(03) 5261 4137
29 Surfcoast Highway, Torquay, VIC 3228
1A Diggers Parade, Anglesea, VIC 3230
Torquay Veterinary Hospital
29 Surfcoast Highway, Torquay
Monday to Friday - 9:00am til 6:00pm
Saturday - 9:00am til 1.00pm
Anglesea Veterinary Clinic
1A Diggers Parade, Anglesea
Monday to Friday - 8:30am til 9:30am
We focus so much on our own nutrition, but what about our pets? What are their requirements? What is the best thing to be feeding them?
A healthy dogs diet should contain a good quality protein source with this being the major part of their diet. This also impacts greatly on the difference in pet food prices. If the protein source is meat based, it will of course cost more than a legume based protein source. You can easily check this on the ingredients list. Obviously dogs being carnivores are more suited to an animal based protein source.
The rest of the diet is made up of carbohydrates, fibre, fats, vitamins and minerals. These need to be balanced, essential fatty acids for joints and skin are great but too much of the bad fats can cause problems.
All too often (particularly this time of year) we see dogs coming in with terrible stomach pains and vomiting, after being fed sausage’s off the BBQ, or the fat off the ham, resulting in a disease called ‘pancreatitis’. Dogs digestive systems are not designed to handle high fatty foods and these should ALWAYS be avoided.
When feeding a good quality food to a healthy dog you will find that you actually need to feed a smaller portion. They are not made up with fillers, just good quality nutrition. You will also find less faecal matter to pick up from the back yard and your dog should have a nice shiny coat.
How much to feed not only relates to the size of the dog but also the age, activity level and metabolism rate. A good guide is, if you can easily feel your dog’s ribs and they have a
waste line, you’re feeding the right amount, if not, adjust accordingly.
I prefer feeding once daily, but 2 small meals a day can be okay. However, never leave food out for them to graze and never feed before exercise.
The above guide is for a healthy adult pet. Puppies, geriatrics and dogs with illness will have specific requirements and should be feed under Veterinary supervision.
Lastly so long as their diet consists mainly of good quality food, then just like us, life would be boring without a few sensible tasty treats.
Dr Kate Gittings BVSc
Imagine being confined within your own home, without ever leaving, only seeing the same few faces day in, day out…… it would start to feel like a prison, you’d start to go a little crazy, you’d certainly get very bored. Understandably when this happens to dogs, they try to overcome this boredom, often triggering unwanted behaviours such as digging, barking, destroying furniture, developing anxiety, and the list goes on.
It is one lucky dog who gets to travel everywhere with their owner, but clearly this can rarely be a reality. What can we do in our busy lives to give our dogs the stimulation they deserve? The number one activity is take them for a walk, this exercises both mind and body, as a bonus its good for us also! Seeing different sights, smelling different smells, meeting old and new friends is how life was meant to be. If you can’t manage a long walk, a quick trip around the block is better than nothing at all. If you’re headed for a surf check or school drop off, then take your dog for the drive, just to get them out of the house, and who knows, once you’re out, you may find time for that walk. Join or organise your own dog walking group, or employ someone to help you out.
Along with getting out, playing at home activities, keep their bodies and minds active too. There is the obvious ball fun (note - rolling the ball is better than throwing, to prevent injuries), try a big exercise ball they can push/nudge around. Why not set up an agility course in the back yard, perhaps a tunnel, a sea-saw, or a hula hoop to jump though.
For mental stimulation why not teach them some tricks, ‘sit and stay’ or ‘shake’, the concentration required from this can be mentally tiring. There are loads of tricks to teach, or why not come up with your own unique trick.
When you can’t be with them, leaving them with an independent activity like a ‘treat ball’ can help overcome boredom in your absence. Toys are great, but rather than leaving the same ones out daily, why not rotate them throughout the week so everyday feels like something new. Over summer try freezing some treats into a container then empty it out before you leave, this can occupy them for hours. Get creative or look online, the ideas are endless.
Remember your dog needs both mental and physical activity just like us, with out this life would be very boring and will likely lead to undesired behaviours. We love hearing your new ideas, so please let us know at the Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics 52614137, or jump on our facebook page ‘Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics’ or go to our Instagram account Torquay_vet so we can share them.
