Veterinary Care for Animals Planning Overseas Journeys

Could Your Cat Have Ear Mites?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Could Your Cat Have Ear Mites?

Parasitic ear mites are contagious, and your cat only has to come into contact with an infected cat to become a host. If ear mites are left untreated, they can begin to colonise in other parts of your cat’s body. Additionally, ear mites can make your cat’s ears feel so itchy they will scratch until they damage the inner ear, which can impair their hearing. Here’s an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for ear mites in cats: Symptoms Common symptoms of ear mites include the following: Frequent shaking of the head and rubbing the head along the carpet Foul-smelling discharge Crusting around the outer ears Ears look inflamed Diagnosis And Treatment Your veterinarian will use an otoscope with a magnifying lens to examine your cat’s inner ears. The vet may be able to see the mites with the otoscope but will often have to take a sample of your cat’s skin cells to confirm the presence of mites. The sample will be obtained with a soft swab and won’t cause your cat any discomfort. The inflammation caused by an ear mite infestation can leave your cat susceptible to developing a secondary bacterial infection in their ears. Your vet can take a sample of your cat’s blood to check their inflammatory markers, which will be raised if their body is fighting an infection. If your cat has ear mites, the mites will have laid eggs. Treatment involves eradicating both the adult mites and eggs with a topical anti-parasitic. You’ll need to apply the prescribed ointment daily for a few weeks, and due to ear mites being contagious, any other cats in your home should be pre-emptively treated. Ear mites are often found on soft furnishings in the home of a cat with mites, so while your cat is undergoing treatment, you should thoroughly clean your home. Your regular cleaning products will do just fine, but it’s advisable to clean more frequently until your cat gets the all clear from your vet. Put curtains and any removable cushion covers through a warm wash cycle, change bedding and hoover mattresses as often as you can manage. You can minimise the discomfort caused to your cat by ear mites by being vigilant and ensuring they are examined by your vet at the first sign mites have colonised their ears. Prompt treatment can also allow for a shorter course of treatment, which is better for your cat, as all prescription medications can cause side...

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Epilepsy In Dogs Explained

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Epilepsy In Dogs Explained

As a neurological condition, epilepsy can alter your dog’s consciousness and cause them to experience seizures. There’s not always a clear reason when a dog develops epilepsy, but some breeds, including springer spaniels, golden retrievers and Labradors, seem to be particularly prone to developing this illness. When your dog starts having seizures, it can be distressing for both you and them even though the seizures tend to last for only a few minutes, but understanding the condition can help you feel calmer during seizure episodes. Here’s an overview of the symptoms, diagnostic approach and management of epilepsy in dogs: Symptoms Your dog will have a pattern of symptoms they display when they’re about to have a seizure, while the seizure is taking place and directly after the seizure. Getting to know the signs your dog is about to have a seizure can enable you to make them more comfortable and keep them safe when the seizure takes place. Just before a seizure, your dog may appear frightened or confused and may look dazed. It’s also common for dogs to find a small, cosy place to hide. During a seizure, your dog may grind their teeth, lose control of their bowels, salivate excessively, whine and paddle in the air with their legs while lying on their back or side. After a seizure, dogs are often exhausted and feel hungry and thirsty. Your dog may also seem disorientated and a cuddle from you in a quiet environment will help calm them. Diagnosis Epilepsy can be diagnosed by taking a detailed account of your dog’s symptoms and behaviour during seizure episodes. If your vet is concerned another condition could be causing the seizures, they can test your dog’s blood for hypothyroidism and certain types of cancer that are associated with convulsions. To be absolutely certain your dog has epilepsy, an MRI or CT scan can be used to check for signs of epilepsy on your dog’s brain, such as lesions. Seizure Management There’s currently no cure for epilepsy, but your dog’s seizures can be managed with anti-epileptic drugs that they may have to take for the rest of their life. A regular blood test will ensure your dog is receiving a therapeutic dose of the drug, but this can also be determined by monitoring your dog’s seizure activity. The goal of treatment is to reduce the frequency of the seizures as much as possible, but some dogs stop having seizures altogether. Your vet will also explain how to keep your dog safe during seizures. For example, your dog could experience a musculoskeletal injury if you try and restrain them when they are having a seizure. Similarly, they could get hurt when they are disorientated if there’s anything in the room they could bang into. It’s important to get a formal diagnosis and seek treatment for your dog’s seizures as soon as possible, as they can become more frequent without...

