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

Hello and welcome to our September newsletter!

It continues to be as busy as ever at Mira Mar Vets, and we thank you for your patience during this time.

We are still being cautious with our COVID restrictions, by continuing the following protocols:

  • keeping numbers to a minimum in the consultation and waiting rooms
  • prompting for hand washing/sanistising
  • regularly cleaning all surfaces
  • asking for contactless payments when possible. 

Please note, we will not be conducting home visits until the WA state restrictions drop back to Phase 5 (planned for the end of October), so stay tuned!

This beautiful kitty is Scooby, who came in for a day procedure in August, and was at his happiest when he was snuggled up in his yellow blanket.  So cute!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Springtime itchy skin

02  Bee stings

03  Snake season

04  Healthy skin, healthy pet

05  Arthritic pets still need help this spring

06  Animal News In Brief

01 Springtime itchy skin

As the warmth of spring arrives, our pets can become itchy due to skin allergies caused by grasses, pollens and other allergens, such as dust mites, mould, certain types of food, and some insects. Some pets can also have irritated skin as a result of flea infestations.

Signs of allergies

Both dogs and cats can suffer from skin allergies. Dogs may itch, scratch or lick certain areas such as their paws, ears or belly. Cats often over-groom certain areas of their coat causing hair loss.

When the pet itches, scratches or over-grooms, the skin can become traumatised and inflamed, which can then result in secondary skin infections – or dermatitis. Areas of allergic inflammation and dermatitis are not only irritating to the pet, but are painful too – leading to an uncomfortable and unhappy pet.

What to do if you have an itchy pet

If you notice your pet is itching, scratching or has areas of hair-loss, inflammation or irritated skin, it’s important to book them in for a veterinary health check. We’ll examine your pet and discuss what treatment and management options are available to help relieve their itchiness and manage any underlying allergies or skin infection. The sooner we can examine and treat your pet, the sooner their itchiness will be relieved!

It’s also important to ensure your pet is up to date with flea prevention treatment. Speak to one of our friendly team for further advice on which flea product may be best for your pet. We can also provide advice on pet shampoos, low allergy diets and other products which may be of benefit to your pet.

Treating and managing skin allergies early will ensure your pet stays comfortable and happy.

02 Bee stings

The onset of warmer spring weather also brings a burst of flowering plants and trees, which means there are more bees buzzing around. Pets, especially dogs, can come into contact with bees that have fallen to the ground, or from exploring in and amongst the flowering plants in the garden or in bushland.

Signs of a bee sting

Bee stings are not only painful, they can also cause a rapid onset allergic reaction with pain, swelling, and potential lameness or breathing difficulties. Pets will often lick at the site of the bee sting.

There may also be some swelling and tenderness at the sting site, so if the pet allows you to check for it, removing the sting can be useful. A cold compress or ice pack can also help on the sting site, but this can often be difficult to apply if the pet is in pain.

Get your pet to the vet

If your pet becomes lethargic or shows any signs of swelling, especially if the swelling is around their head or face, which may impact their breathing, then it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

We often treat bee stings with an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory or pain relief injections. Some pets can have severe anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, so it’s vital to always get your pet seen by a vet as soon as you can.

To help prevent bee stings, try to keep your pet away from flowering trees and plants, and discourage them from playing with or chasing bees.

For further advice on bee stings in pets, please contact our friendly team.

03 Snake season

Snakes usually hibernate during the cooler months of the year, so the arrival of the spring warmth also means snakes may start to be more active in the area, and could be a potential risk to your pet.


Make sure to cut long grass around your property, especially if you live near areas of bushland or waterways. It can also be useful to do an outdoor spring clean and reduce any potential hiding places for snakes near your property, such as wood piles or junk heaps.

Snakes are more likely to bite pets when they are disturbed. So keep your pet on a leash when walking near areas of bushland, long grass and waterways. Cats and dogs can often be bitten on the face or limbs if they disturb a snake or are trying to catch it.

Signs of snake bite:

  • Salivation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Lethargy or collapse

If you notice your pet acting strangely, or displaying any of these signs, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately – snake bites in pets are an emergency, and require urgent treatment and care. If possible, take a photo of the snake or note its colour if you see it. Keep your pet calm and phone ahead to alert the clinic that you are on your way.

We will examine your pet and may suggest a range of diagnostic tests and treatments, including the use of snake antivenom to treat the snake bite in your pet. Snake bites can be fatal, which is why being careful about where your pets explore during snake season is so important.

If you live on a property where there have been known to be lots of snakes around, it is also possible to undertake snake avoidance training for your dog. If you are unfamiliar with exercising your dog in a particular area, you can always speak to our friendly team for further advice about areas to avoid where there may have been snakes seen previously.

04 Healthy skin, healthy pet

The health and shine of your pet’s coat can closely correlate with their general, overall health – so if a pet’s coat looks dull, scruffy or unkempt it can often be an indication of underlying health problems.

Some pets start to shed more hair as the weather warms up, losing their winter coat. The warmer weather can also bring increased incidence of skin allergies and irritation.

