Pets with arthritis often hide their pain. You may notice that your dogs are becoming a little stiff when they get up or that your cat no longer wants to jump. Maybe your pet is just sleeping more. Animals often hide their discomfort and may already be in 3878453 lowconsiderable pain once they start to show us signs of arthritis. The pain is often worse with cold or wet weather.

Arthritis causes a reduced production of cartilage and synovial (joint) fluid and an increase in cartilage degradation in the joint. This effectively means a decrease in cushioning between the joints resulting in bone rubbing together, resulting in pain and localized inflammation. This causes a low grade constant pain, swelling and reduced function of the joint.

Osteoarthritis can be an incredibly painful and debilitating disease. There is no cure for arthritis however there are ways in which we can manage the disease to help maintain your pet's quality of life. There are four key ways in which we can approach treatment:

Lifestyle change
Regular gentle exercise can aid in maintaining mobility, weight and general health. Maintaining your pet at a healthy weight will relieve pressure on the joints. Cold weather can also reduce blood flow to the limbs, so keep your pet warm at night with bedding, coat or a heating pad. Jumping on and off a bed or out of a car can irritate joints, so provide a little step or ramp to help out.

Maintain healthy joints
There are two naturally occurring products proven to assist in treating the causes of osteoarthritis - glucosamine and chondroitin. These products are combined in a powder, capsule or treat form. There is no control of the quality of these products on the market as they are not classed as drugs and not all products are registered to ensure consistency of product. Feel free to come in and discuss our recommendations.

Modify the disease progression

Pentosan polysulphate(more commonly known as cartrophen) is given by injection and has been shown to assist the treatment of arthritis and slow the progression of the disease by increasing blood supply to the joints and promoting healing. It is given once a week over a 4 week period and the benefits last for up to 6 months.

Control the pain & inflammation

If all of the above treatments don't work then we control the pain of arthritis by long term use of anti- inflammatories.dougal

We are also now able to offer acupuncture as a safe and effective alternative to drugs to help with the pain of arthritis. Acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific points in the body for therapeutic purposes and to relieve pain. Chronic diseases such as arthritis often need several treatments before improvement is noticed, however some animals get immediate relief. Also about 20% of animals will not improve with acupuncture. (see our fact sheet on our website)

Brachycephalic breeds are the 'short nosed' breeds such as Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. Unfortunately along with their very cute looks these breeds may suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Syndrome (BOS). This syndrome occurs as a result of a combination of:

kvc newsletter winter-1stenotic nares (narrow nostrils)
enlongated soft palate (the floppy part at the back of the throat)
hypoplastic trachea (narrow windpipe)
everted laryngeal saccules (structures at the back of the throat)

 

 

Not all dogs will have all these problems and some will have all. The first three are abnormalities that are present in puppies. These structural abnormalities occur as a result of the short, wide skull bones and result in increased airway pressure. The best way to imagine this is to imagine trying to breath through a drinking straw! Everted laryngeal saccules occur as a result of the increased pressure in the airway, this may also further lengthen the soft palate. These factors then further restrict airflow and increase airway pressure, exacerbating the problem.kvc newsletter winter-2

Affected dogs will have noisy breathing, which often gets worse when excited or exercising. They may snore, cough and pant a lot and tire quickly when exercising. Severely affected dogs may collapse. These symptoms are often worse during warm or humid weather. Difficulty eating and swallowing may also be seen. Diagnosis can often be suspected on the basis of the breed, history and exam but examination under anaesthetic is required to confirm to diagnosis.

Because the syndrome gets worse with time it is important that treatment is performed as early as possible. Stenotic nares and elongated soft palate are best treated surgically. In affected puppies this may often be combined with desexing. Everted laryngeal saccules are also treated surgically. Hypoplastic tracheas cannot be surgically corrected but treatment of other abnormalities that are present will help. In certain breeds or if the abnormalities are severe we may recommend treatment by a specialist surgeon.

If you are concerned about your pet's breathing please come in for an assessment and to chat with one of our vets.

