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

Happy New Year, and welcome to our first newsletter edition for 2020.

This edition contains lots of handy hits on keeping your pets safe and well over the summer and holiday period.

We'd like to thank you all for your support over this past year, and we look forward to seeing all of our wonderful clients and their pets in the New Year!

We hope that 2020 is happy, healthy and successful for you AND your animals!

With kind regards from the team at Mira Mar Vets. 

Contents of this newsletter

01  Help! I'm so confused about parasite prevention

02  Summer heat can be deadly

03  Snake bites - do you know what to do?

04  How you can help our wildlife this summer

05  Sustainable pet ownership

01 Help! I'm so confused about parasite prevention

Parasite prevention can get pretty confusing, but it’s an important part of responsible pet care. The start of a new year is always a good time to make sure your pet is up to date with their parasite prevention and the good news is, we can make it easier for you! To refresh your mind, here’s a brief overview of the major parasites you need to think about when it comes to the health and comfort of your pet:

Intestinal worms
These worms live in the gastrointestinal tract of our pets and can cause diarrhoea, weight loss and anaemia, particularly in young animals or those that are immunocompromised. They include roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and tapeworms (which are also part of the flea life cycle). Some gastrointestinal worms are also a zoonotic risk to humans. Prevention is very important for the health of your pet and people caring for the pet.

These pesky little creatures love warm conditions and can really cause your pet discomfort due to hypersensitivity to their bites. They can also bite humans! Flea prevention is easy and year round prevention prevents seasonal outbreaks and reduces the likelihood of secondary skin infections.

Spread by mosquitoes, this worm matures in the bloodstream and can become lodged in the heart. It can be fatal.  We are VERY fortunate that heartworm has never been diagnosed in Albany, but if you travel north with your pet, we strongly recommend you use heartworm prevention.

The paralysis tick is the major concerning tick for our pets. Once they attach they gorge themselves with blood and inject a toxin that can cause rapid paralysis and even death. Again, we are VERY fortunate as Albany is not a paralysis tick area, but the ticks are common along the east coast of Australia and they love coastal areas.  If you are travelling with your pet to the east coast, it is essential that you talk to us about tick prevention.

Help your pet start 2020 on the right paw when it comes to parasite prevention! Ask us what product is most suitable for your pet as this will help prevent doubling up on prevention or missing one altogether.

02 Summer heat can be deadly

When the Summer heat is upon us, it’s vital to consider your pet and make sure they are safe and cared for. Here are a few things you need to keep front of mind:

Heat exhaustion
Our pets are very susceptible to heatstroke. Dogs are not able to sweat like humans, so they rely heavily on panting to regulate their body temperature. Brachycephalic dogs (pugs and bulldogs) are particularly vulnerable as they have shorter muzzles and as a result, air-flow is restricted in and out of their mouth. This makes it harder for them to effectively exchange hot air for cool, and they can easily overheat.

Keep an eye out for excessive, exaggerated or noisy panting, drooling, weakness or collapse. If you think your pet might have heat stress, bring your pet to us immediately (or seek emergency veterinary care). It's best to place your pet in front of the air conditioner or a fan while you are in the car. You can also place wet towels on hairless parts of the body (footpads and groins).

Hot underfoot
Many people forget that footpaths, decking, tin roofs and bitumen roads get incredibly hot during the summer. Even sand can sometimes be too hot to walk on. This can cause painful burns to your pet's paws that may not appear for 24 hours, so be extremely careful in the heat. A good test is to hold the back of your hand to the ground, if you cannot hold it there for five seconds, it is too hot for your dog to walk on.

Hot cars can be deadly
Never leave your pet in the car during the warmer months. The internal temperature of a car can become like an oven in minutes (even on a mild day). 

We are always here to help you and your pet so please contact us if you have any concerns about your pet in the heat.

03 Snake bites - do you know what to do?

Dogs and cats are adventurous creatures, and at this time of year, they can occasionally be found harassing a snake. Snakes are common in rural areas but they are increasingly popping up in more urban areas, so it’s important to know the symptoms of snake bite and what to do if your pet is bitten.

Different species of snakes possess different types of venom, and your pet may show clinical signs anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours after a bite. Even if you only suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should see a vet. It is better that your pet is checked over rather than wait and be sorry.

The early signs of snake bite include:

- Enlarged pupils
- Salivation
- Vomiting
- Hind limb weakness
- Lethargy
- Rapid breathing

How can you help your pet survive a snake bite?

- Seek veterinary attention immediately
- Keep your pet as STILL AS POSSIBLE - this is critical to help reduce movement of the venom around the body

DO NOT try treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom in place of getting your pet to the vet - they are a waste of VERY precious time. NEVER attempt to kill, handle or capture the snake as you risk being bitten too. Providing a description of a snake, or a photo of the snake can be helpful but only if it is safe to do so.

Always be vigilant and supervise your pet when they are off leash. Keep them inside from dusk (snakes like to hunt at night) and take care in off leash areas and around rivers and dams and long grass. This is especially important if you are heading to areas over summer with your pet that you are not familiar with such as camping trips or farm visits.

If you are ever concerned about your pet you should call us for advice.

04 How you can help our wildlife this summer

At this time of the year, it is not uncommon for us to see wildlife suffering from heat stress and dehydration. Birds, possums and koalas are often the ones commonly affected and it’s handy to know what to look out for and how you can help.

Signs of heat stress:

- Weak and lethargic
- Confused
- Venturing down to ground level searching for water (especially possums and koalas)
- Birds opening their beaks constantly or holding their wings away from their body

How you can help our native furry and feathered friends at home?
Provide multiple containers of water around your garden at varying heights - try and put them in protected areas such as hidden under a bush amongst the garden so the animals feel safe. Don't forget to place a stick or rock in the water, so if an animal falls in, they won't drown. Be sure to keep your dogs and cats away from wildlife to allow them to come down and drink safely.

What should you do if you find injured or heat stressed wildlife?
We recommend you have a read of the information provided here. It gives detailed instructions on helping wildlife affected by bushfires but is also applicable for many situations. Remember, whenever you are helping wildlife you need to make sure YOU are safe (a good example of this is when you stop to check wildlife on the side of the road as other traffic can pose as a potential hazard to you). Always make YOUR safety the priority!

If ever you have any questions about wildlife, we are always here to help.

05 Sustainable pet ownership

Caring about our planet as best as possible is a great way to kick off 2020. So what can you do as pet owners to ensure that we protect the planet and make sustainable choices as often as possible? Here are six top tips for sustainable pet ownership:

1. Buy in bulk - buying bigger bags of pet food reduces the use of plastic packaging. Remember that you can recycle your soft plastics (dry pet food bags) at participating supermarkets. If your pet gets wet food, recycle the aluminium tins (remember wash them out and remove the label before putting them in the recycling bin).

2. Deal with poo properly - keep it out of our fragile waterways (reducing potential contamination) by always picking up your dog’s poo. ALWAYS use a biodegradable dog poo bag as this will ensure the poo and the bag will break down.

3. Choose responsibly made pet toys and pet bedding - choose well made products such as good quality bedding, collars and leads. Invest in a product that will last longer and won’t just end up in landfill in a few months. Use recycled paper cat litter in the litter tray too!

4. Adopt a pet - save a life! This is a no-brainer when it comes to caring about pets and making sustainable choices for the planet.

5. Protect our wildlife - our wildlife is precious. Keep cats inside from dusk to dawn and place a bell on their collar when they are outside. Keep dogs leashed and under control at all times unless they are in a designated off leash area.

If you have any other great ideas for sustainable pet ownership, we’d love to hear about them!