Dog Training and Behaviour Conference. Two days of exceptional learning!

Spending two full days sitting in lectures while the rest of the Sydneysiders were enjoying the wonderful balmy weather may not be your idea of a good weekend

But for some of us who got to go to the Dog Behaviour and Training conference – it was well worth the sacrifice!

Hosted by the NDTF (National Dog Trainers Federation of Australia) the speakers included experts in Dog Behaviour and Training from Australia and the U.S. Included amongst them, the internationally renowned Steven Lindsay as well as Australia”s own experts Steve Austin, Dr Paul McGreevy and specialist Veterinary Behaviourist, Dr Robert Holmes.

Now while we certainly can’t cover what was covered in a tiny blog, it’s fair to say we learned a lot.

You may not be aware of this but dog behaviour and behaviour modification are hot topics.

Why?

Because behaviour problems are becoming all too common amongst our canine friends.

In our practice, hardly a day goes by where we don’t have to deal with or discuss a behavioural issue with a client. Sometimes the problem is a simple one that can be solved through some basic training or behavior modification activites. Other times there are more serious issues to address – like aggression or extreme anxieties.

That’s why it’s important for us as Vets – to learn more about about what makes dogs tick. While we examine and treat dog’s medical conditions, fix broken bones, diagnose their illnesses every day, we also need to understand how to take care of their “non physical” needs. In other words – know and respect what they truly need need to lead balanced and fulfilled lives.

Common Diseases of Cats and Dogs

It’s interesting to look back over the last 20 plus years and compare what illnesses we are treating more of now than back then.

Most certainly the incidences of contagious illnesses such as parvovirus has decreased significantly – thanks to vaccinations. So have flea related problems such as Flea Allergy dermatitis – caused by allergic reactions to flea bites.

This is most certainly due to better flea control through the use of effective medications.

On the other hand illnesses that we’re seeing more of in dogs are most certainly skin and ear problems, degenerative problems such as arthritis, allergies and of course cancer.

Not to mention the high incidence of obesity!

Some people might argue that this is because our pets are living longer?

Well, not really. We’re seeing a lot of younger animals with these conditions too.

As for cats. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, Kidney problems, Hyperthyroidism and most certainly dental disease rank as high incidence diseases. At least, that’s what we’re seeing more of in our practice.

So what’s happening with our pets? Why are these diseases becoming so common?

Is it lifestyle?

Food?

Or a combination of lots of things?

Can these diseases be avoided?

What we do know is that pets – just like us benefit from a healthy diet, regular exercise and mental stimulation.

So – feed your pet a healthy, natural diet, make sure they get lots of exercise and opprtunities to socialise and have fun.

And do take them to your vet for regular checkups. Detecting these conditions at an early stage and making appropriate changes will give your pet the best chance of a longer and happier life.

Prescription vs Over the Counter Pet Medications

Just like in Human medicine – animal medications or “drugs” as we call them, are divided into several categories.

And each of these categories come with their own specific guidelines as to how medications listed in these categories are to be stored and sold.

These guidelines are governed by Legislation and therefore all veterinary drugs must be used and dispensed in strict accordance with these laws.

For instance – those labelled “Prescription Animal Remedy” or “Prescription Only Medication” can only be held, used or prescribed by an “Authorised person” of which a registered Vet is such a person.

They can’t simply be bought over the counter from your vet or a pharmacy without a valid prescription. Even if your pet has received the same medication in the past, in order to obtain the same medication again, a prescription will be required.

Now, for a vet to prescribe more of the medication, the animal for which the medication is required must be deemed to be “under veterinary care. This means that your pet has been examined on a regular basis to ensure that the type of medication and the dose dispensed is the most appropriate for your pet at that time.

That’s why you often need to make an appointment to have your pet re – examined by your vet on a regular basis to receive ongoing medication.

Q: What if I run out of medication and can’t get to my own vet to pick up more?

A: In this case your vet can write a prescription which allows another vet to dispense the medication for you. That’s provided your vet has examined your pet recently enough to make that decision.

Another group of medications labelled “Caution” or “Poison” can be sold over the counter – provided they are sold in the manufacturer’s original packaging.

Examples of this category of medication are Revolution, Frontline, Advantage, Advocate – and other antiparasitic medications.

These products come in “multi dose” packs such as 3, 4 or 6 months and according to the law – must be sold as a complete pack. Which means – you can’t ask to buy just a single dose.

Sometimes individual medications are “rescheduled”. This means the category under which they fall changes.

An example of this was the rescheduling of Heartworm medications quite a few years ago – from “Prescription Only” to an over the counter schedule.

Under the old classification – heartworm medications could only be obtained through veterinary clinics and only once your dog had been tested heartworm free.

So don’t think your vet is being difficult if they insist on examining your pet regularly in order to dispense more medication. It’s simply the law – and we can’t change that!