Vomiting and Diarrhoea

Dogs are most often sick because they have eaten something which has upset their stomach. This could be due to eating a rotten dead animal or a discarded piece of food which they find whilst out walking. If something is really rotten and covered in bacteria, just a small mouthful will be enough to make your dog ill. Cats tend to be more selective in what they eat although there are exceptions to this!

Sometimes pets swallow strange things like stones or pieces of string which can cause a blockage and make them sick. Other times vomiting can be due to an illness like liver or kidney disease.

A couple of episodes of vomiting in an otherwise fit pet are unlikely to cause any problem, however, ongoing vomiting can lead to dehydration and weight loss. Vomiting upsets, the delicate fluid and salt balance of the body making your pet feel ill.

If your pet vomits we advise that you allow the stomach to rest and don’t offer any food for at least 8 hours. It is best to leave your pet a small bowl of water only. Once the sickness has stopped it is best to feed small meals of very bland food like chicken or white fish with rice for a few days.

If the vomiting goes on for more than 24 hours, if your pet vomits blood or if your pet is distressed or very lethargic then we suggest you phone and arrange to see a vet without delay.

If your pet vomits on a regular basis or intermittently, we suggest you make an appointment with one of the vets.
Occasionally in severe or persistent cases of vomiting we have to hospitalise pets for intravenous fluids, we may need to take X-rays and or blood tests to find out the cause.

Diarrhoea in pets is often caused by eating something unsuitable or a change of diet. Other causes include infections, stress, or bowel abnormalities. Chronic or ongoing diarrhoea is a complex problem which may have many underlying causes.

If your pet has diarrhoea but is not vomiting and otherwise seems well, it is best to offer small meals of something very bland like white fish or chicken with rice. You should offer lots of water to drink unless your pet is being sick. It is best not to walk your dog – allow him to rest.

We advise an appointment with the vet if your pet is obviously lethargic or in pain or if there is blood in the diarrhoea. We also suggest you come to see a vet if your pet keeps getting diarrhoea.

Remember we are always here to help or give advice with any of your pet’s concerns.

Pet Insurance

It is inevitable that every pet will need to be taken to a vet at some stage and all pet owners should think about how they will pay for veterinary treatment. The idea of pet insurance is that you pay a monthly fee to an insurance company, so that should your dog, cat or rabbit become ill the insurance company will pay back your pet’s veterinary fees. Your pet will usually also be insured against third party damage if your pet causes a road accident for example.

Everyone hopes their pet is not going to need to see the vet other than for routine check-ups. However, if your pet was unlucky enough to get run over or swallow a stone you could suddenly be faced with a bill of many hundreds of pounds. If you would find raising that sort of money difficult then it may be worth considering insurance.

If you own a large or extra-large dog your vet’s bills can be double or triple those of a cat or small dog due to the higher doses of drugs needed. You may be glad you insured such a dog. Also, some breeds of dog and cat tend to get more medical problems than others.

Insurance companies do not pay for vaccines and routine neutering operations. They can also be reluctant to pay for dental treatment. They will not pay out for conditions your pet has before you take out the policy and will often not pay for any condition arising within around 10-28 days of taking out the policy.

The level of cover provided by the insurance company is a very important consideration when choosing a policy for your pet. Generally, there are three different types of cover:

Cover for Life policies are the best option as these policies have an annual benefit which is renewed each year and provides continuous cover for long term or recurring conditions. For example, Company A pays out £7000 each policy year; even if you spend most of these funds, as soon as you reach your renewal date, the full £7000 benefit will be reinstated.

Maximum Benefit policies provide a fixed maximum benefit for each condition. For example, Company B pays out £6500 for each illness over your pet’s lifetime. The downside of these policies is that some conditions can be very costly and affect your pet for many years (such as diabetes or skin conditions) & in these cases if the maximum benefit is reached, the ongoing costs fall to the owner to pay.

12-month policies only provide limited cover. A condition is only covered for a maximum of twelve months from the first symptom, not just from the first claim. Any fees occurring after that 12-month period will be declined by the insurance company.

We at Meridian are not qualified insurance brokers, financial regulations prevent us from recommending specific policies. Due to data protection regulations, we are unable to speak to your insurance company without consent and so many insurance companies have individual small print we are never able to guarantee your insurance will be covered. We recommend you look at details such as the small print when buying insurance for your pet and remember you tend to get what you pay for!

If you make a claim, we ask that you pay our fees in full and claim the money back from the insurance company. We don’t have any agreement in place for insurance companies to pay us directly. You will need to get a claim form from your insurers, fill in your section and leave the form at reception. One of our nurses processes the claim and it is checked and signed by a vet if necessary. We will then post it to your insurance company. We try to send off claims within one-two weeks of receipt.

Pet Passports

The Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill has now been agreed by Parliament and received Royal Assent, so the UK leaves the European Union on 31 January 2020 and then enter a transition period until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, pet owners will be able to continue to travel with their pets in the same way as they do now (using a Pet Passport) until the end of 2020, as there are no immediate changes to the process.