Bee stings

With springtime upon us, we can expect to see more blossoming trees and flowers popping up all over the garden – and with that comes bees. Your dog or cat might think a bee is a harmless new friend, providing a bit of excitement and fun with a game of chase! Often this can result in your pet receiving a bee sting to the face, mouth, or paws.

Has my pet been stung?

It will be very clear almost immediately if your pet has been stung. Keep an eye out for:

  • A sudden or continuing cry from your pet, indicating pain and discomfort
  • Your pet running around in circles or otherwise erratically
  • Licking, chewing, or pawing the same spot repeatedly
  • Unusual swelling
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pale gums

In some extreme cases, pets can experience severe reactions and experience vomiting, collapse, hives, profound swelling, and difficulty breathing. If your pet has been stung by more than one bee or in the mouth or throat, their reaction is more likely to be severe, and they can potentially experience anaphylactic shock. It is essential to act fast.

What should I do if my pet has been stung?

Stay calm! Panicking will only increase your pet’s stress.

The stinger will continue to release venom until it has been removed, causing pain and discomfort.

If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned severe reactions, give us a call and make your way in to see us immediately.

If your pet is having a mild reaction and experiencing discomfort only:

  • Try to locate the site of the sting
  • If you can find it, remove the stinger gently with tweezers

Once you are sure the stinger has been removed:

  • Apply cool water via washing the site or pressing it gently with a wet cloth.
  • Keep an eye on your pet for any developing symptoms, and ensure they are well hydrated.

If your pet appears uncomfortable or develops a more severe reaction after removing the sting, please give your vet clinic a call for further advice.


Parasites

As the weather warms up, we start to see more parasite problems for all sorts of pets.

Here are some of the more common parasites we come across, as well as some information on the problems they cause and how to get rid of them.

Fleas

Fleas are relatively easy to spot, and if not, your pet will let you know! Look out for these clues:

  • Your pet might constantly be scratching or chewing and become quite irritable.
  • You might notice red, sore-looking bumps or blisters on your pet’s skin.
  • If you look close enough, you might see ‘flea dirt’ – this is a flea waste product that looks like tiny little flecks of pepper.
  • Sometimes, you can even see the fleas moving around themselves – tiny little brown or black wingless insects, with an incredible jump!

Flea bites are not only uncomfortable and frustrating for your pets, but they can also lead to serious wound infections, anaemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis.

Moving swiftly is the key to flea treatment! You will need to treat:

  • Every pet in your household
  • Pet bedding
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Any other soft furnishings a flea or its eggs might be hiding

If you have any questions or require parasite product advice, organise an appointment with your vet.

Ticks

Ticks can be found in every state of Australia. There are many different species of ticks, and some pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of our pets. The most common species that affect our pets are the paralysis tick, the bush tick, the cattle tick, and the brown dog tick.

  • Paralysis ticks are particularly dangerous, as they deliver a neurotoxin into our pet’s bloodstream as they feed, leading to severe paralysis of the muscles – including the heart, proving fatal.
  • Brown dog ticks are not deadly themselves but can cause dermatitis and anaemia, as well as carry some nasty diseases, including Ehrlichiosis, which has only recently been discovered in more northern parts of Australia, and is spreading to some southern parts.

The best practice is to regularly check your dog for ticks after being outside – run your fingers through their coats to feel for any unusual lumps on their skin. Be sure to check over your pets’ entire body, especially:

  • Around their head and ears
  • Inside their ears
  • In their mouths
  • Under their tail
  • Between their toes
  • Underneath their collar

Ticks are sneaky and can easily latch on to many different areas on your pet.

If you come across a tick, be sure to give us a call to organise its removal as soon as possible – it is vital to act quickly and we will ensure to remove all of the tick – even a small part leftover can continue to cause problems for your furry friend.

Keeping your dog protected year-round from ticks is key - we recommend tick prevention treatments like spot-on drops or tick collars. Speak to us today for our recommendation and prevent your pet from any unnecessary discomfort and illness.

