Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Test for Dogs and Cats

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Testing for Pets – For Profit or Safety? You Be The Judge

Why Not Blood Testing Before Surgery Is Like Going In Blind

Have you ever questioned your vet’s recommendations for a product or service because you didn’t think it was necessary? If you have – you’re not alone. Plenty of people do.

In a society driven by sales hype and add ons it’s only natural that we’ve become sceptical about “professional” recommendations whether it be our dentist, our mechanic, our doctor or any number of other people whose advice we rely on to make improvements in our lives or those of others.

In our industry it’s no different. With so many advancements in animal health care and related technology, we totally agree it can sometimes appear that some of these new services – (to keep your pets safe or help them live longer healthier lives) could easily be confused with unnecessary add ons for practice profit.

That’s why it becomes even more important for us to give you the right (and truthful) information you need to help you make the right decision for your pet and your wallet.

Todays post is about the importance of Blood Testing prior to anaesthesia. Many people remain unconvinced these tests are necessary and too often decline without a full understanding of the reasons why they are as critical to your pet’s safety as the surgical procedure itself.

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Test for Dogs and CatsThink about it – No surgeon in the human world would perform surgery on any one of us without full knowledge of our internal health status.

To do so would be the same as going in blind – there’s no telling what could happen when those drugs are given.

If your pet is having any procedure (short or long) that requires full anaesthsia we need to know that your pet’s internal organs are capable of processing and eliminating the anaesthetic drugs – just like your surgeon would want to know the same about you.

Pre- Anaesthetic testing helps us understand whether your pet’s vital organs are functioning properly to avoid potential complications during and after surgery.

Certain conditions are especially risky for pets under anaesthesia and pre-anaesthetic blood test can show if there are any hidden or undetected health problems which are not obvious from a physical examination alone.

What Information Does The Blood Test Provide?

The results of the blood tests gives us valuable information about the internal health of your pet. For instance, we can quickly determine:

  • The health of your pet’s kidneys and liver. These are primarily responsible for processing and eliminating the anaesthetic drugs so we need to know for certain that they are able to do this effectively.
  • Your pet’s electolyte balance and hydration status.
  • A complete blood count – shows if your pet has an underlying stress inflammation, inability to fight off an infection, is anaemic or has a blood clotting problem.

What Happens If the Blood Test Shows There’s a Problem?

If we find an abnormal result on your pet’s blood profile, we let you know immediately. Depending on what the results indicate, we may delay surgery and treat the underlying condition as a priority or make changes to the anaesthetic protocol to accomodate the problem.

But My Pet Had a Blood Test Just Over a Year ago. Why does she need another one?

A year in your pet’s life represents almost 7 years of ours. This means your pet’s healh status may be signifiantly different since the last blood test.

We recommend blood testing prior to all dentals and surgical procedures for the simple reason that things change AND they can change quickly.

But My Pet is only Young. She Must Be Healthy

We get this response ALL the time. Please be aware that despite your pet’s energy, appetite and zest for life at a young age they can be hiding a developing problem or a congenital defect that hasn’t surfaced – either one of which can severely risk your pet’s life under anaesthesia.

We’ve seen first hand how many times a young pet’s blood test has highlighted a dangerous underlying problem. Had the owner not consented to a blood test before surgery – the patient would have been at considerable risk from the anaesthesia.

It’s true – We have detected moderate to severe kidney and liver disease in dogs and cats as young as 6 months of age.

In these situations surgery was delayed in favour of first treating the underlying condition.

So Yes – Pre- Anaesthetic Blood tests DO play an important role in minimising anaesthetic complications and that’s why we recommend them to all our patients – Young and Old undergoing any surgical procedure at our practice.

Find out more about the steps we take to keep your pet safe during surgery

Canine Rehabilitation

Beware The Canine Rehabilitation Expert

What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know When Choosing Rehabilitation Services for Your Dog

With popular Canine Rehabilitation now being integrated into mainstream veterinary services, its time we laid out a few facts about this unique therapy so you don’t risk placing your dog’s health in the wrong hands.

