What do i think about Pet Insurance?

hond_kat_petplan
I believe that for many people pet Insurance is one of the best things you can
do for your pet. Pet Insurance does buy peace of mind that when your pet
gets sick or injured (and lets face it, it is only a matter of time), you can afford
the best treatment. Unfortunately vets are often having to euthanise pets or
compromise on treatment due to financial constraints.
This is not good for the pet, the pet owner or the vet.
Veterinary Science has come a long way in the 25years i have been a vet.
Many veterinary practises, including ours, have all sorts of wonderful
instruments like ultrasound machines, digital radiology, endoscopes,
electrocardiograms and so on.
In addition, new treatments like chemotherapy and radioactive therapy for
cancer, immunotherapy for allergic animals and gene therapy to restore
damaged joints are now available. The problem is that all these wonderful
treatments cost money and some are extremely expensive.
A few things to keep in mind, most insurance companies won’t start a new
policy on pets over 8 years of age. This is because on average they loose
money on old pets. They will also not provide cover for pre-existing
conditions. For example, if your pet gets dermatitis once, and you then try to
get pet insurance, you will probably have an exclusion placed on your policy
for skin conditions. This is why i think the best time to get pet insurance is as
soon as possible.
I have never heard a client say that they regretted getting their pet insured. I
have heard several say that they wish they had. This article is not intended to
promote any particular insurance company, just the concept.
However, when looking for pet insurance, there are a couple of things i would
make sure of;
1. There is no dollar limit per disease over the term of the pets life. All
insurance companies have a yearly limit, but some have ceilings per
disease. This is important because many diseases like diabetes or
eczema may not be curable. If your insurance policy has a limit of say
$4000 per disease, this may be used up in a year or two. You will be left
high and dry for that condition.
2. Some companies can provide various levels of cover to suit your needs.
you could alter the level of cover according to the life stage of your pet.

3. If you are insuring a dog, make sure that both cruciate ligaments are
covered ie. if you make a claim on a ruptured cruciate ligament and your
dog later ruptures the other cruciate ligament (as often happens) you
need to make sure that the second one will be covered under your policy
also.
4. Diagnostics are covered ever when no definitive diagnosis is made.
If you would like a recommendation for a good pet insurance company,
please feel free to phone us on 9799 1479.

 

Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

RAW vs Cooked foods and Dry foods

In the last blog, I discussed fussiness in pets.

This time I want to share my thoughts on a healthy diet for dogs and cats.

Whilst I believe there is a place for commercial dry, canned and loaf foods, I don’t believe they should be fed exclusively. Firstly, these foods are cooked and often contain preservatives. Cooking destroys many micronutrients in food, and lets face it, dogs have evolved eating raw food. I am aware of at least two raw, unprocessed and balanced commercial diets. We sell BARF, BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It was designed by a veterinarian dietician who has tried to recreate what wild dogs eat.

BARF contains raw meats, vegetables, fruit, crushed bone, crushed cartilage and probiotics.

I believe this is a very healthy diet, but the transition from a cooked diet onto a raw diet is best done gradually over a 2 week period to prevent tummy upsets.

Te other issue I have with most pet foods is that they do not clean the pets teeth. Many people believe that dry foods are cleaning pets teeth, but infact this is usually not the case.

Periodontal disease is by far the most common disease in dogs. Infact 70% of dogs and cats have the beginnings of periodontal disease by 3 years of age.

The only dry dog food that had been scientifically proven to clean dogs and cats teeth is Hills T/D. This is the one I feed my pets. I have also found this to be one of the most palatable dry foods.

I believe that dogs and cats get some raw meaty bones in their diet, provided they are fed the right sort of bones.

I think raw chicken necks are great for cats, and raw lamb necks and brisket bones for dogs. Don’t feed cooked bones or leg bones. Leg bones are much harder than the neck bones or brisket bones and often fracture teeth .

Also don’t forget that raw meaty bones contain a lot of calories, so must be fed as their meal for that day.

 

Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

dr-barf-perth hill-s-prescription-diet-canine-t-d-10kg LambBrisket

Purr-fect Cats

kittens-white-background

Looking for a tiny kitten pedalling its soft paws on your chest with a storm of purrs to follow? This following article may be of help to you.

First, we need to pick a healthy cat out from a bunch of cute fluffies. This can be a challenge.

