Start young and make it positive! Get your new puppy used to examinations and nail trims by gently handling their paws, ears, mouth etc every day. Ensure you make nail trims fun by using rewards (such as food and praise) to keep it positive for your pup!
Enlist a helping hand Having a second person to distract, treat and praise your pup means that you can focus on nail trimming alone and will help to avoid any accidents.
Start slow and finish on a positive note Always stop whilst you’re ahead, if you can sense your pup may be starting to become restless then stop where you are, even if it means that you only do 2 or 3 nails at a time. Always make sure you finish the session on a positive note so that your puppy will have fond memories for the next time the nail trimmers come out.
Cut small Each nail has a blood supply called the ‘quick’. The quick can be visible in some white nails, however it is often invisible in darker colored nails. Clipping the nails too far back can result in cutting the quick, which is painful for your pup and results in a bleeding nail. We recommend only cutting 2mm or so off the end of each nail at a time, some dogs who haven’t had their nails trimmed in a long time can have quite a long quick so always cut small to begin with.
Accidents happen, have styptic powder ready Whilst you will try your best not to cut the quick sometimes accidents happen! In the case that one of the nails is bleeding, dabbing a cotton bud into styptic powder and applying this to the end of the nail will form a clot to stop the bleeding. It is a good idea to have styptic powder on hand and ready whenever you are trimming your dogs nails, cornflour will also do the trick as a substitute if you are stuck.
Don’t forget the dew claw Most dogs are born with dew claws on their front legs (and some even have them on their hind legs too!). These claws are located higher up on the inside of the leg leg, almost like a thumb nail. Often these nails need trimming the most as they don’t come into contact with the ground and therefore don’t get worn down by walking on concrete and other hard surfaces.
If in doubt, give us a shout! If you don’t feel comfortable or confident trimming your dogs nails, give us a call. Our nurses trim nails every single day and know all the tricks in the book 🙂 Their are also many helping hands here to feed treats and distract your pup to make it a better experience for them. Give us a call on 6230 2223 to make an appointment.
Spring and Summer encompass fun outdoor times for many Australian families and their canine companions. Unfortunately with beautiful weather and rapid growth of vegetation comes grass seeds. These little suckers can cause lots of pain and suffering to our pets and their owners, they have a sharp tip enabling them to pierce the skin easily and can migrate through the body often bringing infection with them.
At Hall Vet Surgery the most common places we find grass seeds caught are in ear canals, in between toes, up nostrils, in eyelids, underneath skin in various parts of the body and lodged in the vulva/penis.
Below are a list of symptoms, possible complications and what to do/not to do depending on the location of the grass seed.
Symptoms: A grass seed in the ear might make your dog shake their head, cry out in pain, hold their head to one side or scratch at their ear. Potential Complications: Grass seeds lodged in the ear canal can cause ear infection, rupture of the ear drum, loss of hearing or balance and even death if infection reaches the brain. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. What not to do: DO NOT try to remove the grass seed yourself, the ear is likely to be very painful and sensitive and if your pets moves their head suddenly you could severely damage their ear drum. Do not put any ear cleanser down the ear, if there is a grass seed present you will push it closer to the ear drum making it more difficult and hazardous to remove.
Symptoms: A grass seed caught in your dog’s paw may cause a red, swollen and discharging lump on the paw, your dog may limp or lick/chew at their paw constantly. Potential Complications: Infection, migration of the grass seed into leg and possibly in between ligaments or tendons. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself.
Symptoms: Symptoms present when a grass seed has travelled into the nostril are often; sneezing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge and rubbing or pawing at face. Potential Complications: A grass seed in the nostril can cause serious damage to airways and if the seed migrates into the lung it can become a life threatening emergency. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Restrict exercise. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
Symptoms: Having a grass seed caught in the eye can be extremely painful for your dog, symptoms often seen are; eyes that are swollen closed, discharge from eye, visible third eyelid and some pets may paw at their eye or rub their face on the ground/furniture. Potential Complications: Ulceration of the eyes surface, if damage is severe enough eye removal can be necessary. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
Symptoms: You will often an oozing lump sometimes with a visible entry hole, you may also notice your dog constantly lick at a spot on their body. Potential Complications: Infection, migration of the seed through the body. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. Keep area clean with warm salty water and where possible restrain your dog from licking – this can actually push the grass seed further into the skin and cause more damage. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not try to remove the grass seed yourself even if the tail is visible.
