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Bakers Hill Veterinary Hospital
4609 Great Eastern Highway
Bakers Hill, WA, 6562
Phone: 08 9574 1061

Our team does such a great job at taking unloved cats in, sterilising them and returning them to a good state of health, loving them and caring for them until their forever home is found.

BUT.... we need you, our clients, our Bakers Hill community, to be able to keep doing this!

Who will adopt this this beautiful friendly calico cat called Opie, saved from a dumpster with her kittens, barely an adult herself?

Opie all

Dr Arlette's 8 year old daughter's plea for a home for Opie

Contents of this newsletter

01  The magic of a blood test

02  Jackson is thirsty

03  The power of a wee sample

04  Unhappy hormones

05  Sore eyes - 5 signs your horse needs the vet

06  When was the last time your horse had a worm egg count?

07  Keeping Colostrum hygienic

08  The Lambing Planner

01 The magic of a blood test

Blood tests can give us a wealth of information about the health of your pet. They provide an insight into the health of many organs, help detect disease and can also confirm if your pet is safe to undergo anaesthesia.

From a blood test, we can work out if your pet is dehydrated, has underlying kidney disease or liver changes, and assess your pet's red and white blood cells. All of this helps improve the level of care we can provide to your pet.

So, what actually happens when we take blood from your pet?

Most blood samples are taken from the jugular vein in the neck. This vein is large enough to provide a good sample and allows us to collect the blood as quickly as possible. This is important as blood will start to clot if it is not collected swiftly and this can affect the results.

Most pets are also more relaxed when blood is taken from their jugular vein and there is minimal, if any discomfort. If necessary, a smaller sample can be obtained from a vein in the leg but these veins are preferably 'saved' for administering injections or IV fluids.

Once the blood has been collected we place pressure over the vein to prevent any bruising. Your pet should not require a bandaid but a liver treat (instead of a lollipop) is a must!

The blood is placed into tubes appropriate for required tests. Some tests can be run on machines we have in house but there are certain tests that require more extensive equipment and so the blood sample is sent to an external laboratory.

Blood tests are an essential part of good veterinary medicine and can be critical when diagnosing and managing diseases. 

Did you know that we run tests of hydration and some red blood cell abnormalities with EVERY catheter placement and EVERY anaesthetic we do here ate Bakers Hill Veterinary Hospital? It is part of our commitment to provide your pet with excellent health care.

02 Jackson is thirsty

Jackson the cat came in for a check up. He had been drinking copious amounts of water over the past month and even though he usually had an excellent appetite, he was looking 'a bit skinny.'

Examination revealed that Jackson was dehydrated and had lost nearly 20% of his body weight in just three months! A blood test indicated he had high blood sugar levels (glucose) and a urine test confirmed the presence of glucose in his urine. A diagnosis of diabetes was made.

The urine test also confirmed the presence of ketones, signalling that Jackson was in 'ketosis', a potentially life threatening condition that can occur when the body can no longer cope with the disease.

Diabetes is an 'endocrine' disease where the body fails to produce enough insulin to help move sugar from the blood stream in to the cells for energy. It is similar to type 1 diabetes in people as patients generally require the administration of insulin once or twice daily.

The four main signs to watch out for:

1. Increased appetite, but with ...
2. Weight loss
3. Increased thirst
4. Increased urination

Jackson was admitted to hospital for intensive care. He was placed on an intravenous drip and insulin therapy in the form of injections was commenced. Thankfully he responded quickly and started to improve overnight.

Management of diabetes is life-long and involves regular blood tests and monitoring. Some cats can go in to remission if diet and weight are managed correctly. Dogs usually require insulin treatment for life. Some patients do not respond as we would expect so further investigation in to other diseases sometimes needs to be considered.

If you notice any changes to your pet’s daily habits such as a change in appetite or thirst, it’s a good idea to arrange a check up with us as soon as possible as there are many endocrine diseases that can present with similar signs.

03 The power of a wee sample

It's not only blood tests that give us an insight into the health of your pet. Testing your pet's urine is another essential part of good veterinary medicine.

Did you know that a small amount of urine can give us information about your pet's internal health, and rule out problems such as kidney disease and diabetes?

As part of a routine urine test, we usually test how concentrated your pets urine is. This gives us an idea of how well your pet's kidneys are working. We may also test for the presence of blood, look at pH, protein levels and glucose and even spin the urine down to form a sediment to look for bacteria and crystals. Sometimes it is necessary to send your pet's urine to an external laboratory for testing (such as for deciding what antibiotics are appropriate if a bacterial infection is present.)

Collecting urine at home can be a bit overwhelming and we will be able to advise you on the most suitable technique for your pet. If you don't succeed at home we routinely collect urine directly from the bladder using a very small needle. This routine procedure is called a cystocentesis and is necessary if we need to collect urine without contamination or if you are unable to get a sample at home. It is a painless and quick procedure, though occasionally it may need a sedation.

We will advise you if your pet needs an urinary test but remember, if you think your pet's urination habits have changed in any way it is best to phone us for advice.

