Pet First Aid 101: Heatstroke

As we head into summer, it’s important to know the risks that the hot weather will present to your cat, dog or pocket pet. The main risk is heatstroke – a life-threatening condition that can escalate in a matter of minutes. In today’s blog, our trusted vet in Templestowe has put together a guide for everything you need to know about heatstroke so you can help your pet avoid the deadly consequences.

 

Know why heatstroke occurs

At our vet clinic in Templestowe, the number one heatstroke-related question we get asked is, “Why does it happen?”

Heatstroke occurs because our cats, dogs and pocket pets cannot cool down their bodies in the same way that we can, as they do not have as many sweat glands as we do. In order to compensate, they can often start to pant, but this only works to a certain extent before they begin to overheat. Once they start overheating, they can experience the symptoms of heatstroke, which is a condition that can be fatal.

 

Know how to help prevent heatstroke

The best way to help your pet with heatstroke is to prevent it altogether. You can help prevent heatstroke in the following ways:

  • Avoid exercising your pet or allowing them to walk on heat-retentive surfaces (such as sand or asphalt) in the hot weather
  • Put a wet towel inside your pocket pet’s cage for them to lie on, and hang another wet cloth on the side of the cage so that the passing breeze will be cooler
  • Never ever leave your pet in the car – in just 20 minutes on a 21°C day, your dog can overheat.

 

Know the symptoms of heatstroke

The main symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Rapid panting and salivation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Agitation
  • Collapsing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Muscle tremors and/or seizures.

 

Know a vet in Templestowe that you can contact

The first thing you should do if you notice that your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms is call a vet in Templestowe and let them know your pet is experiencing a medical emergency.

The next few things you do are crucial to helping your pet cool down in the meantime:

  • Immediately remove your pet from the hot environment
  • Spray or apply cool (not cold) water on your pet and then use a fan to cool down your pet quickly
  • Use a wet cloth to wet the area around your pet.

Vets on Parker is a vet in Templestowe that has been trusted by pet owners for over 30 years. If you have noticed that your pet is displaying any signs of heatstroke, we urge you to get in touch with us immediately on (03) 9850 1355.

Animal and Child Safety

Many children love animals and can develop close bonds with their pets. This, in turn, can help the child learn important social skills such as empathy, respect for others and patience. However, if an animal feels trapped, frightened or threatened, even the most docile pets will do everything they can to make a perceived threat go away. As a parent, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your family pet and your child develop a harmonious and safe relationship. In this blog, we look at the four basic steps of animal and child safety.

  1. Teach your child how to be safe around pets

Safe behaviour around animals as well as the knowing the signs of an upset animal are both valuable skills which can be taught very early on.

Dogs

Children should be taught:

  • To leave sleeping and eating dogs alone
  • To recognise the signs of an aggressive or upset dog (lifted lips, growling, staring, raised hair)
  • To ask pet owners for permission before interacting with a new dog
  • When approached by an unfamiliar dog, to stand completely still ‘like a tree’ with arms by their sides, hands in a fist, and not to make eye contact
  • To pat a dog gently along the back and sides
  • To avoid roughhousing
  • To never get between two fighting dogs

Cats

Children should be taught

  • To recognise the signs of an upset cat (swishing tail, raised hair, hissing, swiping)
  • To leave sleeping and eating cats alone
  • To pat rather than pick up the cat

Birds

Children should be taught:

  • To never tap the cage or stick objects in it

Rabbits/mice/guinea pigs

Children should be taught:

  • To hold the pet securely but gently
  • Not to pull hair or drop the animal from a height
  • Not to rattle or stick things into the cage
  1. Reinforce basic hygiene around animals

Good hygiene should be practised around pets at every age. Teach your children to wash their hands with soap every time they touch a pet, it’s food or it’s bedding. Children should be discouraged from going near the litter box or dog poo and parents should regularly clean cages or toileting areas to prevent the spread of bacteria.

