Author Archive

Covid 19 Update: Level 2

Covid 19 Update: Level 2

In anticipation of a move to Level 2, here is what you can expect in terms of changes to our services:

Closed Clinic Environment?  …No longer!

It will be great to have you back in our clinic! Our staff will still be working hard to make sure everyone is safe, so please follow instructions to wait outside if needed, and take note of signage and restricted areas.

Taking Care:

At Level 2, it is all about being CAREFUL, in particular:

  • Social distancing will be reduced to 1m between clients and clinic staff – please do your best to uphold this at all times.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.
  • Consultations can take place in clinic face to face with the vet, but with a nurse present to hold your pet so that you can maintain 1m distance from our staff.
  • There will be a line marked on the floor to help ensure that the 1m distancing is upheld.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available at the door for you to use on entry.
  • Clients in the clinic will be limited to 3 or 4 people max, and please keep 2m spacing between yourself and other clients.
  • Please call ahead of time for appointments and for purchases, this is to limit your wait time, and your time spent in the clinic.
  • All services are available.  (acupuncture, laser treatments, home visits, nail trims  .. all the fun stuff).

What can you do:

We will still need your support to keep you and our staff safe.  

  • If you need to see us, please call ahead with as much information as possible.  This is required for all services, including routine surgeries, prescriptions (both food and medication) and special orders. Please let us know what you need ahead of time. 
  • Please – if you are at all unwell, DO NOT come to the clinic.  Have someone else bring your pet in to see us.
  • If possible, ensure that only one person enters the clinic when coming in with your pet, or for product pick-ups.
  • Keep a 2m distance from other clients, and use the hand sanitiser provided on entry to the clinic.

Still prefer us in full PPE? Want to stay outside in your car?

No Problem. Just let us know when you make the booking and we can still behave as we did in level 3; as a closed clinic situation so you can still feel safe.

Pick-ups and deliveries;

We can arrange a pick-up and drop-off service for your animal, and delivery of pet food, prescriptions and other product supplies, if you are unable to travel to the clinic.  There may in some circumstances be an additional fee for this. Please call the clinic to inquire.

Thank you.

A big thank you to all our clients who have shown great patience and kindness through the more stringent levels of 4 and 3.  It will be great to have you back in our clinic and to be able to provide a greater level of normality in our services!

Thank you to all our staff too, who have had their lives and work patterns turned upside down, and who have had to adapt quickly to a very different work environment as essential workers.  They have done so well in personally stressful and worrying times.

Yours faithfully

Andrew & Jacqui Conway

Socialising Your Pup During COVID-19

Socialising Your Pup During COVID-19


Even though you might be stuck at home, unable to get out and about to socialise and train your puppy in the conventional way, it’s still crucial for you to do as much as you can to socialise your puppy safely and positively – these are your pup’s ‘formative years’ so it’s essential that you help them to learn about the world, and train them to respond to your cues before they learn habits that you don’t like!

Here are some tips to help you to succeed in socialising and training your pup during this challenging time:

