Everywhere I look at the moment there is fireweed, on the side of the road, in paddocks, in people’s backyard.img_1009

But what is fireweed? The botanical name for fireweed is Senecio madagascariensis and if you didn’t know any better it could just be overlooked as a normal weed with a pretty yellow flower, something like a dandelion. It is a small weed that grows to 50cm in height and in dry or harsh conditions it will often only reach 20cm. The leaves are bright green, narrow and about 2-7cm long. The flower is small (1-2cm in diameter), yellow, has 13 petals and found in clusters at the end of each branch. Each plant can have anywhere up to 200 flowers.

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Femal groom cleaning horseWhether you are showing your horse in competition, riding around at home or just have a horse standing in a paddock here are some top grooming tips to keep your horse always looking their best!

  • Do not over bathe your horse. Only shampoo when necessary as over-shampooing can make the coat dry and appear dull. You can just rinse sweat of them, spot clean and often brush dirt out.
  • Brush the hair in the direction that the hair grows.
  • Curry comb your horse every day to help remove dead hair and dirt. This will stimulate natural oil production.
  • Clean your horse’s feet our daily and use a hoof oil or dressing.
  • Brush the mane and tail starting from the bottom and working up. This helps removes knots and tangles easier. Use a detangling spray if needed.
  • Keep your brushes clean. Clean soft brushes after every few strokes by brushing them on a curry comb or metal brush to remove dirt and dust. Disinfectant and wash brushes on a regular basis.
  • If it is too cold to bathe your horse use a sponge to wipe of their face, neck, saddle and girth area to remove any sweat.
  • Rug your horse to minimise dirt, dust and fading from the sun.
  • Feed a good quality diet and add oil supplements like omega oils to bring out a shiny healthy coat.

Remember that grooming your horse shouldn’t be a chore, it is a great time to bond and spoil your equine friend with some extra love and attention.

Until next time,

Some of the vet-n-pet DIRECT canine team members!

Some of the vet-n-pet DIRECT canine team members.

On Friday June 24th 2016 it is Take Your Dog To Work Day. Take Your Dog To Work Day is a day in which businesses are encouraged to allow staff members to bring their canine friends to the workplace. But let’s not forget our furry feline friends as they can be great workplace companions as well. The initiative aims to show people the benefits of companion animals and to encourage people to adopt a pet.

Many studies have shown the benefits of pet ownership on health and reducing stress levels in people, but did you know that there are many positive benefits to having pets in the workplace? Benefits of pets in the workplace include;
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dog-1228570_640Yes some dogs eat poo! It is disgusting and rather gross to think about but it does happen.

Coprophagia is the term given to the act of consuming faeces. Coprophagia is often seen in puppies but it usually stops as dog’s reach adolescence and adulthood. There are many reasons, both medical and behavioural, that a dog may eat their own (or someone else’s) faeces including;

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soldier-919202_640Alongside our brave men and women who serve and protect our country are some very special, well trained dogs. As a dog lover it melts my heart to see some of the beautiful images and tributes that go around on social media about soldiers and their dog’s. The bond that these soldiers and their dog’s have is remarkable and based on trust, respect and love.

The most common breeds used as military dogs are German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherd Malinois, however many other breeds and crossbreeds are used, provided the individual dog is well suited to the job at hand. Training these dogs takes a lot of time, effort and commitment. Understandably the dog and handler form a very unique bond built on trust and mutual respect.

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image source:  http://www.trulymadlykids.co.uk/

Image source: www.trulymadlykids.co.uk/

With Easter just around the corner I thought now was a good time to remind you all about how dangerous chocolate is for dog’s. Chances are you have heard that chocolate can kill dog’s and it’s not just an old wives tale, it is a fact! But why is chocolate so dangerous for dog’s?

There are two dangerous compounds in chocolate that are toxic to dog’s and other pets. These are Theobromine and Caffeine, they are both members of the drug class Methylxanines. Theobromine is the most dangerous compound and is found in the cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate. Theobromine is easily metabolised by humans but because dog’s process it more slowly it can build up in their system to toxic levels.

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Last week I was fur-sitting my brothers dog “Jack”. Jack is a 3 year old Kelpie x Labrador x bit of everything that was rescued from a shelter.

One afternoon I went to pick the kids up from school and as always I left Jack outside and Beau (my dog) inside the house. Upon return from school pick up, Jack was nowhere to be seen. The kids and I searched everywhere, calling out for him, whistling and nothing. He isn’t the type of dog to try and escape or ever wander (he is just too lazy), but we couldn’t find him! So off we trekked through the horse paddocks looking for him, checking the dam, just encase he went for swim, but still nothing. By this stage I was starting to panic and the kids were crying “you lost Jack”. So next we jumped in the car and drove around to all the neighbours asking if they had seen him. Drove up and down all of the surrounding roads calling out for him. I rang the local pound, three local vets and checked Facebook lost and found sites and still nothing!

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cat-4blogIf you have ever visited a cat shelter, rescue or adoption centre, you have probably noticed that some cats have a note saying that they have “Cat Flu”. But what does this mean?

Feline respiratory diseases or Cat Flu is a highly contagious virus caused by Feline Calicivirus (FCV) or Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) that can be easily spread through sneezing or coughing. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, conjunctivitis and/or ulcers on the tongue. The main health concern with Cat Flu is that the cat can develop a secondary bacterial infection. These infections generally require a course of antibiotics that will be prescribed by a vet. Diagnosis of Cat Flu is usually made after seeing symptoms in a cat, there is a swab test available to confirm the diagnosis if required.

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dog-campingCamping is a great way to relax while enjoying the outdoors and being able to share the experience with your dog can make it even more enjoyable.

It is important to realise that taking your dog away camping with you is something that requires some thought and preparation. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a camping trip with your dog to ensure you all enjoy yourself and that your dog is happy and safe while camping.

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australian-shepherd-237014_640If there is one thing that can make a dog clamp their tail and a person hold their nose it’s the anal glands! If your dog has ever had an anal gland problem I am sure you understand what I mean. My darling boy Beau just recently had infected anal glands and it was not a pleasant experience for him or me.

You may be asking, what are anal glands? Well anal glands are small glands that are located under the skin on either side of the anus (at about 4 and 8 o’clock). The glands are designed to secrete an oily semi-liquid substance when the dog passes faeces. The foul smelling substance gives each dog their unique smell that they use to mark territory and be identified by other dog’s. When the anal glands are working efficiently only a small amount of fluid is excreted and humans are generally unable to smell it (thankfully). Dog’s will typically excrete some anal gland fluid when they pass faeces, urine, when meeting another dog or when they are startled or scared

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