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

Hello and welcome to our October newsletter.

Sadly, last month, we farewelled one of our long-standing wonderful vet nurses.  Nurse Jodie is moving to Perth with her family, and just before the arrival of her newest family member!  We will miss her gorgeous smiling face and her calm and experienced vet nursing skills.  We wish Jodie all the best in her next adventure, and look forward to hearing the news when her baby arrives!

Our newsletter this week is all about kidney health, urine samples, blood pressure, antibioitic use and the celebration of World Animal Day.  We are also sharing the amazing story of Zulu and Kaya, two extremely lucky dogs who are still with us after a snake bite thanks to the hard work of our Mira Mar Vets team, and the assistance of the other local vet clinics!

We hope you enjoy it.


farewell jodie

Farewell Nurse Jodie!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Two very lucky dogs

02  Cessation of Equine Veterinary Services at Mira Mar Vets

03  What you need to know about kidney disease

04  Wee makes us happy!

05  Monitoring your pet's blood pressure

06  Top tips for correct antibiotic use

07  Celebrate World Animal Day

01 Two very lucky dogs
lesley and dogs

Our two snake bite survivors - Zulu & Kaya - with their very relieved owner.

One evening in early September, we had a call to say that Mrs Winter had found a dead tiger snake in the back of her yard and that one of her two dogs was showing signs of being envenomated. This was unfortunately not Mrs Winter's first snake envenomation encounter so she was very quick to act and knew she had to get both dogs it to us immediately. Upon arriving, it was then very clear that one had definitely been bitten, as she began to collapse, coming less responsive by the minute. Thankfully the team was quick to act, placing both dogs on intravenous fluids and adminstering a dose of anti-venom to each dog to avoid taking any risks.

We weren't out of the clear though, as one of the dogs ended up requiring a further 5 vials, along with ongoing oxygen therapy for several hours. That's a total of 6 vials! This is the most vials we've ever had to use. Thankfully, once the fifth vial was administered, Kaya began to regain consciousness, showing us that there was still hope! From there on it was a long night for Dr Jim though, as he stayed by both Kaya and Zulu's side until the early morning to make sure that they both pulled through, especially Kaya, and the dedication paid off as both dogs survived! 

With a further few days in hospital post envenomation, both Kaya and Zulu were then discharged back to their lovely family. 

This would not have been possible without a few extra hands on deck though, so we have some very big thank yous to extend!

Thank to all the veterinary clinics who lent us extra anti-venom vials to help us out: Albany Veterinary Hospital, Lockyer Ave Veterinary Hospital and Dog Rock Veterinary Clinic! We appreciate your help so much and it truly shows what a special community we live in.

Thank you to Dr Jim for your endless efforts throughout the night and thank you to our nursing staff for the continuing care and support while the dogs were recovering.

To the Winter family, we're so happy that both your beautiful fur babies pulled through and are home with you now. Sending love to you all. 

02 Cessation of Equine Veterinary Services at Mira Mar Vets
horses 1414889960720
Mira Mar Vets have made a decision to cease all equine veterinary services, effective 1st September 2019. Unfortunately, from this date we will no longer be able to see any equine patients.
Please see below a list of alternative equine veterinary services that have confirmed their availability for equine work in our area.
  • Mt Barker Veterinary Hospital  98511177
  • Denmark Veterinary Clinic    98481389
  • Dr Colin Davey    0429 631 333
  • Dr Lisa Clark    0451 950 682
  • Dr Wendy Rogers   0402 330 437
  • Dr Paul Wynne-Houchin   0407370577
Thank you for trusting us with your equine services in the past. Please feel free to contact us at the clinic if you wish to discuss this matter further, or if you would like us to forward any clinical history to another equine veterinary service.
03 What you need to know about kidney disease

When it comes to kidney disease, the statistics can be pretty scary. As many as 1-in-3 cats, and 1-in-10 dogs may suffer from some form of the disease in their lifetime.

The chronic form of kidney disease is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’ as it can sneak up on your pet and signs may be subtle and hard to notice. In other cases, kidney disease can come on quickly (classified as acute kidney disease) and might occur following the kidneys being exposed to a toxin or a certain drug for example.

Signs of kidney disease to watch out for:

- increased thirst
- increased urination
- weight loss
- lethargy
- vomiting

Measuring your pet's water intake over 24 hours and bringing us a morning urine sample are two things you can do to get the investigation process started.

The good news is that there is now a blood test available that can help with early detection of the disease. The result of this blood test is always evaluated with the results of a urine test, routine kidney blood tests, and with a blood pressure check. All of this information helps determine the stage of the disease and will ascertain which treatment, if any, is necessary.

Treatment may include diet modification and medication that can help reduce protein loss through the kidneys. This can all help slow the progress of this insidious disease.

