Miles has been to see Andrew the vet!

Miles made the exciting trip this morning to see vet Andrew at Donaldsons vets in Mirfield. It was decided that he should be booked in for castration on Friday morning. He will also be getting his nails and knots trimmed and possibly a dental.
~ Anne ~

Miles is now with Heronbank Cavalier Rescue.

Miles is settling down quickly with best friend Hettie.

Miles coming to rescue

Miles is a seven-year-old boy who if all goes according to plan, will be coming in to rescue on Monday morning. At the moment I have very few details except that he will need some veterinary work but I will be sure to assess him thoroughly when he comes in.

~ Anne ~

Milo and Poppy ready for a new home

Poppy has been neutered and has had a dental. She is 6 years old and is quite small for her age. She can be quite clingy but cute with her tongue sticking out of the left side of her mouth (she has no teeth to keep it in).

Milo is 9 years old and has had a dental which has left him with his 4 pointy teeth so he still has his smile. He has had his hips x-rayed. They’re fine but he does have trouble with his lower back. He is on painkillers for that which costs out at around 50p per day so its not mega expensive. He walks a bit like John Wayne but is fine on his Rimadyl in food once a day. Milo is quite the gentleman but does like to act as an alarm clock first thing in the morning. Once you’re up, he’s happy to go to sleep again!

Ideally we would like them both to go together but we understand that is not always possible.

Pebbles returns to Heronbank

Pebbles is a larger than average cavalier who gets along with pretty well any one and any other dog. She is friendly and boisterous. She travels well and loves to be out and about. She is 4 years old and is neutered, vaccinated, chipped and is regularly flea and worm treated.

But she has her problems. In 2017 she came to us after her beloved owner died. It was 4 days before her owner, and Pebbles, were discovered. As a consequence Pebbles has separation anxiety big style. She can be demanding of attention. She won’t leave you for more than a minute. She likes to be touching you. And she has a voice. Oh yes, she can bark. Loudly and persistently! We rehomed her in January 2018 and we thought it was a marriage made in heaven. Long walks on beaches, an owner who adored her. And she tried, she really did try! Pebbles was getting worse week by week, so Pebbles had to come back to us. We need to do a thorough evaluation of her. This isn’t going to be an easy fix and the last thing we want for her is a quick rehome to someone who is enthusiastic and well meaning but inexperienced. We don’t want to send her out again at the risk of her coming back yet again. This would not be good for her mental health.

… Anne

Fin’s allergy test results


Fin’s Sensitest allergy tests were ready and we wanted to discuss these with our vet, Andrew at Donaldson & Partners (see the link to the right of this page) what to do next.  see

We knew that Fin has multiple allergies including yeast, colourings, preservatives and the like, but we wanted to get a fuller picture so that we could eliminate as many allergens as possible from his environment.

The list (and this is by no means exhaustive) includes beef, lamb and chicken, egg, maize (corn). We can eliminate these from his diet, so no problem there.

2 different families of grasses.  Not so easy to avoid, but our back garden has no grass, and we can lead-walk him on the paths in our local park – no more running through the woods and fields for Fin!

Storage mites (two common types were tested) and house dust mites (a teaspoon of dust may contain over 250,000 mite droppings and is the most common cause of allergy in the UK).  These last two are invisible to the naked eye, so you can never be sure of eradicating them, the best you can hope for is to reduce their numbers.

Damp dusting and regular, thorough vacuuming of carpets, curtains and soft furnishings will help, as will keeping a window open for ventillation.

Storing of dry food in an airtight container and cleaning of the container before another pack of food is emptied in is a must.

These procedures actually did help.

The last two things he reacted to – and this was by far the strongest reaction – was the yeast and bacteria on his own skin.  Apparently these occur naturally and normally live in harmony, but antibiotics can knock the bacteria out and “Malaseb” shampoo can knock out the yeast.  We agreed to leave antibiotics alone for the moment and use Tea Tree Oil shampoo, to try and restore the balance of the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria on his skin.

it was an uphill struggle but we got there in the end.


…  Anne


Fin – anal glands and sensitest



Fin went to see Andrew at Donaldson & Partners Vets for a check-up after his Anal Gland operation.    There was a small problem (isn’t there always with Fin!) as, due to the post operative infection which he had, (see there’s a small hole where his anal glands were.  This did diminish, and he had another check-up at the end of May.

As he was (relatively) infection-free at that moment, we took the opportunity to have some bloods taken for a Sensitest – which we hope will highlight Fin’s allergies. see

And the really good news is that Fin’s infection was clearing up, his skin was less inflamed and his fur was definitely growing back. see It was slow progress, and a constant battle, but we won in the end.

Fin is usually better in the summer months, but I can honestly say that he was particularly good at that time.

