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Aberfoyle Hub Veterinary Clinic
Hub Professional Centre
Aberfoyle Park, SA, 5159
Phone: 08 8270 5155

Barb's Bits

Parenting is such a tough gig. Mostly we have learnt from our parents, who learnt from their parents, who learnt …… there must be a worthwhile anthropological study here! I remember some things I did to try and compensate for our frequent work-related stresses and absences. Reading a “100 steps to happiness” book at dinner every night, which the kids hated so much they hid the book... Having each child tell a joke which we would laugh at uproariously, until jokes like “Poo bum wee apple tree” made Ian too uncomfortable with how events were turning…. Installing a white board to record happy photos and events on, which instead got covered with phone numbers and to-do lists with no positive messaging in sight……

There were times when I felt a complete failure as a parent. Sometimes I still do. But I am old enough and wise enough to know that I could never be the idealised person I had imagined a “mother” to be. Instead, I am the mother that I am – flawed, often inappropriate (so my children say), but also loving and supportive – which has given rise to three glorious adults who I am endlessly privileged to share my life with.

To all of you parents of human and furry babies, you are doing the best job that you can, in every moment. It will never be perfect, but it is good enough! Just enjoy it!

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Contents of this newsletter

01  Jodie's Wall

02  Could your pet have arthritis?

03  Why are cats so good at hiding arthritis?

04  Save the Date - May 23rd

05  Mother's day vibes

06  Max has 'done his knee'

07  Pet profile: Guinea Pigs

08  Tilly, Pet Focus of the Month

01 Jodie's Wall
Tamikas tigerr

Tiger in the Jungle

This month on Jodie’s Wall we are displaying an eye-catching painting by our nurse and vet student, Tamika. Called “Tiger in the Jungle”, the painting was inspired by Tamika's love of big cats, and is an acrylic on canvas that took more than 2 years to paint. The tiger was painted with fine brushes to give the fur-like quality, and the piece was a winning exhibit in a competition, as well as used as an exhibit for Conservation Awareness Week at the University of Adelaide.

Tamika will accept commissions, and can be contacted through Hub Vets on 8270 5155

All of our clients are invited to display their art on Jodie’s Wall. There is no judgement about subject or quality, but the art does have to promote positive and life-affirming themes. Please contact us at for details.

02 Could your pet have arthritis?

If you’re finding it a bit harder to get out of bed on these colder mornings, spare a thought for your pet. Arthritis loves to rear its ugly head around this time of the year and the reason your pet might be sleeping in more than usual could be due to pain.

Arthritis is characterised by the wearing down of the cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. This cartilage usually helps joints move freely but as it wears down, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together. This can be very painful and can really affect your pet’s quality of life.

Arthritis does seem to be worse in the colder months but it can certainly affect your pet all year round. It is very important to understand that your pet won’t necessarily limp or yelp if they are in pain so we recommend you watch out for these signs in your dog (we’ll talk more about cats in the article below):

  • Hesitant to jump into the car, up onto furniture or use stairs 
  • Lowers their body slowly when going to lie down then falls in a heap 
  • Is a bit slow to get going after getting up and may slip on floorboards 
  • Is slowing down on walks or is reluctant to walk as far as they used to 
  • Is showing changes in their toileting
  • Exhibits behavioural changes such as being a bit grumpier than usual

Try not to put any of the above changes down to your pet "just getting old". Even if your pet is a senior animal, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable!

The best news is that there are plenty of ways to manage arthritis. We work towards a multi-targeted approach where we use different drugs to reduce the overall dose rate and side effects of any one treatment.

Now is the perfect time for an arthritis check with us, phone now to make an appointment. 

03 Why are cats so good at hiding arthritis?

Cats are even better than dogs at hiding or covering up pain caused by arthritis. This is because cats spend much of their time sleeping and given that we generally don't take cats for a walk, it is harder to see a change in their mobility. As well as this, in the wild, they tend to hide and keep to themselves if they are sick or in pain. This is just another reason why it’s vital to keep a close eye on your feline friends and get them checked regularly by us. Look out for these subtle signs:

  • Landing 'in a heap' when jumping off furniture 
  • Hesitant when jumping up or down from the furniture and reluctant to climb the fence or trees 
  • Becoming a "good" cat, and no longer jumping onto the kitchen bench
  • No longer using the litter box properly (especially if it has high sides) 
  • Matted or scruffy coat (grooming is painful) and long nails because of reduced activity

    Ask us for advice if you are worried about your cat. If we do diagnose arthritis, good pain management can make a huge difference and help your cat live a longer and happier life.
04 Save the Date - May 23rd

Come join us on May 23rd, 12.30 - 2pm, for our 21st Biggest Morning Tea

Cancer is a very real thing for our clinic staff - family members have both lived through and died from cancer; many of our clients are or have been affected by cancer; and we frequently diagnose, treat and/or palliate patients with cancer too.

