Read on to find out how some common health issues can be prevented with the right knowledge and advice. The old saying is certainly true- “Prevention is better than a cure”.
Spring is the perfect time show off our green-thumbs, by filling our homes and gardens with luscious flowers and plants! As beautiful as they can look, some of these can pose a threat to our furry friends.
Cats, dogs, birds and pocket-pets alike can become curious and easily tempted for a nibble of your new plant. Some pets can become itchy or even unwell, just by sniffing or brushing against these troublesome plants.
Here are some of the more common, more toxic plants and flowers that could cause problems for your pet:
- Daffodils & jonquils
- Devil’s ivy (pothos)
- Diffenbachia (dumb cane)
- Lillies (including Asiatic, day, Easter, Japanese show, stargazer, tiger, red, western and wood lillies)
- Philodendrons (including swiss cheese plant, heart leaf and fiddle leaf philodendrons)
- Sage palm
- Yesterday, today, tomorrow
Of course, there are many other types of plants that can upset your pet.
Some of the more common symptoms these plants can cause if ingested include:
- Itchy or red skin
- Itchy and irritated eyes
- Excessive and unusual drooling
- Excessive or unusual thirst
- Disorientation or a lack of coordination
- Pain around the abdomen area
- Difficulty or rapid breathing
- Lack of appetite
These symptoms can vary greatly depending on which plant your pet may have come into contact with, so you may only notice one or two – it is important to be diligent and act fast.
If you are concerned your pet may have ingested a toxic plant, be sure to give us a call right away so we can commence diagnosis and treatment. If you can, take a photo of the plant, or take a snippet so we can identify what it is causing the issue.
If you have any questions or are worried about your pets interacting with any of the plants in your home or garden, give our friendly team a call on 07 3357 3882 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Springtime is the perfect time to shake off those winter blues and freshen up our homes for the busier, warmer months ahead. While we are clearing out and cleaning up, some of the products and tools we use potentially threaten our pets if not handled properly!
Check out some of the issues that can occur for our furry and feathered friends when they come into contact with common household cleaning chemicals:
- Ensure that any cleaning products you use are out of reach of your pets and stored securely, so they don’t end up accidentally ingesting any poisons. Also, be aware of where you’ve cleaned with a harsh chemical – sometimes, when dry, the residue might taste appealing to your pet.
- Do not use aerosol sprays around pets, especially birds! Move the animals to another room altogether to avoid them breathing in any chemicals or particles.
- Ensure that pet’s food and water supply is also clear of any chemicals you may be spraying – droplets and particles can easily contaminate food and water, leading to ingestion later on.
- When disposing of chemicals or their container, be sure your pet cannot access the rubbish bin.
- Bottle caps, elastic bands, plastic bags, sponges, and other scrubbing implements can become choking hazards, should they fall into the wrong paws! Make sure these are stored safely and out of reach of your pet.
- When airing out your home for a clean, make sure that all window and door screens are secure and that your indoor pet cannot sneak out unnoticed!
- Mops, sponges, and brooms can appear like a fun, interesting new toy for a playful puppy or curious kitten! Be sure to keep your fur-baby away from these to avoid any loose bristles being eaten.
If you suspect your pet has ingested or inhaled any cleaning poisons, call us immediately.
The following symptoms are signs your pet could be poisoned and seriously ill:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sneezing and/or coughing
If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call on 07 3357 3882 today, or book an appointment online.
As the weather warms up, we start to see more parasite problems for all sorts of pets.
Here are some of the more common parasites we come across, as well as some information on the problems they cause and how to get rid of them.
Fleas are relatively easy to spot, and if not, your pet will let you know! Look out for these clues:
- Your pet might constantly be scratching or chewing and become quite irritable.
- You might notice red, sore-looking bumps or blisters on your pet’s skin.
- If you look close enough, you might see ‘flea dirt’ – this is a flea waste product that looks like tiny little flecks of pepper.
- Sometimes, you can even see the fleas moving around themselves – tiny little brown or black wingless insects, with an incredible jump!
Flea bites are not only uncomfortable and frustrating for your pets, but they can also lead to serious wound infections, anaemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis.
