Category Archives: Caring for your Cat

Tips to keep dogs safe at Christmas

Safety tips for Christmas time!

As we head into the festive season and look forward to relaxing with family and friends, it’s a good time to give some thought to keeping our pets safe as they join us in the fun festivities!

 

Here are some potential dangers to watch out for:

 

Some human foods are just not meant for dogs:
Chocolate, plum pudding, Christmas cake, fruit platters and delicious roasts and stuffing. What could possibly be wrong with sharing that!

Unfortunately, these Christmas goodies can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, sultanas, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts.

Signs will depend on the food that has been eaten and can be delayed. For example kidney damage from grapes and raisins may not become apparent until weeks down the track. If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, please speak to a veterinarian immediately.

 

Alcohol
This is a no-brainer really but there is NO safe amount of alcohol for your dog to have. Effects will range from depression, difficulty walking, slow breathing, collapse and even possibly loss of life.

 

Overindulgence
Just a little bit of ham can’t hurt, right? Well, a little here and a little there adds up! We love to treat our pets but we need to remember that a little to us can be a lot to them, and eating too much of something different or high in fat is a very common cause of illness for them.

Overindulgence can trigger stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and even pancreatitis (which can be fatal). Feeding cooked bones should always be avoided as these can cause bowel obstructions and constipation requiring intervention.

Don’t risk your dog getting treats from the BBQ or scavenging from finished plates. If you can’t ensure your guests will resist your dog’s pleading eyes, then you are better off to have your dog safely out of their way!

You need to take control here on behalf of your pooch, because they are not going say no!

 

Noise Anxiety
Parties, fireworks and summer storms make Christmas time hard for dogs who are prone to anxiety.
Nobody knows your pet better than you do. Always observe your mate closely and look for the subtle signs that they are worried, and take action.

Avoid the stressors where possible, and make sure they always have access to a quiet, safe retreat. Some pets will benefit from judicious medication to get through this time unscathed. Please call us if you would like to discuss.

The Christmas Tree!
Now, we’re not saying don’t have one! We like the festive fun as much as anyone, but here are a few things to consider if you do.

  • Tummy upsetsafter chewing pine needles or drinking stagnant Christmas tree water.
  • Electrocutionis a risk if your pooch starts chewing the Christmas tree lights.
  • Obstruction or injury to the bowel can occur if tinsel, other decorations, wrappings or ribbons are eaten.

So to make things easy, here’s a checklist on how to make your Christmas tree dog-friendly this year.

  1. Cover or box around the tree stand.
  2. Plastic cover the electric cord for the lights.
  3. Plastic or non-breakable decorations (no glass)
  4. Decorations secured in place.
  5. Tinsel up high out of reach (or none at all)
  6. Secure the tree so that it can’t easily fall.

 

Holiday Plants
Popular Christmas plants and flowers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, hibiscus, Christmas cactus, berries, mistletoe and holly leaves are all poisonous to your pets. Make sure they are out of their reach, as consumption could result in illness or even death.

 

Batteries & Toys
Swallowed batteries are very dangerous for dogs, causing a range of issues from burning their gut to a life-threatening obstruction or stomach rupture! Batteries are a common addition to Christmas gifts so please ensure they are kept well out of reach of your pooch.

Many toys contain small plastic, rubber or metal parts that, if eaten by a dog, can cause choking or dangerous gastrointestinal blockage requiring immediate surgery.

With a little careful planning, you can ensure your Christmas celebrations will be free of unnecessary trips to the vet. However, if you have concerns after hours during the festive season, please call:

Canberra Veterinary Emergency Services on: 62257257
Or
Animal Emergency Centre Canberra on: 62806344

We wish you and your furry family happy and safe holidays!

 

Reference to an article by Dr Claire Jenkins  Co-founder of Vetchat.

From Tabby to Tiger – the Wild Side of our Domestic Cats

Taking a look at the wild side of your kitty cat

That relaxed moggy purring on our lap is closer to its wild ancestors than you might think. Pet cats may be domestic animals, but they are much less domesticated than our pet dogs.  The following evolutionary quirks show that there is much in common between our domestic cats and their wild cousins.

