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Complexity of Skin Disease

We wish we had one simple solution for your pet’s skin problems but due to the complexity of skin issues, multiple diagnostic tests and elimination trials are often needed to reach a diagnosis.

What causes skin disease in dogs?

There are a number of causes for skin disease in dogs including:

  • Parasites such as fleas or mites
  • Allergies to environmental factors such as pollen, plants, mould, insects and grass
  • Allergies due to food, preservatives or ingredients in human or animal products
  • Bacteria or yeast overgrowth, either as a primary problem, or secondary to an allergy
  • Underlying medical or genetic conditions that can contribute to poor skin health.

With such an extensive list of factors to consider, you can start to see why it often takes multiple vet visits and routes of investigation before we are able to come up with a diagnosis and best treatment.

Many diseases look the same, and one disease can present in different ways – it’s tricky!

The skin can only react to a problem in limited ways – such as redness, itching, hair loss, pustules or nodules. Therefore many different diseases may cause the same change to the skin (food allergies, scabies mites and bacterial infections all cause itch, but require very different treatments!).

Additionally, one disease can show multiple symptoms such as demodex mites causing hair loss, redness AND pustules.

Even after diagnosis, regular check-ups may be needed. When your dog’s skin condition “flares up” you should let us know – we may need to do additional testing to see whether the condition has changed or whether secondary infection is present. Regular check ups will ensure your pet’s skin heals effectively and can mean shorter treatment periods. This not only saves money in the long run but most importantly, makes your pet feel better, sooner!

How can I prevent skin disease in my dog?

Unfortunately skin disease is not always preventable, but there are steps you can take at home to minimise certain symptoms.

For animals with allergies – bathing with Aloveen Shampoo will help to remove allergens from the coat and soothe dry, irritated skin.

For animals prone to skin infections – bathing with Malaseb Medicated Shampoo or Pyohex Medicated Shampoo once a week to once a fortnight all year round can reduce bacteria and yeast and prevent overgrowth.

For more information on skin disease please speak with one of our vets or nurses or make an appointment today (02 9797 2555/contact@summerhillvillagevet.com)

We have a handout about itchy pets you can also read through 

How to keep your indoor cat happy

A common misconception with pet owners is that cats are low maintenance and anti-social – this could not be further from the truth! They may have a different way of expressing their needs to their canine counterparts but cats thrive on social interaction.

These days more and more people are choosing to keep their cats indoor to protect them from fighting, decrease risk of injury and getting hit by a car, and to protect them from infectious disease such as FIV. There is nothing wrong with keeping your cat indoors, especially if you live in a high traffic area- however, the challenge of doing such is to ensure they receive the environmental stimulation they need to avoid getting bored.

Cats have a need to exhibit hunting behaviour- to play and to explore. When necessary they should also be able to find a place where they can retreat and hide.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep your indoor cat stimulated:

Play time:

Cat owners should dedicate time daily to play with their cats. A variety of toys are needed, with different textures, colours and shapes. Using different toys each time you play can also help motivate your cat. This is a great way to get your furry friend using their natural instincts in a safe environment!

You can also encourage movement by installing climbing shelves to give your cat the option to get up high and survey their domain 🙂 There is a Facebook group dedicated to people sharing their DIY indoor cat projects if you need some inspiration

Scratching:

Who could forget a scratching post? This is a necessity for all cats, especially indoor cats. Scratching is a natural instinct for our furry friends and it is very important that your cat can do this regularly. This also protects your carpets and furniture from any possible damage. You can use catnip spray on these areas to encourage use.

Hunting:

The feline desire to hunt is natural and instinctive. Regardless of how much food you feed them, your cat will always have a hunting instinct. If something moves rapidly or squeaks with a high pitch noise, this will trigger a reaction. You can purchase toys that imitate real prey through size, texture, colour and sound. This helps to fulfil the social and natural needs that are essential to our furry family members.

