Vaccinations and Examinations

Tag: health and wellness

Regular vaccinations and examinations will help keep your pet healthy and happy. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of the frequency that your pet should be examined, but most recommend either annual or six-monthly visits. This is because pets age an average of 7 times faster than humans and so by the time they reach 6/7 years old they are considered middle-aged. Larger breeds of dogs are often considered to be seniors by the time they reach 8.

Typical components of a wellness examination include:

  • Checking the central nervous center

  • Checking and cleaning the ears, treating if required

  • Checking joints and mobility

  • Checking skin and condition of coat

  • Checking urinary and reproductive systems

  • Dental examination

  • Eye examination

  • Listen to the heart

  • Listen to the lungs

  • Observation of alertness and response

  • Palpate the abdomen checking for painful areas and/or growths or tumors

  • Physical examination of the rest of the body for unusual lumps

  • Weight check

Other tests that your pet may be given include:

  • Heartworm testing (otherwise known as blood parasite screening)

  • Fecal testing. This allows the veterinarian to check for the presence of internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

  • Blood work. Blood tests screen for infection or disease that may not otherwise be detected through a physical examination. Blood work also allows a veterinarian a comprehensive assessment of your pets’ health.

Vaccinations and Examinations

Recognizing an Ill Pet

Tag: health and wellness

Just like humans pets can have days where they feel a little lethargic and under the weather, but it is the natural instinct of an animal to try and disguise any signs of illness. They do this in the wild as showing weakness leaves them vulnerable to predators and open to attack. Unfortunately this can make it tricky to determine if your pet is feeling a little unwell or if they are suffering from a more serious illness.

There are a number of symptoms and changes in your pets’ appearance, behavior and physical condition that you can look out for. These include but are not limited to:

  • Abnormal vocal noises

  • Bloating of the abdomen

  • Blood in the stools or urine

  • Decreased energy or activity levels

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting

  • Discharge from the nose or eyes

  • Excessive scratching or licking of the body

  • Foul odor from ears, mouth or skin

  • Increased shedding or bald patches

  • Limping

  • Lumps or tumors

  • Persistent hiding

  • Reluctance to use stairs

  • Seizures

  • Straining or an inability to pass urine or stools

Any of the above symptoms should be checked out by a veterinarian within 24/48 hours.

Symptoms that require immediate veterinary treatment include:

  • Bloated or hardened abdomen

  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea

  • Inability to stand up or urinate

  • Seizures


Whilst a sick pet may require inpatient treatment in care in your veterinary surgery for days or even weeks, you will need to continue providing them with care and compassion to aid their recovery when they come home. This can include administering medication, supporting physical rehabilitation, emotional care, and fulfilling any special dietary requirements.

Recognizing an Ill Pet

Flea Prevention and Care

Tag: health and wellness

Saving Your Pet from an Itchy Problem: Fleas

 

Every parent to a furry pet knows how much of a nuisance fleas can be. At best your pets become itchy and skittish, at worst they become miserable and lethargic. And just like ticks, fleas can be a vector for disease for your pets, or even for you! Fleas can be partly responsible for roundworms or flatworms, and can be responsible for infections including typhus, spotted fever, cat-scratch fever, or more rarely, the plague.

So what can we do? The best first step is prevention, but if that fails, there are ways to spot the beginnings of a flea infestation as well as ways to stop it in its tracks.
 

Preventing an infestation

Stop an infestation before it can start! When winter turns to spring, and the weather starts to get warm, don't wait until you can notice fleas on your pets or their playmates. You'll have a much happier home if you follow these easy steps:

  • Keep your home clean. Vacuum your house regularly, especially if you have deep pile rugs, and make sure your pet's favorite spaces are regularly cleaned/washed, aired out, and preferably getting plenty of sunlight.

  • Clean yards fend off more than ticks. Keeping a clean yard, including mowed lawns and trimmed foliage, will drastically reduce the potential population of fleas in your outdoors. Keeping any trash, especially foods, carefully sealed for disposal will help keep away other animals that are likely to harbor fleas

  • Use flea treatments. There's a number of options for flea treatments available based on the type of pet and their age, including spot-on treatments and flea collars. Always read the instructions carefully to avoid harming your cat instead of helping them. And of course, always feel free to come in and talk to our staff about what treatments are best for your pet.

  • Consider professional pest control. This option isn't always in a pet owner's budget, and it should always be considered carefully to ensure the best health for your pets, plants, and fish. This can also help prevent other potentially nasty bugs from biting you and your animals, including mosquitoes.
     