Mosquitoes

Dogs, cats, rodents. and birds make for easy targets and tasty snacks for mosquitoes. While the mosquito bite itself is more annoying than threatening, mosquitoes can spread heartworm and other potentially fatal parasites to your pets.

We recommend making sure there is no stagnant or still water around the backyard – this is where mosquito larvae grow. If possible, bring your pets indoors between dusk and dawn, or make sure they have a safe, meshed area to sleep in. Pet safe mosquito and insect repellents are available that may be used. Speak to us if you have any concerns about mozzies in your area.

Intestinal worms

Many different worms can affect our pets! Some species are not exclusive to cats and dogs, but rodents, birds, and reptiles too. Some more common worms we see are:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Whipworm
  • Heartworm

These worms can be transmitted in several ways, including:

  • Coming into contact with (or eating) soil, grass, or faeces containing larvae or eggs,
  • Coming into direct contact with an infected animal
  • Transmitted in-utero or through milk fed to babies
  • Via insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas

Symptoms associated with worm infestations can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloody stools
  • Anaemia
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Visible worms – either in stools or around the anus
  • Lung disease

Prevention is the best cure - by administering regular preventatives which are available in various forms and combinations with other parasite control products. Ask your clinic for advice on the best preventative for your pet. If your pet is unwell, please book a consultation.

Giardia

Giardia is a lesser-known parasite that is surprisingly common. It is a microscopic protozoan that can infect humans, dogs, and cats.

Giardia contaminates bodies of water – it can be ingested by your pet when drinking or having a swim, this is why we see cases of giardia infection more often in the warmer months. Signs your pet may be infected include:

  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Reduced activity
  • Sudden or inexplicable weight loss
  • Bloody stools

Giardia is not usually life-threatening, but it is important to treat as your pet will feel unwell.

Give your local vet team a call or book an appointment if you think your pet may have giardia, it can be easily treated with after diagnosis.

 

If you have any concerns about parasites and your pet, please organise a consultation to discuss these with your vet.


Spring cleaning hazards

Springtime is the perfect time to shake off those winter blues and freshen up our homes for the busier, warmer months ahead. While we are clearing out and cleaning up, some of the products and tools we use potentially threaten our pets if not handled properly!

Check out some of the issues that can occur for our furry and feathered friends when they come into contact with common household cleaning chemicals:

  • Ensure that any cleaning products you use are out of reach of your pets and stored securely, so they don’t end up accidentally ingesting any poisons. Also, be aware of where you’ve cleaned with a harsh chemical – sometimes, when dry, the residue might taste appealing to your pet.
  • Do not use aerosol sprays around pets, especially birds! Move the animals to another room altogether to avoid them breathing in any chemicals or particles.
  • Ensure that pet’s food and water supply is also clear of any chemicals you may be spraying – droplets and particles can easily contaminate food and water, leading to ingestion later on.
  • When disposing of chemicals or their container, be sure your pet cannot access the rubbish bin.
  • Bottle caps, elastic bands, plastic bags, sponges, and other scrubbing implements can become choking hazards, should they fall into the wrong paws! Make sure these are stored safely and out of reach of your pet.
  • When airing out your home for a clean, make sure that all window and door screens are secure and that your indoor pet cannot sneak out unnoticed!
  • Mops, sponges, and brooms can appear like a fun, interesting new toy for a playful puppy or curious kitten! Be sure to keep your fur-baby away from these to avoid any loose bristles being eaten.

If you suspect your pet has ingested or inhaled any cleaning poisons, call your nearest vet clinic immediately.

The following symptoms are signs your pet could be poisoned and seriously ill:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive sneezing and/or coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

If you have any questions or concerns, please call your local vet clinic immediately.


