winter-2013

Glenvale Veterinary Clinic
Winter 2013 Newsletter


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Why is it important to Microchip my Pet?

It is very important to ensure your cat or dog is microchipped because if they become lost, you are far more likely to be reunited with your beloved pet if he or she has a microchip.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip itself is very small – about the size of a grain of rice – and is implanted subcutaneously (just under the skin) between the shoulder blades at the back of your pet's neck. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner. The microchip number is recorded on a microchip database registry with details about the animal and owner. Pet owners need to ensure their contact details are recorded on the database against their pet's microchip number. Should your pet stray or become lost, vets, animal shelters and local councils can scan your pet for a microchip and contact you via the database.

It is very important to keep your contact details up to date on the database so that if you move house or change your phone number you will still be contactable in the event of your pet becoming lost/straying.

If a pet is transferred to a new owner, the new owner must ensure their contact details are recorded on the database.

Is microchipping compulsory?

In Victoria, yes. Section 10C of the  Domestic Animals Act 1994  requires cats and dogs to be microchipped as a condition of registration (which is compulsory once the animal is 3 months of age). However the requirement to microchip prior to sale/transfer under section 12A only applies to domestic animal businesses.

If you are unsure if your pet has been microchipped or not please ask one of the nurses who can scan your pet to check for a microchip number.


Feeling the cold or something else?

In the colder weather, we all find it a little harder to get out of bed in the mornings. Even our pets enjoy sleeping in, but have you considered that your furry friend may be struggling to get moving because of sore joints? Arthritis is a disease that can sneak up on your pet. The signs are very subtle and differ considerably between dogs and cats. Some of the signs to watch out for:

Dogs

  • Difficulty jumping in to the car, up on the furniture or climbing stairs
  • Stiffness especially in the morning
  • Difficulty getting up or lying down; you may notice your dog slowly lower himself down
  • Reluctance to walk, play or chase the ball
  • Sleeping or resting more
  • Lethargy
  • Less excited to greet you, less interactive

Cats

  • Hesitating when jumping up or down from your lap or from the furniture
  • Ungraceful landing when jumping down
  • Reluctance to climb the fence or climb trees
  • Withdrawn, less interactive
  • Reluctance to move freely in and out of cat flap or even the litter box
  • Matted or scruffy coat from not grooming well due to pain
  • Nails may not wear down as quickly due to less activity


Don’t assume that it’s just old age or that nothing can be done. Your pet may be in pain and something can be done! If your pet is showing any of these signs, arrange a check up with us. The earlier we detect a problem, the sooner your pet can be helped and the progression of arthritis can be slowed.


What causes arthritis?

Arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), It affects the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of the bones of a moveable joint. This smooth cartilage provides a lovely soft surface to help the joint, such as the knee move comfortably. Wear and tear on joints, injury, infection, defects such as hip dysplasia, stress from excess weight and even immune diseases can all lead to damage to the cartilage.

This initiates the process of DJD and as the disease progresses, the cartilage becomes worn and the ends of the bone become exposed and rub together. Ouch! You can imagine this causes your pet considerable pain.

There is plenty we can do to slow the progression of arthritis and help your pet live a pain free life. It is important we rule out any other problems first so a consultation with us is essential. We can then discuss a suitable treatment plan for your furry friend and if medication is necessary.

In the mean time, here are a few things you can do at home:

  • Keep your pet’s weight in a healthy range to reduce the load the joint has to bear
  • Provide a warm, dry and comfortable place to sleep in, up off the floor and away from draughts, good padding is essential
  • Reduce the number of stairs your pet must climb, consider installing a non slip ramp
  • Exercise your pet in moderation, gentle daily walks for dogs help keep the joints moving and muscles toned, non weight bearing exercise such as swimming can also help.

So this winter keep your furry family members warm, cosy & comfy! If you think your pet is suffering from stiffness & showing signs of arthritis bring them in for a consultation so we can help relieve some of their discomfort.


Caring for our senior citizens!

old cat

This month we are focussing on our senior pets. Many people are not aware that they are living with a senior pet and may be surprised to learn that dogs and cats are classified as senior citizens when they reach 7 or 8 years of age. There may be obvious changes such as grey hairs around the muzzle, accidents around the house, hearing problems or stiff legs.

But beyond the changes you can see, there can be much more going on, such as a slowing metabolism and changing nutritional requirements. It is easy to put any one of the following signs down to 'getting old', however any of these symptoms may indicate an underlying age related disease:

  • A cough

  • New lumps

  • Bad breath

  • Changes in sleeping patterns

  • Occasional vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite or thirst

  • Increased urination
  • Increasing or decreasing weight
  • Loss of housetraining
  • Difficulty climbing stairs or getting into the car


A regular health check with us is the key to picking up on any problems early and there is much we can do to help. Monitoring of your senior pet with blood and urine tests, blood pressure, eye, arthritis and weight checks are all important. We recommend all senior pets have a full physical exam & urine test at least once every 6 months – 1 year, and a blood test every 1-2 years. While this may seem like a lot, each year of an animal’s life is about the same as seven of ours, so a six monthly check up is like us going to the doctor once every three years!

Call us to make an appointment for your senior pet to ensure you have the happy and healthy years together that your best friend deserves.

Is my pet becoming senile?

It is well known that ageing takes a toll on our entire body including our brain and the same goes for our pets. So if you think your pet may be acting a little senile don't worry, you are not losing your mind. Research confirms that our pets suffer from dementia too and the disease that affects dogs (known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction) has many similarities to Alzheimer's disease in humans.

The signs of canine dementia can be classified by the acronym DISHA:

D:  Disorientation: dogs often end up stuck in a corner or go to the hinge side of the door to be let out

I:  Interaction: lack or decreased levels of interaction with family members or other pets

S:  Sleep pattern is disturbed

H:  House training is lost

A:  Activity levels decreased.
While canine dementia has been recognised for some time, there is now increasing evidence that cats may suffer from senility too. 



Signs commonly include:

  • Vocalising more or in an odd manner
  • Failure to groom themselves
  • Forgetting how to use a litter tray
  • Appearing agitated particularly when they should be sleeping

The most important point to remember is that there are many other diseases that can lead to any of the signs of dementia so diagnosis involves assessment of your pet and elimination of other diseases.


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