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

Phone: 08 8270 5155
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Barb's Bits

Aren’t we in the most amazing phase of uncertainty and change? It seems the news is continually filled with bizarre or inexplicable people, events and politics on both the domestic and world stage! Events that we can't control can cause anxiety and nervousness in individuals, but those emotions can be put to a constructive use, making a silver lining from a time of craziness.

Ian and I are channelling some of that energy by starting Mandarin Chinese language classes. To complement our lessons and improve our ear for the language, we are watching “If You Are The One” – a Chinese dating show on SBS. The interesting cultural expressions, the sounds of the language, the gentleness and humour of the individuals - I confess I have become quite enchanted by it!

It certainly makes a change from the bluster being trumpeted so loudly elsewhere - long may gentleness and beauty reign!

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Contents of this newsletter

01  The most dangerous worm of all

02  Recognising heart disease in your pet

03  Tina Got Married!!

04  There's something wrong in ear!

05  Who stole the cookie?

06  Preventing fly bites

07  Bella, Pet Focus of the Month

01 The most dangerous worm of all

Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and it is the most dangerous of all the worms for our pets, as it can be fatal.

Think about this: wherever there are mosquitoes, there is the risk of heartworm.

When an infected mosquito bites your pet to feeds on their blood, the heartworm larvae are injected into the body. Over a few months these larvae migrate into the heart, and mature into worms that can reach up to a scary 30 cm in length! It is at this point that the disease can be fatal because the clogging effect of the worms can lead to heart failure.

Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease but cats may also be at risk.

Prevention of heartworm is easy and, just like vaccination it is far better to practice prevention than cure. Choosing the right heartworm medication can be confusing though, especially with so many options on the market. And BEWARE - most 'all wormer' products do NOT prevent against heartworms, just intestinal worms.

There are topical treatments, oral treatments and a yearly injection for dogs. Ask us for the most suitable prevention for your pet - we will make sure your pet is protected.

02 Recognising heart disease in your pet

With Valentine's Day in February, there's never a better time to talk about your pet's heart health.

Knowing the early signs of heart disease can really make a difference to your pet’s life. It means you can seek medical help from us, we can start treatment early, your pet will feel better and, in most cases, they will live a longer life. 

Heart failure generally affects the pumping mechanism of the heart, and oxygenated blood does not travel around your pet's body effectively. Blood ends up pooling in their lungs and/or abdomen, which can have an impact on other organs and your pet's overall health. 

Our feline friends are particularly good at hiding signs of heart disease, and it's often harder to pick up these changes at home as we don't tend to take our cats for a walk around the block!

The signs to look out for in both dogs and cats:

  • Laboured or fast breathing - the most common sign in cats 
  • An enlarged abdomen
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Fast breathing even when your pet is deeply asleep - more than 20 breaths a minutes is too fast.

Signs to look out for in dogs only:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks
  • Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

If we are concerned about your pet's heart we will initially recommend X-rays and an ultrasound of the heart. An ECG or further examination with a heart specialist may also be required.

Thankfully we have a number of medications available to help improve your pet's heart function and management of heart disease is advancing quickly. 

If you think your pet is showing one or more of the above signs, it is important that we see them for an examination, as early treatment can help your pet lead a longer and happier life.

03 Tina Got Married!!
Tina and Tom

Tina and Tom saying their vows.

Continuing on the theme of hearts....

On a beautiful day in January, our effervescent nurse Tina married Tom, her devoted fiancé. It was an idyllic setting on the beach at Willunga in the late afternoon, with  a gentle breeze and pleasantly warm sunshine throwing sparkles on the calm ocean behind. It could not have been more picturesque!

This was followed by a rowdy reception at Russell's - what could be better than pizza and a Cold Chisel tribute band!! - and the love of all those present was truly palpable. Most importantly, Tina and Tom themselves had the most wonderful time. If a wedding is an omen for the marriage to follow, Tina and Tom your life together is destined to be overflowing with love and happiness! May it prove to be so!

04 There's something wrong in ear!

If you think your pet has smelly, dirty or red ears it is time for a check up with us. Ear infections are very common at this time of the year and it's important that we have a look down the canal and make sure your pet is not in any pain.

The ear canal is lined by specialised skin, and contains its own micro-environment which can be easily disrupted by heat, moisture and self trauma (for example from itching due to allergies). Bacteria and yeast love the change in environment and begin to increase in numbers, resulting in a very unhappy and uncomfortable pet.

Watch out for:

  • Shaking of the head
  • Rubbing ears along the floor or furniture
  • Itching behind ears with paws
  • A head tilt
  • Flicking of the ears (especially cats)
  • Discharge - may be smelly and can be black, white or yellow
  • Hot and red ears

We will use an otoscope (a fancy tool with a light) to examine your pet's ears and make sure there is not a foreign body such as a grass seed contributing to the problem.

A sample must be taken and stained with special chemicals to identify the type of bacteria or yeast under a microscope. This enables us to prescribe the correct medication for your pet and gives the ear the opportunity to heal as quickly as possible.

The good news is, we have lots of very effective medications available as well as some treatments that can help prevent recurrent ear infections - just ask us for more information.

If you think your pet might have an ear problem, arrange a check up with us ASAP. The longer you leave an ear infection, the more painful the ear becomes and the harder (and more expensive) it becomes to treat. 

05 Who stole the cookie?

Check out this funny video of two black labradors Harley and Loa. One of them stole a cookie off the counter and you just have to see what happened next!

If you're short on time, skip to 1 min 25 secs.

06 Preventing fly bites

Flies are back in force this summer and they can be a real nuisance for your pet. 

Did you know that some fly species will actually bite around your pet’s ears and nose causing painful and infected sores?

Look out for dried, bloody scabs at the edges of your pet's ears and around the nose.

The best thing you can do is ask us about the very effective topical treatments we have available to help repel these annoying insects and follow these tips to help your pet out at home:

 •  Remove any dried blood from fly bites ASAP as the blood will attract more flies
 •  Don’t leave pet food in bowls to spoil outside - flies love this!
 •  Clean up your backyard (dog faeces, rubbish) to reduce smells that may be attractive to flies
 •  Try and give your pet a place to escape from the flies such as a kennel or a cool room

Ask us for more information on protecting your pet from pesky pests this summer.

And don't forget, we are the best people to give you advice on the best parasite prevention products for your pet.

07 Bella, Pet Focus of the Month

Bella is an otherwise well 12 year old black labrador who developed glaucoma (increased eye pressure) in her right eye in November. This was causing Bella significant pain, as well as blindness in that eye. No obvious underlying cause could be found, and trying to find out the cause would not have altered the treatment plan. Efforts instead were directed to reducing the glaucoma and alleviating the associated pain.

Initially there was a response to treatment, but ultimately the condition could not be controlled and the difficult decision was made to remove the eye. While prosthetic implants are available for dog eye sockets, we encountered significant delays due to Christmas period, and surgery went ahead without one for Bella's well being.

The great news is that Bella has made an excellent recovery. The cosmetic result is good, there is no more pain and no further medications are required, and Bella is back to her old labrador self. She will need to have monthly eye rechecks - maintaining a healthy left eye is essential – but she and her owner are much happier now! Well done guys!