Make food time fun:

While cats do not find any benefit in specific meal times, fun puzzle feeders or feeder toys can be a great way to keep portion sizes in control and promote their natural scavenging behaviour. It is beneficial to make your cat work for their food through these toys or by scattering food bowls around the house for them to find.

Getting some fresh air:

For the owners who like to offer their cat some time outside, there are the lead and harness options. However, it can be difficult for cats to enjoy or learn to walk on a lead. It is best to introduce this type of walking early on when they are kittens so that they can get used to this approach. You can also purchase outdoor cat enclosures, ideally a pen, that keeps them outdoors and safe. Remember that if your cat is having outdoor access even if on a lead, it is important to stay up to date with flea and worming preventatives.

 

These are only some of the ways you can keep your furry family member active and happy whilst staying indoors. If you notice a change in your cat or they are struggling with the transition from outdoors to being inside, please contact us. We can provide behavioural assistance and advice to help your cat enjoy life indoors.

Introducing Anti-Anxiety Packages for your Cats and Dogs!

After working-from-home for the past few months it can be a stressful transition for your pets having to deal with you returning to work.

We have come up with our very own Anti Anxiety Pet Packages to help your pet through this change.

What do these Anti-Anxiety Packages include?

For Dogs:

  • An Adaptil Collar suited to your dogs size
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your dog’s needs
  • A course of 3 x Canine Massage Therapy sessions with our trained Nurse Jessica
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • An Adaptil bandana (you can spray this with Adaptil and tie it around your dog’s collar so they can smell the anxiety-relieving pheromones)
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy dog treats

For Cats:

  • A Feliway spray bottle or diffuser refill if you already have the plug-in at home
  • A dose of pre-consult anxiety medications tailored to your cat’s needs
  • A weekend of boarding at our clinic (including feliway)
  • A behaviour consult with one of our vets
  • A Feliway blanket to bring to consults over your cat’s carrier
  • A Frank Green Keep Cup for yourself! (limited stock)
  • A package of yummy cat treats

To celebrate the launch of these packages we are currently running a competition through Instagram or Facebook to give away 3 x Free Anti-Anxiety Packages to three lucky winners!

How do I enter?

If you have an Instagram account make sure to follow us and post a photo of your pet ‘working from home’ with the hashtag
#SHVVrelax and a short 50 word explanation of how your pet would benefit from one of our anti-anxiety packages.

If you do not have an Instagram account then just message our Facebook page with your entry.

We will be posting our own staff’s pets working from home regularly to give you inspiration.

Deadline for entries is Sunday the 19th of July 2020 so get snapping 🙂

 

 

Update on Covid-19 and Pets

At Summer Hill Village Vet we are constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation with respect to our pets and to keep you accurately informed.

Our information is primarily sourced from:

  • World Health Organisation,
  • Australian Government Department of Health,
  • NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and
  • Australian Veterinary Association.

To date there have been NO CASES of transmission of virus from animals to humans.

WHO reports that the primary source of SARS-COV-2 transmission remains human-to-human contact.

This does not mean however that the virus cannot be found living on animals.

There have been a few cases of humans transmitting the virus to an animal: it has been reported in a dog, in cats, in ferrets and even a tiger!


What does that mean for us as pet owners?

It means we need take some common-sense precautions which we have summarised below:

  1. Keep your pets in your “isolation bubble” to prevent other people from transferring the virus on to their bodies.

Avoid letting other people pat your dog in public.

We want to prevent your pets from acting the same as any other surface you might touch in public.

Don’t panic if someone does touch your dog for some reason…you can always just give them a bath (soap kills coronavirus).

You will see us maintaining the integrity of your “bubble” in the clinic by using masks, hand washing, alcohol based hand rubs and sometimes gloves.

  1. Contact your vet if you are diagnosed with coronavirus and we will advise you on the current recommendations for your pet.

At this point we would advise you to keep your pet isolated in your home, and minimise close contact (such as smooching with your face, etc).

We recommend good hand hygiene before and after handling your pet and their food/water bowls.

If there are non-infected members of the household it would be better if they looked after the pet.

