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.

Puppy Health Problems

As a conscientious puppy parent, you do everything you can to set your puppy up for a long, happy and healthy life: you have them vaccinated to protect against devastating diseases like parvovirus, distemper and kennel cough; you treat them monthly to ensure they remain parasite free, and you make regular appointments at the vet to ensure their development is on track. Nonetheless, there are some common health problems unique to puppyhood which new dog owners should be aware of.

 

Tummy upsets

Healthy puppies are busy, curious little creatures, and these tendencies often lead them to try eating things they shouldn’t, which results in vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Common causes of this include abrupt diet changes, eating spoiled food (scrounged from an expedition in the kitchen bin), inedible objects (sticks, toys and shoelaces), rich food (human foods like dairy and processed meats) and gorging (eating too much too fast).

 

Most of these causes can be managed by slowly introducing new foods, keeping your puppy’s diet relatively simple (keeping the majority a premium quality puppy food), puppy proofing your home, whilst gorging can be minimised by adding obstacles to slow down the eating process. If your puppy vomits once but seems fine otherwise, then the best thing to do is let the digestive tract rest by not feeding them for a period of time (they should still have ready access to water as vomiting causes dehydration in puppies). The duration of fasting will vary depending on your puppies age (can range from a few hours to 24) – please consult with your vet on this. However, if your puppy is vomiting more than this, there is blood in their vomit/diarrhoea, if the signs last more than 24 hours or if there are other symptoms such as anorexia (not wanting to eat or drink), a bloated or painful abdomen, lack of coordination or lethargy, take them to the vet.

 

Hernias

Sometimes, puppies are born with hernias where abdominal organs or fatty tissue protrude through a weakened spot in the connective tissue. Umbilical (where the foetus was attached to its mother’s placenta in utero), inguinal (in the groin) and diaphragmatic (the sheet of muscle separating the chest from the abdomen) are the most common types of hernias. Blunt force trauma can also cause this condition. A small hernia usually feels like a small squishy blob in the belly button region or groin. In more serious cases, a larger mass can be felt and may be accompanied by symptoms like pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, irregular heartbeat and breathing issues. Your vet will diagnose a hernia through a physical exam and for small, uncomplicated cases, they will probably recommend the issue be treated at the same time your puppy is de-sexed. If a hernia is more complicated and involves organs, then immediate surgery may be required.

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)

This condition can occur in toy dog breed puppies up to 6 months of age when the puppy has gone too long without eating. Symptoms include sleepiness, weakness, lack of coordination and lack of appetite which can then develop into seizures and loss of consciousness. To prevent this issue, toy breed puppies should be fed three to four small meals a day. Because they have such small stomachs and can only consume a limited volume of food at a time, toy breed puppies will often need food that is higher in calories, fats and proteins. It’s best to consult with your vet to find the right diet for your puppy’s unique nutritional needs.

 

Remember, the care you take of your puppy whilst they are young sets up their health for life. If you are at all concerned about your puppy’s health or they are displaying symptoms you are unsure about, the team at Vets in Endeavour Hills are here to help. Please call us on (03) 9700 2264 and an experienced staff member will be able to advise you on the right course of action.

4 Household Items That Are Risks For Your Pet’s Health

Keeping your pet safe is not just about feeding them the right kind of food. It’s often about looking around your own house and removing risks that can potentially harm their health. But how do you know what’s classified as a risk for your pet? Well, today, we’re giving you some examples of common household items that you should be wary of.

 

Plants

While houseplants might seem perfectly harmless, certain varieties can be very harmful to your pets. You should always research whether the new plant you’re planning to buy is harmful to your cats or dogs before you purchase it. If you find that you already have a plant that is potentially harmful, keep it in a place that your pet cannot access.

There are many toxic houseplants on the list, which is why it’s important to do your research and talk to your vet. Here are just a few common houseplants that can be deadly news for your pet:

  • Lilies
  • Aloe Vera
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Yucca

 

Rodenticides

Rodenticides, commonly known as Rat Sac, are designed to smell appealing, and unfortunately, they don’t just attract rats and mice. Your pet might be drawn to them and decide to chew them – which is obviously extremely dangerous for the health of your pet. Therefore, it’s vital to place traps in areas that your pets can’t get to, and only set traps if it’s absolutely necessary.

You should remember that even if your pet doesn’t chew a rodenticide, they can still be poisoned if they choose to attack a rodent that has been affected by the rodenticide. Thus, your best option to get rid of the rodent problem without harming your pets would be to contact a professional exterminator.

 

Food

For a full list of foods that can be harmful to cats and dogs, you should get in touch with your vet.

The most common toxic foods include:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Salt
  • Caffeine and alcohol

 

Human medication

Always keep your medication in areas your pets cannot reach. If human medication is easily accessible to your pets, they can be severely impacted. A medication as simple as Advil is a common cause of painful gastrointestinal ulcers in cats, dogs, birds and ferrets.