If you book a consultation with a human Doctor or Physiotherapist, you automatically assume they are qualified so of course you wouldn’t ask to see their credentials because you don’t need to. In the human world, the title of Doctor or Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or Podiatrist etc is strictly controlled by individual governing bodies so it’s hard to claim you’re something you’re not.

Unfortunately this is not the case when applied in the animal health field where we see an abundance of “therapists” of all different kinds – not all of whom are qualified in their “claimed” area of expertise.Canine Rehabilitation

One such modality which is beginning to fall victim to this lack of regulation is Canine Rehabilitation. Every day we see evidence of more people (including veterinarians) using this term to attract people like you to their business because they can.

The goal of this post is to enlighten you about this particular area of expertise – hopefully to help you make the right treatment decisions for your pet..

[tweet_box design=”box_07″]The Study of Canine Rehabilitation is NOT Included in a Veterinary Degree[/tweet_box]

Don’t assume your vet is qualified in Rehabilitation.

Canine Rehabilitation is a separate and unique modality of study governed by it’s own strict certification criteria. This means anyone offerering Canine Rehabilitation Services must be able to provide proof of certification and can legally use the letters CCRT after their name.

Only a vet with the required training in Animal Rehabilitation can provide whole body care, prescribe needed medications and perform a diagnostic evaluation prior to designing a rehabilitation treatment plan.

We recommend you ask to see evidence of their qualifications before consenting to treatment.

[tweet_box design=”box_07″]A Human Practitioner is NOT an Animal Practitioner[/tweet_box]

A Human Doctor or Physiotherapist or Chiropractor is no more qualified to treat your pet than vets are qualified to treat humans – period.

Animals are NOT people and no one should be manipulating, massaging or adjusting without proven knowledge of the underlying anatomy and physiology of their patient. Exceptions to this only apply when a practitioner is qualified across BOTH fields as in the case of a person holding the title of Animal Physiotherapist.

An Animal Physiotherapist has qualified in Human Physiotherapy first and has gone on to complete a Masters Level Dregree in Animal Physiotherapy, a total of 8 years of combined study. They are registered members of the Australian Physiotherapy Association which entitles them (and no other) to use the term Physiotherapy in their communications.

So steer clear of the practitioner who has done a six week course in “natural therapies” and calls themselves an animal physiotherapist or rehabilitation therapist. You don’t want someone who is less qualified than your hairdresser to be manipulating your pet.

An Underwater Treadmill (Hydrotherapy Unit) Doesn’t Certify Anyone in Canine Rehabilitation

An underwater Treadmilll is great for SEO and drawing a crowd but it’s only part of many tools used in an individualised Canine Rehabilitation Program. Other modalities commonly applied in a rehabilitation program include: Acupuncture – Laser Therapy – EMS – Massage Therapy and therapeutic exercises using specific techniques and equipment.

In addition – any such equipment used incorrectly or without proper diagnosis by a qualified therapist can do more harm than good.

We are Certified in Canine Rehabilitation Therapy

Our Canine Rehabilitation programs are designed and overseen by our own Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Dr Malcolm Ware – the first Vet in Australia to complete the Certification through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in America.

Our Acupuncture services are provided by Dr Tristan Maugueret who is certified in Veterinary Acupuncture.

If you believe your pet may benefit from our Rehabilitation Services – please give us a call. We would be delighted to help you.

Advanced Cruciate Surgery for Dogs

What is Canine Cruciate Ligament Surgery?

Not All Canine Cruciate Surgeries are the Same

Surgical treatments for dogs with Cruciate Ligament Injuries are numerous and there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to this condition.

You also need to be aware that there is no “cure” for CCL disease in dogs. The goals of all treatment both surgical and non surgical are to relieve pain, improve function and slow down the arthritis.

Different repair methods are recommended based on:

  • The specific nature of the disease
  • Other health factors
  • Your dog’s weight and
  • Your budget.

