COVID-19 and Pets – What You Need To Know Now

COVID-19 has changed the way we go about our lives and will continue to for many months. When it comes to the virus, there are plenty of questions to be asked, so here are a few answers:

How is COVID-19 spread?

Although it has been theorised that the new coronavirus emerged from an animal source, the pangolin, the current main known route of transmission is human-to-human. 

At present, the spread of COVID-19 appears to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when a person sneezes, coughs or when they come into contact with infected sputum (hand-to-mouth transmission).

Can cats and dogs get coronavirus?

There are species-specific coronaviruses that affect dogs and cats, but it is essential to realise that these are not the same as the COVID-19. The strains that affect cats and dogs can cause mild gastrointestinal signs and, very rarely, can lead to a disease in cats called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). 

There is a vaccine available for the canine form of coronavirus. This vaccine should not be used for prevention of COVID-19 as the viruses are distinctly different.

Can I get coronavirus from my pet?

No. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from a pet to a human. Transmission appears to occur via a human touching a contaminated surface and then touching their mouth, nose and possibly eyes. Smooth surfaces such as a countertop or a door handle transmit the virus better than porous materials such as paper and clothing. At this time, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people from the skin or fur of pets. 

Can pets contract COVID-19 from humans?

Currently, the only pets incidentally exposed to COVID-19 that have tested positive to the virus are two pet dogs in Hong Kong and two pet cats (one in Belgium and the other in Hong Kong). In all of these cases, these pets were in the direct care of someone who had confirmed COVID-19. It was only in the case of the cat in Belgium that there was any suggestion of the pet showing clinical signs of the disease, but it is essential to understand that other diseases that could have caused the same symptoms were not ruled out. This cat has since recovered. According to the World Health Organisation, there is currently no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19. 

What should pet owners do?

The best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to adopt sufficient hygiene measures and maintain social distancing. This includes washing your hands before and after handling animals. The Centre for Disease Control recommends that people who are sick, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, should restrict their contact with animals (this means avoiding cuddling, kissing or being licked by your pet) until further information about the virus is available. There is no reason to remove pets from their homes if COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household. 

If your pet is unwell, or you have any questions regarding your pet’s health you should always contact us for advice.

COVID-19 Information for Vets in Endeavour Hills

During this constantly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, the safety of our clients, patients and team members is our highest priority. We are in this together. 

Contactless Consults:

We have decided to implement the below guidelines and we ask for your understanding, patience and your cooperation so we can all do our best to protect each other. 

Veterinary care is an essential part of our community – that’s why our clinic will continue to provide all of our usual services during this time.

To focus on safety, we also want to work with you and our team to limit direct contact, and ask that you please follow the below steps: 

• Upon your arrival at Vets in Endeavour Hills, please remain outside the clinic and call us.

• After receiving your call, we will check you in as soon as possible from outside the clinic.

• If you are picking up food or medication, please remain in your car or outside the hospital and call the front desk. We can happily deliver your order to your car.

• If you are not feeling well or are likely to be at risk of exposure to coronavirus, please ask a healthy friend or family member to transport your pet to the hospital on your behalf.

• We will do our best to coordinate your visit from outside the hospital and provide you with follow-up and payment instructions.

Thank you for all your patience and cooperation during these challenging times. It is Vets in Endeavour Hills’s mission is to bring joy, love and the highest level of veterinary care to all fur families.

If there is anything further we can do to assist you and your pets, please do not hesitate to call or chat to one of our friendly team members. 

Your friendly team,
Vets in Endeavour Hills

A Hearty Topic


As February features its heart-focussed Valentine’s Day, we thought that this month would be the perfect time to talk about the heart that matters most: your pet’s.


When it comes to diseases of the heart, knowing what to watch out for really makes a difference. Early detection of heart disease means that medical treatment is able to get underway sooner, which can help your pet to live a longer and healthier life.

Most signs of heart disease are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The signs, however, can be very subtle and often difficult to detect.


