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Wauchope Veterinary Clinic
59 High St
Wauchope, NSW, 2446

admin@wauchopevets.com.au
wauchopevets.com.au/BookanAppointment.aspx
Phone: 02 6585 1626
 
April E News 1024x576
The Heart - "Important Organ"

St Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we thought we would make the heart the focus of our February Newsletter. The first disease mentioned below is one that is very simply prevented, but quite devastating if your dog contracts it, namely Heartworm.  Heartworm is not prevented by ordinary worm tablets, but many other products do prevent heartworm.  Read on to learn how easy heartworm prevention can be. Next, we cover congestive heart failure, a problem in many older dogs and more prevalent in some breeds.  All dog owners should know the signs to look for in their dog, as early detection and treatment can prolong their Pet's life by years.  The final article is on dental disease and its relationship to endocarditis, an infectious disease of the heart valves.  This really underlines how important a healthy mouth is to good general health.  If you have any questions about any of the articles in this newsletter, please call us on (02) 6585 1626.

 
Why heartworm prevention is so important

How many pesky mosquitoes have you seen this summer? Here's some food for thought: wherever there are mosquitoes, there is the risk of heartworm disease for your pet!

Heartworm is a dangerous worm, and when an infected mosquito feeds on your pet's blood, the heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream. The scary part is that these larvaes mature into worms that can reach up to 30cm in length.

The worms mature in the bloodstream and eventually become lodged in your pet's heart leading to heart failure. It is at this point that the disease can be fatal. Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease, but cats may also be at risk.

The prevalence of heartworm in Australia has been mainly in tropical and subtropical coastal regions, but in recent decades it has become increasingly prevalent in more southern areas.

The take-home point is that with changing weather patterns and subsequent alterations in the distribution of mosquito populations, heartworm disease can be unpredictable. This is why prevention is SO IMPORTANT, as we just don't know where mosquitoes might strike next.

Prevention of heartworm is far better than an attempt at a cure, but it's important to realise that not all heartworm prevention is the same, so it's best to ask us what is the best prevention for your pet.

Most importantly, you need to be aware that many of the intestinal 'all-wormer' tablets do not prevent against heartworm infection.

There are topical treatments, oral treatments and a yearly injection for dogs. Ask us for the most suitable prevention for your pet - we will make sure your pet is suitably protected.  Pls contact us on (02) 6585 1626.

 
Recognising a broken heart

We're not talking about a broken heart from lost love here, but instead, heart disease.

Most of the signs of heart disease are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The signs can be subtle and sometimes hard to detect. Being able to recognise some of the early signs of this disease can make a big difference for your pet. It means we can initiate medical treatment and in most cases, ease the workload on the heart, meaning your pet will live a longer and healthier life.

Look out for these signs:

+ Coughing, especially at night

+ A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks

+ Laboured or fast breathing

+ Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

+ An enlarged abdomen

+ Weight loss or poor appetite

This example of why at least an annual check-up with us is important. We will always listen to your pet's heart as part of any physical exam and this allows us to detect any changes early. Sometimes we will hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and an ECG.

There are some excellent medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease and the good news is that these can help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you are ever worried about your pet's health, you should call us for advice. 

 
This study was EPIC!

Recent groundbreaking research into canine heart disease is changing the way we treat one of the most common heart conditions.

It is estimated that one dog in ten may suffer from some type of heart disease and there it's a particular type of heart disease called mitral valve disease, that can lead to congestive heart failure, reduced quality of life and an overall shortened lifespan.

The Evaluation of Pimobendan in dogs with Cardiomegaly (EPIC) Study was the largest in veterinary cardiology study in history. This groundbreaking study set out to answer a key question: Can a particular drug (pimobendan) delay the onset of congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs with mitral valve disease?

The study, which began in 2010 and ran through to 2015, included investigators at 36 study centres in 11 nations across 4 continents. Investigators were held to rigorous scientific standards, and an independent team compiled and reported the findings.

The results concluded that dogs who received pimobendan experienced a 15-month delay in onset of clinical signs of CHF, cardiac-related death, or euthanasia. Some have described these results as 'epic' (pardon the pun!)

And the best news is that with x-rays and an ultrasound of the heart, along with the guidelines from the results of this study, we are now able to determine which of our patients with mitral valve disease will benefit from medication and which can be placed on a monitoring program. This means we can help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

If you have any questions about the management of heart disease or anything to do with your pet's health, we are always here to help.

 
A healthy mouth equals a healthy heart

Did you know that if your pet is suffering from dental disease, they may be at risk of heart disease too?

When dental disease strikes, plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth lead to infection of the gums. Bacteria from this infection travel in the bloodstream around the body and can cause infection in the heart. This commonly occurs in the heart's lining and valves and is known as endocarditis. 

It's not only the heart that is affected; the kidneys, liver and lungs can all be damaged by the bacteria.

Thankfully many of these problems can be reversed, if dental disease is treated and the health of your pet's mouth is improved. 

Top tips for the prevention of dental disease

1. Lift your pet's lip and have a look and a smell. If you notice any yellowing of the teeth or redness of the gums OR your pet's breath smells a bit 'off', it is time for a checkup with us.

2. Regardless of whether you think something's not quite right, get your pet's mouth checked regularly by us. The earlier we spot an issue the better the outcome. Dental checkups at least once a year should be part of your "duty of care" for your pet.

3. Get your pet eating the right diet. It's essential that our pets chew their food! There are some excellent dental diets available and they work really well, so ask us for the best recommendation.

4. Brush your pet's teeth. This is considered gold standard, but just make sure you use a pet-approved toothpaste.

Don't be tempted by offers of 'anaesthesia free dentistry." This somewhat 'shonky' form of teeth cleaning is simply cosmetic and it fails to address the root of the problem (removing the plaque and tartar and subsequent bacteria from under the gum-line). You can read more information about this here.

We recommend a dental check-up at least once a year. Call us to book your pet in for a dental check-up today, as you might be improving the health of their heart too - (02) 6585 1626.

 
If cats sent Valentine's Day cards

It's Valentine's Day this month and while it may not be everyone's cup of tea, we think this take on the whole event is pretty funny. If you click here you'll find '14 Valentine's Day cards you could only get from a cat.'

We definitely DO NOT recommend giving your cat any of the favourite toys from card #14! They are all potentially dangerous if ingested by your cat!