  1. Supervise children under the age of five 

In Australia, children five years old and younger are the group most likely to sustain injuries from pets (particularly dogs) so during these first five years, children should always be supervised when around a dog or separated from them if supervision is not possible. Other supervision tips to keep in mind are:

  • With birds, it’s best if you hold the bird and have your young child pat it
  • Try to handle rabbits/mice and guinea pigs at least 15 minutes a day so the animal gets used to being held and is less likely to scratch or bite
  • Keep cages in a common area so you can supervise all interactions
  1. Take precautions to ensure your pet is healthy and well trained

Make sure your family pet is up to date with all of their vaccinations and parasite treatments as some parasites are transferable to humans. In addition to this, dogs who regularly interact with children should have basic obedience training and be able to follow simple commands.

 

Vets on Parker is a family-focused veterinary clinic in Templestowe dedicated to ensuring your pet has the best possible quality of life. Book an appointment online or call us on (03) 9850 1355.

 

Can My Dog Drink Water Before Surgery? (And Other Pet Surgery FAQs)

Pet surgery can understandably be a stressful time for owners. If your pet is due for surgery, you might be feeling nervous or worried, but don’t stress: at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital, we often get surgery-related questions from nervous pet-owners. In this blog, we are taking you through some of the most commonly asked pet surgery questions, and hopefully, the answers will help put your mind at ease.

 

Can my pet drink water before surgery?

Yes, you are welcome to give your dog or cat some water right up until you leave home for surgery. However, you need to avoid feeding your pet after 10pm the night before surgery. This can help reduce the risk of vomiting whilst under anaesthesia or during the wake-up period which could block their airway when not completely conscious.

 

Will my pet have stitches?

It ultimately depends on the kind of surgery being performed, but in most cases where a skin incision needs to be made, your pet will have one of two kinds of stitches:

  • Dissolvable sutures under the skin that disappear naturally
  • Skin stitches that need to be removed by your vet around two weeks after the surgery.

The vets at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital will send your pet home with an e-collar to prevent them from disturbing the stitches by licking or chewing them. You will also be given advice on keeping the wound clean and dry at home to help minimise the chance of post-operative infections.

 

How should I care for my pet after surgery?

Generally speaking, you should keep an eye on your pet and monitor the wound for any changes. Cats should be kept indoors and dogs kept confined and only let out for toilet breaks. Report changes to your vet immediately if they involve:

  • Repeated vomiting, diarrhoea or reluctance to eat
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Any bleeding or discharge from the wound
  • Restlessness or signs of pain
  • Anything else that is not normal for your pet and concerning you

After your pet’s surgery at our Narre Warren North veterinary hospital, you will also be given detailed care instructions relative to your pet. These instructions might be to do with additional medication, keeping the wound clean, or even a new diet. Post-operative checks will also be scheduled.

Looking for experienced, friendly vets? Vets in Endeavour Hills is a veterinary hospital that offers everything from general checkups to surgery. Our Narre Warren veterinary hospital is fully equipped with everything that is needed to diagnose, treat and care for your pet. Schedule an appointment with us online or by calling (03) 9700 2264.

Our Guide To Senior Dog Diets

As your dog gets older, its body will begin to change. In particular, your dog will become more susceptible to a range of health problems. This is why senior dogs require attentive care, extending all the way to their diets, which we are exploring today in this blog.

 

When is a dog considered ‘senior’?

Whether or not your dog is considered senior depends on a number of factors:

  • Breed. Generally, smaller dogs tend to have a longer lifespan than bigger dogs.
  • Lifestyle. A dog that is unhealthy and overweight will also age faster than one that gets plenty of exercise and good food.

Generally speaking, depending on the breed and size of your dog, dogs can start to be considered senior from anywhere between 5-9 years old. However, the only surefire way to know whether your dog is senior and needs senior care is by regularly visiting your local vet for checkups.

