ticks-on-dogSpring has sprung and so have ticks!

In Australia, adult ticks are in their highest numbers during the warmer months of August to February. These little nasties can make your pets very sick and even cause death. As a pet owner you need to be aware of ticks and do your best to prevent your pet from falling victim to them. It is important to know how to check your pets for ticks and how to remove them if you do find one on your pet. If you live in a tick area it is very important to be diligent in tick prevention as well as checking your pets for ticks and knowing the signs and symptoms that may be seen if your pet does have a tick.

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cat-4-bec-blogOne of the most common health concerns that cats may suffer from during their lifetime is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).

FLUTD  refers to a number of conditions that affect the bladder or urethra in cats. Causes of FLUTD include;
* Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) or interstitial cystitis – this is the most common cause of FLUTD as it is the general diagnosis given if a cat presents with symptoms of FLUTD and no other cause is able to be diagnosed.
*  Urolithiasis (Urinary Stones) –  this is when stones, or a hard collection of minerals, are formed in the bladder.  Urinary stones are usually diagnosed after an x-ray confirms their presence.
*  Urethral obstruction – which is the most serious and life threatening cause of FLUTD.  This is when the cats urethra becomes partially or completely blocked.  The blockage can be caused by stone or a urethral plug which is made up of a combination of protein/cellular material and minerals or prostate disease in male cats can cause an obstruction.  To determine if a blockage is present the vet will feel the cats abdomen and x-rays and blood tests will be taken.
*  Urinary tract infection – this is more common in older cats over the age of 10 and occurs when a bacterial infection takes place in the bladder or urethra.  This can be diagnosed through testing a urine sample.

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QLD_CM_LIFESTYLE_TOADS_10DEC13(3)

Image courtesy of www.couriermail.com.au

In the last month it seems that as soon as the sun goes down our yard is taken over by cane toads.  The little bit of recent rain has brought these toads out of hibernation and they are ready to breed during the wet season.

These rather unattractive amphibians are a common cause of poisoning to dogs and less commonly cats.  When toads feel threatened they ooze a milky poison through the glands in the skin.  If a dog or cat is to lick, bite or eat a cane toad the poison can make them quite sick and can have a hallucinogenic effect on them.  Just recently I was reading an article in the Courier Mail that said that some dogs were possibly becoming addicted to the “high” or the effect that the cane toad poison was having on them and were then repeatedly seeking out cane toads.

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When it comes to feeding your dog or cat it can get a little confusing with so many brands and different diets available.  So what do all these different diets mean?  Here are a few of the different varieties of food available, what they mean and when they are suitable to feed.

Veterinary or Prescription Diets
These Veterinary or Prescription Diets are specially formulated for dogs and cats that have a diagnosed medical condition and require a special diet.  Within the food description it will usually say VD, Veterinary, Vet or Prescription Diet to differentiate it from other feeds.    Although these diets are available from a number of outlets, not only vets, these diets should only be fed when prescribed or advised by a veterinarian.  You should never change the veterinary or prescription diet that your pet is on, even from one brand to another that is for the same conditions, without consulting your vet.  The animal should be under continual care and receive regular vet check ups to ensure that the diet is correct for the animal and it is not affecting their health in any other way.

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Engorged Paralysis Tick

Engorged Paralysis Tick

Spring is here and so are the ticks!!!

Over the last week I have heard two radio shows discussing ticks and how they are out and in high numbers already.  My daughter even had one on her arm last week.  So I thought that I would remind everyone of the dangers of ticks, tick paralysis in pets and prevention methods.

The tick season, when their are higher numbers of adult ticks present, is from August to February.  There are a number of tick species in Australia including the Brown Dog Tick, Bush Tick, Cattle Tick and the most dangerous the Paralysis Tick.  So as we are heading into the most dangerous time of year for ticks it is important that your pets tick prevention is up to date.  There are a few different tick preventative products available that work either by repelling ticks or killing them once they make contact with or attach to the animal.