VULVA / PENIS
Symptoms: Difficulty urinating, blood in urine, licking at the site and redness or swelling. Potential Complications: Infection, damage to structures, invasive surgery to remove. What to do: Ring your vet to make an appointment. If possible, try to catch a fresh urine sample and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid feeding your pet prior to your appointment in case surgical removal is required. What not to do: Do not delay treatment.
The animal’s body is not able to break down a grass seed so when a grass seed is embedded it generally requires surgical removal. In the case of surgical removal your pet will usually have a general anaesthetic whilst we extract the offending grass seeds. General Anaesthesia allows the procedure to be painless for your pet and allows your vet to thoroughly investigate the area – we usually find more than one grass seed in any given case so it is important that we are able to have a really good look. Delaying the initial vet visit may result in more invasive (and more expensive) surgeries to find and remove the seed.
Prevention is the best cure
Here are some ways you can prevent the risk of grass seeds to your dog:
Avoiding long grass when out walking/exploring (this also helps to minimise the risk of Snake Bites)
Keeping the grass in your yard tidy and mowed
Clipping the fur of long haired dogs. If your dog is prone to grass seeds in the ears or between the toes then we recommend regular clipping of these areas to keep the hair short at all times
If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms please give us a call on (02) 62302223.
Sadly, there have been multiple fatalities in dogs due to a reported Leptospirosis outbreak in Sydney recently. Here are some facts you need to know.
What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis (often referred to as Lepto for short) is a bacterial infection that travels throughout the entire body via the blood stream, causing organ dysfunction/failure and internal bleeding. It can be fatal in as little as 48 hours.
What do I need to know?
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic infection which means it can affect humans too. There have been seven confirmed fatal cases in dogs so far, all of which have been reported in the Inner West suburbs of Sydney (Glebe, Surry Hills etc.)
How is it spread?
The bacteria favours warm, moist environments, ponds and stagnant water and areas exposed to flooding. The infection is often contracted when the dog is exposed to infected rodent urine in ponds or wet soil in poorly drained areas.
What can I do to minimize the risk to my dog?
We recommend avoiding taking your pets to these parts of Sydney where possible, however if your dog must travel there with you, there are vaccines available to cover them for Leptospirosis. Initially your dog will require two vaccines 2-4 weeks apart and then annual re-vaccination to maintain immunity. It is not safe to travel until the vaccination is in full effect – about 10 days after the second vaccination. Avoid any stagnant water or places where there has been flooding, keep your dog on lead when walking and DO NOT allow to swim in or drink dirty water. Again, it is advisable to arrange alternative options where possible.
If you have upcoming travel plans to Sydney with your pets please phone us on 6203 2223 for more information.
Recently there have been multiple cases of canine Parvovirus reported by veterinarians in Canberra and it’s surrounds. Parvovirus is a highly contagious and potentially fatal virus that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea leading to dehydration, lethargy, septicemia and even death in severe cases.
This virus can be spread directly through contact with an infected dog or through faeces or indirectly through items like water bowls, collars and leashes or the hands or clothing of people that have touched an infected dog. Parvovirus can also remain active in infected soil for years, i.e. at ovals or dog parks where an infected dog has been.
Dogs less than 1 year of age are most at risk however older un-vaccinated dogs can also contract the disease.
Most dogs will recover with aggressive supportive treatment if started early. The main focus of treatment is intravenous fluids to replace lost fluids and re-balance electrolytes, pain relief to ensure the patient remains comfortable and medication to control vomiting and nausea. Patients may require treatment in hospital for many days before recovering.
The good news is that Parvo is a preventable virus and is covered in your dog’s normal C3/C5 vaccination. We recommend that puppies have 3 vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. They also require a booster vaccination at around 15 months of age and then a booster every 3 years for life.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind new puppy owners that your dog is not covered until 10 days after their second C3 vaccination and you should avoid taking your dog to public places like foot paths, dog parks and ovals until they have received all 3 vaccinations. If you are unsure of your puppy or adult dog’s vaccination status please give us a call on 6230 2223. If you notice decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea or lethargy in your pet please call your vet ASAP.
Warning: this blog post contains graphic surgical images
Crookshanks is a lovely cat that came in to see us as she had been losing weight and her owners had noticed blood in her urine. After running blood and urine tests we then performed an abdominal ultrasound.