Catching an infestation early

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, fleas find their way into our homes and onto us and our animals. Maybe it's because you live in an apartment, and they hitch a ride on your neighbor's dog. Or perhaps your selected flea treatment didn't last as long as you expected it to, or wasn't even effective at all.

No matter the reason, we've got a few tips on how to identify a flea infestation as early as possible. The earlier you identify it, the earlier you can get it under control!

  • Comb your pet regularly. You can monitor your pet's fur for fleas at multiple stages and check their skin for irritations, bite marks, or other signs of fleas, such as eggs or detritus (blackish-red "flea dirt"). You want to pay close attention to favored locations, such as the back of the head and around the ears, the armpits, or the rump. Remember: fleas will jump on and off of you and your pet, so finding signs of fleas is important, even if you do not find fleas themselves.

  • Fleas love to jump. Fleas are tiny and quick, but they usually appear in groups once the infestation has started. You'll probably be able to feel them jumping on and off of you, especially your feet and lower legs. Your pet's skin will probably also "jump," as they twitch from the movement of fleas (as opposed to being bitten).

  • Keep an eye on your pet's behavior. Are they scratching more than usual? Are they pulling their fur out? Do they have dermatitis? Are they biting at the same area over and over? These are all potential signs that fleas are present. Note: If this behavior is present, but you cannot find any other signs of fleas, bring your pet in to be checked by us. We can ensure there are no other health problems!

  • White brings fleas to light. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if the evidence you're finding is of fleas, instead of just plain dirt, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. Put down white paper towels when you comb your pet with the flea comb. You can check the detritus that falls off the pet onto the paper towel or is stuck on the comb to see if it's like dried blood, or if it looks like the earth around your home. Also, if you wear white socks, you'll be able to see the fleas jumping on and off of you.

  • Fleas don't just jump on you. In fact, individually they don't even spend most of their time on you or your pet. Check your pet's favorite places — the dog bed where they love to flop, the spot on the overstuffed chair where your cat loves to sun itself, or even the places in the house where they play the most. Fleas will leave behind similar detritus on your surroundings as they do on your pet.

  • Check all of your pets. If one pet is exhibiting signs of fleas, but your other pet's behavior hasn't changed and they don't scratch themselves much, that doesn't mean the fleas only want to eat one pet. There is a good likelihood you'll find evidence of fleas on both! The reason is that not all animals are allergic to flea bites.

  • Anemia is a concern. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets during regular care and grooming. Lethargy, weakness, and even pale gums can be signs that they're anemic, i.e., that a high number of fleas are sucking their blood. Be sure to come see us so we can get your pet well!

Flea Prevention and Care

Seasonal Care

Tag: health and wellness

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a State with relatively consistent weather and temperatures. Just as humans change their behavior and diet with fluctuations in temperature, so do most animals. Here are our guidelines for seasonal care for your pets.


Winter

If temperatures plummet and your pet usually likes to spend most of its time outdoors try and persuade them to stay indoors in the warm instead. If circumstances mean that your pet has to be kept outdoors then take steps to ensure that they are as warm and comfortable as possible. This means providing them with a dry and draft-free shelter with plenty of extra blankets. You should also regularly check their water supply to ensure that it hasn’t frozen.

If the ground is covered with snow, ice or just extremely cold then you may want to consider animal booties. These are widely available from most pet stores.

Be prepared to see a change in your pets eating habits. Outdoor pets tend to require extra food. They burn this extra food to help keep them warm. Indoor pets are likely to eat far less as they conserve energy by sleeping more.

Keep your pets away from antifreeze. Unfortunately, it smells and tastes delicious to dogs and cats, but even the smallest sip can be deadly. Keep pets out of garages and outbuildings and clean up any spillages as soon as they happen. Speak to your neighbors about the dangers and ask them to ensure that any antifreeze they have is securely stored and that they too clean up any spillages that may occur. If your pet acts as if they are drunk or begins to convulse then take them to a vet immediately.

Check under the hood of your car before starting the engine. Many cats like to sneak under the hood of a vehicle once you have gone inside so that they can curl up against the warm engine. If you are unable to open the hood then a firm tap on it should be sufficient to wake any sleeping cat.

Ensure that rabbit hutches are brought inside. If this isn’t possible then ensure that you put extra newspaper in for insulation. Again, check their water source to ensure that it isn’t frozen.