…  Anne

Fin goes camping

Fin soon after arrival

Fin soon after arrival

It was a Bank Holiday.  We were taking our dogs on a favourite walk for many dog-lovers, up through the woods, down the field and back by the river.  (This was before we got the results of fin’s allergy tests back).  This was a walk we had taken many times before.  However, on this occasion a family were camping just out of the wood (an ideal spot, you would think) – obviously they were unaware that they were just off the dog-walking trail!

The family were having a meal.

I called the dogs to follow us, but unfortunately, Fin had got the scent of food!  He rushed over to their camp with me in hot pursuit – not a pretty sight I can assure you – I’m not built for speed – also I’m getting too old for that sort of thing!





He ran away just as I approached.  I apologised to the family – “It’s OK” was their reply – but obviously it was NOT OK – Fin had a slice of bread in his mouth – and we know he’s allergic to Yeast!  I turned my attention to Fin but he was having none of it – he was going to eat that bread if it was the last thing he did!!!

We knew we’d be in for another bout of allergic reactions from him, so all we could do was to ride it out and make him as comfortable as possible.  Within 24 hours his skin had flushed very red and was itchy and hot.  Infection increased on his body and legs, and we bathed him in tepid water each day until it gradually subsided.

Eventually he became more comfortable and we were left with the infection to clear up (2 courses of antibiotics).

Fin has always been food orientated – for a dog with some serious allergy issues this is not good!

…  Anne

The day Fin swallowed a dead blackbird!

FinWith all Fin’s allergies, Blackbird was definitely not on the Menu!!!

However he was totally obsessed by food of any kind and there was a day when he found a dead (and it has to be said, rather desiccated) Blackbird under some bushes in our garden – presumably one of my cats was the guilty party.

When he did not respond to my call, I went to investigate, and found Fin, with the dry and crackly blackbird half-way into his mouth.  I shouted at him to “Drop it … No … Leave it …” but this seemed to have the reverse effect as he tried to swallow it!

He had a grip on it like a pit-bull!!!

I was reduced to pulling bits of dry blackbird from the side of his mouth.  He was still trying to swallow it, and seemed to have succeeded very largely, so, fearing that a bone could be lodged in his throat, we bundled him into the car and rushed him to the main surgery of our Vets, Donaldson & Partners.

Have you ever noticed how this sort of thing always happens out of Surgery hours?!!!

After an initial examination, the on-duty vet decided that for Peace of Mind’s sake an x-ray was necessary (thank Goodness for Fin’s Insurance).

Fortunately no obstruction was found, and there were no ill-effects as far as his allergies are concerned – obviously he’s not allergic to blackbird!

…  Anne


Pet Insurance – a blessing or a curse?

It cannot be denied that good pet insurance does not come cheap but in my experience over the last forty years it is well worth it.  However there are pitfalls to avoid.

Cyda following her knee operation

Cyda following her knee operation

It is important that your pet is insured from the word go.  Every puppy that leaves a breeder and is registered with the Kennel Club should come with 4 weeks free insurance – see

During this period you will be contacted by them to enquire whether you wish to continue after the free period.

In my view you should shop around.  This insurance may not be the best in the world but equally it’s not the worse either but whatever you choose please insure your pet at this stage.

Why? You may ask – there is nothing wrong with puppy?

The reason is that any ailment, condition that puppy suffers between now and when you do take out insurance with not be covered by the insurer.  They call it a pre-existing condition.

So unlike your energy supplier, credit card supplier etc., switching is not a good idea.  Hence I recommend that you get it right from the start.

So what should you look for when picking pet insurance?



Firstly, look for “cover for life”.  There are some insurers out there who will give you cover for one year and at the end of that time will not continue to insure any condition for which you have already  claimed.  So look for the best value and make sure it is “for life” and for each and every condition.  Insurers will not cover routine treatments like fleas, worms and regular annual vaccinations.

As an example, read about Fin and his allergies on  When we rescued  Fin at three years of age, we immediately got him insured, but he is not insurable for his pre-existing conditions (his allergies), but thankfully he is for anything else – like his anal gland problem.

I say thankfully because vets don’t know what to charge these days (sorry vets!!).  His treatment for his anal glands is still ongoing but the bill is heading rapidly in the direction of £1000.  Fortunately we only pay the policy excess of £70 plus 10% of the balance which works out at approx. £150 at the moment.

Cyda's Cavalier Puppies at four and a half weeks old

It is not the purpose of this blog to recommend any particular insurer but we have found MoreThan very competitive see

Anyone living in the Kirklees area could do well to check out insurance being promoted by our vets, Donaldson and Partners, see  In addition to meeting all the criteria I have indicated above, they also give discount vouchers for routine treatments –  a case of prevention as well as cure.  Yes I know they are our vets – so why don’t we use their insurance  –  pre-existing conditions!!

I hope this has gone some way towards simplifying the complex insurance issues we all need to address these days.

…  John