Category Archives: general

Bringing your dog into Tasmania

Tasmania is the only state in Australia that is free of hydatid tapeworms. And they want to keep it that way. So if you visiting Tasmania with your dog – and several of our clients do – then it is worthwhile reading Tasmania DPI’s brochure about Bringing a dog into Tasmania.

In short,

Before a dog can enter Tasmania, its owner must have evidence that it has been treated with praziquantel at a dose rate of 5 mg/kg body weight within 14 days before entry to Tasmania. The evidence can be:

  • A statement by a vet;
  • A statutory declaration by the owner; or
  • Other evidence of treatment (such as the pill packet) that is carried by whoever accompanies the dog into Tasmania.

So you can treat your dog yourself and hang on to the packet, or come in to the practice and we’ll worm your dog and give you a statement to wave at the authorities.

 

Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide

The RSPCA have released a Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide which provides some very good guidance on where to buy your puppy. Whilst buying a dog from the RSPCA or other shelters or rescue organisations is often saving that animal’s life, sometimes people are after a specific breed.

The RSPCA recommends only buying from reputable breeders who provide a high standard of care for all their dogs, so that you know your animal is not coming from a puppy-farm. Depending on the breed, you will want to talk with the breeder to see if they are taking steps to reduce the risks or incidence of inheritable disorders (eg hip dysplasia or heart valve defects).

The brochure also encourages early desexing of your new puppy, as part of responsible ownership.

So if you are looking to buy a puppy, please first of all see what’s available at your local pound, RSPCA or animal shelter. If you must purchase elsewhere, always look for a reputable breeder. And read the Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide.

Pet Insurance

(This post is archived on our website at https://www.hallvet.com.au/about/pet-insurance/)

Some perspective…

According to the Australian Companion Animal Council,

  • vet fees only account for about 1/4 of the cost of your pet,
  • about 1/3 is spent on other services (toys, kennels, grooming, holiday accommodation etc) and
  • the rest – nearly 1/2 – is spent on food.

Big Bills

But there are times when vet bills loom large because of accident or illness. In the last four years at Hall Veterinary Surgery, about 90% of invoices over $1000 were for dogs. They included conditions as diverse as dog-fight injuries, pancreatitis, surgery for cancers, blocked waterworks, broken bones or cruciate ligaments, snake bite, heart failure, car accidents, tick paralysis, vomiting, diarrhoea, and chemotherapy for cancer.
Big bills hit young pets as well as old.

Budgeting

If unexpected vet bills would blow your budget, you could try one of these strategies to minimise the fallout:

  1. Pet insurance costs range from about $18/month (cats, accident only) or $33/month (dog, accident only) up to $65/month (dog select breed, accident/illness.
    Depending on pre-existing conditions and payout limits, pet insurance will reduce the impact of most big bills. Some plans work on a co-payment system, which reduce the premium if you pay 20% or more of any bill.
    Most insurance companies reimburse you after you’ve paid the vet.
  2. A low-fee credit card kept for emergencies only.
  3. Self-insure by putting a monthly contribution into an interest-bearing account. This is the most cost-effective method for small costs; you don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions and you can economise on multiple pets -as long as they don’t all get sick at the same time. You can also budget for costs that aren’t covered by the pet insurance companies. These include vaccinations, worming, flea and tick protection and wellness programmes. The average monthly costs below will give you an idea of what to put aside. If a big cost comes up before you’ve accumulated enough you’ll still have to bridge the gap.

Total Spend

The table below shows amounts carers spent on individual pets over the last four years. It breaks this down to the average monthly cost of vet care and the percentage of dogs and cats in that spend category. This is the average per pet for all products and services offered at Hall Vet Surgery, including flea and tick products, prescription diets, dental work, big surgeries, cancer treatment, desexing and vaccinations.

Total spent over 4 Years Ave per Month Dogs Cats
$500 $10 54% 38%
$1,000 $21 28% 17%
$2,000 $43 9% 4%
$5,000 $104 1% 0.4%
$10,000 $208 0.1%

So you can think of the percentages as indicative of the chance that your pet will cost at least that much in vet bills. eg if you own a cat, there’s a 1:250 chance your cat might total $5,000, or a 1:10 chance that your dog might cost over $2,000 over four years.

Pet insurance is more cost-effective if your pet is unlucky enough to have a bad accident or becomes ill. But you have to have your pet insured before it happens!

Boarding your pet

Holiday plans are not complete without accommodation arrangements for your pets, too. Many holiday accommodations are now pet friendly but most people have to leave their pets behind. Ideally, they should stay in their own home and yard with a friend, relative or house-sitter looking after them.

Many pets spend happy holidays at boarding facilities and even look forward to their own break from home routines. If possible visit the cattery or kennels beforehand, inspect the accommodation and meet the staff.

All commercial boarding establishments are licensed by the local authority but standards vary. Seek out recommendations from friends, neighbours or your veterinary surgeon. Some people like to trial board their dogs for a weekend or a few days and see how they settle.

Check that your pets’ vaccinations are up-to-date well before the holiday. Kennels insist upon current cover for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and kennel cough for dogs and enteritis, calicivirus and herpesvirus for cats.

A single intra-nasal kennel cough immunization at least 72 hours before boarding covers dogs previously unvaccinated for kennel cough for 12 months. Other vaccinations take at least ten days to take effect.

Itchy bottom?

Dogs scoot their bottoms along the ground when they have anal gland problems, tapeworms or allergies.

If you catch your dog rubbing along on the carpet, worm him with a good quality wormer such as Drontal or Milbemax that covers all worms, especially tapeworm.

