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Mira Mar Veterinary Hospital
58 Cockburn Rd
Albany, WA, 6330
Phone: 08 9841 5422

It is with extreme sadness that we begin this month's newsletter edition with the news that Dr Dave's two beloved Golden Retriever dogs were recently both killed in their yard by a snake.

Our heartfelt condolences go to Dave and his family, who are naturally devastated by their sudden loss.  

This news brings with it the timely reminder to all pet owners to start keeping an eye out for snakes as the weather warms up. 

Dave has written a lovely tribute to his dogs below. 

Dave and dogs small

Dr Dave with Miel (L) and Zorro (R)
Photo taken in May 2018 by Krysta Guille Photography

Contents of this newsletter

01  Vale Zorro and Miel - by Dr Dave Warren

02  Do you want to know more about cattle diseases in the area?

03  Warning for local rabbit owners

04  A little bit thirsty?

05  Why urination habits matter

06  Rocky can't go

07  Tennis heroes

01 Vale Zorro and Miel - by Dr Dave Warren
zorro miel collage

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I acknowledge the passing of our beautiful golden retrievers Zorro and Miel on 10 September to suspected snakebite.

They were part of our family as well as much loved friends - Zorro was the same age as my eldest daughter - and their loss simply leaves a huge hole in our lives.

Their passing has been made bearable by the amazing support from our wonderful staff, friends and clients.  Kirsten, Amelie, Madeleine and I have been very humbled by the response and wanted to say thank you to everyone for their sympathy and support - it really has made a huge difference.  

We know we were very lucky to have Zorro and Miel in our lives, and we're pretty sure they enjoyed their time with us as well.  

Dave Warren

02 Do you want to know more about cattle diseases in the area?
cow and calf

The new Great Southern cattle surveillance network is starting soon!

Cattle producers in the shires of Denmark, Albany and Plantagenet have the chance to join the network and keep up to date with what cattle diseases are occurring in the area. Each month you will receive an up to date report with information about what signs producers have seen in their cattle, what diseases have occurred, what you might want to do about them and what to expect next.

You will also benefit from an early warning SMS whenever there is a disease outbreak occurring in the district.  All the network involves is responding to a quick SMS message once a fortnight. The network has many benefits for producers and the supply chain. It is also free to join.

Find out more at

Information is also displayed at the Mount Barker Regional Saleyards or you can contact Andrew Larkins or Sheena Smith.


Andrew Larkins

DPIRD veterinary officer, Albany

Phone: 9892 8530


Sheena Smith

Cattle producer & Ag event coordinator, Narrikup

Mobile: 0427 214 707


03 Warning for local rabbit owners
rabbits 1

Mira Mar Vets has recently received notification from the City of Albany that they are planning to release a new strain of rabbit Calicivirus into the wild rabbit population near Emu Point in late spring.

The virus is specific to the European rabbit and does not pose a risk to humans, other domestic animals or native wildlife.  It WILL however, affect PET RABBITS, but the good news is that the current calicivirus vaccination is effective against this strain of the disease.

If you have any questions about the virus, the vaccine or your pet rabbit, please visit the following websites, or call the clinic on 98415422.

04 A little bit thirsty?

Is your pet a bit thirstier than usual? Are you filling up their water bowl more often, or have you noticed them drinking from the shower or toilet? An increase in thirst can be one of the first signs of kidney disease and if you are worried you should arrange a check up with us.

The kidneys contain thousands of little factories called 'nephrons' and their job is to work out how much water should be conserved in the body. Once damaged or destroyed, nephrons do not function properly and can't regenerate. As a result, the body doesn't conserve enough water so your pet will need to drink more to stay hydrated.

Toxins, drugs, a change in blood pressure and particular diseases can harm the nephrons - and your pet may not show any signs until 75% of these nephrons are damaged.

Other than increased thirst, watch out for: 

- Increased urination
- Weight loss
- Lethargy
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting

There are plenty of other diseases with similar signs of kidney disease (such as diabetes) so it is important that we investigate further. Measuring your pet's water intake over 24 hours is a good place to start. A blood test, a urine test, blood pressure and an ultrasound of the kidneys may then be necessary.

The take-home message is that if you notice any changes in your pet's thirst, it's best to arrange an appointment with us as soon as possible. If we detect that your pet's kidneys are not working properly, the earlier we initiate treatment, the better.

05 Why urination habits matter

It's not only a change in thirst that can indicate an underlying issue with your pet. Subtle changes in urination habits can be a sign of kidney disease and diabetes but they can also indicate a urinary tract infection or even a behavioural issue.

Changes may include:

- Urinating more often
- Blood in the urine (sometimes only a pink tinge)
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating in unusual places (cats urinating out of their tray or ‘spraying urine’ on vertical surfaces)
- Excessive grooming of genital area
- Leaking or dribbling urine

Don't ignore these signs as some urinary tract diseases can cause your pet pain and discomfort. Male cats, in particular, can suffer from a severe and potentially life-threatening condition known as a urinary obstruction. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you notice your male cat is having trouble passing urine and read on below to find out more.

It's a good idea to begin to take notice of what are the normal urinary habits are for your pet, this will help you recognise if there is something 'not quite right' as early as possible.

06 Rocky can't go

By now you know Rocky the cat. Rocky is a very clean cat and always uses his litter tray perfectly. Recently Rocky was leaving little patches of bloody urine in strange places. One evening, Rocky’s owner came home from work to find Rocky scratching at his litter tray without passing any urine. An urgent veterinary examination was required.

On examination, it was discovered that Rocky had a large hard and painful bladder. He was diagnosed with a urinary obstruction, a condition where the urethra that takes urine from the bladder to the outside world is blocked. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and Rocky needed urgent stabilisation and catheterisation to unblock his bladder.

There are many causes of urethral obstruction in cats and stress, viruses, bacteria, diet, decreased water consumption, physical inactivity, urine retention, and urine pH may all contribute. Male cats are at greater risk for obstruction than females because their urethra is longer and narrower.

After a few days in the hospital, Rocky was able to comfortably pass urine on his own.

To prevent recurrence of Rocky’s problems he was started on a special urinary diet. This commercially prepared food is available in both dry and wet forms and is formulated to help keep the urinary tract healthy and reduce the risk of repeat obstructions. 

We are pleased to say that Rocky has adapted well to his new diet and is happily using his litter tray again.

If you ever notice your pet is having trouble passing urine, you should call us for advice as soon as possible.

07 Tennis heroes

There's been plenty in the media recently following an upset at the US tennis open, but here's a heartwarming tennis story for you! It has been reported that shelter dogs are being 'employed' as ball boys and girls at the Brazilian Tennis Open. 

The initiative originally started in 2016, where four shelter dogs took to the court to help collect the balls. They won over many hearts and were all adopted. One was even named Serena after Serena Williams!

Fast forward to 2018 and six more dogs were allowed on the court, fetching balls during the warm-up and winning many more hearts! What a great initiative to help find loving homes for these dogs! You can read more here, and see some footage on YouTube here