What do I do if I find kittens?

It’s Spring, the season of adorable baby animals, and that means kittens are going to be out in abundance! Already, we have been inundated with requests from kind members of the public to help with small kittens that have been found in sheds and under houses. If you find yourself with a surprise family in your backyard, we have some tips to help you help them. 

If you find a litter of kittens – become a covert-op spy:

If you find a litter of kittens it’s best not to assume that kittens have been abandoned. Whether it’s to hunt for food, perform perimeter checks, or just for a little break – mother cats will leave their kittens for periods of time during the day. Sometimes, she may even be in the process of moving them to a new location when you stumble across them. She will do this one at a time, and only if she thinks you aren’t looking!

The best thing you can do is observe them from a safe distance (think 15 meters at least), secret agent style. Check every hour or so to see if the mother returns. If you spy her moving her kittens about it’s best she thinks you haven’t seen her, or she’ll likely move them again for safety’s sake. 

Helping the cat-family:

  • If you want to help keep mum and her kittens near, it’s best to leave them untouched, but you can leave some food and water in a safe place out of reach of the litter. If mum is comfortable eating and drinking from a place near her kittens, it’s less likely she’ll have reason to leave.
  • If they seem settled, it’s best to ask around (through Facebook, bulletin boards, the good old fashioned phone book) and find out if the cat and her kittens have owners. 
  • If you know that the cats are unowned, it’s recommended that they are trapped and handed in when the kittens are 3 weeks or older. Get in touch with your local rescue or vet for advice on how to do this in a way that won’t freak them out, or separate the family!
  • Avoid separating the kittens from their mum, as they are entirely dependent on her when they are under 4 weeks old.

What to do if the mother cat has not come back:

It’s uncommon for a mother cat to leave her kittens behind. If you have observed the litter (sneakily and from afar) and you’re certain that the mother isn’t returning, then there is cause for action! Small orphan kittens under 8 weeks can be handed into vet clinics and rescue groups straight away – you can tell how old they are by how they look:

  • Newborns: completely helpless, their eyes are closed and their ears are folded. They can’t stand, eat or toilet on their own, and they also can’t regulate their own heat. 
  • 1 Week: kittens are starting to open their eyes, and to become more aware of their surroundings. Their ears will start to unfold and they will wiggle around on their own a little more. They still depend on regular feeds and toileting from mum. 
  • 2 Weeks: Eyes and ears are open, and you’ll start to hear little mewling sounds coming from them as they discover their surroundings. They have begun kneading, and still can’t retract their little claws. They still depend on regular feeds and toileting from mum. 
  • 3 Weeks: You can tell by now if the kittens are boys or girls, their teeth are coming in and their walking is becoming more confident. They will start toileting themselves, and will be more active and mobile. Some wet food can be eaten.
  • 4 Weeks: Kittens are sturdier, playing with each other, toys and people. 
  • 5 Weeks: Kittens now have a measure of independence, and will be more active – their personalities will begin to show through, they will likely be exploring a lot. They will climb and run and will be interested in solids.
  • 6 Weeks: Kittens are mobile now, can eat cat food – although they will want mum for comfort and some feeds. 

If you need to move kittens who are up to 5 weeks old, they should be placed in a box (good air ventilation is a must) with blankets or towels, ideally with a warm hot water bottle underneath. Abandoned kittens should be handed to your vet or a rescue group who can care for them, because when they are young need constant attention and care.
They are lactose intolerant, and will need specialised formula made to imitate their mother’s milk. They will need regular feeds, every 2 hours if they are under 2 weeks, every 3 hours if they are 3 weeks, and every 4 hours if they are 4-5 weeks!

Helping cats and kittens where you can is a great and heartwarming thing to do – but the best thing you can do is ensure that they won’t end up homeless, and pregnant again. Finding forever homes, plus the cost of vaccinating and desexing kittens is no small task. Rescue groups will ensure that they receive the care they need, and when they are old enough – will ensure that the cats are desexed, microchipped and vaccinated. You can do your part by helping us help the kittens by donating time, money, or supplies to vet clinics, or rescue groups like our favourite cat charity Maneki Neko based right here in Melbourne. 