Moving swiftly is the key to flea treatment! You will need to treat:
- Every pet in your household
- Pet bedding
- Any other soft furnishings a flea or its eggs might be hiding
In clinic, we offer a wide range of products and tools to treat your pet for fleas, and we can offer some very helpful tips for dealing with an outbreak. Give us a call if you have any questions, or book online to organise an appointment.
Ticks can be found in every state of Australia. There are many different species of ticks, and some pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of our pets. The most common species that affect our pets are the paralysis tick, the bush tick, the cattle tick, and the brown dog tick.
- Paralysis ticks are particularly dangerous, as they deliver a neurotoxin into our pet’s bloodstream as they feed, leading to severe paralysis of the muscles – including the heart, proving fatal.
- Brown dog ticks are not deadly themselves but can cause dermatitis and anaemia, as well as carry some nasty diseases, including Ehrlichiosis, which has only recently been discovered in more northern parts of Australia, and is spreading to some southern parts.
The best practice is to regularly check your dog for ticks after being outside – run your fingers through their coats to feel for any unusual lumps on their skin. Be sure to check over your pets’ entire body, especially:
- Around their head and ears
- Inside their ears
- In their mouths
- Under their tail
- Between their toes
- Underneath their collar
Ticks are sneaky and can easily latch on to many different areas on your pet.
If you come across a tick, be sure to give us a call to organise its removal as soon as possible – it is vital to act quickly and we will ensure to remove all of the tick – even a small part leftover can continue to cause problems for your furry friend.
Keeping your dog protected year-round from ticks is key – we recommend tick prevention treatments like spot-on drops or tick collars. Speak to us today for our recommendation and prevent your pet from any unnecessary discomfort and illness.
Dogs, cats, rodents. and birds make for easy targets and tasty snacks for mosquitoes. While the mosquito bite itself is more annoying than threatening, mosquitoes can spread heartworm and other potentially fatal parasites to your pets.
We recommend making sure there is no stagnant or still water around the backyard – this is where mosquito larvae grow. If possible, bring your pets indoors between dusk and dawn, or make sure they have a safe, meshed area to sleep in. Pet safe mosquito and insect repellents are available that may be used. Speak to us if you have any concerns about mozzies in your area.
Many different worms can affect our pets! Some species are not exclusive to cats and dogs, but rodents, birds, and reptiles too. Some more common worms we see are:
These worms can be transmitted in several ways, including:
- Coming into contact with (or eating) soil, grass, or faeces containing larvae or eggs,
- Coming into direct contact with an infected animal
- Transmitted in-utero or through milk fed to babies
- Via insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas
Symptoms associated with worm infestations can include:
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss
- Visible worms – either in stools or around the anus
- Lung disease
Prevention is the best cure – by administering regular preventatives which are available in various forms and combinations with other parasite control products. Ask our team for advice on the best preventative for your pet. If your pet is unwell, please book a consultation.
Giardia is a lesser-known parasite that is surprisingly common. It is a microscopic protozoan that can infect humans, dogs, and cats.
Giardia contaminates bodies of water – it can be ingested by your pet when drinking or having a swim, this is why we see cases of giardia infection more often in the warmer months. Signs your pet may be infected include:
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Reduced activity
- Sudden or inexplicable weight loss
- Bloody stools
Giardia is not usually life-threatening, but it is important to treat as your pet will feel unwell.
Give us a call or book an appointment if you think your pet may have giardia, it can be easily treated with after diagnosis.
If you have any concerns about parasites and your pet, give us a call on 07 3357 3882 to organise a consultation or book online to discuss these with your vet.
Around springtime, we often see an increase in itchy skin (dermatitis) and ear infections in dogs and cats.
How to spot itchy skin
You should know almost right away if your cat or dog has dermatitis. Here are a few of the common signs:
- Constant scratching, licking, or chewing at the skin
- Flaky, scaly, or greasy skin
- Unusual and excessive hair loss in isolated or large areas
- Inflamed, swollen, broken, or bleeding areas of skin (usually caused by scratching, chewing, licking)
- Hives or red bumps or rashes
- Unpleasant smelling skin (especially in dogs)
Areas most commonly affected in both cats and dogs include the ears, ankles, underarms, groin and lower abdomen, around the eyes, and the muzzle region of their face.
