Bulldog Breed Veterinary Care

Smooshy Face Dogs – What’s Not to Love about Them

Smooshy faced (brachycephalic) dogs are just so darn cute with a wiggly body outwardly matching their lovable personality. However – this cute squishy face comes at a cost.

This defining structure means their whole respiratory structures leading from the head to the lungs are shorter and much more distorted than in other longer faced doggy breeds. Dogs that fall into the flat faced breed variety are called “Brachycephalic” or (Short Head) breeds.

These include:Brachycephalic Airway disease in Dogs

  • Pugs
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • Shi Tzus
  • Boxers
  • Pekinese
  • French Bulldogs
  • English Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers and
  • English Toy Spaniels

Health Issues

Because of the distorted airways, many of these delightful souls suffer from laboured breathing throughout their whole life. This is simply the result of how they’re put together. This in turn often leads to secondary health issues because of their hearts and lungs having to work so much harder than that of their long faced friends.

While the cute little sounds of snorts and snoring may seem endearing, in reality it is what breathing sounds like for an animal that doesn’t breather easily or freely.

This is why so many more precautions need to be taken with these breeds.

Brachycephalic Breeds and Heat

Dogs use breathing to cool down on hot days or after exercise. You’ll see this often – dogs panting heavily with their tongues hanging out. This rapid exchange of air between the lungs and the outside environment helps keep dogs cool. Brachycephalic dogs can’t do this. While they would love to, their respiratory structures simply can’t accommodate it. For them – it’s like breathing in and out through a straw when they heat up or when exercising. In other words – they struggle.

So What Can You do to Make their Life Less Stressful?

What you can do for them includes:

  • Keep them at a healthy weight. Being overweight only adds extra burden to their lungs and heart
  • Exercise them only during the cooler parts of the day and NEVER on a hot dayBrachycephalic Airway Disease in Bulldogs
  • Keep them inside and cool on hot days – preferably in an air-conditioned room
  • Use a harness instead of a collar. Collars around their throat place extra pressure on their windpipe making it even harder to breathe
  • Avoid situations that can make them overexcited or fearful such as off lead dog parks and other areas where they are at risk of being chased by other dogs

Veterinary Preventative Care

Yes – you guessed it. These guys will need extra veterinary care because of their breed specific health issues. And if you take out Pet Insurance, be aware, the premiums will cost more. That’s because these dogs are classified as high risk breeds.

Corrective (Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome) Surgery

The upper airway abnormalities that occur in this syndrome include stenotic nares, an elongated soft palate, a hypoplastic trachea and everted laryngeal saccules. An individual dog with brachycephalic syndrome may be affected with a combination of one or more of these abnormalities.

Any of these upper airway abnormalities can cause increased airway resistance, making it harder for your dog to breathe. Most dogs with this syndrome are able to breathe more easily through their mouth than their nose. Generally, the more abnormalities present the more severe the symptoms.

Brachycephalic surgery addresses these issues – Stenotic Nares (Widening the nostrils) Elongated soft Palate (Shortening) and Larygeal saccules (Removal)

How is Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome Diagnosed?

Oftentimes this is only diagnosed once dogs have been presented with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fainting episodes or collapse.

Is there any Treatment available for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome?

Corrective Surgery is still the best option as any medical management does not address the underlying structural abnormalities.

The earlier the abnormalities are corrected, the better the outcome will be as over time other secondary issues will develop which further compromise your dog’s health.

Our Recommendations for Brachycephalic Airway Disease

If you own one of these breeds then we highly recommend a full medical workup to determine the best corrective actions to take BEFORE you have a problem such as a collapse or secondary issues develop. The younger your dog is – the more he or she will benefit in the long term.

This will include X-Rays of your dog’s chest and airway structures, oral examinations and blood tests. Oral examinations of the soft palate and laryngeal saccules will require either heavy sedation or General Anaesthesia. Due to the fact that these breeds are at greater risk during anaesthesia, we recommend performing any necessary surgery at the same time.

This means your dog only has one anaesthetic and not two.

If you have any more questions about Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome Diagnosis or Surgery – feel free to reach out to us via email or Facebook Messenger.

 

Emergency Pet Care

What is a Pet Emergency on Weekends and Public Holidays?

I’m worried about my Pet but is it an Emergency?

With most vets being closed or offering only “Emergency Consultations” or “Urgent Veterinary Care” on weekends and Public Holidays – what exactly does that mean for me?

As a pet owner if I am worried about my pet and it’s a Sunday, how do I know whether it’s urgent or not?

The answer is – you don’t.

While we can all recognise a true Emergency such as Snake Bite – Bloat – Trauma from an accident – collapse etc – there are also a lot of other less obvious symptoms while not considered true emergencies that benefit from being treated sooner rather than later.

For this reason – we’d rather put this message out there

If you are worried about your pet at ANY time – get veterinary help. Don’t hold off calling just because you’re not sure whether it is a true emergency or not.