What to look out for:

+ Coughing

+ Reluctance to exercise or tiring easily on walks

+ Laboured or fast breathing

+ Weakness or fainting from exercise

+ An enlarged abdomen

+ Weight loss or poor appetite


What can WE do?

We always listen to your pet’s heart. This physical examination allows us to detect any changes to the heart, as early as possible. Sometimes we might hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). If we do detect a murmur or arrhythmia, we may perform further tests such as an ultrasound, an ECG or X-rays.

Thankfully, we have a number of medications at the ready to improve your pet’s heart function, if needed.


What can YOU do?

If we diagnose your pet with heart disease, you may be asked to keep a record of their SRR. The SRR is an acronym for your pet’s sleeping respiratory rate. Taking record of the SRR is a powerful tool and can be implemented in your own home. The records can help to detect, or improve the monitoring of, left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs and cats.

Many of the common heart diseases lead to CHF. When the pressure in the top left heart chamber increases, and blood backs up into vessels within the lung, it results in the blood accumulating in the lungs. This fluid is the cause of the increase in your pet’s respiratory rate.


How to monitor the sleeping respiratory rate

The SRR should be measured when your pet is asleep in their usual environment. 

Repeat the measuring over 2-3 days, then ongoing once or twice a week.

The normal SRR in cats and dogs is often in the high teens or low 20s, at around less than 30 breaths per minute.


When to seek veterinary advice?

If your pet’s SRR is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute, they could be at high risk of developing congestive heart failure. This means that veterinary advice needs to be sought as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that an elevated SRR can at times be caused by high blood pressure, pain, anaemia, pneumonia, heat stress or even a fever – so a veterinary check-up is always urged.

If you are at all concerned about your pet’s heart health, call us today for advice. 

Giardia – what is it and how you can prevent it

In recent weeks we’ve noticed an increase in the number of Giardia cases in dogs and cats in our community, so we thought we would put up some information outlining what Giardia is, what it does, and what we can do to prevent it.

Giardia is a parasite which inhabits the intestines of dogs and cats, it exists around the world and can also infect humans. Giardia causes infection when it is consumed (i.e. swallowed), so the most common causes of infection include contact with contaminated water (drinking, swimming or playing), contact with faeces deposited by an infected mammal, rolling in contaminated soil, or consuming contaminated food.

The most common sign of Giardia is diarrhoea, however, affected dogs and cats may also suffer from vomiting, lethargy, stomach pain and have a decreased appetite. Some animals may be asymptomatic and not show any signs of disease. To work out if an animal has Giardia generally a faecal sample is tested.

Although Giardia is a zoonotic parasite, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans, this is quite uncommon. As many animals have the disease with no signs, Giardia is generally most concerning to us when it is causing severe diarrhoea, or in cases where the pet or owner has a depressed immune system e.g. is very young, very old, undergoing chemotherapy, etc.

If treatment is required, certain antibiotics and medications may be prescribed by us.

Preventing Giardia
The easiest and most effective way to prevent a Giardia infection is by maintaining routine hygiene practices, especially thorough handwashing. Other ways to decrease the risk of Giardia for you and your pet are:

  • Handwashing after all animal contact
  • Using gloves to pick up animal faeces
  • Limiting the contact your animal may have with contaminated water sources e.g. rivers or ponds at the park, communal water bowls, etc.
  • Cleaning household surfaces, bedding and toys your pet has access to regularly

Please contact the clinic if you have any questions or concerns.

It’s all in the eyes

Pardon the pun, but you don’t have to be blind to see that your pet’s eyes are very important!

Eye issues can be serious. That’s why, if you notice anything unusual about your pet’s eyes, it’s best to have them checked out ASAP. Conditions like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, uveitis and glaucoma can be very painful and, if left untreated, can go downhill rapidly.