Cats need to eat meat. All felids from tabby to tiger require high levels of animal protein in their diet. This provides certain amino acids like taurine that other mammals (including ourselves) do not need in their diet. Essential hormones for breeding and vitamins like thiamine are more easily extracted from meat than plants.

Cats have lost their ability to taste sugars as they don’t need to detect ripening fruit, however their taste buds are much more discerning when it comes to distinguishing different flavours of meat, making some family felines frustratingly fussy at times.

Genetically, domestic cats are very similar to wildcats. They only emerged as a separate subspecies around 10,000 years ago. Studies are underway to pinpoint the differences in DNA sequencing that makes it possible for domestic cats to socialise with us, something that wildcats are unable to do.

Most wild cats lead solitary lives in order to effectively hunt small prey. The main exception being lions who live together in prides and hunt prey large enough to feed many members of their social group.

Whilst male domestic cats living in the wild are solitary, related females will often live in social groups when food is abundant and share the raising of their kittens. Pet cats show affection for us in the same way that related cats show social behaviour to each other, raising their tails upright and attempting to groom us. It is less common for unrelated pet cats that have not grown up together to develop these strong social bonds. They are more likely to live their separate lives within the home and require separate access to key resources like food, water, litter, scratching poles and resting places to fulfil their needs.

Most smaller felids, including domestic cats are nocturnal in the wild. Those beautiful big eyes allow them to gather enough light to see at night. A domestic cat’s eyes are almost as big as ours. Their retina is about six times more sensitive than ours and their brain is wired to pick up small movements. All felids have a reflective layer behind their retina to increase night vision. This produces their distinctive green reflection in a torch beam at night.

For cats, play is hunting behaviour. Whether they are pouncing and grasping small toys in the teeth, or holding a larger toy with all four sets of claws, this resembles the way they catch a meal in the wild. Domestic cats were originally kept to control pests like rats and mice. Inside their heads they are still hunters and will rip up small toys more intensely on an empty stomach in pursuit of a meal.

As stalking hunters, cats are designed to lay motionless in wait for prey and then leap into action at the crucial moment. This ‘kindle’ reflex can be seen in pet cats, when, in what seems like a nanosecond they can be triggered into an aroused state which can take many hours to abate.

As solitary hunters, domestic cats tend to hunt in separate territories and rarely see or hear each other. To avoid confrontation that could cause life threatening wounds, they communicate by smell. Just like lions and tigers, domestic felids deposit urine around their territories and rub their cheeks on prominent landmarks to leave a scent from skin glands. All cats possess a second ‘nose’, the vomeronasal organ, situated between the palate and nose for processing the messages left by other cats.  Lions and tigers curl their top lip in a ‘Flehmen’ response when using this sense. Domestic cats will seem to go into a brief trance as they use subtle muscles around this organ to draw the chemical message or pheromone into the gland and gain information about the identity of its owner.

Our feline friends bring so much joy into our lives. It is helpful to have some understanding of their close ties to ancestral behaviours and how that affects the way they see the world. This reminds us to keep them away from native wildlife, helps us to accommodate their needs in a domestic household and to interact with them in a way that builds a mutual bond.

Reference: John Bradshaw, BBC Science Focus online magazine 18 Jan 2018

Cuddling Kitty – On Their Terms

Have you ever been grabbed for a well meant cuddle when you just weren’t in the mood? Imagine how your cat feels.

 

Being picked up and hugged can be a stressful for cats. Cats are skilled predators, but they’re also prey animals and being restrained can feel threatening. Next time you’re hankering to cuddle your cat, think about how they might feel about it. Cats are naturally cautious, and they like to keep all four paws on a solid surface, in case they need to leap away.

Understanding this is key to living happily with a cat. In fact, the more you let your cat decide when, where, and how affection will happen, the more they’ll trust you and enjoy the interaction. Cats are more likely to approach us for affection, and to hang around longer, when we let them make the first move.

“Ask” First

Like us, cats prefer that we ask if it’s okay before we touch. Felines who are friends greet each other by touching noses. A human head is too big and potentially intimidating to offer. Try gently offering a fingertip at their nose level, a few inches away, as a way to ask politely, “May I pet you?”