We would also advise you to make a care plan for your pet in the unfortunate event that you are hospitalised.


Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have.

If you have a specific situation you would like to discuss please reach out by calling

02 9797 2555 or email us contact@summerhillvillagevet.com.

We are happy to provide more detailed information on any topic if needed.

Emergency boarding is available for cats if required.

We have protocols and procedures in place for dealing with folks who are self-isolating because they are at risk, as well as for folks who are unfortunate enough to become infected with coronavirus.

Always call us first and we will advise on best way forward to treat your pet under your individual circumstances.

FAQs about the Coronavirus

Corona FAQs

Q: What is SHVV doing to make their hospital as safe as possible for me and my pet?

A: We are monitoring AVA, NSW Government & WHO guidelines & updating our practice protocols constantly. We are asking clients who are unwell to stay at home, keeping employees home if they are unwell, cleaning surfaces within the clinic & maintaining distance as much as possible. Please help us by following our requests to stand back from reception, use hand-sanitisers etc.

Q: What can I do to help keep SHVV a safe place?

A: We need to minimise contact time between people so please

  • Limit the number of people presenting your pet to just one owner if possible
  • When arriving for your appointment, please wait in your car
  • Please phone us from your car on arrival and we can return the phone call to welcome you into the clinic when we are ready to see your pet.
  • Please use hand sanitisers located in the clinic.
  • Please phone ahead to order required prescription medicine repeats or food, worming and flea control in advance so we can arrange to have them ready for you without the need to wait.

Q: My pet needs to be seen by a Vet but I’m in self-isolation (maybe I have tested positive to COVID-19). What can I do?

A: Call us! We will discuss options – rest assured we will find a way to care for your pet. Please do not break quarantine and put other people at risk.

Q: I need to come to the Vet hospital but I don’t want to (because I’m elderly or immunocompromised). What can I do?

A: Call us! We will discuss options – rest assured we will find a way to care for your pet. Options include dropping-off medications, house-calls or collecting your pet to be examined at the hospital.

Q: How does COVID-19 spread?

A: The World Health Organisation states: People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

Q: Can I catch Covid-19 from my pet?

A: The World Health Organisation states: While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.

Q: Can humans catch COVID-19 from animals?

A: The World Health Organisation states: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Occasionally, people get infected with these viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.

To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.

Useful links:

Coronavirus: Information for looking after your pets

Update on taking care of your pets during the coronavirus epidemic

We know this is an anxious time for everyone and you may be concerned how best to look after your pet in this current situation.

Until advised otherwise, we are open as normal – here are some guidelines to help both humans and animals stay safe and healthy.

If your pet needs veterinary attention and:

  • You have been overseas within the last 14days
  • You’re experiencing symptoms
  • Need to self-isolate

Please phone us for advice and we will make a plan together with you.

In line with social distancing recommendations, we are keeping waiting times to a minimum.

We ask you to:

  • Limit the number of people presenting your pet to just one owner if possible
  • When arriving for your appointment, don’t come straight in, take a look through the window and if there is no clear space to sit away from other people, stay outside if possible
  • Please phone us if you are waiting outside or in your car, and we can return the phone call to let you know when the waiting room is fairly empty or to welcome you into the clinic when we are ready to see your pet.

Please use hand sanitisers located in the clinic.

Please phone ahead to order required prescription medicine repeats or food, worming and flea control in advance so we can arrange to have them ready for you without the need to wait.

Call or email us with questions and check our web site for updates.

We are working hard to ensure we can continue to provide complete veterinary care.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. This situation is rapidly evolving, and we will provide updates as required.

Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand. For up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in Australia go to health.gov.au

 

Information about the dog in Hong Kong who tested positive:

Santa Paws 2019!

Is your pet holiday ready?

Preparing for the holidays can be stressful- to help make things easier for you Dr Lydia has put together a checklist to ensure you don’t need to have that last minute emergency visit to the vet!

