What to Do if Your Pet is Bitten by a Snake

During the summer months, snakes are far more active than they are at other times of the year. Whilst you might think of snake habitat as being the country or the bush, they are just as prevalent in suburban and metropolitan areas. Snakes will live anywhere there is a food source, water and shelter so encounters with these reptiles can happen anywhere, at your local dog park, or even in your own backyard. So what you should do in the case of your pet being bitten by a snake? In this week’s blog, we share the correct course of action you should take to ensure your pet recovers.

 

1) First Aid

If you suspect your dog or cat has been bitten by a snake, you should immobilise your pet and try to keep them as quiet as you can. It is critical that you take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The quicker your pet is treated, the greater their chances of survival. We recommend calling ahead to let your vet know you are bringing in an animal that needs emergency assistance.

It is also essential that you do not try to identify the snake. This can put not only yourself but others at risk and will waste valuable time.

2) Snake bite signs

There are several contributing factors that will influence the sort of reaction your pet has to a snake bite. This includes: the type of snake, the amount of venom injected and the site of the snake bite, the location of the bite and the size of your pet. Dogs and cats are predominantly bitten around the head and limbs. Normally, the closer the bite is to the heart, the quicker the venom will be absorbed into your pet’s system and spread around their body.

When snakes first emerge from hibernation at the beginning of summer, their venom glands are typically fuller, so their bites can be much more severe at this time of year.

While the signs of a snake bite can differ, they may show some or all of the following signs:

  • Sudden weakness followed by collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in the urine
  • Shaking or twitching of the muscles
  • Dilated pupils not responsive to light
  • Reduced ability to blink
  • In the later stages paralysis may occur

We recommend bringing your pet into the vet after an encounter with a snake even if they initially appear to be fine. Cats often have a delayed onset of symptoms as they are more resistant to venom than dogs and so the progression of the toxin may be slower, but no less deadly. In the case of dogs, sometimes the animal will collapse after a bite and then get up and appear fine for a short period of time as their body courses with adrenalin. However, this state is only temporary and the animal will collapse again soon after.

3) Veterinary Treatment

Your veterinarian will first examine your pet before assessing their symptoms to determine the best course of action. They may also take further diagnostic tests to ensure your pet has actually been bitten. Treatments vary depending on the individual case, severity of symptoms and how quickly the symptoms develop. Typical treatment for a snakebite may include intravenous fluids and the administration of antivenom to neutralise the snake venom in the pet’s body.

4) Recovery

On average, 80% of pets survive a snake bite if treated promptly. Recovery normally takes 24 to 48 hours if the pet receives quick veterinary attention following the snake bite. Although, some pets can take longer if internal organs have been damaged.

At Vets on Parker, we care about keeping your pets safe. If your pet has had an encounter with a snake please call our Templestowe veterinary clinic immediately (even if they appear to be fine) by calling (03) 9850 1355.

Travelling with Your Pet

Although human road safety is something we are taught about from an early age, pet road safety is an important issue that is often overlooked. Just like us, pets need to be properly secured when travelling in cars to ensure that they remain safe and do not distract the driver. In this week’s blog, we discuss how to ensure your pet is appropriately secured when you are driving.

 

Restrain your dog – to save their life and yours

Many dogs are killed or injured every year when travelling on the back of open and moving vehicles. Not only can unrestrained pets distract you while driving, they also risk being thrown from a seat or the back of the car upon heavy braking. Additionally, there are some instances of unrestrained pets jumping out of open windows and hurting themselves.

Each state in Australia has laws governing the transportation of animals in cars. In Victoria, it is illegal to put a dog in the boot of a sedan but they can travel in the cabin of the car of behind a cargo barrier. Dogs are permitted to travel on the back of a ute or trailer but they need to be properly tethered or caged. Additionally, dogs must have adequate ventilation with multiple ventilation holes on at least 3 sides of the container.

Dog restraints

A dog car restraint system is best when it anchors your pet down without restricting their movement. The harness should go around your dog’s neck, in front of its shoulder and behind their front legs. There are several different materials available such as nylon, leather and fabric, so choose the one that is best for your dog. As mentioned above, it’s important to consult your state standards before purchasing your car pet restraint or cargo barrier.

Smaller pet carriers

Even if your pet is small, it’s important that they’re properly secured in your car. A robust carrier, secured to the car seat with a seat belt or a designed carrier restraint, is a good way to protect your smaller pet. Make sure you choose a carrier that is the right size – it should be wide enough to let your pet lie down flat, turn around, stand erect and stretch with clearance.

