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Middle Brighton Veterinary Centre
762 Hampton St
Brighton, VIC, 3186

enquiries@middlebrightonvet.com.au
www.middlebrightonvet.com.au
Phone: 03 9592 9811

Welcome to March as we head towards Easter! Goodness me the last 2 months have flown by.

Last month we welcomed Nurse Nicole to our team - we have been so busy over the last 6 months we are extending our nursing team. Nicole comes from NZ - you can hear that accent if you listen carefully! To read more about Nicole and our other fabulous nurses check out our website.

Dr Marcus has had some time off in Hong Kong where he welcomed in the New Year with his family - so we welcome him back. Dr Murray has decided he has too much time on his hands and has enrolled in Distance Education Ophthalmology this year! Over the next 10 months he will be studing about all things eyes - one of his first assignments was the complete eye examination in a puppy - not an easy task. The very gorgeous Murphy, pictured here with Nicole volunteered his services - thank you Murphy!

Puppy preschool is back for 2018 with our first group graduating last month -we had a fabulous group and had great fun - Archie, Bowie, Eddie, siblings Jack and Harry, Kevin, Pippa and Stella - on our FB page.

Over Easter we will be closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday but will be OPEN 8-2pm on Easter Saturday.

This newsletter is packed with information to help you care for your pet - we hope you enjoy the read.

Contents of this newsletter

01  Chocolate toxicity - what to do

02  Easter health hazards you might not know about

03  Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?

04  Why is my cat doing that?

05  A new study links raw chicken to paralysis in dogs

01 Chocolate toxicity - what to do
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Most dogs love chocolate and with their strong sense of smell they are very good at finding it! The problem is, dogs are not able to metabolise theobromine, a derivative of caffeine found in chocolate.

Ingestion can lead to an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, tremors, seizures and even death. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic but ingestion of ANY chocolate can be a problem.

Not surprisingly, Easter is one of the busiest times for chocolate toxicities and if your dog happens to eat an Easter egg, here's what we will do:

1. We will ask you how much and what type of chocolate your dog has eaten. This helps us work out just how dangerous the ingestion might be. Remember, that cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic, followed by milk and then white chocolate.

The toxicity is also related to the size of your dog and the amount ingested. It is important to realise that any amount of chocolate can cause a problem so veterinary advice is always advised.

2. We will most likely induce emesis (which simply means we make your dog vomit). This is usually done using injection under the skin or application of a medication in to the eye. Vomiting tends to occur quickly and can sometimes be quite spectacular (especially if the wrapping has been consumed too!).

3. If we don't feel enough chocolate has been vomited or if the symptoms are serious, a charcoal meal or enema may be given to help reduce the toxicity. Some dogs will also need further supportive care including intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalisation.

Please phone us immediately, even if you only think your dog has ingested chocolate. We will give you the best advice. 

02 Easter health hazards you might not know about
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It's not only chocolate that can be an issue at Easter! There are a few other potential dangers - here's what you should watch out for:

1. Hot Cross Buns

Many people are not aware that sultanas and raisins (and grapes) may contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage in dogs. Keep these off the menu at all times and watch for any that happen to drop on the floor (a common issue if you have little kids!) Call us for advice if your dog ingests any.

2. Easter lilies

These beautiful fragrant flowers if ingested, can cause kidney failure in cats. The stems, leaves, flowers and stamen are all dangerous, as is the water the flowers are stored in. If you are worried about your cat you should call us and we will advise you on what you should do.

3. Easter toys

Those tiny fluffy baby chicken toys, plastic Easter eggs and bunny ears may be good basket stuffers for your kids, but your pet might think they look extra tasty and fun to chew on. They should all be kept away from cats and dogs as they can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.

If your pet ingests any of the above over the Easter period call us immediately for advice. Make sure you have emergency numbers on hand if it is out of our normal opening hours.

03 Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?
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Dogs are social creatures and they form strong bonds with humans. Most dogs cope ok with the daily separation from their owners but unfortunately some dogs will become very distressed and even destructive, a problem known as separation anxiety.

Watch out for:

  • Barking, howling
  • Excessive chewing, digging and pacing
  • Destruction and scratching of barriers - especially near doors and windows
  • House soiling

Our top tips to help reduce your dog’s anxiety:

  • Take your dog for a walk before you leave the house
  • Don’t make huge fuss when you leave your dog or when you return
  • Start small - leave your dog alone for only five minutes extending to twenty minutes then an hour, then longer
  • Leave your dog with plenty of stimulating toys, chews and mind games
  • Leave the radio or television on for company

Please don't hesitate to speak to us if you think your dog is developing separation problems. We have plenty of tools available to help you and your pet. 

04 Why is my cat doing that?
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Cats are unique creatures and they will occasionally display certain behaviours that you need to watch out for as it can be an indication that something else is going on. 

Here are a couple of behaviours to be aware of: 

1. Spraying urine

The act of spraying involves a cat backing up to a vertical surface such as the wall,  a piece of furniture, or curtains (usually about 20cm from the floor). The cat will quiver his raised tail and tread with his back feet as urine is directed backwards.

Stress can bring on spraying and it is often associated with territorial or competitive behaviour.

If you notice this behaviour, a check up with us is essential. Once we've ruled out any medical problems we can help reduce your cat's anxiety and manage feline spraying. Ask us for more information.

2. Scratching the furniture

Scratching allows your cat to sharpen their claws and also helps them to leave scent markers or a "calling card."

Unfortunately, some cats will choose to sharpen their claws on furniture and think that the back of the sofa is just one giant scratching post!

What to do if your cat is damaging furniture:

  • Place a scratching post right next to the furniture the cat is currently scratching
  • Offer a variety of scratching substrates; don’t offer just one carpeted scratching post - try cardboard, logs of wood
  • Deter the cat from scratching furniture by placing double-sided sticky tape on it. Many cats find the stickiness of the tape unpleasant

If you’re worried about your cat's behaviour you should always ask us for advice.

05 A new study links raw chicken to paralysis in dogs
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There has recently been a study that has linked the consumption of raw chicken with an increased risk of paralysis in dogs.

The study, conducted by the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, found the consumption of raw chicken meat (particularly raw chicken necks) increases the risk of dogs developing acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) by more than 70 times.

APN is a rare but debilitating condition where a dog's hind legs become weak and the paralysis may then progresses to the front legs, neck, head and face. Dogs can take many months to recover but in some cases, the disease can be fatal.

It is thought that the dog's immune system progressively attacks its own nerve roots, similar to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in humans. The bacteria Campylobacter is now considered a triggering agent in up to 40 percent of GBS patients. It is possible that Campylobacter (often present in raw chicken products) is likely to be a triggering agent for APN. You read more about the study here, also check out our FB page & web site for more information.

Ask us for more information if you are worried about your dog or have any questions about what to feed your pet.