Category: “What’s new”

Facial Eczema

Facial Eczema



At times spore counts will exceed 500,000, and even over a million in many areas, usually only in the North Island which is considered as “high risk”.  That risk may continue into June in some areas.
Prevention may require more than one approach. e.g. Time capsules and pasture spraying.

Zinc can be used in a number of forms, but at high spore count, there will still be some affected animals.  For lactating cows at least, ensure they also get limeflour and organic copper.

Zinc oxide for drenching or mixed with feed. 2.5grm/100kgs lwt/day minimum

Zinc sulphate (mono or heptahydrate; know which you have because they have different dose rates.  Mono approx 5 grm/100kgs, Hepta 7.5gms/100kgs) can be used in water or feed.  Make sure you have the correct dose.  Make sure you check what sort of zinc is in meal and at what concentration!

Zinmol is a molasses zinc product, useful in shed or in feed.

Time capsule zinc boluses give good coverage for 4 – 6 weeks.  Ensure you are using the correct sizes, and they must be repeated, up to 3 times.

Mycosorb added to drench or feed appears to help – use in addition to zinc – there is no research to prove any effectiveness against F.E, but it seems to help at high risk.


Some further points to consider ..

  1. Spraying pastures with fungicide needs to be done early enough and is also not foolproof.
  2. Preventing access to all ryegrass based pasture works but is almost impossible in most situations.
  3. Higher levels of zinc, at crisis levels, can be used for short periods.
  4. Remember zinc itself can be toxic, causing pancreatic failure and haemolysis, even death.
  5. Affected animals need easily available high energy feeds and bland fibre such as good quality hay.  Limit ryegrass where possible.  Plenty of shade or summer covers.  Good quality water without competition.  Zinc ointment or other sunscreen for affected skin or teats.  Starter drench and monopropylene glycol drenches are useful.  High doses of vitamin B12 injections to aid appetite, liver function and healing.  Oils and fats help – good energy source for the animal not dependant on liver function.  Many animals will require additional calcium, either in feed or as CBG under skin.  May need dextrose/glucose I/V.  Can be more susceptible to other infections.
  6. Lactating cows – milking will depend on severity but should be only OAD or less.
  7. High performing well fed cows have an exponentially higher liver blood flow so are often at higher risk, and will show more clinical signs but also tend to recover much better.  Supplementary feeding does not reduce risk – “dilution” is irrelevant as animals still tend to be eating the same amount of grass and spores, just get extra on top!
  8. Apparent severity of clinical signs is not always a good indicator of degree of liver damage or likelihood of recovery.  Some of the most severely affected may show no obvious signs at this stage


Grass Samples for Testing:

We need 60 gm (bread bag full) of grass from a height at which the cow is eating to. Do not get soil in the sample. (you will need to cut close to the ground) . Collect multiply samples from different locations where you anticipate moving your cattle.

Have them delivered to The Vet centre, and we should have your results the same day.

If you have further querries, please phone us (5445566) or contact us

Parasites in Deer

Parasites in Deer

Parasites in deer are common. They are infected with similar parasites both internally and externally to other species and the signs and treatments are similar too.

Clinical signs will include production loss, with severe weight loss, often scouring and thickening in the facial area (bottle jaw). With lung worm there can be coughing and often deer are found dead.

Elk and Wapiti are especially prone to internal parasites causing severe damage to the stomach lining resulting in a progressive condition called ‘Fading Elk Syndrome’. The body loses its ability to uptake protein causing the animal to survive by using up its own body protein, hence the severe loss of weight.

Diagnosis can be made through clinical signs and dung samples. However, a negative egg count on dung does not mean parasites are not present.

Regular drenching is important especially in young deer. In older deer, they do develop good immunity against internal parasites providing the parasite challenge is not large and that they are on good nutrition and stress free.

Pour-on endectocides are the easiest drench to give to deer and they are very successful. Some drenches are more successful for a particular type of worm, such as lung worm. For more information, please contact us.

Of the external parasites, Ticks are the most common and can cause the most severe disease with death in young fawns.  The adult tick will engorge on blood causing severe anaemia and death. In velvet stags, they will damage the growing velvet causing a production loss.