  • Carry your pup on a short walk down the street (if they are light enough!) so they can see the sights without risk of picking up contagious disease. If you have a buggy or bike trailer you can secure your pup in, use that instead to save your arms!
  • Take your pup in the car with you when you go to get shopping, so they can get used to car trips and watch the world through the car window. Secure them in a crate or use a boot divider to keep your car safe while you shop, and give them something to chew on while you are away, and don’t forget to have a window cracked enough for fresh air and park in the shade. This will give them crucial separation training, something which will otherwise be lacking while you are home all day.
  • Make sure you give your pup at least a few hours of alone time each day, in their crate, kennel or pen, in a quiet spare room, or in the yard. If they get very worried when left alone, start with only a minute or two and slowly build up how long they are alone for by a few minutes at a time. Make sure you give them chews, a yummy stuffed kong, or a scatter of treats each time you leave them, so they build good associations with being left alone. This is extremely important to do now, as your puppy will be very stressed if they do not know how to be left alone when you go back to full time work.
  • Make an ‘obstacle course’ in your yard of novel things for your puppy to explore and learn about. Include things like an open umbrella, a tricycle or bike, a vacuum cleaner, a dustbin, a statue, different surfaces to walk over like tinfoil or bubble wrap, a balance plank, etc. Guide your puppy through everything, giving them time to sniff and check things out, and give them lots of treats and praise, especially if they are a bit unsure.
  • Go on YouTube and search ‘puppy sound desensitisation’. There are lots of good soundtracks available with a variety of novel noises on them that you can play while your pup chills out in the house, to get them used to different noises that they might not hear every day (dogs barking, kids playing, fireworks, gun fire, hammering etc). Play these VERY quietly to start with and only turn them up little by little as long as your pup does not react.
  • Slowly get your pup used to being handled all over. Pick a time when they are tired, and work on looking at teeth, ears, holding paws, stroking tail etc. Feed your puppy for being calm and accepting of what you are doing.
  • Teach your pup to play hide and seek. If you are home with other people, get someone to hold your puppy while you hide in another room and call them, then give them lots of praise and treats when they find you. Or if you’re home alone, teach your pup to find a favourite toy or treat. Start with really easy hiding places and then work your way up to making things trickier once they understand the game.
  • Dress up in unusual outfits to get your pup used to the different people they might see in the real world. Put on things like a big hat, dark sunglasses, a fluoro vest, a onesie or costume, a face mask (had a few dogs freak out about us wearing these at work over the last few days!), a trench coat, goggles etc.
  • Practise basic obedience skills such as eye contact, recall, sit, down and wait for food. These skills will be vital once your puppy is able to go out and about, and the training will engage their brain and tire them out – a tired puppy is a good puppy!
  • Once your puppy is fully vaccinated, short walks around the block so that your puppy can see/hear/smell their neighbourhood environment will be hugely beneficial (just remember to say ‘NO!’ if someone asks to pat your puppy as your puppy is in your bubble, gotta stay safe out there!) Try to vary the route that you take each time, and keep the walk to a max of 15 to 20 minutes so that you don’t put too much pressure on your puppy’s growing joints. Practise good leash manners by praising and feeding your dog when they are walking nicely next to you.

COVID-19; Level 3 Services Update

COVID-19; Level 3 Services Update

Covid 19 Update : Level 3

In anticipation of a move to Level 3, here is what you can expect in changes to our services:

SAFE operation; At Level 3, we are able to extend our services to ensure that we can look after your animals the best we can during Covid 19.
This will mean we will be able to provide services that previously under “ESSENTIAL “ were emergency or urgent services only. This will include desexing, dentals and vaccinations as examples.

  • vaccinations for  all companion animals to prevent disease. So, for all of you inquiring throughout the weeks as to the reminders sent, NOW you can book in!
  • routine surgery; this includes De-sexing and dentals at the vets discretion
  • nails trims on cases that require care to prevent pain or overgrowth
  • Please call to make an appointment (online booking is currently unavailable)

Closed Clinic Environment.
We will still have to run a closed clinic operation as we were at Level 4 so we need your continued support to do this. As before, We ask that you call the clinic to alert them of your arrival where one of our staff will come to collect your pet.  Your Veterinarian will speak with you over the phone for extra history or treatment plans and your pet will be returned back to you (or picked up later in the day for surgical cases). Under some circumstances we will see a client and animal in the clinic which will be decided by the treating vet.

What can you do?
We still need your support to keep you and our staff safe. .  If you need to see us, please call ahead with as much information as possible.  This will include all services, routine surgeries, prescriptions – both food and medication – but please let us know ahead of time.  We will do our best to work with you and your needs as they arise.
Please – if you are at all unwell do not come to the clinic.  Have someone else bring your pet in to see us.

Pick-ups and deliveries.
Some people are more susceptible, elderly or compromised or just plain worried and don’t want to leave their home and bubble. We can arrange a pick up for your animal and delivery of pet food, prescriptions and other product supplies.  There may in some circumstances be a small additional fee for this. Please call the clinic to enquire.

Thank you.
Firstly we would like to thank all our clients for your patience and understanding through this unprecedented period.  It is not that we want to keep you at arms length or keep you standing outside, but we have had to be in line with COVID-19 precautions. Everyone has been very supportive throughout and understanding of what is required. I think we are now all a little more confident that we will as a country, continue to gain control and hopefully eliminate this virus, with some sense of normality returning soon.

Thank you to all our staff too, who have had their lives and work patterns turned upside down and had to adapt quickly to a very different work environment as essential workers.  They have done so well in personally stressful and worrying times.