Are you planning a road trip?

Make the most of your road trip by planning ahead, researching the relevant road rules, having proper pet transport restraints ready, packing your pet’s favourite toys, and bringing a first aid kid in case of an emergency. Also make sure there is an adequate supply of food and water.

At Vets on Parker, we want you to enjoy your travels – with your pet right by your side. If your pet needs a checkup or you just have a question about travelling safely with your pet, please call our Templestowe veterinary clinic on (03) 9850 1355.

Tasty DIY Pet Treats you can Make at Home

As pet owners, we know how difficult it can be to resist the puppy dog eyes pet gives you when they spy some human food they want to eat. Although giving your pet a little bit of what you’re eating from time to time doesn’t seem like it could hurt, the food we eat is often far too high in calories and all those delicious scraps you give your pet can add up to a serious weight problem which affects their health and quality of life. In addition to this, there are many foods we can eat which are toxic to animals with consumption leading to a trip to the vet or worse. Whilst it’s fine to give your pet the occasional treat, it’s important that the treat you choose is safe for pets and doesn’t tip their calorie consumption over the edge. This week, we take a look at three easy treat recipes which are the equivalent of a trip to the ice cream parlour for your pet.

 

1) Easy Peanut Butter Treats

Want a delicious treat your pup will enjoy? Meet the peanut butter treat. If you’re dog loves peanut butter, you can’t go wrong with this treat. All you need is two cups of flour, ½ cup peanut butter and two eggs. Mix the ingredients until combined, and then add water until it is wet enough to roll out as dough.

2) Easy Two-Ingredient Dog Treats

This is a perfect recipe for beginners. Here’s what you’ll need: two cups of whole wheat flour and two jars of pureed baby food (apple, carrot, banana or sweet potato is ideal, here is a list of fruits and vegetables that dogs can eat) . To make the treats, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Mix ingredients together to form a stiff dough, and if necessary, add flour or water as needed. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out evenly until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shape and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Make sure to cool completely before storing in a paper bag.

3) Homemade Dog Biscuits

Once you’ve tackled the two to three ingredient recipes, why not try something with five ingredients? This is a favourite your dog is sure to love. You’ll need whole wheat flours, oats, flaxseed, beef broth, and peanut butter. Once you’ve rolled the mixture to about ¼ inch thickness, cut out to desired shape. Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway.

 

Vets on Parker is a full service vet clinic with the latest technology. We have a wide range of premier veterinary and boarding facilities, including large surgery and treatment areas, hospital, intensive care and isolation facilities. If your pet needs a vaccination, ultrasound or just a general check-up, Vets in Parker can help. Please call us on (03) 9850 1355 to organise an appointment today.

 

How To Care For Your Pet When You Go On A Holiday

Everyone loves going away on a holiday. But as a pet owner, there are some extra arrangements you need to make to ensure your pet remains happy and healthy while you’re away. There are lots of different options available to look after your pet and in this week’s blog, we’ll be discussing a few of these options as well as giving you a few pointers on how to prepare your pet for their vacation.

 

Care Options

Boarding Kennels and Catteries

Boarding kennels and catteries are specifically created for looking after pets when their pet owner is away. Booking your pet into a boarding kennel or cattery can provide peace of mind as you know your pet is being taken care of by professionals in a safe, specially designed environment. However, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable kennel or cattery where you can be sure your pet will be properly cared for, receive plenty of attention and receive daily exercise. If your pet has specific medical or dietary needs, it’s also a good idea to find a kennel or cattery with staff that have experience caring for special needs animals, or better still, a kennel or cattery that is attached with a veterinary practice. That way if your pet does require medical assistance, help isn’t too far away.

Vets on Parker, offer cat boarding services where your pet will be taken care of in a safe, clean and caring environment. We’d love to take care of your cat over the Christmas holidays but you’ll have to book quickly as places are very limited at this time of year. Get in touch with us today on (03) 9850 1355.

Pet Sitter Care

The other choice, which might be better suited to you is to have a private pet sitter come to your house or have your pet board with them. This can be a good option if you have an old or anxiety prone pet as they get to stay in their own environment and don’t have to deal with the stress of being somewhere unfamiliar. If you do decide to go down this route, make sure to discuss and then implement appropriate processes with the pet sitter and vet if something unexpected happens. This should include: which vet to take your pet to, how the vet can contact you (the pet owner) to discuss their condition and receive consent for any required treatments, as well as how payment for the treatment will work.

