vet-n-pet DIRECT Blog – Your source for Pet Related Articles, News, Information & More. To assist all pet owners and those in animal related industries provide the highest level of care to their pets and livestock, regardless of location, and facilitate active enjoyment of their pet and animal owning lifestyles
Summer is well and truly upon us bringing the gorgeous long days but also the hot and humid weather. In Australia temperatures around the country will consistently reach the high thirties and often climb to well over forty degrees. This heat, especially when combined with high humidity, can make for a very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous day for our pets.
Keeping pets safe and cool during the hot humid weather is essential for their health and well-being. Here are some tips to help your pets cope with the weather;
Provide plenty of fresh water in a place that won’t get too hot. Multiple bowls are a good idea in case one gets knocked over or completely drunk.
Give pets access to shade at all times of the day.
Bring pets inside into air conditioning or cooler areas if possible.
Understand breeds that are less heat tolerant and why, like short nosed breeds, they struggle with the heat and humidity.
Never leave an animal in a car, EVER!
Beware of bitumen, concrete and ground surfaces that can become extremely hot and burn their paws. If it is hot for you to walk bare feet on it is hot for them.
Avoid exercising your pet in the heat of the day or on particularly humid days.
Be safe around water, ensure that pets are always supervised around water and that they can not get into pool areas. For more information on keeping you pet safe around water visit our blog Pool Safety For Dogs.
Know the symptoms of heat stroke including; – Rapid panting – Staggering, weakness or lethargy – Gums and tongue might appear dark or bright red and be sticky or – dry – Salivating or drooling – Vomiting and/or diarrhoea – possibly with blood – Rectal temperature will be between 40-43 degrees – Seizures
Although the Australian weather can become extremely hot it still is a wonderful time to enjoy with your pets. I know that my boy Beau loves to swim in the pool, damn and at the beach, why not take your dog swimming and see if they like it. And if you need some help to teach them how to swim visit my blog Teach Your Dog To Swim.
So go on, get out and enjoy all that the Australian Summer has to offer, just be sensible and keep you pets health in mind.
Foaling season is well and truly upon us for another year. It has me thinking about one of the first foals I ever had the pleasure of being there for delivery. His name was Tana and he was a very special little boy. He was always going to be treated like royalty on our farm because he was the second foal to one of our original race mares.
Well Tana certainly was special and he taught us so much about foal health. Tana was what is called a dummy foal, medically known as Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome, Neonatal Encephalopathy or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. It occurs when the foals brain is deprived of adequate oxygen supply at some point during the pregnancy, birth or shortly after birth. Tana’s mum suffered a severe case of placentitis during the pregnancy which was most likely the cause of the oxygen deprivation to Tana resulting in complications as a foal.
Foaling and delivery of Tana was normal however within the first hour of life it was clear that Tana was not a normal healthy foal. Tana took a long time before he was attempting to stand and his attempts were pretty unsuccessful. Once he found his feet (with some help from us to balance) he wasn’t able to locate the mares udder and spent more time walking around in circles like he was lost. We tried holding him up and directing him but even when right on the udder it seemed he couldn’t latch on or suck. He certainly wasn’t right and clearly needed intervention to help him get started in life.
Tana required stomach tube feeding at only a few hours old as it was clear he wasn’t going to get a feed himself. We had hoped that after one feed he would gain some strength and be able to work out how to suck but this wasn’t the case. Tanah was fitted with a nasogastric feeding tube (a tube that goes down the nose directly to the stomach) to make feed time easier. We did try bottle feeding but with the lack of sucking reflex he was unable to get the hang of that.
The next hurdle for him to overcome was the IgG test also known as immunoglobulin type G or gamma globulin test. This is a simple blood test that measures the amount of antibodies in the foals blood to see that they have received enough from the mares colostrum. No surprise to us Tanas IgG test was terrible and he required a plasma transfusion, two actually. It seemed Tana wasn’t out of the woods yet he then developed a respiratory infection which required antibiotic treatment. Lucky for us Tanas mum was one of the best natured mares we ever had and she trusted us completely so handling her foal was never a problem, in fact she didn’t really care at all.
After three days of tube feeding, two plasmas, antibiotic treatment and endless monitoring Tana learnt how to suck from his mum. He was finally coming right and our special little boy was going to become a normal foal, well nearly. Tana was so use to vets that for many months he use to whiny out to the vets in blue overalls, we think he thought they were his mother.