Yours Faithfully
Andrew & Jacqui Conway and the Team

Covid 19 and The Vet Centre

The Vet Centre and COVID-19 – Update

Are We Still Operating?
Yes.  As Veterinary Clinics we are considered an essential service for the health and welfare of your pets.  However, we will not be open as normal.  Our clinics will be moving to a closed clinic environment for the period of time they remain within Alert Level 4.

What is a Closed Clinic Environment?
For us to be able to provide consultations, surgeries, emergency care, prescriptions, food and more for your pets it is critical for us to stay open.  To achieve this we need your support.  For any planned consultations, surgical admissions or cattery admissions we will require all clients to stay in their vehicle upon arriving at the clinic.  We ask that you then call the clinic to alert them of your arrival where one of our staff will come to collect your pet.  Your Veterinarian will speak with you over the phone for extra history or treatment plans and your pet will be returned back to you (or picked up later in the day for surgical cases).

What Can You Do?
Please help us to keep you and our staff all safe and well.  If you need to see us, please call ahead with as much information as possible.  If we can assist you remotely with advice on smaller issues, we will do so.  We will still be able to fill prescriptions – both food and medication – but please let us know ahead of time.  We will do our best to work with you and your needs as they arise.
Please – if you are at all unwell do not come to the clinic.  Have someone else bring your pet in to see us.

Are Our Pets Safe from COVID-19?
You may be wondering how dangerous this may be for pets and whether they can catch & transmit the virus.  The situation is rapidly changing however at the time of this email the CDC has issued advisories saying there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus.  It is sensible however to practice good hygiene when you interact with any animals, whether your own or those you may encounter elsewhere.
As Veterinarians, animal health is our top priority. If you are concerned about the health of your pet in any way, please contact your nearest Vet Centre Clinic.

Supply Chain – Will We Run Out?
Our main suppliers & couriers will continue to deliver orders to our clinics throughout Alert Level 4 lockdown.  There are no immediate supply concerns, however, we have seen some delays in the supply chain.  With enough notice, we should be able to fill your prescriptions and orders.  We will continue to monitor this situation.

Thank You
This is an incredible situation all of us to find ourselves in.  Please be kind to our staff who will continue to work through this raised Alert Level to help ensure your pets stay happy and healthy.
Once again, thank you for your own efforts in helping us and all other New Zealanders prevent the spread of COVID-19 any further.  We will get through this!
If you have any queries regarding your pets or our services during this time, please get in touch with your nearest Vet Centre Clinic.

Yours faithfully
Andrew & Jacqui Conway

Civil Defence: ‘Pet’ Ready, ‘Pet’ Through

Civil Defence: ‘Pet’ Ready, ‘Pet’ Through

When a disaster strikes, are you ready to care for ALL your family members?
If where you are isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your animals.

  • Tag
    Keep a collar and tag on your pet with your up to date phone number and/or address.
  • Chip
    Microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure you can be contacted in the event you are separated from your pet. A microchip inserted into the skin can’t be lost or damaged the way a tag or collar can be. Ensure your pet’s microchip is registered on the local council and national (NZCAR) databases with your up to date contact information.
  • Kit
    Create an animal emergency kit with essential items your pet will need that can be grabbed quickly if you need to evacuate.

Emergency Kit Essentials (per animal):

  • Food – five days’ worth of non-perishable food
  • Water – five days’ worth of water
  • Medicines – any medications that your pets require
  • Veterinary and vaccination records – in case you need to board your pet
  • First aid kit – talk to your vet about what items they recommend
  • Blankets, bedding and toys
  • Sanitation – e.g. litter trays, disinfectant, gloves if required
  • Carry crate/lead/harness/muzzle

NOTE: Keep the most essential, smaller items e.g. medications in a grab bag in case you need to leave quickly.

  • Plan
    In case you aren’t home when an emergency occurs, ensure a family member, friend or neighbour knows to collect your pet along with their emergency kit. Have a pre-planned meeting place so that you know where to find them.
  • Locate
    Know in advance where all your local veterinary clinics and animal shelters are in case you need to seek medical attention for your pet. Keep a contact list of these in your emergency kit. They are also the best places to start looking for your pet if they go missing.
  • Shelter
    Establish in advance a list of safe, pet-friendly locations that you can evacuate to or board your pet at if you have to leave your home in the event of an emergency.

