Category Archives: Medicines & Treatments

Why fat sucks! Pancreatitis – what it is and what you can do to minimize the risk to your pet

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is part of the endocrine and digestive system that is integral for the digestion of food. One of the functions of the pancreas is to produce enzymes which enable food to be digested. When the pancreas is inflamed (pancreatitis), the flow of enzymes into the digestive tract can be distrupted and the digestive enzymes move out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area — this spells trouble!

When the body eats itself!

When the digestive enzymes wrongly move into the abdominal area they will begin breaking down fat and protein in the other organs as well, that should not happen — it causes the pet’s body to begin to digest itself. Clearly then, pancreatitis is a very painful illness that can cause can cause permanent organ damage and death if left untreated. If treated, pancreatitis can be resolved and your vet will put together a life treatment plan to help prevent recurrences. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic and certain breeds seem more prone than others.

Some of the symptoms of pancreatitis

There are many symptoms which can include:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • High temperature.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss (more common in cats than dogs).
  • Dehydration.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sluggishness.
  • Depression.
  • Mild to severe abdominal pain (pain can become more severe after eating).
  • Increased heart rate.
Some of the causes of pancreatitis

There many causes of pancreatitis. Below is list of the most common causes.

  • A high fat diet.
  • High levels of calcium
    in the blood.
  • Pet obesity.
  • Some medicines used to
    treat other conditions.
  • The marrow from bones commonly triggers a case of pancreatitis.
  • Festive eating – the pet that is usually on a suitable diet who gets into the BBQ sausages, bacon or large amounts of cheese or dessert foods. This is enough to trigger a bout of pancreatitis.

 

Calming the nerves of your anxious companion

Like people, many pets suffer from forms of anxiety. If your pet cannot settle during thunderstorms or fireworks or perhaps your pet cannot settle if you are not present, then talk with Dr Helen Purdam about some strategies to help the both of you cope.

It may be as simple as some crate training advice like setting up a safe den or fitting the pet with a thunder shirt. Having an Adaptil or Feliway diffuser near the pet’s den can also help them to settle.

For pets who need more support to become less anxious, we can provide a full behavioural consultation. Contact reception on 6230 2223 for more information.

Ten signs that your pet may have Heart Disease

As a pet owner, it is important that you are equipped to spot signs of heart disease in your pets, as you may well be the first person to notice. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference when it comes to the quality and quantity of life of your valued pet. Bringing any concerns to your vet’s attention as soon as possible can have a great impact on your pets prognosis.

Some of the symptoms you may see:
Coughing: while coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, it is also a symptom of heart disease. Minor coughs will resolve in a few days. A persistent cough is an abnormal state.
Breathing difficulty: shortness of breath, laboured breathing, or rapid breathing.
Changes in behaviour: If you notice any behaviour changes in your pet, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression.
Poor appetite: No matter what the cause, a lack of appetite is always a concern.
Weight loss or gain: this can be a sign of a myriad of problems. Having a bloated or distended abdomen (pot belly) is a sign that needs investigation.
Fainting/Collapsing: if your pet faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help immediately.
Weakness: may be seen as a general sign of aging, but combined with other symptoms, a consultation and possibly blood tests may yield results that mean your pet’s quality of life is enhanced.
Restlessness: and change in demeanour, particularly if restless at night, may be a sign of heart disease.
Edema: is the swelling of body tissues. In regards to heart disease, your pet may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.
Isolation: If your pet starts to isolate itself or is keeping its distance from other pets and/or you, this indicates something has changed and warrants investigation.

There are a range of treatment options for heart disease and the earlier the intervention the better the outcome. If you feel your pet is not their normal self talk with your vet about your concerns. The above list is not exhaustive, just outlines some common symptoms.

Recognizing and treating Feline Arthritis

Many of our older cats are silently suffering from arthritis.
Cats are very good at hiding when they are in pain, therefore, the visible signs of arthritis are very subtle.
Even just a slight change in the way they are jumping might be the only clue we are given.