Treatment is largely dependant on a pour-on application of Bayticol at 8 week intervals starting in early August in Tick prone areas. Nelson is one of those areas as is the whole of the North Island.

Your Cat and Feline Aids (FIV)

Your Cat and Feline Aids (FIV)

Feline AIDs is a potentially fatal disease that interferes with the immune system caused by infection with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).  Cats with FIV often remain healthy for years but as the disease progresses symptoms such as weight loss, infections, poor coat may occur.

Prevalence in New Zealand is unknown but there are many areas around the Nelson region with infected cats.  Cats are mostly infected by bites from other infected cats, therefore those cats which fight regularly are more likely to be infected.

Vaccination for FIV can be started at any time and is the best way to prevent the disease.  3 vaccines, 3 weeks apart are needed initially, after that time annual vaccination is recommended.  If your cat is over 6 months old a blood test will be required prior to vaccination to ensure they are uninfected.

If you wish to vaccinate your cat for FIV or you want more information please contact us or discuss with your vet in consult.

Abscesses in Cats and Dogs

Abscesses in Cats and Dogs


An abscess is a pocket of infection that often results from puncture wounds such as scratches or bites, but may develop after penetration by such things as grass seeds.  The surface of the skin often heals quickly, but germs deposited under the surface by the penetrating object may cause an abscess to form in 2-3 days.

Signs of an abscess

  • Red and swollen area,
  • Very painful and often warm when touched.
  • Animals with abscesses will often have a high temperature or fever, and may be quiet or depressed.


Small abscesses may only require a clean up and antibiotic treatment. Larger abscesses may need surgery to remove areas of dead skin, or to achieve sufficient drainage to stop the build-up of more pus. A drain may be placed in the wound to allow this fluid to discharge.


The earlier treatment is initiated the less likely surgery is required, so if you suspect your cat has a bite or abscess please make an appointment as soon as possible.


Cat bites and Feline AIDS virus

Most cats will develop an abscess as a result of a bite from another cat.  This puts your cat at risk of the Feline AIDS virus, which is present in the Nelson area.

Feline AIDs is spread by fighting cats, and can be an issue in rural areas and suburban areas.  There are certain hot spots for this disease around the Nelson/Tasman area.

If your cat fights, even occasionally, it is strongly advised that you get your pet tested for Feline AIDS, and if negative, start a vaccination program.


If you require further information, please contact our staff.


Rat Bait Poisoning

Rat Bait Poisoning

Rat bait is commonly used around properties, but is extremely harmful to your pet if eaten.  Rat bait works by preventing clotting of the blood and symptoms often do not appear until a few days after eating.


Signs of poisoning are variable and caused by bleeding

Signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Difficulty breathing/ coughing
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding from nose or gums


If your pet is showing any of these signs or if you know your pet has eaten some bait please contact the clinic immediately.

If known, please note the name/type of poison eaten as their properties vary.

If you suspect your pet has eaten rat bait but is not yet showing signs, it is also important to bring it into the clinic.  If eaten recently and is still in the stomach, inducing vomiting can prevent the absorption of the poison.  A blood test can show clotting problems before signs become apparent.


Treatment of rat bait poisoning involves treating with vitamin K to maintain the production of the clotting factors the body needs.  If the animal is brought in showing symptoms other therapy may also be needed including a blood transfusion.

The length of treatment with vitamin K is variable and depends on the type of bait eaten, varying from one to four weeks.

Fireworks and Your Pet

Fireworks and Your Pet

Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress for some animals.  Their stress may show in a variety of behaviours including; trembling, howling/barking, drooling, pacing, or trying to hide. There are multiple ways to try to ‘fix’ this behaviour but sometimes it really is something we can only help to comfort and improve.