For info about Maneki Neko, and their upcoming Kitten Shower to raise funds for rearing kittens – click here, or check them out on Facebook.  

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 call us for advice.

Is your pet overweight?

When it comes to your pet, you might think that carrying a few extra kilos isn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, even slightly overweight pets are at an increased risk of developing a host of diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes.

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no ideal weight for every breed. The key is to know what to look out for so you can identify when your pet is getting a bit portly.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos:

  • Look at your pet from above – an overweight pet will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they may resemble a barrel on legs.  
  • Have a feel of your pet’s ribs – if you can’t feel their ribs easily when you run your hands over their sides, they are hidden under a layer of fat. In some cases, you may be able to feel rolls of fat over the ribs.
  • Can you see their neck? A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

Thankfully, getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think.

Physical exercise is a must, and it will be crucial to monitor the amount, as well as what type of food you are feeding your pet. Get your family involved in the process toomeasuring the correct scoops of food per feeding, and stop them sneaking scraps from the dinner table to the pampered pet!

It’s also easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet’s weight. Keep these calorie translator facts in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes:

For the average 5kg cat: a glass of milk is equivalent to a human eating 3 hamburgers! (not to mention the fact that cats can’t digest the lactose in cow’s milk)

For a 10kg dog: a 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers!

The best news is, we have diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate. We are happy to say that many of our patients have had great success with these so you should ask us for more information.

Helping your pet lose weight is easier than you think and we will help support you and your pet through the process.

How Do I Register And Microchip My Pet?

Registering and microchipping your pet are two processes that every pet owner is legally obliged to complete. At the end of the day, doing so ultimately helps to keep your pet safe should they ever go missing. But how does registering and microchipping work? In today’s blog, our vet in Casey is giving you all the information you need to get started.

 

How to register your pet

The first thing that needs to be done in the registration process is actually microchipping – not registering. A microchip is about as small as a grain of rice and is implanted just under your pet’s skin. Your pet’s electronic number is stored within the microchip in case they get lost. A microchip can only be implanted by someone who is authorised, such as a vet or an animal welfare organisation.

After this, you simply register your pet with your local council. You will be required to provide your pet’s microchip number on the registration form. The council will then send you a unique identification tag within two weeks of completing the form. Your pet must wear this at all times.

 

Renewing your registration

In Melbourne, the date of registration renewal every year is the 10th of April. That means you need to ensure your pet’s registration has been renewed before that date. Renewing after this date may incur an infringement.

 

Staying up-to-date with details

If any of your details happen to change after registering and microchipping your pet, you’ll need to do the following:

If you’ve moved councils, you’ll also need to provide a copy of your original registration certificate in order to transition your pet’s registration to the new council.

 

Book an appointment with a vet in Casey

Not sure about where to microchip your pet? Vets in Cranbourne is a vet in Casey that can provide all the information you’ll need about microchipping and registration. We also provide a range of other pet services, including general check-ups, dental care, de-sexing and other types of surgery too.

For any more questions you may have about caring for your pet, please get in touch with our vet in Casey on (03) 5995 3444 today, or book an appointment with us online.

The Christmas Treats That Aren’t Pet-Friendly

In December, our Cranbourne vet sees a lot of patients with tummy upsets which can often be traced back to too many rich festive foods. Ideally, pets should not ever be fed processed foods as their stomachs have not evolved to digest them and so eating them often leads to diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

 

However, there are some festive ingredients (and inedible) which can cause more serious health issues including:

