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

reception@hubvet.com.au
www.hubvet.com.au
Phone: 08 8270 5155

Barb's Bits

Did you watch the Royal Wedding last month? Marriage is a wonderfully joyous public declaration of love and commitment to the exclusion of all others, and personally I feel refreshed and renewed toward my own vows when I go to weddings. But I didn't know either of these two people, so I didn't watch the beauty and the pageantry - I had other things to do, like cleaning.

And who would have thought that, on the floor of my child's bedroom, I would find another declaration of love to the exclusion of all others? Buried away for so long that I had forgotten it's existence, I found one of my merino thermal shirts - a favourite of mine, but also a new favourite of the silverfish, who had chosen just this one article of clothing among so many to make a holey home. Who would have thought that silverfish could provide a metaphor for marriage?

If I was a kinder person, I would have left my thermal underwear for the silverfish's continued pleasure. Instead, I assessed it as unsalvageable and threw it in the bin. Perhaps another group of critters will find a new home - warm even when it is wet, quick to dry, and environmentally friendly. Maybe I acted kindly after all!

baboon 69
Contents of this newsletter

01  Lenno's arthritis

02  The subtle signs of arthritis

03  The first step - make your home arthritis friendly

04  The many ways we can treat arthritis

05  DACO info

06  Cat hits dog's turbo button

07  Candy, Pet Focus of the Month

01 Lenno's arthritis
lenno

Last month we introduced you to Lenno. He had recently been diagnosed with dry eye and had commenced on some eye medication to help improve his tear production. We are pleased to say that he has responded well to the medication and his eyes are improving. He will need regular tear tests and ongoing medication but things are looking good (pardon the pun).

This month we'd like to discuss Lenno's arthritis. He suffers from osteoarthritis of the hip as he has mild hip joint deformity. The ball of his hip joint doesn't sit in the socket very well allowing extra mobility and wear and tear of the joint.

This is a mild form of hip dysplasia. It is genetic and can affect certain breeds of dogs (mostly large breed dogs) but there are also environmental factors involved including diet, obesity and exercise.

Diagnosis was made with a thorough veterinary examination and was confirmed with x-rays.

Lenno's arthritis is managed with regular courses of arthritis injections and strict weight management. Lenno loves food so this might sound like a challenge but thankfully it's not so bad! He is on a prescription diet to keep his weight in a healthy range - this avoids extra stress on his joints, helps to preserve joint cartilage and slows the progression of his arthritis. 

If you would like more information about arthritis and the treatments available we encourage you to read on as we have plenty of 'gems' to share this month.

02 The subtle signs of arthritis
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Our pets are more likely to feel the effects of arthritis during the colder weather so now is the best time for an arthritis check with us. Most of the signs of arthritis are subtle and you may not even realise your pet is in pain.

Arthritis is caused by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. This cartilage usually helps joints move freely and comfortably but, over time, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together. 

Your pet may not necessarily have a limp and won't yelp or cry out in pain. Watch out for the more subtle signs:

Dogs:

  • Trouble jumping up on to furniture or in to the boot of the car
  • Stiff and sore especially in the morning or after lying down
  • Sleeping more and lying around for longer periods of time
  • Changes in behaviour such as being more grumpy than usual
  • Muscle loss along the spine and down the legs

Cats

  • Hesitant to jump down from your lap or from furniture
  • Land in a heap when jumping down
  • Reluctant to climb
  • Reduced grooming leading to a poorly kept coat and matted fur 

Don’t be tempted to put these changes down to 'just getting old' as your pet may be in significant pain. Arrange a check up with us so we can examine your pet thoroughly.

03 The first step - make your home arthritis friendly
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To help your arthritic pet live a comfortable life there are a few things you should first do at home:

Keep your pet lean! By keeping your pet’s weight in a healthy range you are reducing the load on their joints. If your pet is carrying even just 10% more bodyweight than is ideal they can really suffer, as can their joints. If you are not sure whether your pet is an ideal weight, book an appointment with one of our nurses, who can go through your pet's nutritional needs. For those pets a little on the tubby side already, join our Hubba Blubba Club to receive all the support you need to achieve your goals.

Feed a joint-friendly diet. A diet high in essential fatty acids (with added nutriceuticals as discussed below) may help reduce inflammation, decrease pain and improve your pet’s mobility. Prescription joint diets can also help keep your pet in a healthy weight range meaning there is less weight on your pet's joints. Ask us about the specific prescription diets we have available for joint health.

