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ExcelVets Robina

237 Scottsdale Dr
Robina Qld 4226
Phone: 07 5562 5777
Fax: 07 5562 5522
mail@excelvets.com.au

Business Hours

8:00 - 5:30 Mon - Fri
8:30 - 11:30 Sat

After Hours Emergency

07 5559 1599

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Refer a Friend

We appreciate the confidence that you have placed in the team at ExcelVets Robina and acknowledge that the greatest compliment is when our valued clients recommend us to their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Our referral program provides us with the opportunity to give back to our loyal clients for continuing to help our practice grow. At the same time we give back to those who are willing to give us a try.

You can use the form below to refer friends and family to our veterinary clinic. Simply provide their e-mail address as well as a message (if you wish) and your firend will receive an email from us acknowledging that you have referred them to us.

As a 'thankyou' for your trust in our team, we will not only give your friend a 20% discount on their first consultation fee (you must be mentioned as the referrer), but you will also receive a 20% discount off your next consultation fee after that. Please note that only one Referral Discount can be used per consulation.

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How do YOU feel when you can't stop sneezing, or when your eyes just wont stop running? It's pretty uncomfortable isn’t it? We have all experienced that constant tickle or irritation in the back of our throats that causes us to uncontrollably cough and gag.

As humans, we may suffer this discomfort once or twice a year, and then after a week or two, most of us are back to normal, full of energy and good health. Imagine putting up with this discomfort off and on for the rest of our lives - never really getting over it; never really feeling fantastic; living with constant irritation and low grade discomfort!

Well believe it or not, this is what many cats suffer all of their lives – as cats that are infected by cat flu viruses tend to retain the virus in their system for life! They are completely dependant on us (their carers) to prevent them from living their lives with this constant discomfort.

What is Cat flu?

Cat flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, constant runny nose, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers. Unfortunately it is quite common in unvaccinated  cats of all ages, often being severe in kittens, and sometimes resulting in death. 

What causes Cat flu?

Cat flu is mainly caused by one of many stains of two viruses, a Feline Herpesvirus (Feline Rhinotracheitis) and Feline Calicivirus. Unlike many bacterial infections, viruses are difficult to trea and specific anti viral medication is not generally available or effective. The discharge from the nose and eyes, generally starts out as a clear colour. However if the cat develops a secondary bacterial infection, the discharge will often change to a yellowy greenish colour, and they are often quite sick, as now they are suffering from both viral and bacterial infections within their body.

How is it spread?

Similar to our flu - it is spread by inhaling infected air sneezed or coughed out by other infected cats. It can also be spread by contacting infected objects such as combs, food and water bowls, litter trays, bedding and owners hands.  Clinical signs appear from 1 – 10 days after exposure, and the disease usually persists for a minimum of 1 to 3 weeks minimum.

Is your cat a 'carrier cat'?

Most cats that have been infected, become carriers, where the virus remains in their bodies, even though they are not always showing symptoms. In fact, the danger is, recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods or for the rest of their lives, without necessarily displaying any signs themselves at all.  Shedding of the virus can be continuous or intermittent. Many carriers commonly shed the virus and can show flu symptoms during times of anxiety or stress, such as a new pet in the household or neighbourhood, visitors coming over to stay, a new home, rehoming to another family or boarding. 

How to prevent it?

VACCINATE VACCINATE VACCINATE – doesn’t it makes sense to prevent whilst healthy rather than having to treat a life long disease? Even if your cat is a carrier, vaccination is still recommended, as it is unlikely that your cat would be a carrier of both Feline Herpesvirus and Calicivirus, therefore vaccination will prevent your cat catching the other strain of flu. 

What can you do if your cat DOES contract the flu?

Here at Excelvets we can prescribe some drugs to help keep your cat or kitten more comfortable while they are showing signs. Though there are also a number of things you can do!

  • Keep your cat inside a warm place and isolate him or her from other cats
  • Frequently wipe away any eye or nasal discharge with damp cotton wool
  • Plenty of TLC (Tender Loving Care)
  • Groom your pet. Often an unwell cat will not groom itself and consequently feels uncomfortable.
  • Feed strong smelling foods eg, tinned fish, as a cat that can't smell often won't eat. A lot of encouragement may be necessary, but getting your cat to eat is VITAL. Dabs of vegemite on food may encourage eating.
  • Fluid intake is also vital. Try anything : water, water and glucose, milk if no problems with vomiting or diarrhoea, vegemite dissolved in water.
  • To help clear a blocked nose try : Using a child's electric steam vapouriser in the room with your cat. Another good idea is to sit your cat in the bathroom whilst you have a shower. The steam will help loosen the mucous.