The ultrasound highlighted that Crookshanks had a stone in her ureter – the ureter is the tube through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder. The diagram below shows the kidneys, ureters and bladder.
When the ureter becomes blocked the kidney fills with urine and cannot empty. This was also the cause of the blood Crookshanks’ owner noticed in her urine.
On ultrasound a normal kidney is bean shaped, it has a light grey outer shell, and a darker middle area. In the images below the kidney outline is circled in red.
Below are ultrasound images of Crookshanks’ kidney. Again, the outline of the kidney is highlighted in red. The centre of the kidney is black, this is the urine that is building up because her ureter is blocked. Her ureter is widened and full of urine. The ureter is outlined in blue in this image.
We followed the widened ureter down towards the bladder wih the ultrasound probe. This is when we found the stones that were causing the blockage. The ureter is outlined in blue, and there is a green arrow pointing towards the stones.
Crookshanks’ went into surgery with Dr Vickie Saye to have the stone removed. The ureter is very tiny, only a few millimeters thick, so it was a very intricate and delicate surgery. You can see in the photo below, the ureter is so small that you can only fit a very fine piece of suture material through it. The photo was taken during Crookshanks’ surgery and the suture material was passed through the ureter to ensure that all stones had been removed and the ureter was blockage free.
Two stones were removed from Crookshanks’ ureters. They were very small only 1-2mm in size, amazing that something so small can cause such big problems.
Crookshanks required intensive
care and monitoring after her surgery.
She was in hospital for several days.
She is now much brighter and happier than she was before the surgery, as she is not in pain anymore. She is even starting to put on weight. She enjoys being able to join her sister McGonagall for walks on lead around the suburb. She will be on a special prescription diet for the rest of her life to help prevent the stones from reoccurring.
Casper is a sweet, outgoing and confident 9 month old cat who loves to explore and play. Ever since he was a tiny kitten his family always thought he was more like a dog then a cat, his human brother and sister have even taught him to sit and wait for his meals just like a dog. Casper’s family live on a farm and he loves exploring through the paddocks.
Casper’s first non-routine visit with us was in November of 2018, after he refused to eat both breakfast and dinner (which was unusual for typically ravenous Casper) and then vomited too. On physical examination Dr Lesa found that he was painful when she palpated his abdomen, which hinted at the possibility of a foreign object in his tummy.
Casper was admitted to hospital to have an x-ray of his abdomen for further investigation.
As you can see above, Capser’s x-rays revealed a plug shaped foreign body in his abdomen. The safest thing to do for Casper was to perform an urgent exploratory laparotomy (ex-lap) to remove the foreign body. Dr Jenny performed his surgery the same day and removed a small green rubber plug-like object. Casper recovered well and returned home to his family the following day. The only mystery remaining, what on earth was the plug-like object that Capser ingested and where did he find it? His family searched and searched but couldn’t figure out where the object came from, they disposed of the object and life returned to normal.
Fast forward 2 months to the 30th of January. Casper began showing the same symptoms at home as he did back in November, vomiting and some loss of appetite. His owners, who are now well versed in the possible causes of vomiting and armed with the knowledge that he is known to eat things he shouldn’t, brought Casper back in for another check up.
Due to his history, Dr Gillian recommended that we repeat his abdominal x-rays.
You wouldn’t believe it but Casper’s new x-ray was almost an exact replica of the x-rays taken back in November.
Here are the two images side by side:
The whole Hall Vet Surgery team was shocked to see that it seemed that Casper had ingested something of the exact same shape, size and material as the first time.
Casper then underwent his second urgent surgery to remove a foreign body from his abdomen. Another successful surgery later and his owners were on a mission to find out where the mysterious objects were coming from.
Caspers whole family were out scouring the paddock from top to bottom to find any trace of the rubber plugs when they came across these..
They were toy bullets from Capser’s human brother’s Nerf Gun. It seems that Casper had been finding the bullets, chewing on the styrofoam section and accidentally ingesting the rubber plug from the end of the bullets.
We are thankful that Casper’s family has found the source of the foreign bodies and we now urge anyone with children and pets to be cautious of Nerf Bullets and the risks they pose to your animals if ingested. It is safe to say that Nerf Guns have been banned in Casper’s household!
If your pet loses their appetite, vomits or becomes lethargic it is always worth coming in for a check up. Casper’s quick acting owners may have just saved his life, twice!