If he still scoots or seems off colour then bring him in to the surgery. Many small dogs suffer from anal sac problems. The gland fills up with material too thick to empty through the small ducts near the anus. Usually we just express them and all is well.

Sometimes the material gets infected and the glands become swollen and painful.  Your dog might have trouble defecating or lick the area a lot. The glands may break through the skin and discharge foul smelling fluid. At the surgery we clip and clean them as well as starting antibiotics and pain relief. If your dog has repeated anal gland infections we recommend surgery to remove them.

In spring and summer many allergic dogs rub, lick and scratch all over including their bottoms. Some dogs allergic to food proteins also rub their bottoms on the ground. Treatment for the allergies usually stops the rubbing and licking.

 

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis

Dogs affected with haemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) vomit and pass diarrhoea with blood in it.  It develops rapidly and sometimes owners just find their dog collapsed.

HGE is more common in small breeds of dogs. A very high red blood cell concentration, measured as the packed cell volume, PCV, or haematocrit is characteristic of HGE. Most normal dogs have hæmatocrits of 37-55%. Dogs with HGE have hæmatocrits over 60%.

We don’t know the exact cause of HGE.

We rule out other causes of vomiting and bloody diarrhoea while we start emergency treatment for HGE.  These causes include stomach ulcers, trauma, worms, other gut parasites, gastrointestinal tumours, intestinal obstruction, foreign bodies, parvovirus, and coagulation disorders.

Dogs with HGE are very ill and if left untreated die. In most cases, it runs its course in a few days with intravenous fluid therapy to combat the dehydration and shock. We give other treatments like antibiotics, anti-ulcer medication and corticosteroids as indicated.

If intravenous fluid therapy is not given the haematocrit continues to rise and the blood becomes so thick that it can hardly flow. A clotting disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation develops which is often irreversible and fatal.

Corneal ulcers

The cornea is the transparent front part of the eyeball that admits light to the eye.

A corneal ulcer is a hole in the top layer of the cornea. The most common cause of corneal ulcers is trauma. Grass seeds, a cat scratch, shampoo and sticks cause most of the corneal ulcers we see at Hall Vet Surgery.

Dry eye develops because of abnormal tear formation in older dogs and is also a common cause of corneal ulcers.  Some diseases that affect the whole body like diabetes mellitus, Cushings disease, and hypothyroidism sometimes predispose a dog to corneal ulcers, too.

A corneal ulcer is very painful.   The affected dog rubs the eye and squeezes it tightly closed. The eye looks red and watery.

Superficial corneal abrasions are difficult to see. A drop of fluorescein stains the area of ulceration and shows it up clearly under a special blue light.

A superficial corneal abrasion generally heals within 5 days. Antibiotic eye drops or ointment prevent bacterial infections.  Atropine eye drops or ointments relieve spasm and pain.

If the corneal ulcer is deep or slow healing or a descemetocele has formed we protect the eye and promote healing with a surgical overlay of conjunctiva, the third eyelid or the upper and lower eyelids.

Atropine relieves the pain from the ulcer but dilates the pupil making the dog sensitive to light. Do not be alarmed if the pupil stays dilated for several days after the last dose.

Atropine travels down the tear ducts to the mouth and because it tastes bitter causes drooling and pawing at the mouth in some dogs.

When the fluorescein stain test is negative your vet will tell you to discontinue the treatment. This is usually after at least 5 days of treatment.

The normal cornea has no blood vessels in it. When it is ulcerated blood vessels grow in from the white part of the eye, the sclera, to heal it and may obstruct vision. If they don’t retreat once the ulcer is healed we clear them with cortisone drops or ointment.

Old kidneys need more water

Oscar

Cats with kidney disease all need more fluids. If your cat has kidney problems or is just getting on a bit you should encourage more water consumption.

Provide a choice of water bowls: many cats favour metal or porcelain bowls while others prefer plastic bowls filled to the brim. Put one in the laundry and another on the porch. Fill some from the kitchen tap and others from the laundry tap. Your cat is a connoiseur of water and will taste the difference!

Water fountains are popular with some pusses. If your cat runs when she hears water running into the basin then she will like a water fountain. We have Drinkwell water fountains for sale at Hall Vet Surgery.

A little chicken, beef or fish stock added to the water tempts some cats to the bowl.

Increase the amount of wet food you offer your cat. You can also add more water to cans, sachets or fresh meat.

If your cat is a dry food fiend then soak some of the dry food in water. Even if he doesn’t accept it the first time you offer it he might the fourth or fifth time.

Have you found any tricks to increase cats’ fluid consumption? Hit the comment button below and tell us all!

Free dental check

Last chance to bring your dog or cat in to Hall Vet Surgery for a free dental health check!

Book before 31st August and bring your pet in for a free dental check.

Learn how to keep your pet’s mouth and teeth clean and healthy.

Dental health is essential to overall health in our pets.

4 out of 5 pets live with dental disease, infection and pain but are very good at hiding it from us.

Make sure your pet is happy, healthy and pain free.

Phone 6230 2223 to make an appointment for a free dental check during Hall Vet Surgery’s dental month.

Cat Care Information Evening

You are invited to Hall Veterinary Surgery’s

Cat Care
Information Evening

On Wednesday 21st September, 2011, 7pm

at Hall Pavilion

Gladstone Street, Hall ACT

Learn why your cats behave (or misbehave) the way they do, how to care for your older cat and why regular checkups are vital to cats’ health and comfort. Win heaps of prizes and join us for supper.

Entry is FREE but you MUST R.S.V.P. by 14th September, 2011

Phone 62302223, or talk to one of our Receptionists