Water for Wildlife!

Looks like we’re in for a hot summer, and while its important to keep our pets (and ourselves) cool and hydrated, wildlife struggle in the heat too.

Placing a shallow dish of fresh water helps our native wildlife survive heat waves. Here are some tips to make that water as accessible as possible.

  • Use a broad, shallow dish, tray or bird bath
  • Place it in shade or in a sheltered position near plants to help wildlife feel more secure.
  • Use branches, twigs or river stones to provide a means for small animals and insects to climb out of the water and prevent drowning.

Long Term Medication

There are a thousand other things to do at this busy time of year, but one of those things should be to organise your pet’s long term medication!

While we at Keysborough Veterinary Practice only close on the public holidays, our medication wholesalers will close for a couple of days, and posted medication is often delayed at this busy time of year.

So now is a great time to ensure you have enough stock of any critical medications before the public holidays, or any travel you’ll be enjoying at this time of year.

Cats & Ribbons

A pile of glistening, shiny Christmas presents sitting under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree are charming, heartwarming… and apparently delicious to many unwise cats at this time of year!

Many cats are tempted by long, curly, shiny ribbons and will play with them. A few of those will chew and swallow ribbon or string, resulting in a potentially devastating linear foreign body in the intestine!

A linear foreign body is worse than a rounded foreign body, as it will often thread through the intestines, causing the gut to bunch up around it, like pulling a drawstring through the edge of a pair of pants. The ribbon may then cut through the intestine, and often requires multiple surgical incisions to remove safely.

Symptoms of a linear foreign body include: vomiting, not wanting to eat, lethargy, and generally being severely unwell.

Ribbon, tinsel, string and similar shaped objects can all become linear foreign bodies if eaten. Using broader, thicker ribbon means it is less likely to be eaten by your curious cat, but some cats are simply too tempted to be around ribbon at all.

How Pet Arthritis Can Affect Their Daily Lives

Pets are family. They offer us love, companionship and affection. That’s why we, as pet owners, should be responsible and ensure they live the best version of their lives.

One common health issue for pets is arthritis.

Arthritis does not only affect humans, they it can also be seen in our pets such as cats and dogs. It is a disease that causes inflammation in joints and many pet owners are not aware of this disease that attacks our fur babies. Approximately 40% of animals are affected by this disease. Often, arthritis is worse during the cold weather. Therefore, it is crucial to observe their behavior during this time of the season. Arthritis can be caused by joint wear-and-tear or may be a result of an injury.

HOW TO SPOT PET ARTHRITIS IN DOGS AND CATS

Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to determine if our pets are suffering from arthritis since they cannot speak and tell us what they feel.

Cats in particular are used to hiding their pain. However, through keen observation, we can determine arthritis in cats. You might notice that your cat doesn’t jump as often as they normally do or hesitate when leaping from one side to the other. A general decrease in activity level is a red flag too.

For arthritis in dogs, you may observe how they’ve slowed down in their movements or notice soreness after physical activity. Difficulty in climbing elevated platforms or getting up from a lying position may be a sign that they have joint pain and further, arthritis.

Both cats and dogs may show reduced energy when interacting with you.

If you observe these signs in your pets, it would be best to consult your veterinarian to run some checkups.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR PET ARTHRITIS?

The good news is there are now plenty of treatments for pet arthritis. Veterinarians have done several studies and came up with treatment plans to ease the pain and address other symptoms.

Beransa (dogs) and Solensia (cats) are new medications which have shown very good results in reducing pain associated with arthritis for many dogs and cats. As with all medications not all animals are suitable candidates for Beransa or Solensia (dogs and cats under 12 months, pregnant, breeding or lactating bitches/queens for example should not be given this medication), and in some instances other medications may need to be used in combination with Beransa or Solensia. Despite this, many dogs and cats have shown a huge improvement in quality of life following Beransa or Solensia administration.