What's New at KVC ?
Dr Eleanor has taken immediate and extended leave from the clinic due to family circumstances.
We wish her our best in this difficult time.
Our locums Dr James, Dr Vic and Dr Peter will be with us for the next few weeks while we find some one to fill in for Eleanor.

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We have a lovely tortoiseshell mother and kitten looking for a home. We also have a young long haired tabby and white male cat who is very affectionate.

Please contact the clinic if you are interested in giving a home to any of these lovely cats.

 

 

 

Clinic Specials

Receive a $10 eftpos card when you purchase Comfortis or Panoramis before 30th May.

Case of the Month
What to do when you lose your cat

We received an email recently from Anna who had lost her cat during a holiday.

"Our cat S is a frequent patient of Kathy's (she's a high maintenance diabetic, but very much loved).10059042 ml
Over Christmas, she went missing while we had her with us on holiday in Sorrento. We were lucky enough to locate her after three gruelling days of searching, partly as a result of following advice from various websites after hours of trawling the Internet. Thanks also to Kathy for her encouragement. We found S at 5am under an abandoned bungalow 8 street houses away (but only two houses as the crow flies). We heard her meow, but it took patience and a strong flashlight to finally track her down."

Anna has kindly written and summary of all the things she learned during this time and has written some notes of advice to share with anyone who may find themselves in similar circumstances:-

Unless your cat is an outdoor cat that knows the area it's missing in, it is unlikely to find its own way home. If you lose your cat away from home, or your indoor cat escapes, there is a lot you can do to raise the odds of finding it.

Unfortunately, there are a number of myths about cat behaviour that can get in the way of a happy reunion. It's important to know that:

1. Cats don't have innate navigating senses to know which way is home. Except in very lucky cases, you're going to have to go and find your cat to bring it home.

2. Cats in unfamiliar surrounds don't go into hiding because they are unwell. They scurry and go into hiding because they are frightened. They might be outside their usual territory or spooked by something. Again, taking action to find your cat will boost the odds of getting it home.

3. Waiting for a cat to find its way will only make things worse. Cats can be spooked from their initial hiding spot and can continue to seek shelter in any random direction. The sooner you search for your cat, the better.

Tips for the search party:

- You will need to conduct a thorough search, checking in every cat-sized hiding place you can find, starting with where the cat went missing. Allow sufficient time.

- Pet cats gravitate to hiding in and under man made structures like houses and sheds, and very occasionally up in trees, rather than in shrubs.

- Consider viewing Google maps satellite view, and identify the 4-5 buildings in all directions from where the cat went missing. Plan to search these properties, rather than following streets (which have a sequence that's meaningless to cats).

- Searching is most effective between 11pm and 6am when there are fewer loud noises and cats are naturally more confident. Naturally you'll need prior permission to check out neighbour's land, and you shouldn't be searching on your own for safety reasons.

- Take a good torch to illuminate hidden nooks such as building foundations.

- Take smelly (delicious) food with you, and call out to your cat, pausing and listening for a reply. A hungry cat may call back faintly.

- Avoid fast movements - your cat will be in such a state of fear that it will be easily spooked.

- It is worth putting up posters to seek the help of people in the area. Do notify all surrounding vets and animal shelters of the circumstances so that they are ready to help in the event that your cat is brought in (equally, let the same people know if you find your cat). Even if your cat is microchipped (check that the associated phone number is current), a shelter may not have located the chip or run the scan, so it's best to phone shelters or visit in person.

Odds are that your cat needs you to find it. Don't give up after just a few days of searching.17134007 ml

For more information on what to do if your cat is lost, see:
http://www.catsinthebag.org
http://www.treehouseanimals.org/site/PageServer?pagename=caring_ccg_find_lost_cat
http://petdetectivetraining.com/printable_indoorcats.html
http://www.aaps.org.au/usefulinfo/findpet.html

We hope that you do not every find yourself in these circumstance, but if you do, I hope this advice is of benefit to you.

