Help! I found a stray kitten

Almost everyday we get phone calls from people who have found themselves in possession of a little stray kitten – or sometimes even a litter of stray kittens!

Unfortunately due to the number of stray cat colonies around Sydney there is always an abundance of homeless kittens. Despite the good intentions of the community to Trap-N-Release (TNR), this problem will not disappear anytime soon.

As such, we have made a guide to ensure the best outcome for the kittens.

Stray kitten(s) with a mother

McShooty and Stevie were our ex-adoption kittens. They were strays who had a feral mother who is part of a community TnR & feeding program.

If you have encountered stray kittens that are still being attended to by their mother please make sure NOT to separate them! You should contact any reputable rescue group to organise a TNR. This allows the mother cat and her kittens to be taken off the streets for appropriate treatment. For the mother cat that usually means being desexed to prevent future stray litters. Depending on the nature of the cat and her kittens it is most likely the rescue group will attempt to re-home them however if the mother is extremely aggressive and hence unable to rehome then she will most likely be released back to where she is found once she is desexed and treated for any existing medical conditions.

Stray kitten(s) without any signs of a mother

Kittens that are alone are not necessarily without their mother- sometimes they can appear to be abandoned but in reality their mother is out gathering food or in the process of relocating her litter. To avoid making the mistake of separating a kitten from their mum, try to stick around (out of sight to avoid frightening them) and observe for a while to see if the mother does return.

If this is a case of no mother cat being present then you should aim to safely trap the stray kittens and bring them to their nearest vet*, the vet protocol from here on is to scan the kittens in case they have any microchips (if they are chipped then they would most likely have a home and are probably lost).

If the kittens are not microchipped and are clearly not a missing pet then it is up to the vet on what needs to be done next.

A litter of 3 ex-adoption kittens (Chandler, Ross and Joey) we had taken on from another clinic to rehome.

Vet clinics are not rescue groups, hence are not always able to hold-onto and rehome stray animals- this is because most smaller clinics only have the capacity and resources for hospital patients. Sometimes however, and this is the case for our clinic- the vet will have the availability to rehome the stray kittens in which case they will take them off your hands and handle all treatment and later adoption.

If the vet advises you that they are unable to keep the kittens you’re next best options are to either:

a) contact reputable rescue groups (there is a list of them and their contact details at the end of this post).

b) foster the kittens yourself and handle the rehoming (if you do decide to foster/keep the kittens you can read our Kitten Care handout for information on owning and caring for kittens) – if you do end up fostering the kittens you can talk to our staff about receiving discount rescue rates for all their treatment (that is only if you are not intending to keep them as your own pet and are definitely adopting them out)

c) contact other nearby vets- just because one vet does not have the space, that does not mean other clinics do not. We have previously taken on stray litters from other clinics who were unable to.

List of Cat Rescue Groups in Sydney:

Leptospirosis: Should I be scared?!

As you may already be aware, there have been five recent cases reported of Leptospirosis in dogs around the inner-city area of Sydney. We understand that this would cause a lot of concern for all dog owners in the inner west as such we have put together this short summary to shed some light on the chances of your dog coming into contact with the bacteria as well as what symptoms to look out for if you suspect your dog may have it.

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira. Leptospirosis has many different strains (also known as serovars). Each serovar infects different animals including dogs, cattle, pigs and horses. Leptospirosis is very responsive to current antibiotics but organ failure can result in death.
Leptospirosis does NOT affect cats.

It is more common in Queensland where it is humid and warm and generally less of a risk in Sydney. It is spread through the urine of rats (disease hosts) and infected dogs, and the bacteria can live for months to years in soil and water.

Want more information? We’ve put together a printer friendly handout for you to keep handy!

Introducing Knose Wellness Plans!

I have great news for pet owners struggling to budget for the best health care for their pets.

As a result of suggestions brought to us by our clients, we are about to launch the option of regular monthly payments to take care of all of your pet’s preventative health care needs!

I know, it doesn’t sound too sexy, but it is very cool!! You will now have the option of a small monthly subscription to cover your routine pet care, instead of a big bill at vaccination time, or a hundred-odd dollar online parasite product purchase each year.

How does it work?

It’s a bit like joining the gym, but we are joining up your pet instead. We set up an automatic monthly payment which you can include in your household budget to help you keep your finances in order. You bring your pet in when they are due for their regular health checks and vaccination…these visits are already paid for, no big bill on the day. We send you all of their flea, heartworm and worming products at the time they are needed…directly to your door! We can also send you an email or sms to remind you to give them on the right day.

