Myxomatosis and Your Rabbit

By Dr Rebecca Waldron Mosquito-borne diseases on the rise in local pets High rainfall this Spring and Summer has seen an increased incidence of rabbits presenting to our clinic with signs of Myxomatosis due to the rapid growth of the mosquito population. The disease is caused by the Myxoma virus and is spread to rabbits via mosquitos and rabbit fleas. Symptoms of the disease are redness and swelling of the eyes, mouth, nose and genitals with a white discharge developing as the disease progresses. Rabbits will then develop a very high fever, lose their appetite and appear listless. Death will occur within two weeks in 96-100% of cases. With such a poor prognosis, treatment is generally not recommended and the rabbit should be taken to the vet for euthanasia. There isn’t a vaccine available in Australia for Myxomatosis and so our focus is on prevention of mosquito or flea bites. All hutches should be covered with insect-proof netting and rabbits should be kept inside from before dusk falls, when mosquitos are active. Repellents can be used near the hutches including preventatives such as mosquito coils and citronella candles. Ensure there isn’t stagnant water laying around your garden for mosquitos to breed in. Some of the cat and dog spot-on flea treatments can be safely used “off-label” in rabbits to prevent fleas. Speak to one of our vets for advice on treating your rabbits for fleas as some products are lethal, for example products containing fipronil. If your rabbit has become infected, separate it from other rabbits. Because the virus can survive in the environment it is not recommended to introduce...

Snakes are Out and About

by Dr Charlie Blackwood Summer brings not just sunburn and cricket but also snakes. For interest, I have seen a snake on the rail trail each of the last 2 Sunday mornings. Snakes are obviously a danger to people and you should take sensible precautions such as long pants and strong shoes when walking in long grass, especially near a water source.  You should know about first aid and snake bites such as compression bandages etc. Remember, it is their home! Dogs and cats are at risk from snake bite over summer and vets often see animals after a snake bite, particularly farm pets. Snakes in our area are most commonly tiger snakes (even though their appearance varies) and some brown snakes. Signs of Snake Bite Snake venom acts in a number of ways and signs increase with time. Animals, particularly cats, are often not noticed until the toxin has started to work. The toxins damage the nervous system causing progressive paralysis, decreases blood clotting, damages muscle and has secondary effects on kidneys. The initial sign of a bite, if you happen to be around, often include: vomiting confusion collapse and loss of consciousness. Often the animal appears to recover after 30 minutes or so, then other signs slowly develop. The other signs usually start to develop in a few hours but sometimes are not noticed for 24 hours. Because of their behaviour, cats are often more affected before it is noticeable. Often the first sign of a snake bite is the pupils in the eyes become enlarged and do not close in bright light. Another sign is the...

Brave Rory – Snake Bite Survivor

By Dr Olivia Down Rory presented to Warrnambool Veterinary after his owners found him unwell and surrounded by 2 dead snakes! It had been a very hot night and Rory had obviously played games with the Tiger and Copperhead or Brown snakes. On presentation Rory was in a bad way, he had vomited at home, was shaking a lot and barely able to stand. He was dribbling brown urine, panting and had large dilated pupils. Rory’s temperature was very high and he was almost unconscious. In this case the diagnosis was straight forward due to the snakes being found at Rory’s kennel. The initial treatment for Rory consisted of placing an intravenous catheter and starting intravenous fluids at shock therapy rates. While this was done a blood sample was taken for analysis in our in-clinic pathology machine to check the status of Rory’s kidney and liver function, as well as a blood clotting time, which we use to both diagnose snake bite and to help determine the need for more anti-venom. Anti-venom was administered fairly quickly, a combined vial which contains the anti-venom for Tiger, Brown, Black and Copperhead snakes. Rory continued to deteriorate and following an hour of treatment he was given a 2nd vial of anti-venom, something which is not always necessary, although in this case probably saved his life. Over the next few days Rory remained stable however was still critical, was vomiting sometimes and unable to stand. There remained the risk of aspiration pneumonia and other complications. The treatment following snake anti-venom in such a bad case is supportive care with intravenous fluids and lots...

Sasha’s Broken Leg

Locking Plates and Orthopaedic Surgery Dr Anthony Down BVSc (Hons) At Warrnambool Veterinary, we like to keep up to date with new procedures, techniques and equipment. It gives us the best chance to look after you pet, which also leads to greater job satisfaction. We recently invested in a locking plate system for treating fractures (breaks in bones) in dogs and cats. Locking plates are very versatile and provide very stable fixation, holding the bones together, giving them time to heal. This gives us the opportunity to treat some complex fractures that would normally have to be referred to specialists in Melbourne. Sasha is a 9 month old Border Collie cross that had a badly broken femur (thigh bone). We used the locking plates and a stainless steel pin to repair the fracture. In 6 weeks we’ll remove the pin and xray the leg to assess fracture healing.   Two of our Senior Veterinarians, Mark Lewis and Anthony Down, have a special interest in orthopaedic surgery, often attending continuing education courses to regularly update their knowledge. They often “scrub in” to help each other out with more complex surgeries, both orthopaedic and soft tissue, learning from each others experience. And the follow-up news for Sasha is all good! Sasha’s leg healed well. She is moving freely and once more enjoying life running around on the farm with all the energy and enthusiasm a young Border Collie cross can...

Revolutionary New Treatment For Itchy Dogs

By Dr Anthony Down BVSc (Hons) Chronic scratching in dogs is a common, and sometimes frustrating condition, that we often have to deal with. The most common cause is an allergy known as Atopic Dermatitis.  Previously, we have resorted to steroids to treat itchy dogs, and in some cases we will continue to do so. But now there is an alternative. Apoquel is a new drug recently released in Australia for the treatment of pruritis (itch) associated with allergic dermatitis in dogs. It has been available in the US for a couple of years, and was so successful that the Australian launch was delayed due to supply issues. Apoquel acts differently to cortisone (steroids) and other immune suppressant drugs, and as such, has far fewer side effects like liver changes, eating and drinking too much, weight gain and panting. We are really pleased that we now have an alternative treatment for itchy dogs, especially for those dogs that do not tolerate cortisone well. As with all prescription medications, a full check up consultation is required before medication can be given. This gives us the best chance of a reaching diagnosis for your pet, and will help us to give you pet a happy and more comfortable life. For more information talk to one of our Vets...

Creature Comforts

Check out our super range of pet beds! Warrnambool Veterinary has a super range of quality pet beds designed to keep you favourite 4-legged companions warm and comfortable through autumn and into the colder winter months. Catering for the smallest of kittens to the largest of canines, the beds range from stretcher beds with replaceable flea resistant covers, futons, well-padded mats and round or square beds with sides and even cozy igloo style beds for a truly snuggly experience. All the beds come in a variety of sizes, fabrics and colours to match your decor and perfect for the smallest of dogs or cats all the way up to the giant dog breeds. Many of the styles are machine washable with zip-off covers. And just to add a touch of 70’s nostalgia we even stock doggie bean-bag covers! We recommend filling the covers with old blankets, towels or clothes to create a really comfy laid back bed your pet can mold into the perfect shape for themselves. Drop into the Warrnambool branch to see the full range of beds and talk to one of our friendly receptionists about the style of bed best suited to your cat or...