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

Phone: 08 8270 5155
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Barb's Bits

We recently acquired 2 chickens, and they certainly embody the expression “ruling the roost” – one dog, two cats, and three adults are all intimidated when the chickens are free-ranging in the back yard! It sounds like the start to a Christmas carol, but what it means in reality is that there are lots of wide berths being taken!

Sylvie and Dromy are actually quite sweet, and are another great example of how things that we are unfamiliar with can scare us a bit, or a lot! The way they cock their heads to look at you with just one eye; the stabbing motion of pecking with their beak; the way they jerkily strut and flap their wings – these are all very different to the mammalian patterns of behaviour we are used to. It is hard for our brains to correctly interpret what it is seeing, and so we experience fear.

Now poor Sandy will stand at the bottom of the stairs barking to be let in, while the hens are perched at the top of the stairs just wanting to be a part of the family too! It makes for interesting times!

baboon 55
Contents of this newsletter

01  Annual Easter Bunny alert

02  Cushing's disease case study

03  Rat bait ingestion - what you need to know

04  Top three tips for preventing rat bait toxicity

05  Inspiration: an indoor cat fantasyland

06  Kara - Pet Focus of the Month

01 Annual Easter Bunny alert

As the Easter Bunny gears up to make his deliveries, it is our job to remind you keep ALL chocolate out of paw's reach.

Our canine friends are specifically designed to seek out any morsel of chocolate - big or small, wrapped or unwrapped!

The problem is, chocolate contains a derivative of caffeine called theobromine and dogs have trouble digesting this ingredient.

Scarily, theobromine ingestion can be fatal in some dogs. 

Watch out for:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Tremors, panting and a racing heart
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Seizures

As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is - but if your dog finds your Easter egg stash, it's best to call us immediately as ANY amount of ANY type of chocolate (white and milk included) can cause a problem.

In most cases, if we are able to make your dog vomit we can prevent any nasty follow on effects. 

Don't forget: sultanas and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs so you'll also need to keep hot cross buns off their menu this Easter. 

If you are worried about your pet this Easter you should ask us for advice. 

02 Cushing's disease case study

Jimmy is a 9 year old Maltese cross. This boisterous little man was thirstier than normal and had suddenly started to wee in the house. His owners noticed he had a bit of a pot belly but had put this down to Jimmy getting older.

A veterinary examination was just what the doctor ordered and blood and urine testing revealed that Jimmy had an endocrine disorder known as Cushing's disease.

Cushing's (hyperadrenocorticicsm) is a common endocrine disease seen in dogs. It is slow and progressive and is caused by the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a normal hormone produced by the adrenal gland and is essential for normal body function. However in some animals this gland produces too much cortisol and this can have a serious impact on your pet’s quality of life.

Sometimes Cushing's can be caused by an external source of cortisol, such as the long term administration of cortisone, which is one reason why corticosteroids have to be used with reasonable caution.

Common symptoms of Cushing's disease include:

  • Excessive thirst, appetite and urination
  • Pot belly
  • Skin problems, thin skin and hair loss
  • Heat intolerance and excessive panting
  • Lethargy

Jimmy has now commenced daily medication and requires close and careful monitoring but he is thankfully doing very well.

This is just another reason why we need to perform regular health checks on your pet. If we are able to detect and commence treatment early we can slow the progression of diseases and help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

If you have any concerns about your pet, please call us to arrange a check up. 

03 Rat bait ingestion - what you need to know

The poison used to kill rats and mice interferes with blood clotting. These products are just as toxic to dogs and cats, and alarmingly your pets may even seek these poisons out.

What to do if your pet finds rat bait:

If you know that your pet has eaten rat bait, have them checked a vet as soon as possible. If seen immediately, your pet can be made to vomit which reduces toxin absorption. Sometimes blood tests, or administration of an antidote may be necessary.

If your pet is showing signs of bleeding, they may require supportive care, transfusion of blood products and the antidote.

Clinical signs are usually present anywhere from 1 to 7 days after ingestion (depending on type and amount of poison ingested).

How to know if your pet has eaten rat bait:

  • Your pet may be quiet or lethargic
  • A cough or breathing problems (if they bleed into the lungs)
  • They may collapse
  • Sometimes there will be visible signs of bleeding (in urine, nose bleeds)

If you think your pet might have eaten rat bait, please phone us immediately for advice.

04 Top three tips for preventing rat bait toxicity

Sadly, we often see pets that have eaten rat bait. This can be extremely upsetting especially when ingestion can often be prevented. 

Here are our top tips for prevention rat bait toxicity: 

1. The first, and probably most obvious, is do not have rodenticide products on your property. And what about your neighbour's place? If you've moved to a new property, have you thoroughly checked it is safe?

2. Ensure that places you visit with your pet (friend's houses, holiday rentals) are rat bait free. That means always check for rat bait before letting your pet loose in a new environment.

3. If you must have rat bait, please store packets of these poisons in a secure place away from animals and children.

Don't forget that your pet may actively seek out rat bait - dogs have knack for getting under the house and cats love to explore the ceiling.

We are always here to offer advice and help - phone us if you are worried.  

05 Inspiration: an indoor cat fantasyland

Ever wonder if 15 cats could live happily together? This video is proof that they can.

We think this house is pretty amazing and it just goes to show that cats can live harmoniously together if they are provided with the right environment and enough litter trays! We also love that all of these cats have been rescued from a shelter.

This heartwarming story will bring a smile to your face and might even inspire you to do some renovating - check it out!

Burmese cat looking at camera

06 Kara - Pet Focus of the Month
Kara Pet of the Month Picture

“Never give up, never surrender!” is the catch cry of one of our favourite Sci-Fi movies (Galaxy Quest), but it could also be the motto by which Kara lives her life – even as a 14 year old Doberman she still has a puppy’s outlook on life!

Kara is one of our senior patients who we have been seeing ever since she was just 6 weeks old. She is a graduate of both our Puppy Preschool and our Hubba Blubba Weight Loss programmes, and has run the gamut of our veterinary services – vaccinations and desexing as a young ‘un; cuts and scrapes, the odd tummy upset, and too many lumps needing removal in her middle years; and battling with mobility, weight, incontinence, balance disturbances and other unexpected health issues in these twilight years. If you think she sounds just like a person, you would be pretty close to the truth!

At the moment, Kara is benefitting from acupuncture, pain relief and nutritional supplements to keep her mobile and well. It is a genuine pleasure to be able to give the grand old dame good quality of life, as well as give her parents the joy of her continued loving presence. By Grabthar’s hammer, Kara, you are a marvel! Well done!