Cats with elbow pain may extend a leg and hesitate before jumping down, they often land with a thud and pause before walking away.
Cats with knee pain will use creative ways to avoid jumping up high – they may go via a chair to get to the table, or avoid heights all together. You may notice them scrambling to get up, or asking to be lifted.
Some cats will get long nails from inactivity and may need them trimmed more frequently. Other cats will get matted fur, because it hurts them to turn around and groom. You may even notice your cat sleeping more often.

If you have noticed any of these signs there are many options available to help make your cat more comfortable.

Things we can do at home:
-Warm bedding in an easy to access location
-Using ramps and steps to ensure access to your cats’ favourite resting places
-Using litter trays with lower sides to allow ease of entry
-Providing food/water at floor level or slightly raised

Are there any medications?
Lots of cats thrive when given medical treatments for their arthritis. There are many options that we can use; they range from dietary supplements, to liquid anti-inflammatory given in the food, to creams you can put on your cats ear. So even if your cat is difficult to tablet there are plenty of choices.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Itchy skin

 

 

Is your dog constantly itching, rubbing, or biting at their skin? Does it feel like you have tried everything?

Your pet may have atopic dermatitis, or atopy, an inflammatory, chronic skin disease. Like hay fever in humans, dogs can be allergic to pollen, grasses, dust mites, and other environmental allergens that cause this unpleasant reaction.

Dogs suffering from atopy can be itchy in one area of their body or all over. Often the itchy rash affects the armpits, groin, face, feet and ears. Dogs normally begin to show signs between 3 months and 6 years of age. Often these signs progressively worsen over time due to exposure to new allergens with age. Initially the itchiness may appear seasonal with flare ups occurring more in spring or summer, however these periods can become longer and seem year-round.

Atopy has been diagnosed in dogs for years and it has been difficult to manage. Veterinarians turned to steroids, such as prednisolone, to treat atopy, although many did not like prescribing a medication that can have serious side effects if used long-term. Luckily there is a new breakthrough steroid-free drug called Apoquel for treatment of allergic dermatitis.

It has increasingly become a first choice treatment option because it is safer than steroids and fast acting. Clinical trials found dogs treated with Apoquel had a marked success rate versus those who were given placebos. It is a tablet given twice a day for two weeks, then once a day for maintenance. It may be the alternative long-term approach we have been looking for.

Please remember that a diagnosis of atopy is one of “rule-outs” from other causes of itchy skin including fleas, mites and skin infections that are treated differently. Call us to book a time for us to confirm the diagnosis and see if Apoquel is right for your dog.

Increase in Mosquito activity leads to Heartworm Warning for Dogs

The dramatic rise in mosquito numbers means pet owners need to be vigilant with their dog’s heartworm treatment. 

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is spread by a mosquito biting an infected dog (or ferret or fox) and ingests the heartworm larvae.

The next step is the mosquito buzzing off and biting another dog and infecting them with the heartworm larvae.

Without preventative products on board, the larvae continue to develop, eventually reaching the heart and lungs where the adult worms can strangle the heart and congest the lungs.

Year round treatment is required for all pet dogs.

If you are unsure when your dog last had a heartworm treatment please call Hall Veterinary Surgery on 6230 2223.

Where heart worm prevention has been intermittent or lapsed, our vets will restart prevention and advise a blood test to ensure your pet is still heartworm free.

OUTBREAK WARNING of the deadly Feline infectious enteritis (Feline Panleukopenia Virus – FPV)

 

The resurgence of this deadly virus, which was almost eradicated 40 years ago by vaccinations, has been confirmed in various locations throughout Australia.

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 panleucopenia 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 all vaccinations.

