Keeping your pet up-to-date with parasite prevention

With increasing day length and warmer weather, most of us, including our pets, will be enjoying more time spent outdoors. It’s always important to ensure your four-legged friend is up-to-date with routine disease and parasite prevention, but especially so at a time of year when insects are more prevalent and more animals are out and about.

What vaccinations should my pet be getting?

We recommend vaccinating your K9 companions with the C5 vaccination.

This protects against deadly Parvovirus, Distemper and Hepatitis, as well as the two types of Canine Cough.

All cats are recommended to be kept up-to-date with the F3 vaccination – this helps protect them against the two types of Cat flu and Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Parvovirus). If your kitty’s lifestyle includes roaming time outside, they may also need to be vaccinated against FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus).

Every pup and kitten should receive a primary course of vaccines (usually three separate vaccines done four-to-six weeks apart), followed by their first adult vaccination one year later. From this point, they generally receive annual vaccines with alternating components (as not every component needs to be boosted every year).

If you are boarding your pets they are required to be up to date with their C5 or F3 vaccinations.

What parasite prevention should I give my pet?

There are lots of product options for parasite control in dogs and cats, and generally at least two products need to be used per pet for a thorough parasite prevention routine.

Any cat or dog going outdoors should regularly receive products to protect against ticks, fleas and intestinal worms. Dogs should also be on routine heartworm prevention, but this is optional in cats, as they are not the preferred host for heartworm, so are less susceptible.

For puppies and kittens, we recommend an intestinal all-wormer every two weeks up until 12 weeks old, and then continuing worming monthly until six months old. From this point, your pet should be wormed every three months. In rural areas where pets have access to livestock or if your pet is on a raw meat diet,  it is recommended to give your pet a tapeworm treatment every month in-between quarterly all-wormer doses. 

Flea and tick treatments can be covered by combination products. For dogs, there are a range of effective preventative products, including a variety of chews that last between one and three months, veterinary-strength medicated collars or topical products that last up to six months. For cats, there are topical products that last one- three months.

For heartworm prevention in dogs, you may consider an annual injection administered by one of our vets (which can be synced up with your pet’s annual check and vaccination) or a monthly chew or tablet.

As a general rule, pets should be seen for a vet check every 6 months, where we can assess your cat or dog’s general health and discuss which vaccines are required each year to maintain their protection. At this time, we can also discuss the best options for thorough parasite prevention based on your pet’s requirements.

Parasite control can be confusing with all of the different products out there so if you need help please seek advice from our friendly team!

A little bit of wee goes a long way

A urine test is a simple and effective method for us to check the health of your pet’s urinary system. A urine test provides a large amount of information on the health of your pet and can be helpful in identifying conditions such as bladder stones and obstructions, kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and other metabolic conditions. In this blog, we look at two conditions which can be detected with testing a urine sample and how you can collect a sample from your pet at home.  

Kidney disease

Just like humans, our pets have kidneys too. The role of the kidneys is to:

  • Filter out waste from the blood to produce urine.
  • Maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes within the body.
  • Produce hormones and enzymes that help regulate various metabolic functions throughout the body. 

When there is a problem with any aspect of the kidneys’ function, this is referred to as kidney disease or renal failure. 

A urine test, combined with a blood test, can measure different enzymes and substances in the urine and blood to determine if the kidneys are functioning normally. Further diagnostic tests may often also be indicated, including imaging (x-rays or ultrasound), blood pressure measurement and further blood tests. 

Bladder stones and obstructions 

Bladder stones are rock-like accumulations of minerals which can form in the bladder. The bladder stones can occur as a few larger stones or multiple smaller stones. The smaller stones can sometimes block the urethra, which is the outflow tube from the bladder, causing pain or difficulty with urination. 

If the bladder cannot empty urine, not only is this painful for the pet, but the toxic products that are normally excreted out of the body in urine build up in the bloodstream and can result in kidney damage and other problems. A blocked bladder is also at risk of rupturing, which is painful and results in urine leaking into the abdominal cavity causing disease.

Depending on their size, number and location, bladder stones can often be diagnosed via a combination of urine tests, physical examination and imaging (x-rays). 