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Managing your cat’s weight with vet support

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Managing your cat’s weight with vet support

As the general population has gotten heavier, so has the world’s cats. Extra weight has detrimental effects on a cat’s health including a higher rate of diabetes, a higher strain on the joints and a higher rate of fatty liver disease. Here are some ways to help your cat manage their weight.  Cat food, not people food Cats are naturally carnivores and they are happiest and healthiest on a diet high in protein and animal fat. Unfortunately, they often like salty and fatty treats that humans often like to snack on, such as bacon rinds and potato chips. These can accelerate weight gain for cats, so it’s important to ensure that your cats only snack on appropriate cat food. If you are looking for some advice on the best cat food to feed to your pet, it’s worth discussing the matter with your vet to get some advice on a cat food that will be suitable to help you cat lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.  Water and hydration Cats, like people, obtain most of their moisture through their food and drink. If your cat does not have enough water they may turn to eating wet food to get some extra hydration (particularly in hot weather). If you are looking to get your cat’s weight down, it’s important to ensure that your cat has easy access to cool water all day to make sure they don’t end up eating to get extra water intake.  Exercise It’s easy for cats to become sluggish, particularly if they live in a relatively staid environment with little stimulation. If your cat lives inside and doesn’t have a companion pet to help keep them active, it can be useful to give them some extra stimulation. Cats are naturally predisposed to hunting, so useful ways to exercise can include red laser pointers that you flick around to mimic the random movements of an animal, or dangling a cat toy on the end of ‘fishing line’ so you can make it dart and move. Matching the exercise to the natural instincts of your cat can help to ensure they give an energetic and enthusiastic response to the stimulus.  If you are looking for some support to help your cat slim down and have a healthy weight, it can be sensible to get some advice from your vet. They can give you specific advice targeted towards your cat’s health and medical...

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Options to Keep Your Cat’s Dental Health in Order

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Options to Keep Your Cat’s Dental Health in Order

As our cats are loyal and valued members of the family, it’s important that we keep their teeth in great, clean condition. With the lifespan of domestic cats increasing with better care and attention, we need to put effort into keeping their teeth healthy for longer now than in the past. Dental bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, reaching other organs and creating serious and life threatening issues for your cat in addition to causing general discomfort when eating and bad breath. Here are some things you can do to keep your cat’s teeth healthy as long as possible. Brush Their Teeth Some owners find it possible to gentle lift their cat’s lips and brush their gums and teeth with a soft brush and feline toothpaste. This isn’t possible for all cats, so as an owner you need to use your judgment to decide whether this will be a useful option. Feline toothpaste can be purchased from a pet store or directly from the dentist. Even if you can brush your cat’s teeth at home, you still need to schedule a once-a-year checkup for a scale and clean at the pet dentist if you want to make sure your cat’s teeth stay in great condition. The dentist lightly sedates the cat so that they can remove any plaque and buildup from the teeth, as well as checking for other dental issues so that early treatments can be initiated. Monitor Their Diet In the wild, cats eat raw meat and have a very high protein: carbohydrate ratio. In modern domesticated cat diets, there tends to be a higher amount of carbohydrates, which can stick to the teeth. Feeding your cat a high protein diet can help to minimise dental issues. Equally ensuring they have enough water is important, especially given Australia’s high temperatures, as dry mouths can provide a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.  Give Them Dental Treats There are several brands of tasty dental treats on the market, which taste great and encourage saliva flow in the mouth from chewing, as well as providing a light abrasive action to the teeth. These can be purchased from pet stores or directly from your pet dentist. By minimising the amount of dental decay and bacteria in your cat’s mouth, not only will they have better smelling, fresher breath, but they will also be much more comfortable when going about their day-to-day...