However – even more important than the actual surgery itself is the correct assessment of the joint with treatment of damaged tissues AND exceptional post operative management and rehabilitation programs.

Who decides which Method of CCL Repair is Right for Your Dog?

The decision should be based on the outcome of a thorough diagnostic evaluation of your dog’s condition, your surgeon’s experience with the various techniques available and discussion with you regarding your goals and concerns.

The important thing to know is not to compromise on the best solution for your dog just because your vet cannot offer the method of repair that’s best suited to your dog’s condition.

If this is the case – ask for a referral to a Veterinary Orthopaedic Specialist or find a veterinarian experienced in the preferred procedure.

Is Cheaper Better?

You may be tempted to consent to a cheaper method of repair but if so – make sure you are made aware of any limitations that go along with it. This should be fully explained to you by your vet after a thorough assessment of your dog as well as supporting X-Rays.Advanced Cruciate Surgery for Dogs

We recommend getting more than one opinion if you are still unsure of which method you prefer.

Most Common Canine Cruciate Ligament Repair Methods are:

  • TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) – performed by Veterinary Orthopaedic Specialists
  • TPLWO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Wedge Osteotomy) – Performed by experienced Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) – Performed by experienced Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Lateral Suture Stabilisation – a commonly performed extracapsular technique – (different methods available) Most vets can perform some or all of these variations..

NEW Method of CCL Repair – Tightrope CCL

This is a minimally invasive and improved method for extra-capsular stabilisation of the CCL. This technique does not require cutting of bone like the TPLO, TPLWO or TTA procedures. Instead it uses small drill holes in the femur and tibia to pass a synthetic ligament – like biomaterial through a small incision to provide bone to bone stabilisation during healing.

We offer comprehensive options in treating CCL disease in dogs to include both extracapsular (Tightrope) and Geometric modification repair methods.

In addition we offer the all important individualised post surgery Canine Rehabilitation programs to assist in your dog’s recovery.

Second Opinion CCL Enquiries Welcome

We see many second opinion patients who have been diagnosed with Cruciate Ligament Disease. Our experienced orthopaedic team will be pleased to recommend the most suitable option of CCL repair for your dog.

Senior Dog Nutrition

Do You Know What Food is Best for Your Senior Pet?

Don’t Make These Assumptions when Switching To a Senior Pet Food

Look out for these Senior Pet Myths

Now that your pet has reached the age of 7 – he or she is considered to be a senior.

Pets don’t magically age overnight and suddenly develop old age illnesses around a special age. Over the years we’ve seen many active and healthy 12 year old pets that check out clinically better than some of their 5 year old counterparts.

Animals are as unique and individual as we are and there are no hard and fast rules for determining when we should be changing their diet to accommodate the ageing process.

The only person qualified to recommend dietary changes for your pet is your vet (who is well versed in nutrition) based on both a clinical examination and a diagnostic profile of your pet’s inner health.

The one size fits all approach to Senior Pet Food Formulas

Ask anyone about advice on which brand of pet food is best for your dog or cat and they will generally ask your pet’s age. If your pet is 7 or over, you’ll most likely be steered towards a senior formulation without critical knowledge of your pets current health status.

This recommendation is based on the assumption that all senior pets suffer from conditions A, B and C – which is wrong.

Worse still this person most likely has no qualifications in animal nutrition and what little knowledge they do have comes courtesy of the pet food manufacturer alone. This is not unbiased nutritional advice.

While we agree that there are one or more disorders generally associated with ageing, it is not wise to assume that all pets have them at a given age.

Senior Pets Need More Fibre, Less Calories and Less Protein in Their Diet

While it is true that as pets age they may become less mobile, watching their daily calorie intake does becomes important. Obesity in pets of any age is a major problem and can lead to a whole range of degenerative diseases.Senior Dog Nutrition

If you notice your pet becoming a littles less active then the first thing that needs to be addressed is pain. It stands to reason that if your pet is suffering from painful joints or arthritis – they will slow down because it hurts them to be active. Ask your vet for a pain assessment of your pet first.