Dog in dog house with bone

Moving house with your pet

Many of us dread moving house, and even the thought of it can be a stressful experience. This can also be the case for our pets. Pets become attached to familiar spaces and can become territorial. It’s important to keep your pet comfortable before, during and after you move them to a new location.

Before the move

Before moving, we recommend:

  • Seeing your Veterinarian - especially if you are moving to a new area. Make sure that their vaccinations are up to date and if you are moving to a new location, you take a copy of your pet’s medical records too. We have clinics all over the country, so ask us to refer you to one of our colleagues.
  • Organising your pets’ space: Plan where it will go before your pet moves in. If they walk in and see a familiar space, it can help them feel at home and at ease.

During the move

This is the time that can cause the most angst for pets. If you know your pet may get anxious, Adaptil and Feliway are safe, non-drug options that can help relax your pet and settle them into their new space.

Your pet and pet belongings should be the last thing that gets packed, and the first thing unpacked.

Whilst on the road to your new house, be sure to stop for regular breaks (these may be more frequent for some pets) and that your pet can easily access water. If the move is too much for your pet, it might be an idea to put them in a boarding facility or let them stay with a friend.

After the move

Just like us, our pets are getting used to the new environment. Learning the new space around them and where everything is. Below are 3 things you can do to help your pet settle in.

  1. Be sure you show your pets where they can access their bed, food, water and their toilet.
  2. Stick to your normal routine. If you stick to your normal routine, your pet will notice this familiar behaviour and can feel more at ease.
  3. Give them love and attention. Be sure to play with your pet and help them feel loved during this process of change.

If you are ever concerned about moving with your pet, ask one of our team for advice.

If you have recently moved, be sure to let your local Vet know and update your records. Also, don’t forget to update your pets microchip details as well.


dog and cat eating from bowl

Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet: your questions answered

Helping your furry family member to maintain a healthy weight not only improves their quality of life but significantly reduces the risk of serious conditions associated with obesity. To help you keep your pet on track, we’ve answered some common questions on weight and nutrition.

What's a healthy weight for my pet?

Just as in humans, a healthy weight is not the same number for each pet. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration such as breed, age, gender and overall health. The best way to determine the ideal weight for your best is to discuss with our team.

Dog weight scale Cat weight scale

…But my pet’s always been overweight.

There are some specific factors that could make your furry family member predisposed to weight gain, and therefore maintaining a healthy weight is even more important. There are several breeds of dog that are more likely to gain weight than others, including Beagles, Pugs, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Scottish Terriers and Saint Bernards. Female dogs are also more likely to gain weight, and if your dog has been de-sexed they are more likely still; the frequency of obesity in de-sexed male and female dogs can be twice that of entire dogs.

For cats, some factors which may make your cat more likely to struggle with weight gain and obesity are:

  • Breed and sex
  • Aged between five and 10 years old, when their activity begins to decline
  • Fed very frequently and more than the recommended portion (or fed ad lib.)
Sad overweight dog
Pet owners need to be strict with their dog's diet

How do I maintain my pet’s weight?

Rigorously maintaining good eating practices is the most effective way to maintain your pet’s healthy weight.

  • Feed your pet at the same place, time and with the same bowl every time
  • Don’t feed them scraps
  • Don’t give in to begging
  • Swap their treats for kibble taken from their daily allowance of food
  • Weigh them once a month and have regular veterinary check-ups

How does being overweight or obese affect my pet?

When your pet is overweight or obese, it is increasingly likely to store the food it consumes as fat, rather than using it up. This happens because they are increasingly inactive and the energy your pet is expending is less than the energy it's taking in. This extra fat can begin to affect the function of specific organs – such as the liver – or ‘coats’ others, like arteries. The extra weight also puts pressure on your pet’s joints, leading to arthritis and degenerative joint disease.

What are the risks if my pet is overweight or obese?

In general, obesity can reduce your pet’s quality of life and life expectancy; it’s harder for it to play and move around, and surgical procedures or check-ups become more difficult. There are some other issues that can arise from obesity.