If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake there is no need to try to identify the snake, don't wait until you see symptoms, your first step should be to phone the vet, and if possible start driving your pet directly to the clinic. If you do see any symptoms of:
-sudden weakness, leading to collapse
-loss of bowl or bladder control
-blood in the urine
go straight to the vet, it may be snake bite.
We can test for snake bite first before symptoms appear though, and have a multi-snake antivenom that needs to be administered as soon as possible, along with other important supportive treatments.
The antivenom binds to the snake venom and stops further damage, and muscle breakdown. However the initial insult can lead to irreversible kidney damage, and outcomes are not always favourable. The sooner we treat, the better the outcome.
Snakes are out and about already, so keep away from bushy scrub areas and make lots of noise on the tracks.
Growing up and finding your place in this world is an amazing and somewhat daunting adventure. How ideal if children had a pal they could talk to anytime, about anything, who would never judge them, who would be happy to see them every time?
That ideal does exist... a pet!! Whether it be a cat, a dog, a bird, a horse, a bunny, a guinea pig, a fish, a rat, or even a pet sheep, the list goes on, as do the benefits of owning a pet.
Not only will this companion provide eternal friendship and love, it teaches children responsibilities and how to care for someone else.
It teaches children how to interact with others (away from the screen), and depending on the type of pet, it can help them stay active.
Pets are proven to lower stress levels, enabling children to escape the day-to-day challenges faced.
The sad loss of a pet also helps to introduce the circle of life, and assists in the way children learn to process grief.
All these qualities that are shared with a pet become part of everyday life and relationships.
If you need any advice on what pet might best suit your family please contact us at Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics 52614137.
Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked but important factor in your dog and cats overall health. If your pet has a toothache or sore gums, they could be dealing with pain and stress that you may not even know about. Left untreated, bacteria introduced by the problem can enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, kidneys or liver as well as causing very smelly breath. Veterinarians report that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection.
Unfortunately, pets can't care for their teeth themselves, but they can help by gnawing on the right product. A good long chew can help scrape away plaque and dirt, and most dogs are happy to comply. Natural choices include rawhide or smaller raw bones. Never give harder items, such as cooked bones as these can fracture teeth or splinter in the digestive tract and cause further problems.
Specially formulated prescription diets such as Hills oral care T/D can help keep your dogs and cats teeth clean and help control oral bacteria and plaque build up. The diet is formulated with a unique kibble shape that helps scrub away laden plaque in your pets mouth. The product is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain and tartar build up. Brushing you pets teeth with a uniquely designed toothpaste is also a great option for hygiene.
Pets with persistent periodontal disease require a routine clean, scale and polish of their teeth under general anaesthesia by your veterinarian.
Call the clinic on 5261 4137 to get a dental checkup
Desexing both cats and dogs is a world-wide recommendation with July being 'National Pet Desexing Month'. There are a range of medical and behavioural benefits in doing so, apart from the obvious reason of minimising unwanted litters.
Entire male pets have higher testosterone levels increasing their tendencies to roam, to mount others, be more dominant and aggressive. Desexing reduces these hormones - in turn reducing these urges, making them more manageable, with less fighting and wandering. It does not change their character or personality.
Entire male and female pets urine is often more pungent and used to mark their territory. Following desexing this problems is often eliminated or at the very least reduced.
The medical benefits to desexing are enormous. The reduced risk of developing mammary carcinoma (breast cancer) in females and prostate disease in males. Mature entire females commonly develop a life threatening uterine infection called ‘pyometra’, this would not happen in a desexed female.
Common myths of making pets fat, lazy or needing to have a littler first are indeed 'MYTHS'. Even the costs involved out-weigh those of an undesexed pet in the long run.
It is day procedure, and preferably done around 6 months of age, but can, and should still be done even if your pet is older.
Please take advantage of the specials on offer for desexing in the month of July, phone the Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics on 5261 4137, we aim to provide the best life-long care for your pet.
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Vaccinations are an important part of preventative health care for pets, in protecting them from common infectious diseases. In recent times the deadly parvovirus has made a resurgence. There is no cure for this disease and supportive treatment only, is all that can be offered. Even with intensive treatment only approximately 85% of patients will survive.
