All posts by AP

Cat registration and regulation

Frequently asked questions about cat registration.

ACT NSW
Does my cat need to be registered? No – but they do need to be microchipped. Yes – by 6 months, microchipped by 12 weeks.
Do I have to microchip my cat? Yes, by 12 weeks old. Yes, it is Step 1 of the registration process.
Do I have to get my cat de-sexed? Yes. If your cat is born on or after June 21, 2001, and you wish to keep it sexually entire, you will be required to apply for a permit to keep your animal sexually entire after 6 months of age. Vets must tattoo the animal’s ear unless the owner asks for it NOT to be done. No, but large discounts in registration for desexed animals
Do I receive a discount as I am a pensioner? N.A. Yes
For more information: Domestic Animal Services or phone 13 22 81 NSW Dept of Local Govt Companion Animal pages or phone 4428 4100

Vaccinating your Cat

Kittens are due for their first check up and vaccination at 8 weeks of age. A booster at 12 weeks protects against enteritis and cat flu for 12 months.
Feline Enteritis causes vomiting and diarrhoea and is usually fatal.
Cat flu caused by Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus and/or Feline Calicivirus is not often fatal. Early signs of cat flu are sneezing and watery eyes. Later, affected cats go off their food, lose weight and may develop chronic snuffles.   Flu is contagious to other cats and cats with signs of flu cannot enter boarding catteries.  Flu vaccination minimises signs of disease but does not guarantee full protection against infection.
Cats beginning the vaccination schedule after 12 weeks of age receive one booster a month later.
Your cat will need a booster vaccination 12 months after the initial course, and then yearly.
Vaccines work best in healthy cats, so a full examination is mandatory before each vaccination.

In summary:

1st Shot 2nd Shot And then…
At 8 weeks if possible 4 weeks later 12 months later and annual thereafter

Doggy Doos and Don’ts

Some frequently asked questions about dog ownership in the ACT and NSW.


ACT NSW
Does my dog need to be registered? Yes– at 8 weeks.It must wear the tag provided. Yes – by 6 months, microchipped by 12 weeks. Must wear its registration tag and phone/name tag
Do I have to microchip my dog? Yes, by 12 weeks old. Yes, it is Step 1 of the registration process.
Do I have to get my dog de-sexed? Yes. If your dog is born on or after June 21, 2001, and you wish to keep it sexually entire, you will be required to apply for a permit to keep your animal sexually entire after 6 months of age.Vets must tattoo the animal’s ear unless the owner asks for it NOT to be done. No, but large discounts in registration for desexed animals
I have 3 pets and I want to get another. Are there any special considerations? Yes. You require a licence to own 4 or more dogs or cats over 12 wks of age. No. Any number of animals so long as they are all properly cared for and do not pose any nuisance, health or safety risk.
Do I receive a discount as I am a pensioner? Yes, for registration and permission to keep an un-desexed animal. Yes 
Do I receive a discount as I have an obedience trained dog? No. Only trained assistance dogs. No
Do I have to pick up my dog’s droppings? Yes. And , you also need to carry appropriate equipment to pick up and carry the droppings. Yes.
Where can I exercise my dog? In both the ACT and NSW, dogs are forbidden from being within 10 metres of children’s designated play areas, in school grounds without permission, public swimming areas,  childcare centres, National Parks and other reserves which forbid dogs. The ACT also excludes dogs from sporting fields whilst sport or training is in progress. Otherwise, your dog may accompany you on a leash.
Where can I exercise my dog off-leash? Maps are available from
Domestic Animal Services and ACT Shopfronts outlining areas where dogs can be exercised off-leash. Or check out our own summary maps.
Yass Council, Ph. (02) 6226 9235
What about tail-docking? Tail docking of your dog is now illegal throughout Australia unless performed for medical purposes by a veterinarian.There is no breed standard recognised by the Australian Canine Association that requires a docked tail to be entered into any competition.
Can my dog ride on the back of my ute? Yes, if secured. Make sure that the lead is short enough to prevent the dog going over the side of the vehicle.
For more information: Domestic Animal Servicesor phone 13 22 81 NSW Dept of Local Govt Companion Animal pagesor phone 4428 4100

Diabetes Mellitus

Cats with diabetes mellitus have high blood glucose levels caused by a deficiency of insulin.

Diabetes is commonest in older overweight cats. Male and Burmese cats are more susceptible.

Diabetic cats produce more urine and, to compensate for this, drink more.

Some cats saturate the litter rapidly or urinate outside the tray after being litter trained for years.

They also lose weight despite a ravenous appetite.

How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

If you report any of the above your vet will test for high blood glucose and glucose in the urine. Stress can cause a transient rise in glucose levels in cats so your cat may be admitted to hospital for a day for a series of blood glucose tests to confirm the diagnosis. Untreated diabetes eventually causes loss of appetite and lethargy.

How is diabetes mellitus treated?

Cats with diabetes are treated with twice daily  insulin injections.

Diabetic cats require a low carbohydrate diet (unlike diabetic humans or dogs). Specially formulated diets such as Hills m/d are low in carbohydrate and high in protein and ideal for diabetic cats. Many small meals or grazing are fine as long as the cat is not overweight.