How to collect a urine sample

If you notice a change in your pet’s urination, such as discoloured urine or increased frequency of urination, then we recommend booking them in for a health check and a urinalysis.

You can even collect a urine sample on the day of the appointment to help save time.

With dogs, collecting a urine sample is usually a matter of waiting until they go to urinate, and then catching a sample of the urine into a clean and dry container such as a plastic bowl or jar. Once the sample is collected, you can bring it into the vet hospital along with your pet for testing.

For cats, collecting a urine sample can be a bit trickier. If your cat uses a plastic litter tray, you can remove the cat litter and replace it with a non-absorbent crystal litter (available from the clinic), and then when the cat urinates you can tip a small amount of urine from the tray into a clean plastic container. 

If you collect the sample prior to your appointment please refrigerate it until your visit to help preserve the sample.

If you’re unable to collect a urine sample from your cat at home one of our vets will be able to collect it during the consult, provided your feline friend hasn’t visited the tray just prior. We can sometimes palpate and express a cat’s bladder to collect a urine sample. If this is not possible, we may consider using a technique called cystocentesis, which involves collecting a urine sample from the bladder by passing a needle through the abdomen – we can explain this procedure in more detail if it is recommended. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly veterinary team.

What you need to know about Stage 4 and accessing vet care for your pet

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Victorian Government, we can now say with certainty that we will remain open during the Stage 4 restrictions.

We are pleased that the government has recognised the important role our pets play in our lives and community. By remaining open during these Stage 4 restrictions, Vets on Parker is here to help keep your pets happy and healthy.  

We have a comprehensive COVID plan in place to ensure the safety of our teams and our clients. For the duration of Stage 4 restrictions, we will be continuing to perform ‘contactless consultations’ – please see below details for more details.  

Now, more than ever, furry family members are essential to the wellbeing of their owners. We are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. 

Contactless Consulting 

To maintain a safe environment and minimise the risk of transmission, we have put in place a new ‘contactless consultation’ procedure to limit direct contact when bringing your pet in to see us.  We ask that you please follow these steps until further notice. Thank you for all your patience and cooperation during these challenging times.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call on (03) 9850 1355.

What to do if your pet has tummy troubles

At some point in your pet’s life, they will probably experience a gastrointestinal upset. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. It can be distressing for you and your pet, and it’s sometimes hard to know what you should do. We have simplified the facts, so you know how best to care for your pet. 

What you should do at home:

If your pet has a one-off vomit or one bout of diarrhoea, you should withhold food for a few hours (known as gastric rest), offer water for rehydration and then feed a bland diet for 24 hours. Steamed chicken with no skin or bones and some boiled rice is usually sufficient for 1-2 meals (or we can provide you with a balanced prescription diet). In the majority of cases, your pet will recover without a problem. 

If the vomiting and diarrhoea does not resolve or becomes more severe that’s when you need to call on us.

You should seek advice from us if your pet:

1. Vomits more than once 
2. Has multiple bouts of diarrhoea 
3. Seems lethargic or has a reduced appetite 
4. Might have ingested something they shouldn’t have
5. Has been losing weight recently 
6. Has had intermittent bouts of vomiting and/or diarrhoea for weeks or months

What is a dietary indiscretion?

One of the most common causes of a gastrointestinal upset in pets is a dietary indiscretion, and this is just our way of saying your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have. 

Dogs are notorious with this, as they are typically scavengers. Common culprits for dogs include leftovers, scraps from the rubbish bin or discarded human food at the park. 

Cats can be a bit fussier when it comes to what they will and won’t eat, but they can, of course, get themselves into trouble too, so you should always call us for advice if you are worried about your pet. 

Other causes of vomiting and/or diarrhoea include but are not limited to:

  • Ingestion of a toxin
  • Infection from a virus, a bacteria or a parasite (such as giardia)
  • Conditions such as pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • A gastric obstruction from a foreign body
  • Other systemic diseases, such as liver or kidney disease 
  • Cancer 

If you have a puppy or a kitten that is vomiting or has diarrhoea, we recommend that you always get them checked by us that day, as they can become dehydrated very quickly and can become very unwell in just a few hours. We also need to rule out serious diseases such as parvovirus, which can be fatal in some animals.