Every year our clinic hosts a Biggest Morning Tea in our waiting room to help raise funds to support cancer research, support and awareness. Through the years, with your support, we have raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer Council. This year is our 21st Biggest Morning Tea, and once again we are asking you to join us for all the cake, cuppas and company you could want for a measly $5 donation.  Did I say when it was? May 23rd, from 12.30pm to 2.00pm, at Hub Vets.

If you can't make it, don't let that stop you! Click here to go to our on-line fundraising page instead (but it's much more fun to eat cake!)

05 Mother's day vibes

With Mother’s Day falling this month we’d love to wish all the mothers of the animal kingdom a happy Mother’s Day and also share this heartwarming YouTube video.

06 Max has 'done his knee'

Max the 8-year-old border collie was enjoying his morning run at the park but landed awkwardly when he went to catch the ball. That afternoon he wouldn’t place any weight on his left hind leg so a visit to the vet was scheduled ASAP.

An examination revealed all the signs of a ruptured cruciate ligament. This is one of the more common orthopedic injuries we see in dogs and if not treated effectively, can lead to painful arthritis. Some dogs will 'snap' the ligament after jumping off a height or turning quickly. These dogs present to us just as Max did and won’t put any weight on the leg. The disease can also present as a degenerative condition and some dogs will present with a mild, intermittent lameness and thickening of the joint.

Max’s diagnosis was confirmed under a general anaesthetic where the stability of his knee was found to be compromised. This is hard to determine when a dog is awake, especially if the knee is painful. Radiographs were also taken to look for swelling and arthritic changes.

Surgery to stabilise the knee joint is the best option for treatment and Max had surgery the next day and is recovering well. He needs to undergo careful rehabilitation but his prognosis for enjoying the park again in the future is good. To reduce the risk of him rupturing the other cruciate ligament, catching of balls will need to be limited.

It is important to realise that arthritis may still develop in the affected joint following surgery, but will be significantly reduced than if surgery was not performed.

If you are ever concerned about your pet please call us for advice, we are always here to help.

07 Pet profile: Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs make great pets. They are very friendly and are a little easier to handle than rabbits. They make ideal pets for kids in preschool or above and it’s important to remember that they require a good diet and careful husbandry to help prevent health problems.

Here are our top tips:

Diet is very important. A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously so they require lots of fibre to help wear them down. They also require Vitamin C in their diet as they are unable to produce it themselves. Abundant veggies and fruit are essential and they love red capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, parsley, spinach (plus lots of others!) Good quality pellets should be a treat (max 1 tablespoon per day).

Guinea pigs are social animals and are best kept inside to help to strengthen their relationship with you. They require dust-free bedding (e.g.shredded paper) and this needs to be changed daily. Providing hiding spots and tunnels is essential. If your guinea pig is kept outside, keep them safe from predators (dogs, cats, foxes, birds). They are very susceptible to heat stroke so bring them indoors when temperatures get above 28 degrees. Never keep guinea pigs inside a metal hutch as these heat up very quickly.

Guinea pigs are picky about their friends. The best situation is usually a desexed male with two to three females. They are not great companions for rabbits as they have different dietary requirements to rabbits and often get beaten up by dominant rabbits. Rabbits can also carry a disease that is deadly to guinea pigs.

We are here to answer any questions you might have about your pet so always feel free to ask us for advice.

08 Tilly, Pet Focus of the Month
Tilly Fuss

Tilly having fun out on an excursion

Tilly is a beautiful long-haired chihuahua, who has not been feeling so good for a long time. She had been nervous even as a puppy, but approaching 2 years of age her anxiety was getting so bad that she was losing all fun in life - terrified on outings, shaking and reacting to loud noises, refusing to walk in the park, and even snapping at people. It was starting to affect her both outside and inside the home. A behavioural assessment with Delwyn identified Tilly as suffering from a number of problems, including generalised anxiety, noise phobia, and anxiety-related aggression towards strangers. The great news is that these conditions may be treatable.

After ruling out underlying disorders through a blood test, Tilly was started on anti-anxiety medication. Given her tiny size she only needed a tiny dose, which was tricky to medicate her with, but through trial and error over the next few months  both Tilly and her owners got into the swing of things. We are thrilled to say that Tilly is now getting her life back on track - no longer shaking or snapping, and even going on outings with her mum to the cafe!

Well done Tilly! I am sure life looks a whole lot better for you and your family now!