Will you join us Online?

Learning about pets is much more fun when you’ve got good company.

So join our online community and share your thoughts and experiences with us, be inspired by the stories of others and even get answers to tricky questions along the way.

Chances are – the question you ask can help someone else out there make a better decision – maybe even save a pet’s life! Who knows.

So don’t by shy – post a picture of your pets and share their favourite activities, comment on a post, ask us a question or join in on a discussion. We’d love to hear your views.

Please feel free to also use our Facebook Wall for other things, like:

  • Lost a pet? Post your message and a photo. Who knows, somebody might know somebody who has found her
  • Need to find a good home for your pet. The perfect parents could just be a click away
  • Keep us posted on your pet’s recovery. We always like to know how things are going.
  • Found a great product? Let us know about it and where to get it.
  • Read an interesting article or opinion. Please share it with us.
  • Pet Memorial. Keep your pet’s memory alive by posting a tribute on our site. A fitting place to celebrate the wonderful life you shared with your best friend.

Naturally, we’ll do our bit too. We believe that all learning is best shared and we’re happy to share what we know with like minded people like you.

We’ll keep you posted on new products, special offers, interesting articles and important news that comes across our desks. Plus we’ll be answering some of your most Frequently Asked Questions here.

And last – but not least, hopefully you’ll get to learn more about us too and what we do. It’s a way to throw open our doors to you and give you a glimpse of what happens in our world on a daily basis.

So please follow, participate and learn with us.

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Why do Dogs Yawn?

According to various Canine Body Language experts – dogs yawn for similar reasons as we do plus – some others.
But – to understand the reason why your dog is yawning at a particular time, it’s important to consider the action in context.

Yes, dogs can yawn when they’re tired. You sometimes see them do this just before they settle down to go to sleep. At other times however, yawning is usually a signal that they’re under pressure of some kind. They’re feeling stressed, confused or uncomforable with what’s going on around them.

This could be something very simple such as person or another dog coming too close or being asked to “perform” in some way such as as “sit” or “stay” and then staring at them. (Ever tried taking a close up photo of your dog and trying to catch a shot between yawns?)

Yawning may also be a way of increasing blood circulation to the brain in anticipation of an activity. e.g. before starting an agility trial.

On the other hand – some experts believe the act of yawning may also have some calming effect on the dog as well as observers. We sometimes see this play out in the waiting room. One dog yawns and other dogs observing the action settle down and appear calmer. In this situation, the act of yawning seems to act as a diffuser of a potentially tense situation.

Yawning can also be accompanied by other actions such as lip licking, body shaking or even sneezing when faced with a challenging situation.

Not all Yawns are the same.

Can’t tell what your dog is trying to say? That will depend on all the “other” body langauge that’s happening at the same time. Stress yawns can vary with the individual dog and the situation. In general – when yawning, a dog will open his mouth wide and draw his ears back. Even though the teeth are displayed – it’s not an intended show of pearly whites.

In doing this the eyes can be wide open or appear to be squinting. It’s thought that the wider the eyes are open, the more stress your dog is experiencing.

Look at the body stance. Is it rigid and stiff or quite relaxed. What else is going on around him? Is he yawning at another dog – perhaps sending a calming signal to him to say that everything’s fine – relax? Have you given him a command he doesn’t quite understand? Or maybe he’s just ready to settle down for a kip.

Can yawns be catching?

Some dog observers believe that yawning in dogs can be catching just like in humans however – it’s not a proven theory.

When it comes to interpreting doggy body langauge – opinions can vary however experts all seem to agree that when your dog yawns – he’s trying to tell you – or someone else – SOMETHING!

Are you listening?


  • Alof. Brenda, “Canine Body Language” – Interpreting the Native Langauge of the Domestic Dog
  • McGreevy. Dr Paul, “A Modern Dog’s Life”

Cows don’t have Caesareans. Or do they?

As you can imagine, our days can be less than predictable, especially when emergencies crop up forcing us to reschedule some of our routine (non urgent) appointments.

Attending to farm animals having difficulties giving birth is just one of those times where we need to change our plans and send out a vet quickly.

We clearly remember – (on more than one occasion) where a client has exclaimed “Don’t be silly, Cows don’t have caesareans” …… because they simply didn’t believe this could really be the reason why their appointment had to be delayed.

The truth is – animals can have difficulties giving birth too. In the case of the humble cow, it too can produce a calf which is simply too large to fit through the pelvic canal. This can happen for a number of different reasons such as:

  • The cow hadn’t reached full maturity before falling pregnant
  • The size or breed of the bull might be inappropriate for the size of the cow or
  • The breed of cow may be predisposed to needing a caesarean

Cow caesareans are performed out in the field as is most of our large animal work. The operation is performed using a combination of an epidural and local anaesthetic so the cow is fully awake and standing up during the procedure. The incision is made on the flank (side) through which the calf is then delivered.

Cow caesarean. Night 013The best chance of a live cow and calf is to act quickly. Leaving a cow straining for too long is dangerous for her and for her unborn calf so the sooner a vet is called, the better the probability of a good outcome.

If left unattended the calf will die and start decomposing inside the body. The harmful toxins given off by bacteria produced by the dead calf will cause the cow to become seriously ill and eventually die.

Calving can occur at any time of day – or night. We’ve performed many of these procedures over the years often in the dead of night under the beams of car headlights and torches – most often in Wintery conditions and even in snow.