A good general impression is important. A baby should feel good in your arms; not too thin or too fat, solid and sleek. It shouldn’t have a pot belly nor should its ribs be showing. Here are a few tips and checklist to follow:

  • Skin and coat: Skin should be clean and unbroken with a thick coat of glossy fur. Spread the fur apart and look for any parasites such as fleas. Parasites are usually too small and fast for you to spot, but they usually leave their droppings behind. Flea droppings appear as a black spec of dirt. Excessive scratching can also be a sign of having fleas on board.
  • Ears: Ear should be clean, sometimes with a small amount of wax. The baby should not be scratching around the head or shaking its head. If there is excessive wax in the ear or the kitten is itchy, it may be a sign of an ear infection.
  • Eyes: both eyes should be clear and bright without any discharge. Any discharge present maybe a sign of illness. Also the third eyelid (a thin sheath that folds away into the inner corner of the eye) should not be visible.
  • Nose: Again, it shouldn’t have any discharge. Any sign of sneezing or discharge may be a sign of illness.
  • Mouth: Teeth should be clean and have no signs of tartar build up (yellow discolouration). There shouldn’t be any excessive salivation either.
  • Tail area: Region around the anus should be clean and dry, any excrement or dampness that was left behind can be a sign of illness.

Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule a new kitten exam and preventative care consultation with a veterinarian as soon as you adopted your new family member.

Now you’ve chosen a healthy young kitten, next is to get it settled in at home and the fun interactions begin!

Kittens begin to learn life’s lessons at an early age. From the time they open their eyes until they are about 10 weeks old. These early experiences are the fundamentals in shaping an adult cat’s personality and attitude about strange people, pets, places, earing collars or harness, getting baths or nail trims, being examined or riding in a car or carrier. Within this period: from 5 to 8 weeks of age is an exciting and important time for teaching a kitten to use the litter box, scratching post and to play with toys instead of your fingers and toes.

Most kitten owners are completely unaware of this small window of teachable moments and they let their kittens grow up mostly on their own. This is when the ‘bad habits’ starts to happen such as scratching an expensive piece of furniture, eliminating in inappropriate areas, jumping on counters to explore tables and possibly eating the owner’s breakfast and when there are no cat trees to be found, a kitten may climb up the curtain and perch on the fly screen for fun. These are all normal feline behaviour; we just need to teach them where to do this appropriately.

Here are a few tips to help make the most of this special time of any cats’ life:

  • Place a new kitten in a small room or laundry for the first week with a little tray in one end of the room and food and water in the other end. Place a tall cat tree in between preferably one with a cubby house so the kitten can sleep or hide in there. By limiting a kitten’s option, it will make better choices. Place the kitten in the litter tray often and praise it. Use a cat toy to encourage the kitten to use the cat scratching post or cat tree. Praise all behaviours that you want to continue.
  • Give the kitten a place to hide to reduce the stress of a youngster. A cat tree with a cubby hole works well. You can use the carrier as a hiding place. Feed the kitten in the carrier and make it a place for surprise treats. Start getting your kitten used to short car rides with treats, toys and positive attention. This will help reduce the stress of travelling and reduce the stress of going to the veterinary clinic.
  • Hand-feed small amounts of food to your kitten before and in between meals. This will help shape your kitten into a relaxed, confident, friendly, affectionate and well behaved member of the family. Once your kitten is more relaxed in the new environment, you can start using special treats to introduce near experiences such as gentle handling, wearing collars/harness, or getting one nail trimmed.

 

Always think of teeny-tiny baby steps and of creating a POSITIVE first impression.

 

By Dr Yuen Jia Lim BVSc

 

Why is my pet so fussy?

hungry puppy

I’m often told by clients that their dog or cat will only eat this or that .

 

I’d like to explain what causes fussiness and how to deal with it.

Fussiness is caused by two things:

1. Over exposure to food and treats.

2. The pet realising that it has control of what it is fed.

 

When pets realise that they live in the land of plenty, naturally they will pick and choose the foods they like the most.

 

Small dogs and cats are more prone to fussiness than larger pets. This is because we grossly over-estimate how much food they need, and we often give treats through the day. We forget that they are only tiny compared to us, and that they spend a large percentage of their time resting. Many people also tend to leave food available for the pet all day. This is especially common with dry foods. This causes the pet to become very bored with that food, and it prevents the dog/cat from developing an appetite.

 

Have you noticed that food tastes better when you have an appetite?

 

So when dinner comes out (perhaps some dry dog food), the pet will often turn its nose up. Then the owner will often replace this food with something he/she knows the pet loves (often cooked chicken). This is when the pet learns that to get what it likes most, it simply has to refuse what is initially offered. The pet then has control, and often ends up eating a nutrient poor diet for the rest of its life.