Things to watch out for:
  • Discharge from one or both eyes
    Mucoid, sticky, yellow or green discharge is not normal. Any one of these may be a sign of infection, or other diseases like dry eye.
  • Squinting or excessive blinking
    Similarly, this may be a sign that your pet is in pain.
  • Increased redness on the white of the eye
    Infections and irritation can lead to an angry looking eye. Likewise glaucoma, an increase of pressure in the eye, can lead to redness.
  • Swollen eyelids or swollen eye
    Infections, trauma, allergies or the presence of a foreign body can cause swelling.
  • Your pet is repeatedly rubbing their eye
    Itchy eyes, a foreign body or any type of irritation can make your pet scratch or rub their eye/s. As a result, this can lead to further trauma (often due to a scratch on the eye) and even corneal ulcers.
  • Your pet’s third eyelid is easily visible
    Or is swollen, or very red. The third eyelid is usually hidden in the corner of the eye, but changes in its appearance may be a sign of: pain, a corneal ulcer, a foreign body or even a condition known as ‘cherry eye’.
  • Your pet is suddenly bumping into furniture or walls or seems disoriented
    This can indicate a change in vision and may be due to the presence of cataracts, glaucoma or retinal diseases. A sudden loss in vision may also occur with high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Behavioural changes
    Eye conditions can be very painful. This can lead to changes in behaviour and demeanour – as well as constant tiredness in your pet. It’s amazing how often (after treatment) fur-parents realise just how much the condition was affecting their pet’s demeanour. 
Other Tips

Above all, resist the temptation to use any leftover ointment or drops (human or animal) that you might have at home on your pet. Some medications can actually make conditions worse – and leave your pet in serious discomfort.
Most importantly, the best thing you can do is bring them in to us, and let us determine the cause of any eye problems. 

If you ever think there’s something ‘not quite right’ please give us a call for advice

Is your pet overweight?

When it comes to your pet, you might think that carrying a few extra kilos isn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, overweight pets are at an increased risk of developing a host of diseases such as: arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes.

Pets come in all shapes and sizes, and due to the variety of sizes and shapes in breeds – there’s no one ideal weight for all of them. The key is to know what to look out for so you can identify when your pet is getting a bit portly, no matter their natural build.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos:

  • Look at your pet from above – an overweight pet will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they may resemble a barrel on legs.  
  • Have a feel of your pet’s ribs – if you can’t feel their ribs easily when you run your hands over their sides, they are hidden under a layer of fat. In some cases, you may be able to feel rolls of fat over the ribs.
  • Can you see their neck? A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

Thankfully, getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think.

Physical exercise is a must, and it will be crucial to monitor the amount, as well as what type of food you are feeding your pet. Get your family involved in the process too, get them measuring the correct scoops of food per feeding, and stop them sneaking scraps from the dinner table to the pampered pet!

It’s also easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet’s weight. Keep these calorie translator facts in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes:

For the average 5kg cat: a glass of milk is equivalent to a human eating 3 hamburgers! (not to mention the fact that cats can’t digest the lactose in cow’s milk)

For a 10kg dog: a 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers!

The best news is, we have diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate. We are happy to say that many of our patients have had great success with these so you should ask us for more information.

Helping your pet lose weight is easier than you think and we will help support you and your pet through the process.

Our Guide To Helping Your Dog Lose Weight In 2019

Did you know that around 40% of dogs in Australia are overweight or obese? This shocking number is unfortunately one that contributes to many health issues experienced by the dogs that visit our Narre Warren veterinary clinic. In the spirit of the new year, we’ve put together some simple tips to help you achieve an extra New Year’s resolution: helping your dog lose weight.

 

3 easy ways to check if your dog is overweight

Every dog is different. However, there are a few general ways to check if your dog is overweight:

  • Look at your dog from above. In healthy form, he or she should have an hourglass shape (with tapering at the waist-line).
  • Look at your dog from the side. When viewed at eye level, you should be able to observe that your dog’s abdomen is tucked behind the ribcage (at a healthy weight).
  • See if you can feel your dog’s ribs. If you cannot, it is possible your pet is overweight. To feel for ribs correctly, place your thumbs on your dog’s backbone and spread your hands across the ribcage.

