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Mira Mar Veterinary Hospital
58 Cockburn Rd
Albany, WA, 6330

admin@miramarvet.com.au
www.miramarvet.com.au
Phone: 08 9841 5422

Welcome to our February newsletter.

In 'celebration' of Valentine's day, our newsletter edition for February contains lots of information on recognising, treating and preventing problems with heart health.  We hope you find it informative!

Speaking of healing hearts, we have some exciting news regarding Dr Dave this month.  Please read below for more details!

love puppies
Contents of this newsletter

01  Introducing Caleb!

02  Recognising a broken heart

03  This study was EPIC!

04  A healthy mouth equals a healthy heart

05  Walking the Dog Day - Feb 22nd 2019

06  If cats sent Valentine's Day cards

07  If you travel with your pet, heartworm prevention is important

01 Introducing Caleb!
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How cute is Caleb?

We are thrilled to announce the news that the Warren family have acquired a new family member!

The adorable Caleb is an 8-week-old Golden Retriever puppy, who arrived in late January and has already made himself well and truly at home.  

We are so pleased for Dr Dave, and we wish him and his family all the best with their new bundle of joy!  

02 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. 

03 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 EPIC (Evaluation of Pimobendan In dogs with Cardiomegaly) Study was the largest 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.

04 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. 

And 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 non-negotiable. 

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. 

05 Walking the Dog Day - Feb 22nd 2019
walking the dog day

In the spirit of good heart health for both pets and people in February, it just also happens to be Walking the Dog Day on Feb 22nd!

The origins of Walking the Dog Day are a bit obscure. Presumably it was started by an animal lover, or maybe it was the dogs themselves that got together and decided they needed a way of getting us humans off the couch and on the end of a lead.

Whoever started it, this is an easy day to take part in. Make sure you have suitable clothing and footwear for the conditions, grab your mobile phone, a bottle of water, some plastic bags for picking up the 'you know what', and away you go.

The great thing about walking dogs is that you can do it almost anywhere. Down the street, in the park, on the beach, the possibilities are endless. The exercise is good for you and for the dog, and since dogs are very social animals you’ll meet other owners too. No dog? Borrow one from a friend or neighbour and get walking!

06 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.'

And 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!

07 If you travel with your pet, heartworm prevention is important

PLEASE NOTE:  Heartworm has never, to our knowledge, been diagnosed in a pet from the Great Southern.  We are relieved to consider Albany 'heartworm-free', and as such do not usually recommend heartworm prevention for pets living in this region.

However, if your pet travels with you outside of the Albany area, then we strongly recommend that you consider heartworm prevention.  Prevention is MUCH better than treatment in the case of this parasite!

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 larvae 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 it 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.