Welcome to our topic of the month.....
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!
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
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.
Skin Disease and Your Pet.
- 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.
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.