4 rabbits in Weymouth die of Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (VHD 2) thisdave cumber vets say vaccinate your rabbit November.  The usual combined vaccine against myxomatosis and VHD1 will NOT protect your rabbit against VHD2.    VHD2 is a highly infectious and often fatal disease of rabbits.  Both VHD1 & VHD2 are caused by a related virus, but where VHD1 is nearly always rapidly fatal, VHD2 has a slower onset.  The symptoms of VHD2 can be rather non-specific, from listlessness, lack of apetite & a bit off-colour, to sudden, unexplained death.  Up to 20% of infected rabbits will die, with death occuring over several days.  Unlike VHD1, baby rabbits under the age of 6 weeks seem to get no immunity to VHD2 from their mothers.

Both types of VHD are transmitted by direct contact with secretions from the nose and mouth of infected rabbits.  They can also be transmitted indirectly by exposure to contaminated objects or via equipment & clothing. Insects, rodents & birds may also be able to spread the virus.  VHD can survive freezing conditions and can persist in the environment for a long time.

The best protection for your pet rabbit is vaccination.  A combined annual vaccination against myxomatosis and VHD1 is commonly given but although VHD2 has been known about for some time, we have not had it in Dorset and most of our rabbit owners have not asked for the vaccination.  Since the recent deaths in Weymouth have been confirmed as VHD2, all rabbits belonging to our members of staff have been vaccinated against VHD2 and we would recommend to our clients that they have their pet rabbits vaccinated as well.  The vaccine against VHD2 cannot be given at the same time as the myxomatosis/VHD1 vaccine – there must be at least 2 weeks between them.

Other precautions which may help protect your pet rabbit include:

  • make sure your garden is not accesible to wild rabbits and other wildlife
  • do not handle rabbits in pet shops or other similar environments and ensure you wash hands thoroughly after coming into contact with other rabbits
  • buy bedding & food from a reputable pet shop to ensure there is no contamination
  • hang insect repellant strips & keep bedding clean and dry to avoid attracting unwanted insects which may carry the disease
  • if you have other pets such as cats and dogs, they should be regularly treated for fleas with a veterinary approved product

Vaccination for pet rabbits is the most effective way to protect them.  If you would like to discuss this further, or if you would like to make an appointment, our team at Dorchester or Weymouth will be happy to help.

NEW drug for dogs with noise phobia

How did your pet cope with firework night?

Fireworks are not restricted to bonfire night. These days they are often used for weddings, parties, Christmas and New Year. And it’s not just fireworks. Other noises such as DIY, building work, loud music and thunderstorms can also trigger stress reactions in your pet
Anxiety caused by noise affects approximately 50% of dogs. Typical reactions include: panting, whining, lip-licking, trembling, hiding, yawning, pacing, refusing to eat and clinginess. There are several products on the market which we have found to be useful in helping your pet cope with noise-related anxiety. Click here to view our recommended products.

A NEW drug called SILEO has just come out which seems to be very effective in DOGS that suffer with noise phobia. It comes in a small syringe (no needle!) and is administered between the cheek and gum inside your dog’s mouth.

new drug for noise phobia in dogs
We think our clients will find this new treatment particularly useful because, although ideally it is given 30-60 minutes before the noise event, it is still effective if given when the noise starts or when your dog starts to show signs of distress. A repeat dose can be given every 2 hours to a maximum of 5 doses, should that be needed. Your dog will be calm but still be able to function normally

SILEO cannot be dispensed “over the counter”. An appointment with one of our vets must be made to assess your dog before it is prescribed. Once prescribed for the first time, it can be repeat prescribed for up to six months.

As with any medicine there are a few things to be aware of:
• SILEO is potentially dangerous to pets if abused/used incorrectly.
• Not to be used on puppies under 16 weeks
• Not be used in pregnancy or lactation

If you think that SILEO might help your dog ,then give us a ring at our Dorchester or Weymouth surgery to make an appointment.



Take a Virtual Tour of Dave Cumber Vets in Weymouth

You can now take a tour of Dave Cumber Vets in Weymouth without having to step inside the building. Thanks to new Google virtual tour photography, customers can easily navigate their way around the large purpose built facility located on Link Park in Chickerell.

Reception and waiting area

Just as visitors do in person, on the virtual tour you can enter the building through reception room and start exploring the separate dog and cat waiting areas.

Dog Preparation and Recovery area

Take a look around our Dog Preparation and Recovery Area.

X-Ray Room

In the X-Ray room you can take a close look at our diagnostic imaging equipment.


We have built the cattery area to the highest standards to comply with the ISFM Gold Cat award scheme. This provides a wonderfully warm and sound insulated environment.

Dog kennels

Take a look around our large dog kennel area. It allows dogs the space to comfortably recover in a safe and warm environment.

Consultation room

Above is one an example of one of our six consultation rooms.

Operating room

If your pet requires an operation with us this is where they will have it performed.

help your pet cope with fireworks

Pets and Fireworks

Have you REMEMBERED and are you PREPARED?



Firework Night is nearly here and the celebrations will probably carry on for several days with all the problems that can cause for some pets. As we say each year, early preparation is the key especially if you would like to desensitise your pet. Have a look at our article on helping your pet cope with fireworks and then check out the firework phobia products available. Our staff at both the Dorchester and Weymouth surgeries will be happy to help and advise if you have any worries regarding your pets and fireworks.

Let’s “remember, remember the 5th of November” for all the right reasons this year!

dave cumber vets advice to help your pet cope with fireworks