Tana was always special to us and lived his entire life at our farm. He did grow up like a normal horse however he certainly was quieter and extremely easy to handle. He had one ear that was never the right size and actually flopped over like a dog. He was never a very big horse, whether that was due to his in-vitro development or dummy foal problems we aren’t sure. He was broken in but never raced, he just didn’t have the size or ability so we never pushed him, instead he lived his life out as a spoilt grass eating pony with some of our other retirees. Tana would always come to the fence to give kisses and would actually wrap his neck around you like giving cuddle, he was just so loving. Tana only recently passed away at 15 years old but we are so grateful to have had this very special horse in our lives. Tana taught myself and everyone on the farm so much about foal health and dealing with a dummy foal.
Every foaling season brings with it a new challenge, new knowledge or new experience; I wonder what this year will bring?
Until next time,
For more information on Dummy Foals please visit the vet-n-pet DIRECT Help Centre here.
I was recently reading a news article about a man who devastatingly lost his arms and legs after contracting a rare bacteria from his dog’s saliva. Just terrible!
Although this is an extreme and rare outcome it got me to thinking about just how much sharing is too much sharing when it comes to our pets. Lots of us share cuddles, kisses, beds and even food with our pets. There are even studies that say that cuddling and sharing a bed with your pet reduces stress and anxiety often leading to better sleep. Most of us will have no adverse effects from this sharing and catching something from your pet is a low risk but there are actually a few things that our pets can “share” with us that are less than ideal.
The main potential risks or things you could contract by sharing with your dog or cat include;
Parasites such as fleas and mites can be found on dog’s and cats but easily transmitted to people. Fleas will bite humans causing irritation and slight reactions at the sight with a number of bites possible. Mites can be passed from pets to humans and can cause mange or scabies. The mite can not survive long on people but will burrow under the skin causing itching and skin irritation.
Intestinal worms like tapeworm, hookworm and roundworm can be spread from pets to humans.
– Tapeworm eggs or larvae can be inhaled or ingested through by humans most commonly by ingesting an infected flea. Infestation in people can cause a number of gastric symptoms, cysts and intestinal blockages.
– Hookworms larvae can be contracted by humans through contact with contaminated soil and then burrow through the skin (usually the foot). Only the larvae stage can survive in humans typically causing skin irritation where it has burrowed in.
– Roundworms can only be contracted by humans via the eggs being ingested, from contaminated soil either by eating or not washing hands after contacting the eggs. The eggs then hatch in the intestines and the life cycle can be completed with the human body. Infestations can cause wheezing, coughing, lung damage and blockages within the digestive tract.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes circular skin lesions and can be contracted from an infected animal either through direct contact with the animal, a ringworm sore or from infected bedding or furniture.
Toxoplasmosis can be passed to humans through the faeces of an infected cat. If contracted symptoms include swollen glands, fever, muscle pain, sore throat, rash and it can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births. Pregnant or immune-compromised people should avoid changing cat litter if possible.
Bacterial Infections can be passed from dog’s and cats to people. This usually happens through a scratch or bite where the bacteria can enter through broken skin. The bacteria passed on is often harmless to the animal but can cause mild symptoms from site inflammation, pain or localised infection to more severe cases where the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
Allergies are a common problem from pets like dogs and cats particularly those that live inside or in close contact. People can be allergic to allergens found on pet hair, skin and saliva. Allergic reaction can range in severity from minor allergy symptoms like rash, sneezing, watery eyes to sever reactions like asthma, wheezing or hives.
No matter how much you like to share with your pet just keep in mind that they are animals and their makeup is different to ours which means that sometimes things that don’t bother them may very well be harmful to us. Their systems are designed to cope with different bacteria, infections and parasites to us and they can often handle what we cant. Keeping your pet in optimal health with regular parasite control and good hygiene practices will reduce the chance of the spread of any nasties or unwanted “sharing”.
If both you and are pet are in good health the chance of contracted anything from them is minimal so by all means love them, cuddle, kiss and share your bed with them but be aware what there is the chance that more sinister things could be shared.
Last week I was lucky enough to go on a school excursion with my daughter and her Grade 2 class. We headed into Brisbane to the Queensland Museum to learn about insects, metamorphosis and their life cycles. Lots of fun was had and I am sure the kids learned some new things, but the highlight for most (some were a little scared) was holding the stick insects. Each class was lucky enough to take home 4 little young stick insects to care for and watch them go through the different life stages.
The insects were sent home in a folded paper pyramid so they
required a new, more secure home. Being the weekend I volunteered to take them home and find/make a home for them. So a fun family project resulted in a grand architectural masterpiece (if I may so so myself lol) for these very lucky stick insects. We created a home out of a styrofoam esky, cut some window sections out and covered them with a fine fly screen and what was the lid became the swinging door to get in and out. With a bottle cut in half and secured to the bottom to hold their gum leaves their home was created.