Some cats will say no by walking away. Some may approach but then sit down with a bit of space between you. This is their way of saying, “I’m fine over here, but no touching yet.” No matter how adorable the cat, we need to respect those limits. Many cats will walk up and sniff your finger, and may even rub into it. That’s the invitation for petting.

Watch And Learn

Where you pet a cat matters a great deal to them. If you were visiting a country with a totally unfamiliar culture, you’d watch where and how the people touch each other to figure out what is and is not considered polite. When watching a friendly feline greeting, we find that they lick and touch each other around the cheeks, forehead, back of the neck, and shoulders. They always follow the grain of the fur in friendly interactions. There’s no rubbing the fur up the wrong way.

A couple of studies have found that cats showed more positive responses to their humans,  such as purring, blinking, and kneading their paws, when they were petted on the forehead area and the cheeks. Respect and follow this feline etiquette.

What about that spot at the base of the tail, the one that causes some cats to lift their butt in the air? The petting studies suggest that’s actually not a favourite spot for many cats. Cats who do like it show you very clearly by lifting their behind. If your cat is not raising his butt for more, he’s one of the many who don’t care for that sort of thing.

Even when a cat says okay to touch, we’ve all had that experience where we’re petting a cat and it’s bliss, bliss, bliss—and then suddenly swat! It seems like it all changed in a nanosecond. Cats do have issues when it comes to being touched, and they get overloaded pretty quickly. But not as quickly as we might think. That swat is usually preceded by more subtle signals that we have missed.

How a cat communicates that they have had enough varies for each individual. Signs of over stimulation include the following:

  • Skin over the shoulders stiffens or ripples
  • Whiskers come forward
  • Ears flick back, sideways, or flat
  • Tail flicks or lashes
  • Skin twitches
  • Pupils dilate
  • Claws come out
  • A paw is raised
  • Vocalization (other than purring)

If you see any one of those signs, stop petting. If your cat chooses to remain beside you (because you have been so polite), wait a few minutes before you start petting again or better still, just keep your hands to yourself until they seek affection in their own time.

Of course, every cat is an individual with his own preferences. The best way to pet your cat is just the way they like it. Pay close attention to your cat’s body language, observe the feline rules of politeness, and you’ll both be enjoying more cuddle time.

How to check your pet’s Resting Respiratory Rate (RRR)

Measuring a resting respiratory rate, or sleeping breathing rate, is an important way that you can help monitor your pet at home.  It is an invaluable way that you can help us care for your pet.

Image result for dog sleeping

What is a resting respiratory rate?

A resting respiratory rate is a count of the number of breaths taken per minute.  In dogs and cats with heart disease, it can be one of the first signs that heart failure is starting to develop.  Early detection of this change can help prevent severe breathing problems.

When do I need to take one?

For dogs and cats with heart disease, we will often ask you to measure the resting respiratory rate a few times over 2-3 days to establish a baseline.  After this, we will recommend monitoring this rate 2-3 times a week.

What is normal?

Normal dogs and cats will have a breathing rate in the high teens to early twenties.  We become concerned when we are getting resting respiratory rates that are over 30.  If you notice this it is important to contact us immediately so that we can help.

How do I count my pet’s resting respiratory rate?

It is important to take this measurement when you pet is sound asleep.  Wait until they are resting quietly.  When you are watching your pet you will notice that the chest rises and falls as they take a breath.  This is what we need to count.  As the chest moves in and then out, this is counted as a breath.

Use your phone, a kitchen timer and count the number of breaths in 15 seconds.  Then multiply this number by 4.  Alternatively if it is easier count the number of breaths in 60 seconds (1 minute).  It helps to keep a diary/record of your pet’s breathing rate.   You can even download some apps that will help.

Have a go at counting a resting respiratory rate – the video below goes for 15 seconds.  Notice how the dog is sound asleep.  Count the number of breaths in that time, and then multiply it by 4.  Did you get 40?

