Welcome to our topic of the month.....

September 2018

Meet the brave Boris!









Boris first presented to our clinic with a recurrent episodes of vomiting straight after eating. All his litter mates were growing to be twice the size of him; barium radiographs were taken at our clinic and our vets had diagnosed him with megaesophagus, a condition where the oesophagus balloons and causes frequent regurgitation.

After careful review of the radiographs, Dr Steph realised this was actually due to the fact that Boris was born with an extra heart vessel which never closed after birth. Boris was referred to the Roseworthy small animal clinic where he underwent further diagnostics including fluoroscopy to confirm the diagnosis of a persistent right aortic arch. A couple of days later, brave Boris underwent open heart surgery.

Thanks to a careful feeding regime and great support from his mum, he has made a full recovery. He is now the same size as his brothers and sisters, and keeping all his solid foods down! And through it all, he never stopped wagging his tail while at the vets.

We wish Boris all the best continuing forward!


    Fighting fit! Boris now fully recovered and growing up fast!        


July 2018

Microchipping your pet

With the new laws coming into effect on July 1st 2018 in South Australia its not only a legal requirement to have your dog or cat microchipped but in the best interest of your pet.

The mircochipping process is rather simple and can be performed with your dog or cat is awake. A needle containing the microchip (which is about

the size of a grain of rice)

is inserted between the shoulder blades. The chip emits a radio frequency that when scanned displays the unique microchip number on the scanner.

Benefits of having your pet’s microchipped

If you pet is lost, it’s the most permanent form of identification. ID tags are a great back up, but they can easily become worn or lost. If you have a change of details, updating them can also become a costly exercise. Your pets microchip, once registered with Dogs and Cats online, can be updated for free online.

Although no one likes to think about it, the story of someone’s pet being stolen and sold on is becoming more of a occuerance. Having your pet microchipped makes it harder for others to claim ownership and more likely to have your beloved friend returned to its rightful owner.

To register or update your pet’s details, visit www.dogsandcatsonline.com.au


January 2018

Snakes and Your Pets

Summer and snakes go hand in hand in the Adelaide Hills. Both cats and dogs see snakes as a plaything, totally unaware of the imminent danger. Bites are far more common in animals than people.


It is rare to actually see your pet bitten and difficult to see a bite site in an animal. Sometimes the snake will be found attacked by your pet. If you do see a snake, be very careful not to put yourself in any further danger. Most bites are around the head and legs. Reactions vary according to snake type and amount of injected venom.

Common symptoms by tiger or brown snake are

  • Dilated (enlarged) pupils
  • Breathing becomes shallow and more rapid
  • Sudden muscle weakness and collapse
  • Twitching and shaking muscles (staggering)
  • Vomiting and drooling
  • Progressive paralysis, as the toxins work around the body (may not be able to lift head or walk)
  • Blood in vomit or urine

Any signs need immediate Veterinary attention, symptoms may occur as quick as 20 minutes or some may take up to 24 hours. Sometimes cats appear ok and symptoms may gradually present. You may let them in at night and in the morning it is obvious something is wrong.  The quicker the treatment, the better the chance of recovery. 

Snake Bite Treatment

Treatment after initial diagnosis, usually includes IV Antivenom and Fluids and may also include pain relief and other medications. The quicker the treatment the better chance of recovery and a better prognosis.


Given Antivenom a high percentage of cats and dogs will survive. Most animals will recover within a few days, it may take longer if severely affected.


Though hard to prevent your animals being bitten, there are a few measures you can take to lessen the risk.

  • Keep rodents to a minimum. They attract snakes as a food source. Clear away scraps and keep fruit and bird seed to a minimum.
  • Maintain your yard. Fill in holes. Mow lawns. Clear away anything snakes can crawl under or into and hide. eg toys and tools.
  • Dig fences well into the ground.  
  • Keep walkways clear of any overgrown grass or plants.

If you see a snake, call a professional snake remover. It is dangerous to try to capture or kill it yourself.   




August 2016: 

Skin Disease and Your Pet. 

