It is important to understand when you might need to provide first aid for the pets in our family and how.
1) Recognising emergency warning signs: If you pet shows any of the following signs, seek immediate veterinary advice. This list is however not all inclusive, any major changes to your pets behaviour warrant veterinary attention.
- Abnormal heart rate
- Coughing, especially if persistent and severe
- Difficulty breathing. Is your pet moving his abdomen to breath?
- Dilated pupils
- Lethargy or weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Pale gums
- Restlessness and panting
- Unproductive retching
2) Stop, Assess, Act. In case of an emergency remain calm, assess your pet methodically and communicate clearly with your veterinarian.
- Safety first. Make sure it is safe for you to go to your pet and take precautions against being bitten or scratched as panicked pets often lash out in fear.
- Check the ABCDs: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability. Make sure your pets airway is clear, check for breathing and a heartbeat and then assess the degree of injury.
- Administer first aid. Stop or control any bleeding, flush burns, immobilise broken limbs, etc
- Call your vet and get to the hospital as fast as you safely can. Make sure to let your vet know what has happened clearly so they can prepare for your arrival.
3) The Vitals: Baseline Health Stats. You must first know what is normal in order to be able to determine if anything is abnormal.
- Heart Rate: Small to Medium dogs 70-140 beats per minute
Large Dogs: 50-120 beats per minute
Cats: 140-200 beats per minute
- Respiratory Rate: 15-30 breaths per minute for dogs and cats.
Finding a pets pulse
Finding a pets heart beat
Here is some information to help you keep your pets safe at home:
Poisons and Toxins
If you are worried about your pet’s health or would like to further discuss how you can manage first aid for your pets in your home call us now and you can talk to one of our trained staff at reception or make an appointment to see one of our veterinarians.
Here are some links you may find useful to find information about your pets and their care.
International Cat Care (www.icatcare.org): For advice, and all sorts of excellent info about cat care go have a look at the International Cat Care site. You can also see their YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/iCatCare) for all sorts of videos on medicating cats, getting urine samples etc.
– Searching for ticks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWAHgLMxKH0
– Ear care for dogs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGHxqZYn8a8
Finding a lost pet:
– A service for helping to find your pet https://lostpetfinders.com.au/
– A local Canberra Facebook group for lost pets https://www.facebook.com/CanberraLostPetDabase
Arthritis can affect dogs and cats of any age but is most common in pets over 7 years of age. In dogs predisposing causes include being overweight, genetic causes such as hip dysplasia and repetitive high impact exercise such as leaping up to catch balls and Frisbees. In cats being overweight, injuries and to a lesser extend genetics play a role.
So how do you know your dog has arthritis? Signs can be variable depending on which joint is affected.
- Initially your dog may simply stretch a lot more on rising after rest, or have a bit more difficulty getting into the car.
- He may tire more easily on walks or start using both back legs together when running.
- You may also note a loss of muscle mass in the affected leg.
Eventually though you see lameness with the joint becoming so painful your dog no longer puts all his weight on the leg. Arthritis is a chronic painful condition but most dogs wont yelp or show obvious signs of pain, its up to you to notice and get them help.
||Cats are a lot more difficult to see signs, as they are not usually highly energetic especially as they get older, so signs are a lot subtler.
- Initially you may notice they are a little less certain when jumping up, or they no longer get up as high.
- Your cat’s coat may also become less glossy as she starts having trouble with grooming.
- Another sign maybe that she begins to miss the litter tray when urinating or defeacating or she starts to avoid human contact.
- Sometimes all you see is that your cat sleeps more or becomes more restless and sleeps less.
So what can you do if your pet has arthritis?
Firstly make sure they are not overweight as this simply adds to the wear and tear of joints. There are some steps you can take to help your pet lose weight, call the veterinary hospital to discuss what options could work for your pet.
Secondly make sure you provide warm supportive bedding. Dogs often prefer a firm surface to assist them with getting up. A trampoline bed or a wooden packing palette with carpet or a thin foam mattress can make ideal beds. For cats they often like to snuggle, so a bed with sides is ideal but make sure the entrance is not too high so your cat can gain easy access. Heating pads are also available to add extra comfort.
Early on in the disease diets such as Hills j/d or Royal Canin Mobility Support can help get your pet back to normal. Food additives such as Joint Guard, Pernaease and many others, offer joint support through addition of glucosamine and natural anti-inflammatories.
However, medication often becomes necessary to relieve your pet’s pain and get them back to their spry selves. There are many options.
For more severe cases using Cartrophen Injections or Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatories maybe necessary to maintain your pet’s quality of life. When used correctly and with medical supervision these medications carry minimal risks and provide great relief from the chronic pain of arthritis.
Contact us at Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital for further information if you think your pet has arthritis or you’d like to discuss treatment options for arthritis. We are here to help you and your pet.
When your pet comes in for a vaccination appointment we always do a complete physical check up, including checking the nose, mouth, eyes, ears, heart and lungs, abdomen, muscles and joints, lymph nodes and skin. This is very important in the early detection of any diseases or problems that you may be unaware of in your pet. We also check body temperature as this can indicate infection if elevated.