Beransa and Solensia are once a month injections administered by the veterinarian, which target Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), one of the proteins involved in perception of pain in arthritic dogs and cats. NGF has also been shown to increase inflammation in arthritic joints, and lead to progression of the disease, so reducing the levels of this protein with Beransa or Solensia has been shown to reduce inflammation in the affected joints, and slow progression of the disease as well as treating the symptoms. As Beransa and Solensia are monoclonal antibodies they are broken down like any other protein in the body rather than having to be metabolized & excreted. This means there are less side effects associated with this type of medication, and they are safe to use in dogs and cats with liver and early kidney issues, which is particularly beneficial in older animals who are more likely to have both arthritis and other concurrent disease.

If your pet is experiencing arthritis-related symptoms, consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable treatment option. Your veterinarian will consider your pet’s age, size, breed, overall health, severity of arthritis and other factors for them to recommend what is suitable – every situation is unique.

There are also other treatment plans for arthritis aside from monthly injections. There are oral medication, joint supplements, physiotherapy, weight management and lifestyle modifications.

These can be combined to create a more personalised treatment plan for your pet’s arthritis case.

ALWAYS OPT TO GET AN EXPERT’S OPINION

If you think your pet is suffering from arthritis, you need to schedule a visit to your veterinarian ASAP.

Clinical evaluation is a must to prevent pet arthritis from getting worse and for your vet to be able to make the appropriate treatment plan for your fur baby. The veterinarian will conduct various exams such as assessing your pet’s medical history, physical examination, and recommend additional tests like X-rays to assess joint health.

You must also share the things you’ve noticed about your cat or dog once you arrive at the veterinary clinic. Through this, the veterinarian can easily assess what treatment plan may suit them best. So, if you start to notice symptoms, try to write them down or remember them so you can communicate them to your vet during your pet’s checkup.

Keysborough Veterinary Practice has been trusted by pet owners since 1988. Their amazing team of vets, nurses, and receptionists are committed to helping your pets live their best lives!

HOME CARE FOR PETS WITH ARTHRITIS

Though veterinary treatments are important, there are several things you can start doing at home to help alleviate your pet’s discomfort.

You can provide your pet with a soft and supportive bed or cushioned bedding to ease pressure on their joints. Regular low-impact exercise, such as gentle walks or swimming, can help maintain their mobility and muscle strength. Additionally, managing your pet’s weight through a balanced diet and portion control can reduce the stress on their joints. Consider incorporating joint supplements recommended by your veterinarian into their daily routine to promote joint health.

Making sure they have a warm and comfortable environment, especially during colder months, can help soothe their achy joints. And lastly, be observant of any changes in their behavior or mobility. Though there are things you can do from home that would help, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian so they can confirm what’s really going on and provide a treatment plan accordingly.

ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY: MONITORING AND ADJUSTING TREATMENT

Management of pet arthritis, a chronic ailment, requires continuous care and attention. This includes monitoring and modifying treatment. The effectiveness of your pet’s medicine and treatment plan depends on how consistent you are with providing the care they need and also on how frequently you take your pet to the vet. During these visits, the vet can analyse your pet’s health and gauge how effectively the present course of therapy is working.

Your pet will be thoroughly examined by your veterinarian during these visits, and they will pay particular attention to assessing your pet’s mobility, joint function, and general level of comfort. They may also ask for more diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays to learn more about the severity of the arthritis and any probable underlying conditions that might be causing it, or blood testing, to check for underlying disease which may affect treatment choices. The veterinarian can ascertain whether any adjustments are required to better manage your pet’s symptoms and enhance their quality of life by carefully observing how they respond to their present treatment plan.

THE EARLIER YOU FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR PET’S CONDITION, THE BETTER

Finding out about pet arthritis in its early stage is very important. Remember, your pets don’t openly show their discomfort, that’s why early intervention is necessary to ease the pain and to slow disease progression.

Pet arthritis can cause your pets decreased mobility and constant pain and discomfort. We need to be observant in their everyday actions, habits, and movements to be able to point out if they are in pain, suffering from an illness, or if they are simply perfectly fine. It’s up to us as pet owners to be able to observe the symptoms early on. By working closely with your veterinarian, you can help them to assess your pet’s condition for them to give your pet proper treatment or medication. Ensuring that their wellbeing is always observed and taken cared of will give our pets a long and happy life. If you observe any of the symptoms, we discussed in this article, click here to contact us for a consult!