 

‘Dementia’ and Age Related Changes

 

Behavioural problems in senior pets can result from medical issues like arthritic pain, loss of sight/hearing or diseases that affect the nervous system. They can also be attributed to age related deterioration of the brain known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

In mild cases the pet may sleep more, become less responsive or show less social interaction with family and other pets. More severe signs might include repetitive behaviours such as pacing, new fears and anxieties, house soiling, waking at night, confusion and disorientation or loss of recognition of training cues.

The behaviour changes may be noticed following changes to the household or environment that the pet has difficulty adapting to. Early detection provides the best opportunity to help these pets and slow cognitive decline.

Prevention: What can you do?
  • For healthy senior pets, twice-yearly wellness examinations and laboratory screening tests provide an opportunity to identify emerging problems, sometimes before there are outward signs.
  • Report changes in your pet’s health and behaviour to the vet early.
  • If you foresee changes in your pets environment or schedule, try to make these gradual so you elderly pet has time to adapt.
  • Providing mental and physical enrichment helps to maintain a healthy brain and body. If your pet begins to slow down, find new games, new toys and new ways to play to stimulate the brain and keep the body active.
  • Play and exercise help most if continued throughout life and adjusted for age related physical limitations, for example supported swimming for arthritic dogs.
  • Leash walking exercises muscles and provides mental stimulation via smell and social interactions. Use a harness, sling or pram/stroller if they can’t manage walking. Take a ‘sniff stroll’ rather trying to cover ground. Trim nails and hair under their feet for a better grip.
  • Supervise play and pick mates matched by temperament, ability and size. Redirect the new puppy play if your old pet tires. Watching play may be enough.
  • Car trips are fun for some dogs. They enjoy the tactile sensations of the breeze, the smells and company. A ramp may be needed for access and comfy padding in the vehicle to cushion old joints. Take care in warm weather to prevent overheating.
  • Be creative in seeking ways to make it easier for them. Elevate the water dish to shoulder height; warm food and add water/broth to food to increase palatability and water intake; give cats more litter trays for convenient access and cut down tray height; set up ramps to reduce the need to use stairs; cats benefit from stepped platforms leading to high perches; have the cat/dog flap at floor level; use hall runners or a paw friction product to provide grip on slippery floors; add psyllium to the diet to reduce constipation; clip heavy coats and matts for freer movement and summer comfort; provide a winter coat if they feel the winter chill.
Cats benefit from lower litter trays and ramps to their favourite places.
  • Smell provides great mental stimulation. Provide food puzzles and hidden treats. Visit unfamiliar places.
  • Hand signals or vibrating (NOT shock) collars can be used to communicate to deaf dogs. Lavender scent trails can guide the blind.
  • Practice massage and range of motion exercises for sore legs.

 

Treating problems: How can you help?
  • Medical problems need to be identified and treated, however retraining may also be required. For example, if your pet begins house soiling due to a medical issue, the problem may persist after the medical issue is resolved unless you use positive reinforcement to train the pet to return to the preferred locations and supervise access to the soiled areas.
  • For problems that cannot be completely resolved, you may need to make schedule adjustments to accommodate your pet’s needs. For example pets with kidney disease need to urinate more often so you may need to take your dog out to the toilet more frequently or reward them for using training pads. Provide extra litter trays or clean the litter tray more frequently if your cat urinates more due to kidney disease.
  • Maintain an enriched environment that stimulates your pet’s brain and body. Adjust their social play, exercise and training according to their health. Use their favourite food and toys to train new cues, practice previous training and play games of hide and find. Food release toys that provide manipulation to obtain the food or treats provide a challenge to stimulate your pet’s mind.

Veterinary treatment:
  • Medications can be prescribed to improve neurotransmitter function and brain activity or act as antioxidants. Medication that reduces physical pain, for example from arthritis, can allow your pet to enjoy more physical and mental activity.
  • A prescription veterinary diet is available containing antioxidants and fatty acids that reduce signs of cognitive decline by improving neurotransmission. It has been shown to help old dogs stay active, enjoy interactions, reduce sleep disturbances and retain house training.
  • Many natural products are touted to be effective and your vet will be able to advise you on supplements that may be useful.
If you are noticing changes in your senior pets
behaviour or would like more information on helping
your elderly pet get the most out of day to day life
please phone us on (02) 6230 2223.