A variety of skin problems can affect dogs and cats, including allergies, bacterial and fungal infections, and parasite infestations. Most skin problems in pets are curable or manageable, so if your pet seems itchy or has skin that doesn't look healthy, contact us. It is important to bring in your pet for a consult so that our vets can examine your pet to determine the cause of the problem. 
What are the causes of skin disease?
A wide variety of skin and coat conditions can cause your pet to itch and scratch, but pinpointing the problem can sometimes be difficult because many skin problems can be very similar. Also, pets may have more than one disorder at the same time, or may have allergic reactions that affect the ears, eyes, GI tract, or respiratory tract (eg asthma) as well as the skin, which can complicate the diagnosis. There are four major categories of skin conditions seen in cats and dogs: 
Allergic skin diseases
Allergic skin disease develops when your pet's immune system overreacts to certain substances (allergens), causing clinical signs that affect the skin. Allergens may come from the environment, such as mould, dust mites, or plant pollen, from parasites, or even from food. Your pet may come into contact with these allergens in several ways:
  • Direct contact with skin: Allergens that are absorbed through the skin, eg chemicals, plant materials, drugs, or natural or artificial materials, cause a condition called atopic disease. When it is associated with just skin disease it is called atopic dermatitis. Direct contact is the most common route of allergen exposure in allergic skin disease.
  • Breathing: This is a less common exposure route than direct contact, but inhaled allergens can also cause atopic disease or atopic dermatitis. 
  • Insect bites: Pets that are allergic to insect bites can develop skin disease. Flea allergy is the most common example. Components of flea saliva can cause flea allergy dermatitis in sensitive animals when they are bitten by fleas.
  • Eating: Some cases of allergic skin disease in pets are triggered by an allergy to a protein in the pet's food or treats. Some pets have atopic dermatitis caused by both food and environmental allergens. Food allergens can also cause food allergy (food hypersensitivity), which often causes vomiting and diarrhoea as well as skin problems.  
Allergic skin disease causes itching, and pets that scratch excessively can damage their skin. Sometimes, frequent chewing, scratching, and biting can cause secondary skin infections, wounds, scabs, hair loss, and other problems. Diagnosing allergic skin disease can be challenging because different types of allergies can have the same clinical signs, and allergic skin disease can look like many other types of skin problems. We will try to rule out other types of skin irritation before making a diagnosis of allergic skin disease. 
Ideally, treatment of allergic skin disease involves reducing or eliminating your pet's exposure to the allergens that are causing the problem. If a pet has a food allergy, a special diet may be prescribed. If your pet is allergic to fleas, safe and effective flea control is essential to controlling the problem. For pets that are allergic to environmental allergens, such as grass or house dust, limiting their exposure to the allergens can be helpful, but this is often difficult, and medications are often necessary. In some cases, allergy testing may be recommended. If the exact allergens that the pet is sensitive to can be identified, a serum can be developed that, when administered to the pet in injections, reduces the pet's sensitivity to the allergens over time.
Sometimes, the cause of an allergic skin problem can't be determined right away. Fortunately, we can frequently use medication to treat the itching without finding out exactly what the pet is allergic to. Although this is not a "cure", the pet can be made more comfortable. In general, the best remedy is to avoid whatever it is that sparks the allergic reaction, although this is not always possible. Please contact us for further advice if you suspect your pet to have an allergic skin condition. 
Bacterial skin infections
All people (and pets) have bacteria on their skin. In most cases, these bacteria don't cause a problem. However, if the skin is damaged, such as by scratching, or is unhealthy because of another disease (for example, hormonal problems), a bacterial infection can develop.
Bacterial skin infections, called pyoderma, are not contagious to people or other pets. However, they can cause pustules, crusts, open wounds, and infections that damage the hair follicles (leading to hair loss), and can become a serious medical issue for affected pets. 
Bacterial skin infections are usually diagnosed based on the patient's medical history and the location and appearance of the affected area. We may also want to take a skin sample to look at the cells or to perform bacterial culture and sensitivity or other laboratory testing to determine the cause of the unhealthy skin and the most appropriate treatment. Many bacterial skin infections have an underlying cause, such as a parasite infestation, hormonal or immune system disorder, or allergy. If the underlying cause is not treated appropriately, the skin infection will likely return. In addition to treatment for the underlying cause, we may recommend antibiotics, which can be administered in many forms, including pills, injections, shampoos, gels, ointments, and sprays. 
Fungal skin infections
The most common fungal organism that causes skin problems in pets is a yeast called Malassezia. Malassezia infection generally occurs secondary to another skin problem, such as allergic skin disease or a bacterial skin infection. Fortunately, Malassezia infection is treatable through a variety of methods (including shampoos, gels/ointments, and pills). The key to resolving the problem for good is to successfully manage the underlying condition.
Ringworm is not a parasite but is actually a relatively common fungal skin infection which causes scaly, crusty skin lesions and hair loss. It can occur anywhere on the body but commonly affects the head and legs. Sometimes the area of hair loss is circular, but not always. Diagnosis is best made from a fungal culture. For this test, we will pluck a few hairs from an affected area and place the sample in a special solution to see if the ringworm organism grows. Ringworm is treatable, usually with medicated baths, ointments/gels, or pills, but complete eradication of the infection can take a month or longer. Ringworm can be quite contagious to people and other pets. Therefore, children and other household pets should be kept away from an infected pet during the treatment period. People who come into contact with the affected pet should wash their hands regularly. 
Parasitic skin diseases
A number of parasites can infest dogs and cats. They can cause itching, which may lead to self-mutilation from excessive scratching and biting and other trauma to the skin. Fleas are one of the biggest culprits.
Pets that are allergic to fleas may scratch excessively, causing redness, wounds, pustules, scabs, and hair loss in the affected areas. Even some pets that aren't allergic to fleas still experience itching and general misery from these parasites. Other small parasites, such as ticks, chiggers, lice, and biting flies, can also bother pets. For most of these parasites, we can recommend a product to control them and protect your pet from their effects. 
Mites that can affect dogs and cats include ear mites (which are contagious among pets and cause severe itching and ear infections); sarcoptic mites, which burrow in the skin, causing intense itching and skin lesions (known as scabies or red mange), and are contagious to people in the household; and Demodex mites, which are more common in dogs than in cats and are associated with itching, hair loss, and skin problems. Demodex mites are not contagious. Most parasitic skin diseases can be diagnosed through direct visualisation of the parasite (such as fleas), or by examining small samples of skin or debris under a microscope to diagnose the problem (such as ear or Demodex mites). 
All of these parasitic conditions are treatable, so if your pet is itching or you notice any bald areas or skin wounds, please contact us.
The skin problems listed above are the most common ones that affect dogs and cats, but there are many others, including immune-mediated skin disease, cancer involving the skin, and endocrine (hormonal) problems that affect the skin. Most skin conditions can be controlled, and some can be cured. No matter the cause of your pet's skin problem, it is possible to ease his or her suffering. When you do, it will be a relief for both of you.

