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...

MOvember at Warrnambool Veterinary

MOvember is here! The men of Warrnambool Veterinary have teamed up with the Movember Foundation to change the face of men’s health! Movember is a fun initiative that supports men’s health. The program began in 2003 with 30 people taking part in a pub in Melbourne to over 5 million now. Countries involved span the globe including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. Over 1200 men’s health projects have been funded since its inception and we would like to be active and be part of Movember in 2017. These gents will each grow a moustache during the month of November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health—specifically testicular cancer, prostate cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Here they’ve started with a clean shave, and “mo” updates will be posted throughout the month. To learn more about the Movember Foundation and to support the WVC team, go...

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...