Diabetes

Obese pets can be more at risk of diabetes. Often, the diabetes can be reversed once any extra weight is lost (particularly in cats), as the accumulated fat which is directly responsible for a failure to regulate glucose is no longer present.

Arthritis

Obesity in pets is one of the leading causes of arthritis in cats and dogs as the excess weight can put unnecessary strain on the joints – particularly in older pets.

How do I exercise my cat?

While giving your dog exercise can be as easy as taking them for a walk, the way to exercise a cat can be less obvious.

Ensure that you have regular playtime with your cat, particularly if they live indoors. Indoor cats need, on average, a third fewer calories than outdoor cats due to their lower energy expenditure, so playing with them is a good way to increase their movement and reduce the likelihood of gaining weight.

Two minutes of playtime twice a day, gradually increasing as they get more active, is an excellent start. Give them toys they can play with by themselves, or food toys which encourage them to play with an object to get a few kibbles as a reward.

Which food is best for my overweight pet?

There are many specific types of wight management food that is designed to assist in your journey to help your furry family member lose weight. It is best to consult one of our Veterinarians on the best choice of food for you and your pet.


Dog and woman in pool

Pet Pool Safety

Whether you are relaxing by the pool or lounging on the beach, you might want to bring along your furry family member to join in the fun! To help maximise your fun with your pet while keeping them safe, we’ve got you covered with these tips and tricks.

Dog and woman in poolNot all pets can swim

While some breeds of dog can swim naturally, you may be surprised to learn that other breeds may not be able to swim and are more likely to sink than to float in the water. For breeds like bulldogs or pugs, you should introduce them slowly to the water and monitor where they are the most comfortable. In some cases, they may be comfortable just wading rather than swimming.

Know the water

If you’re at the beach, it is of vital importance to make yourself aware of any rip currents in the area – and stay well away from them! Too much time in a chemically treated pool could be bad for your pet, especially if they drink the water! So make sure to monitor them closely and limited their time in the pool.

Life Jackets

Life Jackets are the safest option if your pet will be in deep water or on a boat. You can get pet-specific life jackets and make sure they are fitted properly and securely.

Shade

Sunburn, dehydration and heatstroke are major risks to our pets. Always know where your closest bit of shade is for you and your furry family member to retreat there when need be.

Clean Drinking Water

While your pet is running around and having fun in the water and the sun, as a pet parent it is your responsibility to make sure they have enough fresh clean water to drink. A source of clean water could be far away so make sure to pack plenty before you go as well as an appropriate dish for them to drink from – there are some great lightweight pet options available.

Bath Time

After some fun times by the water, you should give your pet a bath to remove any dirty material that could cause irritation.

We hope these tips and tricks help you and your pet enjoy a safe and happy time by the water! If anything unfortunate or unexpected happens, seek veterinary advice immediately from us.


Senior dog in sunny park

Keeping seniors safe this summer

All pet parents need to be aware of the dangers of a hot summer to the pet. However, when it comes to our senior pets, the hot weather may present a more serious risk to their health. Your senior furry family member will thank you for taking the time to go through these summer senior tips!

Senior dog in sunny parkIf your senior pet still likes to go for walks, take them early morning or when the sun is setting to avoid the heat. Before heading out for a walk use the ‘Five Second Rule’ – put your hand to the ground outside for five seconds, if it’s too hot for your hand then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.

Be careful when travelling with your pet in the car, make sure the windows are open or the air conditioner is on. And as all pet parents should know - NEVER leave your pet in a parked vehicle.

Place your pets’ water outside in a shady spot, and make sure they have plenty of it! If you don’t have a large enough bowl, fill up more smaller bowls. Adding some ice cubes to the water can help keep it cooler for longer.

Buy a plastic clam/shell pool to fill with water and place outside in the shade. This works amazingly when your pet needs to cool off!

