Aberfoyle Hub Veterinary Clinic
Hub Professional Centre
Aberfoyle Park, SA, 5159

Phone: 08 8270 5155
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Barb's Bits

In our quest to celebrate the brilliant and dazzling performer, it is very easy to overlook the solid and dependable cast member who provides the base from which others shine. There is one loyal, dependable, very smart person who I know that frequently suffers that fate - our eldest daughter Ellen.

Last week, our family had the opportunity to recognise and celebrate Ellen's achievements when she graduated with her BSc (Evol Biol) from the University of Adelaide. Ellen is the quiet, introspective person who does not enjoy attention and prefers to observe. Her dogged persistance in her studies, in spite of many obstacles, has made this success especially sweet for us all.

As Isaac Newton said "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants". It has been a delight to watch Elle grow physically, emotionally and intellectually through the years, and to see her find her place in the sun as she studies Honours in Palaeontology at Flinders University. We know that she is one of those who will provide a shoulder to stand on, to allow the leaps and jumps in knowledge that we will come to hear of in the years ahead. To Elle, and all of you who are the quiet achievers that our well-being depends so much upon - thank you!


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Contents of this newsletter

01  Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

02  Where's my sock?

03  The cat burglar

04  My pet is vomiting - should I be worried?

05  Why we recommend desexing

06  Pyometra - easy to prevent

07  Lilly - Pet Focus of the Month

01 Australia's Biggest Morning Tea

This year the Cancer Council's Biggest Morning Tea is scheduled for Thursday 26th May. Unfortunately, that date clashes with the Australian Veterinary Association's national conference - the veterinary profession's premier continuing education event, being held in Adelaide this year. To allow all four vets to spend time at the conference, we have decided to hold our Biggest Morning Tea on Thursday June 2 - from 11am to 12pm at the clinic.We hope you can make it!

I have been very brave this year - we have raised around $1200 every year for the past 3 years, but this year I reckon we can shoot for a $2,000 target. Want to help? Come to our Biggest Morning Tea or, alternatively, you can donate online - click here to go to our fundraising page.

There is no need to RSVP but, if you would like to come, why not let us know? We will then send you an SMS reminder the day before, because cancer is too big a cause to forget!

02 Where's my sock?

This is a tale about a missing sock. The sock was long, red and very smelly and one afternoon it went missing from a footy bag. 

The next day, Jake, the well-loved and playful labrador started to look a bit 'off'. He was quieter than usual and didn't want to eat his breakfast. This is very unusual behaviour for a labrador, a breed often referred to as vacuum cleaners! 

After a rather large vomit, a visit to the vet was in order. Examination revealed some tummy pain and x-rays were taken showing a large amount of gas and food in the stomach. Suddenly there was a suspicion that something was stuck in Jake's stomach...

As time was ticking by, Jake became more and more unwell so the decision was made to perform surgery to open Jake's stomach and sure enough, the sock was found!

Gastrointestinal obstructions are not uncommon. Our pets love to eat things they shouldn't and sometimes these become stuck. Dogs are particularly susceptible as they love to scavenge but cats may also ingest objects such as string or plastic wrapping.

Watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort

Diagnosis can be a bit difficult as not all items show up on x-ray and if the obstruction is left too long, areas of the gut can become unhealthy and require extensive surgery. Early intervention and treatment is essential to ensure a good outcome.

If you are worried your pet might have eaten something out of the ordinary you should call us for advice.

03 The cat burglar

We heard about another pet who loves to steal clothing this month and her name is Brigit.

Brigit is a six year old Tonkinese cat who has stolen many pairs of men's undies and socks in her local neighbourhood in Hamilton, New Zealand!

Brigit's owner has tried to return the stolen items by placing notes in letterboxes and taking to social media. It appears that all of the (clean) clothes were taken from a neighbour's clothesline.

You can read more about Brigit here.

04 My pet is vomiting - should I be worried?

There are many reasons your pet might vomit, and physical obstruction from eating a sock is just one of them!

Diseases such as pancreatitis, liver or kidney disease, or endocrine diseases like diabetes can all produce vomiting. Dogs and cats can also suffer from inflammatory bowel disease and may vomit intermittently or have periods of severe gastrointestinal upsets associated with the condition.

So if your pet is vomiting, what should you do and when should you start to worry?

As a guide, if your pet has had a one off vomit but appears happy, bright and alert and otherwise well you should keep a close eye on him over the next 24 hours. It's best to withhold food for a few hours (gastric rest) and offer fluids for rehydration. Feeding a bland diet (steamed chicken and rice) for a few days may be all that is needed.

If your pet has vomited more than once in a short period of time, seems quiet and lethargic or has a reduced appetite or diarrhoea you should call us for advice.

Pets who are chronic (long term) vomiters or are losing weight should also have a check up to rule out other diseases.

If you ever have a hunch that something's not quite right with your pet, you should phone us. We are always happy to examine your pet for peace of mind.

05 Why we recommend desexing

Surgical desexing or neutering involves removing part of the reproductive system of dogs and cats so that they can't have puppies or kittens. In females it is known as a spey and in males it is referred to as castration.

Why do vets recommend desexing?

Desexing ultimately prevents unwanted pregnancies in female cats and dogs. It helps stop unwanted attention from males and reduces the wandering instinct.

There are also medical reasons for desexing. It greatly reduces the risk of cancers in both males and females and other life threatening conditions such as pyometra (see below).

With the large number of strays and abandoned animals euthanased every year we recommend you desex your pet. Maximum benefits are achieved if desexing is done at a young age.

We can give you more information about the appropriate time to desex your pet and discuss how to prepare your pet for the surgery.

06 Pyometra - easy to prevent

Pyometra is a serious condition that can develop in female pets that have not been desexed. It is more common in middle-aged to older dogs but cats are not immune from the condition.

Over time, there are changes to a female's reproductive tract that can lead to thickening of the uterus and formation of cysts. These cysts provide a perfect environment for bacteria to replicate in, and the thickened uterus has trouble contracting to remove the bacteria.

The result can be a septic uterus and this is a very serious and potentially life threatening condition.

Signs of pyometra:

  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • There may or may NOT be vaginal discharge

Treatment needs to be aggressive and surgical intervention to remove the uterus and ovaries (spey) is almost always necessary. Most pets will also require intravenous fluid and antibiotic therapy as well as intensive care.

The good news is that desexing your female pet will prevent this condition and it will also help reduce the likelihood of other diseases such as breast cancer.

We strongly recommend that all non-breeding female pets are desexed, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have.

07 Lilly - Pet Focus of the Month
Lilly morona

Lilly is a beautiful 11 year old Burmese cat, who lives with another beautiful Burmese cat, Misty. The owners noticed that the litter tray was being used more often, and the waterbowl was dropping more quickly, but they weren't sure which cat had a problem. They did notice, though, that Lilly had a brown discharge around her vulva. Further investigation revealed that Lilly had a urinary tract infection, along with sugar in the urine. A complete blood test was performed, and this confirmed that Lilly had developed diabetes.

Diabetes in cats is similar to Type 2 diabetes in people, and Burmese cats are pre-disposed. If blood glucose can be well controlled with insulin and diet early in the disease process, though, there is a good chance that it can be controlled by diet alone at a later stage.

Lilly is proving a bit tricky to stabilise on insulin therapy - it is important to go slowly so that overdosing doesn't occur - but she is eating her diabetic diet well, and we are hopeful that she, like many other cats, will go into remission in the near future! Good luck, Lilly!