If you are worried about your pet you should phone us for advice.

04 Wee makes us happy!

You might laugh at us but we love wee! Just a small amount of your pet’s urine provides us with valuable information about their internal health and can also help rule out diseases such as diabetes and kidney insufficiency.

After we have collected a sample of your pet’s urine, we will perform a few routine tests. These will include:

USG (urine specific gravity) - this helps us to determine how well the kidneys are working by measuring how effectively they are concentrating the urine. This is especially important when we are on the hunt for kidney disease as sometimes a change in USG can be an early indication of disease. This early stage of kidney disease may not be detectable with a routine blood test.

A urine dipstick also allows us to look for the presence of blood, protein and glucose. It can also indicate if a diabetic patient is severely unwell by detecting ketones.

In some cases, it may be necessary to examine the sediment of the urine under a microscope to look for particular cells that may indicate disease. White blood cells and bacteria can be detected on a sediment exam as can urinary crystals, a telltale sign of other urinary tract problems.

We often need to send urine samples to an external laboratory to run more specific tests. This may include one to determine if there is a true bacterial infection present. The laboratory will culture the bacteria and then run tests to determine what antibiotic is required to treat the infection. Another example of a laboratory test is one to measure the level of protein that is being lost by the kidneys. This can help stage kidney disease and greatly assists in determining if medication is indicated to treat the condition.

We may ask you to collect some urine at home and whilst this can seem a little overwhelming, there are a few tricks and tips that will make it a whole lot easier. We will be able to give you the best advice for your pet based on what we are looking for, just ask us for more information.

05 Monitoring your pet's blood pressure

At some point in your pet’s life, it will be necessary for us to measure their blood pressure.

An elevation in blood pressure (hypertension) can indicate an underlying disease. Hyperthyroidism in cats or Cushing's disease in dogs are just two examples. If hypertension is left undetected, the increased pressure of the blood flow can cause serious damage to organs such as the kidneys and even lead to blindness due to damage to the retinas in the eye.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is typically something we get concerned about if your pet is undergoing anaesthesia and this can also cause damage to organs but is conversely due to reduced blood flow. This is why monitoring your pet’s blood pressure while they are under anaesthesia is so important.

Your pet's blood pressure will usually be measured using a fancy piece of equipment such as a doppler. It is essential that the correct size cuff is used on your pet's leg or tail for accurate results. Multiple measurements will also need to be taken to achieve an average reading.

Stress can sometimes affect the readings, so measuring blood pressure in a veterinary consult can sometimes be difficult! It is therefore important that we take things quietly and slowly during the measurement process.

If your pet is diagnosed with hypertension it is essential that the underlying disease is treated. Repeat blood pressure measurements may be required every 1-3 months depending on the response to treatment. In some cases, it may be necessary to give your pet medication to help lower their blood pressure and reduce any potential side effects associated with hypertension.

Ask us if you are worried or have any concerns about your pet, we are always here to help.

06 Top tips for correct antibiotic use

It is becoming more and more evident that one of the greatest threats to human and animal health is antibiotic resistance and the emergence of 'superbugs'. As veterinarians, we are taking steps to help prevent the world from a global catastrophe where common infections and minor injuries once again kill.

As a pet owner, you can do your bit too by familiarising yourself with the following recommendations for correct antibiotic use:

1. Antibiotics are only helpful in the presence of a bacterial infection. They cannot treat viral infections and are not needed in clean wounds

2. It is sometimes necessary to identify the type of bacteria present to help us choose the most appropriate antibiotic. This involves taking samples for culture and sensitivity testing at an external laboratory

3. Never start any 'leftover' antibiotics you have before you get your pet checked with us as they may be inappropriate or unnecessary

4. Always use them as directed and finish the course, even if you think your pet is 'better'. Stopping too early can lead to the development of resistant bacteria

5. Always give the prescribed dose and give them exactly as we have directed (don’t change the dose or dosing schedule as this can reduce their effectiveness)

6. Please don't ask us to prescribe antibiotics without a consultation. This is against the law!

7. A revisit may be necessary to check your pet's and extend the course of antibiotics if necessary

If you have any questions or concerns please ask us for more information.

07 Celebrate World Animal Day

This month we celebrate World Animal Day! 

The mission of World Animal Day is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the world. It helps to mobilise animal welfare movements into a global force to make the world a better place for animals.

The aim is, through increased awareness and education, to have animals always recognised as sentient beings who deserve full regard given to their welfare. Recognised on the 4th of October, World Animal Day shares its spot with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron saint of animals.

We think it should be World Animal Day every day, so we will be celebrating in our own way throughout the month of October. To join in on the fun, we encourage you to share pictures of you and your pets with us on our Facebook page!