Puppies and kittens are at the highest risk of contracting these diseases. They receive 3 boosters, 4 weeks apart, starting at the age of 6-8 weeks.
They are not fully covered for protection until after their final 16 week vaccination. It is important to take care during this time not to expose them to the diseases.
Dogs should receive a C5 vaccination yearly, which protects against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis and kennel cough. The C5 vaccination is required for all dogs going into boarding kennels, as the highly contagious Kennel Cough is easily spread in this environment.
Cats receive an F3 vaccination, which covers feline herpesvirus, calicivirus and feline enteritis (two of these lead to 'cat flu', often a life long problem). Additional vaccines can also be requested and discussed, including Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and feline chlamydia.
A booster is then given annually or triennially.
When is my pet considered a senior? It depends on the variations in size and breed of your dog/cat, but on average around the age of 7yo (larger dogs) to 9yo (smaller dogs/cats)!! It seems so young doesn't it? but this is roughly the equivalent of a 50-75yo person.
Just like the senior human family members, our pets are the same. We can expect to see both mental and physical changes. Common changes we start to see might be arthritic change, sight loss, hearing loss, senility, and more. The key is trying to establish if it is a normal change or a symptom of a treatable medical condition.
Regular exercise is still so important but may need to be modified, to suit these new ageing needs. You may start to notice them slowing down, knowing if this is normal or due to arthritis takes a collaboration between you and your vet along with a physical examination. If arthritic change is found there are many beneficial treatments and management advice that can assist in keeping them comfortable.
Nutritional needs start to change. 'Diet' modification can play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight and can aid in maintaining and supporting healthy organs. A blood and/or urine test is a great way of detecting early liver or kidney changes to help select appropriate foods.
With most not having brushed their teeth daily, dental disease is a very common problem. So take a look, are their teeth clean? does their breath smell? if you answered yes, then a dental might be needed.
Keeping a keen eye for temperament and health changes means they can be addressed quickly by you and your vet. Remembering that one human year equates to approximately seven dog years, so what seemed normal 6 months month’s ago can change drastically in a very short time.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from skin allergies. In general, an allergy is an extreme or 'hypersensitive' response by the body's immune system to offending substances called 'allergens', often resulting in redness and itching of the skin sometimes leading to infection also. This may be seasonal or year-round, depending on the cause.
Common allergens include fleas, dust mites, certain foods, grasses and pollens.
Treatment varies widely and an appointment at the vet is needed to establish what will be the most effective and to plan for ongoing management, depending on the cause. Treatments may include allergen avoidance, a low-allergen food trial, anti-inflammatories, topical solutions and shampoos, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids or immunotherapy to desensitise the dog to the specific allergen.
Arthritis is the medical term for inflammation of the joints. The most common type seen in dogs and cats is degenerative joint disease (also known as osteoarthritis), which is a chronic erosion of joint cartilage resulting from long-term stresses on a joint. This can be due to an old injury, excessive exercise or poor joint conformation or simply old age. It usually starts to show in older animals, but can be seen in some younger pets as well.
The aim of arthritis management is to reduce joint inflammation and keep your pet comfortable, ensuring they have a good quality of life as they get older. Management options include:
As vets, ear infections are one of the most common problems we encounter in dogs at the clinic. They can be extremely painful, and owners will often notice their dog shaking or rubbing its head or pawing at its ears. Often there is a strong-smelling brown discharge coming from the infected ear, and the skin around it may appear red and sore.
Some dogs are predisposed to otitis due to the shape of their ears, or it can occur when there is a change to the microclimate within the ear canal, eg. an increase in humidity (due to swimming, or hot weather), grass seeds, parasites, allergies, or a tumour. This can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast within the ear, resulting in inflammation and infection.
Most ear infections can be treated with antibiotic/anti-fungal ear drops. However, in some cases with excessive dirt or hair, or suspicion of something else down the canal, an anaesthetic is required for a thorough ear clean and examination. In many cases swabs are taken to determine the type of bacteria or yeast causing the problem, to ensure we are using the correct treatment.