We also discuss routine prevention such as worming, heartworm and flea control, as these are essential in maintaining your pets health.
The health exam is also the ideal time for you to mention any issues your pet may have, such as drinking more than normal, being restless at night or even excessive barking. So make sure to mention anything that is different in your pets behavior to normal.
If your pet is healthy the vaccine can be given. Vaccinations are important in the prevention of several diseases that can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Vaccines can be classified as essential vaccines (must have) and those that are required for certain situations only.
What should I vaccinate against?
Essential vaccines are for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvo Virus (C3)
Other vaccines include:
- Parainfluenza and Bordatella (Kennel Cough) needed for dogs that go into boarding or mix with groups of dogs. When combined with C3 it is also called a C5
- Leptospirosis and Coronavirus (Currently not recommended by World Small Animal Veterinary Association)
Essential vaccines are for Feline Herpes Virus, Calici Virus and Feline Enteritis (F3)
Other vaccines include:
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) recommended for cats that go outside as the disease is transmitted in cat fights
- Chlamydia Virus recommended in cattery situation or households with large number of cats
- Feline Leukemia Virus is currently not recommended by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association
When should I vaccinate?
Generally for both puppies and kittens it is recommended they receive:
- First vaccine at 6-8 weeks of age (The breeder often does these)
- Second vaccine at 10-12 weeks of age
- Third vaccine at 16 weeks of age
It is important to note that puppies and kittens require multiple vaccines to reach protective immunity levels.
After the puppy or kitten course is completed no further vaccines are needed for 12 months.
Once the first adult booster is given it depends on the vaccines used as to how often your pet will require a booster to maintain adequate immunity.
Ever wondered what happens when your pet comes to WCVH for surgery?
The first step happens the day before the surgery. It is important to minimize the risk of vomiting during surgery, therefore from 8pm the night before the surgery all food must be with held although it is fine for your pet to continue drinking.
Our nurses here will prepare a surgical kit with all the equipment needed during surgery as well as the gown for the veterinarian so these can be sterilized ready for the next day.
On the morning of the surgery your pet will need to come to the hospital between 7.30am and 8.30am so a pre-anaesthetic check and blood test (if necessary) can be done.
Once the your pet gets the all clear from the veterinarian a premedication is given that includes a mild sedative and pain relief to help calm your pet and reduce the dose of anaesthetic required.
Once the premedication has taken effect your pet will be given an intravenous anaesthetic and then the veterinarian places a endotracheal tube (breathing tube) into the airway which allows oxygen and gaseous anaesthetic to be administered directly to the lungs. The anaesthetic is monitored throughout by one of our qualified veterinary nurses.
Now your pet is clipped in the area that will need to be prepared for surgery, for a desex the belly is clipped. All the loose hair is then vacuumed away and a quick clean is done with some antiseptic swabs to remove any surface dirt. Now your pet is ready to be moved into the surgery, where the clipped area is surgically prepared.
In the mean time the surgeon will change into a scrub suit, and put on a cap and mask. He or she will then scrub his/her hands and arms using a brush and sponge and iodine, much as you see on medical programs on TV, finally the sterile gown is put on.
Now the veterinarian moves into the surgery to put on sterile gloves and the patient has the prepared surgical area draped with sterile drapes.
The veterinarian now proceeds with the surgery and the nurse continues to monitor the aneasthetic and provides any instruments or materials the veterinarian may need.
When the surgery is completed your pets gaseous anaesthetic is turned off but oxygen is administered for a further 5 minutes to help the recovery, the skin is cleaned of disinfectants and further pain relief is given if required.
Now it is time to move to a recovery cage with a heat mat and fluffy blanket and the endotracheal tube is removed once swallowing has returned to normal. Your pet is then left in a quiet, warm and comfortable cage until sufficiently recovered from the anaesthetic to walk at which point they are given a toilet break or for cats a litter tray is provided and they are allowed some water. In most cases they will be ready to go home that afternoon. For some procedures such as orthopedic surgery your pet may have to stay overnight to ensure a comfortable recovery.
Finally the nurse or veterinarian will run you through the necessary home care to ensure a full recovery when you come to the hospital to collect your pet.
If you have any questions or would like any further information on surgery at Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital contact us today.
Radiography (X-rays) and ultrasound have the ability to “look through” tissues. These make great diagnostic aids for many parts of the body, and often a definitive diagnosis is only possible when using one of these imaging techniques.
X-rays give us a 2-dimensional view of a specific part of an animal’s body, and are particularly good for imaging bones, outlines of soft tissue structures, and air-filled spaces (such as lungs).
We would routinely take X-rays of an animal with chest and abdominal problems, and in certain lamenesses to confirm or rule out fractures and bone malalignments. Sometimes there may not be a fracture as such, but by taking X-rays, we can see that bones may be out of position due to ligament injuries.