What causes itchy skin?
There can be many causes of dermatitis in dogs and cats. Some of the more common causes include:
- Allergies (caused by dust mites, mould spores, pollen, grasses, plant sap, household chemicals, etc.)
- Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites
- Generally dry skin
- Skin infections (like eczema, ringworm fungus, yeast, and other bacterial infections)
- Foreign objects (i.e., a grass seed, thorn, splinter, or other foreign matter stuck in your pet’s skin)
- Boredom or anxiety (chewing and licking the skin due to boredom can upset the skin’s natural balance and lead to greater irritations)
- Wet or damp fur for prolonged periods of time
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal imbalances
Most of these conditions have very simple, effective treatments, including dietary changes, parasite control treatments (topical and ingested), pet-safe moisturisers, and grooming.
Does your cat or dog have an ear infection?
Look out for these common ear infection symptoms:
- Constant or unusual shaking or tilting of the head
- Constant or unusual scratching or pawing of the ears
- Swelling or red skin around or inside the ears
- Unpleasant smelling ears
- Brown, yellow, black, or green discharge in or around the ears
There are many different causes of ear infections in pets:
- Foreign objects (dirt, grass seeds, etc.)
- Trapped fluid (water from swimming or playing)
- Ear mites
- Excessive wear wax
Some breeds of dogs with floppy ears are also very prone to ear infections. We recommend regular ear cleaning to prevent infections; speak to us and learn how to do this safely and comfortably for your pet.
If you are worried your pet has an ear infection or dermatitis, please book an appointment online, or give us a call on 07 3357 3882 so we can diagnose the problem and recommend a quick and efficient treatment.
Springtime means grass seed season, and for something so tiny, they can cause a lot of big problems for your pet! The issues they can cause range from minor discomfort right through to potentially life-threatening conditions.
Grass seeds are naturally designed to travel – they are small, lightweight, come in all different shapes, and are spiky or sticky, meaning they can be easily picked up and caught in all kinds of uncomfortable places – it can be tricky to know what to look for.
When checking your pet for grass seeds, make sure to inspect their coat thoroughly – the hair can become matted if the seed has been there for a longer period. Be sure to remove the seed as soon as you see it (pick or cut it out of your pet’s fur), as it can easily become lodged in another area, causing bigger issues.
Be sure to keep an eye out for grass seeds in these other areas:
- Feet – this is the most common place for grass seeds to cause problems. Once lodged in the skin between the toes, they can track deeply into the foot itself. This can create a ‘draining sinus’ – which is a small hole in the foot, which oozes discharge. Look for persistent licking at the feet/toes, limping, swelling and discharge.
- Eyes – your pet’s eye can become irritated, red, sore and potentially swollen if there is a seed stuck here. This can lead to ulcers on the eyes, and potentially further problems. Look for discharge or rubbing of the eye area.
- Nose – grass seeds can easily be sucked into your pet’s nasal passages while they are sniffing around. If the seed makes it all the way to the lungs, it can cause serious infection. Look for persistent sneezing and nasal discharge.
- Ears – seeds lodged in the ears are particularly dangerous. The can lead to a ruptured eardrum and chronic ear infections. Look for a sudden head tilt, persistent head shaking or ear flicking, and red, inflamed ears which may be smelly and have discharge.
- Mouth & throat – a lodged seed could easily be pushed through tissue and move to internal organs, causing a whole new suite of problems. Look for coughing, gagging/retching, pawing at the mouth, excessive salivation/drooling, reluctance to eat or drink, or your pet appearing generally unwell.
Unfortunately, grass seeds are an unavoidable part of having fun outside in the warmer months. Try to keep your pet away from longer grass (especially if you can see the seeds!) and make brushing a regular occurrence after a walk or time outside. Always check thoroughly between every toe after a walk in grass seed areas.
Keeping long hair on feet and paws trimmed short will help with preventing grass seeds being caught, and makes finding and removing them much easier.
