De-sexing your pet – when and why?

De-sexing your cat or dog is a part of responsible pet ownership in the community and also has many benefits for the pet and for the owner. Thousands of healthy unwanted dogs and cats end up in shelters across the country each year due to unplanned litters. Many of these animals are unfortunately euthanased or spend extended periods of time living in an animal shelter. The de-sexing procedure involved the removal of the testicles in male animals and the removal of the entire reproductive tract (ovaries and uterus) in female animals. In this article we will explore many of the health benefits that de-sexing can have for your pets. Male Cats and Dogs De-sexed male cats are far less inclined to roam and fight, and have less behavioural problems such as urine spraying which occurs in entire male cats. Cat fights are commonly associated with cat fight abscesses, wounds and infections which are a very common presentation to our vet clinic. Cat fights also result in the transmission of FIV – Feline Aids Virus.  Entire male cats are also contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted litters of kittens in the community. De-sexed male dogs are also less likely to roam and get lost, be impounded or hit by cars. They are less likely to have testosterone driven aggression problems and other behavioural problems, although de-sexing later in life may not alter these problems. Older entire male dogs commonly have prostatic problems, such as an enlarged prostate which can cause difficulty passing urine or constipation. These dogs are also more likely to develop perineal hernias.  There are also some cancers...

Is your dog scared of the vet?

by Dr Rebecca Faris How to make your next veterinary visit a happy one. Most dogs that visit the vet clinic are well behaved and seem unconcerned by the physical examination. However, some of our pets are more anxious about their visits and may become aggressive towards clinic staff. This isn’t a pleasant experience for the dog, the owner or the staff member and can make a complete examination impossible, meaning your pet may not get the treatment it needs. Prevention is the best option to ensure our pets are happy and relaxed at the vet clinic however if your dog is already showing signs of anxiety then it may be possible to counter-condition them for future veterinary visits. How do I know if my dog is anxious? When we talk to other humans we sub-consciously read their body language to tell us if they are happy, comfortable or scared.  Dogs also use body language cues to tell us their feelings.  These dogs are warning us that they are scared and if we persist they will probably bite us! Some of these signs include: Ears pulled back Dilated pupils Tail between the legs Cowering/Trembling Hair raised along the back Growling/snarling Snapping/biting How do I know if my dog is aggressive? Some dogs are not just fearful or anxious at the vet but are overtly aggressive. This may be because they are aggressive in other situations or they have learned that this behavior results in removal of the cause of distress. These dogs are not necessarily more dangerous than anxious dogs as they usually give more warning of an attack,...

Where to walk your dog in Warrnambool

Courtesty of Warrnambool City Council. Visit www.warrnambool.vic.gov.au/walking-your-dog for more information. Walking Your Dog in Warrnambool Dogs must be on a leash in all public places unless declared as “off-leash” and pick up bags must be carried and used. Walking your dog is a great way to explore Warrnambool but please be aware of the rules regarding dogs in public areas, particularly the foreshore, which is off limits to dogs during certain months of the year.  Designated off-leash areas : Dogs must be kept under effective voice control and a lead carried and used when in the vicinity of another dog or within 30m of a children’s playground, barbecue facility, organised sporting events, picnic areas or public meetings. Albert Park (excluding sporting grounds) Beach area, Hopkins River (west side) to Flume Blue Hole Reserve (from Hopkins River Bridge to mouth, east side only) between April 1 and November 30 Merri River areas of public open space in the vicinity of Manuka Drive, Membrey Way and Ponting Drive Bushfield Oval Reserve Harris Street Reserve Jubilee Park, Woodford Logans Beach Allansford Reserve Davidson Oval Reserve Kings Park Malwarrah Reserve, Woodford Russells Creek Reserve (Mortlake Road to Garden Street) Schrader Park, Allansford Tozer Road easement (to Wanstead Street) Victoria Park Payne Reserve Merrivale Reserve Jones Oval Scuborio Reserve St James Reserve Brierly Reserve Rotary Park Dennington Reserve Archibald Reserve And such other areas as Council may determine Dogs must not be allowed to worry or threaten any person or animal.  Designated on-leash areas: You can walk your dog on a leash in the following areas: All public areas (residential streets, CBD etc) Blue Hole Reserve (Hopkins River...

Pyometra – an avoidable risk for your female dog

by Dr Olivia Down A pyometra is a bacterial infection in the uterus of a female dog. The condition occurs when there is bacterial invasion of the endometrium of the uterus. This usually occurs a few weeks after the dog has been ‘on heat’, but the time frame is variable relative to the heat cycle. When the uterus is exposed to high concentrations of hormones (estrogens and progesterone) without pregnancy, it can lead to a cystic lining of the uterus which provides an excellent environment for bacteria to colonise. The infection usually results from ascending bacteria through a partially open cervix during the ‘heat’ part of the dog’s cycle. Pyometra most commonly occurs in females >6 years of age, however we have also seen the condition in younger dogs, and occasionally in very young female dogs. It is most commonly diagnosed 1-12 weeks following the dog being ‘on heat’. 1 in 4 undesexed female dogs will develop a pyometra during their lifespan. Signs of a pyometra are generally that of a very unwell dog, such as lethargy, inappetance, vomiting, depression, and sometimes a visibly enlarged abdomen can be seen. A pyometra can be ‘open’ or ‘closed’. In an open pyometra the pus discharges out of the vagina – as seen by a yellow, green or red/brown copious discharge from the vulva of the dog. The diagnosis of an open pyometra is therefore easier if there is a visible discharge. A closed pyometra is when the cervix is closed and there is no discharge. This can result in a severely distended uterus which is at risk of rupturing. Sometimes we...

Polite Pets – Training tips for your dog

Ten top tips for training dogs Courtesy of the Australian Veterinary Association, with support from Royal Canin & Ceva Animal Health It’s much better to prevent behaviour problems than to have to deal with them later on – so starting out on the right foot with your puppy is essential. The best way to train your dog, is to reward them when they do what you want. This technique is known as reward-based training and it is the most humane and effective way to train your dog. It also makes training fun and helps strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Using training techniques that a dog doesn’t like can be dangerous for both owners and dogs. Punishment techniques can cause fear, anxiety and aggression in dogs, and they can also damage the connection you have with your pet. Ten training tips Puppies benefit enormously from socialisation. They need regular, friendly, social contact with humans and other dogs, particularly in the first 16 weeks of life. Friendly socialisation has been shown to decrease fear of other dogs and people, and improve a dog’s ability to cope with new situations. Research has shown that dogs that have not been socialised are more likely to develop antisocial behaviours. Puppies should attend a puppy socialisation class taught by experienced, qualified trainers. Puppies attending these classes should be healthy and have received their first vaccination. All dogs should progress to transition classes and adult training classes so that socialisation and education continue for life. Always use reward-based training with your dog. Rewards may be in the form of a food treat or...