Pets don’t sweat like we do – they pant instead, which lowers their body temperature. If your pet is having some trouble cooling down, effective but not sudden cooling is key. Try covering them with wet towels or spraying them gently with cool water. Adding some ice packs under their mat or blankets and even making some frozen treats can help. Brachycephalic breeds (those with a short nose like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers etc) can’t cool themselves as effectively through panting. If you see them panting cool them immediately with wet towels or spray some cool water on them.

Signs to keep an eye out for

If you notice any of these signs you should bring your senior pet to one of our vets immediately.

  • Excessive panting and saliva
  • Purple or red gums
  • Distress and collapsing
  • Dizziness
  • Bright red tongue

Time to enjoy this wonderful warm weather in the most safe and relaxing way possible!


Santa's Naughty List: Christmas Dangers for your pet

While we celebrate Christmas and indulge in the holiday season, it is important to remember to be mindful of our furry family members.

There are many dangers both obvious and not so obvious that your pet can encounter this holiday season, below is a list of some of the things to keep aware of.

Christmas pet dangers infographicChocolate

Make sure not to leave chocolate where it can be easily reached by your pet - like under the Christmas tree!

Candles

Don't leave lit candles unattended. Better yet, ensure your pet is securely in a safe place if you have candles lit.

Snow Globes

Snow globes can easily fall from shelved and break, especially with curious cats around. Broken glass on the floor and be a major hazard for your pet.

Tinsel

While not poisonous, tinsel can still be very harmful if eaten by your pet.

String Lights

There are multiple dangers for a pet with Christmas lights. They may get tangled in them or may receive electric shocks.

Grapes and Sultanas

Everyone loves a good fruit cake at Christmas. However, grapes and sultanas are toxic for dogs. Keep this out of their reach.

Onion and garlic

Large quantities of onion and garlic are toxic to dogs if ingested. Keep an eye on what your pet is eating.

Heatstroke

With Christmas time also comes the hot weather. On very hot days make sure your pet has a cool place to stay, lots of water and don't exercise them too much.

Holly

Mistletoe and holly berries are toxic to pets. Keep these plants out of reach of your pets.

Artificial Sweetener

Sugar-free foods are still not necessarily good for your pets. If your pet ingests artificial sweeteners, it can be fatal.

Bones

Dogs can only chew on raw bones, never feed cooked bones as these can splinter, causing internal damage or intestinal obstruction.

Costumes

We don't recommend dressing your pet in a costume, however, if you choose to, make sure they are monitored at all times. If they are visibly uncomfortable, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Be mindful of decorations that are dangling or within reach of pets, these can be a choking or injury hazard.

House Guests

Your pets may get stressed or ever excited with frequent or new visitors. Make sure that you keep an eye on how your pet is feeling. Keep your pets in a secure place if they don't like it when guests are over. ­­


Dog playing with water hose

Hazards in the garden

When the sun comes out, so do the gardening tools and gloves. As many pet parents will know, some dogs and cats like to follow you and help out as you tinker around in the garden, or even laze around next to you while you work at the vegie patch. While gardening in the sun with your pet makes for a great day, there are many hazards for your pet in the garden that pet parents should be mindful of.

Dog playing with water hose
There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested

Poisonous Plants

There are many plants that can be toxic to your pet if they are ingested. Some common plants that you should avoid around your pet are:

  • Lilies
  • Aloe Vera
  • Daffodils
  • Carnations
  • Baby’s breath
  • Hydrangeas
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Nightshade
  • Tulips

For an extensive list, please click here.

Rat and Bug Poison

Warmer weather brings the bugs out in force. Using poison to get rid of bugs or rodents poses a big threat to your pets. There are multiple chemicals in these types of poison that if ingested by your pet, can lead to neurological and physical symptoms.

