Common preventable illnesses
Having been in small animal practice since 1981, I have seen many preventable and sometimes unnecessarily fatal conditions in pets. Here's a list of common conditions that are either preventable or require immediate veterinary attention.
Owners throwing sticks for dogs that end up in long grass pointing upwards. The dog jumps onto the stick with its open mouth- ouch! Can cause nasty injuries or even sudden death.
Leaving pets alone at home when on holidays
We have lost quite a few pets to injury, heat stroke, paralysis tick or snake bite envenomation when owners have made arrangements for a friend or neighbour to "have a look and feed" once a day. This can be disastrous especially if the pet-carer is not aware of the symptoms of snake or paralysis tick poisoning which require immediate veterinary attention. Similarly, an injured pet left in the back yard all day will be in a great deal of discomfort, especially if its a very hot day.
Dogs jumping off the back of car trailers
I have seen some very serious injuries and deaths from dogs not secured with a metal chain to the back of cars or trucks that have a tray on the back for the dog to ride on. Ropes tend to get chewed and can snap.
Urinary blockage in cats and dogs
There are many reasons why a cat or dog may suddenly find itself unable to pass urine. Whatever the cause, it requires immediate veterinary attention as the kidneys will fail within 12-24 hours from the huge amount of back pressure.
Financial constraints leading to euthanasia
Unfortunately, pets are not covered by Medicare and vets are not subsidised by the government. Veterinary fees reflect the costs of running a fully equipped hospital and being able to offer a very high level of care. Clients should consider pet insurance (like private health cover for pets) or payment programmes.
Lameness problems due to obesity
Just like humans, some overweight pets are prone to damaging their joints or back.
A common problem is damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (stifle). This usually means orthopaedic surgery and for large breeds the best repair technique is performed at a specialist centre with associated costs of $3,000-4,500
Gastric dilation and bloat
This is a common condition of deep narrow chested dog breeds and owners of these pets need to be aware of the condition. Once recognised, the dog must be seen by a vet for emergency treatment otherwise death is very quick and painful. Prevention of the condition is the best policy.
Poor response to paralysis tick therapy
Even a short delay in treating a pet affected by a paralysis tick can lead to a rapid deterioration and death despite a vet's very best efforts.
The tick anti-serum contains large tick antibodies. They are very good at neutralising tick toxin that is in the blood stream. However, once tick toxin starts to travel down the nerves towards the muscles, the large antibodies can’t follow the same pathway as they are too big to fit.
This can happen while having a cup of coffee - the pet does not look any different 10 minutes later, but the tick poison has gone down the nerves and the anti-serum is not going to work. This is why it is vitally important to get the anti-serum in ASAP.
Make sure you contact us on 02 4448 5621 (24 hours) ASAP if you suspect your pet has symptoms of paralysis.
- Introduction to Paralysis Ticks
- Paralysis Tick Cases
- The Brain is its Own Worse Enemy
- Tick Photos
- Tick Search Video
Spleen tumours in dogs
We see 1-2 spleen tumours every month. They are often detected during an annual health check or as part of an investigation as to a dog being off colour.
Half of the tumours are malignant, spreading to the liver and other organs. The other half are benign. Both types can rupture without warning resulting in massive internal bleeding.