Ultrasound has advantages and disadvantages over X-rays depending on the situation. An ultrasound machine can produce cross-sectional pictures of organs (x-rays would only show the outline of the organ). This is particularly useful for visualising the inside of the urinary bladder, gall bladder, blood vessels, heart, liver, kidneys and the list goes on.
Ultrasound can also be used in “real time” – that is, we can view the organs at that exact time. With this, we can watch the heart expand and contract, look at movement of the gastrointestinal tract and much more.
Do you have a new puppy?
Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital offers puppy preschool for puppies from 8 to 15 weeks of age, as well as adolescent classes for pups from 16 weeks to 12 months of age.
- Teaches you how to train your puppy so you can have polite canine citizen
- Puppies learn to interact with other dogs, and people, to develop good manners.
- Classes teach “sit”, “drop”, “stay”, “come”, and “walking well on lead”.
- Also covered are how to discourage unwanted behaviours such as play biting, and destructive behaviour, toilet training and environmental enrichment.
- All training is reward based and classes are run by a DELTA accredited Dog Trainer.
- Classes are small with a maximum of 6 puppies
Puppy Preschool runs for 4 consecutive weeks between 7-8pm on a Wednesday or Thursday evening in the reception area at WCVH. Puppies must have received their 6 week vaccination at least.
Because the puppies in this class are usually larger and more rambunctious the classes take place in the Scout Hall next to Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital.
- Classes focus a little more on training, but are still an excellent opportunity for supervised socialization.
- Classes teach “sit”, “drop”, “stay”, “come”, and “walking well on lead”
- Our trainer also goes through using Clicker Training.
- All training is reward based and classes are run by a DELTA accredited Dog Trainer.
- Classes are small with a maximum of 6 puppies
Adolescent Classes run for 5 weeks on Sunday afternoon from 3.00pm to 4pm in the Scout Hall. Puppies must be vaccinated having received their final adult vaccination before commencing the classes.
For more information or to book your puppy into a class please call 02 6288 4944.
In order to provide the best possible care for our patients and clients we have an in house pharmacy stocked with most regular prescription medications. However as there are now so many different medications for each condition we cannot keep all medications, or very large stocks of medications, on the shelves. For this reason it is usually best to ring a week before you run out of medication to fill a repeat script, as this allows us to order in the medication or extra stock if it is required to fill your pets script.
Because we are an ASAVA (Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association) accredited hospital we are required to check patients twice yearly when they are on chronic medications. This is to ensure that the medication is not causing unwanted side effects and that no new medical conditions have developed that may require a change of medication. In some cases current medications may become unsafe if kidney, liver or heart problems develop.
Some medications, such as antibiotics, can not be prescribed without an appointment as there are now increasing problems with antibiotic resistance of bacteria. It is essential to ensure the right antibiotic is chosen depending on the bacteria present and the location of the infection. This often requires us to do some in house tests to identify the type of bacteria present and occasionally we may need to send a sample to pathology to identify the bacteria and their sensitivity to antibiotics.
We also stock a large number of over the counter medications such as medicated shampoos, worming, flea and heartworm prevention and our friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you with your pets needs.
Sometimes a physical exam is not sufficient to make a diagnosis and this is where specific tests can be used for diagnosis.
At Weston Creek Veterinary Hospital we offer a variety of in house tests such as blood tests, including a Pre-anaesthetic Blood Profile, to assess organ function. We also offer in house cytology allowing us to see if a lump is something to worry about and should be removed, or if it can be safely left.
Another test we commonly do in house is a urinalysis. This allows us to see if infection is present, and it can also pick up conditions like diabetes and problems with kidney function. Collecting a urine sample is not always easy but well worth the effort.
It is not possible to do all tests in house however and sometimes we need to send tests away to the Laboratory for assessment. This is especially the case with Histopathology, that assesses biopsies and lumps to help us diagnose problems, identify the type of lump and if it has been completely removed. We also send away Microbiology tests to find out which bacteria are present and what antibiotics they are sensitive to so we can specifically target the disease causing bacteria.
Critically ill or seriously injured pets require special care and attention to stabilize their condition. Our dedicated team of vets and nurses work to find out what treatments are needed provide supportive therapy to stabilize their condition and once it is safe to do so provide definitive treatments. Supportive care can include intravenous fluids to help maintain blood pressure and hydration, heat pads to help stabilize body temperature or in the case of heat stroke providing cooling, in some cases where pets have respiratory or heart problems oxygen can be provided via a nasal catheter or oxygen tents. Medications such as pain relief; corticosteroids to treat shock and other heart or respiratory drugs are also used to help our patients feel better.
While such times can often be distressing for both pets and their owners, we will do our best to support you through this difficult time by keeping you updated about your pet’s progress, the costs of treatment and ongoing treatments that may be required.
In order to provide the best possible care for our critically ill patients we may need to refer them to the Animal Referral Hospital Emergency Centre so that they can be monitored closely outside of our regular business hours. This allows high quality care to be available 365 days of the year and 24h a day.