How to make the vet visit less stressful for your cat

Cats are creatures of habit and comfort. While many don’t appreciate the journey to the vet clinic, there are several things we can do to make the visit less stressful for them, and also less stressful for you.

The type of cat carrier you use can change how secure your cat feels during transport. Most cats love boxes, and some will also learn to love their cat carrier! The best type of carrier is a sturdy, hard carrier which can be opened both at one side (to allow the cat to walk in or out) and from the top (to allow lifting out). This is generally preferred to soft, cloth carriers which collapse easily. It is important that cats be contained within a cat carrier while coming to Keysborough Veterinary Practice as it is both safer for them in the car (they are unable to cause an accident and would be more protected in the event of an accident), prevents escapes from the car park as we are situated on a major road, and will make them feel more secure if there are dogs around.

While in our waiting room, minimising your cat’s exposure to loud or curious dogs will reduce stress. If the waiting room is crowded we may offer to ‘hide’ your cat behind the front desk, out of sight of those dogs, or in an unoccupied consult room where it is quieter. Please also avoid placing your cat’s carrier directly in front of the heater, as cats may overheat.

In the consult room, the staff at Keysborough Veterinary Practice will often open the carrier door and invite the cat to walk out on its own. This is much less jarring than lifting the carrier up and shaking the poor cat out, so please refrain from doing this. Many cats just need a few minutes to think about where they are, or many will prefer to be lifted out of their carrier rather than shaken.

During the exam, we use Feliway pheromone diffusers to make the room smell more familiar and make your cat more relaxed. Feliway can also be used at home or inside the cat carrier for cats prone to stress. We use a soft covering on our exam tables and will sometimes cover anxious cats in towels so they feel hidden and more secure.

Some cats will happily consume tasty treats in the consult room, and we’re quite happy to offer them! But we wont be upset if your cat doesn’t feel like eating for us.

Many cats will benefit from being desensitised to the cat carrier long before their vet visit. This involves leaving the cat carrier open somewhere accessible where the cat can view it easily and ‘get bored’ of its presence. This might be under a coffee table, or in the hallway. Once the cat is accustomed to the carrier always being present, you can place treats around or inside the carrier to encourage a positive association. Some cats will even nap in their carriers!

Think about it from the cat’s point of view. If a strange box only appeared out of the dusty garage, full of dirt and spider webs, immediately before being thrown into it in order to be carried through a loud car to a strange place with uncomfortable surroundings and a dog, only to be shaken out of that box onto a cold table… you wouldn’t be thrilled about it either!

For cats that are extremely stressed about their vet visits, sometimes we will prescribe medication to have at home and take the edge off before they come in. If you think this may benefit your cat, please call us to discuss how we can facilitate a low-stress vet visit for your feline friend.

Annual Health Check

Your pet deserves a special day every year.

WHAT HAPPENS AT AN ANNUAL HEALTH CHECK?

We all know how important staying healthy is to a long and satisfying life – for both the two-legged and four-legged members of the family.

But our furry family members age differently to humans, so it’s even more important for them to have a check-up every year. Once a year for a dog or cat is the same as once every five years or so for us!

A quick visit to the vet on one special day each year will help make sure your pet will still be around for many more days to come.

So when you get your next reminder, don’t put it off. Make an appointment to give your pet the special day he or she deserves each year.
Your vet will:

• Check for early signs of disease
• Make sure teeth, skin, eyes and ears are healthy
• Update life-saving vaccinations
• Keep an eye out for problems as your pet gets older

DOESN’T MY PET NEED TO HAVE VACCINATIONS EACH YEAR AS WELL?

Some pets will need to have a vaccination each year. However, we’re learning more all the time about treating our furry friends, and the latest research shows that some older pets may only need to be vaccinated against certain diseases every three years to be protected. Your vet will talk to you about what’s best for your individual pet.