Has your pet lost/losing his/her 'get up and go'?


Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Diagnose Correctly

The first step is to diagnose it correctly (is it spinal or limb joints? Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid?) and then discuss which type of treatment would be the most suitable for your dog's condition - and dependant on the health status of your pet, a treatment used for one patient is not necessarily suitable for another.

What can you do?

Once diagnosed, options which are proven to assist include:

  • weight loss
  • re-aligned exercise levels
  • warm, soft bedding
  • Nutraceuticals: best is 4-Cyte, next is NZ greenlipped mussel, then chondroitin, glucosamine and fish oil. There are many others on the market but most are unproven with dubious claims and efficacy. These provide extremely good relief for cases of mild arthritis and side effects are rare.
  • Pentosan Injections: these are a course of weekly injections ( under the skin ) for 4 weeks and then depending on response, they can be given monthly thereafter. They assist in cartilage regeneration and decrease joint inflammation. They are not painful and side effects are rare.

The above measures are generally the starting point for arthritis as there are very rarely any side effects. Large number of our patients are able to be maintained on these products without the need for stronger medications.

Any stronger treatments?

In those patients that do not respond well to the above, we often commence NSAID medications. These dramatically reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. They are available in a short acting injection and then oral tablets or liquids.
Prior to commencing treatment with the NSAID  products, it is always best to ensure that the pet is not suffering from any liver, kidney or gastro intestinal issues as use of these products should not be used if pre-existing conditions are present.

What costs are involved?

Regarding costs of these products....

  1. weight loss, bedding, exercise level moderation costs nothing
  2. nutraceuticals vary in cost markedly, depending on which is best suited to the patient and the weight of the patient eg 4-cyte
  3. Pentosan injection course varies according to body weight and frequency of adminstration
  4. Regular NSAID injections are rarely given for long term relief of arthritis. It is suggested you dont go down this route as it is non-cost effective nor convenient for you nor your dog.

NSAIDS are normally given orally and vary markedly depending on weight and which NSAIDS is best suited to the patient. Long term use requires a blood test every 6 months to assess kidney function.

DEATH CAN OCCUR WITHIN MINUTES : PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR PETS DURING SUMMER HEAT 

 

Over the summer period, 'heat exhaustion' and 'heat stroke' are not only a danger for humans, but they present an extreme danger for our beloved pets. It is very sad when a healthy pet dies from something avoidable such as heat stroke. However in Queensland, and here on the Gold Coast, it is a high risk situation if we are not careful.

We need to be continually mindful of our pets well-being and needs during the summer season. In this article we will outline a few suggestions of ways in which you can minimise the risk of this ever occurring. 

What is 'Heat Stroke'?

Heat Stroke is an emergency and when discovered, requires urgent treatment. People sweat to cool down. Dogs and cats do not sweat the way people do, and consequently do not tolerate the heat quite as well.

They depend on panting to exchange warm air for cooler air. However when the temperature in their environment is high and close to their body temperature, cooling by panting, is not very effective.

When animals are not able to effectively cool themselves down, they can rapidly develop heat stroke which is both serious and life threatening.

What are the signs of 'Heat Stroke'?

You need to be aware of the signs of heat stroke, so that you act immediately should it ever occur.

  • Heavy panting and drooling
  • Excessive thirst Difficult breathing
  • The tongue and gums can be bright red initially but as it becomes more serious, they can turn grey
  • Vomiting and / or bloody diarrhoea
  • Weakness, staggering, collapse, seizures
  • Rectal temperature can rise to between 40 to 43 degrees celsius

If the above signs are not recognised and corrected, collapse and death will quickly follow as the overheated pet suffers life threatening damage to the brain, heart, liver and nervous system.

All this can occur within minutes.

What can you do to keep your pet safe?

Despite older pets, or pets with compromised health being more at risk of suffering heat related illnesses during summer, fit and healthy dogs also suffer from heat stress or heat stroke if exposed to the right conditions.