Hall Veterinary Surgery use the live Tricat vaccination which gives the best immunity against this disease. If your cat or dog are overdue for vaccination, call us on 6230 2223 to make a vaccination appointment.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Blood Testing

What are we looking for in a blood test?
Routine blood testing typically assesses haematology (red and white blood cells), biochemistry (all the blood products associated with normal bodily functions, including liver and kidney function) and electrolytes. There are blood tests which look for particular problems as they arise, such as hormonal imbalances or clotting problems. Some health conditions can only be detected by blood testing, making this a very useful part of any check-up.
Which pets should have blood tests?
Blood testing is recommended for any pet that is feeling unwell or a little off-colour. Routine monitoring is also recommended for senior animals, those on long term medications and for any pet undergoing general anaesthesia. Recent scientific research has recommended performing regular blood testing in young healthy animals. Every animal is different, so doing this allows us to get an idea of what normal values to expect for each pet as an individual. This is particularly useful for detecting early changes (for example, onset of kidney disease) and allowing prompt investigation and treatment of issues as they arise.
How is blood collected?
Most pets tolerate blood collection well. Your vet or nurse will clip a section of hair away from the neck or leg, clean the skin and collect blood with a needle and syringe. Pets who are anxious about the process often find comfort in lots of cuddles, treats and gentle handling. A small number of animals may need to be sedated for collection, but your vet will assess the pros and cons of performing the test if this is the case.
When should a blood test be performed?
For young healthy animals, the goal is to obtain 3 blood tests before becoming ‘middle aged’ (this age varies between breeds, but as a rough guide is between 6-8 years). Yearly testing is recommended for senior pets. Animals on long term medications often need 6 monthly testing but this will depend on the medication and your vet will guide you as to what is appropriate. Testing is recommended in all animals prior to general anaesthesia as in some cases we may decide to alter our anaesthetic protocol in relation to the blood results.
Where are blood tests performed?
We have state of the art in house blood machines, which allows us to run many tests on the spot with a quick turnaround time. Some tests do however need to be sent to external laboratories and may have a delay of a couple of days for results.
Your vet will advise you if your pet is due for a blood test. If you have any concerns about your pet’s general health and wellbeing, please contact us for further assistance.

Keeping your pets safe this Summer – Paralysis Ticks

Are you heading to the coast this summer? Tick protection is a MUST! Although most pets who are treated quickly for tick paralysis survive, ticks are capable of killing your pet within 3 to 4 days of attaching if your pet has not had any tick prevention.
REMEMBER: PREVENTION IS MUCH SAFER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE THAN TREATMENT.
It is possible for ticks to be carried back in your luggage etc and attach to pets that haven’t travelled to the coast themselves so if you are heading to the coast and your pet is staying home they still need protection.
Protection for dogs is now more convenient than ever and is available in flavoured chews that cover for both Fleas and Ticks! Nexgard protects your dog for one month and is perfect for that one off trip to the coast for the weekend, Bravecto covers your dog from fleas for 3 months and ticks for 4 months and is perfect for those who travel to the coast more frequently.
Prevention for cats is slightly trickier (but still essential), please phone us on (02) 6230 2223 to discuss further.
Early signs of tick paralysis include tiredness, staggering, vomiting, breathing difficulty, change in the sound of their bark or breathing, progressing to paralysis, these signs may continue to worsen even after the tick is removed.
If you notice any of these symptoms your pet should be taken to the nearest Vet immediately.
Call us on (02) 6230 2223 and we can discuss the most suitable tick prevention product for you and your pet.

Acupuncture

At Hall Veterinary Surgery, we offer acupuncture as an integral part of the total veterinary health care system. This is provided by Helen Purdam who certified with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1993.

By integrating veterinary acupuncture with western veterinary science, we can offer further treatment options to improve outcomes for our patients.

There are times when conventional medicines prove insufficient for adequate management of common chronic disease such as osteoarthritis and back problems. Acupuncture can improve the comfort and mobility of these pets.

Many of our clients have commented that their pet seems to “just feel happier” after their treatment.

Patients are chosen for acupuncture therapy based on a full clinical examination and temperament. Radiographs are helpful, however they are not required.

Acupuncture treatments take 30 minutes. A program of three treatments at weekly intervals initially is followed by top up treatments as required. The majority of pets tolerate acupuncture well. Light reversible sedation is offered to our more bouncy patients.