Print a copy of the checklist below and take some time to go through it – if you notice there are some things you aren’t sure about please feel free to call us on 9797 2555 so we can make sure you and your pet have a fun and safe holiday!

Pet Holiday Checklist 

My cat is missing

We have put together a guide to help owners with lost cats. Whilst it is not a guaranteed way to find your missing cat, we have found that a lot of these tips have had some success.

A lost cat is one of the most heartbreaking things a pet owner can experience. Unfortunately having an outdoor cat will always carry the risk of kitty not returning home and going missing regardless of what precautions you take (a safety-release collar with your phone number is aways a good idea to have on an outdoor cat).

Having a completely indoor cat does not also guarantee that your cat may never go missing – indoor cats are still prone to running out of an open window or door! For most cases, particularly for indoor cats, the missing cat is hiding somewhere very close to home so it is a good idea to regularly do a scan of your immediate area (look under nooks and crannies and other small places where your cat may have become trapped)

Tips to help find your cat:

An example of a ‘Missing Flyer’ used by one of our staff members who was luckily enough to have been reunited with her missing cat after more than a month!

These tips are based on real success stories (the sooner you are able to carry out the suggestions the higher your chance of finding your cat).

  • Set up a litter tray with some used litter from your cat around the entry points of your home.
  • Set up a food bowl with your cat’s favourite treats (preferably ones with a strong scent such as roast chicken or sardines) around your home.
  • Rent a humane cat trapper from your local vet or purchase one from Bunnings. Set up the trapper near your home and cover it with your cat’s towel/blanket and bait it your cat’s favourite food (again try to use foods with strong scents). It is important you check the trapper at least twice a day to ensure you don’t accidentally catch someone else’s cat! And also to change the food regularly.
  • Print as many Missing flyers as you can and drop them in your neighbours’ mailboxes (try to cover as many houses as possible, a block is a good minimum)
  • Put up as many Missing Flyers as you can on telephone poles (again around your block is a good minimum). You may find some people tearing them down, it is important to keep putting them up again to gain as much visible coverage as possible.
  • Post about your missing cat on as many Facebook Lost Pet Groups as possible.
  • Go out late in the night when it is most quiet with roast chicken and call out for your cat.
  • Call your usual vet and notify them of your lost cat, ask them to change your cat’s microchip status from ‘home’ to ‘missing’.
  • Call all your local vets to notify them of your lost cat and provide them with a detailed description as well as your contact details.
  • Contact your local pounds to notify them of your lost cat in case it has been impounded (which is usually the case if not chipped)

There are cases of people being reunited with pets that have been missing for more than a year!

Whilst it is easy to lose hope of ever seeing your cat again it is important to remember to not give up. Our own staff member Beatrice had found her lost cat after more than a month of searching, she followed all of the points we have provided and her eventual success was the result of a letter box drop.

We also post ‘Missing Cat’ posters on our clinic window and on our Facebook page so please feel free to email us your flyers if your cat is missing.

Once you do find your cat make sure you book a visit to your usual vet ASAP for a general heath check.

New Anaesthetic Machine!

We can now keep our small patients warmer (& safer) than ever during their anaesthetics.

Meet our new anaesthetic machine: not just a pointless bit of technology!

A) This is a special low resistance carbon dioxide scrubber, this allows us to run a re-breathing circuit for animals down to 2 kg (previously 10 kg was the lowest we could go). B) This is the attached heating circuit.

When our patients are under anaesthetic it’s very important to stop them getting cold which can slow their recovery and healing but the smaller they are the harder it is to avoid them getting cold.  Now not only are they lying on a hot water bed, our new anaesthetic machine helps keep them warm.

On a non re-breathing system a patient is getting a constant flow of fresh, COLD oxygen to breath. But on a re-breathing system only a small amount of fresh cold oxygen is included in each breath.

When you add a heating device to warm the air then you make a real difference to their body temperature during an anaesthetic.  They recover faster and their anaesthetics are more stable, perfect for the little oldies.

Add to that a hot air blanket that we can cover them with if needed and you’re talking toasty warm cats & dogs.