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-french-bulldog-grey-kitten-image15578303August is the Australian Veterinary Associations Pet Dental Month with this year’s theme being quality dental care is good medicine.  The idea of Pet Dental Month is to raise awareness of the importance of good dental health in pets, how to care for your pets teeth and to encourage people to take their pets to a veterinary clinic for a dental check up.

It is important for pets to have at least an annual dental examination.  If an animal has bad or unhealthy teeth or underlying dental problems it can have a detrimental effect on their overall health and wellbeing.  Poor dental health can lead to a number of serious conditions including liver, kidney and heart disease.  It can also be responsible for other problems like bad breath, excessive drooling, inflamed gums, pain or discomfort, chewing of different objects and changes in eating habits.  By having an annual dental check up it means that any dental problems can be detected early and promptly dealt with before it leads to any further health complications.

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rose winter (2)The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder and the weather is getting bleak.  That’s right Winter is almost here.  During the colder months you find yourself reaching for an extra blanket or turning on the heater, but what about your pets.  Many pets will feel the cold weather just as much as their owners.

How much your pets feel the cold can depend on a number of factors like age, size, body condition, breed and coat type.  Generally as animals get older they feel the cold a lot more than in their younger years.  Animals that are in poor condition or without a lot of body fat are going to feel the cold more than the animals with a lot of fatty insulation.  Pets with a single layered coat will also feel more chilly than those with a thick double coat.

It is very important to keep your pets warm during cold weather to avoid such illnesses as colds, flu’s and pneumonia developing.  The cold weather also aggravates arthritis and joint health problems in animals, which can make animals stiffer, slower and in more pain.  During cold periods it is also common for animals to drop off in weight.  This is because they are requiring more energy to stay warm and therefore are burning more calories then in the summer months.

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LillyWith the nights getting colder and winter just around the corner, I know that Lilly will be a little bit stiffer and slower because of her arthritis.  Lilly is now 12 years old and has suffered from arthritis, degenerative joint disease, for most of her life.  Like other dogs, cats and people that suffer from arthritis, her symptoms are worse during cold weather.

Over the last six months Lilly has been doing really well and we seem to be managing her arthritis better than ever.  As prescribed by her vet, she is still having the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablet called Trocixil once a month and a course of Zydax injections once every six months.  We have also gone back to using Sashas Blend, a natural non-steroidal powder supplement, on her food every day.  These combined treatments seem to working brilliantly for Lilly and she seems to be happy and comfortable with barely any arthritic symptoms.

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Image courtesy of Ezy Dog.

Image courtesy of Ezy Dog.

One of my favourite jobs at Vet-n-Pet DIRECT is unpacking and looking at all the awesome toys that come in to the warehouse.  There are so many toys available for your pets, some things that don’t even look like pet toys and some that you would never think they would like, but they do.

Toys play a very significant role in keeping your pet happy and healthy.  Most importantly they provide stimulation which is important for enriching your pets development both mentally and physically.  Toys provide boredom relief and help ease some of the mischievous and destructive behaviour like digging, chewing or scratching, which often happens when owners aren’t home.  Toys are a great tool to encourage bonding between a owner and a pet and also for socialisation with other pets, as they make play time and interaction fun.  Toys are a great way for pets to get exercise and they can also help comfort your pet when they are lonely or going to sleep.

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There is nothing cuter or more adorable than a little ball of fur that PuppyKitten
smells so sweet and just wants cuddles.  Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is a very exciting time, but it can also be a little bit stressful.

When you decide to make the addition of a new puppy or kitten to your family you should try to be prepared in advance.  This will help make the transition as easy and stress free as possible for both your new little one and yourself.  Remember that this is often the first time your puppy or kitten is going to be away from its mother and its brother’s and sister’s, so they are likely to be unsettled and upset.

The following is a checklist of things to consider to help you be prepared for when you bring home a new puppy or kitten.

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