Fig1-Founder_Laminitis_in_Horse

A horse standing in a characteristic laminitis stance. Image sourced from http://www.depi.vic.gov.au

My little pony Dudley, like many ponies out there, suffers from chronic laminitis. We often find that during the warmer months of Spring and Summer it can flare up causing him great discomfort. His flare up’s usually occur after we have a bit of rain and the grass grows rapidly, which Dudley then over indulges on.

Laminitis is the second biggest killer of horses, second only to colic. This makes it one of the most feared equine conditions as it can strike any breed, age or sex. Laminitis is a painful and crippling condition in which the laminae of the hoof becomes inflamed. The laminae are the structures responsible for holding the hoof wall to the pedal (coffin) bone in the hoof.

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bull-sale-4blogRecently I took a trip to Capella in the Central Highlands of Queensland to visit family that have a cattle property there. It is really nice to get back to the country lifestyle and being surrounded by cattle, chickens, dogs and wide open spaces.

While I was there we went to my first bull sale in Clermont. I have shown cattle before and have a bit of an idea on what makes a good bull but it was very interesting to read to catalogue, look at the bulls, go through the data that is given on each bull and then see what they sold for.

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dog_park-4fbDog parks – love them or hate them?

Australians love to get outside and enjoy our beautiful weather and so do our dogs. Recently I have seen a lot of “Dog Parks” popping up which is great that local councils are accommodating for mans best friend.

Dog parks are special parks that have been designed for owners to take their dogs for some “off lead” fun and socialisation. They are a fully fenced area designed to be safe and fun for your dog and often have agility equipment or things of interest for the dogs to play with. They can range in size dependant on the land available and some dog parks have been creatively designed and landscaped to take advantage of the natural surroundings like creeks, forests and hills.

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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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Image courtesy of siggakr.

Image courtesy of siggakr

It’s that time of year again foaling and breeding time! The most exciting time of year for horse breeders, as well as the busiest and most exhausting.

Over the years I have found myself explaining to many horse owners the steps and procedures involved in breeding a mare. I know that sometimes it can be hard to understand and remember the meaning of all the terms that you hear or see on a veterinary bill. So whether you’re a first time breeder, an owner, work with horses or an old timer here are some of those common terms that you are going to hear and use during the breeding season and what they mean.

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Image courtesy of www.assistancedogs.org.au

Image courtesy of www.assistancedogs.org.au

Dogs are not only fantastic companions and man’s best friend but some dogs have an even more important role to play. Some dogs save lives.

Medical Alert Dogs are specially trained dogs that can alert their owner to health dangers such as seizures and hypoglycemia. These amazing dogs can provide people that suffer from potentially life threatening conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and seizure disorders with some independence by acting as an early warning system and supporting or helping them through an episode.

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A vet holds a syringe of the Hendra Virus Vaccine.
Image sourced from www.abc.net.au/news

June to October has proven to be the most prevalent time for Hendra Virus and so far this year a number of cases have been confirmed in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. With Hendra Virus back in the news headlines I wanted to discuss the vaccination and in particular the risks and effects of this contagious disease on the veterinary industry.

Never before has there been a disease that can have such a detrimental effect on the horse industry, including both people and horses. Equine Influenza (EI), had an effect on all horses with horses falling ill and horse movement restrictions being in place for a number of months, but the difference between that and Hendra was that there was no risk to human life and only a few horses died. Hendra Virus by comparison, is so dangerous that all horses that have contracted the virus have died or been euthanased. So far seven people have been infected and four of those have died. There is currently no cure or registered treatment for Hendra Virus. It is this risk to human life which is causing veterinarians to question whether they should be visiting or treating unvaccinated horses. Some vets are reportedly already refusing to visit unvaccinated horses and I can only presume that this number may increase.

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Lilly's eye - the green stain shows the corneal ulcer.

Lilly’s eye.
The green stain shows the corneal ulcer.

My dog Lilly has suffered from many ailments over her 12 years but one that has always been a concern is her eyes.  Lilly has suffered from Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca) since she was three years old, which we have managed with Optimmune eye ointment. This means that Lilly does not produce enough tears to lubricate her eyes properly.  Unfortunately there is no cure for Dry Eye, the disease has to be managed with the application of artificial tears, sometimes daily, to maintain eye lubrication and a healthy eye.  There is also the possibility of secondary complications due to Dry Eye, even when it is being treated, like corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, inflammation, pain and even blindness.  Unfortunately this is what happened with Lilly.

About 6 months ago Lilly developed a corneal ulcer in her left eye, most likely due to the dry eye, as occasionally overtime the Optimmune can begin to have a reduced effect.  I took Lilly to her vet for an examination, where he stained the eye to determine the size or the ulcer, (see image).  He prescribed an antibacterial drop as well as continued use of the Optimmune drops, at an increased frequency and pain relief medication to reduce the inflammation and pain in the eye.  We re-visited the vet 10 days later for a check up only to find there had been no improvement, so we continued on the same line of treatment for another four days.  After those four days were up I took Lilly back to the vet as the eye was definitely still painful.  There was still no improvement, so the vet decided to add visco tears (artificial tears) to help lubricate the eye even more.  He also started her on Atropine eye ointment to dilate the pupil and protect against secondary glaucoma.  We followed this course of treatment for another week but unfortunately it was just not improving so we had to try a more drastic approach.

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egg-cartonWhen you’re standing there in the egg isle of the supermarket trying to decide on what eggs you should buy it can be quite confusing. All the labels say different things, Free Range, Caged, Barn Laid, RSPCA Approved, Pastured, Organic, Certified Organic, but what do these all mean?

The classification and what is stated on the egg carton label refers to the way that the hens that lay the eggs are treated, how they live and/or what they are being fed. Below is a bit of a summary of the different egg classifications to help you make an informed choice when you purchase your eggs.

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doberman-1443758_77030795Vaccinating your dog is an essential part of their preventative health program. There are a number of highly infectious and life threatening diseases out there but you can vaccinate against some of them. For these diseases vaccination and prevention is always better for your dog as well as cheaper than trying to treat the diseases if your dog was to contract them.

All dogs should be vaccinated regardless of whether or not they visit kennels, play in parks or even if they don’t come in direct contact with other dogs. Dogs are generally social animals and it is very easy for them to contract diseases. Highly contagious diseases can be transmitted from dog to dog by coming into contact with an infected dog, an infected dogs faeces or urine or they can even pick it up just walking and sniffing in an area that an infected dog has been. It is also possible for people to transfer diseases to their dogs by walking through an infected area or patting an infected animal and then going home to their own dogs. This is why it is necessary to vaccinate your dog even if your dog does not come in direct contact with other dogs.

Vaccinations are available to protect dogs from some of the most contagious and life threatening illnesses that they may come in contact with. Following are the illnesses that your dog should be vaccinated against.

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