 

Dogs with gastrointestinal problems

If your dog is suffering from gastrointestinal issues – such as constipation or diarrhoea – then you should:

  • Ensure you aren’t feeding your dog fatty foods or bones, as these items are generally not digested well
  • Try and avoid treats
  • Invest in fibre-rich food/additives (this helps both constipation and diarrhoea).

 

Dogs with dental issues

Steer clear of buying canned food for your senior dog, as it is sticky. The stickiness of the food means it can become lodged on or in between your dog’s teeth, which encourages the growth of plaque and tartar. Instead, purchase dry kibble that is suitable for senior dogs. The kibble scrapes against tartar and plaque and helps to remove it.

 

Dogs with kidney or heart disease

Does your dog have a form of kidney or heart disease? If so, you should avoid buying foods with excess salt and protein. Although there is no proof to suggest that doing so will prevent the disease altogether, avoiding these things will help ease the painful effects of the disease. Ensure your dog is also getting plenty of water.

 

Overweight dogs

As dogs age, their metabolism slows – not unlike humans. Slower metabolism means that it is easier for your dog to put on weight, and obesity can lead to a range of other health issues for your dog. The main things you should not be buying for your dog are treats and bones.

To combat your senior dog’s obesity, you should consult your local Bulleen vet, Vets on Parker. We offer a range of pet services, including weight management plans, dental care and surgery. Get in touch with a friendly Bulleen vet today on (03) 9850 1355.

Why You Should Feed Your Pet Dry Food Instead Of Canned Food

When it comes to deciding between wet or canned food for your pet, there are a number of pros and cons on each side. However, the vets at our Bulleen veterinary clinic usually recommend dry food over wet food for both cats and dogs. Today we are explaining exactly why dry food is better for your pet than wet food.

Wet food

Dogs

The main benefit of wet food is that it can be recommended for dogs with health conditions such as kidney stones or struvite crystals.

There are, however, more downsides to wet food:

  • Wet food has a shorter shelf life, meaning you’ll need to buy it more often and in smaller quantities, which can be inconvenient
  • It is more expensive
  • Wet food can be messy and stick in between teeth, which can be bad news for dental health
  • Wet food can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea

Cats

Like canned food for dogs, wet cat food is hydrating and is sometimes recommended to cats that have the following:

  • Kidney problems
  • Lower urinary tract disease (as the diluted urine lessens the pain and/or frequency of symptoms)

The downsides to wet cat food are similar to that of canned dog food (listed above).

 

Dry food

Dogs

Dry dog food holds many more benefits than wet dog food. There are a number of benefits to dry kibble for dogs:

  • It’s much easier to store, lasts longer and is more cost efficient
  • Kibble helps to remove built-up tartar and plaque, which is better for your pet’s dental health

The only main downside to dry food (for both cats and dogs) is that it is not as hydrating as wet food. However, providing your pet with clean water does the trick just fine.

Cats

While dry food does not substitute for proper dental care, dry cat food is also commonly agreed to be better for your cat’s teeth than canned food. It is also more affordable and convenient than canned food, which is another plus point. Therefore, dry food is also better for your cat than canned food.

Got any more questions about dry and canned pet food? Vets on Parker can help with any concerns you might have, from feeding plans to dental care. Book an appointment at our Bulleen veterinary clinic today on (03) 9850 1355.

A Basic Guide To Dog Park Etiquette

Taking your dog to the dog park can be rewarding for both of you. Interaction with other dogs is necessary for your pet’s social skills, while meeting other owners can be fun for you, too. But for the safety of your dog and others, there are some dog park etiquette tips you should keep in mind before going. Today, we are running through some basic tips that will help keep the dog park a fun place for everyone.

 

Always exercise your dog before going to the park

After being inside all day, there’s nothing better than going outside – right? Unsurprisingly, your dog definitely agrees. The park is filled with excitement in the form of other dogs, people and activities to finally interact with.