Pet Care Facts
Heat Stress in Companion Animals
With the run of hot weather we are having lately it is important to remember to look after our furry companions.
As well has having a fur coat some of our pets may be predisposed to suffer from heat stress due to obesity, difficulty breathing (as in some short faced breeds such as pugs and bull dogs), medical conditions such as heart disease or thyroid disease, and excessive exercise.
Dogs and cats cannot lose heat by sweating as effectively as we can, and lose a lot of heat by panting. High humidity will decrease the amount of heat animals are able to lose by panting so it is important to take the humidity into account as well as the temperature. Even temperatures in the low 30's can become a problem on very humid days.

Heat stroke affects all organs in the body and can rapidly lead to death.7413850 ml1
Animals suffering from heat stress will open mouth breath, may be weak or wobbly and can seizure.
Here are some basic rules to follow: -
Do not exercise your dog on hot or humid days
Always have plenty of shade available for your dog and plenty of fresh water to drink. Consider adding an ice block to the drinking bowl before you go out to help keep the water cool
A small wading pool is ideal for those animal that love to swim
Consider given your pet a summer hair cut if their coat is thick or long.
If you pet has any medical problems then consider leaving them in air conditioning on very hot days.
Do not leave your pet in the car unattended. Temperatures in a closed car and be double those outside.

If you think your pet is heat stressed then try to cool them as soon as possible by wetting them down in a hose or a bath and seek immediate veterinary attention.

What's New at KVC ?
We wish to extend a warm welcome to Dr Wendy, who will be joining the clinic this week. She has just returned to Melbourne after working in Bendigo and is looking forward to settling into practice in Kensington. Wendy has a passionate interest in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, especially pocket pets. Harry, pictured here with Wendy, is a lovely Tabby and White boy who is looking for a new home.wendy.sml

Dr Eleanor has returned to us after her recent personal leave. She will be sharing Saturday consults with Dr Trepheena, who will be spending more time doing referral behavioural consultations through Good Pet Behaviour.

Dr Kathy would like to thank everyone for the best wishes during her recent illness.

Clinic Specials

Receive $20 cashback when you purchase a 6 month box of Sentinel chews (flea, worming and heartworm control).


Case of the Month
We have recently had a reminder of the importance of checking all lumps and bumps thoroughly on our animals.
One of our staff brought her dog into the clinic and happened to mention a small skin lump that had been present for some time. The lump was slightly raised and appeared to be the same colour as the surrounding skin.13596444 s
Dr Kathy did a fine needle aspirate on the lump (a needle is passed into the lump and some cells are extracted using backwards pressure on a syringe), and found lots of malignant mast cells when she checked under the microscope.
Mast cell tumors are common skin tumors of dogs and cats. In dogs they appear most commonly on the body, although they can be found on the limbs. They can vary greatly in appearance and can be present for months or years before spreading to the rest of the body, although some behave very aggressively early. They may cause irritation and ulceration of the overlying skin.
Diagnosis is made by fine needle aspiration but surgical removal is required for grading and thus an accurate idea of prognosis.
The best chance of cure is complete surgical excision, although large margins are required, so the surgical wound is often large.
Fortunately our staff member had the all clear after surgery.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also available for those animals who are not so lucky to have complete surgical removal.

Pet Care Facts
Excessive thirst

A common presenting complaint in our companion animals is that the owners have noticed an increased thirst - or sometimes just that they have to fill up the water bowl more often.1841234 s

The stimulus to drink is generated in the thirst centre in the brain. It responds to either intracellular dehydration or reductions in blood volume - which in turn are measured by pressure receptors in the heart and great blood vessels, or by the kidneys.
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Thirst can be affected by environmental factors such as hot weather or even increased drying out of air when the winter heating is turned on.

Behavioural changes such as increased exercise or increased agitation resulting in excessive panting can also influence how much water our pets require.