Cruciate Injury and the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

The normal Knee Joint (also known as the Stifle joint), has multiple structures which are important to its function. This drawing shows a view from the front with the muscles removed. It is important to note that the Patellar Tendon, a vital structure in the joint has been removed, so that you can see “behind” it. The Patellar Tendon is a thick, tough band that runs from the Patella (green dot) to the Tibial Tuberosity (red dot).

 

Cruciate injury:

The most common knee injury in the dog is rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL).  This injury can occur at any age and in any breed, but most frequently occurs in middle aged, overweight, medium to large breed dogs.  This ligament can frequently suffer a partial tear, leading to slight instability of the knee. If this damage goes untreated, it most commonly leads to complete rupture and possibly damage to the medial meniscus of the knee.  The meniscus acts as a cushion in the knee.  Complete rupture results in front-to-back instability, commonly called Tibial Thrust, and internal rotation of the lower leg, commonly called Pivot Shift. Untreated legs usually become very arthritic and painful from the instability.

A completely ruptured Cruciate Ligament can only be corrected by surgery, partial tears may also require surgery but management case by case is the best course of action with cruciate damage.

What are the options for Cranial cruciate repair in dogs?

Cruciate surgery is performed to repair a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the stifle (knee).CCL surgery is the most common orthopaedic surgery performed in dogs. Given that this is such a common injury, several procedures have been developed over the years to repair the ligament. Each technique comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

There are several things that should be considered when choosing the right surgery. Here is a list of things to consider:

  • Age of the dog
  • Size and weight of the dog
  • Activity level of the dog
  • Financial considerations
  • Post-operative care
  • Degree of joint disease (arthritis or other concurrent joint disease/injury)

In some cases, the anatomy and conformation of the stifle may make certain procedures not feasible or not effective.

We offer two techniques for cruciate rupture repair:

  • Extracapsular Ligament Repair/Suture Stabilization Suitable for smaller dogs or when there are financial constraints
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) SURGERY:

Unlike other procedures, the goal of this surgery is not to recreate or repair the ligament itself, but rather change the dynamics of the knee so that the cranial cruciate ligament is no longer necessary for stabilizing the joint. In this procedure, a linear cut is made along the length of the tibial tuberosity, which is the front part of the tibia. This cut bone is then advanced forward, and a specialized bone spacer is placed in the open space between the tibia and the tibial tuberosity. Finally, a stainless steel metal plate is applied in order to secure the bone in place. Because the patellar tendon attaches to this tibial tuberosity, once it is advanced, the tendon keeps the femur from sliding back and forth and therefore stabilizes the knee joint, and eliminates the need for an intact cranial cruciate ligament.

Additionally, rupturing the cranial cruciate ligament leads to instability in the knee, which can lead to damage to other structures within the joint, including meniscal tears. This is where appropriate diagnostics become important. Finding the extent of the injury will aid in choosing the correct procedure for your dog, and will increase the chances of a successful recovery

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) RECOVERY:

Regardless of which surgery you choose, it’s the post-operative care that will determine how successful the procedure is. Dogs that are non-weight bearing will quickly begin to lose muscle mass and range of motion in the affected leg. The sooner the knee is stabilized, the less muscle atrophy that occurs, and the faster the recovery post-op.

Current evidence suggests that TTA surgery allows for a more rapid return to full function than extracapsular repair. Recovery from a TTA differs from extracapsular repair in that follow-up radiographs (x-rays) must be performed to ensure that the bone is healing as expected, and that the implant remains in place. Dogs that have undergone TTA must be restricted in their exercise for 16 weeks, until healing of the bone is confirmed via x-rays. Once the bone is healed, more vigorous rehabilitation exercises can be used In the last 20 years, human physical therapy principles and techniques have been developed and adapted to help dogs recover properly after major orthopedic surgery. These exercises focus on safe weight bearing of the limb, combating muscle atrophy, and improving range of motion, while taking care not to damage the metal implant in the knee.

Keep in mind that like humans, not all dogs recover at the same speed. It is best to be conservative and consistent. Do not force your dog to do certain exercises if they are unwilling. It is always best to seek professional guidance if available. It is important to note that while recovery takes up to 16 weeks, it may take longer to have complete healing and return to function

Complications of Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) surgery.