See our beautiful stick insect house here >>
Stick insects are fascinating with their amazing camouflage, varying sizes and different colours. They are harmless, take up little room and are very low maintenance as a pet. This along with an educational experience of learning about the insect life cycle make them a great pet for both the home and classroom. Although they aren’t cuddly pets you can touch/hold them and they will climb on you, just be careful that they don’t get a leg caught in fine weave clothing as it may break and handle with care!
To house a stick insect they simply require a tall container to live in. Something like a styrofoam esky on its end, an aquarium/tank stood on the end, two pots joined together to make a cylinder or a tall vase it covered top. Just make sure that they have breathing air holes, or use fly screen or fine mesh to allow air to get in.
They are very low maintenance pets, not requiring a lot of care. Stick insects are vegetarians (not to be confused with preying mantis) so they only eat leaves. A fresh supply of tender gum leaves in the enclosure is all they need, changing them a couple of times a week to ensure they are fresh. If they aren’t eating the ones you supply try changing for a different species/tree, and ensure they haven’t been sprayed with any chemicals. For water they just require their enclosure to be kept humid, not wet, just a light spray of water on some of the leaves a couple of times a week will be enough.
Stick insects make a very interesting pet and can be a good option for a child or family looking for an easy low maintenance pet with an added bonus of being educational by teaching kids (and adults) about the different insect life stages. A stick insect will take about 2-3 months to become an adult and then can live for up to one year.
Hopefully these stick insects that my daughters class bought home survive long enough for them to learn about the life stages of insects, hopefully moulting and going through metamorphosis for the kids to see what they have been learning about.
For more information on keeping stick insects as pets or where to get some (because yes you can buy them online and have them posted you, amazing right?) please visit Minibeasts Wildlife’s Bugshop.
With the silly season upon us, gatherings, barbeques and dinners are in full swing so it is a good time to remind everyone about the foods (human foods) that you should not be feeding your canine friend.
As much as we love to share with our dogs and think we are just being nice by sharing, it really is best to avoid feeding them human foods that they do not typically eat. Changes in diet can make your dog sick with some foods not being able to be digested by dog’s like they are by humans.
Overfeeding your dog certain foods like meats or vegetables won’t always cause concern however it could result in gastric symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation or stomach pain. Although they may not be life threatening and may pass on their own it can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort to your dog.
There are some foods that will cause little to no harm if shared in moderation and then there are others that can be extremely dangerous, causing severe illness, even being fatal. Foods that you should not be sharing with your dog include; * Ham – is very high in fat and salt causing vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst and urination and can result in severe pancreatitis and even death. * Turkey or chicken skin – once again high in fat and can lead the vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis. * Bones – cooked bones become brittle and splinter causing possible obstructions, irritation and perforations throughout the entire digestive tract. * Raisins, grapes, sultanas, currants – can be toxic, even in small quantities, causing vomiting, diarrhoea and sudden kidney failure. * Christmas pudding, fruit cake, mince pies – contain dried fruits (raisins, sultanas etc), alcohol and can be high in fat so they are a combination of a number of different dangerous foods. * Chocolate – contains theobromine and caffeine which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle twitches, seizures, heart problems and even death. * Macadamia nuts – poisonous to dog’s causing them to become weak and wobbly (particularly in hind legs) lethargic, muscle tremors, vomiting, hyperthermic and they are also a choking hazard. * Onion and garlic (often in stuffing) – toxic causing damage to the red blood cells resulting in weakness, lethargy, excessive panting, pale gums and anaemia. * Gum, mints, sugar-free candy – contains xylitol resulting in vomiting and lethargy. Xylitol causes a release of insulin and then a drop in blood sugar, can cause liver damage and even death. * Alcohol – dog’s are more sensitive to the ethanol in alcohol than people, similar symptoms to a drunk person, wobbly, lethargic, hypothermia, seizures and death.
If you see any signs or symptoms, your dog is unwell or you are concerned that they have ingested any of the dangerous foods please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice and/or treatment.
Another very important thing to keep in mind when feeding your dog or sharing foods with them is the amount you are giving them. Dog’s are generally a lot smaller than us humans and therefore their required food consumption is a lot less than a person, relevant to their size and weight. For example, giving a 10kg dog one sausage is the equivalent of an 80kg human eating 8 sausages, so yes a little excessive.