 

Easy things you can do to help manage your pet’s weight

Want to kickstart your pet’s weight management plan now? The first step is visiting our Narre Warren veterinary clinic. Our vets will assess your dog’s unique needs and create an effective, personalised weight management plan that is designed to keep your pet healthy and happy. The plan will usually involve feeding a completely balanced, prescription weight loss food. It is also important to visit the vet clinic continually throughout the weight management process so that your vet can monitor your pet’s progress.

After you get professional veterinary advice, there are a few simple things you can do at home to help your dog lose some weight, such as:

  • Cutting out or minimising treats and bones
  • Not giving in to those puppy dog eyes and avoid sharing your own meal
  • Exercising your dog daily
  • Reducing your dog’s food intake based on your vet’s recommendation on the correct type and portion size for your furry friend.

 

Pet advice at our Narre Warren veterinary clinic

At Vets in Endeavour Hills, we are committed to helping your pet stay healthy. Our Narre Warren veterinary clinic offers a variety of valuable services to help keep your pet in good shape, including our weight management services.

Find out more by calling us on (03) 9700 2264, or by booking an appointment with us online.

The Christmas Treats That Aren’t Pet-Friendly

In December, our Endeavour Hills vet sees a lot of patients with tummy upsets which can often be traced back to too many rich festive foods. Ideally, pets should not ever be fed processed foods as their stomachs have not evolved to digest them and so eating them often leads to diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

 

However, there are some festive ingredients (and inedible) which can cause more serious health issues including:

  • Candy wrappers/toothpicks/skewers: If something smells good, your pet will eat it, even if it’s not edible. These are just some of the things that can get swallowed and stuck in your pet’s oesophagus or intestines.
  • Poinsettias: These traditional flowers are toxic to dogs and cats, so keep them out of reach or out of the house altogether if your pet likes to nibble on plants.
  • Raw or undercooked meats: The bacteria in raw or undercooked meat makes pets sick too! If you do give your pet some meat over the festive season, it should be boneless and without seasoning- lean cuts like chicken breast are ideal.
  • Dough: Once ingested, the raw dough will continue to rise in your pet’s stomach and it can cause life-threatening bloat or alcohol poisoning (from the yeast).
  • Alcohol, tea and coffee: Whilst tea leaves and coffee are only likely to cause a stomach upset, alcohol is toxic to pets and can be lethal even in small amounts.
  • Sage: Toxic to cats, this herb can cause central nervous problems.

Has your pet consumed any of the above? We recommend you book an appointment with our Endeavour Hills vet clinic immediately.

Protecting Your Pets From The Sun

During summer, most of our pet patients visit our Narre Warren North veterinary clinic because they have been overexposed to the harsh sun. In this blog, we are explaining the different health consequences that this exposure can have on your pet. We’ve also put together a quick 5-step grooming guide for owners to care for their pets during summer.

Sunburn

Pets can get sunburnt too! Whilst any breed of animal can get sunburnt, pets with white or lightly pigmented hair are particularly susceptible. Sun damage usually occurs where your pet’s hair coat is at its thinnest. For cats and rabbits, sunburn is most common on the tips of the ears, eyelids and noses; for dogs, sunburn is most common on muzzles, armpits, abdomens and groins.

Like humans, sunburnt pets will have skin that looks red and flaky. Longer term sun damage shows up as thickened or scarred skin with ulceration and crusting. This skin is also susceptible to secondary bacterial infections and sun cancers may also develop.

 

How to protect your pet from the sun – slip, slop, shade

  • If you have an all-white or light coloured dog, or they have a thin coat, invest in sun-protective clothing. (Yes, they make sun shirts for pets!) Just make sure they don’t overheat in them.
  • Use a pet-specific sunscreen (available in our East Kew veterinary clinic) to ward off sunburn. Apply as directed to vulnerable areas twice a day.
  • Try to keep your pets out of the sun between 10am and 4pm. UV rays are at their strongest between these times so keep them in a well-shaded area of your yard or inside under the air con.