Preparing your pet for their holiday

Microchip your pet and update their details

Before you leave, it’s crucial that your pet is microchipped and all their details are up to date. This will be incredibly helpful if something unforeseen (like an escape) happens while your pet is in your sitter’s care.

Make sure your pet is vaccinated and wormed

Most boarding kennels and catteries require that their guests have up to date vaccinations and are both wormed and flea treated. This prevents the spread of disease and helps ensure your pet remains healthy for the duration of their holiday.

Provide your pet sitter with clear instructions

Communication is key to ensuring your pet is well-looked after. Make sure you give your sitter contact details while away as well as treatment authorisation information, payment arrangements, your pet’s microchip number and the contact details of your vet. It is also essential that you notify your vet of your pet’s care arrangements.

Paralysis tick and flea treatment

If you happen to be taking your pet outside of Melbourne on interstate, it’s important you treat them for paralysis tick and fleas as these parasites are a lot more common outside of urban areas.

 

Paralysis ticks are in Melbourne

Along with all the benefits of living in the most liveable city in the world, not having to worry about the paralysis tick was an added bonus.

Unfortunately, thanks to climate change, they have arrived on our doorstep.

I don’t want to be an alarmist and worry pet owners unnecessarily, the risk is still very low and even lower if you and your pet don’t venture much past our neat nature strips and dog parks.

However, for peace of mind, please follow the tips below and speak to your trusted vet if you have any questions.

Tick tips:

  • Keep your pet’s hair short
  • Ticks hang out in long grass. Keep your pooch out! (snakes hang there too)
  • Check your pet’s coat regularly – ticks need to be attached for 2-3 days before they inject their poison
  • Added tick prevention – 100% necessary for those pet owners travelling with their pet either north (towards the Murray) or east of Melbourne (towards Gippsland)
  1. The Bravecto chew will protect your dog for 4 months from the paralysis tick. It can be used safely in conjunction with most other parasite preventions (Advocate, Sentinel etc.)
  2. Cats – unfortunately, there is only ONE product available. Frontline plus Spray – needs to be applied every 3 weeks.
  3. Other tick preventions – Advantix, Nexgard, Serasto collars – may be recommended.

Preparing your pets for summer

The warmer months provide a great opportunity for us to get out into the sunshine with our pets! With the heat comes a few potential dangers – here are some of the more common things to be mindful of over the summer months:

Heatstroke is a common problem seen in both dogs and cats during summer and is very serious. A few simple tips can go a long way to help prevent it:

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Tinting, parking in the shade, or leaving the windows open do not help to reduce the inside temperature significantly.

If you find your dog panting heavily, doesn’t obey normal commands, has warm, dry skin and a rapid heart beat, he may be suffering from heatstroke. Other signs include vomiting, anxiety and high fever. Try to cool them off with cool water, cold packs and a cooler environment; and of course see a vet as soon as possible.

Avoid walking or exercising your dog at the park in the middle of the day. Apart from the outside air termperature, another good test for this is to take a few steps on the footath in your bare feet – if it’s too hot for you, it is too hot for them!

Senior pets and arthritic animals sometimes can’t get themselves out of their hot kennel. Kennels should always be kept in a shaded area with plenty of airflow around it.

Keep them cool – keep inside if possible, frozen pet treats, ice blocks, paddling pools are all great ideas on those really hot days.

Is your four-legged friend a Pug, Bull dog, Mastiff, or Chow Chow? Dogs with short muzzles like the breeds just mentioned are even more susceptible to over heating, so as their owners, you need to be even more careful.

The Easter treat your pets should avoid

The best part of Easter is the sweet treats that fill your house, but not for your pet! Cats and dogs should avoid the types of Easter foods you’ll be snacking on.

Every year we warn pet owners on the seriousness of chocolate poisoning. But why is chocolate so bad? Surely a little bit won’t hurt?

The truth is, even a small amount of dark or cooking chocolate can cause very serious problems. No matter what those dark brown eyes are telling you – give them something safer! It’s not worth it.

Chocolate poisoning is caused by excessive intake of the methyl-xanthine alkaloid, theobromine. Although dogs are the most susceptible, the toxin has been known to affect or kill cats, birds, rodents and reptiles as well.

