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.

Help Your Dog Lose Weight: 3 Quick Tips

How many times have you heard someone say their New Year’s resolution is for weight loss? It’s a common goal for pet owners to set for themselves, but it seems many are unsure about how to help their furry friends get back to a healthy weight. In fact, did you know that around 40% of dogs in Australia are obese or overweight? To help your dog get back on track in the New Year, today we are sharing some valuable weight management information from the vets at our Casey veterinary hospital.

 

How to recognise if your dog is overweight

There are three ways to visually check if your pet is overweight:

  • Look from above: Dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass shape – not an oval shape.
  • Look from the side at eye level: A profile view of your dog at a healthy weight should show your pet’s abdomen tucked behind their ribcage.
  • Check his or her ribs: It should be easy to feel your pet’s ribs if you place your thumbs on his or her backbone and spread your hands across their ribcage. If you cannot feel them, it is possible your pet is overweight.

 

3 pet weight loss tips

Visiting the vet is the most important thing you can do to start the process of pet weight loss. Not only will a vet be able to provide a personalised weight loss plan, but they will also be able to track your pet’s progress and monitor his or her health.

We highly recommend visiting our Casey veterinary hospital for detailed advice on helping your pet lose weight, however, today we’re sharing three quick tips:

  1. Reduce your dog’s calorie intake according to your vet’s recommendation on the appropriate portion size. Measure all your pet’s meals to ensure you are serving the correct portion.
  2. Replace a third of your dog’s regular kibble with vegetables.
  3. Exercise your dog daily for around 30 minutes. This will help you tackle your New Year’s resolution at the same time!

 

See a vet at our Casey veterinary hospital

Vets in Cranbourne is dedicated to improving and maintaining your pet’s health. In fact, pet weight management is a key service offered at our Casey veterinary hospital.

Please do not hesitate to book an appointment for our Casey veterinary hospital online, or call (03) 5995 3444 to find out more about our professional weight management advice.

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.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injuries and Disease in Dogs

Spring for dogs often means increased trips to the dog park, longer walks, and more time generally spent playing and enjoying the great outdoors. With this spike in activity, pet owners may notice some changes in their pet’s movements and behaviour which may indicate a problem. Dogs may hold their back leg in a partially bent position whist standing, limp after exercise, have smaller, swollen or weakened muscles in their back legs, or be reluctant to partake in their usual physical activities. If you notice your dog has any of these symptoms, it could be a sign of cranial cruciate ligament injury or disease, the most common orthopaedic condition seen in dogs. In this article, we’ll describe the condition and how it can be treated.

What is it?

The cranial cruciate ligament is a band of connective tissue connecting the thigh bone to the lower leg bone. Its purpose is to stabilise the stifle joint between these two bones and is the dog equivalent of a knee. Cranial cruciate ligament disease or injury refers to the partial or complete rupture of this ligament which destabilises the stifle joint and can result in rear leg lameness as well as degenerative joint disease which are painful and debilitating for your dog.

What causes it?

The cranial cruciate ligament can deteriorate as a result of micro tears over time or be suddenly ruptured during strenuous physical activity. Some factors which increase the likelihood of a dog sustaining a cranial cruciate ligament injury include:

  • Breed: Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Mastiffs and Rottweilers commonly suffer from this condition
  • Age: more common in dogs over five years and in large dogs from one to two years of age
  • Weight: if your pet is overweight the pressure placed on the joint can cause strain and injury
  • A history of leg injuries
  • Arthritis

How is it diagnosed?

The first step is usually a physical examination where your vet will feel the knee to check whether the ligaments are still in place. Sometimes this physical examination needs to be done with sedation. Diagnosis is then usually confirmed via X-ray.

How is it treated?

Surgery is the most common form of treatment for dogs over 10 kilograms to prevent the progression of arthritis, restore mobility and reduce pain. After surgery, physical therapy plays an important role in rehabilitation. In smaller dogs, the condition can sometimes be managed with controlled rest, medication and physical therapy.

Prognosis

With proper care and management, the prognosis for dogs with this condition is quite good. Normal function should return in 3-6 months and even working dogs should be able to eventually return to their normal duties.

How can I prevent it?

Realistically, cranial cruciate ligament damage can occur to dogs of any breed, in any state of health and at any stage of life. As a pet owner, the best thing to do is to ensure your pet remains within a healthy weight range and book regular check-ups with the vet so that any orthopaedic conditions can quickly be detected and treated.

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.

Treat Your Dog: 3 Helpful DIY Treats

The fact that there are so many regular dog treats on the market means that, for many, it’s easy to pick and choose which ones to buy. But for some, it isn’t that simple. What if your dog is allergic to most treats? Or diabetic? In these cases, DIY treats might be your best option. Today, we’ve collected three DIY recipes to help you out.

 

Hypoallergenic Dog Biscuits – for dogs that are allergic to most treats

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 cup rice flour

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 175˚C and lightly grease a cookie tray lined with baking paper
  • Combine all ingredients apart from the water in a bowl and mix well until it is combined
  • Add a teaspoon of water at a time until the dough is formed
  • Roll out the dough at around 6mm thickness on a floured surface and cut into cookie shapes as desired
  • Place cookies on the lined tray and bake for 12 minutes or until slightly browned on the undersides
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely
  • Store in an airtight container in the pantry

 

Fresh Breath Dog Biscuits – improves the smell of your dog’s breath

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups of oats
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C and line a cookie tray with baking paper
  • Pulse the oats in a blender until they reach a consistency that resembles flour
  • Whisk together the mint, parsley, egg, water and oil in a large bowl
  • Add the oat flour to the wet ingredients, stirring to combine
  • Knead the dough and flatten it on a floured surface until it is around 3mm thick
  • Cut out the cookie dough into the shapes you’d like
  • Place the cookies on the tray 1-2cm apart and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and crispy
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely
  • Store in an airtight container in the pantry

 

Diabetic-Friendly Dog Biscuits – for dogs that are diabetic

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 600g beef liver, chopped

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 175˚C and line a 25 x 40cm jellyroll pan with baking paper
  • Pulse the liver in a food processor until it is finely chopped
  • Add the eggs and flour in the processor until the mix is smooth
  • Spread the mix evenly in the pan
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the centre is firm
  • Cool completely and cut into squares – the biscuits should feel spongey
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge

 

Looking for a vet in Casey? Vets in Cranbourne is here to help. We are a local veterinary clinic devoted to caring for your pets’ health. Call us on (03) 5995 3444 today to schedule an appointment.

 This article has been written courtesy of Wide Open Pets and recipes listed on their website.