Some overweight cats get over diabetes if they lose weight. Stopping drugs such as prednisolone also helps.

What happens if my cat receives too much insulin?

We run regular blood glucose tests (known as blood glucose curves) to see if the insulin dose is correct.

Too much insulin drops the blood glucose dangerously low. Your cat might salivate, shake, walk unsteadily, convulse or faint. This is a hypo and is an emergency.

Rub liquid glucose, sugar solution, honey or icing sugar on the gums of an unconscious cat or syringe it into the mouth of a cat that can swallow. Call your vet as soon as you have done this.

Prevent hypos by double checking the dose of insulin every time you draw it up  and by taking your cat for regular blood glucose curves. Cats often go into remission and don’t need insulin any more. The first sign of remission could be a hypo if we don’t check blood glucose levels often enough.

If your cat is off food or vomiting for more than a day do not give the normal dose of insulin. Call your vet.

You should never change the dose of insulin without first discussing it with your veterinary surgeon.

For more information visit

www.pet-diabetes.com

www.pet-diabetes.com

Mast Cell Tumours

Mast Cell Tumours are aggressive skin cancers and common in dogs. They can look like anything: a patch of dry skin, a raised red itchy area, a wart or a lump.

Boxers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a higher than average risk of Mast Cell Tumours.  Other breeds affected include the Bull Terrier, English Bulldog and Sharpei but we see Mast Cell Tumours in all breeds.

Mast Cell Tumours release chemicals randomly, causing local redness, itch and swelling that comes and goes.

To diagnose a Mast Cell Tumour we take a sample of cells, stain them and examine them under the microscope.  Most Mast Cell Tumours contain characteristic granules that are easily recognised.  If we have any doubts we recommend removal anyway.

The lesion is removed with a wide excision because Mast Cell Tumours send out long microscopic fingers into the surrounding tissue.  It is sent to the pathologist who confirms the diagnosis, makes sure we have removed it all and grades it.

The grade of the tumour reflects how malignant the tumour is.  A low grade tumour is unlikely to have spread and, as long as the entire tumour has been removed, is unlikely to recur.

About 25% of all Mast Cell Tumours are higher grade.  They invade locally and can spread.  Without supplementary chemotherapy, the mean survival time is 18 weeks.

Chemotherapy is effective and median survival times are good.

Itchy Dogs

Many itchy dogs have the doggy equivalent of hayfever, which is called atopy.  A lot of dogs are allergic to flea saliva but only a few are allergic to food.

Common causes, or allergens, include pollen, grasses and dust mites.

Atopic dogs also have a poor skin barrier that allows the allergens to penetrate the skin and provoke the allergic reaction.

How does atopy affect my dog?

Dogs with atopy constantly scratch, bite, rub or chew themselves.  Itchy dogs don’t always scratch. They may rub their faces, flap their ears, or lick and chew their feet.

Some dogs scratch continuously but don’t damage their skin, whilst others quickly rub themselves raw. Recurrent ear infections are common.

Some dogs show signs of atopy as young as 3 months old, but usually it first occurs between 1 and 3 years of age. Initially most dogs will only be itchy during certain seasons, usually spring and early summer. As your dog ages, these itchy periods become longer.

As atopic dogs age, they become allergic to more things. Each dog has an allergenic load he can tolerate before he starts to itch. Exposure to one extra pollen or flea bite pushes him over the threshold into scratching or rubbing.

Diagnosis depends on the information you supply and examination of the skin. Tests such as skin scrapings and cytology rule out mites and secondary infections.

We may also rule out flea and food allergy by eliminating fleas and starting a dietary trial.

Skin testing by a specialist dermatologist will identify the allergens.

How to we treat atopy?

It is rare to cure atopy. We control it with a combination of strategies:

Improving the skin barrier:

  • Use shampoos without sulphates
  • Add essential fatty acids like Nutricoat, Megaderm, and fish oil to the diet
  • Apply sphingosines found in Nutriderm shampoo and conditioner,
  • Minimise bathing as much as possible

Avoiding allergens:

  • Vacuum carpeted areas frequently and minimise bedding to reduce dust mites
  • Keep your pet inside on windy days or when mowing

Treatments:

  • Cortisone offers immediate relief but can have serious side-effects if used long term
  • Atopica has fewer side-effects than cortisone and is often very effective but can be expensive in large dogs in the initial stages
  • Hyposensitization with repeated small injections of low doses of a combination of allergens chosen by a dermatologist on the basis of skin tests. These suppress the allergic reaction successfully in approximately 70% of atopic pets. Relief is not immediate and they usually require injections at least monthly for the rest of their lives. However in responsive pets hyposensitisation minimises the use of other medication.
  • Antihistamines such as Claratyne, Fexotabs, Claramax or Zyrtec are helpful in some cases but are rarely as effective as in humans.
  • Shampoos containing aloe vera and oatmeal may ease itchy skin

Skin allergies can be challenging to control and require a systematic approach to diagnose and treatment.  With commitment and care, most pets can enjoy a comfortable life despite ongoing exposure to environmental allergens.