  • Close all doors and windows, and lock all cat doors, to stop outdoor access and escape routes
  • Close all curtains to block the sights of exploding fireworks – this also helps to muffle noise
  • Turn the radio, stereo or television on to a reasonable volume to block noise and distract the animal
  • If your pet hides, let it be, as it feels safe in its chosen spot
  • Make sure that your pet’s name and your phone number are attached in some form to its collar so you can find your pet if it escapes
  • Where possible make the choice to stay home to comfort your animals, or make arrangements for a reliable friend or relative to ‘pet sit’ in your home
  • Thundershirt is a dog coat based on constant pressure over the nervous system to help calm an anxious dog down. Follow this link for more information

If your pet is particularly stressed by fireworks contact us regarding options for sedation.


Because fireworks are let off over many nights during the Guy Fawkes season and during the year, be prepared to take the above actions over a longer period.

Exporting Your Dog or Cat

Exporting Your Dog or Cat

Moving to Australia?

Here at The Vet Centre Richmond and Motueka we have a Vet, Dr Andrew Conway, qualified in animal export.

The following information specifically covers dogs and cats from New Zealand.

Dogs and cats are not held in quarantine providing they have been continuously resident in New Zealand for 90 days immediately prior to shipment, or since birth, or since direct importation from Australia. The animal must not have been in quarantine or under quarantine restrictions in the 60 days immediately prior to shipment and must be more than two months of age. Female animals must not be more than 3 weeks pregnant at the time of export.

An Export Certificate is required, signed by the exporter and identifies the dog/cat by breed, sex and age and states they have been continually resident in New Zealand or Australia for the 90 days immediately preceding export to Australia, or since birth and declaring the dog is not from an ineligible breed. For a full list of dog breeds not eligible for importation eg. Dogo Argentino, Pit Bull Terrier. All cats and dogs must be micro chipped for export to Australia. They will also need to be treated for external and internal parasites in the 72 hours prior to export. The animal must also be accompanied by a health certificate signed by an official veterinarian authorised to certify on behalf of Ministry of Primary Industries.


For more information on different countries give us a call!

Or go to


Dentistry in Dogs and Cats

Dentistry in Dogs and Cats

Dentistry in dogs and cats is incredibly important and often overlooked. Dental disease is common problem in both cats and dogs.  It varies from mild to severe and can affect your pets eating and their overall health.

Taking care of your pet’s teeth starts at home; a good quality biscuit diet is the most important element, with some diets (e.g. Hills Science Diet Oral Care) designed especially for oral health.  Other elements may include;

  • Bones/chews for dogs
  • Daily Brushing of teeth
  • Chicken necks for cats


Signs of Dental Disease

  • Bad breath
  • Reddened or bleeding gums
  • Reluctance to eat – especially hard foods
  • Drooling
  • Yellowed or fractured teeth

If you notice any of these signs please make an appointment to bring your pet to the clinic for a check, the vet will inspect all the teeth and assess the necessary treatment. Contact us.

The earlier treatment is started the better, as severe dental disease may mean a number of extractions are needed.


If your pet requires a dental

Your pet will need to be given an anaesthetic; the teeth will be inspected and probed under the anaesthetic to look for any areas of sensitivity or disease.  Teeth that are very loose or diseased may require extraction.

The teeth will then be cleaned with our ultrasonic scaler and polished to limit any new tartar forming. An example of before and after scaling and polishing is given below ..

Before       dentistry2 Afterdentistry1

Ongoing dental care

For continued dental health we may recommend feeding you pet a biscuit based diet which is designed to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. Science Diet Oral Care and Hill’s t/d are designed for taking care of your pets teeth.  Avoid dog roll or jellymeat as this gets stuck in between the teeth and can speed up the development of tartar.  If you wish to feed meat as part of the diet, chunks of tough meat are better, as they are fibrous.


Specialist Equipment at The Vet Centre

As you would expect with human dentistry, the Vet Centre is equipped with an IM3 high speed dental unit that enables full scaling and polishing, high speed ,water cooled and low speed drilling for tooth extractions, root canal fillings and endodontics. We also have DIGITAL RADIOLOGY for animals, a specialist unit for dental x-rays which is specifically designed for our pets mouths.


