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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cow_with_flies_4blogArghh Flies!!!!  This is a very common phrase coming from my mum at this time of year.

Mum always says that the worst thing about summer isn’t the heat or humidity, it’s the horrible annoying flies.  The flies are everywhere!! They are buzzing around you, in your face, they fly up your nose and in your mouth.  They are around the stables, the feed, the horses, the dogs and the paddocks.  They seem to be everywhere at this time of year, and they drive me and my mum crazy.

They upset the horses too.  Even the calmest horse can be aggravated by flies causing them to be more nervous and harder to work or handle.  You see the horses stomping their feet, swishing their tails and rubbing their heads, just trying to get rid of them.  The flies that are most commonly a problem around horses during the summer months are the “biting flies”.  This includes the Stable Fly, March Fly, Midgies (or Sand Flies) and Mosquitoes.  These flies are a common nuisance for horses as they can inflict quite a painful bite which can then develop into a welt and become itchy.  These biting flies do not transmit diseases (except for Mosquitoes) but secondary problems from the flies hanging around can develop.  A very common problem caused by the presence of flies is sore, runny, inflamed and gunky eyes.

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xmas_funThe festive season is well and truly upon us, a time full of celebrations and feasts, presents and family.  Its a time to relax and have fun with your family, including the four-legged members.  If you are looking for somewhere special to take your dog over your Christmas break check out the following website as it is full of dog friendly parks and beaches all around Australia. http://doggo.com.au/

While you are enjoying Christmas make sure you remember to keep your pets safe. The most dangerous thing at Christmas time for your pets is the extra food they might eat.  It is important to keep their diet the same even though it is so tempting to give them a treat or some of your Christmas dinner but in can make them sick.  The worst culprit for making pets sick is the Christmas Ham.  Thats right, as delicious as it is and as much as they would like some it can be very dangerous.  Ham is high in fat and salt which can cause serious stomach aches and even pancreatitis.  Make sure not to feed them any chicken or turkey with bones in it as the bones are very dangerous if your pets eat them.

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Well Summer is here!! Its only the first week and here in Queensland we have been sweltering with temperatures reaching 40 degrees and the hottest December days for ten years.

The heat is not only felt by people but our four legged friends feel it too.  During the hot and humid summer days it is always a possibility that our pets may suffer from heat stroke.  Heat stroke is a very serious and life threatening condition that can progress quite quickly.  Heat stroke occurs when your pet starts to overheat and is unable to cool themselves down.  Unlike people, dogs and cats do not sweat, only a little through their foot pads and nose, and they rely on panting to cool themselves down.  Often when the air temperature is high their panting is not efficient enough to cool them down and they can become stressed and suffer from heat stroke.

Some things that make your pet more susceptible to suffering from heat stroke include;
*  Extreme heat and humidity
*  Being locked in a car
*  Exercising in extreme heat or humidity
*  Being confined with no shade or fresh cool drinking water
*  Being confined with no ventilation or air circulation
*  Being confined on hot surfaces like concrete or bitumen
*  Being muzzled
*  Obese pets are more prone to heat stroke
*  Pets with medical conditions, like heart and lung problems
*  Short-nosed breeds like Pugs or British Bulldogs are more susceptible to heat stroke
*  Having a history of heat stroke

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lilly skin blogFor Lilly’s whole life she has suffered from very sensitive skin that has been prone to allergic reactions, itching and infections.  During the last week her skin has once again flared up with a reaction to something and she has a number of red sore spots on her tummy and flank area.  Surprisingly the rest of Lilly’s skin does not seem to be bothering her and it is not red or inflamed, except for in these localised spots.  It seems that she has probably had a reaction to something she brushed up against, maybe when we went for a walk in the bush.

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Most cat owners at some point will hear that terrible sound of 
their beloved cat hacking and gagging as they try to vomit up a hairball.  Just recently one of mums cats, “Kit Kat”, a three year old Burmese started this terrible process of eliminating hairballs for the first time.  Vomiting up hairballs is a common and normal process that most cats will go through at some point.

Cats in general are meticulous self groomers using their tongue to clean themselves.  The tongue has tiny hook like structures that help in the grooming process by removing the loose hair.  While grooming, some of the hair may be ingested but usually it will pass through the stomach with the faeces.  Occasionally the hair can build up in the stomach and the cat will need to vomit it up, this is a hairball.  A hairball looks more like a long thin tube of wet hair rather than a ball.

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It’s Springtime, so this season don’t forget to treat and prevent those nasties that affect our pets.

Picture courtesy of http://community.petpalstv.com

Flea infestations can have a detrimental affect on your pets health.  Apart from being unbearably itchy the constant biting and rubbing can cause flea allergy dermatitis, broken skin and infections.  A severe flea or tick infestation can cause a pet to become anemic and very ill.   The paralysis tick can be very dangerous when it attaches to a dog or cat.  It affects the nervous system and causes paralysis, which if left untreated it can quickly lead to death.

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An example of poor dental health in a dog with plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth.

Do your pet’s teeth look like this?

Good dental hygiene in pets is sometimes overlooked, however it is a very important part of keeping your pet healthy.If a pet is having dental problems it can affect their overall health.  The animal may not want to eat as usual due to pain and inflammation.  When plaque and tartar build up on the teeth, bacteria will grow and eat away at the teeth and gums.  The bacterial infection may not only affect the mouth, it can also affect other areas of the body like the kidneys, heart, liver and joints.  It is best to start dental care at an early age to help prevent problems in the future, however its never too late to start. To check your pets teeth, carefully and gently lift up their lips and have a look at their teeth and gums.

Signs to look out for that may indicate its time for a dental check up from the vet include,

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I love this time of year, foaling season has started!

As the days start to get warmer and longer again, it becomes time for the sleepless nights as you start to keep an eye on the mares that are due to foal.  I love driving past all the horse properties and studs and looking to see if they have got any new foals.

Over the years my family; mum, dad, husband and I, have foaled down nearly 50 mares, so that is a lot of foal watch and a lot of sleepless nights.  It’s a very exciting time when you are a few weeks out from your mares due date with the anticipation of “will it be tonight” that a little foal is born.

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My brother’s dog “Junior” is a 2 year old, 83kg, Great Dane. He is a beautiful dog but it seems that with a big dog comes even bigger, and more expensive, problems.

About 9 months ago Junior suffered from a case of bloat. Before going out, my brother fed him as per usual and when he came home about 4 hours later he was blown up like a balloon.  Junior was very distressed, his heart rate was really high, he was panting and his stomach was bloated.  My brother instantly knew that he was really sick and rushed him down to the emergency after hours vet clinic.  The vet told him that he was suffering from bloat with a twisted stomach and needed surgery immediately.

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