 

Dogs and cats, like people, need a balanced diet with vitamins and minerals. They also need to chew raw bones regularly. I will discuss diet in more detail in the next newsletter, but for now:

 

How to get a fussy dog or cat to eat a healthier diet?:

 

Firstly, dogs will rarely turn their nose up at a palatable and nutritious diet for more than 2 days. Some cats, however will. Some cats need familiarity.

For dogs, put the food down twice daily for half an and hour only and do not give any treats during the day. You will find that by day 3, your dog is not only eating the new food, but enjoying it.

You must remember that in the wild, dogs and cats frequently go several days without food.

 

 

Cats require a different approach to dogs:

 

Firstly try putting a bowel of the new food next to a bowel of their usual food. Some cats like to be empowered with this choice, and enjoy the security of their usual food being there.

if your cat wont eat the new food, try mixing a little of the new food with their usual food. I would start with only 10% new food and gradually increase this over a few days or weeks. Warming the food slightly may also help.

 

This approach may also be tried with dogs, provided it doesn’t just pick the usual food out from the new food.

 

I hope this has been helpful. In the next newsletter, i will discuss what i believe to be a healthy diet for dogs and cats.

 

Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

What is diabetes?

 Merck-Taking-Diabetes-to-Heart

Diabetes mellitus, the medical name for diabetes, is a disease caused by a lack of insulin that affects the level of

glucose, or sugar, in your dog or cat’s blood. The glucose comes from the food that your pet eats. Food is broken down into very small components by your pet’s digestive system so their bodies can use it for energy. Glucose is one of these components, and an important source of energy. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream where it travels to cells throughout the body. Insulin is required for the cells to absorb glucose. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Healthy pets produce insulin easily, but pets with diabetes don’t. In canine and feline diabetes, unused glucose builds up in the bloodstream.

Is diabetes in my pet the same as diabetes in people?

The two conditions are very similar. In fact, your veterinarian will be using medication, equipment, and monitoring systems similar to those used for diabetic people.

 

How common is diabetes in dogs and cats?

Diabetes is reported to affect anywhere between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 dogs and cats, but experts believe that the disease is on the rise.

 

Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes. Dogs and cats with diabetes can develop other health problems, usually after living with diabetes for a year or more. For dogs, the most common complication of diabetes is cataract formation. Persistently high blood glucose levels make the lens of the eye become opaque, causing blindness. For cats, weakness of the hind legs is a potential complication. Persistently high blood glucose levels may damage nerves, causing weakness and muscle wasting.

 

Will diabetes affect my dog or cat’s life expectancy?

Today, with effective treatment and monitoring, a diabetic dog or cat should have the same life expectancy as a non-diabetic dog or cat of the same age. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment helps diabetic pets maintain a good quality of life.

 

Risk factors in dogs

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Breed – these breeds are at higher risk of developing diabetes:

–       Cocker Spaniels                             

–       Dachshunds

–       Doberman Pinschers      

–       German Shepherds

–       Golden Retrievers          

–       Labrador Retrievers

–       Pomeranians  

–       Terriers

–       Toy Poodles

 

Risk factors in cats

  • Age (older cats are more susceptible)
  • Neutered males
  • Genetics
  • Other insulin-resistant disorders or diseases, such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

r lifestyle

Is my dog or cat at risk of diabetes?

While diabetes has been diagnosed in dogs and cats of all ages, genders and breeds, certain pets are at greater risk of the disease.

 

Are there warning signs I should be aware of?

Some common signs of diabetes in dogs and cats include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination — your pet produces more urine per day or has “accidents” in the house (dogs) or outside the litterbox (cats)
  • Excessive hunger yet losing weight
  • Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
  • Cloudy eyes (dogs)
  • Doesn’t groom (cats)
  • Thinning, dry, and dull hair

 

How will my veterinarian test my pet for diabetes?

Your veterinarian may begin by performing a general health examination and asking questions about any signs your pet may

be displaying. Then, a sample of your pet’s urine will be tested for the presence of glucose (a type of sugar) or ketones (acids

produced by the body as it breaks down fat instead of glucose for energy). If glucose is present in your pet’s urine, your veterinarian will then test your pet’s blood to determine the blood glucose level. A diabetes diagnosis is considered definite when persistently high glucose levels are found in both the blood and urine.

 

How do I take care of a pet with diabetes?

Although there is no cure for diabetes, the disease can be successfully managed with the help of your veterinarian. Daily

insulin injections are usually required to restore your pet’s insulin level and control their blood glucose levels. Many owners

are anxious about giving injections, but it’s easier than you think, and you’ll quickly learn how to handle the dosing routine with little stress for you or your pet.

