Rabbit Cartoon B-WIt’s Easter time!!

Most children can’t wait until Easter Sunday morning to see if the Easter Bunny has been and left some yummy chocolate eggs. But have you ever found it strange that a rabbit is the one bringing eggs? So where did this tradition originate from?

It was originally the German Lutherans that conjured the role of the Easter Hare / Bunny. The hare symbolised the role of a judge that determined whether or not children had been behaving at the start of the Eastertide season. In a similar role as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny would visit the good, well behaved children and hand out chocolates, candy or toys.

Another interesting rabbit question I have often wondered about, is why does a magician pull a rabbit out of his hat and not a cat or guinea pig or anything else?
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caged chickens

Caged Chickens

Have you seen the new advertisements running on television and media outlets at the moment about our egg producing hens?  The “That Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” campaign, like many others that have been run, is aiming to raise awareness about the lives led by our egg producing hens here in Australia.

I am supportive of any campaign that might help put a stop to caged hens and I think this one is a really clever and engaging way to raise awareness. I enjoy the comical and yet still informative approach to the topic rather than the “shock value” approach with graphic and unpleasant (although truthful) images.  It still gets the message across to consumers and it is also nice to see a number of celebrities supporting the cause. The hope is that by supplying consumers with more facts about caged hens it will encourage them to re-consider the types of eggs they are purchasing and hopefully avoid the cage laid eggs.
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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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A horse suffering from choke and showing nostril discharge

A horse suffering from choke and showing nasal discharge

This week our pony, Dudley, had choke, so I thought I might share some information on choke in horses, the symptoms, treatment and prevention.

Choke in horses is a potentially life threatening condition and therefore as a horse owner it is important to know and understand the condition.  Choke occurs when the oesophagus becomes blocked, usually with food or occasionally a foreign object.

Choke often happens when a horse eats their food too quickly, either gulping or not chewing properly and then the food blokes up in the oesophagus.  Horses that have dental problems and are unable to chew their food properly may also be at higher risk.  Dry foods or hay also increase the risk of choke or when horses have limited access to water.  Medical conditions like tumors or scarring from previous surgeries or injuries can also increase the risk of choke as the size of the oesophagus may be reduced.  Occasionally choke occurs due to a foreign body, like wood or sticks becoming stuck in the oesophagus.  Horses that wind suck or crib are more likely to have this problem as a piece of wood may break off when they are cribbing.
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Image courtesy of http://www.thesun.co.uk

Image courtesy of http://www.thesun.co.uk

We are constantly hearing reports on the news about global warming and climate change. We know that pollutants from cars, mining and factories contribute to this, but did you know that cow’s actually affect global warming too?

The agricultural industry emits methane gases and nitrous oxide which generates up to 20% of all Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Australia. Cattle and other ruminant animals, like sheep and goats, are responsible for over 70% of the agricultural industry emissions, with animal excreta and nitrogen based fertilisers making up the remaining 30%.

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pug-newborn-4blogOver my years as a Veterinary Nurse working in both large and small animal practices I was lucky enough to see a great range of interesting cases.  I thought I might share with you a couple of my favourite vet nursing experiences.

The one that stands out in my mind as the best experience was when I got to assist with a caesarian on a cow.  This was something that I was not expecting to do on a normal day at work, but that was the best thing about working in a vet clinic; you never knew what would happen next.  I was called out to a dairy farm by a vet to deliver an extra surgery kit and some medications, I never expected that I would be helping with a caesarian.  So there I was changing into a pair of vet overalls on the side of the road not knowing what I was in for.

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lilly2This hot and humid weather is definitely doesn’t agree with my dear Lilly. You see, Lilly has congestive heart failure so apart from her just not liking the hot weather she is finding it more difficult to breathe on the hot and humid days.

Congestive heart failure is when the heart is unable to function properly and efficiently pump adequate blood around the body. Diseases like mitral valve insufficiency or dilated cardiomyopathy are common causes of heart failure as well as heartworm, irregular heart rhythms or weakened heart muscles. Congestive heart failure and other heart disease can be either congenital, can develop due to other health issues or just happen due to old age. Some breeds of dogs are also more likely to develop heart failure like the giant dog breeds.

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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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dog-cat-fireworksIt’s almost time to bring in the New Year which means celebrating, parties and fantastic firework displays.

For most people fireworks are exciting but for pets they can be very scary.   This is understandable as pets don’t understand that the fireworks won’t hurt them, all they see is bright colourful embers of fire falling from the sky and loud noises.  Therefore New Years Eve can be a very stressful and scary night for many animals, not only dogs and cats but also horses and farm animals.  The fireworks is what causes more pets to go missing on New Years Eve than any other day of the year.

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and calm during fireworks.

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xmas-petsWhat better way to to celebrate the Christmas period than with the family. The whole family; four legged members included of course.  If you are thinking about going on a summer holiday and want to take your pets, visit Holidaying With Dogs for some great pet friendly holiday spots.  Or if you are just looking for some dog friendly parks and beaches all around Australia visit Doggo.

With the festive season in full swing, everyone is out enjoying the beautiful Australian weather with parties and barbeques.  As tempting as it might be to treat your dog or cat with some table scraps it really isn’t a good idea.  It is important to keep your pet’s diet as normal as possible as changing it and offering them an overindulgence of treats can cause stomach upset.  Ham is one of the worse things you can feed your pets as it is high in salt and fat.  Over the Christmas period veterinary clinics will often see a rise in pancreatitis cases and stomach upsets with the usual cause being that the animals have been eating the Christmas ham.  Also make sure not to give your pets any cooked chicken or turkey bones as they can splinter and also cause intestinal blockages.  Sweets, and in particular chocolate, are a big no no for you pets.  Chocolate is very dangerous for your four-legged friends as it contains theobromine which can cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea,  restlessness, cardiac failure, seizures and death. And most importantly, don’t forget to make sure your pets have plenty of cool, clean water to keep them hydrated over the hot summer days.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone, humans and animals, a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Until next time,