Don’t assume that switching to a senior pet food will magically solve this problem. Have your pet properly checked out by your vet before making this assumption and manage any underlying pain or other health conditions first.


It used to be thought that too much protein had a detrimental effect on ageing kidneys so many senior diets are formulated on this premis. Current knowledge actually suggests that senior pets need more protein for cells that are being replaced at a rate faster than for younger dogs .For this quality “Highly digestible” proteins are needed. As a pet ages, the efficiency of the GI system decreases so it stands to reason that the type of proteins included in the diet must be easily assimilated in order to provide the necessary nutrition.

Good sources of highly digestible proteins include eggs and muscle meats. Not to be confused with less digestible cereal proteins.


Fibre is often touted as a nutritional benefit which can be misleading if it claims to contribute to quality protein content. Most often is just an inexpensive filler ingredient. Corn and wheat are not suitable ingedients in a healthy species appropriate dog or cat food diet – at any age.

Get Educated

The best way to determine what natural and commercial foods are best for pet is to do your own research based on your vet’s recommendations for your senior pet’s unique requirements. Maybe you’ll discover that what you have been feeding up until now is totally appropriate and there’s no need to change.

Organise a Senior Check for Your Pet Today.

It’s worth it!

Itchy Skin in dogs

Does Your Pet Have Itchy Skin or An Irritable Bowel?

Why Food Allergies and Food Sensitivity are Two Different Animals

Confusing Food allergies and Food Sensitivities (or intolerances) is a common mistake.

And Yes – even vets can often confuse the two.

A food allergy causes immediate and violent reactions in the body. A typical example of this would be an anaphylactic shock caused by peanuts. As soon as the person or animal comnes in contact with the allergen (peanuts) – the body reacts – their airway closes and they can’t breathe. The antigen triggers an immediate and sometimes life – threatening immunological and physiological reaction.

Rashes, hives and swollen eyes are examples of less severe allergic (Type I hypersensitivity) reactions.

“It is a fact that True Food allergies are actually quite rare”

Food Sensitivities on the other hand are far more common.

So if Fido is scratching incessantly or has chronic bowel problems, he’s probably suffering from a Food Sensitivity rather than a Food Allergy.

Food Sensitivity (Intolerance)

Itchy Skin in dogs

This is typically a chronic (ongoing) condition and often does not involve a immunological response. It generally builds up over time – perhaps even months or years of exposure to a specific food and can affect dogs and cats of all ages and breeds.

One of our recent patients was diagnosed with a Food Intolerance to both Chicken and Rice. Her poor owner was feeding this because for most skin and bowel problems – this is generally a good diet. Unfortunately for “Cindy” – this was exactly the wrong one – for her.

Food sensitivity is caused by Types II and III hypersensitivity reactions.They show up in saliva or faeces as antibodies to immunogloblins A IgA) and M (IgM). By detecting IgA and IgM antibodies, food sensitivity testing is able to clearly identify the specific food(s) causing the sensitivity.

It can also differentiate between food sensitivity and Food allergy.

Food sensitivities are generally not Life threatening but they can affect many aspects of your dog’s well being.

Common signs of food sensitivity include:

  • GI tract issues similar to Irritable Bowel Disorder IBD)
  • Chronic scratching, Itchy skin
  • Chronic burping and rumbly tummy
  • Chronic skin, ear and foot infections – especially with yeast.

The first step in providing the proper relief to pets with food sensitivities is to accurately identify the offending ingredients.

With the proper information you can begin feeding your dog a diet that agrees with her body to help restore her health and vitality.

Can You Test For Food Sensitivity?

Yes – there is a test available to find out whether your dog or cat has a food sensitivity. It is a saliva test so it’s totally non invasive and easy to perform.

We’ll write more about this test in a future blog but in the meantime – if you want to find out more about testing your dog or cat for a food sensitivity – please give us a call.