 

Diet plays a vital role in helping to keep your pet’s diabetes regulated. Your veterinarian can recommend a diet that’s best

suited to the needs of your pet. A high-quality, consistent source of protein is an essential part of any diabetic diet. High-protein,

low-carbohydrate foods are currently recommended for diabetic cats because they provide the extra energy cats need to get through their active days, without the extra carbohydrates that can turn into excess sugar. It is important to feed your pet based on its ideal body weight. Consistent timing and size of meals is also very important.

 

Exercise can help dogs with diabetes, but it needs to be regulated because activity affects blood glucose levels. It’s best to create a consistent exercise routine for your diabetic dog and stick to it. There is no clear recommendation for exercise in diabetic cats because their activity is difficult to regulate.

 

Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify changes in your pet’s condition and help you to manage this disease successfully over time. Managing your dog or cat’s diabetes will require some effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Pets whose diabetes is under control have normal thirst, appetite, urination, and activity levels. Their weight is generally stable and they are less likely to develop complications.

Merck

Clean, Safe and Easy Flea Control in Cats

ProgramreusableimageCat

I’ve had many cats and have tried many flea products over the years.

 

What I’ve learnt is that most cats don’t like chemicals on their coats. I’ve also learnt that I don’t like chemicals on their coats because these chemicals invariably end up on me.

 

The product I have been using over the last 10years is the Program injection.

Program contains Lufeneron which breaks the flea cycle by inhibiting flea egg development.

 

Lufeneron is harmless to the adult flea, so if your cats has an existing flea burden, i would recommend using an insecticidal flea product like Advantage for 3 to 4 months to kill these.

After this, a Program injection every 6 months, prevents flea infestation by sterilising fleas.

 

I believe Program is the safest, cleanest and easiest way of controlling fleas in cats.

Simply bring your cat to the clinic every 6months for a quick injection. There is no consultation fee, and we can worm your cat at the same time if you wish.

 

Why put a topical product on your cat when you can prevent fleas with Program?

 

Let your cat be the judge.

program-catfleacycle

 

Dr Phil Signature

By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc

Socialisation Tips for New Puppy Owners

 

 Group of sharpei puppies isolated on white background (studio sh

 

Even though dogs have been around for thousands of years, each new puppy that comes into our world must learn about humans. Socialisation is the process during which puppies develop positive relationships with other living beings. The most sensitive period for successful socialisation is during the first 4 months of life. The experiences your pet has during this time will have a major influence on its adulthood. It is very important for puppies to have frequent, positive social experiences during these early months in order to prevent asocial behaviour, fear and biting. Puppies that are inadequately socialised may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. Continued exposure to a variety of people and other animals, as the pet grows, is an essential part of maintaining good social skills.

 

Attending puppy classes during this primary socialisation period is an excellent way to ensure multiple contacts with a variety of people and other dogs. This relatively new concept in training involves enrolling puppies early, before they pick up ‘bad habits’ and at an age when they can learn quickly. Puppy training and socialisation classes are available at Pound Road Veterinary Clinic. These classes can help puppies get off to a great start with training and offer an excellent opportunity for social experiences with other puppies and with a wide variety of people. Since there can be some health risks when exposing very young puppies to other animals and environments, the best age to begin your puppy in classes should be discussed with your veterinarian.

 

 

There is no such Disease as Old Age!

Old Dog

Has your beloved pet been getting lazier, slower in getting up in the mornings, acting slightly withdrawn and grumpy and not as interactive with the family as before?

Many of you may think that your pet is getting old but there is no such disease as old age. Your pet may have osteoarthritis! And yes, animals can get arthritis/osteoarthritis just like us and unfortunately arthritis is one of the main causes of reduced quality of life.

So, what is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a persistent and progressive disease that affects any joint in the body. Common joints that are affected in a pet are hips, elbows, stifle (knee), carpus (wrist), hock (ankle) or intervertebral joints (the spine). It occurs when cartilage in the joint is damaged, either following a traumatic event, surgery or with wear and tear that increases in athletic animals, overweight animals or when the joint is congenitally abnormal ie hip dysplasia, luxating patellas (knee caps).

Cartilage is like a gelatinous shock absorber in the joint, absorbing stress and reducing impact on the ends of the bones in joints. When the cartilage is damaged, a cascade of inflammatory changes occurs which then lead to further destruction of the cartilage and subsequent damage to the underlying bone. This is how osteoarthritis happens.

It is also important to note that cartilage contains no nerves. Therefore if your pet is showing any signs of pain or discomfort, damage in the underlying bone may already have begun.

Signs of osteoarthritis may be subtle and very easy to miss especially in cats. Here are a few examples of signs of osteoarthritis that you may notice in your pets.