Ah – the life of a country vet!

But if after all that effort you see the newborn take its first wobbly steps and stumble towards mum for a clean and some warm milk – you know it’s all been worth it.

Horse Owners need PICs

What’s a PIC?

PIC stands for Property Identification Code. And at the moment, all Victorian Livestock owners are required to have one of these.

The PIC data provides the DPI (Department of Primary Industry) with up to date information about Victoria’s livestock populations – where they’re located and who owns them.

This information is invaluable in situations where an emergency response is needed such as: disease outbreaks or bushfires.

Until now, this Legislation only covered livestock such as sheep and cattle and other farm animals but did not include horses. However, from July 1st 2010 – it will be compulsory for all Victorian horse owners to have a PIC identifying the properties where they keep their horses.

Applying for a PIC

Applying for a PIC is free of charge.

An application form can be downloaded from the DPI website or it can be mailed to you. Simply call the DPI helpline on 1800 678 779

What information do I need to provide?

You’ll need to supply your name, address and other contact details as well as the council property number or rates assessment number of the property on which your horses are kept.

You also need to indicate the number of horses kept at that location.

Already have a PIC?

There is no need for property owners who already have a PIC to apply for another. You’ll just need to inform the DPI that you also have horses on that property if you haven’t already indicated this on your original application.

Agistment property owners and Racing stables will also be required to have a PIC.

Need more information?

Further information can be obtained by phoning the DPI Hotline on 1800 678 779

Your Pet can’t lose weight? Here’s 5 Medical conditions you need to rule out

Putting on the pounds could be due to something as simple as eating too much and exercising too little.

However, sometimes there are hidden culprits that can sabotage all efforts to get your pet back into shape.

Here are 5 Medical conditions that you should have your vet check out

  1. Internal parasites. A heavy worm burden can give your pet a pot belly appearance. Young animals are most often at risk from this.
  2. Prescription Drugs. Some prescription drugs can cause appetite increases – expecially if they’re given long term. Your vet will generally warn you of this side effect so that appropriate dietary changes can be made.
  3. Hypothyroidism. This disease is a result of a malfunctioning thyroid producing less hormones than needed for a healthy metabolism. Animals with this condition become less active and put on weight – even when they’re eating less. A blood test will reveal whether your pet has this condition.
  4. Heart disease. Patients with heart disease can sometimes accumulate excess fluids in the body because the heart is not pumping effectively. Fluid retention can also be caused by other conditions such as tumours and diseased organs.
  5. Cushing’s Disease. (Hyperadrenocorticism) This disease affects the adrenal glands which regulate hormone levels in the body.It causes increased eating and drinking, muscle weakening, hair loss and a pendulous belly. It can be diagnosed through blood tests.

Follow us on Facebook

In our profession hardly a day goes by without some new information landing on our desks; new products, new treatment methods, a tricky question a client’s asked that we need to find an answer for or an interesting fact that we’d like to share with our clients.

Then of course there are the daily FAQ’s – the common questions that people ask us on the phone that would be good to share with everyone.

This started us brainstorming better ways to communicate with our clients … without printing out loads of handouts or running to the photocopier to copy an interesting article.

We live in the digital age and as far as communication goes, there’s no better way to get information or a message out there faster and to more people than the internet.

And as far as platforms are concerned – you can’t really go past Facebook.

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We promise to use it wisely and post only information we believe is useful or interesting for you.

Xylitol. No sweet treat for Dogs

Toothpastes, Sugar free gum and mints, toothpastes, chewable Vitamins, cakes ….

These are some of the products that may contain Xylitol – a sugar alcohol occuring naturally in many edible plants and fungi.

It’s a popular sweetener for human foods because of its beneficial properties such as being as sweet as sucrose on a weight basis but containing only 2/3 of the calories. And because it causes little insulin release in people it’s considered a “good sugar” for those on low carb diets.

But even though it’s a great sugar substitute for us humans:

Warning – Don’t give sweets containing Xylitol to dogs!

It has been known for a long time that there is a link between Xylitol ingestion and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in dogs.

Signs of toxicity can be seen as quickly as 30 minutes after ingestion. Xylitol causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in blood glucose. Symptoms could include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Ataxia (unco-ordination)
  • Seizures, coma
  • Liver dysfunction and / or failure

Ingestion of Xylitol is often accidental. Because dogs are such scavengers they often seek out foods they shouldn’t eat – especially sweets. And yes, this may include the weird stuff such as toothpastes or tossed chewing gum.

What about other sweeteners?

Other sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol have little or no effect on blood glucose concentration in dogs, however they might have a mild laxative effect. Other artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartane and sucralose are generally considered safe and shouldn’t cause signficant side effects if ingested.

What to do when your pet has eaten something containing Xylitol?

It’s recommended to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible to minimise damaging side effects.

Is Xylitol dangerous for other animals too?

It’s not known yet known whether Xylitol is as toxic in other species as it is in dogs however – there is some concern that ferrets may also be affected in a similar manner to dogs.

Avoiding accidental Xylitol ingestion.

  • Don’t use human toothpastes on dogs – we spit it out – they swallow it!
  • Don’t leave pets unattended in cars where they can find your fresh breath mints (those containing Xylitol)
  • Keep all sweets and cakes out of your dog’s reach