Treatment for vomiting and diarrhoea usually involves medications to help reduce nausea and treatment for common bacterias. Intravenous fluid therapy may also be required to rehydrate your pet. In some cases, we must perform blood tests and further imaging, such as radiographs of the abdomen, to rule out the more concerning causes. If required, we can provide your pet with a balanced prescription diet explicitly made for an upset stomach. 

If you are worried about your pet, please call us for advice. We are always here to help!

Understanding canine cruciate ligament disease

“Oh no! My dog isn’t a footballer but could he have just ‘done his knee?” 

One of the most common orthopedic conditions we see in dogs is cranial cruciate ligament disease, which is actually very similar to the injury seen in humans on the sporting field – rupture of the “ACL”. Cranial cruciate ligament disease is painful, will lead to arthritis and, if not treated correctly, can severely affect your dog’s quality of life. 

The cranial cruciate ligament plays a vital role in stabilising the knee (stifle) joint. It connects the tibia (shin bone) to the femur (thigh bone) and is intricately associated with a ‘cartilage-like’ structure known as the meniscus. This meniscus plays a critical role in shock absorption in the stifle and is frequently damaged when the cranial cruciate ligament is injured.  

Occasionally dogs will ‘snap’ the ligament due to overextension of the stifle joint. An example of this may be when a dog jumps from a height or turns quickly. The dog will present their injured hind leg, bearing no weight on it. Cranial cruciate ligament disease is more commonly a progressive and degenerative condition, resulting from stretching and partial tears of the ligament over time. As the disease progresses, there is a thickening of the joint and the development of osteoarthritis. The changes in the joint commonly lead to a complete rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament and damage to the meniscus. These dogs typically have a history of intermittent lameness, thickening of the joint and wasting of the thigh muscles. 

Cranial cruciate disease can occur in any breed of dog but is seen most commonly in large breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Boxers and Rottweilers. Alarmingly, approximately 50-70% of patients will eventually end up with cranial cruciate ligament disease in both stifle joints. 

Examination of a dog under sedation or general anaesthetic will help diagnose the condition. If the ligament is damaged, we will be able to detect instability in the stifle. Radiographs will also reveal swelling within the stifle joint as well as signs of osteoarthritis.

If there is instability within the stifle joint, surgery is usually the best option for treatment. Some small dogs may respond to conservative treatment, such as rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication but may still develop severe arthritis in the future. 

There are different surgical techniques for cranial cruciate ligament repair – the most common methods are a TPLO (tibial plateau levelling osteotomy) or extracapsular stabilisation procedure. If your dog ruptures their cruciate ligament, we will be able to give you more information on the most suitable type of surgery based on your dog’s medical history, size and the health of their other joints. 

If you are ever worried about your pet please call us for advice. We are always here to help. 

COVID-19 and Pets – What You Need To Know Now

COVID-19 has changed the way we go about our lives and will continue to for many months. When it comes to the virus, there are plenty of questions to be asked, so here are a few answers:

How is COVID-19 spread?

Although it has been theorised that the new coronavirus emerged from an animal source, the pangolin, the current main known route of transmission is human-to-human. 

At present, the spread of COVID-19 appears to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when a person sneezes, coughs or when they come into contact with infected sputum (hand-to-mouth transmission).

Can cats and dogs get coronavirus?

There are species-specific coronaviruses that affect dogs and cats, but it is essential to realise that these are not the same as the COVID-19. The strains that affect cats and dogs can cause mild gastrointestinal signs and, very rarely, can lead to a disease in cats called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). 

There is a vaccine available for the canine form of coronavirus. This vaccine should not be used for prevention of COVID-19 as the viruses are distinctly different.

Can I get coronavirus from my pet?

No. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from a pet to a human. Transmission appears to occur via a human touching a contaminated surface and then touching their mouth, nose and possibly eyes. Smooth surfaces such as a countertop or a door handle transmit the virus better than porous materials such as paper and clothing. At this time, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people from the skin or fur of pets. 

Can pets contract COVID-19 from humans?