04 Unhappy hormones

An endocrine disease is caused by an upset in the normal balance or regulation of hormones. These 'unhappy hormones' lead to a range of diseases that can greatly affect your pet's quality of life. 

When too much hormone is produced, the disease is referred to as a 'hyper-disease'. Tumours and abnormal tissue growth commonly cause an overproduction of hormone.

A 'hypo-disease' occurs when too little hormone is produced. Endocrine glands that are destroyed, removed, or just stop working cause these diseases.

Keep an eye out for changes in:

1. Appetite and thirst
2. Weight
3. Coat and skin
4. Behaviour

Some endocrine diseases such as Diabetes and Addison's disease (low levels of the adrenal hormones) can reach a crisis point and be potentially life threatening if not treated. 

There are multiple ways we can treat an endocrine disease but diagnosis of the actual cause of the disease is essential. 

Blood and urine tests are critical in the diagnosis and if we are suspicious of an endocrine disease, we will discuss the most appropriate tests for your pet.

05 Sore eyes - 5 signs your horse needs the vet

A horse with a sore eye is a serious concern. Eye problems can deteriorate rapidly and as such they are usually considered an emergency condition. It is so important to be aware of some of the signs of a sore eye, so that you can contact your vet immediately.

1. Excessive weeping or discharge
A sore eye may weep clear fluid which can be seen streaming from the eye. Thick, white or yellow coloured discharge could indicate infection.

2. Redness
Any redness of the conjunctiva of the eye could indicate inflammation or bruising.

3. Swollen eyelids
Swelling around the eye can be the result of inflammation or could be due to direct trauma to the eye and surrounding structures.

4. Closed eyelids or squinting
A horse with a sore eye will be very sensitive to direct sunlight. As such they will squint or close the affected eye in an attempt to reduce the pain.

5. Discolouration of the eyeball
The surface of a horse’s eyeball should be clear and shiny. A “blue” or white-coloured eye could indicate a serious problem with the cornea.

Don’t take chances when it comes to a sore eye – call your vet immediately if your horse shows any of the above signs.

06 When was the last time your horse had a worm egg count?

Modern horse de-worming practices have evolved greatly. Traditionally it was recommended that horses were rotationally drenched every 6-8 weeks to keep worms at bay – but this is no longer the case.

What is the problem with traditional de-worming practices?

Traditional de-worming practices were developed more than 40 years ago when large strongyle worms were the most common and damaging internal parasite of horses. With the introduction of the drench ivermectin, this approach was very successful in controlling large strongyles, to the point that they are no longer much of an issue. However, due to decades of such frequent drench use, we are now faced with the serious issue of drench resistance. Small strongyles are now considered the worm type of greatest concern, and we have limited effective drenches available to combat them.

What are the cornerstones of modern de-worming recommendations?

1. Perform regular worm egg counts
This helps determine if your horse actually has a worm burden. Worm egg counts should be conducted 2-4 times per year, but more frequently for young, aged, unwell or new horses. A small manure sample for each horse is all this is required for your vet to perform a relatively inexpensive worm egg count.

2. Use a combination drench
Drenches with two or more active ingredients are less likely to lead to drench resistance. Target the drench ingredient for the most relevant worm type.

3. Drench adult horses 1-2 times per year
Unless the worm egg count suggests more regularly.

4. Practice good pasture management
Remove manure regularly, avoid overcrowding, and spell paddocks to help manage worms.

Call us today to arrange a worm egg count for your horse!

07 Keeping Colostrum hygienic

Have you ever considered that you may be giving your calves a dose of disease with their dose of colostrum? Bacteria are prolific breeders, and their populations will double every 20 minutes at 20 degrees. So while colostrum may look clean, it can be highly contaminated.

A clean sample must be collected in the first place, even heat treatment of colostrum does not sterilise colostrum, but rather just reduces the bacterial load. If you are not going to use colostrum within 2 hours of collection, you need to cool it.

In the fridge:

- Shelf-life = 2 days.

- With the addition of the preservative potassium sorbate= 7 days.

In the freezer:

- Freeze as soon as it is collected.

- Deep chest freezer lasts 12 months.

- Perfect Udder bags, Zip-lock bags laid flat on trays are good.

- Colostrum is heat sensitive and must be defrosted in a warm water-bath, no more than 50°C.

MUC test - Monitoring Unhygienic Colostrum

- Testing colostrum contamination can be done through the vet clinic. This provides very useful feedback on the efficacy of your hygiene. Results available are available in 24 hours.

08 The Lambing Planner

The Lamb Planner app allows you to set a joining date and then view all the key activities with that joining. The app was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA and the ASHEEP Group, Esperance. The Lambing Planner was originally developed as a paper-based tool, and the app has been generated off it.

The planner hinges off a planned mating start date. As the photo above shows, it then gives an overview of the productive cycle throughout the year with the critical intervention points along the way. This allows you to quickly see the impact of changes to the mating start date on other critical events along the way.

To find the app, head to the app store and search "The Lambing Planner".