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Hyperthyroidism In Cats – Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hyperthyroidism In Cats – Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment

As your cat gets older, you may notice some behavioural changes.  Most of these changes are perfectly normal and are to be expected in an older pet, for example, sleeping more or a waning interest in playtime.  However, there are other signs that could be indicative of hyperthyroidism, a common condition in older cats. Could your cat be developing hyperthyroidism?  Read on for more information. What is feline hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism is a glandular disorder that most commonly affects older cats.  The condition is caused by the over-production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxin (t4), which is responsible for the regulation of the cat’s metabolic rate. Your vet will be able to diagnose hyperthyroidism in your cat by taking a history of your pet’s symptoms and carrying out blood tests.  An examination of your pet might reveal swelling of the thyroid glands in the cat’s neck – a common indicator of hyperthyroidism. What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism? The following are all symptoms that your cat might display that could indicate the onset of hyperthyroidism: increased appetite, but losing weight increased and excessive thirst and urination hyperactivity not grooming and increased shedding of the coat panting diarrhoea How can your vet treat feline hyperthyroidism? There are several ways in which your vet could treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism. Surgery The condition is often caused by a benign tumour in one or both of the cat’s thyroid glands.  It is possible to surgically remove these tumours, but this won’t cure the condition completely.  Anaesthesia can also be challenging in older cats.  Surgery is expensive and not without risk, so your vet will probably recommend an alternative treatment. Radioactive iodine therapy This is a very effective and safe treatment.  The vet administers radioactive iodine by injection.  The substance enters the thyroid gland where its concentration is such that it destroys the faulty tissue.  Only one treatment is usually necessary to elicit a cure.  The major disadvantage of iodine therapy is that it is very expensive, although your pet insurance company should cover the costs, once the excess on your policy has been paid.  Your cat will have to be hospitalised for a couple of weeks, until all the radioactive iodine has been excreted from his system via his urine. Drug therapy There are a number of drugs that your vet could prescribe to treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism.  Drug therapy is a long term option for treatment, so can prove expensive if your cat is relatively young.  Some cats are also difficult to dose with tablets, but your vet will show you how to administer your pet’s medication if necessary. Whilst on hyperthyroid medication, your cat will have to attend the vet’s for annual blood tests to make sure that the level of medication is controlling the condition satisfactorily. In conclusion Hyperthyroidism is a common illness in older cats.  If your cat shows any of the above symptoms, seek veterinary advice immediately.  The condition is easily treatable, and your cat should still be able to enjoy a long and happy...

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Ask Your Vet: Can You Fix A Cat’s Broken Tail?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ask Your Vet: Can You Fix A Cat’s Broken Tail?

A broken tail can lead to severe problems for your cat. The tail contains several vertebrae, which connect to the cat’s lower back, and trauma to the tail can ultimately cause problems with mobility, balance and even the cat’s digestive system because of damage to nearby nerves. If you think your cat’s tail is broken, learn more about the options available to you. Symptoms to look for Of course, you can often spot visible signs of trauma or damage to your cat’s tail. For example, the tail may suddenly start to drag or hang awkwardly, or you may notice a visible kink. Some other symptoms may not seem so obvious. These symptoms can include: Urinary incontinence Swelling and heat in part of the tail Poor co-ordination in the rear legs Diarrhoea and/or faecal incontinence If you spot any of these signs (or anything else suspicious), you should take your cat to the vet immediately. Early treatment can help avoid long-term damage. Diagnosis and tests Your vet will need to carry out several tests to decide how serious the injury is. A visual inspection will often highlight the obvious signs, but further tests can help the vet decide on the best course of action. The vet will need to know the precise location and the extent of the injury. An X-ray is generally a quick way to pinpoint the problem. Blood tests and urinalysis are also sometimes necessary if the underlying cause of the problem is unclear or to find out if the injury has caused other symptoms. A referral to a neurological specialist is sometimes necessary with severe injuries. In this instance, the specialist can carry out an electromyogram. This procedure tests the muscles around the tail and sphincter to see if nerve damage is permanent. Treatment options The cat’s treatment options will vary according to the nature of the injury. For example, a break at the end of the tail that doesn’t cause any other side effects is probably not something to worry about. In many cases, these injuries will heal without intervention. If the break in the tail is lower down, the vet may carry out surgery to repair the fracture. If the damage is severe and there are no other complications, the vet may suggest that he or she amputates the cat’s tail. Amputation is a relatively straight-forward procedure. The animal may find it difficult to cope without the tail to start with, but most cats quickly learn to manage. Unfortunately, tail damage is often so severe that the injury will permanently affect the cat’s quality of life. For example, permanent nerve damage could mean that your cat remains incontinent for life. With severe injuries, your vet may recommend that the only humane option is to euthanize the animal. Broken tails are relatively common in cats, but the scale of the injury varies from one animal to another. Talk to your local vet clinic, such as Ivanhoe Veterinary Clinic, for more...