Outbreak Warning: Potentially fatal cat viruses in the Canberra area

Two viruses, one a new strain and the other a resurgence of an old virus are causing concerns for our feline friends and their owners around Canberra.

Virulent strain of cat flu (feline calicivirus)

In March this year and now again in June/July, vets around Canberra have seen sick cats suffering from a particularly virulent form of a cat flu virus, FCV-VSD (Feline calicivirus – virulent systemic disease)

While typical signs of flu in cats include mouth ulcers, sneezing and perhaps lameness, the virulent strain can cause a much more severe illness. Signs are usually more severe in adult cats than in kittens and fatalities are common. Whilst the normal flu vaccination may offer some protection, even fully vaccinated cats can succumb to the virulent strain.

Affected cats show some or all of the following signs – loss of appetite, lethargy, high fever, swollen limb(s) and/or head, jaundice, difficulty breathing, mouth ulcers and sores on the nose, ear tips and skin. These signs are similar to those reported in previous outbreaks in the US and Europe.

Fortunately, most infected cats in Canberra have recovered due to prompt diagnosis and supporting treatment.

The virus can survive in the environment for around one month. It is highly contagious and spreads easily to other cats via hands, clothing, shoes, bedding, food bowls and litter trays. The greatest risk of spread occurs in multi-cat environments such as shelters and boarding catteries. Fortunately spread in the wider community has been limited and the outbreaks seem to ‘burn out’.

Researchers at Sydney Uni are investigating the virulent strain and vets have been submitting mouth swabs from any suspect cases for testing.

If your cat is showing any of the signs listed above, please call us on 62302223 to arrange an appointment. An initial assessment may be done in the car by a vet kitted out in gloves and disposable gown to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

 

Feline enteritis

The resurgence of the deadly virus, FPV (feline panleukopenia virus) which was almost eradicated 40 years ago by vaccinations, has been confirmed in various locations throughout Australia, including Melbourne and Canberra.

FPV is highly contagious and can be fatal to the affected cat.

The most common form of FPV presents as a three to four day history of high temperature, lethargy, loss of appetite and may progress to vomiting and diarrhoea. However, in cases of very severe infection, cats can die very suddenly with no apparent signs.

FPV in cats is caused by parvoviruses, which are small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleukopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats.

Disease control relies on strong herd immunity and that can only be achieved by keeping pets up-to-date with their vaccinations.

We recommend that kittens are vaccinated starting from 6-8 weeks of age and then every 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old.

Cats receiving their first vaccination after 16 weeks of age only need one dose with a booster at 6-12 months and then every three years thereafter.

The modified live F3 vaccine used at Hall Veterinary surgery provides highly effective protection against this virus.

PLEASE NOTE:
Strict disinfection procedures have been implemented at the surgery so please do not be offended if we ask you to leave your cat in the car and phone us when you arrive for your appointment, we have your cat’s health as our top priority.

Aches and Pains – How Can We Tell?

Our pets can’t tell us what they are feeling in words, however through observing their body language, we can notice changes in their behaviour that may indicate pain.

Pain can occur with a vast array of chronic diseases, some not so obvious, for example dental disease, arthritis, back pain, ear infections, pancreatitis and cancer.

Image result for pain in animals

Top five signs of chronic pain are:

  1. Decreased Activity. Is your dog less enthusiastic for walks lately? Does your cat lay around more than usual or have they stopped climbing on to their favourite perch? Be careful not to assume this is normal ageing. There could be a medical condition that will improve with treatment.
  2. Changes in habits. Is your cat grooming less? Has your dog stopped jumping into the car or onto furniture? Are they interacting less with family? Reluctance to use stairs or groom can often occur with back or joint pain.
  3. Loss of toilet training. Dogs and cats might start to toilet inside if it hurts too much to walk to their usual spot, squeeze through the dog door or navigate steps. It could be painful to squat.
  4. Lameness. Is your pet stiff when getting out of bed, hunched or favouring a leg? You might see them shifting their weight or unable to stand in one place for long if their joints are aching.
  5. Aggression. Perhaps your pet is growling or snapping when petted to protect a painful area. Are they avoiding a playmate who asks for a tumble because it’s going to hurt?