Orthodontic treatment for a dog with Base-narrow canine occlusion using acrylic composite bridging




If you have further enquiries, please contact us

Mating, Gestation and Whelping of the Bitch

Mating, Gestation and Whelping of the Bitch

Preparation for Whelping


Mating, Gestation and Whelping of the Bitch are all important steps to manage to ensure healthy puppies as an outcome. Pregnancy in the bitch lasts about 63-65 days (and ranges between 60 and 67 days).  Estimation is based on mating dates but if smears or blood tests are done the estimation is more accurate.



It is important that a bitch is in good condition before she is mated, neither too fat nor too thin.  Her food intake should not be altered during the first two thirds of her pregnancy, and if a complete formula is being fed there is no need to use additional vitamin or mineral supplements.

After the 6th week (42 days) food intake should be gradually increased and high energy, low bulk foods are needed to ensure the bitch is adequately nourished as energy requirements increase to up to 1 ½ times normal.  The best food to give is a high quality puppy or premium performance diet, both of which have an increased calcium and protein level to help with puppy growth and milk production.  As pregnancy progresses, feeding smaller meals more frequently may be required to ensure adequate intake.

During lactation, the mother should continue to be fed high energy food in increased amounts due to continuing increased requirements.


It is important to de-worm your bitch 1 week before whelping and 3-4 weeks after whelping.  Some worms can infect the pups by crossing the placenta or being passed on through the milk.



From the time of mating, many dogs show behavioural changes.  Most develop an unusually sweet and loving disposition and demand more affection and attention.  However, some may become uncharacteristically irritable.   Some experience a few days of vomiting, followed by the development of a ravenous appetite which persists throughout the pregnancy.


Whelping box

Prior to the time of delivery, a whelping box should be selected and placed in a secluded place.  It is important to get the bitch accustomed to the place where you want her to have her puppies well in advance of whelping.  The box should be large enough for the dog to move around freely, but have low enough sides so that she can see out and you can reach inside to give assistance, if needed.  The bottom of the box should be lined with several layers of newspapers.  These provide disposable, absorbent bedding which the bitch can tear up and reorganise according to her own needs and will absorb the fluids at the time of whelping.  If sufficient thickness of newspaper is laid at the outset, the upper, soiled layers may be removed with minimal interruption to the mother and her newborn puppies.


During the last week or so of pregnancy, the bitch often starts to look for a secure place for delivery.  Pet bitches may become confused, wanting to be with their owners and at the same time wanting to prepare for the forthcoming event. Some bitches insist on having their pups in close proximity to the owner and in very determined bitches less trauma may be caused if her demands are met (within reason) or a compromise achieved, e.g. once whelping has finished try to gently move her to the place that she has already been introduced previously or move a bitch that wants to nurse the puppies on your bed to a whelping box in a corner of the bedroom.  Some bitches need the owner present during the whole time of delivery and if they are left alone they are likely to endeavour to delay delivery of the puppies which can create subsequent problems.

It is important to also have a smaller, clean, dry box lined with a warm towel for the newborn puppies. Warmth is essential so a heating pad or hot water bottle should be placed in the box, or a heat lamp may be placed nearby.  If a heating pad is used, it should be placed on the low setting and covered with a towel to prevent overheating.  A hot water bottle should be covered with a towel.  Newborn puppies may be unable to move away from the heat source so care must be taken to prevent overheating.



Signs of impending whelping

The pregnant bitch should begin whelping approximately 62 days from mating. Just like in people, this may be a bit inaccurate.  This being said, if your dog is a couple of days over her due date you should get her checked out by the vet.

A number of behaviours may be exhibited by bitches prior to whelping including; restlessness, lack of appetite, nesting, panting, excessive urination, clinginess, these are variable and some bitches may show no changes.



Most dogs experience delivery without complications; however, first-time mothers should be attended by their owners until at least one or two puppies are born.  If these are born quickly and without assistance, further attendance may not be necessary.  However, with a bitch having puppies for the first time a careful watch should be kept upon her until she has finished, just in case any complications develop.  If the owner elects to leave, care should be taken so that the dog does not try to follow and leave the whelping box.


Birth position

Puppies are usually born head first; with the head and forelegs extended.  This is called anterior presentation. Posterior presentation is also normal with the puppy born with tail and hind legs coming first.