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Is your Dog’s Seizure a Cause for Concern?

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is your Dog’s Seizure a Cause for Concern?

As a dog owner, there are few things more terrifying than watching your pooch have a seizure. Unfortunately, canine seizures are all too common, affecting up to 5.7% of dogs. While it may be scary to see your dog have a fit, you may not need to worry. Many seizures are harmless, one-off events. Not sure whether your dog’s seizure is a cause for concern? Try conducting your own diagnostic test with these 3 questions. Is it actually a seizure? It’s only natural to be a ‘panicky parent’ to your fur-baby. Many dog owners mistake harmless trembling for a seizure. Luckily, it’s easy to tell the difference. During a seizure, your dog will lose control of their body – they’ll convulse uncontrollably, and they may even pee, poop, or salivate. A dog who is simply shivering will be in full control – they’ll respond to your voice and they’ll be able to make eye contact. While shivering can be caused by illness, it’s not usually something to be concerned about. Most dogs shiver because they’re scared, cold, or seeking attention. How long does it last? Seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Unsurprisingly, a shorter seizure lasting a few seconds is less likely to be a serious concern than a longer seizure lasting up to 5 minutes. You should also note how often your dog is having seizures. A one-off seizure is usually harmless, but more than one seizure a month could require medicinal treatment. The most dangerous seizures are ones that last more than 5 minutes, and ones that are “clustered” together (one after another). Severe seizures like these can cause brain damage and even death, so in these cases it is a vet emergency and you should consult an emergency vet as soon as possible. How old is the dog? Seizures are generally more of a concern for older dogs than younger dogs. In puppies less than one year of age, seizures are usually caused by brain anomalies like hydrocephalus, or illnesses and diseases. While inherent abnormalities are impossible to control, serious illnesses like parvovirus and canine distempter are easily prevented by vaccination. In an older dog under 5 years old, the primary cause of seizures is Idiopathic Epilepsy (a seizure disorder with unknown causes). With the help of anticonvulsant treatments, dogs with this condition can live a healthy and happy life. In dogs over 5 years old, seizures are often caused by more dangerous illnesses like tumours or degenerative conditions. Seizures in older dogs warrant medical attention as soon as possible. Regardless of the relative cause for concern, it’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian if your dog has suffered a seizure. Even if there’s nothing to worry about, seeing a vet will give you peace of mind, as well as a head start at catching any serious health...

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Renal Disease In Cats: Four Symptoms You Should Look Out For

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Renal Disease In Cats: Four Symptoms You Should Look Out For