Whether it’s areas of hair-loss, a duller coat or skin irritation, if you’ve noticed that your cat or dog’s hair-coat is different to what it may previously have been like, it is worthwhile to have your pet examined by us.

When examining your pet’s skin and coat, we are able to assess whether there may be anything of concern. Skin allergies, hot-spots and other superficial areas of irritation can be treated and managed to ensure your pet’s coat is as healthy as possible.

Sometimes skin problems can develop from the pet over-grooming or under-grooming, so there may be other issues at play. Arthritic cats may be less able to groom their coat well. Anxious dogs may repeatedly lick certain parts of their body. These conditions can often be treated and the vet will explain the options available.

Pets can also suffer from a range of internal metabolic and hormonal conditions, which can impact on the health of their skin and coat. For example, cats with overactive thyroid glands can often have a poor and unkempt hair coat, along with other signs such as weight-loss, despite being hungry.

If we are concerned that a metabolic or hormonal condition may be affecting your pet’s health, we will discuss any diagnostic investigations, such as blood tests, which would be worthwhile to help diagnose any illness.

Keeping a close eye on your pet’s skin and coat is key, as with any changes there may be an indication that your pet is suffering from a skin disease or other internal disease. Book your pet in today for a check-up to find out more.

05 Arthritic pets still need help this spring

Spring might have sprung, but the onset of warmer weather doesn’t necessarily mean that pets suffering from arthritis will be more comfortable than during the cold of winter. Pets with arthritis still need to be carefully managed year-round to ensure they remain comfortable, happy and healthy all of the time.

Signs of arthritis

Both dogs and cats can suffer from arthritis, which refers to a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. In dogs, you might notice them having trouble getting up in the morning after lying down, with stiffness in the limbs or not being able to easily jump up into the car. Some dogs can also show signs of muscle loss around the hips and hind limbs, and may growl when sore joints are touched. After exercise, dogs can also be especially stiff and sore if they are arthritic.

Cats may display signs of being reluctant to climb up or off furniture, or develop a scruffy or matted coat if they’re less able to turn around and groom themselves as easily.

If you’ve noticed your pet displaying any of the signs of arthritis, a health check-up is strongly advised so that we can examine the animal. X-rays are often worthwhile to diagnose and determine the extent of any arthritic changes.

What can be done?

We’ll discuss the best arthritis treatment and management options for your pet, taking into account their age, lifestyle and any other health concerns.

There are a variety of treatment options available for arthritis, including daily medications, regular injections, food supplements and special diets that help joint health. We will also advise on the level of exercise your pet should be doing, weight management and, if appropriate, other treatment options including massage, acupuncture and hydrotherapy.

Once we have an arthritis management plan in place, together we can ensure your pet stays happy and healthy year-round.

06 Animal News In Brief

Image source: ABC News

This match-making mutt is on a mission

In the wild Australian bushland, many of our precious inhabitants are at risk of extinction. But one extra special pooch is helping Tasmanian devils, koalas, desert tortoises and other endangered animals to meet their mate and hopefully continue their species. Moss is a wildlife detection dog, one of the first of his kind to help endangered species breed in captivity. This sprightly labrador uses his super-smell powers to sniff out the odours that his human team cannot. By keeping a nose out for the Tasmanian devil’s scat samples (feaces), Moss can help identify when females are in their receptive periods, or even when they are lactating. With the help of his trusty handler, Moss is off to save Australian wildlife, one sniff at a time.

Find out more about the Moss’s mission here.


Arthritic pooch on a roll thanks to dedicated dog dad

Do you have a senior pet? With arthritis being a common condition in older pets, it is up to pet owners to make their furry friend as comfortable as possible in their day-to-day life. Kaylee is one pooch whose arthritis has taken a toll on her regular activity. Kaylee’s dad just couldn’t bear to see his beloved pup miss out on family adventures due to pain. So the thirteen-year-old pup’s owner put together a dogmobile utilising four wheels, a plank of wood, a blanket and some rope - and Kaylee couldn’t be happier. Now freely wheelable, the senior pooch can roll like royalty, pain-free.

See Kaylee’s smooth set of wheels here.

As pets get older they require more regular check-ups, if we haven’t seen your senior pet in the past six months, please call us to make a booking.


Rest insured, these claims are atypically amusing

We know that pets can get themselves into mischief, but how about enough mischief to require emergency surgery to remove a swallowed sock? Beyond the usual cases of allergies and illnesses, there are some pets who take an insurance claim to a whole new level. If you have a labrador and have been sitting on the fence about pet insurance, it may be time to reconsider as a new report shows these beautiful woofers are the most likely breed to swallow socks and other kinds of no-no objects. Here are a few other curious claims some pet owners around Australia have brought to their insurer:

  • An owner’s hearing-aid lost down the hatch of an inquisitive Cavoodle
  • A trip to the hospital for one cake-loving cat after sneaking some orange icing
  • A nasty bee sting costing one kitty an allergic reaction
  • One rubbish-eating Labrador self-inducing a gastrointestinal upset
  • Surgery required for a French Bulldog who experimented in a new snack: tampons.

Read more about bizarre pet insurance claims here.

Accidents can be expensive, so we recommend pet owners consider pet insurance.