How does this help me?

We have tried to spread the costs of these essential items throughout the year to make budgeting easier. We have also endeavoured to make giving parasite prevention simple. You don’t have to think or remember when to give anything. As busy people I think this is an absolute must. We have also researched the costs and offerings of many companies and found a way to have this all done for our clients in a way that they are ahead financially!

But aren’t online products cheaper than buying them at the vet?

Well, it used to be the case. Online companies have huge buying power, and a small independent vet buying a few packets of products from a wholesaler cannot compete with big companies buying products by the pallet direct from drug companies. The great news with our new subscriptions is that we have partnered with another independent company called Knose in order to ensure the cost of your vet visits and parasite products is LESS than if you were buying from the cheapest online pet store. It’s brilliant!

What happens if my pet gets really sick?

Your wellness plan subscription is designed to cover your pet for routine disease prevention, not for illness and injury. The cost of these areas of pet health care are covered by your pet insurance and we strongly urge all of our clients to continue to have their pets insured. Our new subscriptions are really designed to cover the routine disease prevention which is NOT traditionally covered by pet health insurance.

What happens if I want to stop my subscription?

You can stop your subscription at any time. If you have already had your vaccinations we need you to fix us up for what you have already used and nothing more. There are no penalties for discontinuing.

I’m curious and want to know more…

Great! Give us a call, an email, pop in or watch our website for the official launch next month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you use Advocate as part of your pet’s regular parasite prevention treatment?

Well we have some good news! During March only we are offering $25 OFF ANY 6-pack of Advocate* purchased in clinic for both cats and dogs.

Advocate offers a broad range of parasite protection as one application covers your cat/dog from nasty intestinal worms, fleas, ticks, heartworm and mites.

Prevention is always drastically cheaper (and less stressful!) than treatment, so if you have any questions or concerns about what product is best for your pet please do not hesitate to have a chat with us by dropping by, calling 02 9797 2555 or emailing contact@summerhillvillagevet.com 🙂

Click to see printable handouts on fleas & ticks or heart worm & intestinal worms

*To redeem this promotion all you have to do is purchase a 6-pack of Advocate in-clinic and our receptionists will automatically put the discount through for you.

What is Myxomatosis and how do I keep my rabbit safe?

There has recently been an emergence of Myxomatosis affecting rabbits in the innerwest, if you are a rabbit owner you might want to read the following to ensure your furry friend stays safe and healthy.

About Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis was a virus introduced to Australia in the 50’s to control the feral rabbit population, unfortunately it is still prevalent today and can affect domesticated rabbits. Successful treatment for it is rare in affected rabbits and once present it has a rapid progression leading to death within 14 days. As such, prevention is the key focus when tackling Myxomatosis.

How is it spread?

Myxomatosis can be transferred via the affected rabbit coming into close contact with other rabbits. It can also be transferred by insect bites such as from mosquitoes or fleas.

Can I vaccinate my rabbit against it?

Unfortunately there are no vaccinations available in Australia to protect against Myxomatosis however there are a few safety measures available to keep your rabbit as safe as possible.

 

An example of a mosquito proofed hutch

  • Install a fly/insect net around your rabbits outdoor enclosures
  • Keep your rabbit indoors especially during summer or in the early mornings and evenings when mosquitos and fleas are most prominent.
  •  Stay up to date with your rabbits flea protection – speak to your vet about which product and dosage is safe for your rabbit as certain flea-preventative medications can have adverse affects on rabbits.
  • Ask your vet about rabbit friendly insect-repellant.

How do I know if my rabbit is affected?

If you suspect your rabbit may have the virus it is important to bring it to a vet ASAP to prevent its suffering and to separate it immediately from other rabbits.

Common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Pus-like discharge from eyes, nose, genitals and anus

    Watery eyes in affected rabbit

  • Watery eyes
  • Swollen eyes and genitals
  • Inappetence
  • High fever
  • Drooping and swollen ears
  • Laboured breathing in more advanced stages

(More symptom pictures and further information on rabbit vaccinations)

 

 

 

Embarrassing Bodies- The Pet Edition, Free Health Checks!

Cats and dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes what’s normal for one pet may be abnormal for another depending on things like breed, age, lifestyle and etc. For example- the skin and coat needs of a Sphynx cat to that of a Ragdoll’s will vary immensely!