Common symptoms that may point to your pet ingesting rodent or bug poison are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired movement
  • Paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs
  • Slight muscle tremors
  • Large doses can also cause seizures

While some brands of poison claim to be pet friendly, it is best to steer clear of it all together if you have any pets in the house. If you suspect your pet has ingested toxic materials, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Fruit seeds and stones

While your fruit trees may begin to bare its seasonal fruit, it is important to remember that as fruits fall to the ground, your pets may have easy access to these fruits. The inedible parts of fruits, such as stems and pips can cause problems for your pet if they decide to investigate and eat them.

Some pips can damage the oesophagus and cause your pet pain. If the pip makes it to the stomach, depending on the size, it may cause an obstruction that could potentially lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Fruits with hard stones can also cause painful tooth fracture if your pet bites into it. Fruits to be aware of are:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Grapes
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Peaches

Gardening Tools

Leaving your tools our overnight, or even when you pop back inside for lunch, can post a risk to the safety of your pet. Gardening tools can be sharp and pronged making it easy for a pet to injure themselves. Even if tolls are packed away, make sure they are put in a safe place that is locked and secure from your curious pet.

Plant and lawn fertiliser

Fertiliser products contain additives that can be toxic for your pet. Because there are a variety of fertilisers with different combinations of ingredients, the symptoms of ingestion may differ. In general, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivating, lethargy and abdominal pain. Ensure you keep your pet inside while you are working with fertiliser in the garden.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article in your pet, or suspect that they have ingested something toxic to them, make sure to visit your nearest veterinary clinic immediately.

List of dangers in the garden


Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign

8 Halloween Dangers for Your Pet

Halloween is a time to have fun and let your imagination run wild, also to eat yourself sick on chocolate and lollies. It is important that while we are having fun, we remain mindful of our furry family members and keep them safe and out of trouble. Here are some of the things to keep in mind for this Halloween season.

Dog with pumpkins wearing a trick or treat sign
Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies

Chocolate

Chocolate is the obvious major hazard for Halloween. Even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic for your pet. If your pet ingests chocolate, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • General hyper-excitability and anxiousness
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Cardiac arrest

Be mindful about where you leave your chocolate goodies and if there are children in the house, make sure they know the dangers of giving your pet chocolate. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, call your local veterinary immediately.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that is present in sugar-free chocolate and other consumables and is unfortunately very toxic to pets. Ingesting Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death. So even if your chocolate or candy is sugar-free it still may not be safe for your dogs. As a general rule, keep them away from chocolate all together.

Raisins

Raisins can be a common addition to many Halloween treats.  Grapes, raisins, and currants can lead to acute kidney failure in dogs if ingested. It is best to keep any foods with raisins or currants far out of reach of your furry family member.

Trick or treaters

While Halloweens in Australia does not see as many trick or treaters as America, you may still get a few knocks on the door. If you know that your dog does not like strangers or is a little too curious when there is a knock at the door, make sure they are safely secured somewhere far from the front door.

Costumes

Dressing up your pet can be cute and fun, and very instagramable! However, make sure you choose costumes that do not have parts that are dangling or small pieces that can be swallowed. It is best to keep a close eye on your pet while they are wearing the costume, and if they are becoming visibly distressed, remove the costume immediately.

Decorations

Whether you are having a party or turning your front year into a Halloween Spooktacular, make sure your pet is kept away from any decorations that have small parts that could be a choking hazard. If you are planning on using fake spider web, ensure that you do so out of reach of any pets.

Lost pets

Greeting trick or treaters means a lot of opening and closing of the front door, cat parents will know that this a prime opportunity for the stealthy trickster to make a daring escape. While this is hard to control, you can make sure that your pets ID tag is up to date so that they can be safely returned home if they do get out.

Candles

Candles are a great way to set the scene for your spooky Halloween get together, you may even bring out the Ouija Board to scare the pants off your guests. A dog’s happy tail or a cat’s affinity to knocking things off benches could be all it takes to turn a spooky night into a call to the fire bridge. If you have lit candles, ensure your pets are in a secure place far away from them.