  • Candy wrappers/toothpicks/skewers: If something smells good, your pet will eat it, even if it’s not edible. These are just some of the things that can get swallowed and stuck in your pet’s oesophagus or intestines.
  • Poinsettias: These traditional flowers are toxic to dogs and cats, so keep them out of reach or out of the house altogether if your pet likes to nibble on plants.
  • Raw or undercooked meats: The bacteria in raw or undercooked meat makes pets sick too! If you do give your pet some meat over the festive season, it should be boneless and without seasoning- lean cuts like chicken breast are ideal.
  • Dough: Once ingested, the raw dough will continue to rise in your pet’s stomach and it can cause life-threatening bloat or alcohol poisoning (from the yeast).
  • Alcohol, tea and coffee: Whilst tea leaves and coffee are only likely to cause a stomach upset, alcohol is toxic to pets and can be lethal even in small amounts.
  • Sage: Toxic to cats, this herb can cause central nervous problems.

Has your pet consumed any of the above? We recommend you book an appointment with our Cranbourne vet clinic immediately.

Protecting Your Pets From The Sun

During summer, most of our pet patients visit our Cranbourne veterinary clinic because they have been overexposed to the harsh sun. In this blog, we are explaining the different health consequences that this exposure can have on your pet. We’ve also put together a quick 5-step grooming guide for owners to care for their pets during summer.

Sunburn

Pets can get sunburnt too! Whilst any breed of animal can get sunburnt, pets with white or lightly pigmented hair are particularly susceptible. Sun damage usually occurs where your pet’s hair coat is at its thinnest. For cats and rabbits, sunburn is most common on the tips of the ears, eyelids and noses; for dogs, sunburn is most common on muzzles, armpits, abdomens and groins.

Like humans, sunburnt pets will have skin that looks red and flaky. Longer term sun damage shows up as thickened or scarred skin with ulceration and crusting. This skin is also susceptible to secondary bacterial infections and sun cancers may also develop.

 

How to protect your pet from the sun – slip, slop, shade

  • If you have an all-white or light coloured dog, or they have a thin coat, invest in sun-protective clothing. (Yes, they make sun shirts for pets!) Just make sure they don’t overheat in them.
  • Use a pet-specific sunscreen (available in our East Kew veterinary clinic) to ward off sunburn. Apply as directed to vulnerable areas twice a day.
  • Try to keep your pets out of the sun between 10am and 4pm. UV rays are at their strongest between these times so keep them in a well-shaded area of your yard or inside under the air con.

 

Pad burn

Did you know: When the air temperature is 25°C, the temperature of asphalt in the sun is 51°C. You can fry an egg at 55°C so imagine what that feels like on your dog’s feet!

The pads of your dog’s feet are as thick as the skin on the soles of your own feet, so walking your dog on surfaces like asphalt, concrete and brick during the summer months can burn the skin in as little as 60 seconds.

The best way to test if the pavement is too hot for walking your dog is to press your own hand onto the surface for 7-8 seconds. If it’s uncomfortable for you, then it will be uncomfortable for your dog.

Other summer walking tips to keep in mind:

  • Walk your dog in the morning rather than the evening, as asphalt retains heat.
  • Walk on dirt or grass paths which don’t soak up the heat at the same rate.
  • Consider investing in protective booties for your dog.

 

Our summer grooming guide

  1. Get your dog a summer cut but make sure they are not shaved all the way down to the skin as this makes them susceptible to sunburn.
  2. Cats typically do not need to be shaved unless they are unable to groom themselves.
  3. Bathe your dog once every few weeks using pet-friendly shampoo. Bathing more often or with products meant for humans can cause irritation.
  4. Check in between your dog’s paw pads after they have been playing outdoors – burrs and grass seeds can work their way into the skin and cause irritation or infection.
  5. Summer is flea and tick season! Make sure your pet is up to date with their parasite control and chat with your vet if you’re planning on taking your pet to the beach (other parts of Victoria and Australia are home to different kinds of parasites).

Vets in Cranbourne is a Cranbourne veterinary clinic that is dedicated to supporting our community with helpful veterinary advice and services. Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment at our clinic today!

