Welcome Stacy Graham!

Nickname: Stacka, Stacer. Where were you born?: Warrnambool Base Hospital Where did you grow up: Nirranda on a dairy farm, it was the best. Education: Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing Family: Mum (Leanne), Dad (Tony), 3 brothers (Shane, Travis & Darcy) & 1 sister (Jenna) Pets: Milly a 10 year old Whippet, Zoey a 5 year old Hungarian Vizsla & Rylee a 1 year old Whippet. They are my best friends.    Sports & Interests: Netball for Nirranda Football Netball club, it’s a fabulous welcoming club. I also have an interest in horses & work for Wilde Racing on a casual basis. I love going to the races as a strapper or to have a day out. Favourite pastime: Walking my dogs. Footy team: Richmond! Favourite food: Fiesta pizza Favourite drink: My morning coffee, & Pure Blonde Cider. Favourite holiday spot: Thailand, anywhere with sunshine. What do you love most about your job?: Working with animals. Cuddling the animals in the hospital, it’s my specialty...

Case of the month – Luna the Rabbit

By Dr Olivia Down Luna a 1yr old pet rabbit presented to us with a sudden onset of complete paralysis. Luna was unable to use any of her legs andwas collapsed on her side. Her body temperature was low and she was very flat. Initially x-rays were taken by Dr Olivia Down to check if Luna had a fractured spine as this is a common cause of a paralysed rabbit. The spinal x-rays were normal which was great news as it meant Luna had a chance to be treated for other causes of acute onset paralysis. Luna was then treated for hypothermia and shock with intravenous fluids and active warming using our ‘Bair hugger’ warmer. The supportive care was successful and by later that afternoon Luna’s temperature and vital signs had improved, she was able to take food by a syringe. With the neurological examination and some advice from The Melbourne Rabbit Clinic, a presumptive diagnosis of Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection was made. E cuniculi is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. This parasite is carried by many healthy rabbits, with reports of up to 50% of healthy rabbits in the UK carry the parasite. Spores of the parasite invade the organs, especially the brain, liver and kidneys. Infected rabbits can become carriers and pass the infection onto their young. These spores can then become active at any stage and cause clinical disease as seen in Luna. Luna was treated for several days in hospital and slowly started to be able to move around again. She was on intravenous fluids and several medications, including a drug to kill the protozoal infection....

Caring for pet rabbits

By Dr Olivia Down Rabbits are a great pet that is fairly low maintenance.  Rabbits are particularly popular for families with children.  There are severalbreeds, the Lop Eared rabbit, which comes with floppy ears and in a variety of colours and is very popular.  The Dwarf and Mini Lop are a widely purchased breed as they are very tolerant of handling by children.  Depending on the breed, most rabbits live between 6-10 years. Housing Rabbits can be kept indoors or out.  The most important thing with keeping a rabbit indoors is ensuring that they do not have access to any electrical cords, as they are notorious for chewing through them, leading to electrocution. Indoor rabbits can be kitty litter trained which is great for cleanliness, but avoid clay kitty litter material as they can cause intestinal problems if they decide to nibble on it. Outdoor rabbits ideally need to be housed in a secure hutch, even if they roam in an exercise pen during the day.  The most popular hutch is a moveable hutch that has an enclosed area for shade and sleep, and a separate area that the rabbit can access grass to eat. These hutches should be long enough to allow them to have 3 full length bounces and high enough to allow them to stand on the hind-paws.  It is best to have a hutch that has mosquito-proof mesh as this helps prevent myxomatosis and calicivirus infections.  The best bedding is either hay, saw dust (not from treated woods) or paper material.  This needs to be very regularly changed. Rabbits are very susceptible to extreme weather...

Heatstroke in Dogs

By Dr Olivia Down Heat stroke occurs when the heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive heat. This can lead to multisystemic organ dysfunction and in some cases death. Obviously we see heat stroke during summer, in situations such as dogs being locked in cars, dogs confined to areas without shade or ventilation, restricted access to water and excessive exercise. High humidity can also contribute to the heat stress.   Dogs with heat stroke can present in a very serious condition which can be quite distressing for pet owners. Dogs with heat stroke initially exhibit signs like panting, salivating and laboured respiration which progresses to include signs such as collapse, diarrhoea (often with blood), rapid heart and respiratory rate, changes in mentation followed by seizures, coma and death. Some dogs have underlying problems which may contribute or worsen their heat stroke. Conditions such as obesity, heart or lung disease, dehydration, thick hair coats and brachycephalic breeds can be a contributing factor. During heat stroke we see body temperatures of more than 41 degrees. The critical temperature leading to multisystemic organ dysfunction is about 42.7 degrees. When the body temperature exceeds 41 degrees this causes thermal damage which can lead to cell death, deprivation of oxygen to tissues and protein breakdown. These processes can be irreversible and result in severe illness and/or death. Early recognition is the key to successful treatment of heat stroke. Dogs should be immediately immersed in water or sprayed with cold water even prior to transport to the veterinary clinic. Once at the vet clinic we will start actively cooling the patient, provide shock treatment...

Watch out for grass seeds!

By Dr Mark Lewis BVSc In the spring and summer months we often have dogs presented to us with problems caused by grass seeds. Just one of these simple and apparently harmless seeds can in fact cause severe health problems and in the country our pets come into contact with millions of them each spring and summer! The shape of grass seeds means that they move forwards and a grass seed left embedded in the coat will quite quickly penetrate through the skin. Once the grass seed has pushed through the skin it will track its’ way along through the body causing infection and tissue trauma. After playing in the grass dogs will often have grass seeds lodged in their coats, the most common place for grass seeds to lodge is between the toes on the paws but they can also lodge in other areas. It is very important to check your dog all over, with special attention to the area between the toes after he or she has been walking through long grass. If a grass seed enters the paw it will then move up the leg causing swelling and lameness. The other common place for grass seeds to cause problems is in the ear shown in the photograph on the left. If a seed lodges in the hair near the ear canal it will move down the actual ear canal until it reaches the eardrum. If the grass seed is left in the ear too long it will then rupture the eardrum and enter the middle ear. At this stage there is often irreversible damage. When a...