Each puppy is enclosed in a sac that is part of the placenta (‘afterbirth’).  These usually pass after the puppies are born.  However, any that do not pass usually disintegrate and are passed within 24-48 hours after deliveryNote that it is normal for the mother to eat the placentas but not a necessity.

If the delivery proceeds normally, a few contractions will discharge the puppy; it should exit the birth canal within ten minutes of being visible.


After birth

Following delivery, the mother should lick the newborn’s face.  She will then proceed to wash it and toss it about.  Her tongue is used to tear the sac and expose the mouth and nose.  This vigorous washing stimulates circulation, causing the puppy to cry and begin breathing; it also dries the newborn’s hair coat.  The mother will sever the umbilical cord by chewing it.  Next, she may eat the placenta.


Once delivery is completed, remove the soiled newspapers from the whelping box.  The box should be lined with soft bedding, prior to the puppies’ return.  The mother should accept the puppies readily and settle down to feed them.

Warning signs – when to call the vet

  • Green or black discharge from the vulva of the bitch before any puppies have been born.
  • The temperature drop occurred more than 24 hours ago and there is no sign of labour.
  • The labour is not progressing i.e.
  • 40 minutes of straining without puppy
  • 2-3 hours of active labour since last puppy
  • Bitch showing signs of exhaustion with puppies remaining
  • Bitch showing signs of compromise at any time e.g. trembling, open mouth breathing, depression.


After Care

The mother and her litter should be examined by a veterinarian 1-3 days after the delivery is completed.  This visit is to check the mother for complete delivery, and to check the new-born puppies.  The mother may receive an injection to contract the uterus and stimulate milk production. Sometimes antibiotics may be prescribed if it is thought there is any infection present.


The mother may have a bloody vaginal discharge for 3-7 days following delivery.  If it continues for longer than one week or she develops a pus like or smelly discharge consult your veterinarian.


If you have any questions, please call your vet – it is much easier to deal with a potential problem earlier than later, and it may save the life of a puppy.  Most importantly, enjoy the experience!


For 24 hour emergency advice and assistance please contact us

The Vet Centre 5445566


Anaesthesia as safe as possible (ASAP) program

Anaesthesia as safe as possible (ASAP) program

We have initiated the As Safe As Possible program to provide the optimum anaesthetic protocol tailored for your pet.  To provide this care there are a number of factors to consider as follows:

Pre-anaesthetic blood tests

We perform a physical exam to pick up existing conditions before anaesthesia that may complicate your pets’ anaesthetic or procedure. A pre-anaesthetic blood test is the best way to ensure your pet is healthy inside and out.  We perform these blood tests for the same reasons your doctor would run tests before you underwent anaesthesia. These tests minimise the possibility of complications during and after anaesthesia, and are routinely done on all animals 8yrs and over and all animals undergoing surgery for 30mins or over.  They are highly recommended for younger animals.


Intravenous fluid administration

All anaesthetics cause a drop in blood pressure.  If prolonged this pressure drop can be detrimental to the health of your pets’ organs, particularly their kidneys, and result in a slower recovery.  For short procedures this effect is minimal in a young healthy animal.  For older animals or any surgery over 30 minutes it can have a significant effect.  For this reason we automatically give fluids to all animals over 8yrs and for all surgery lasting this length of time to ensure the anaesthetic is As Safe As Possible.   Even a young bitch spey should be on fluids as the surgery is very involved and takes 30 minutes.


Anaesthetic monitoring

All our patients receive gold standard monitoring of the anaesthetic as we take your pets safety seriously.   This includes 3 elements:

1)      A qualified nurse perform a series of checks every 5 minutes during anaesthesia.

2)      An apnoea alert- this machine tells us when the patient is not breathing well

3)      Blood pressure monitoring- a blood pressure reading is taken every 5 minutes, to allow us to act if it drops below recommended levels


Pain management

In the interest of your pets’ welfare and comfort at The Vet Centre we take a proactive approach to pain management.  Surgical patients are routinely administered drugs both pre and post-operatively to relieve pain.