For your peace of mind – have your pet seen. While it will cost you more to see a vet on those days – you could actually save money in the long term by addressing the problem sooner rather than later. Some conditions can deteriorate quickly so leaving them untreated for even 24 hours can risk making your pet sicker therefore requiring more intensive treatment.

Emergency Veterinary Care “Lucy’s” Story

One of our Public Holiday patients that comes to mind is a lovely middle aged labrador. Let’s just call her “Lucy.”

The owner’s noticed she wasn’t quite right on that morning. Nothing too alarming. She was still bright and responsive – but just didn’t want to eat breakfast.

They called up and just wanted her checked over for peace of mind. Little did they know the lifesaving decision they just made.

It turns out that the reason why Lucy didn’t tuck into breakfast as normal was that she was bleeding internally from a ruptured tumour that had been growing silently and causing no outward symptoms until now.

This was a serious situation that could not have waited until the next day. Thankfully Lucy had emergency surgery and made a full recovery.

The chances of this happening of course are slim. Not every dog that goes off their food for one day has a condition as serious as this.

Sometimes some medication is all that’s needed to stop something from becoming worse.

If you’re worried about your pet – just give us a call. We’re available 24/7 for that very reason. Our full hospital facilities also mean we can carry out any diagnostics and treatments your pet needs so you won’t need to be referred elsewhere.

Of course if you are not local to us – contact your nearest Animal Emergency Centre for advice.

Please note our services on Weekends and Public Holidays are limited to in clinic consultations only. We can’t provide home visits or ambulatory calls for large animals.

Our 24/7 Veterinary Care

GDV Bloat in Dogs

Gastropexy – Avoiding Dangerous Bloat in Dogs

Would You Consider Your Dog having an Elective Procedure if you knew it could prevent Dangerous Bloat?

Bloat – most people know about it but not everyone knows how dangerous it can actually be. In veterinary speak we call it GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) – also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion.

How does Bloat Happen?

It happens when stomach fills with gas during the digestive process and something prevents the food flowing into the small intestine as it should – giving the gas no way to escape!

When the stomach begins to bloat it stretches and become enlarged – eventually becoming so big it rotates on itself (twists) shutting of critical blood flow to organs & causing tissues to die off which can’t be reversed.

Meanwhile your dog starts to show signs of laboured breathing and pain as a result of the stomach stretching and taking up more and more room in the abdominal cavity and putting pressure on the chest cavity.

This condition is extremely painful and won’t go away without Urgent Veterinary Intervention. It is a true Emergency and you must get to your vet quickly. Any delay can cause irreversible damage and a potential excruciatingly painful death!

How Common is Bloat in Dogs?

It seems this condition is more common in deep chested and large breed dogs such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, St Bernards, Standard Poodles, Dobermans however any other medium – large breed of dog can also be at risk.GDV Bloat in Dogs

Other Causes

There are many factors that can cause bloat aside from natural breed and build of your dog. These include:

  • Genetic pre-disposition – chest dimensions
  • Age – Older dogs are more likely to develop bloat
  • Gender – Male dogs seem to more pre-disposed to bloat
  • Eating habits – Dogs fed once a day are more at risk than those been fed several smaller meals throughout the day
  • Temperament – Nervous, fearful or anxious dogs appear to be at higher risk of developing this condition
  • Exercise on a full stomach after eating

Warning signs of Bloat

  • Swollen belly – loss of the tucked in area behind the last rib and hip
  • Non – productive vomiting – trying to vomit but nothing comes up – retching
  • Restlessness – hunched appearance
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Salivation (drooling)

If your dog’s condition continues to deteriorate, especially if volvulus (twisting) has occurred, your dog may go into shock and become pale, have a weak pulse, a rapid heart rate, and eventually collapse. A dog with gastric dilatation without volvulus can show all of these signs. The more severe signs are likely to occur in dogs with both dilatation and volvulus.

Be Prepared

Know the location of your nearest 24 hour Emergency Centre or vet with 24 Hour service before this happens. If it does – you can’t afford to waste time hunting!

An Elective Surgical Procedure that can help prevent Bloat

This is called Preventative Gastropexy – a procedure that is often performed early in a dog’s life that greatly reduces the risk of a future emergency.

Most commonly this is done at the time of desexing when your dog is already under Anaesthesia.

During this procedure, part of your dog’s stomach is attached to the body wall preventing it from being able to rotate.

Other options include:

  • Performing a Gastropexy at an early age 6 – 9 months of age. We don’t recommend desexing at this age for large breed dogs so this would be a standalone procedure
  • Perform a Gastropexy at the same time as desexing when full maturity is reached at around 18 months of age for large breed dogs. This can be done with a routine desexing (Traditional spey and castration) or via a laparascopic (keyhole) spey with a laparascopic assisted gastropexy.