Some strategies to prevent your pet from developing these life threatening heat related illnesses include:

  • Make sure your pets have plenty of water each day. We would suggest even having a second water bowl as a back up if you are not home much during the day, just in case their main bowl gets knocked over, or they require more than you thought.
  • Ensure your pets have shelter from the sun, some shade, or a place they can go to cool down during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Never leave your pet in the car in hot weather, the temperature sores in minutes. Even leaving windows partially open on a hot day, is not a safe practise in summer.
  • Take care when exercising your pet in summer. It is best at this time to take them for a walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Strenuous exercise in hot weather, puts your dog at risk.
  • Provide a shell with water, or a small area where your pet can take a dip in a shallow pool of water to cool down - or why not have some fun with your pet when your are at home, by playing in the sprinkler with them, or hosing them down. This is especially great for outdoor dogs.
  • A 'nice hair cut' can be a great thing to do in summer, if your pet has a long coat. It will make the summer season much more comfortable for them.
  • If your pet has a flat face and a short nose, such as a Bulldog, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, or Persian, they are at greater risk of developing heat related diseases, so even greater care should be taken with these pets.

Treatment

So what do you do if your dog develops heat stress or heat stroke? The moment you realise your pet is suffering from the heat, emergency measures to cool them down must be started immediately.

  • If mild, they can be taken away from the heat, and put in a cool environment, preferably an air conditioned room. If they are more serious (rectal temperature is greater than 40 degrees C), rapid cooling is urgent.
  • Hose your pet down, or soak your pet's body in cool water.
  • If possible put your pet in front of a fan after she has been soaked with water.
  • If you have a thermometer you can use, it can come it quite handy to keep a check on the temperature.
      If during the cooling process, the temperature falls below 39 degrees Celsius, you can stop the cooling process, as further cooling may lead to hypothermia.
      Following the above emergency procedures, take your pet directly to the vet to have them checked, as complications associated with heat stroke are life threatening.
      The vet may decide to put them on intravenous fluids immediately, to replace fluids lost.
      If their throat is starting to swell, and they are showing signs of respiratory distress, the vet may give a life saving injection
      Or perform an emergency tracheotomy if needed
      The bottom line is "Heat stroke is preventable, if we use common sense strategies". We all love our pets, so please take extra special care of them during the hot Queensland Summer.

    How can you protect your pet over the summer period?

    Believe it or not, most snakes actually DO try and avoid both you and your pets. Their aim in life is not actually to wait for the moment, where they can bite you or your dog or cat. In fact, despite there being many snakes around South East Queensland, we don't often see them.

    Snakes sense the vibration of your approaching footsteps and movement, and the majority of snakes generally tend to escape as quickly as possible into the bush or undergrowth. Yes, they are scared of us too!! Most of the time, it is when we surprise them, or they are cornered and cannot escape, that they will attempt to attack you.

    Following a few common sense strategies, humans are able to reduce the risk of being bitten by a snake.

    • We can wear boots and long pants when we are bush-walking
    • We can always walk cautiously and look at the ground in front of us in high risk areas when we are walking
    • We use a torch when we are walking at night time
    • We don't put our hands into cracks in rocks or old logs without checking them first
    Snake

    Dogs and some cats however, are a different matter entirely. They don't carefully check the ground ahead to make sure there are no snakes. In fact, for many cats and dogs, they do the exact opposite. Their natural inquisitive nature, hunting instincts and curiosity take over. When they see or hear the grass rustle from a snake leaving the area, they think it is a great game to search for and hunt the snake down. The unfortunate side of this is that they may get bitten as a consequence.

    When are snakes more likely to bite?

    Snakes hibernate in the winter, and are generally inactive during these cooler months. They are active in the summer months, typically from September to April, hence this is the time when snake bites usually occur.

    What venomous snakes are responsible for causing envenomation of domestic pets here on the Gold Coast?
    The most common venomous snakes in South - Eastern Queensland, and on the Gold Coast causing envenomation of pets, are:

    • Eastern Brown snake
    • Red Bellied Black snake
    • Small Eyed snake
    • Tiger snake

    Less common bites are from:

    • Rough scaled snake
    • Death Adder
    • Black snake (mulga, king brown)

    Clinical signs of snake bite

    The clinical signs of snake bite are dependant on the species of snake, the amount of venom injected, the site of the bite and the amount of time that has elapsed since the bite occurred. Snake envenomations lead to paralysis, as well as species specific issues such as muscle damage (Tiger Snake); clotting disorders (Brown, Tiger and Taipan snakes) and red blood cell breakdown (Black and Taipan snakes).

    The bite site can be painless. There may be fang marks, however this is not always the case. Often there can just be evidence of a few scratch marks. Some local swelling, bruising or bleeding may be present at the bite site, however significant skin and muscle damage at the site is not common with Australian snake bites.