If you cannot remove a grass seed from your pet’s coat (with your fingers, tweezers or scissors), give us a call to organise removal. If you find a seed lodged in their skin, mouth, eyes, ears, or another body part – please do not try to remove it yourself! You can inadvertently push the seed further into the tissue, making removal far more complicated.
If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call on 07 3357 3882 today, or book an appointment online.
The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) causes feline AIDS and is relatively common in Australia and New Zealand, with up to 25% of domestic cats testing positive for the virus.
This disease is incurable. It compromises the efficiency of a cat’s immune system by killing or damaging cells – allowing them to be far more susceptible and likely to succumb to common illnesses and viruses.
How is FIV transmitted?
The virus is spread by blood or saliva transfer between cats, through:
- Biting (between fighting or mating cats)
- A mother cat and her kittens
What are the symptoms of FIV?
Symptoms may not develop for many years in a large percentage of infected cats, and some may never experience any. When symptoms do develop, the most commonly observed are:
- Severe dental (and gum) disease
- Weight loss
- Kidney disease
- Eye and mouth discharge
- Swollen/enlarged lymph nodes
- Eye diseases
- Neurological issues
How is feline AIDS treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure or specific treatment for feline AIDS.
Veterinarians will treat each individual problem in an infected cat as and when it occurs. Often, the cat will appear to return to full health before they become ill again.
Protect your cat from FIV
You can protect your cat to an extent by keeping them indoors and limiting their exposure to unknown cats.
We recommend vaccination for high-risk cats. Vaccination will cover two strains of FIV, and is up to 80% effective.
We will run a test to ensure your cat has not already contracted the virus before beginning a vaccination program and annual booster shot.
Call our team on 07 3357 3882 or book online today to organise your appointment.
With springtime upon us, we can expect to see more blossoming trees and flowers popping up all over the garden – and with that comes bees. Your dog or cat might think a bee is a harmless new friend, providing a bit of excitement and fun with a game of chase! Often this can result in your pet receiving a bee sting to the face, mouth, or paws.
Has my pet been stung?
It will be very clear almost immediately if your pet has been stung. Keep an eye out for:
- A sudden or continuing cry from your pet, indicating pain and discomfort
- Your pet running around in circles or otherwise erratically
- Licking, chewing, or pawing the same spot repeatedly
- Unusual swelling
- Excessive drooling
- Pale gums
In some extreme cases, pets can experience severe reactions and experience vomiting, collapse, hives, profound swelling, and difficulty breathing. If your pet has been stung by more than one bee or in the mouth or throat, their reaction is more likely to be severe, and they can potentially experience anaphylactic shock. It is essential to act fast.
What should I do if my pet has been stung?
Stay calm! Panicking will only increase your pet’s stress.
The stinger will continue to release venom until it has been removed, causing pain and discomfort.
If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned severe reactions, give us a call and make your way in to see us immediately.
If your pet is having a mild reaction and experiencing discomfort only:
- Try to locate the site of the sting
- If you can find it, remove the stinger gently with tweezers
Once you are sure the stinger has been removed:
- Apply cool water via washing the site or pressing it gently with a wet cloth.
- Keep an eye on your pet for any developing symptoms, and ensure they are well hydrated.
If your pet appears uncomfortable or develops a more severe reaction after removing the sting, please give us a call for further advice.
Breed: Domestic Long Hair
Sex: Female – Speyed
Age: 15y 8m
Current Weight: 2.9kgs
History: Lucy is a much loved patient here at Wilston Vet. She presented to the clinic to see Dr Kate as her appetite had recently decreased and she seemed to be losing weight. A complete blood profile had been performed earlier in the year and happily her results had been normal, ruling out many of the causes for weight loss and reduced appetite in older felines.
Age: 11yrs old
Breed: Devon Rex
Sex: Male, desexed
History: Monty has been coming to see us since the age of 2 (in 2004). He is a feisty kitty that has never been a fan of getting into his carry cage and coming to the vets, he lets us ALL know how he is feeling with a few hisses here and there!
Age: 13yrs old
Breed: Miniature Pinscher
Sex: Male, desexed
History: A couple of months ago 13yr old Milo walked into his owners kitchen with a suddenly swollen nose. As you can see in the picture below it was quite noticeable and his family were quite worried.