Pets come in all different shapes, sizes and hair styles! As such their health needs are very individualistic.

Pets come in all different shapes, sizes and hair styles! As such their health needs are very individualistic.

In order to help you as a pet owner decide what is best for your cat or dog, the team at Summer Hill Village Vet have developed a complimentary 5-point Health Check that covers the basic individual care needs for your pet. These 5-point Health Checks are part of our Embarrassing Bodies- The Pet Edition and will run until the end of November 2018.

What do these 5-Point Health Checks include?

Embarrassing Bodies: Pet Edition Promo Poster

Book your cat or dog in for their FREE 5-Point Health Check before the end of November 2018.

Our 5-Point Health Checks aim to cover the following areas of your pet’s health with one of our trained vet nurses:

  1. Body Condition Scoring What may be healthy weight for a greyhound would be unhealthy for a german shepherd! Our trained nurses will score your cat or dog’s body condition (based on weight and appearance), then compare it to their breed and lifestyle recommendations. The nurses will work with you to develop a plan for how to get your pet into their healthy weight range (whether it’s through diet changes or new exercise routines).
  2. Dental Health One of our nurses will give your cat or dog a dental grading from 0 to 5 (0- being perfect teeth and 5 being the opposite…). They will also give you advice on how to manage your pet’s dental health from recommending treats such as Greenies Dental Treats or teaching you home care tips.
  3. Skin and Coat Needs Certain breeds may require a more intensive grooming routine than others. This depends on more than hair length. Skin allergies can come into play when deciding what products to bathe them in and how often they should be bathed.
  4. Vaccination Needs Your pet’s lifestyle determines what sort of vaccinations they need. Our nurses can help you decide if your cat or dog is getting the protection they need by discussing with you their routine (i.e. outdoor vs. indoor, do they visit beaches or bush a lot? do they come in contact with other animals?).
  5. Parasite Protection (fleas + ticks and intestinal worms)We can all agree that  fleas, ticks and worms are all nasty and best to be avoided all together! Similar to vaccination needs, the type of parasite prevention product you use on your cat and dog is largely based on lifestyle. However, other things to consider include whether your pet is easy to give oral medication to and also how good you are as an owner at remembering to give them their treatment on time (monthly options vs. 3 monthly options).

How do I book my cat or dog in for this?

Simply call our clinic (02 9797 2555) before the end of November 2018 and let us know that you would like to book your pet in for a Free-5-Point-Health-Chek 🙂

Blue Tongue Lizard – WIRES Wildlife

One of our most recent WIRES wildlife case was a young blue tongue lizard. It was brought into our care after a member of public’s cat had gotten hold of it… When the blue tongue lizard first came in it was in poor shape and it was a struggle for us to get it to eat ANYTHING (despite being provided with an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet of strawberries, cucumbers, insectivore mixes and what not…).

blue tongue lizard feeding

Bluey enjoying a buffet of strawberries and blueberries

After two weeks of TLC from our vets and nurses we are happy to report that Ol Bluey has definitely gotten his appetite back and is well on his way to recovery.

We treat quite a number of injured wildlife day in day out, but blue tongue lizards are uncommon for us so we were all pretty excited! He is now under the care of a WIRES Wildlife Volunteer who will continue to look after it till release.

How can you help out?

These WIRES volunteers do not get paid for their efforts in rehabilitating injured wildlife and hence pay for all the food and care equipment from their own pocket. For this reason, we as a clinic have been inspired to raise money for WIRES by participating in this years Tough Mudder 18km obstacle course. All the funds we raise will go directly towards WIRES Wildlife.

If you’d like to make a donation or simply find out more you can via our fundraising page.

We’d like to extend a big thank-you to everyone who has donated so far, we and WIRES wouldn’t be able to do the work we do on injured wildlife without your ongoing generosity and support!

 

 

 

Inner-West Wildlife Warriors

Australia is a country renowned for its unique wildlife. As an inner-west veterinary clinic we consider ourselves lucky to have the extensive wildlife experience of Dr. Lydia and Dr. Sandra.  All our vets have proven time and time again to be more than capable of looking after the odd ring-tailed possum or bearded dragon!

What is WIRES?

WIRES (NSW Wild life Information and Rescue Information Service) is a volunteer run organisation. They have been working to rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife since 1986.

We share a close relationship with WIRES carers and as such we get a large volume of wildlife coming through our doors. To put it into perspective, in this year alone our vets have treated a total of 83 rainbow lorikeets!

How can you help?

