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Frankston Heights Veterinary Centre
231 Frankston-Flinders Rd
Frankston, VIC, 3199
Phone: 03 5971 4888

We are so proud of our very own Dr Lucy White who has been awarded Practitioner of the Year by the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association!

Lucy has been recognised for her contribution to both the veterinary profession and to the wider community through her involvement in mentoring students and young vets, and her work for several charities both locally and in remote communities in Northern Territory.

Many congratulations Lucy!




Although this month's focus is on itchy pets, remember our "Dental Month" extends into September too.

So take advantage of the free dental health examinations and great deals on dental care products.


Contents of this newsletter

01  New Products to help our itchy pets!

02  Spring is in the air and so is itchy skin

03  Our top skin care tips for your pet

04  Rocky's secret

05  Anal glands issues

01 New Products to help our itchy pets!

Recently several new products have been launched to help our management of itchy pets.

1. New flea control in the form of a spot on which lasts for 6 months in dogs and 3 months in cats - how easy is that?!

2. A new immunotherapy for allergic dogs - this is a monthly injection which controls itch with no side effects (and no more pills!)

If you struggle to maintain year round flea control or have an allergic dog, please ask us for more information when you are next in the clinic.

02 Spring is in the air and so is itchy skin

Itchy skin can cause absolute chaos and really affect your dog's quality of life. One of the most common and frustrating 'itchy skin' conditions we see in dogs is atopic dermatitis. This inflammatory condition is caused by a reaction to allergens in the environment (a bit like the common triggers of asthma and hay fever in humans). It is particularly troublesome in spring and summer but can occur all year round. 

Allergens that might cause a problem include: grasses, trees, plant pollen, dust mites, insects, and moulds.

The signs associated with atopic dermatitis generally consist of itching, scratching, rubbing, biting, and licking. They usually appear when your dog is between 1 and 3 years of age.

Common sites your dog may be itchy:

- Ears (recurrent ear infections are common)
- The feet and in between the toes
- The armpits
- The groin and anal area
- Around the eyes

The itching quickly leads to self-trauma of the skin which causes secondary infections that require medication.

Diagnosis and management of atopic dermatitis relies on a good history of your dog's symptoms and a thorough physical examination. It is essential that all potential parasitic causes and food allergies are ruled out. Your dog may also undergo further allergy testing and these results can be used to formulate a unique de-sensitising allergy vaccine.

The good news is that there are some exciting new immunotherapy drugs available that have minimal side effects, and can greatly improve your dog's comfort and quality of life. 

Dr Lucy White has a special interest in dermatology so if you would like more information about skin disease or your pet is itchy, ask us for advice or book an appointment with Lucy.

03 Our top skin care tips for your pet

When it comes to managing the itchy pet, there is no magic pill. It's all about prevention of parasites and taking action before things get out of control. Here are our top tips for healthy skin:

1. Be vigilant with flea treatment all year round for all pets in your family. Fleas are THE major cause of an itchy pet and regular use of a flea treatment is easier and cheaper than trying to get rid of the itch. Ask us for the best flea treatment available for your pet, including those that provide protection for a few months at a time.

2. A premium diet balanced is essential to keep your pet's skin and coat in top shape. Fatty Acids can help develop a good barrier against potential allergens - ask us for a recommendation.

3. Wash you dog as little as possible, and always use a pet-approved shampoo and conditioner. A product containing ceramides can help rebuild the skin barrier and reduce allergen exposure - ask us for more information.

4. Medication to help reduce the immune system's response to the allergen can greatly reduce an itch and these can be used during flare-ups and for ongoing management - we can provide you with more information so chat with us about what's suitable for your pet.

5. And finally, if you notice your pet is itching, licking, biting, or rubbing, you should arrange a check up with us ASAP. The sooner we settle the itch, the less likely your pet is to cause self trauma and secondary skin infections.

If you have an itchy pet at your house it is best arrange an appointment with us. We will help keep your pet happy, healthy and comfortable.

04 Rocky's secret

Last month we introduced you to Rocky the cat, and this month we'd like to let you in on Rocky's little secret ... he's allergic to fleas!

Fleas are a number one cause of skin problems in pets. When a flea bites your pet, their saliva leads to an intense reaction. Some pets are more sensitive to flea saliva than others, and poor Rocky is one of those pets! It only takes one or two bites for him to become itchy.

Yep, these little critters cause absolute havoc for Rocky, and we think you should know what to watch out for as you don't need to see fleas on your pet for there to be a problem. 

Rocky's symptoms:

- After a flea bites Rocky he becomes intensely itchy and starts over-grooming via licking. His coat starts to thin out and he gets lots of little scabs along his back; a tell tale sign of flea allergy dermatitis.

- Rocky is an indoor cat but it is likely that a pesky visiting canine is the source of the fleas. 

- His constant licking causes trauma to the skin and a secondary bacterial infection, so treatment includes antibiotics and some medication to help break the itch cycle.

Rocky is now on regular flea treatment and will be year-round (his canine friend visits regularly). His bedding is also washed and a good vacuum of his living quarters (the couch!) is performed to pick up any residual eggs.

If your pet isn't protected against fleas, now is the time! Ask us for the best flea treatment for your pet. There are some great new products available including a spot-op application that lasts 3 months!!

05 Anal glands issues

Have you ever seen your dog dragging his or her bottom along the ground? This peculiar act is known as 'scooting' and can indicate your dog is irritated in this region.

There are 3 main reasons for scooting - irritation from tapeworm, allergic skin disease and impacted anal glands.

The infamous anal glands are located on either side of your dog's anus. Each gland holds a small amount of a smelly brown liquid that is released as your pet passes a dropping. This custom scent is left on the faeces and is used as a doggie calling card.

If the glands are not sufficiently expressed they can become impacted and uncomfortable. 

Watch out for:

- Rubbing bottom on the ground especially after defecating
- A foul odour (some describe it as a 'fishy' smell)
- Licking or chewing the bottom
- Turning around suddenly

If you notice any of these signs, the glands need to be manually examined and expressed, so please call us for an appointment.