One main complication in any cruciate surgery is rupture of the contra-lateral cruciate in the other leg. So strict adherence to rehab and exercise restriction is a must.

The long term prognosis for animals undergoing surgical repair of the cranial cruciate ligament is good, with reports of improvement in 85-90% of the cases. However, all surgical procedures carry the risk of complications. The most common complications encountered with this particular procedure are infection, lack of stabilization, and implant failure. The most common complication caused by a torn cranial cruciate ligament is osteoarthritis of the affected joint. Unfortunately, arthritis progresses regardless of treatment, but is much slower when surgery is performed and the knee is stabilized. It is important to realize that arthritis is a progressive disease and develops fairly quickly in an injured stifle joint.  Therefore, arthritis management and prevention and joint supplements are recommended for any dog with this injury, no matter which surgical procedure is chosen. Complications that can arise which are specific to TTA surgery include delayed healing of the bone, non-healing of the bone, healing in an incorrect position , fracture of the bone, and failure or breaking of the metal implants. Although they are uncommon, these complications can be serious and may require corrective surgeries.

 

Heart Disease and Your Dog

Heart Disease and Your Dog

Heart Disease in Dogs and the Benefit of Early Diagnosis

Heart disease affects up to 1 in 10 dogs over their lifetime, and 80% of these will be due to mitral valve disease.

Dogs over the age of 6 are at a greater risk, however they may show no clinical signs until the disease is quite advanced at which point we are limited in what we can achieve with treatment, compared to catching it early.

Stages of heart disease

There are 4 stages of mitral valve disease.  The early stages (A and B) don’t display any visible signs of illness, however early signs can be detected in a routine clinical exam by listening to the heart and finding a murmur. Once the dog progresses to stages C & D there are visible indicators of disease as the heart fails to function properly (ranging from a cough to full blown collapse and congestive heart failure).

Previously there has been no evidence that early treatment before clinical signs are seen (stage B) has any benefit in the long term, however a new study has shown that there are significant benefits to early treatment which is great news!

The key findings of this large multinational study are:

  • Early treatment can help slow the progression to a clinical stage (visible signs of illness) by up to 15 months.
  • Can delay the development of clinical signs of congestive heart failure (CHF).
  • 10% more life expectancy without signs that affect your dog’s quality of life.

All breeds can be affected however certain breeds are at higher risk.  Mitral valve disease is more common in small breeds, particularly at risk breeds include Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dachshund, poodle, Schnauzer, Chihuahua, Fox terrier and Jack Russell Terrier. 

If your pet has a heart murmur a few tests can allow an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment for the stage of heart disease present.  This can range from herbal supplements to medications to help prolong the length and quality of life of your pet.

  

What is the mitral valve?

The heart has four chambers.

Each chamber of the heart has a one-way valve to keep blood from flowing backward. The valve between the left atrium and left ventricle is called the mitral valve.  Oxygenated blood flows from the lungs into the left atrium before flowing into the left ventricle. From the left ventricle, oxygen-rich blood is pumped throughout the body.

What causes mitral valve disease?

Because of the high pressure created when the left ventricle contracts and pumps blood out to the body, the mitral valve may begin to ’wear out’ and leak over time. This is known as mitral valve insufficiency (MVI) or mitral regurgitation and is often associated with a heart murmur. Other causes of mitral valve insufficiency include ruptured chordae tendinae, a condition in which the fibrous cords that hold the valve leaflets in position break, and heart valve infections known as endocarditis. Endocarditis may result from blood-borne infections or, more commonly, may be secondary to chronic oral infections (periodontal disease).

What are the signs of mitral valve disease? What are the consequences of it?

The earliest sign of a leaking mitral valve is normally a heart murmur. This is produced by the turbulence created when some of the blood goes backward through the leaking mitral valve into the left atrium. Dogs may develop a murmur from a leaking mitral valve as early as four to six years of age.

Initially, MVI is asymptomatic (produces no obvious clinical signs). As time progresses, the regurgitation becomes more severe and as more blood flows back into the atrium, the heart’s efficiency is reduced. Eventually, congestive heart failure develops. From the time a murmur develops, it may be a few months to several years until heart failure occurs.

A heart murmur does not mean that heart failure is imminent, but eventually congestive heart failure will occur. Dogs with a heart murmur do have an increased risk of sudden death.