Seasonal Care

Equine: Endoscopy

Tag: large animals

When a person or animal is unwell, external symptoms and blood test results may only tell a small part of the story. Advances in medical technology mean that it is now possible to see what is actually happening inside you, and one of these procedures is known as an endoscopy.

An endoscopy can be used to view and analyze many parts of a horse including the upper respiratory tract, and parts of the gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts. This helps veterinarians to make an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment for a wide range of health problems.
 

Types of endoscopy

There are two main types of endoscopy available in the equine veterinary field. These are:


Fiberoptic Endoscope

This is the most common type of endoscope used for investigative surgery in horses. The endoscope is made up of a bunch of optical fibers that are enclosed within a waterproof rubber tube. The tube is passed into the horse’s body either through a natural body cavity or a surgical incision. The area is illuminated by a light source that passes through the fiber optics and then examined using an eyepiece that is attached to the external end of the fiber-optic cable.
 

Video Endoscope

This more advanced version of the endoscope has a tiny microchip video camera on the end of the scope which relays live feedback to a television screen in the room. This means that multiple people can view the feed, and it can be recorded and played back at a later time.

 Equine: Endoscopy

Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Tag: large animals

Lameness is one of the most prevalent problems presented to equine veterinarians. The term is used to describe an abnormal gait or stance due to the animal feeling pain or experiencing a restriction in the normal range of movement caused by underlying mechanical or neurological problems. The pain or restriction can originate from any part of the body such as the hoof, the leg or neck. The degree of severity can vary from a mild change in gait to completely preventing the horse from using or bearing weight on the affected limb. Unfortunately, lameness is the primary reason that older horses are put down.
Why might my horse be lame?


There are many reasons why a horse can become lame, but some of the most common reasons include:

  • Abscesses or bruises in the hoof

  • Back and neck problems

  • Degenerative joint diseases

  • Fractures

  • Laminitis – inflammation of the soft tissue structures which attach the pedal bone to the hoof wall

  • Ligament injuries

  • Tendon damage

Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Equine: Castration

Tag: large animals

Equine castration is the most common surgical procedure performed on horses. Not only does it prevent unwanted breeding, but it can also dramatically improve the behavior and management of your horse.


When should equine castration take place?

Equine castration usually takes place in either the spring or autumn months in order to avoid bacteria-carrying flies in the summer and the mud of winter. Traditionally, castration is carried out in a horse’s yearling year, but there is no reason why the procedure cannot be undertaken at other times. However, both testicles must have descended into the scrotum before the castration takes place. If one testicle is undescended, then waiting to castrate is usually the most viable option. However, it is possible to carry out a full castration via laparoscopy to find the retained testicle, although this requires much more surgical intervention and therefore a longer recovery period.

Your equine veterinarian will obtain the medical history and conduct a thorough examination of your horse before performing castration, to ensure that he is in good condition, has been wormed regularly, his vaccinations are up to date and he has not suffered any recent respiratory infection.

Equine: Castration

Equine: Dentistry

Tag: Large Animals

One of the most important parts of responsible equine ownership is caring for their teeth and ensuring they are strong, clean and healthy. This is because oral health can have a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of your animal. Left untreated, dental problems can cause problems with the function of the nervous system, muscular balance, cardiovascular health, imbalance of chemicals in the body, digestive system and the structural stability of the head, neck, and tongue. Most equine dental problems begin as mild and treatable occurrences. However, they can rapidly increase in severity if left untreated. Regular check-ups by an experienced and qualified equine dentist are vital.

Symptoms of equine dental problems

One of the reasons that regularly scheduled check-ups are important is because many horses don’t display any clear symptoms of dental issues until they develop into major problems or begin to cause them pain. However, many responsible equine owners can tell when their horse isn’t feeling quite right. If they are unable to establish what is wrong, then there is a good chance that dental problems may be to blame.
Some of the signs and symptoms of equine dental problems that you can look out for include:

  • Tilting the head when not eating

  • Head tossing or shaking

  • Excessive saliva

  • Nasal discharge

  • Facial swelling

  • Foul breath

  • Dropping food

  • Stiffness on one side

  • Napping, bucking or rearing

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Grass packing in cheeks

  • Slow to eat or dips feed or hay in drinking water

  • Nervousness or a dislike of being handled

In some cases, behavior changes can also be a sign of dental problems. These could be mouthing or chewing the bit, unexplained subtle lameness, resisting bridling or even rearing or bolting.

Equine: Dentistry