3 Key Signs Your Pet Has Heatstroke (And What To Do About It)

Summer for us humans usually means going to the beach, eating ice cream, or turning on our air cons and relaxing at home. Summer for pets is a little different. While they may get to spend more time outdoors, they can’t decide to eat something cold or turn on a fan. This means that during summer, our pets are at risk of suffering from heatstroke – a potentially fatal condition that we have seen time and time again at our Cranbourne veterinary clinic. To help you recognise heatstroke in your pet, we have put together this quick guide of symptoms to look out for.

 

#1: Increased panting and salivation

Our bodies deal with heat very differently to the way our pets’ bodies do. While we have sweat glands all over our bodies to help cool us down, cats, dogs and pocket pets only have sweat glands in small, limited areas (such as around their feet and noses).

When they want to cool down, they will also try to pant, which of course only works to a certain extent. When your pet overheats, they might therefore try their best to keep panting to cool themselves down.

 

#2: Muscle tremors and seizures

After rapid panting fails to cool your pet down, often breathing will become slower. In some cases, breathing can even stop. This is when your pet may collapse and start to experience muscle tremors and seizures.

 

#3: Nosebleeds or blood in vomit and diarrhoea

Heatstroke can occur within minutes. Blood in your pet’s vomit or diarrhoea can indicate that small blood vessels have burst due to overheating. Nosebleeds can also be indicative of internal overheating.

 

Have you noticed any of these symptoms?

Heatstroke is an extremely serious veterinary emergency. If you notice any of these three key signs of heatstroke in your dog, cat or pocket pet, the first thing you must do is arrange to see a vet immediately.

In the meantime, you should also:

  • Help to cool down your pet by removing them from the hot environment, spraying or applying cool (not cold) water, and then using a fan to speed up the cooling process
  • Wetting the areas around your pet.

Vets in Cranbourne is a Cranbourne veterinary clinic that is dedicated to supporting the local community of pets and pet owners. If you have noticed any signs that your cat, dog or pocket pet is suffering from heatstroke, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our vets on (03) 5995 3444 immediately.

How to Settle Your Pet into a New Home

Moving to a new house is a stressful experience for all members of the family, but it can be especially hard on pets as the majority of their life is spent in the home and look upon it as their territory. Here are a few ways you can minimise the stress your pet may experience when moving and help them settle into their new home.

In the lead-up

  • Take your dog to visit the new property if possible so they can familiarise themselves with the house and the yard. Giving them a treat or feed when you are there will also help encourage positive associations.
  • Update your pet’s microchip information with your new address.
  • Register your pet with the new council, or update their details if you are staying in the same council area.
  • Ask your current veterinarian for your vet’s vaccination certificates, medical information and any prescriptions so your new vet has a complete record of your pet’s health history.

On moving day

On the day you move, it’s best to have your pets minded elsewhere to minimise their anxiety, ensure they are not going to trip up the movers, or escape whilst the furniture is being moved into the truck.

Once you arrive

  • Take your dog for regular walks around your new neighbourhood so they can familiarise themselves with their new surrounds. Don’t let them off the lead for the first week or so.
  • Confine your outdoor cat to the new house for at least the first three weeks and then slowly introduce them to their new surrounds with short, supervised trips outdoors. This way your cat will be comfortable in their new home before they go exploring.
  • Keep the same bedding, toys and bowl your pet had at your previous home and avoid washing their bedding for a few weeks after you move so your pet has something familiar and comforting.
  • Stick to the same feeding, walking and grooming routine you had previously to help your pet feel at home.
  • It’s not unusual for animals to be anxious and go off their food after moving home but they should go back to their regular eating habits after a few days. If your pet’s appetite doesn’t pick up in a week, take them to the vet.