WHAT WILL IT COST?

Annual health checks are usually quite quick and inexpensive. You should ask for a cost estimate when you call to make the appointment. If you have pet insurance, your policy will probably cover some of the cost. If your vet finds a problem with your pet’s health, the visit might become more expensive. But finding problems early will save time and money in the long run, and it might even save your pet’s life.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO TO KEEP MY PET HAPPY AND HEALTHY?

As well as an annual check up, there are just a few basic things you need to do to make sure your cat or dog stays well.

• Feed them a balanced diet
• Make sure they get plenty of exercises
• If you’re not around to keep them company, make sure there are lots of things to play with to stop them from getting bored
• Give them lots of love and affection

Rat Bait Poisoning

“My dog ate Rat Poison a few hours ago but he seems fine…”

We commonly receive phone calls from well-meaning pet owners with dogs or cats that had eaten rat poison a few hours earlier, or even the night before. Sometimes we’re not told for days or weeks after the pet has eaten rat bait, and unfortunately sometimes by then it’s too late.

Rat Bait ingestion is always serious, but often doesn’t cause clinical signs straight away. This is because it stops clotting factors from being produced, and symptoms do not appear until those clotting factors are depleted. This results in pets eating rat bait, that initially appear fine. Unfortunately by the time symptoms are present, such as spontaneous severe bleeding, treatment is more difficult and costly.

Pets that are actively bleeding may require blood or plasma transfusions, and several weeks of antidote administration until the rat bait is excreted from their system. Some pets will also require a stay in intensive care.

The best course of action if your pet has eaten rat bait is to present them to a vet clinic as soon as possible. A vet can induce vomiting and commence decontamination if indicated. If presented immediately after ingestion, some pets will not need ongoing medication.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, it is ALWAYS best to present them to a vet clinic for treatment, even if you are unsure.

There is no such thing as a completely ‘pet safe’ rat bait. If pets wont eat it, neither will the rats.

Local FIV prevalence

Does your cat go outside, at all? Do they have up to date FIV protection?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, the pathogen that causes Feline AIDS, is a relatively common virus of cats, with up to 20% of stray cats in Victoria being infected. It is commonly transmitted by cat bites, so any cat which ventures outside, at all, is at risk of contracting this virus.

While the best protection against FIV is keeping your cat inside, vaccination is available for cats who do venture outside. A simple blood test can be performed in our clinic to determine whether your cat may have already been infected. Please phone us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral Valve disease is the most common type of heart disease in small dogs and is especially common in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Toy and Miniature Poodle, Maltese Terrier and Chihuahua.

The valves in a normal heart close tightly to only allow blood to flow in one direction. Diseased valves will leak, allowing blood to flow backwards or regurgitate, which may be heard as a heart murmur. Leaky valves change the blood flow dynamics and internal blood pressure in the heart, often causing it to enlarge, which is seen on Xray.

Because the leaky heart valve allows blood to flow backwards, the pumping of the heart becomes less efficient and over time will lead to congestive heart failure. This may take a few months, or it may take several years.

Initially the dog attempts to cope by retaining fluid to increase blood volume. This fluid can gather in the lungs, causing decreased oxygen transfer and a cough.

Patients are often prescribed diuretics (eg frusemide) to reabsorb this fluid, and may be prescribed other medications such as Vetmedin or Fortekor to improve quality of life and extend survival times. Some patients require fluid to be drained, or may require oxygen therapy.

Monitoring your pet for a persistent cough or an increased resting respiratory rate at home is the best way to monitor their heart health in between their regular veterinary check ups.

Mitral Valve disease

Autumn Newsletter 2018

With the Season changing and Easter coming up we’ve created a new and exciting newsletter for you all to read.
We’ve included some interesting facts and information regarding toxins, food to avoid feeding your pets and disease symptoms to look out for.

We’ve also included our opening hours over the Easter period.

Click on the link below to have a look for yourself!

Autumn Newsletter

Have a safe and happy Easter.

On behalf of the team at Keysborough Veterinary Practice.