There are many pathologic causes of thirst and the following is a general list:
- kidney disease - including urinary tract infections
- liver disease
- diabetes
- excessive hormone production such as thyroid hormone or cortisone (cushings disease)
- some cancers
- some drugs especially cortisone
- some poisons especially some ratsacks
- blood loss either externally or internally
- vomiting or diarrhoea (some pets can be secretive about vomiting and diarrhoea and owners may not always notice)
- shock from allergic reactions eg severe insect bite allergies.

If you notice your pet is drinking more we recommend a visit to the clinic (and bring a urine sample if possible) so we can give your pet a full clinical examination. We will check the urine in clinic and if required we can send a blood sample to the lab to test for diseases such as liver disease. Depending on these results further testing may be required and could include more specialised bloods tests or imaging such as xray or ultrasound.

Don't ignore increased thirst! It may be a sign of something more serious, especially in older animals.
Remember - old age is not a disease.

What's New at KVC ?

7471420 s

 

We wish all our clients and their furry and fluffy families a joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

Clinic Specials

For a limited time only receive a free storage in with your purchase of Royal Canin dry foods.

Iams pouches are back!!
Receive 25% discount on Iams pouches in clinic - while stocks last!


Case of the Month15139616 s

"T" was seen at Kensington Vet Clinic for a check up following a visit to an emergency centre after she was attacked by a swarm of bees and repeatedly stung. Poor "T" suffered an anaphylactic reaction to the bee venom and had to be resuscitated at the emergency centre. She made a good recovery but had a persistent irregular heartbeat afterwards.

There were also some places on her skin where she had been stung which had become infected. There was also a couple of bee stings left in the skin. Bees leave the sting with the venom sac still attached in the skin when they sting an animal or person, so the venom keeps being pumped in.

An ECG (electrocardiogram) showed abnormal complexes (abnormal heart beats) and an abnormally slow heart beat. An appointment with Reuben, our visiting Internal Medicine Specialist was made the next day. Reuben diagnosed probable damage to the heat muscle due to lack of oxygen during the reaction to the stings. "T" was lucky to have survived.

A repeat ECG in a week showed a normal rhythm and complexes and "T" was given the all clear. Hopefully she can steer clear of bees from now on!

 

Pet Care Facts
20313875 mlSummer Holiday Fun

When traveling with pets during the summer holiday period, be mindful of some nasty conditions that can affect our pets in regional and interstate areas.

If traveling to the East coast of Australia it is important to prevent against paralysis tick bites. Fortnightly application of a flea/tick preventative (eg Advantix for dogs or Frontline for dogs or cats) as well as daily inspections of the entire coat will help to reduce the chance of this potentially deadly parasite.

Brown and Tiger snakes are the most common snakes to bite dogs and cats in Victoria. Both of these bites can be fatal without antivenom therapy. They can cause signs including vomiting, weakness, dilated pupils, brown urine and breathing difficulties.

Heartworm is spread in the microscopic larval form by mosquitoes. It is a chronic condition that takes 6-12 months for the worms to develop large enough to cause blockage of the major vessels of the heart and lungs, leading to heart failure. There are no immediate signs of disease so it is best to use heartworm prevention, which involves a yearly injection or a monthly spot on or chewable. If your dog is not currently on heartworm prevention, a heartworm test is recommended before starting any of these products.

Grass seeds can get caught in the coat of your dog and migrate through the skin creating abscesses. The most common place to find a grass seed abscess is under the skin in the paws, but grass seeds can be found anywhere on the body and in any orifice (ears, eyes, vulva). You can minimise your dogs risk of an abscess by keeping their coat trimmed short and brushing daily.

If you suspect your pet is affected by any of these conditions it is best to have them examined as soon as possible by a vet, as early treatment offers the best outcome.

Location and Opening Hours

45 Epsom Rd, Kensington.
03 9372 2733

Our hours are:
Monday & Wednesday:
8.30am-8pm

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
8.30am-6.30pm

Saturday:
8.30am-4pm

After Hours Emergency Centre
Kensington - 03 9092 0400
Essendon- 03 9379 0700

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