Currently, the only pets incidentally exposed to COVID-19 that have tested positive to the virus are two pet dogs in Hong Kong and two pet cats (one in Belgium and the other in Hong Kong). In all of these cases, these pets were in the direct care of someone who had confirmed COVID-19. It was only in the case of the cat in Belgium that there was any suggestion of the pet showing clinical signs of the disease, but it is essential to understand that other diseases that could have caused the same symptoms were not ruled out. This cat has since recovered. According to the World Health Organisation, there is currently no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19. 

What should pet owners do?

The best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to adopt sufficient hygiene measures and maintain social distancing. This includes washing your hands before and after handling animals. The Centre for Disease Control recommends that people who are sick, or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, should restrict their contact with animals (this means avoiding cuddling, kissing or being licked by your pet) until further information about the virus is available. There is no reason to remove pets from their homes if COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household. 

If your pet is unwell, or you have any questions regarding your pet’s health you should always contact us for advice.

COVID-19 Information for Vets on Parker

During this constantly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, the safety of our clients, patients and team members is our highest priority. We are in this together. 

Contactless Consults:

We have decided to implement the below guidelines and we ask for your understanding, patience and your cooperation so we can all do our best to protect each other. 

Veterinary care is an essential part of our community – that’s why our clinic will continue to provide all of our usual services during this time.

To focus on safety, we also want to work with you and our team to limit direct contact, and ask that you please follow the below steps: 

• Upon your arrival at Vets on Parker, please remain outside the clinic and call us.

• After receiving your call, we will check you in as soon as possible from outside the clinic.

• If you are picking up food or medication, please remain in your car or outside the hospital and call the front desk. We can happily deliver your order to your car.

• If you are not feeling well or are likely to be at risk of exposure to coronavirus, please ask a healthy friend or family member to transport your pet to the hospital on your behalf.

• We will do our best to coordinate your visit from outside the hospital and provide you with follow-up and payment instructions.

Thank you for all your patience and cooperation during these challenging times. It is Vets on Parker’s mission is to bring joy, love and the highest level of veterinary care to all fur families.

If there is anything further we can do to assist you and your pets, please do not hesitate to call or chat to one of our friendly team members. 

Your friendly team,
Vets on Parker

A Hearty Topic


As February features its heart-focussed Valentine’s Day, we thought that this month would be the perfect time to talk about the heart that matters most: your pet’s.


When it comes to diseases of the heart, knowing what to watch out for really makes a difference. Early detection of heart disease means that medical treatment is able to get underway sooner, which can help your pet to live a longer and healthier life.

Most signs of heart disease are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The signs, however, can be very subtle and often difficult to detect.


What to look out for:

+ Coughing

+ Reluctance to exercise or tiring easily on walks

+ Laboured or fast breathing

+ Weakness or fainting from exercise

+ An enlarged abdomen

+ Weight loss or poor appetite


What can WE do?

We always listen to your pet’s heart. This physical examination allows us to detect any changes to the heart, as early as possible. Sometimes we might hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). If we do detect a murmur or arrhythmia, we may perform further tests such as an ultrasound, an ECG or X-rays.

Thankfully, we have a number of medications at the ready to improve your pet’s heart function, if needed.


What can YOU do?

If we diagnose your pet with heart disease, you may be asked to keep a record of their SRR. The SRR is an acronym for your pet’s sleeping respiratory rate. Taking record of the SRR is a powerful tool and can be implemented in your own home. The records can help to detect, or improve the monitoring of, left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs and cats.

Many of the common heart diseases lead to CHF. When the pressure in the top left heart chamber increases, and blood backs up into vessels within the lung, it results in the blood accumulating in the lungs. This fluid is the cause of the increase in your pet’s respiratory rate.


How to monitor the sleeping respiratory rate

The SRR should be measured when your pet is asleep in their usual environment. 

Repeat the measuring over 2-3 days, then ongoing once or twice a week.

The normal SRR in cats and dogs is often in the high teens or low 20s, at around less than 30 breaths per minute.


When to seek veterinary advice?

