Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
KIDNEY disease in older cats is one of the major conditions that vets are looking out for during routine health checks. As clients at Riverside Vet Centre are aware, these health checks are twice yearly once a cat has got in to double figures, just so we can pick up the very early signs of any problems that much quicker. As a condition in the older cat, up to a third of all cats over the age of 15 can be affected by kidney disease.
In the early stages of the problem, chronic renal disease can often go unnoticed due to the special features of a cat’s kidneys that allow them to compensate for changes that would leave us humans in a lot of trouble. Sadly though, that doesn’t mean that a cat is coping well, and there’s likely to be a major issue for the older cat unless we implement some simple steps to ease up the damage.
What signs might I notice in my cat?
An increase in thirst may be the first thing that becomes apparent to an owner. With an increase in thirst there’s often an increase in urination as well. However, detecting that change may be difficult if cats go outside for their ‘ablutions’! Weight loss is also one of the features of kidney disease. However, these changes are often very subtle and not easy for an owner to pick up. It’s for that reason that on every visit to a vet centre your cat is weighed, just so we can build up a ‘library picture’ of their weight over a long period of time. Armed with that kind of information we can monitor a succession of small changes much easier.
Appetite loss is also noticed in kidney disease as well as subtle changes in a cat’s behaviour that is sometimes mistaken as ‘growing old’.
Eye checks during routine visits to your vet is also a standard now for the older feline visitor. They give a hint about another aspect of kidney changes—in about a fifth of such cats they can develop high blood pressure.
As you can appreciate, whilst the list of possible signs of kidney disease are quite useful, they are a little vague. They help to give us more than a clue that the kidneys are in trouble, but a blood sample and a urine sample will assist enormously in helping to quantify the amount of damage and so better target the level of help that a cat needs. Ongoing, repeat samples from time to time will greatly aid in charting the success following any changes we’ve tried to introduce.
What can be done to help?
If we can detect the problem early then often the only changes needed are dietary. It may seem strange to us humans with very delicate kidneys, but for cats it’s a truism: You eat yourself to health! Now whether a cat can be tempted to take on the various renal diets that have been devised for them is another question. These days, manufacturers have produced some very impressive renal diets that seem to cater for all manner of “finicky feline.” It’s certainly worth persevering with since those cats that transfer successfully on to a prescription diet have a life expectancy three times longer than those that refuse the food.
Cats with kidney disease also seem to suffer a bit more with urine infections compared to other cats. This stems from the fact that their urine is a lot weaker, so allowing bacterial infection to flourish. Routine tests are made to check for any infections. They also suffer much more with mouth infections.
With routine monitoring, these days, kidney disease in cats is anything but a hopeless situation. Regular health checks are the key to early detection of kidney problems, long before they turn in to a potential crisis.
•Dai Gittins runs the Riverside Veterinary Centre, in Loxley Road, Stratford (Tel: 01789 299455; website: www.riversidevetcentre.com)