If you suspect Bloat – Don’t Delay

If your dog is showing signs of bloat – head to your nearest Emergency Centre immediately or if you are local – call us and come straight down. We operate a 24 hour facility with vets available to perform this life threatening surgery day and night!

Even if it turns out be be a false alarm – you’ve done the right thing. In this case it’s definitely best to be safe than sorry.

Cheap Vet Fees

The Truth Behind Cheap Vet Fees

Why Best Practice can’t compete with Low Cost Vet Care

In these times when many budgets are tight it’s only natural to try and get the best price for anything we buy. Whether that be groceries, phone services, Clothing, Car repairs, Hairdressers, products, Insurance premiums or anything else – we all look to compare providers to make sure we get the best deal possible.

Getting the best deal on products of course is easy – especially if you can compare the item from one store with the price at another. Same product – different price. Why wouldn’t you buy from the store with the cheaper price. The products can be directly compared.

However – when it comes to “Services” – the comparison of a particular service offered by different service providers isn’t quite so clear. That’s because we now have some variables to consider.

Products vs Services – comparisons

Let’s take a mechanic for example. We all book our cars in for regular check ups and servicing because we don’t want them breaking down or causing accidents while we drive to work or drop the kids off at school. But do all mechanics charge the same amount for a Regular service? No they don’t. They might be similar or they could be substantially different. Does that Low Cost Veterinary Caremean you would always choose the cheapest?

Possibly not.

Now you’re probably going to compare Value instead.

Some things you are likely to consider include:

  • Is he / she a Good / experienced mechanic? Do they run a reputable business?
  • What parts / services / tests are included in the cost? Do they use good quality parts?
  • What are they going to be testing on my car? Have they got modern equipment to run those tests?
  • What will they be replacing during a standard service? Oil filters? Oil? Windscreen / brake fluids?
  • Do they offer some sort of after service guarantee?
  • Will they update the service log?
  • Will they give me an honest report of what things need to be done?

So – moving on to Veterinary Services, we’re in the same boat as the mechanics , the dentists, the electricians, the physiotherapists, the podiatrists, the hairdressers and all other businesses that make their money by providing services.

None of us work for free so labour costs will always be included. This means the differences in costs will be mostly due to all other things.

To show how costs can be lowered in a commonly compared service let’s use the Dog Spey procedure as an example

Our fee estimations for Dog desexing include:

  1. Pre-Anaesthetic blood tests – to check for any internal issues that could affect Anaesthesia safety
  2. Intravenous fluid therapy – to help maintain vital blood pressure and temperature throughout the procedure. Also helps them wake up more smoothly without feeling nauseous and dehydrated.

By removing these two items we have already reduced our fees by around $130.00

So where else can we save money?

  1. We can remove nurse supervision of your pet under Anaesthsia. (Save labour costs)
  2. We can buy cheaper Anaesthetic drugs. Save a few dollars.
  3. We can leave out pain relief medications included in the sedation beforehand. Save another few dollars.
  4. We can save on individually prepared sterile surgical instrument kits by sharing one kit among many patients or just disinfecting them instead. Save at least $20
  5. We can remove vital electronic monitoring of your pet which shows vital signs such a breathing rate, heart rate & blood pressure throughout the procedure
  6. We can remove the cost of vets wearing sterile gloves, masks and gowns which help minimise contamination of the open wound we create. Save another few dollars.
  7. We can save on pain medications by not giving any to send home with your dog after the procedure. Another few dollars
  8. We can use cheaper suture materials
  9. We can leave your dog to recover after the procedure without nurse supervision. Again save on labour costs.

If we did this – we would certainly become a good contender for the cheapest place to have your dog desexed.Cheap Vet Fees

The sad fact is that you – the pet owner doesn’t have a clue what happens behind the scenes.

None of what is listed above will be obvious to you when you pick up your dog after the procedure. You accept the fact your dog will be a little groggy and painful after the procedure – even when it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

You’re happy because you just got a good deal however – your dog pays the ultimate price through unnecessary suffering.

We are sorry if this all sounds a little harsh but there’s really no other way to get this point across. Too many times we hear people sing the praises of low cost providers saying how caring and compassionate they are simply because they are so cheap.

In our opinion – there’s nothing compassionate about cutting corners that directly impact the safety & welfare of the animal under veterinary care.

But what about Laws?

The only requirements for surgical procedures is that they are performed under Anaesthesia and in a clinic environment. The rest is optional and based on individual vet choices and how they want to position their practice in the marketplace.

Ultimately – the final choice is yours. You decide the level of care you want for your pet and what matters to you.

Just don’t expect those practices that invest in modern equipment, ongoing education for their employees and commit to providing to high standards of care for their patients to come in at the same prices as low cost centres.

roundworm infection

How to avoid this senseless Death in Puppies

If it’s one thing that always deeply gets to us it’s the suffering or death of any animal that could have been so easily avoided.

This story reflects just one of these situations that we see – more often that we should. Hopefully, by publishing this story we can help avoid further unnecessary suffering and death in other puppies and kittens out there.

How simple Deworming could have saved this Puppy’s life

Just a few days ago we saw a 5 week old puppy – severely lethargic, dehydrated and had not been eating for days!

The owners sought some over the phone advice from “somewhere” and were told as long as the puppy was willing to lick a little food from their finger – it should be O.K.

Really?

Well – Puppy was NOT O.K. In fact in addition to all the above symptoms this little girl showed stunted growth a high temperature and severe malnutrition – all clearly indicating she was one sick little puppy.

And what else did we find on examination?

Yep – Roundworms – lots of them. Alive, Nicely matured and clearly sucking all vital nutrients from her intestines. Explains her poor state of health, stunted growth and deterioration over time.

Roundworms are most threatening to Puppies. And if left untreated can cause death! Click To Tweet

The most common consequence of Roundworm infection is stunted growth!

At this stage – this little girl needed intensive treatment is she was to have any chance of survival. Her owners elected not to proceed and chose instead to euthanase.

How to Avoid Risk of Worming Infection in Your Puppy (or Kitten)

Worming is so darn easy using the available syrup formulas so there’s absolutely no excuse for these babies suffering or even dying from worm infestation.

All puppies and kittens should be wormed from 2 weeks of age with a quality de-worming product.

Continue to worm every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age. Then monthly until 6 months of age.

Roundworm Facts

Roundworm are particularly dangerous for puppies and kittens because they are already likely present at birth. This is because the larvae present in the mother can pass through the placenta into the unborn puppies or kittens.

They can also be passed through the mother’s milk after birth.

Worm Prevention Starts with Mum!

If you are planning to breed from your Bitch or Queen – make sure you deworm both before and during pregnancy to minimise the risk of Roundworm larvae being transmitted to the newborns.

Quality worm products are extremely safe for both pregnant and nursing Mums. Stick with a quality product over a cheap generic to be absolutely sure of the best protection.

We personally recommend Drontal Puppy Suspension (An allwormer product that protects against all 4 intestinal worms, Hookworm, Whipworm, Tapeworm and Roundworm) or Troy Puppy and Kitten Worm syrup which protects against Roundworm only. Since the main threat to newborns in the early weeks is Roundworm a “Roundworm Only” product is adequate for the first 6-8 weeks of life.

There are of course course other similar quality products out there but these 2 are an easy option and available from most veterinarians and pet stores.

Pet Dentistry No Anaesthetic

Anaesthesia Free Dentistry vs Professional Veterinary Dental

Is Anaesthesia – Free Dentistry the Right choice for Your Pet?

Since being introduced in Australia – Anaesthesia Free Dentals are becoming a popular option for people who don’t want their pet going under Anaesthesia.

That being said – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there comparing AFD’s with Professional Veterinary Dentistry performed under General Anaesthesia other than AFD’s sounding so much more appealing than their Veterinary equivalent.

Is there a difference?

Yes there is. These are two entirely different procedures approached in entirely different ways.

AFD’s are approached from the Cosmetic angle. Ugly brown tartar which leads to periodontal disease is scraped off pet’s teeth to clean and restore the “above the gum line” parts of the teeth surface to make them nice and white again.

  • During an Anaesthesia Free Dental procedure the surface of your pet’s teeth are scaled using a hand instrument that scrapes away the accumulated tartar. This leaves grooves on the tooth surface making it easy for more food and bacteria to stick to after the procedure.
  • Your pet is likely to feel uncomfortable during the procedure. Think of your pet as a young child having it’s mouth held open while a sharp instrument scrapes and pokes along the teeth. And then – what if your pet reacts to a painful sensation and moves its head? There is a risk of doing some serious damage to the mouth and gums with that sharp instrument.
  • It is impossible to clean beneath the gumline where periodontal disease starts. Gently probing below the gum line looking for pockets of disease and cleaning these areas is painful. No AWAKE human or pet will tolerate this. For this reason – Anaesthesia Free Dental procedures do NOT address issues that may be hidden under the gumline.
  • This means Anaesthesia Free Dentals’s are superficial only and create a false sense of security. Just because your pet’s teeth are nice and white again does not mean there’s no serious dental disease lurking below the surface.
  • It is impossible to do a complete oral exam which includes looking at all surfaces of your pet’s teeth inside and out – front and back – in an awake pet.
  • It is impossible to see what’s happening to the parts of teeth that sit below the gumline without Dental X-rays. For all you know – with AFD’s – damaged teeth that should be pulled are being cleaned instead.
  • You can’t extract damaged, misaligned teeth without General Anaesthesia!Pet Dentistry No Anaesthetic

Summing up AFD’s

Your pet’s teeth are nice and white and that doggy breath is gone – for now!

As for any below the gumline tooth and jaw damage – that’s ignored and left until further symptoms develop and you’ll be referred back to your vet for the expensive treatment.

Veterinary Dentals

Are performed under full general Anaesthesia so we can properly examine ALL parts of your pet’s oral cavity including all parts of all teeth while your pet sleeps peacefully throughout.

Where we suspect any below the gumline issues – we take full dental X-Rays just like your Dentist would. Dental X-Rays give us valuable information about all the structures we can’t see. This allows us to identify bone loss – teeth that look normal on the surface but are damaged at the roots and need removing, impacted or resorbed teeth and any other bone pathology that might indicate developing disease.

Preventative Dentals (Scale & Polish)

Veterinary Dentals falls into two categories:

  1. Preventative Dentals – This is like visiting your Dentist on a regular basis to have your teeth professionally cleaned with modern Ultrasonic equipment. While your Dentist does this – he or she will be looking out for any developing problems and make recommendations based on what they see while examining and cleaning all your pearly whites. Regular dentals throughout your pet’s lifetime will slow down the progression of Dental Disease and keep them healthier for longer. In terms of costs – these are hardly more expensive than AFD’s.
  2. Treatment Dentals – where dental disease is already present. This is you visiting your dentist because you are experiencing Dental pain or discomfort. Usually this will mean a filling or some other form of dental treatment. Your Dentist will take X-rays to reveal the real cause of the problem so the right treatment can be prescribed.

Any treatment your Dentist does will likely involve some pain control. While humans don’t need a General Anaesthetic for most procedures – we do have the benefit of local anaesthesia for the uncomfortable or more painful procedures. Local anesthesia works just fine for us because as long as we don’t feel the pain – we’re happy to keep our mouth wide open and still to allow the dentist to do the work.

Animals aren’t so compliant which is why they need Full Anaesthesia.

Fear of Anaesthesia

There seems to be an unhealthy fear of Anaesthesia which is what makes AFD’s so appealing despite their clear limitations.

“But I don’t want my pet to have a General Anaesthetic” is a common reason for declining a Dental procedure.

In terms of risk – let’s put it this way. The risk of your Pet becoming very sick and being in a lot of pain due to Dental Disease is much much greater than the risk of Modern Day Anaesthesia.

This should never be the reason for withholding proper dental care from your pet.

In our Practice – we take a great deal of care to ensure ALL anaesthetics we deliver are done with your pet’s utmost safety in mind.Dog Anaesthesia Free Dentistry

This is why we do pre- anaesthetic screening blood tests as well as put your pet on fluids before or throughout the procedure as necessary.

Here’s a picture showing a patient sleeping peacefully through what would be considered a painful procedure.

Please note the Breathing tube inserted. This means we can administer Oxygen at any any time should there be complications.

It also prevents all that bacteria ridden tartar from being swallowed or worst still being inhaled into the lungs!

(Keep in mind – anaesthesia protocols vary between clinics. Here we’ve described what we do in our practice)

Home Visit Dental Check limitations

During a home visit (mobile vet services) we can perform basic dental checks however this cannot replace the full oral examination required for a professional diagnosis and treatment of Dental Disease. All pets that need dental treatment will be referred back to our Hospital.

Dental Disease is Serious Disease

Many people think that Dental Disease only ever affects the mouth so it’s O.K to ignore. Actually – it’s no less serious than any other medical condition you are prepared to visit your vet for. If left untreated – Dental Disease eventually affects other organs – mainly kidneys and heart as the infectious bacteria from the mouth circulate around the bloodstream.

But my Dog / Cat is still eating. It Can’t be that bad

Animal have strong survival instincts. They will continue to eat despite pain in preference to starvation. Once an animal has stopped eating – it’s a sign that death by starvation is now preferable to dealing with the pain associated with eating.

Breed Awareness

Some breeds of cats and dogs are more prone to developing dental disease. e.g Dogs with short faces like French Bulldogs, Shih-tzus, Pugs and their mixes often have overcrowded teeth making it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean – even with preventative care.

These breeds of animals will need regular professional dentals on top of daily home dental care.

 

Vet Feedback

The Hidden Truth about Veterinary Feedback

Is Your Feedback Helpful or Harmful?

All humans, being the social creatures we are – not only need feedback, we thrive on it. Feedback helps us grow, improve and contribute to the world in meaningful and better ways.

And sure – we all accept that feedback for improvement isn’t always positive; negative feedback is often the greatest trigger for self reflection and positive change.

In our world that is Veterinary Practice – we get feedback every day. From a dear client’s chocolates to say thank you for taking such good care of her beloved pet to flowers and cards expressing gratitude for a job Veterinary Reviewswell done.

Helpful Feedback

We welcome both positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback means we’re doing things right so we make sure we continue doing those things and do them well.

Then there’s the helpful critical feedback which we appreciate the most – the information that lets us know where we’ve let you down in some way and gives us the opportunity to make changes or amends.

You may not know it – but we act on feedback every day. In our busy Hospital we do our best to make sure your pets are taken care of in the best possible way as well trying to run on time for consultations, respond to your phone messages, update inpatient fee estimations, schedule diagnostic procedures, perform surgery, do farm visits and house calls and attend to any emergencies that come in unexpectedly.

With so many things happening at any given time – Yes – as hard as we try not to, we do slip up at times.

And when we do slip up – we ask you talk to us because for most problems or complaints we can usually find a solution that’s agreeable to everyone involved.

Harmful Feedback

Sadly though – not all feedback we get is constructive or civil and when we are blamed or vilified for things we have no control over this has devastating affects on our team.

  • We’re hard enough on ourselves without being subject to unnecessary abuse. It hurts to be told that we don’t care and that we are terrible vets because we can’t meet the prices of low cost clinics. Yet we’re expected to provide everything that low cost clinics can’t.
  • We’re shamed on Social Media when we can’t diagnose a problem because the client won’t pay for an X-Ray or a blood test. Of course they never mention that fact.
  • If we make a mistake we’re labelled as incompetent. But if the medical profession fails a human patient that’s acceptable.
  • A client complains because their preferred vet can’t meet their scheduled appointment because he’s busily trying to stop a patient crashing in theatre. Apparently saving a life does not take priority over a routine consultation.
  • We’re yelled at because we won’t supply prescription drugs to someone whose animal we haven’t seen for years. Blamed for not breaking a law that could cost us our licence to practice?
  • We are told off for poor service for not being able to see a horse immediately that has been sick for 10 days. It’s us who are negligent – not the owner who has let her horse suffer for days.

And just last week – slandered on Facebook for allegedly ripping off a vulnerable pensioner by providing unnecessary, expensive treatment for her 17 year old dog.

Feedback 1Here’s the Real Story

When “Patch” was seen for the first time last week he was a very sick dog indeed.

In addition to his Illness (vomiting & diarrhoea) – He also had a very big lump on his chest which had now grown so large it made it difficult for him to walk.

We had not seen “Patch” before and it was clear that he had not been checked by a vet for a long time.

The priority was to determine the cause of the vomiting and diarrhoea and painful abdomen.

The second concern was the large lump which had a significant impact on Patch’s quality of life.

From the outset our client accompanied by her adult son were given the option to start finding out the cause of the medical problem OR euthanasia on humane grounds. Taking “Patch” home with pain meds and left to die on his own terms (as this person said we should have done) was not considered a humane option therefore was not offered.

The clients were also informed that if removing the lump after stabilisation of Patch’s medical condition was not wanted then there would be no point proceeding with treatment for his medical condition as we would not be able to achieve quality of life standards. Again – euthanasia was offered as a kind alternative to treatment.

Clients agreed to diagnostics and treatment.

(Examination, Blood Tests and X-Rays) indicated irregularities in the abdominal region plus kidney disease.

Feedback 2An Ultrasound was performed to investigate the abdominal irregularities in the abdominal area. Images revealed pancreatic inflammation and a pancreatic abnormality. Blood tests confirm inflammation

Over the next few days “Patch” was treated for these conditions in hospital and and was responding well and comfortable.

We then discussed the option of sending a sample (obtained via keyhole sampling) of the pancreatic tissue to the laboratory for more accurate diagnosis. This would allow us to determine a prognosis for Patch.

Sadly, despite his initial good response to treatment, Patch relapsed a few days later and it was at this point his owners chose to let him go.

Unfortunately but Yes – these diagnostics plus 24 hour hospitalisation with treatments over several days add up. None of this is basic care. Communication of Patch’s condition, his results, consent for treatments plus estimated costs were via phone as well as face to face when the owners came to visit Patch in hospital.

The clients never voiced any concerns during these conversations or during their visits that could have alerted us to a problem.

At no stage we we ever told to get permission from any persons other that this lady’s mother and son. We were never informed that they were incapable or had no right to make those decisions. It is not our fault that this lady was on holidays during the time of “Patch’s” treatment and therefore not included in any discussions.

So when we read her comments online – we were absolutely shattered.

Did we want Patch to pull through his illness? Of course we did. We treat similar cases every day – even geriatric ones. We even see some pets which aren’t expected to survive an illness or trauma, make a full recovery.

Medicine is not an exact science and outcomes can never be predicted or guaranteed.

As for “Who in their right mind would agree for such an expense in a pet 17 years old and no positive outcome.”

That’s your opinion.  There are many people who do that in Veterinary Centres all over the world every day including our practice. Maybe this was true 15 years ago before the advances in veterinary technologies however in today’s world it’s fast becoming the norm.

For some people having their pet around for an extra few months or even weeks is important to them and just because there are no guaranteed outcomes for some treatments doesn’t deter some people from trying.

People will spend money even when the prognosis looks less than positive. Peace of mind knowing they have done everything they could possibly do before electing to euthanase is important to them.

There can be a lot of anguish around premature euthanasia. In this case people feel guilt, questioning whether they made that decision too soon and should they have asked to find more conclusive evidence that their decision at that time was the right one for their pet.

There are never any easy answers to these situations.

The Ugly Side of Harmful Feedback

Accusations and degrading comments like these add enormous stress to vets and nurses who try their hardest to do the right things by people and their animals every day. Can you imagine how we all felt after this – especially the younger team who looked after Patch day and night?Vet Feedback

Little wonder the profession boasts the highest suicide rate and good caring vets change careers every day.

So shame on people who believe its their mission to spread half truths about others with no information about the facts. You forget that there are real, caring well meaning people at the end of these hurtful comments.

If you have a problem with any aspect of any service whether that’s from us or anyone else – have the decency to make a time to speak with the people involved face to face before you rant online.

In this case we would have welcomed some honest discussions from the concerned party before voicing “her opinion” to the world.

When we spoke with her the following day over the phone we asked her what she wanted from us. Her answer was “Nothing.”!

Equine Colic

Equine Emergencies. Are You Prepared?

 The Day Your Horse becomes Seriously ill

Equine EmergenciesIt’s certainly not uncommon – at least not around here for some of you to own a horse for sport or pleasure but unlike smaller furry companions, managing their needs when they become sick or are injured presents a whole different set of challenges.

Fact – Most Owners are Not Prepared for that unexpected Emergency

Equine Ambulatory services can only do so much if your horse is seriously ill. While we carry a range of medications and equipment in our vehicles, as far as facilities go, we are limited to paddocks and stables.

What this means is – we can perform routine or minor procedures such as Geldings, stitch up lacerations, treat hoof abscesses, manage a spasmodic colic, provide emergency first aid and remove a lump or two however, we are certainly not resourced to provide intensive medical care around the clock or perform major surgery.

Your Horse will need to go to Hospital!

Having to refer your horse to hospital is not simply something we do to make things easy for us. It’s done because its what your horse’s condition needs.

It’s no different to calling an ambulance when a member of your family suddenly becomes seriously ill or having your doctor send you straight to hospital if the symptoms point to something serious.

You will need to have Transport

Owning a Float or having access to one at short notice is one of the absolute must haves if you own a horse.

Too often we’ve seen people caught out by having either no float or car to tow one when they need to get it to an Equine Hospital in a hurry. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Equine Emergency CareDon’t own a Float? Find a Friend who has!

If you don’t yet own a float – then at least make arrangements that allow you to borrow one from a friend – at short notice – and 24/7. (Emergencies can happen at any hour)

Better still – have at least a few people up your sleeve should you not be able to contact your first choice.

Other things to consider

  1. Make sure you have access to First Line veterinary care from a vet local to you. Even for serious issues you may need that necessary initial first aid treatment to prepare your horse for safe transport.
  2. Have a good relationship with that vet. After all – you may need to call them out at any time. Not all veterinary clinics offer a 24/7 emergency service.
  3. Have funds set aside for veterinary expenses.  (Routine and Emergency Care) If you own a horse, you will have vet bills.
  4. Have a well stocked first aid kit. You may need to use it in conjunction with veterinary advice should your vet not be able to attend as quickly as the situation demands.
  5. Know the names and locations of your nearest Equine Emergency Centres.
Lost Pet has Microchip

Are Your Pet’s Microchip Records Up to Date?

 If Your Pet is Lost – Can we Find You?

Faces like these staring out of cages are commonplace across pet shelters, pounds and Vet Clinics across our community.

It is not unusual for people to bring wandering pets into local vet clinics to keep them safe while staff try and identify who they belong to. The only accurate way to do this is by scanning for a microchip which hopefully links the pet to its registered owner.

Lost Pet has MicrochipUnfortunately this is not always the case.

Sometimes the lost pet is not microchipped so we have no way to identify where it has come from or who the owner is.

The only thing we can do is hope that someone will miss this face and call us pretty quickly.

If this doesn’t happen – we are required by law to send these unidentified pets to the local pound.

If Your Pet Has a Microchip – we can probably Find You

The best way to make sure your lost pet can always be returned to you is through Microchipping. This tiny identification chip is smaller than a grain of rice but holds the necessary details to help us connect your pet with you.

By law – all cats and dogs need to be microchipped for local Council registration however there are still many pets which are not.

Each Microchip has a unique number which then becomes your pet’s unique ID. This unique number is linked to your contact details which include your name, current address and phone number.

We can scan any lost pet for this unique number and then search relevant databases for your contact details.

Once we find this, we can contact you and let you know your pet is safe with us and waiting for you to come and take her home. A Happy Ending for everyone!

When Microchipping Does Not Work

In order for this very simple and effective system to work however means you need to keep your contact details up to date.

If you move address or change your phone contact details – and you have a microchipped pet registered with your previous details – please make sure you notify the relevant organisation through which your pet’s microchip is registered.

If you don’t do this – anyone finding your pet may not be able to contact you.

How to Check Where Your Pet is Registered

Shortly after your pet has been microchipped you will receive identification acknowledgement from that provider in the mail.Microchip Registration

We use Central Animal Records as our Database so the document should look like this.

If you do not receive this document within a few weeks of microchipping your pet with us – please let us know immediately.

Moving House? New Mobile? Updating Your Pet’s Records

If you have changed any of your important contact details – please contact your relevant database provider for information on how to update your contact details.

Not Sure Which Database Your Pet is Registered With?

If you don’t know where your pet is registered – go to Pet Address and type in your pet’s microchip number.

If your pet is registered on a database, the search engine function will be able to tell you. Once you know where your pet is registered – you can contast them directly and update your details.

Central Animal Records has a very helpful FAQ page which gives you all the information you need about microchip registrations to include:

  • Updating Your contact details
  • Transferring ownership
  • Deceased Pet Notification
  • Breeder Litter Microchipping and lots more

Check Your Pet’s Microchip Records Today

Add this important task to your planner this week. If your pet is Not Microchipped – make an appointment to have this done.

If your pet is Microchipped – check your pet’s registration details and update if needed.

Why Dental Checks in Consultations Can’t Give us the Full Picture

Our Patients are Reluctant

Have you ever tried opening your cat or dog’s mouth and being able to examine every single tooth without them squirming, pulling away or taking a swipe at you?

We’re guessing you can’t. And neither can we.

Unfortunately – pets just aren’t co-operative when it comes to looking inside their mouths – particularly if their mouth is sore.

That’s why we can only ever give you limited information about the true state of your pet’s oral health when we examine them in a consultation. We might be able to partially evaluate some of the front teeth but rarely can we see deep into their mouths at the teeth and gums down the back without stressing them out.

Cat and Dog DentalsWe can’t  just say “Open wide – sit still” – while we probe each tooth and look at them with the mirror like Human Dentists can.

All we can do in this situation is give you an idea of your pet’s oral health status which generally means applying special numbers called Dental Grades.

Dental Disease Grading

Dental Disease is a progressive disease which is classified according to severity. These stages are based on what we can see while examining your pet’s mouth in a consultation and are simplistically explained as follows:

Grade 0-1 – No Evidence of Dental Disease

No visible signs of dental disease. Generally found only in young pets or those having regular preventative dentals to keep them this way. To keep your pets oral health at this stage – regular Preventative “Scale and Polish” dentals are recommended.

Grade 2 – Mild Gingivitis – Early Stage Periodontal Disease

Here we see evidence of the beginning signs of developing disease. Slightly inflamed gums, plaque and some hardened plaque. (Tartar) A Dental will be recommended to remove this dangerous build up thereby halting further progression of dental disease.

This is the Good Stage – no permanent damage to teeth and gums seems to be present. We call this the “reversible” stage – You can still do something to return your pet’s mouth to good health.

Book your pet in for a Dental as soon as possible – otherwise you’ll risk progressing to the irreversible stages.

Grade 3 Dental Disease -Mild Gingivitis, Established Periodontal Disease

Ouch! This is already getting more serious and will be causing your pet pain. Gums are red, inflamed and swollen. Your pet’s mouth is smelly (due to bacteria build up) Moderate amounts of hard brown tartar is present. Some teeth may already be damaged and need to be removed. A professional dental is urgently needed if your pet has reached this stage.

Grade 4+ Severe Gingivitis – Advanced Periodontal Disease

Your pet’s gums are damaged by dangerous bacteria and Tartar. Your pet’s mouth is incredibly sore and her breath smells badly. Chronic infection is destroying the gums, teeth and bone. Severe Dental Disease in Pets

Bacteria are circulating in the bloodstream threatening the liver, kidneys and heart. Teeth will have to be removed and the gums stitched. A dental procedure is needed urgently – with no exceptions or alternative options possible.

Fee Estimations for Dental Procedures

Given the difficulty in making accurate assessment of your pet’s mouth while awake – the best we can do is provide a fee estimation that ranges between best case scenario and worst case scenario for any stage greater than Grade 1 Preventative Dental Scale and Polish.

Your pet’s dental health best assessed while fast asleep under General Anaesthesia where we have the opportunity to examine each tooth individually as well as visualise the whole oral cavity.

This is why we provide free dental assessments for all patients undergoing general anaesthesia in our practice.

We can contact you if we feel your pet would benefit from a dental at the same time as their other procedure.

By combining the dental procedure with the existing procedure saves you money in the long term because you are not paying for each procedure individually.

Please be aware -the longer you ignore developing dental disease – the more costly it will be treat in the latter stages – not to mention the pain this causes to your pet.

Admitting Your Pet for Surgery

Be prepared for our staff to inform you that we will be performing a free dental examination while your pet is under anaesthesia. We will contact you if we find that your pet would benefit from having a dental performed with the procedure and you can then decide from there.