Detecting chronic pain in your pet can be challenging. Body language is their only way to tell us when something is wrong, physically or emotionally.

Watch carefully for changes in their behaviour and contact the practice to arrange a check up if you notice a change in your pet’s behaviour.

5 Easy Steps to Get Your Cat to the Vet Stress Free

Regular check-ups are vital in ensuring that our cats live healthy and happy lives. Unfortunately many Cats and their owners find visits to the vet can be quite stressful. There are lots of things we can do to make the vet visit more comfortable for our cats.  It really doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.


1. Get a good Cat Carrier

A Cat Carrier is not only the safest way to transport your cat in the car, it can also be a safe haven for your cat during your vet visit. The best carriers have both a top and front opening. One like the picture below is fantastic, it is sturdy and secure and the lid clicks off making it easy to get your cat in and out of the carrier.  Most of the examination can even be performed within the carrier to help reduce stress.

 

2. Get your cat used to the carrier

Some cats only ever go in their carrier to be taken to the vet so it is natural for them to relate the carrier to the entire experience. This can leave them feeling frightened of the carrier itself, some owners even report that their cats hide as soon as they even bring the carrier out. It is very important that we make sure our cats know that their carrier is a safe and happy place, you can do this by:

  • Leaving the carrier out at home, so it becomes a familiar and less scary.
  • Feeding your cat their breakfast or dinner inside the carrier.
  • Placing treats and toys in the carrier so your cat gets used to going in and out.


3. Make the carrier a nice place to be

Using Feliway spray in the carrier will help reduce anxiety associated with travel.   Ask us for more details on Feliway.

Image result for feliway

Place soft bedding in the bottom of the carrier, this will help prevent you cat from slipping and sliding around during travel.  Using bedding or an item of clothing that has your scent on it will make your cat feel more comfortable and secure.  Covering the carrier with a towel during transport creates a safe hiding place.  


4. Make sure the carrier is safe

In the car, ensure that carrier will not slide around or be jolted by bumpy roads.  Securing it with a seat belt will help.  Once you get to the clinic place the carrier up off the ground, as being on ground level can make cats feel vulnerable and scared.   If possible, try to sit in a quieter area of the waiting room away from dogs and noise. If you don’t have a towel of your own please ask one of our friendly customer care staff who will place a Feliway sprayed towel over your cats carrier whilst you wait to be seen by the vet.

5. Talk to us

If you are still finding it challenging to bring your cat to the vet, give us a call so we can discuss ways of making it less stressful. 

Call us now on (02) 6230 2223 to book you cats next check up or book online now by heading back to the HOME PAGE.

 

That’s toxic! The top 14 foods to keep your pets away from

There are a range of substances that can cause serious harm to pets. Listed below are just a few of the common products that you need to prevent your pet gaining access to.

Grapes, sultanas & raisins: The toxic substance in grapes, sultanas and raisins is unknown, however ingestion may cause kidney failure in sensitive pets and there is no ‘safe’ dose.Image result for grapes and sultanas

Caffeine: is a stimulant and pets are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. A couple of laps of tea or coffee are unlikely to do any harm, but if your pet swallows a handful of coffee beans, coffee grinds or tea bags they could be in danger.
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Chocolate: contains a stimulant called theobromine which is poisonous to pets. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains. Signs of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, hyperactivity and seizures this can lead to cardiac arrest.
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Mouldy foods: including bread, nuts and dairy products, contain lots of toxins that could make your pet very ill so keep all pets away from compost.
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Onions, garlic, and chives: eating these vegetables and herbs can cause stomach and gut irritation and potentially lead to red blood cell damage and anaemia.
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Alcohol: is significantly more toxic to pets than to humans. When consumed, even small quantities of alcoholic beverages and food products may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors,
blood changes, coma and death.
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Macadamia nuts: within 12 hours of ingestion, macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and increased body temperature.
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Yeast dough: the rising dough causes gas to accumulate in the pet’s digestive system. Not only can this be painful, but it may also cause the stomach or intestines to become blocked. So while small bits of bread can be given as a treat — never give your pet yeast dough.
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Bones: dogs regularly present to vets for emergency surgical procedures to remove intestinal obstructions after swallowing pieces of bone that become stuck. Other conditions bones frequently cause include constipation, pancreatitis, teeth fractures as well as internal injury such as bone splinters which can puncture your dog’s digestive tract.
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Corn on the cob: if your dog swallows large chunks of the cob, or even the whole cob, it can cause an intestinal blockage due to its size and shape. Signs to look out for are vomiting, loss of appetite or reduced appetite, absence of faeces or diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort.
Image result for corn on the cob