When I took my dog for his annual health examination, my veterinarian told me he had a mitral murmur but said he was not going to treat it at this stage. Is this correct?

Veterinary cardiologists differ in when they recommend medical intervention for asymptomatic heart murmurs. Research has now shown newer drugs may have cardio-protective benefits in dogs similar to those demonstrated in people. Your veterinarian will carefully evaluate your pet’s condition and lifestyle and make the best treatment recommendations to preserve health and vitality.

How will I know if my dog has heart failure?

When the left side of the heart is not properly pumping blood, the blood slowly backs up in the lungs. This results in small amounts of fluid leaking out of the capillaries into the air passageways. This fluid collection produces the earliest signs of heart failure that include gagging as if trying to clear the throat, a chronic, hacking cough, and lack of stamina (your dog will tire more easily on walks). Dogs with heart failure are usually sick whereas dogs with heart murmurs may have few, if any, clinical signs until heart failure develops.

The degree of clinical signs is directly related to the amount of decreased blood flow that is occurring. This is why early diagnosis and treatment is essential in slowing the progression of heart failure.

What happens in congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure begins when the heart is unable to provide the tissues with adequate oxygen and nutrients. Without adequate oxygen, the body’s cells become distressed and trigger a series of responses. Various hormones are released in an attempt to increase blood oxygen levels and blood circulation. These hormones conserve fluid in an effort to increase blood volume and the output of blood and oxygen by the heart. For several months, these compensatory responses help the situation and the dog has few observable clinical signs.

Eventually the increased fluid retention becomes a detriment as more and more fluid leaks out of capillaries and into the lungs, abdomen, and other body tissues. Fluid in the lungs is called pulmonary oedema, fluid below the skin is called peripheral or limb oedema, and fluid in the abdomen is called ascites. When these are present, congestive heart failure is present. Left-sided congestive heart failure (LS-CHF) is generally associated with MVI and most commonly results in pulmonary edema and coughing. However, within a short time, heart failure will continue to progress and bilateral heart failure will follow.

What tests are needed to diagnosis heart valve disease?

There are several tests that provide valuable information while looking at different aspects of heart function.

Physical examination will determine if there are other symptoms or underlying conditions that may complicate or be affected by heart disease.

Auscultation or listening to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope is the first step in diagnosing heart disease. Pulse quality and heart rate and rhythm are also assessed during auscultation. Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) can often be detected with a stethoscope.

Chest radiographs (X-rays) are used to determine the size and shape of the heart and the presence of fluid in the lungs. Additionally, the lungs are examined for any abnormalities such as enlarged blood vessels (pulmonary hypertension).

Blood and urine tests are performed to give an indication of any other disorders in the body. Liver and kidney function are often decreased in dogs with heart disease.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) may be performed to measure the electrical activity of the heart and allow accurate determination of both heart rate and rhythm. Any abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias) can be detected and evaluated. The presence of abnormal heart rhythm helps your veterinarian determine the prognosis for your pet’s condition.

Ultrasound examination (echocardiogram) utilizes sound waves to evaluate the heart’s contractions and to measure the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This test is the most useful one to assess the heart’s function, and serial (repeated) examinations are recommended to chart the progress of disease and the response to treatment.

The combination of all of these tests gives the best evaluation of the dog and its heart function.

Is there treatment for a leaky mitral valve and heart failure?

A leaky heart valve can be replaced surgically in people. However, this is usually not feasible in dogs. However, there are several drugs and treatments that will improve heart function, your veterinarian will discuss which treatment will most benefit your pet in an individualised approach.

 

All About Rabbits!

All About Rabbits!

Husbandary

The best information is available on the SPCA website. They have handling techniques, feeding requirements, hutch sizes and just an abundance of information to assist in caring for your beloved rabbit! To have an in depth husbandry list visit the spca website now.

Disease – What is Calici Virus?

Calici Virus is a haemorrhagic virus which can result in sudden death of the rabbit. It is a species specific virus meaning only rabbits are effected.

What should you look for?

Depression, anorexia, difficulty breathing, shaking, and death within one to two days.  Other signs may include a foamy or bloody discharge from the nose or anus, nervous signs or rapid death. Rabbits may appear to recover, then die several days later

Mild form – depression, anorexia followed by recovery. These animals become immune from re-infection

When should I vaccinate?

