Everything you need to know about gundog health in one place, including advice from gundog experts about ailments and illnesses, teeth, nutrition, x-rays and much more, plus your questions answered by vets.

Golden retriever

Hypothyroidism in dogs. What owners need to know

Q: My lab bitch is only seven years old but is acting much older. She is a little heavy, there’s hair loss and thick, scabby skin below her neck and tummy and her coat is a bit thin on her sides. Is she just getting old before her time? A:…

labrador

Poisoned dogs: the symptoms and the dangers to look out for

Reports of poisoned dogs There was considerable panic in my local dog-owning community last month, when a three-year-old labrador reportedly died from poisoning. The initial Facebook post indicated that the dog had died as a result of eating poison picked up at a popular dog-walking site, a nature reserve where…

Fox

What diseases could my dog pick up from foxes?

Disease from foxes All dogs, including gundogs can get the following disease from foxes: Sarcoptic mange Lungworm Rabies Dogs and foxes do suffer from the same diseases, though, of which the most worrying is rabies. We have been rabies-free in Britain for 98 years — since quarantine for dogs was…

old black labrador

New injection for arthritic dogs: could it help?

Q:  I have heard that there is a new injection for arthritic dogs available. Is this very different from other treatments and how effective is it? A: Arthritis is a condition that leads to pain and progressive degeneration of the joints. It affects many aspects of a dog’s outlook, causing…

springer spaniel

Just how serious a threat is lungworm to dogs?

In April and May, with the weather becoming warmer, slugs and snails become much more active which increases the risk of lungworm in dogs. Dogs that eat slugs, snails or frogs, even tiny ones eaten by accident, can catch lungworm from them. Your vet should be able to advise you…

black labrador

What treatment can I give my constipated dog?

Helping a constipated dog Q: My labrador seems to get constipated; she gets into position to relieve herself but 
with no success, despite straining for several minutes. It’s distressing to see and I’d like to solve the issue.What can be 
done to relieve a constipated dog? A: Constipation in dogs…

springer spaniel in water

Do spaniels smell more than Labradors?

Q: I would like a springer or working cocker spaniel to train as a gundog, but my father is not keen. My grandparents had a show-strain cocker who was a lovely dog but she was one of those really smelly spaniels, no matter what my grandparents did to try to…

Cocker Spaniel

Removing anal glands from a dog: is it recommended?

Q: I am having to take my dog to the vet quite often to have his anal glands emptied. I have heard removing anal glands is possible in a dog. Is this something you would recommend? A: Each time a dog passes a firm stool, it voids an amount of…

Working dog hazards barbed wire

Working dog hazards to watch out for in the field

I sometimes think back over the countless hours I have spent in the countryside with my dogs. Whether it was roost shooting, wildfowling, rough shooting, pigeon decoying, beating, standing on a peg or simply going for a short evening walk, I almost certainly had a dog by my side. Working…

Brown rat

Leptospirosis in dogs – what you need to know

Rats are known to carry disease and one of the ones they can transmit is Weil’s disease, also known as leptospirosis. Leptospirosis in dogs and humans can be fatal. It is caused by bacteria spread via the urine of infected rats. It is a zoonotic disease. In 2010 an Olympian…

Black Labrador

Dealing with tapeworms in working dogs

Q:  What’s the best of dealing with tapeworms in working dogs? I have recently had to treat my dog for tapeworms. How do dogs get tapeworms and how can I prevent them in future? A: Tapeworms are flat, segmented intestinal parasites. There are several types of tapeworms, but the most…

muntjac

Do muntjac attack dogs?

Long, sharp teeth can pose a genuine threat to gundogs when muntjac attack.  I well remember my first serious encounter with a muntjac. It was on a rough day in Northamptonshire in the 1990s. At the time, I lived in Kent, where we had no muntjac, so my spaniels had…

Slug pellets

How to protect dogs from poisonous slug pellets

Dogs and slug pellets don’t mix and are in fact a lethal combination. However, it’s the time of year now when new shoots are coming up in the garden and you want to protect your hostas, bulbs and tender green shoots from voracious slugs. So if you’re a dog owner…

gundog puppies

Socialising puppies – top tips from a vet

Q: I am a first time breeder and mindful of all the negative comments about the temperament of ‘Covid puppies’. How can I ensure my kennelled bitch will produce well socialised offspring? What can you advise me about socialising puppies? (Read how to use a slip lead correctly.)  Socialising puppies…

dogs in snow

Looking after dogs in the cold

Can dogs suffer from the cold in winter? What are the signs to look out for and how best can we help them cope? (Read about hypothermia in dogs here.) Looking after dogs in the cold Dogs adapt remarkably well to living in extreme climates. Most of the breeds that…