So this Christmas (and always) keep your dog safe by not sharing your food. If you just can’t resist those puppy dog eyes (like me) please avoid the dangerous foods mentioned and only share in moderation. I suggest buying some dog treats, maybe a few different varieties, and have them in a tin or container where you can grab one out as a healthy safe treat for your furry friend so they don’t feel like they are missing out.
One other thing to remember is make sure you secure any rubbish, dogs are scavengers and will happily rip open bags to find that great smelling ham scraps, turkey bones or dessert and you often don’t know until it’s too late.
Wishing you all (two-legged and four legged) a very safe and happy Christmas.
Until next time,
Vet-n-pet Direct have a large range of dog treats available for your dog that are tasty and specially designed for them, check them out here >> www.vetnpetdirect.com.au/dog-supplies-shop-vet-meds/Treats-and-Rewards-for-Dogs
We often here that Omega Oils, specifically Omega 3, 6 and 9, are beneficial to our health but did you know that they also have widespread benefits to the health of our pets?
The benefits of Omega Oils 3, 6 and 9 for our pets include;
* Promotes healthy skin and coat
* Improves dry and itchy skin
* Boosts the immune system
* Lowers blood pressure
* Reduces inflammation – particularly inflammation associated with arthritis, allergies and autoimmune diseases.
* Regulates blood clotting activity
* Supports a healthy heart and brain
Omegas 3, 6 and 9 contain essential fatty acids that are an important part of a well balanced diet to help keep your pets in optimum health. So how can you ensure that your pets are receiving enough of these important oils? Omega oils can be naturally found in a range of fish and in different oils like olive and flaxseed oil. These days a large majority of dog and cat food comes with added Omega Oils which is usually displayed on the packaging.
Sometimes the pets regular diet does not offer enough of the Omega Oils to be beneficial and therefore a supplement may be necessary, particularly in pets that have skin or coat issues or arthritis. There are a number of different supplements available ranging from powders, oils or chews to topical treatments that you apply directly to the skin. By taking a supplement that contains Omegas 3, 6 and 9 rather than each omega supplement individually is more beneficial as it ensures that your pet is receiving the correct ratio and optimal levels of each fatty acid. Popular supplements for your pets include Natural Animal Solutions Omega 3, 6 & 9 Oil, PAW Coat, Skin & Nail Chews and Essential 6.
If your pet has any pre-existing health issues you should discuss using a Omega supplement with your veterinarian. If you would like advice on what product might suit you pet best please contact the very helpful customer service team at vet-n-pet Direct.
Oh My Mozzie! They are everywhere. The big ones, the small ones and every size in between. You don’t dare leave the house without insect repellent for fear of being carried away by them. And they will only continue to get worse over the next few weeks.
After lasts weeks deluge, courtesy of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie, we were inundated with flood water, which although mostly subsided it has left some still water and puddles behind and this is providing the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to multiply.
As annoying as mosquitoes are to us humans they will also bother our pets like dogs, cats and horses. Their coats do provide some natural protection to mozzies, particularly long thick coats but the mozzies will still happily feed on the their blood.
Mosquito bites are common in pets and the majority of the time they will only cause mild skin irritation although some pets can be more allergic to their bite than others. You might find your pet’s scratching, biting or licking at an itchy mozzie bite and the skin can become irritated and inflamed. Occasionally the bites can become infected, especially if the are constantly being scratched at causing the skin to break and allowing bacteria into the wound. The greatest concern with mosquito bites is the transmission of disease. Some pathogens can be transmitted during the mosquito feeding process with the most concerning disease being Heartworm, which can be fatal if left untreated. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes from one infected host to another and most commonly affects dogs but it can also infect cats. For more information on Heartworm disease please visit the vet-n-pet DIRECT Help Centre article on Heartworm here.
So how do we keep mosquitoes off our pets and stop the biting? The key is using an insect repellent that has been specifically designed for the animal you are wanting to protect. Most repellents are pyrethrin based combined with other ingredients, some that are often found in human insect repellents. There is a wide range of insect repellent sprays available that you apply to the animal once or twice daily. There are also some creams available which often have antibacterial properties and are great for wound care and keeping insects off broken skin. Advantix for dog’s is a topical spot on treatment that you apply once a month to repel and kill stable flies, sandflies and the mosquitoes also while providing flea and tick treatment. Keeping your dog or horse covered up with a coat or rug will also help in stopping the mozzies from being able to bite them. The Weatherbeeta Supafly Dog Coat is a good choice for dog’s or a rug like KEZ Summer Ripstop Horse Rug will help protect your horse.
