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

It's been a busy time here at Frankston Heights!

Sadly we have farewelled our senior surgical nurse Emma Tiejen, who cared for our patients for over 8 years. We wish her every happiness in her new home in Townsville.

Happily we have also welcomed back Dr Simone Gruca. Simone has taken up a permanent part time position and is looking forward to developing her particular interest in Feline medicine.

Dr Amanda Trinder - our dental guru- has just returned from an anaesthetics and dental conference, bringing back new knowledge and the most current techniques for our team to provide the best of care for your pets.

Cup Day approaches on November 6th and Frankston Heights Vet Centre will be closed for the day, with urgent care being provided by the Animal Emergency Centre Frankston.

And finally, our monthly focus is on urinary tract problems. Remember if you have any concerns about your pet, our practice lab is fully equipped to perform blood and urine tests with the added benefit of very rapid results in urgent cases.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Keep your pets safe this halloween

02  A little bit thirsty?

03  Why urination habits matter

04  Rocky can't go

05  Tennis heroes

01 Keep your pets safe this halloween

There's no denying it, Halloween has become more and more popular in Australia over the past few years. Traditionally an American celebration, Halloween is now a crazy opportunity for people to dress up and have a party. People love getting their pets involved too, but it's really important to think about their health and wellbeing so they remain happy and safe in all the craziness.

Here are our top tips:

1. When trick or treating is in full swing (and in the days after) you should make sure your furry friend doesn't get access to these treats too. This particularly goes for chocolate which can be highly toxic to dogs. Call us if you think your pet might have eaten something they shouldn't.

2. Costumes should be optional. Cats generally hate being dressed up in a costume and can become very distressed, this goes for many dogs too. If your pet does let you dress them up, be careful not to let them overheat.

3. Pumpkin lanterns can be hazardous - especially with a candle inside. Take care and keep them out of reach of your pets, and don't leave them in areas where they can be knocked over.

4. Trick-or-treaters can leave the gate open and let your pet out. Make sure your pet is securely contained if you have trick-or-treaters at your house. It's also a good time to make sure your pet is microchipped and all details are up to date - ask us for more information.

5. Some pets are 'party poopers' and there's nothing wrong with that. If you are having a Halloween party, make sure there's a safe and quiet place for your pet to retreat to.

And finally, it's a good idea to keep your pet inside over Halloween. Some people are strangely superstitious around this time and we don't want your pet getting caught up in a silly prank.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, we are always here to help. 

02 A little bit thirsty?

Is your pet a bit thirstier than usual? Are you filling up their water bowl more often, or have you noticed them drinking from the shower or toilet? An increase in thirst can be one of the first signs of kidney disease and if you are worried you should arrange a check up with us.

The kidneys contain thousands of little factories called 'nephrons' and their job is to work out how much water should be conserved in the body. Once damaged or destroyed, nephrons do not function properly and can't regenerate. As a result, the body doesn't conserve enough water so your pet will need to drink more to stay hydrated.

Toxins, drugs, a change in blood pressure and particular diseases can harm the nephrons - and your pet may not show any signs until 75% of these nephrons are damaged.

Other than increased thirst, watch out for: 

- Increased urination
- Weight loss
- Lethargy
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting

There are plenty of other diseases with similar signs of kidney disease (such as diabetes) so it is important that we investigate further. Measuring your pet's water intake over 24 hours is a good place to start. A blood test, a urine test, blood pressure and an ultrasound of the kidneys may then be necessary.

Happily we have a new blood test which can identify kidney disease at a much earlier stage, allowing supportive care to start long before your pet becomes unwell. We now incorporate this test in all our routine blood tests at Frankston Heights.

The take-home message is that if you notice any changes in your pet's thirst, it's best to arrange an appointment with us as soon as possible. If we detect that your pet's kidneys are not working properly, the earlier we initiate treatment, the better.

03 Why urination habits matter

It's not only a change in thirst that can indicate an underlying issue with your pet. Subtle changes in urination habits can be a sign of kidney disease and diabetes but they can also indicate a urinary tract infection or even a behavioural issue.

Changes may include:

- Urinating more often
- Blood in the urine (sometimes only a pink tinge)
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating in unusual places (cats urinating out of their tray or ‘spraying urine’ on vertical surfaces)
- Excessive grooming of genital area
- Leaking or dribbling urine

Don't ignore these signs as some urinary tract diseases can cause your pet pain and discomfort. Male cats, in particular, can suffer from a severe and potentially life-threatening condition known as a urinary obstruction. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you notice your male cat is having trouble passing urine and read on below to find out more.

It's a good idea to begin to take notice of what are the normal urinary habits are for your pet, this will help you recognise if there is something 'not quite right' as early as possible.

04 Rocky can't go

By now you know Rocky the cat. Rocky is a very clean cat and always uses his litter tray perfectly. Recently Rocky was leaving little patches of bloody urine in strange places. One evening, Rocky’s owner came home from work to find Rocky scratching at his litter tray without passing any urine. An urgent veterinary examination was required.

On examination, it was discovered that Rocky had a large hard and painful bladder. He was diagnosed with a urinary obstruction, a condition where the urethra that takes urine from the bladder to the outside world is blocked. This is a potentially life-threatening condition and Rocky needed urgent stabilisation and catheterisation to unblock his bladder.

There are many causes of urethral obstruction in cats and stress, viruses, bacteria, diet, decreased water consumption, physical inactivity, urine retention, and urine pH may all contribute. Male cats are at greater risk for obstruction than females because their urethra is longer and narrower.

After a few days in the hospital, Rocky was able to comfortably pass urine on his own.

To prevent recurrence of Rocky’s problems he was started on a special urinary diet. This commercially prepared food is available in both dry and wet forms and is formulated to help keep the urinary tract healthy and reduce the risk of repeat obstructions. 

We are pleased to say that Rocky has adapted well to his new diet and is happily using his litter tray again.

If you ever notice your pet is having trouble passing urine, you should call us for advice as soon as possible.

05 Tennis heroes

There's been plenty in the media recently following an upset at the US tennis open, but here's a heartwarming tennis story for you! It has been reported that shelter dogs are being 'employed' as ball boys and girls at the Brazilian Tennis Open. 

The initiative originally started in 2016, where four shelter dogs took to the court to help collect the balls. They won over many hearts and were all adopted. One was even named Serena after Serena Williams!

Fast forward to 2018 and six more dogs were allowed on the court, fetching balls during the warm-up and winning many more hearts! What a great initiative to help find loving homes for these dogs! You can read more here, and see some footage on YouTube here