  • Stiffness that may disappear once the pet has ‘warmed up’.
  • Difficulties climbing stairs, cat tree, climbing in the car or onto the bed or sofa.
  • Difficulties rising from rest
  • Reluctance to take walks of the usual length
  • Licking at a single joint
  • Limping
  • Abnormal gait
  • Acting withdrawn and spending less time interacting with the family
  • Soreness when touched
  • And rarely, aggression when touched or approached.

So now the most important part, what can you do to help your furry family member/s?

  1. Weight reduction:

Extra weight is definitely one of the exacerbating factors to increase pain in arthritic animals. Not too sure if your pet is overweight or not? Please feel free to have a chat with our friendly staff and we will be able to help you and let you know your pet’s body condition score (BCS). Your pet should be less than 3/5 BCS ideally. If your pet is more than a BCS of 3, it is time to get on the weight loss program and go on a diet.

We recommend that overweight animals be placed on a prescription diet known as Hill’s r/d®. This diet contains a unique combination of lysine, carnitine and soluble fiber that modifies metabolism from fat storing to fat burning. It also contains a high level of natural fiber which helps to satisfy your pets’ hunger while losing weight.

This will not be an easy journey but it will definitely be a rewarding one. Even a loss of 500g will be significant in an overweight animal, so don’t be discouraged. Please ask us about our few successful ‘biggest losers’ for some inspiration!

  1. Low-impact exercise:

Swimming or walking in shallow waters would be the best. This is probably not ideal in cold winter weather, but a slow jog or walk on a leash is acceptable as well.

There is also the option of seeking further advice from a veterinary physiotherapist. There are underwater treadmills and indoor heated swimming pools for animals.

  1. Injectable Chondroprotective agent (Cartrophen Vet injections)

Cartrophen Vet helps retard the progression of arthritis by stimulating the production of lubricant and cartilage molecules by joint cells. Cartrophen also improves circulation to the arthritic tissues, stimulates production of proteins that block damaging free radicals and antigens while inhibiting enzymes that break down cartilage cells.

8/10 pets respond quickly to the initial course of the injections with an increase in activity and well being.

The injections are given weekly for the initial course and a 3 monthly booster is recommended for best efficacy. Please consult one of our veterinarians to tailor this program for your furry friend.

  1. Prescription medications (anti-inflammatory and pain relief)

Most pets suffering from arthritis need pain relief now. Your pet may need NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications act quickly by suppressing the inflammatory biochemical that leads not only to the pain of arthritis but also further cartilage damage. NSAIDS can carry potential side effects when used long term. These side effects can be minimalized by regular blood and urine test. Please bring in a urine sample from your pet when you visit us.

Please note that human NSAIDS tend to be toxic to pets, especially cats. Never use a human medication of any kind in a pet without specific advice from your veterinarian.

  1. Nutraceuticals:

There are a couple of nutritional supplements that can be added in your pets’ daily diet that may have beneficial effects for their arthritis. Such as:

i)        Glucosamine and chondroitin

These products are cartilage components harvested mainly from sea molluscs. By taking these pills or powder orally, the pet is able to have plenty of the necessary building blocks needed to repair damaged cartilage. However, these products do not produce rapid results and results may vary between individuals; one or two months are needed to build up to adequate amounts. Examples of products available in our clinic are: Rejuvinate Powder and Sasha’s Blend.

ii)       Omega 3 fatty acids

Cold water fish oils have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. They are primarily used for the treatment of itchy skin, but many arthritic dogs and cats have also benefited from supplementation.

This product also does not produce rapid results and may take up to a month to build to adequate amounts.
Flax seed oil has been known to contain omega 3 fatty acids in humans, but it is not as readily converted in dogs and cats as compared to humans. Therefore fish oil is a better option compared to flax seed oil.

There are no toxic issues to be concerned with giving fish oil, but please seek veterinarian advice prior to starting any supplementation. The general rule of thumb for fish oil supplementation is 1000IU per 5kg body weight in dogs and cats. (This dosage may change depending on your pets’ diet)

  1. Acupuncture and massage

These are alternative treatments that will provide additional non-drug pain relief to your furry friends as well. Efficacy and onset of treatment may vary depending on the severity of your pet’s osteoarthritis but it is definitely an additional treatment for your arthritic furry friend if you’re worried about potential long term side effect of medications.

Please feel free to enquire further with one of our veterinarians.

There is a lot we can do for our arthritic friends during this cold winter period. Feel free to drop into the clinic and we can discuss any further enquiries you have to help improve their quality of life!

 

By Dr Yuen Jia Lim BVSc