July 2016:

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

What is it?

Feline immunodeficiency virus is a major cause of disease in cats all around the world. It is similar to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) but the viruses are specific to their species so only humans can have HIV and only cats can have FIV. So at least there is no risk of you being infected if you come in contact with an FIV positive cat.FIV causes disease in cats by killing and damaging the cells of the cat’s immune system having a decline in immune function. Of course, immune systems are very important in fighting infections, viruses and monitoring the body for cancerous cells so cats with FIV are at a much higher risk of getting infections and diseases.

How do they get it?

The most common way FIV is transmitted is when cats are bitten in cat fights. Saliva of an infected cat contains a lot of the virus so just one single bite can transmit the infection. It can also be spread by close social contact even when there is no aggression just by sharing food bowls and grooming. So, non-desexed male cats are at a higher risk of being infected but any cat that may associate with infected cats or get in cat fights are always at risk. Some kittens born to queens that are infected can also become infected in the womb or by drinking infected milk. There is often a delay between when the cat is infected and when clinical signs start showing so FIV is more common in middle age and older cats. Sexual transmission is not thought to be a significant way of infection and it is unknown if fleas spread the infection so it is always wise to keep an updated flea control program.

What are the signs?

Conditions associated with FIV cats are quite non specific. The initial phase of infection in the first 2-4 months, cats might show short-term signs of illness including a high temperature and seeming a bit “flat” or depressed. It is possible also to have lymph node enlargement. Most cats recover from this first phase and then the second phase is where they appear to be healthy. Eventually once they reach the third phase other signs of the virus can develop. This could be a gastrointestinal infection and with the immune system already compromised, the FIV cat is prone to secondary infections and diseases. The secondary infections could be many things so the clinical signs are variable but the fact of persistent and recurrent disease points to immunodeficiency. Depression, weight loss, lack of appetite, pyrexia and gingivitis are all common signs. Sneezing, nasal discharge, skin infections, anemia, conjunctivitis and nervous system diseases (seizures or fits) are also additional problems associated with FIV.

How is it diagnosed and is there treatment?

Diagnosing FIV is a very simple and quick snap test using a few drops of blood which only takes about 10 minutes. There is no treatment that has been shown to reverse an FIV infected cat. The main treatment is to stabilize the cat and maintain a good quality of life with the disease. Fast and effective management of secondary infections is essential with an FIV cat as their immune system is compromised and it may affect them more severely than a non FIV cat. Often a longer treatment plan or course of antibiotics is required to manage the secondary infection.

Can it be managed long term?

There are many things you can do to manage your cat long term if it has FIV and help it live a good life. Infected cats should be confined indoors to prevent spreading the virus further. A high quality diet formulated for cats and lots of care is essential for an FIV cat. Any raw meat, eggs and unpasteurised milk needs to be avoided as the risk of bacterial and parasitic infections from the food is a lot higher in FIV cats. A routine program for parasite control should be followed and good communication with your veterinarian is essential with wellness visits suggested at least semi-annually.

Can it be prevented?

In Australia there is a vaccine for FIV which is licensed to use. This aids in the prevention of your cat being infected. Your cat will firstly need 3 vaccinations that are 2 weeks apart then followed by yearly boosters. The prognosis for infected cats is always cautious; if the cat is diagnosed early there can be a long time where the cat is free of clinical signs. Majority of cats do unfortunately go on to develop the immunodeficiency syndrome and this seems to be permanent. Many FIV cats can stay healthy for long periods of time when managed correctly, please feel free to call the clinic if you suspect your cat may have FIV or you are after some management advice.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Feline Immunodeficiency Virus