Different types of chocolate contain different concentrations of this dangerous chemical. The biggest threat is from cooking chocolate, followed by semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and hot chocolate.

The symptoms of poisoning in your pet may include vomiting, diarrhoea hyperactivity, tremors, irregular heart rate and seizures. Heart failure, weakness, coma, and death can occur 12 to 36 hours after intake.

If your pet has ingested chocolate, get your pet to [Vets on Parker / Vets on Balwyn / Vets in Cranbourne] immediately. We will be able to get your pet to vomit, which will hopefully remove most of the ingested chocolate from their system. In some more serious instances, pets need to be hospitalised or treated for cardiac problems or seizure activity.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to keep the chocolate well out of reach!

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Scratch your pet’s itch

As veterinarians we can always give medicines to stop that itch, but not all of these medicines are safe to use long term. What we need to do is work together (pet owner and vet) to find out why they are itching.

Below are some simple tips and first steps to help reduce that itch:

1: Monthly flea control

All dogs and cats with sensitive skin benefit from a good quality flea control. Pets that are allergic to flea saliva only need one flea to bite them once a week to set off an intense allergic reaction. You don’t need to see fleas for them to be the cause of the problem.

Flea collars, flea powders and flea shampoos do not cut it! Ask your trusted vet for advice on what flea control you should use.

2: Bath time

If your pet has been scratching, but the skin isn’t raw or showing signs of inflammation, you can administer a lukewarm bath with a medically approved anti-itch shampoo to relieve the symptoms.

3: Fish oil supplementation

Supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oils can be incredibly beneficial. Not only will this natural anti-inflammatory aid in managing your pet’s skin problems it will also provide additional benefits for their joints, cardiovascular system and kidney health! We recommended 1000mg fish oil per 10kg body weight daily or utilizing a special skin support diet which has fish oil added already.

What your vet can do

Whatever the cause of itching, it’s important to take your pet to see a vet for peace of mind. If your pet has badly scratched themselves there may be an infection or painful sores that need professional care.

Your vet is likely to check for fleas, take a skin scraping to check for signs of mange and take an earwax sample to rule out ear mites as the cause. In some cases your vet may also perform a fungal culture to rule out the possibility of ringworm.

Once the cause has been found most cases can be resolved so that your furry family member can return to a scratch free life.

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Introducing: The pets behind the vets

Meet Macy

Christmas Foods to Avoid

Macy is an Airedale Terrier, who is almost five years old.

Her best trick is a classic – it’s where she pretends not to hear Dr Kevin’s call or instructions. That is, until the treats come out and then her ears are magically open!

Macy is relatively healthy aside from a sensitive stomach and allergies. Dr Kevin has to keep her diet relatively bland, despite her insistence that she would be fine with leftover lamb, otherwise she develops colitis (inflammation of her bowel) for a few days. Macy is also allergic to fleas, if she misses her monthly flea treatment the itching of her backside and licking of her feet becomes quite intense.

Macy’s favourite toy is a very squeaky and noisy rubber hedgehog. Dr Kevin has to keep a supply of them at home otherwise when she exhausts the squeak the fun is over!

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice

Pups on the beach

Cooling off at the beach is a great way to turn your hot dog into a cool dog. As long as it isn’t too hot and you have plenty of water on hand, a trip to the beach with your dog can be an amazing way to spend a summer’s day. Below we have listed some of the best dog friendly beaches in Melbourne.

Port Melbourne Beach

This beach is between Lagoon Peir and South West to Dow Street, St Kilda. It’s a popular spot and a great plays to socialise your pup.

Ruffey Lake Park – 99 Victoria St, Templestowe, 3106

Not technically a beach but this reserve has large areas where your dog can enjoy some off-leash freedom and a dip in the lake.

Gardeners Creek Reserve Burwood- Sixth Ave, Burwood 3125

Again, not technically a beach but this fenced in dog park offers an off leash play area that includes sand and water.

Brighton Dog Beach – 19 Seacombe Grove, Brighton 3186

Located in Melbourne’s southeast, this dog beach allows for off-leash playtime in a fenced off area. It’s a popular pup destination so is also great for socialising.

West Beach St Kilda – 330A Beaconsfield Parade, St Kilda West 3182

West Beach is close to the City and offers off-leash fun with plenty of space for playing and splashing in the water.

 

Via:: Dr Kevin Pet Advice