 

 

Vets in Cranbourne has plenty of experience helping pets and their owners move to a new house. If your pet is prone to anxiety, talk to us prior to the move and we will be able to provide you with some care tips and perhaps even some medication to ensure a smooth transition. If you have recently moved to the Cranbourne area and have noticed your pet has continued to display signs of distress and anxiety after the first few weeks of the move (such as escaping, destructive behaviours, excessive barking, hiding or obsessive habits for dogs and excessive fur pulling and grooming for cats) our behavioural experts will work to find a solution that’s tailored to your pet’s unique needs and circumstances. Book an appointment online or by calling (03) 5995 3444.

3 Signs Your Pet Has Seasonal Allergies

Spring is here and while this means more fun in the sun it can also mean a flare up of allergies. This can be an incredibly uncomfortable time for your pet so it’s important to keep an eye out for allergies. If untreated your pet will become distressed and even develop a nasty infection. If you’re not sure what the warning signs are, don’t stress. On this blog, we are sharing the three major signs that your pet has seasonal allergies.

Scratching and biting

One of the major signs that your pet is having a reaction is an increase in scratching and biting themselves. If your pet has an itch they will scratch it. A lot. If the scratching and biting are nonstop and excessive then it’s time to take your beloved pet to the vet. If left too long they will start breaking the skin, bleeding and creating sores that easily get infected. Before you call your vet, give your pet a quick check for fleas and that you are up to date with all necessary worm medication.

Inflamed skin

While you are checking for fleas, take note of your pet’s skin. Is it red or pinkish? Are there any rashes? Is it sore to touch? If yes, then your pet’s skin is inflamed and needs treatment. The skin usually gets this way from the excessive scratching and can lead to issues like skin lesions and dangerous infections. You can help sooth the raw and itchy skin with special moisturizers, coconut oil or applying something cool. However, you should contact your vet to organise the right treatment for your pet.

Excessive licking

Paw licking is a normal part of a cat or a dogs grooming routine, however, if it becomes incessant then it is a sign they have allergies. If they are not itching or biting other areas this still means they are most likely having a reaction. It just means that their paws have come into contact with something that’s triggered a reaction. You might need to backtrack to figure out what it is, but your vet will be able to help you with that.

If your pet is showing these symptoms, don’t stress. Vets In Cranbourne can easily find a treatment that works for you and your pet. If you have any questions or want to book an appointment, please call us on (03) 5995 3444.

Dry Food vs. Wet Food: Which Is Better For My Pet?

Whether you have a cat or a dog, you’ll want to know about both dry and canned pet food, simply because of the dizzying number of choices available. Today, we have put together a quick guide weighing up the key benefits and downsides to both, and which you should choose.

 

About dry pet food

Pet owners of both cats and dogs often opt for dry pet food for a few different reasons, such as:

  • It is less expensive when compared to canned food
  • It has a long shelf life and can be bought and stored in larger quantities, making it far more convenient
  • It can be left out for your pet to eat as they please
  • Because it is hard and dry, it scrapes tartar and plaque, which is better for dental health.

 

About canned pet food

Canned pet food is beneficial because it contains a lot more water than dry food; hence, it is often referred to as ‘wet food’. The hydration helps to alleviate dehydration as well as kidney or urinary problems in both cats and dogs. Therefore, wet food is often recommended for pets with these issues.

There are, however, some cons to canned pet food:

  • It must be refrigerated and can be stored for no more than a week, which can be inconvenient
  • It is more expensive than dry food
  • Wet food leads to more gastrointestinal disturbances, such as diarrhea
  • Pets predisposed to dental issues will need more attentive dental care, as wet food is sticky and does not fight plaque or tartar.

 

So: dry food or wet food?

After weighing up these pros and cons, it is clear to see that dry pet food holds more benefits than wet food. Not only is it easier to store and more affordable to purchase, but the health and dental benefits outnumber those of wet food.

While research is essential, each pet is different. Therefore, it is also a good idea to ask your vet what kind of food your pet should be eating. Looking for a vet in Cranbourne? Our veterinary clinic is fully equipped with the medical equipment and skills necessary to treat your pet. Just give us a call today on (03) 5995 3444 to schedule an appointment with a vet in Cranbourne.