Use nutriceuticals. Fish oil and green lipped mussel contain high levels of Omega-3 and may help reduce inflammation and pain. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may improve joint function and slow down the progression of arthritis. Human supplements are not appropriate for our pets, and some prescription diets already have the ideal levels of nutriceuticals included, so it is best to ask us for advice on this matter.

Other things you can do at home:

  • Provide a dry and comfortable bed with plenty of padding
  • Heated beds are a good idea for winter
  • Use a portable ramp to help your dog get in and out of the car 
  • Provide an additional piece of furniture so your cat doesn't have to jump so high to reach his favourite spot
  • Continue to exercise your pet in moderation; gentle daily walks for dogs help keep the joints moving and muscles active. As animals age, use shorter but more frequent walks to achieve this.
When it comes to arthritis and your pet, we are always here to answer your questions. We will help keep your pet happy and comfortable and most importantly, pain free. 
04 The many ways we can treat arthritis
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If your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis and simple home measures are't helping, don't despair! There are multiple ways we can treat the disease and help your pet live a longer and more comfortable life.

They key to managing the disease is a multi-targeted approach. If we use a combination of treatments it can help reduce the need for large amounts of medication and lessen the potential side effects of any one treatment.

Some of the treatments we offer might include:

1. Disease modifying drugs 
Given as a regular injection, these help to relieve pain and help to preserve joint cartilage. They can also improve the joint fluid meaning the joints are better lubricated and more comfortable when they move. They are given as a treatment course, tailored to each pet's specific needs. 

2. Pain relief medications
There are many different pain relief medications that can be used singly or together to help reduce both the inflammation and pain of arthritis, and get your pet moving much more comfortably again. Pain relief can be given short term, but may be needed for the rest of your pet’s life as a part of on on-going mobility programme. Never give human pain relief medications to your pet. 

3. Acupuncture
Not all animals have the right temperament to tolerate an acupunture course, but those that do will often respond with improved mobility. If you are interested in acupuncture for your pet, please call us to arrange an appointment with our IVAS-accredited veterinary acupuncturist.

If your pet has arthritis, we will come up with a treatment plan and work with you to ensure your pet lives a happy and comfortable life. If you are worried about your pet you should always phone us for advice. 

05 DACO info
DACO

DACO is the acronym of Dogs And Cats Online, and the website is part of the SA government's new pet control laws around microchipping, desexing and registration. As of July 1st, all dogs and cats of any age must be microchipped, and all animal born after July 1st not registered for breeding must be desexed. These details will be entered on DACO, and there is no charge to be on the website itself.

  • If your pet is currently registered and microchipped, their details will be automatically uploaded by your council onto DACO, so there is nothing more to do until registration renewal, which you will be able to do on-line too.
  • If your pet is not registered but is microchipped, you will be able to enter your pet's microchip details on the website when it is activated in July.
  • If your pet is microchipped after July 1st, your veterinary surgeon will enter the details onto DACO.

Where microchipping a pet presents an undue health risk, your veterinary surgeon can exempt your pet from microchipping on DACO .

If you are at all worried or have further questions, click here to go to the Dog and Cat Management Board website.

06 Cat hits dog's turbo button

Check out this hilarious video of a cat 'hitting a dog's turbo button'. It's safe to say that this dog doesn't have any mobility issues! We especially love the cat's reaction...

07 Candy, Pet Focus of the Month
Candy POTM

Candy is a 13 year old undesexed Maltese Terrier who came in with signs of vague unwellness – slightly bloated and tender in the tummy, and a little off colour. It was uncertain when her last heat was, and on abdominal palpation there was the suspicion of a mass. Our immediate concerns focussed around the possibility of an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is a reasonably common and, if left untreated, fatal condition of older entire female dogs, so it was important to act quickly.

A quick ultrasound showed fluid filled loops in the abdomen, but Candy’s bloods were remarkably good for an older girl, and did not support a diagnosis of infection. We proceeded to an exploratory laparotomy to see what we could find and correct surgically. We found that Candy’s uterus was not infected, but had become filled with fluid similar to a blister, and looked like two tissue-thin water balloons just waiting to burst.  A very careful ovariohysterectomy was successfully performed and was diagnosed retrospectively as hydrometra – a frequent but usually undiagnosed precursor to pyometra.

Candy’s recovery has been excellent and she now has the spring back in her step – good work, guys!