However, if your dog is little too excited, he or she can actually instigate a fight with another dog. To avoid this, allow your dog to let off some steam before hitting the park by exercising at home beforehand.

 

Always bring plastic bags

Keeping the area clean and hygienic is not only basic decency as an owner – it’s safer for the dogs in that environment. Other dogs can contract a number of diseases if they come into contact with your dog’s waste. Therefore, it is pertinent to keep plastic bags with you at the dog park, even if the park offers bags to visitors.

 

Make sure your dog is suitable for the park

The dog park is meant to be a safe place for dogs to play nicely with each other. For the health and safety of your dog and others, you should ensure your pet would be suitable to bring to a dog park so that it remains a safe place for everyone.

Avoid bringing your dog to the park if he or she is:

  • A puppy
  • Pregnant/on the heat
  • Unvaccinated, or not up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Unregistered
  • Not desexed
  • Aggressive or possessive

 

Always pay attention to your dog

You know your dog best. At the dog park, it’s important to pay attention to your pet and notice when abnormal behaviour is occurring (particularly anti-social, shy or aggressive cues). Looking out for signs that your dog needs to be taken out of the park can even prevent a fight.

 

Searching for a vet in Bulleen? Vets on Parker are happy to help with any concerns you might have for your pet. Call us on (03) 9850 1355 to talk to our friendly staff today.

Winter Pet Care Tips

Winter is here!
Here are some handy tips on preparing your pets for another chilly Melbourne winter:

• Remember that even though your pet has a fur coat, they still feel the cold.
• Ensure your pet has a thick, insulated bed for chilly nights. If you’re unsure whether their bed is warm enough why not add a nice fuzzy blanket?
• For rabbits and guinea pigs, add some extra straw to their hutch and give them a protected box to make their bed in. Place a blanket or waterproof tarp over outdoor runs to help keep the weather out.
• Birds feel the cold too. Bring birds in cages inside or place them somewhere sheltered out of the wind and weather. A blanket can be placed over the cage at night to help keep the warmth in.
• If your pet is outside, ensure they have an area they that is out of the wind and protected from the rain with a dry clean floor. Providing access to food, water and a bed in this area is ideal.
• Dog kennels should always be placed against a fence or undercover to give them extra protection from the wind and rain.
• Warm up your pet’s meals. We all love a warm meal on a cold night so why shouldn’t our pets enjoy it too?
• Pet coats. There is a huge range of warm and stylish pet coats on the market. These are great for short haired dogs and older pets who struggle to insulate themselves from the cold.
• Remember that young animals can’t control their body temperatures the same way adult animals do, so you’ll need to keep them inside in cold weather.
• Older pets with arthritis often have flare ups in colder weather. Speak to us about natural supplements and dietary tweaks that can help keep them moving comfortably.

Ear Infections in Dogs and Cats

With all the recent rain, we have seen an increase in the number of dogs coming into the clinic suffering from ear infections.

Dogs and cats have L shaped ear canals that easily trap moisture. This then creates a warm, moist environment that yeast and bacteria thrive in. These ear infections can become very painful and cause permanent damage to your pets hearing if not properly treated.

Signs your pet has an ear infection

  • Rubbing their head along the ground or scratching at their ear
  • A dark discharge coming from the ear or the ear canal appearing red
  • A strong smell – yeast releases a particularly unpleasant smell

What you should do

If your pet displays any of these symptoms, we recommend booking them in for an appointment to see one of our lovely vets. They will take a swab of the ear canal and diagnose what type of infection is plaguing your pet. Once your pet is diagnosed, the vet will able to prescribe the best medication to eradicate the problem quickly.

How to prevent ear infections

We also stock an ear cleaner that is perfect for preventing ear infections in dogs. The cleaner not only helps remove the natural waxy build-up of the ear but dries out any additional moisture, making the environment less appealing to yeast and bacteria. This cleaner is easy to use and perfect for using after baths or when your pet has been playing in the rain.

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.