    Signs of a snake bite can be varied. They may show some or all of the following symptoms:

    • Vomiting (vomit may contain blood)
    • Excess salivation
    • wWakness and collapse, paralysis
    • Shaking or twitching of muscles
    • Laboured breathing
    • Blood in the urine
    • Altered vocal sounds
    • Dilated pupils and drooping eyelids
    • Disorientation

    Diagnosis of snake bite

    If you saw the snake bite your pet, and your pet develops clinical signs, you know the diagnosis is consistent with a venomous snake bite. If you did not see a snake, but your pet is showing clinical signs consistent with a snake bite, you live in a high risk area and it is in the warmer months, you need to consider that snake bite is high on the differential diagnosis list.

    Confirmation of the diagnosis of snake envenomation can be made via snake venom detection kits (which can identify the snake from blood or urine for up to 48 hours after the bite). Blood clotting times can also assist in confirming the diagnosis.

    Treatment of snake bite

    The life saving treatment for snake bite, is the administration of anti-venom. As the venom affects a lot of the vital organs, intensive supportive therapy is also required, to pull them through. Supportive therapies need to be continued until the clinical signs resolve, and may include:

    • Intravenous fluids
    • Oxygen
    • Urinary Catheter / Bladder care – as some pets with snake bite pets lose control of their bladder when paralysed
    • Ventilation – a machine is used to breathe for our pets if they are not able to breathe for themselves
    • Blood transfusions are sometimes required
    • Patients are to remain hospitalised until they can walk, eat and drink normally
    • Blood tests may be required to check on organ damage and to assess the rate of improvement.

    Prognosis

    When a snake bites, venom is injected via the fangs, deep into the tissue below the skin. The venom is absorbed rapidly. It carries a large range of toxins that cause a lot of damage to tissues and can impair vital functions. To stop this damage, it is vital to get your pet to a vet as soon as you realise it has been bitten by a snake. The survival rate for pets bitten by a dangerous snake is approximately 80%. This rate is a lot lower if left untreated, and death can occur quickly.

    Prevention

    Some important things to remember:

    Reduce the risk of your pet being bitten by a snake by not letting them run free into thick bushland during the summer or high-risk periods for snakes.

    • If you hear your pet barking, chasing or pursuing something that may be a snake, restrain them and take them away as quickly as possible
    • If your pet has been bitten, DO NOT TRY TO CATCH OR KILL the snake responsible, or you will put yourself at risk
    • If a snake continues to pose a threat to you or your pets, you can call a professional snake handler to relocate the snake
    • If you see a snake, the best way to avoid being bitten is simply to leave the snake alone

     

    In addition:

    • Do not interfere with a snake if pets or other people have already provoked it
    • Do not handle injured snakes. A hurt animal is a much more dangerous animal, as it is fighting for its life
    • Know appropriate first aid for treating snake bites

    So please remember to take care, and use common sense to avoid “The Deadly Bite”, but if it does occur, “get your pet to the vet as soon as possible”.

    Does your pet get extremely nervous and stressed in storms?
    Do they run around trying to hide when they hear the sound of thunder?

    Thunderstorm

    If so - your pet may have a thunderstorm phobia, where their fear of thunderstorms completely overwhelms them. When they suffer this kind of abnormal and excessive fear, there is often nothing you can do to calm them down. The big concern is, that they are in a state of absolute panic, where they do not act normally and cannot think logically (in an animal kind of way). Consequently the danger is, they are at risk of injuring themselves. Running out on the road and being hit by a car, jumping off things and injuring themselves are some examples of things that could happen to animals with thunderstorm phobias.

     

    What can you do?

    If you are aware that your pet has a "thunderstorm phobia", you need to act now - before it is too late, as your pet may sustain an unnecessary injury. Making an appointment with your vet to discuss and come up with a good "thunderstorm management plan" specific to your pet would be a good first step.

    It may be that your pet may benefit from behavioural therapy, or some calming medication. Or your pet may be a candidate for "Thunder Desensitisation".

    What is "Thunder Desensitisation"?

    Desensitisation is the process of desensitising your pet to thunder by exposing your pet to increasing volumes of a high quality recording of a thunderstorm. The increases should only be slight so your pet has a chance to adapt and get used to the increased volume. Doing it in this manner should not cause anxiety, and then your pet can be rewarded for remaining relaxed.

    What do you need?

    • A high quality recording of thunder
    • A high quality sound system
    • A non distracting environment where your pet can be exposed to the noise
    • A small amount of your pets favourite treats, such as dried liver treats

    If you would like more information on the 'Thunder Desensitisation' technique please feel free to drop in and chat to our friendly staff at ExcelVets.