WIRES relies on volunteers and donations to do the great work that they do. As such, it can be a demanding job for the volunteers with many of the animals requiring round the clock care and long-term rehabilitation.

Dr. Sandra having a squawk with a galah

One of two 6month old baby ring tailed possums found in an Innerwest canal along with their mother.

There are a variety of ways you can get involved including:

 

 

 

 

Of course, another way you can contribute is by simply contacting WIRES.  Should you happen across an injured wildlife creature all you need to do is call their Rescue Line on 1300 094 737.

Muddy Paws! Summer Hill Village Vet do Tough Mudder

In November our team will be participating in the Tough Mudder 18km Obstacle course with the aim of raising funds for WIRES. Dr. Sandra, Dr. Lydia, Dr. Kate and the rest of the team will be crawling through mud, swimming and generally putting their fitness to the ultimate test in support of all the work WIRES do (and to prove to ourselves that we are mad fit…). Donations can be made online (read more about our mission statement + make a donation) and we are immensely appreciative for your generosity!

 

 

 

 

Some of the best ways to keep your pets healthy

Animals are just as vulnerable to sickness, disease, and injuries as humans. Owners are pretty on top of keeping their companions happy (lots of affection) but there’s a lot more to overall wellness than giving lots of cuddles.

 

Exercise

Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits: all these animals need exercise to stay healthy. It’s easy to get dogs into a walking routine. The larger and more active breeds will need regular walks. Some owners report  their dogs waking them up at dawn for some playtime in the park.

Baths/grooming

Cats are always licking themselves because they know the importance of hygiene. So do Shiba Inu’s. Even birds dunk themselves into the birdbath to wash off.

For next level care, take your pet to the groomers. These guys are the experts at trimming those unruly manes and making your pet smell like a bed of roses.

 

Good food

We’re talking about a diet high in protein, vitamins, and calcium and plenty of water. Animals need them just as much as we do! Quality pet food keeps coats shiny and nails strong. Your companion will be energetic and have a twinkle in their eyes, as well.

Medication/treats

Your pets need regular checkups with the vet to stay up-to-date with their medications and vaccinations and for their general health. Later in life, animals suffer from the conditions that come with age. This can be anything from arthritis to heart issues. Taking your pet to the vet regularly will at least prevent any other nasty surprises from popping up.

Giving your pets treats like dental chews and tick chews will also maintain their general health. They’re less likely to develop gum/tooth diseases and the tick drops/chews will stop those pests in their tracks.

 

Read these on tick prevention:

The 10 Best Ways to Get Rid of & Prevent Ticks on Dogs

Understanding and Preventing Tick Bites

The Brief Guide to Pet Care

Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goldfish; we love our pets. But every now and then we need a refresher on how to take care of them. As vets, it’s our job to make sure your four-legged, furry and feathered friends are healthy, but there are a few extra things at home you can do.

 

Birds

These little guys should be as free as, well, a bird. They aren’t made for being in cages all day so make sure you give them time to exercise. Birds aren’t solitary creatures either, they quite like the company of their own kind as well as humans. Give them a bird bath or mist them over with a spray bottle as this helps them preen.

Ask us about the best type of feed for your bird; they can’t survive on seeds alone. Bird cages must be cleaned daily, especially the newspaper that collects the droppings. This is important to the pet’s overall health.

Cats

These guys love high-rise views so expect them to jump up on the couches and window ledges, and to sit at the top of the stairs. They also love grooming themselves so it’s wise to invest in a sturdy brush. Give them a comb a couple of times a week to keep their coat shiny and get rid of excess hair. This equals fewer furballs for you to vacuum up later.

Health-wise cats need a lot of protein in their diets that comes from meat and meaty bones. Pet mince never fails, but don’t rely on giving your cat dry food. They need a balanced diet. Change out their water every day. If you’ve adopted a kitten, they require a special formula several times a day to stay healthy.

Dogs

You see the dogs walking around in puffer jackets that are probably nicer than the average human’s? Sometimes they do need the extra help to stay warm due to their small size, lack of body fat and thin fur. It’s not unreasonable to get some extra blankets and other winter warmers come the cooler months.

A dog’s skin is just as vulnerable as a human’s, and they get dry skin, dandruff, and other irritations that can turn to something more. Book an appointment with the vet if they don’t stop scratching and nibbling or if they start to smell.

 

Learn more here;

Are you ready to adopt a pet? Advice from your future vet

Pet Adoption Guide: where to start