Healthy cats rely on healthy kidneys. These vital organs manage the cat’s blood pressure, produce red blood cells and remove waste from the animal’s body. As such, problems like renal (kidney) disease can have severe consequences, especially in older animals. Stay vigilant to the signs of feline kidney disease and look out for any of the following four symptoms in your cat. Appetite and weight problems Like many other health issues, kidney disease will often result in a decreased appetite for your cat. If the cat stops eating properly, other problems can quickly follow. For example, if a cat quickly loses weight, he or she may run out of protein. In turn, this can cause fatal liver failure. While many cats are fussy eaters, any change in dietary habits is a cause for concern. Appetite and weight issues can occur for many reasons, so it’s always important to ask the vet to check out your animal’s health if you spot this symptom. Increase in water consumption Cats with kidney problems generally need to drink more water. This symptom is a natural response by the cat’s body, as the kidneys need increasing amounts of fluid to perform vital duties. This condition is called polydipsia. Keep an eye on the amount of water your cat drinks. You may notice that the water bowl empties more often. Some cats will even start to drink from unusual places to get the water they need. For example, some owners notice that their cats start to drink water from the toilet bowl. Increase in urination Unsurprisingly, if the cat starts to consume more water, he or she is likely to urinate more often. Vets refer to this condition as polyuria. You may not always notice this symptom as easily as polydipsia, especially if your cat normally urinates outside. That aside, in severe cases, the cat may start to urinate unusually indoors. Of course, the first thing you will probably notice is the smell. Bad breath and mouth ulcers With chronic cases of feline kidney disease, cats will often suffer from severe bad breath. Realistically, severe bad breath often occurs at a stage when your vet has few treatment options to offer, but some animals also start to suffer from bad breath at an earlier, more treatable time. This symptom generally occurs because of the high level of toxins in the animal’s body. Mouth ulcers may also develop, but vets can often treat these painful problems with special medication, especially if you seek help at an early stage. Ulceration can also contribute to a problem with the animal’s appetite because he or she finds it too painful to eat. Kidney disease is a serious problem that kills many cats. Early treatment can improve your cat’s chances of survival, so make sure you look out for any possible symptoms. For more information, or if you have concerns about your cat’s health, contact a local vet...

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What Is A Homeopathic Vet?

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Is A Homeopathic Vet?

Many vets these days commonly offer alternative therapies to their patients such as acupuncture and physiotherapy, but did you know that there is also a branch of homeopathic veterinary medicine?  Homeopathic veterinary medicine is often used in conjunction with conventional treatment for chronic conditions and could be something that’s recommended for your pet. So, what is veterinary homeopathy, and what should you expect at a consultation with a homeopathic vet?  Read on to find out more. What is veterinary homeopathy? The theory of homeopathy is based on the premise that ‘like cures like’.  Homeopathic practitioners are very knowledgeable in the effect that particular remedies or substances will have on a healthy body.  The symptoms presented by a sick animal are compared to that picture of the animal in health, and the remedy that matches those symptoms most closely is chosen as a treatment. The veterinary practitioner seeks to find the correct stimuli for the animal’s inherent healing ability, and looks to remove any influences that could impede this, for example, an unhealthy diet containing too high a concentration of artificial ingredients.  The chosen substance for treatment is diluted many times in a water or alcohol solvent and is delivered to the patient in very small quantities over an extended period of time. What happens during a homeopathic veterinary consultation? Unless your usual vet is a qualified homeopath, you’ll need a referral to take your pet to a homeopathic vet.  A homeopathic veterinary consultation differs from a conventional one in a number of ways, regardless of the species to be treated. The consultation is usually much longer in duration than a standard one due to the amount of information about the animal that the vet requires in order to formulate a treatment plan.  In addition to information about the signs and symptoms of your pet’s current condition, details will be taken of past ailments, even though these might not appear to be related.  Notes are made of all external stimuli that could have a bearing on your pet’s condition, such as weather conditions, temperature, routine, usual environment and diet.  The vet will ask you about your pet’s character, its usual behaviour in certain circumstances, its fears, et cetera.  All this information will help to determine the animal’s individuality and are crucial in allowing the vet to prescribe an appropriate and effective course of treatment. The homeopath will use all this information, together with the animal’s medical history as provided by your usual vet to identify suitable substances that are appropriate to treat the presenting condition.  Treatment and progress checks are ongoing for the duration of your pet’s illness. In conclusion Homeopathic veterinary medicine can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments and drug therapy to treat many chronic conditions affecting all species of animals.  If you think that a homeopathic approach might help your pet, ask your vet for more information and advice....

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