Vaccinations should begin at 8 weeks and will need to be boostered again at 12 weeks. If vaccinations begin at 12 weeks old they will need a single vaccination and then will require annual vaccinations. Only healthy rabbits should be vaccinated. There is a small risk of adverse reactions to the vaccine including skin reactions, inappetence and malaise. We require a minimum of 2 days notice for rabbit vaccinations to ensure stock levels will allow for the booking.

Control Measures for Unvaccinated Rabbits

  1. Control insects (especially flies and fleas) as much as possible both indoors and outdoors. Flies are the main vector through which the virus is spread.
  2. Remove uneaten food on a daily basis.
  3. Keep your pet rabbit indoors where possible.
  4. Rabbit-proof your backyard to prevent access by wild rabbits.
  5. Regularly decontaminate equipment and materials (e.g. cages, hutches, bowls) with either 10% bleach or 10% sodium hydroxide. 10minutes contact times is required, then rinse off.
  6. Limit contact with and handling of unfamiliar pet rabbits.
  7. Use good biosecurity measures (e.g. wash hands, shoes and clothing) after handling other people’s rabbits.
  8. Avoid cutting grass and feeding it to your rabbits if there is the risk of contamination from wild rabbits.
  9. Infected rabbits should be isolated and disposed of in a manner that will minimise environmental contamination.

Helpful links:

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/long-term-pest-management/wild-rabbits/

https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/plants-animals-fungi/animals/vertebrate-pests/biological-control-of-rabbits/faq

Kennel Cough

What is kennel cough:

Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough in places where large amounts of dogs socialise, such as boarding and daycare facilities and activity areas like walking tracks, the beach etc. Dogs can spread it to one another through the air (like a human cough), direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It is treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and compromised dogs (eg sick or old).

Symptoms:

If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound – this is the most obvious symptom
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite

Treatment:

A veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection to ease the symptoms and your pet will need to be well rested as well as quarantined from other dogs to prevent spread. If you notice your pet coughing or you want to try and avoid kennel cough all together speak with your veterinarian today as early treatment  (if required) will help keep your pets safe and healthy .

Prevention:

Vaccinate to prevent contracting this disease today! When vaccinated your dog may still contract a form of the disease but the symptoms are far more manageable and your dog will recover far sooner.

Parvovirus and You

Canine Parvovirus

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus or ‘Parvo” is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs but especially young puppies. It can cause devastating gastrointestinal  effects and is potentially fatal.

How is Parvo spread?

Parvo is spread by dog to dog contact and contact with contaminated people (on clothes, hands, shoes) and environments (kennels, food and water bowls, bedding). Dogs that have had the disease can shed the virus for weeks afterwards, even once they are well. It also is extremely good at surviving for long periods of time in the environment as it is not easily killed by heat, cold and dry conditions. Dogs can also incubate the disease for up to 2 weeks before showing any signs of illhealth.

What are the signs of Parvo?

Loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, severe or bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and collapse. Puppies can die within a very short time from the start of clinical signs, so it is important to seek veterinary treatment early.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis is often suspected based on the patients’ history, vaccination status and clinical exam by a vet. There is also a faecal sampling test available that can be done at the practice which can be useful to confirm diagnosis, although tests are not always 100% accurate.

Treatment usually requires intensive treatment in an isolation facility. It involves intravenous fluids, pain relief, nutritional support, gut medication and antibiotics for secondary infection. Severe cases of parvovirus may be hospitalised for several days or longer. The earlier the treatment is started the greater the chance of a successful outcome. If you are concerned that your dog might be showing any of the signs of Parvo, please contact the clinic as soon as possible and explain. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the disease, please do not bring your dog into the clinic but make staff aware that you are here, then wait outside until our vet staff can attend to you.

How can Parvo be prevented?

It is vitally important that all puppies receive a course of vaccinations every 3-4 weeks with the final vaccination between 14-16 weeks of age. A booster vaccination should be given between 6-9 months of age. Adults that have never been vaccinated should receive 2 doses, 3-4 weeks apart. In addition to this, try and avoid contact with sick and unvaccinated dogs and faecal matter when out and about. If you are concerned that your dog is not fully vaccinated, please contact one of our clinics.