 

Pad burn

Did you know: When the air temperature is 25°C, the temperature of asphalt in the sun is 51°C. You can fry an egg at 55°C so imagine what that feels like on your dog’s feet!

The pads of your dog’s feet are as thick as the skin on the soles of your own feet, so walking your dog on surfaces like asphalt, concrete and brick during the summer months can burn the skin in as little as 60 seconds.

The best way to test if the pavement is too hot for walking your dog is to press your own hand onto the surface for 7-8 seconds. If it’s uncomfortable for you, then it will be uncomfortable for your dog.

Other summer walking tips to keep in mind:

  • Walk your dog in the morning rather than the evening, as asphalt retains heat.
  • Walk on dirt or grass paths which don’t soak up the heat at the same rate.
  • Consider investing in protective booties for your dog.

 

Our summer grooming guide

  1. Get your dog a summer cut but make sure they are not shaved all the way down to the skin as this makes them susceptible to sunburn.
  2. Cats typically do not need to be shaved unless they are unable to groom themselves.
  3. Bathe your dog once every few weeks using pet-friendly shampoo. Bathing more often or with products meant for humans can cause irritation.
  4. Check in between your dog’s paw pads after they have been playing outdoors – burrs and grass seeds can work their way into the skin and cause irritation or infection.
  5. Summer is flea and tick season! Make sure your pet is up to date with their parasite control and chat with your vet if you’re planning on taking your pet to the beach (other parts of Victoria and Australia are home to different kinds of parasites).

Vets in Endeavour Hills is a Narre Warren North veterinary clinic that is dedicated to supporting our community with helpful veterinary advice and services. Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at our clinic today!

All About Heatstroke In Dogs, Cats, And Pocket Pets

Summer is finally just around the corner! For our pets, this often means a lot of time outside in the sun. Unfortunately, this does put our much-loved furry friends at a greater risk of heatstroke. In fact, during the summer months, our Endeavour Hills animal hospital is often visited by worried pet owners who aren’t sure what to do when their pets have experienced heatstroke. That’s why today, we are sharing all the information you should know about heatstroke.

 

Why do pets experience heatstroke?

Pets don’t deal with external heat in the same way that humans do. While we have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs only have a few around their paws, and it’s a similar case for pocket pets too. Panting only works to a certain extent before their internal temperatures begin to rise to a point of overheating. Once they begin to experience heatstroke, their normal body function can be affected which can result in organ damage or even be fatal.

 

3 ways to prevent heatstroke

#1: Provide a well-ventilated, shady area for your pet to play and relax in.

#2: Provide dogs with a paddling pool if they are outside, or give your bird a bathing bowl alongside their water bowl.

#3: Never leave your pet in the car, even if the window is ajar. On a 21°C day, the temperature in a car can rise to 37°C in just 20 minutes. Once a dog’s internal temperature rises to 39°C, they are overheated.

 

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition for your pet and you should contact your vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased panting or drooling
  • Bright red gums and tongue
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures
  • Restlessness or lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing.

 

What to do if your pet has heatstroke

Heatstroke is classified as a veterinary emergency and as such, if you suspect your pet is experiencing heatstroke, you must take him or her to our Endeavour Hills animal hospital immediately.

In the time you take to get to our Endeavour Hills animal hospital, you should also:

  • Ensure your pet is not in a hot environment anymore
  • Apply or spray cool (not cold) water on your pet and then fan them to speed up the cooling process
  • Place a moist towel over your pet whilst transporting them to the clinic

Vets in Endeavour Hills is a veterinary clinic that offers a number of services, including general check-ups, surgery, and emergency care. To find out how we can help your pet, book an appointment at our Endeavour Hills animal hospital today.