You should never use a human insect repellent on animals as there are some ingredients that are extremely toxic to pets such as DEET’s, which can induce vomiting, seizures and even death. Cats are particularly sensitive to synthetic pyrethrins and DEET’s so products that are suitable for use on dogs are often highly toxic to cats and should never be used directly on cats or even on dogs that have close contact with cats. If you ever think your cat has come in contact with an unsuitable repellent or if your think your pet is having an adverse reaction to a repellent please contact your veterinarian immediately for advice.
Until next time,
Vet-n-pet DIRECT have an extensive range of insect and mosquito repellents available for dogs and horses. To view the dog product range click here, to view the horse product range click here.
I saw a snake the other day near our garage. After the initial jumping, squealing and running away, I calmed down enough to realise it was only a green tree snake and I just left it alone and it went on its merry way.
Living on acreage in South East Queensland means we do occasionally see snakes, so it wasn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time that I will have a snake encounter. But it got me to thinking about first aid for snake bites and what I would do if someone or one of the animals were bitten.
A lot of us know the first aid steps to take if a person is bitten by a snake, but do you know what to do if an animal is bitten by a snake? Do you know what signs to look out for to know if your animal has been bitten?
It can be hard to know why an animal is acting sick, unwell or lethargic because unfortunately they can’t tell us what is going on. This is when we need to watch them and look for the vital clues and signs of injury, trauma or disease. Snake bites can be fatal so it is important to be aware of the symptoms of a snake bite. These symptoms can be seen soon after a snake bite or develop up to 24 hours after it has occurred.
* Swelling, irritation or bleeding at the bite site
* Shaking, trembling or muscle twitches
* Dilated pupils
* Weakness and/or collapse
* Pale gums
* Blood in the urine
* Panting or rapid breathing
The severity or presence of certain symptoms will vary depending on the type of snake that has bitten the animal and the amount of venom that has been injected.
If your pet is bitten by a snake follow the following steps;
* Stay calm
* Do not try to find, catch or kill the snake; this could lead to you getting bitten
* Keep them as still as possible and carry them to the car
* If they have been bitten on a limb apply a pressure bandage to the limb (not too tight that you cut off circulation)
* Get them to your closest vet clinic for assessment
If your pet has been bitten by a snake or even if you suspect that it is a possibility please get them to a veterinarian immediately for examination. Even if there are no symptoms presenting consult your vet for advice as symptoms can develop very quickly and death can occur. The quicker an animal is treated by a vet after a snake bite the better the prognosis.
Once the animal reaches the vet clinic or animal hospital they will be quickly assessed and examined. Initial treatment may include a snake bite identification kit, blood tests, urine tests, oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids and administration of medication. Treatment and recovery from a snakebite can take one day or up to a week in a veterinary clinic, followed by a few weeks of being kept calm with reduced activity. Treatment with anti-venom and supportive therapies is generally very successful in saving a pets life with most pets making a full recovery.
So now you know what signs to look for and what to do if your pet is bitten by a snake but I hope that you never have to put the information to use.
The beautiful hot and humid Australian Summer weather has well and truly arrived! Here are a few things to remember to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe this summer.
Parasites In the hot summer months parasites like fleas, ticks and worms thrive and can be detrimental to your pet’s health. It is important to keep flea treatments up to date, even if you don’t see any fleas on your pet. It is much easier to prevent a flea outbreak rather than eradicate one. Also be sure to use tick prevention, especially if you live in a tick area. The deadly paralysis tick can kill a pet within days, so be sure to use a tick treatment product and check your pet daily. With more mosquitoes around during summer it means that there is a higher risk of heartworm being transmitted, so be sure to stay compliant with your pets heartworm prevention. Also make sure your pet’s intestinal worming program is up to date.
Storms Storms are a part of summer and can occur at anytime. It is important to always ensure that your dog has access to safe shelter and a way to stay protected if a storm hits. Make sure that your yard and fencing is secure as dog’s often take fright in a storm and try to escape. If your dog is particularly scared or anxious in storms perhaps look at trying a product to help keep them calm like the Thundershirt, Adaptil Collars and Diffusers or HomeoPet Storm Stress.
Swimming There is no better way to cool down on a hot day than to swim, but always be sure that it is safety first. Ensure that swimming pool fences are secure and the pool area can not be accessed by your dog. Always closely supervise your dog in the pool or beach making sure you can reach them if they get into trouble. Ensure that the water they are swimming in is safe and suitable for their swimming ability.
Heat Stroke The extreme heat and humidity of summer can lead to heat stroke in pets which can quickly become life threatening. Always supply your pet with adequate cool water, plenty of shade and avoid exercising them in the heat of the day. Learn the signs of heat stroke and always contact your veterinarian immediately if you ever suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke.