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.

 

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.

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

Vet On Call

After Hours Emergency and Veterinary Care

Who do you turn to when your pet becomes sick at night?

Try calling your vet at night and chances are you’ll get a recorded message giving details of your nearest Animal Emergency Centre. (After Hours Service) This is common practice as these centres are open when regular clinics are not and have the all the necessary resources (staff, equipment, facilities) to provide the best treatment and care your pet needs.

Most often – your pet will be referred back to your regular vet for further treatment once stabilised or after surgery if that was needed at the time.

Our After Hours Service

We choose to provide a 24 hour service to our clients because not only do we believe it’s an essential part of running a Veterinary Hospital but because we can.

We’ve invested in the same equipment and facilities as Veterinary Emergency centres which means we can run the same diagnostics and perform almost all of the necessary procedures your pet needs at the time. We simply call in the right team to do it.

Emergency Vet

For intensive care patients our duty vet and (nurses if needed) stay on the premises all night to keep an eye on your pet and provide necessary treatments and patient monitoring.

The benefit to our clients is that we already have all your pet’s records on file.

We can access all your pet’s important background information like Vaccination status, previous illnesses and test results which can be extremely helpful when dealing with a recurring or sudden onset illness. It also means we don’t have to repeat any unnecessary tests because of lack of vital information.

Familiarity Helps

Even more important is the relationship we already have with you and your extended family. You may be greeted by one of our Vets you’ve seen before, which can be reassuring when emotions are high and you’re worried about your pet. Likewise, your pet is less likely to stress in a place she knows than an unfamiliar one.

We’re also less likely to ask for full payment before treatment starts (a common practice in Animal Emergency Centres) if you are a regular long term client of the practice and your account has always been in good standing with us.

I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing worse than having to come up with a substantial deposit in the middle of the night when there’s more important things to worry about.

All payment arrangements can be discussed the following morning

Over the years thousands of emergency patients have passed through our doors after hours all needing veterinary help of some kind. We’ve attended to everything from upset tummies, poisonings, road trauma injuries right through to lifesaving surgeries including GDV surgery (bloat)

So although running a 24 hour operation is a challenging and expensive arm of a Veterinary Practice knowing how many times being close and available has saved lives means we wouldn’t have it any other way.