If your pet’s SRR is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute, they could be at high risk of developing congestive heart failure. This means that veterinary advice needs to be sought as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that an elevated SRR can at times be caused by high blood pressure, pain, anaemia, pneumonia, heat stress or even a fever – so a veterinary check-up is always urged.

If you are at all concerned about your pet’s heart health, call us today for advice. 

Giardia – what is it and how you can prevent it

In recent weeks we’ve noticed an increase in the number of Giardia cases in dogs and cats in our community, so we thought we would put up some information outlining what Giardia is, what it does, and what we can do to prevent it.

Giardia is a parasite which inhabits the intestines of dogs and cats, it exists around the world and can also infect humans. Giardia causes infection when it is consumed (i.e. swallowed), so the most common causes of infection include contact with contaminated water (drinking, swimming or playing), contact with faeces deposited by an infected mammal, rolling in contaminated soil, or consuming contaminated food.

The most common sign of Giardia is diarrhoea, however, affected dogs and cats may also suffer from vomiting, lethargy, stomach pain and have a decreased appetite. Some animals may be asymptomatic and not show any signs of disease. To work out if an animal has Giardia generally a faecal sample is tested.

Although Giardia is a zoonotic parasite, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans, this is quite uncommon. As many animals have the disease with no signs, Giardia is generally most concerning to us when it is causing severe diarrhoea, or in cases where the pet or owner has a depressed immune system e.g. is very young, very old, undergoing chemotherapy, etc.

If treatment is required, certain antibiotics and medications may be prescribed by us.

Preventing Giardia
The easiest and most effective way to prevent a Giardia infection is by maintaining routine hygiene practices, especially thorough handwashing. Other ways to decrease the risk of Giardia for you and your pet are:

  • Handwashing after all animal contact
  • Using gloves to pick up animal faeces
  • Limiting the contact your animal may have with contaminated water sources e.g. rivers or ponds at the park, communal water bowls, etc.
  • Cleaning household surfaces, bedding and toys your pet has access to regularly

Please contact the clinic if you have any questions or concerns.

It’s all in the eyes

Pardon the pun, but you don’t have to be blind to see that your pet’s eyes are very important!

Eye issues can be serious. That’s why, if you notice anything unusual about your pet’s eyes, it’s best to have them checked out ASAP. Conditions like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, uveitis and glaucoma can be very painful and, if left untreated, can go downhill rapidly.

Things to watch out for:
  • Discharge from one or both eyes
    Mucoid, sticky, yellow or green discharge is not normal. Any one of these may be a sign of infection, or other diseases like dry eye.
  • Squinting or excessive blinking
    Similarly, this may be a sign that your pet is in pain.
  • Increased redness on the white of the eye
    Infections and irritation can lead to an angry looking eye. Likewise glaucoma, an increase of pressure in the eye, can lead to redness.
  • Swollen eyelids or swollen eye
    Infections, trauma, allergies or the presence of a foreign body can cause swelling.
  • Your pet is repeatedly rubbing their eye
    Itchy eyes, a foreign body or any type of irritation can make your pet scratch or rub their eye/s. As a result, this can lead to further trauma (often due to a scratch on the eye) and even corneal ulcers.
  • Your pet’s third eyelid is easily visible
    Or is swollen, or very red. The third eyelid is usually hidden in the corner of the eye, but changes in its appearance may be a sign of: pain, a corneal ulcer, a foreign body or even a condition known as ‘cherry eye’.
  • Your pet is suddenly bumping into furniture or walls or seems disoriented
    This can indicate a change in vision and may be due to the presence of cataracts, glaucoma or retinal diseases. A sudden loss in vision may also occur with high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Behavioural changes
    Eye conditions can be very painful. This can lead to changes in behaviour and demeanour – as well as constant tiredness in your pet. It’s amazing how often (after treatment) fur-parents realise just how much the condition was affecting their pet’s demeanour. 
Other Tips

Above all, resist the temptation to use any leftover ointment or drops (human or animal) that you might have at home on your pet. Some medications can actually make conditions worse – and leave your pet in serious discomfort.
Most importantly, the best thing you can do is bring them in to us, and let us determine the cause of any eye problems. 

If you ever think there’s something ‘not quite right’ please give us a call for advice.