Some common medications to keep out of reach include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Paracetamol and anti-inflammatories
  • Cold medicines
  • Muscle relaxants

 

What to do if your pet comes into contact with a toxin

You should follow this three-step action plan if your pet has chewed, vomited or ingested anything that resembles a household toxin:

  • Immediately collect any packaging as this assists your vet in identifying the toxin.
  • Collect what you can of the toxic substance, even if it has been chewed or vomited. This also helps with identifying the toxin (particularly if there was no packaging).
  • Get in touch with your vet straight away; symptoms of poisoning may not show immediately and it is safer to be proactive.

 

If you need to take your pet to an Endeavour Hills veterinary hospital, your first port of call should be Vets in Endeavour Hills. We take the health of your pet very seriously and getting in touch as soon as possible could save your pet’s life. Please do not hesitate to call us on (03) 9700 2264 if you are worried about your pet.

The Basics Of Myxomatosis

This summer, we saw lots of warm weather and heavy rains, making ideal breeding grounds for hoards of mosquitos. In turn, this has caused a spike in cases of myxomatosis. In today’s blog, we are discussing what exactly myxomatosis is, and why you should be active in trying to prevent your rabbit from contracting it.

 

What is myxomatosis?

Myxomatosis is an almost-always-fatal virus that can affect your pet rabbit. Biting insects – including fleas and mosquitos – spread the deadly virus. The severity of the virus is such that 96-100% of rabbits that catch it eventually succumb to its effects.

 

Symptoms

It is imperative that you contact a vet as soon as you notice symptoms of myxomatosis, as the disease can be fatal within 48 hours.

Signs of infection can include:

  • Swollen or moist eyes, nose, mouth and genital area
  • Eyes leaking milky discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen or drooping ears
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing

Unfortunately, in some cases, they may not exhibit symptoms.

 

What should I do if I notice symptoms?

You should seek veterinary attention immediately as early intervention is important. However, because there is no guaranteed cure for the infection, euthanasia may need to be considered in the cases where treatment is not successful.

If you have other rabbits, you should isolate your affected pet to limit the chance of infecting your other pets. You should also thoroughly clean and sanitise food bowls, the hutch and items within it, taking care to keep each pet’s items separated.

 

How do I prevent myxomatosis?

There are a number of preventative measures you can take to help prevent myxomatosis from your home’s environment. These include:

  • Even if the hutch is indoors, cover it with mosquito netting
  • Avoid letting your rabbits out at dusk, nighttime or early mornings (when mosquitos are most active)
  • Use vet-approved insect repellents
  • Make sure your other pets are flea-free
  • Discuss flea-prevention medications with your vet

 

One of my rabbits had myxomatosis…

After cleaning and disinfecting the rabbit hutch and related items, you must be wondering when you can bring home a new rabbit. Though it may be hard, it is strongly advised that you don’t do this for at least four months after the myxomatosis case. This is because the virus can actually survive in the environment months after the incident.

 

Concerned about myxomatosis?

Vets in Endeavour Hills are happy to discuss prevention plans if you are concerned about your pet catching the virus. Please give us a call on (03) 9700 2264.

 

 

How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth

Maintaining optimal dental health is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. While dogs aren’t as prone to cavities as humans are, they can still develop issues such as tartar, plaque buildup and gingivitis. To prevent these problems from developing, we’re sharing some tips and tricks for cleaning your dog’s teeth.

1) Start early

Establishing a good dental routine early-on is essential for your dog’s long-term dental health. By regularly brushing your dog’s teeth as a puppy, they will become used to and comfortable with the process. This also makes it easier for you as your dog matures.

2) Choose the right toothpaste

Selecting the correct toothpaste is crucial to your dog’s health. Many human toothpastes contain harmful ingredients such as fluoride, which is extremely dangerous to dogs. Vets in Endeavour Hills stock a range of toothpastes and toothbrushes which have been developed for canine dental care purposes.

3) Dry food is better than soft food

When it comes to preventing dental issues such as tooth decay, opt for dry food over soft food. Soft dog food can be potentially problematic as it is more likely to stick to your dog’s teeth, causing buildup and decay.

4) Bones and toys are great for cleaning teeth

There are many synthetic bones and toys created to strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums. Ensure that any bones or toys you give your dog are safe, as hard objects can result in broken teeth. It is also important to note that while a chewing a bone can help eliminate plaque buildup and strengthen your dog’s teeth, it is not enough. Regular brushing is essential to maintaining superior dog dental hygiene.

If you look inside your dog’s mouth and see problems such as excessive drooling, misaligned or missing teeth, discoloured, broken or crooked teeth, red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums, bad breath, bumps or growths within the mouth, yellowish-brown tartar crust along the gum line, or well as behaviours such as pawing at the face or mouth or depression, your pet may be suffering from dental disease and need professional care.

At Vets in Endeavour Hills, we provide specialist dental care for your dog. If you are concerned about your dog’s oral health, we offer our patients a free dental check. To speak with an experienced veterinary professional today, call us at (03) 9700 2264.