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Narre Warren Veterinary Clinic
459 Princes Highway
Narre Warren, VIC, 3805

nurses@narrevet.com.au
Phone: 03 9704 6463

Berwick Veterinary Hospital
58 Clyde Rd
Berwick, VIC, 3806

nurses@berwickvet.com.au
Phone: 03 9707 2655

Purchase any bag or slab of Hills Canine or Feline Metabolic and receive a bag of FREE Hills Metabolic treats! (while stock lasts) - Special available at Berwick Veterinary Hospital and Narre Warren Vets. 

For those clients looking to start their pet on Hills Metabolic for the first time, receive $10 off your initial purchase for the month of April (applies to bags and slabs only) - Special available at Berwick Veterinary Hospital only. 

metabolic
Contents of this newsletter

01  Nurse Christina takes the stage at the VNCA Nurses Conference

02  Leroy's health assessment

03  Puppy Preschool Graduates

04  Congratulations Nurse Kelsey!

05  Continuing Education

06  Osteoarthritis

07  The magic of a blood test

08  The power of a wee sample

09  Unhappy hormones

10  Jackson is thirsty

11  A car made for dog lovers!

01 Nurse Christina takes the stage at the VNCA Nurses Conference
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We are so proud of our very own Nurse Christina for speaking at the VNCA Nurses Conference last month. 
She delivered an informative lecture about palliative and hospice care for our pets to vet nurses from all around the country. 

In her presentation, she emphasised in-home and low stress care for terminally ill patients, and empowering our pet parents to make informed decisions. 
Palliative care is not about a ‘natural death’, but rather is about providing options and care to improve the day to day lives of our terminally ill patients until euthanasia is appropriate. 

Great topic Christina, well done!

02 Leroy's health assessment
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Just like he recommends to all of his pet friends, Leroy had a full health check up last month.

He's very pleased to have passed his blood test with flying colours!

Leroy had some bothersome lumps removed by his friend Dr Vicky, as well as a full dental assessment and treatment. Despite lots of chewing wearing down his teeth, they're in great condition.

He had a good sleep after his procedure, but was back to his usual supervising duties the next day!

03 Puppy Preschool Graduates
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Congratulations to our most recent puppy school graduates; Dexter, Oscar, Holly, Rosie, Leila and Opie. Best of luck with your future training.

The Narre Warren Vet Clinic, in conjunction with Berwick Veterinary Hospital, proudly offer regular puppy preschool classes. These sessions provide a fantastic opportunity for puppy socialisation and owner education, in a safe and knowledgeable environment. 

DID YOU KNOW THAT OUR HEALTHCARE PLAN MEMBERS RECEIVE 10% OFF PUPPY PRESCHOOL CLASSES?

04 Congratulations Nurse Kelsey!
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A BIG congratulations to Nurse Kelsey, and partner Nathan on their engagement! Wishing you a wonderful and happy life together. 

05 Continuing Education
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As always our staff have been very busy furthering their knowledge in all aspects of veterinary science.

Dr. Tracy was fortunate enough to spend several days attending the Western Vets Conference in Las Vegas! Here she attended several seminars, lead by the world’s top veterinary experts, detailing the latest research and advances in veterinary medicine.

Whilst not quite as exciting as a trip to Vegas, Dr. Tracy and Dr Tom also attended a radiation safety course to assist in the delivery of radioactive iodine to our feline friends living with hyperthyroidism.

Nurse Kelsey and nurse Mel extended their knowledge of puppy behaviour, socialisation and mental health in dogs and look forward to reviewing our current puppy preschool syllabus to encompass the latest research in animal behaviour and psychology.

06 Osteoarthritis
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Have you noticed any of these signs in your pets recently?

-          Reluctance to jump or climb stairs

-          Sleeping more often

-          Slowing down on walks

-          Change in behaviour (becoming upset or angry when normally well natured)

-          Slow or painful when getting up or down

-          Licking joints

If your pet has any of these signs, then they may be showing you signs of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is very common in both humans as well as our pets and can be due to the constant wear and tear of our joints.  Arthritis can be due to many factors such as genetics, trauma, infection, disease of the immune system and other factors.  The most common joints that are affected by arthritis include the hips, elbows, knees and shoulders.

Unfortunately, arthritis cannot be cured but there are many ways that we can help manage the pain or discomfort involved in arthritis progression.  These things include:

1)      Weight management

Having excess weight on our pets increases the forces on their joints and the rate of wear and tear in the cartilage.

Weight management and weight loss is one of the most important factors in terms of arthritis management.

2)      Diets and diet supplements

There are diets that are made specifically for our older pets which have supplements such as green lipped mussel, fish oils, glucosamine and chondroitin. These supplements are designed to support the joints and reduce inflammation over time. Not only are these joint specific diets, but there are also diets which combine weight loss management and joint health together.

Other supplements include things like 4 cyte, glyde and Sasha’s blend which may also help with joint health and inflammation.

3)      Modified activity

It is important that we modify activity for our pets who have started to show signs of arthritis. More frequent, shorter walks have proven to have less damaging effects on the joint in the long run compared to long walks. It is also important to decrease the progression of arthritis as much as possible, so it is better to have supervised leashed walks than off leash runs in the park, and decrease the amount of jumping as much as possible.

At home, some of our pets struggle to get up and down the stairs. Things like non slip ramps can be really helpful, especially when getting in and out of the car.

4)      Pentosan polysulphate injections (Zydax, Cartrophen)

These injections have shown to slow the progression of osteoarthritis as well as relieving pain and inflammation. Usually administered by veterinarians as 4 injections under the skin, one week apart.

5)      Physical therapy

Hydrotherapy, massage, passive range of motion and acupuncture can be important to ageing pets. It keeps their joints moving and uses the muscles that are required for movement, thereby increasing blood to flow into the affected areas.

6)      Pain relief

Sometimes medication such as Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatories (NSAID) or other pain relief drugs are helpful. Pain relief can do wonders for our pets during their ageing process. If ongoing treatment with pain relief is going to be required, make sure tests are done routinely to monitor kidney and liver function.

7)      Bedding

Memory foam bedding is a great way to help arthritic pets. It moulds to their every curve and angle, allowing for less pressure on affected areas such as the hips and elbows.

Osteoarthritis tends to worsen in our pets in the colder months so be sure to keep your pets nice and warm and out of the cold, wind and rain.

If you’re suspicious that your pet may be suffering from osteoarthritis, contact our team today to formulate a plan before the colder months hit!

 

07 The magic of a blood test
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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. You should always ask us if you have any questions or are worried about the health of your pet.

08 The power of a wee sample
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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 from pets using a very small needle (a painless and quick procedure.) This routine procedure is called a cystocentesis and is necessary if we need to collect urine without contamination.

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

09 Unhappy hormones
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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.

10 Jackson is thirsty
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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.

11 A car made for dog lovers!

This is not a promotion or a sponsored article. It's just a car that all dog lovers need to see! We especially love the retractable ramp - perfect for older and arthritic dogs.

Click here to check it out.