Xylitol: is an artificial sweetener found in many products that causes insulin release which can lead to potentially fatal hypoglycaemia (lowered sugar levels).
Image result for xylitol

Milk: feeding your dog milk and other milk-based products can cause diarrhoea or other digestive upsets.
Image result for milk

Blue cheese: the roquefortine C found in blue cheese may cause
vomiting and diarrhoea, can lead to tremors, twitching, seizures and
high temperature.
Image result for blue cheese

Death cap mushrooms: Are lethal to pets and humans –
no contact is safe.
Image result for death cap mushroom

If your pet ever ingests something you are unsure about please give us a call on (02) 6230 2223 straight away.

Snake Bites and Your Pet

Every year in Australia thousands of family pets are bitten by snakes, the types of snake vary depending on where in Australia the bite occurred. Here in Canberra the most common snakes we encounter are Brown Snakes followed by Tiger Snakes and less commonly Red-Bellied Black Snakes.

As snakes hibernate during the colder months the vast majority of snake bites take place in the Spring/Summer months. Snakes are commonly found in areas with long grass, rocks and other hiding holes, often near a fresh water source such as a creek or dam.

It is important to remember that most snakes will try to avoid you and your pets. However, whilst we humans may simply walk away from a snake, our pet’s are inquisitive, armed with natural hunting instincts and when given the chance, will harass snakes often resulting in snake bites.

What can I do to prevent a snake bite to my pet?

  • Avoid areas with grass any longer than ankle height
  • Always keep your dog on lead when walking
  • Do not let your dog investigate off path/in long grass
  • Keep your backyard tidy, mowed and remove any rubbish that would make a nice hiding spot for a snake
  • Consider building a cat enclosure for cats that like to venture outdoors

What are the signs of snake bites that I should be aware of?

There are several factors that may determine the reaction your pet may have to a snake bite. These can include the type of snake, where on the body your pet was bitten and how much venom was injected.

Signs and symptoms of snake bites vary but can often show some of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weakness
  • Collapse (can seem to ‘recover’ shortly after)
  • Twitching of the muscles
  • Hyper-salivation
  • Dilated pupils non-responsive to light

And in later stages:

  • Blood in urine
  • Paralysis

I think my pet has been bitten by a snake, what should I do?

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep them as quiet/still as possible whilst seeking immediate veterinary attention. The sooner your pet is treated the better their chances of survival.

Unless you are certain the snake is dead do not put yourself at risk trying to identify it.


Variations in colour of the Eastern Brown Snake.

What will the Vet do to treat my pet?

Once you arrive at the Vet they may recommend a series of tests to determine whether a snake bite has occurred.
After receiving confirmation of a snake bite your pet will be placed on intravenous fluids and possibly oxygen depending on their current condition.
Your vet will administer the appropriate anti venom to your pet slowly whilst intensive monitoring and supportive care continues.
Subject to your pets reaction to the anti venom occasionally more than one vial is needed.
Depending on the severity of your pets condition, intensive nursing, hospitalisation and supportive care such as IV fluids and oxygen may be necessary for a number of days whilst they recover.

What is my pet’s prognosis?

Approximately 80% of pets survive snake bites if treated quickly.
The survival rate of pets that are left untreated is much, much lower.

What can I do to remove a snake from my property?

If you see a snake do not try to catch or harm it. All Australian snakes are protected and you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger.

If you need a snake removed/relocated please phone:

Access Canberra Contact Centre on 132281.
or visit their website HERE for more information.