Our Seasonal Allergy Guide

Spring season is allergy season for pets so keep an eye out for skin irritations and inflammation, excessive scratching and respiratory issues. In particular, we want to highlight three types of allergies which land pets in our clinic around this time of year:

Grass allergies

The pollen from grass can cause an allergic reaction in both cats and dogs. Some animals have the condition for life, some develop it over time. The allergy most commonly shows up as dermatitis- an itchy rash on the skin which your pet will scratch excessively. Scratching often leads to hair loss and wounds, which can then lead to infection. If you notice your pet displaying these symptoms, your first stop should be the vet to rule out parasites and other allergies. If your pet does have a grass allergy, your vet will be able to provide medication to treat inflammation when it appears. Limiting the amount of contact your dog has with grass pollen is also important. Keep your grass mowed down, and wash and dry your dog’s feet when they come in from playing outside.

Purple heart (Wandering Jew)

 This common weed causes allergic dermatitis in dogs when they come into contact with it. Simply walking through the plants can cause redness and irritation as well as loss of fur and potentially even a secondary infection if your pet scratches and damages the skin. If your pet comes into contact with the weed, bring them to the clinic and your vet will be able to soothe the irritation to make your pet more comfortable and stop them scratching so they heal quickly.

Bee stings

 Dogs can have a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to bee stings. Symptoms begin to show up almost immediately and include itching and swelling around the sting area, redness, hives, diarrhoea, and possibly vomiting. If you notice these symptoms, call your vet immediately as time is key when it comes to treating allergic reactions. Some dogs go into anaphylactic shock when stung by bees which is characterised by symptoms including trouble breathing, wheezing, a blue tint to the skin and collapse. If your dog is displaying these symptoms, it is an emergency situation and you should call the team at Vets on Parker as soon as possible.

 

The team at Vets on Parker have all the skills and resources necessary to help you manage your pet’s seasonal allergies. Book your pet in for an allergy consultation today by calling

(03) 9850 1355 or booking online.

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.

Summer Newsletter

Snakes!

As we are heading out to enjoy the warmer weather, so are the snakes that we share our parks and river areas with. Snakes seek out warm places to sun themselves as well as an ongoing supply of food and sometimes travel into homes and yards in search for these. During these searches snakes can come into contact with our pets who get too inquisitive and end up being bitten.

Some things you can do to discourage reptilian visitors in your home and protect both them and your pets are:

  • Keep the grass in your yard and around your fences short, and avoid having piles of rubbish or garden waste lying around
  • Ensure your property is not a attractive to mice and other small vermin such as mice are an attractive food source to snakes
  • Keep cats inside or confined to an enclosure to prevent them from paying a visit to the small critter buffet that the snakes will already be attending.
  • When walking your dog, keep them on lead and stick to the footpaths

If you think that your pet may have been interacting with a snake, please carry them to the car and get them straight to the nearest vet.

Signs of snake bite toxicity in dogs include:

  • Sudden weakness and collapse. Your dog may collapse suddenly after being bitten then rise again and appear fine for a short me while the adrenaline is present before collapsing again.
  •  Muscle tremors or twitching
  • Reduced ability to blink and dilated pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Paralysis
  • Death if treatment not started early enough

Signs of snake bite toxicity in cats include:

  • All symptoms seen in dogs
  • The progression of the toxicity may be slower as cats are more resistant to the venom
  • They will often hide themselves away in a quiet place
  • May appear “floppy” and cry out when touched

When in doubt always bring your pet to the clinic if there is a chance they have been bitten. We have simple in clinic testing that can give us an answer fast and ensure your pet receives instant treatment if required.

 

Feeling the Heat

Things are heating up in Melbourne and now is the time to take action and ensure your pet remains comfortable during the warmer months. Because pets can’t sweat, turn on the air conditioning or even just move their cage to a cooler spot, many suffer from heat exhaustion during summer. Here are 5 hot tips on how to keep your pet cool and comfortable:

Book your long-haired cats and dogs in for a stylish trim

A new shorter hairstyle will help them to look and feel great!

2. Provide shade

Make sure you have a shaded area in the yard for your pet to hang out with a large water bowl. Place ice blocks in the water when you are leaving for work to help keep the water cool. If the temperature is set to skyrocket, bring your pets inside to stay cool with the air conditioning for the day. Even a darkened tiled room with a fan can be better than outside.

3. Bath time 

For dogs and birds, a bath during the hotter parts of the day can be bliss. Most dogs love dipping their toes or bodies in a paddling pool to help cool off. For birds, use a wide shallow bowl in their cage for them to bathe in. Ensure they have their normal water bowl as well to drink from. Refresh the water daily.

4. Avoid walking your dog during the day 

Can you imagine walking around barefoot on bitumen during a 30 degree plus day? If you wouldn’t do it, your dog shouldn’t do it. Take walks early in the morning or in the cooler part of the evening once the temperature has dropped.

5. Rabbits and guinea pigs can really struggle over summer

Place wet blankets or mats in the bottom of their cages for them to lay on and ensure they have a supply of fresh veggies to nibble on for extra moisture.

 

Scratching that Itch

The dreaded itch. An itching, unsettled pet is not a happy one. As we come into spring and summer more pets will develop skin problems in reaction to pollens, food and flea bites. There are three simple things you can do at home to help reduce the itch!

  • Switch to a skin support diet like Hills Dermcare Defense. Skin support diets offer extra nutrients that help nourish the skin and coat as well as strengthen the natural barrier of the skin to help reduce the severity of a reaction to allergens. They are also free of food products that commonly cause allergies in pets.
  • Protect all pets from fleas by using a good quality preventative on all your furry friends. Flea saliva is a common cause of dermatitis in both cats and dogs. A single bite can result in itchy skin for hours. Over summer, flea numbers will rise and they will be looking to jump onto any poor soul that happens to walk past them.
  • If your dog has a grass allergy and gets itchy feet after every walk, try giving them a quick wipe down with a damp cloth or a dip in a paddle pool as soon as you get home. Using an oatmeal based shampoo for full baths on the weekend will also help wash those pesky pollens away and help soothe their itchy skin.

If you have any questions or concerns about taking care of your pet during the summer months, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Vets on Parker. Our Templestowe veterinary clinic is open throughout summer and can be reached by calling 03 9850 1355.

Keep your pets snake safe

October to March is snake season in Melbourne – our pets are most at risk from tiger and brown snakes. To avoid you or your pet being bitten:

  • Control mice and other vermin which may attract snakes (but be very careful if you are using poisons as bait)
  • Keep a tidy, well maintained garden and shed/garage
  • Always walk your dog on a lead and avoid areas of long grass
  • Keep cats inside or in an outdoor enclosure
  • Attract predatory birds to your property-kookaburras love to eat snakes