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Author: admin, 28.09.2014
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We are very happy to have the excellent backup of various referral services for those cases requiring specialist care. The course runs for 4 consecutive weeks (usually Tuesday night from 6pm to 7pm) and are run by our veterinary nurses, Joy, at our Berry clinic.
I have a passion for keeping up to date so I can offer all of my patients the latest care, and look after them as best as humanly possible. In 1991, I established Balgownie Veterinary Hospital in Wollongong, with my then partner, Stephanie. I have lived in Berry and Shoalhaven Heads for the last 10 years, and enjoy playing tennis at Shoalhven Heads Tennis Club and squash at Bomaderry Sqaush and Fitness Centre. If your pet is unfortunate enough to have an encounter with a snake you can help by being aware of the signs and symptoms of snake bite, and getting the affected animal to the hospital as quickly as possible. The first clue that a pet has been bitten may just be a small amount of blood on the coat, face or limb with a some soft tissue swelling around a small puncture wound(s). When you call, listen very carefully to the announcements, and then call the emergency mobile number on the message (Mark sometimes has a night off with the after hours phone going to another vet).
These days the treatment of snake bite has a good success rate, and with appropriate and timely medical therapy many patients recover completely. The unfortunate animal will require constant monitoring, day and night, every one or two hours for the first 24 hours then every three hours for the next two days, with high rate intravenous infusions, blood clotting products and regular blood tests.
If a snake needs removal from the property, contact WIRES to ask for theie recommended local snake handler.
Hyperthyroidism in Cats: Great News!This is a very interesting disease of cats which we see in nearly any age group. Hyper-active thyroids (hyperthyroidism) make cats act like a car all revved up- ravenous appetite, hyper-active (just like my kids), under weight, often difficult to handle (again like my kids!) and may suffer from heart failure- rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, panting. By performing a simple blood test, we can diagnose affected cats and institute therapy to knock-out the thyroid hormones causing all the problems. Left un-treated, hyperthyroid cats run the major risk of high blood pressure and heart failure.
The ventricles become smaller and smaller and as a result, can’t fill up with the same volume of blood. Blood test are performed before and 24-36 hours after starting therapy to ensure the kidneys can handle having the blood pressure dropped. Kidney DiseaseDogs and cats can suffer from either acute or chronic renal failure caused by many different types of illnesses.
Kidneys have powerful protective mechanisms in place which kick into action if problems arise.
Kidneys are also responsible for sending messages to the bone marrow telling it to make more red blood cells (RBC's) to replace the old ones which are "gobbled up" by the spleen and liver when they are worn out. As with most diseases, early detection and treatment is much more preferable especially for a vitally important organ like the kidneys. For all our renal failure cases, we use a Doppler machine to record elevations in blood pressure and measure response to blood pressure lowering medications. Force feeding using a stomach tube through which fluids and liquidised renal support diets can be administered.
For cases with elevated Phosphorous in their body, we can use drugs called phosphate binders. For young cats in Australia with kidney failure, there is the possibility of kidney transplantation in Brisbane, but it is quite involved and the donor cat has to be taken on as a new family pet.
Parvovirus- the Ebola equivalentWe all know about Ebola- one of the nastiest and most contagious viral diseases for man. Parvovirus has to be one of the nastiest and most infectious diseases of dogs causing severe suffering with a very high fatality rate despite all the best intensive care.
Surprisingly, because Parvovirus has been around for so long, some pet owners have either forgotten what it does to dogs, or they were not yet born when it first arrived on the scene in a world wide epidmiec in the 1980's.
Camden vets had 10 Parvovirus cases in just one day, not to mention how many cases they had for a whole year!


It does not take long for an epidemic of Parvovirus to occur if the general dog population has a low vaccination percentage. Treatment is intensive and involves hospitalisation in an isolation ward (sometimes for many days), aggressive fluid therapy, antibiotics, pain relief and anti-vomiting drugs.
Despite all of these treatments, a high percentage of dogs die a few days later leaving the owner with no dog and a very large vet bill.
Dogs with pituitary gland tumours can go on to live comfortably for some time until the tumour gets too big and starts to place pressure on adjacent parts of the brain.At this stage, we might see symptoms such as blindness and other hormone imbalances.
Until recently, most cases were treated with a drug called Lysodren which destroys the parts of the adrenal glands that make cortisone. Many cases on Trilostane can have the dose lowered after a few months, which helps with the budget. Diabetes is commonly seen in Cushing's cases, probably as a result of cortisone interfering with the action of insulin.
Pets and humans can donate a kidney (and therefore be down to 50% total kidney function) and still lead a healthy life with no elevation of kidney blood tests or polydypsia. If their remaining kidney becomes diseased, and loses over half of its ability to function, kidney blood test start to rise i.e. When there is 25-50% of healthy kidney function, kidney blood tests are often normal, but the urine may be dilute (low specific gravity).
It is important to check a urine sample as it can detect kidney failure long before a blood test.
Dogs with pancreatitis and diabetic keto-acidosis have a poor prognosis and despite the best of efforts, may die from complications. Treatment can be very costly due to the length of stay in hospital with intensive care, drugs, repeat blood tests and fluid therapy.
By listening to the heart for several minutes with a stethoscope, a vet may detect a skip in the normal heart rhythm although this is not a sure fire way of detecting a problem as affected dogs can go for several hours without as much as one skipped VPC.
Similarly, connecting a dog to an ECG machine to record the heartbeat for a few minutes may miss a run of VPC's. Listening to the heart or recording an ECG while the dog has a syncopal episode would be ideal way to diagnose the problem, but these events tend to happen away for vet surgeries and owners can be too stressed to  think about recording the heartbeat while their unconscious dog lies at their feet.
Atrial FibrillationSome dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy and left A-V valve disease get a life threatening arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation. As a result, we see the ventricles pumping at a much faster and irregular rate than in a dog with no atrial fibrillation. If a dog has either A-V valve disease or dilated cardiomyopathy, the ventricles are already having a hard time.
Cardiac output is reduced in A-V valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy, so oxygen rich blood does not reach vital organs e.g. But don't forget the heart which is the most dynamic oxygen hungry organ (next to the brain).
The last thing the diseased ventricles want is atrial fibrillation causing them to contract even faster.
If the ventricles are still beating at a much too high a rate and the heart failure is under control with medications, vets may add in a second drug (Beta blocker) to slow the ventricles down. Cats with dilated cardiomyopathy have very enlarged heart chambers with thin walls that can't pump effectively. This is called a saddle thrombus and cats have acute hindleg paralysis which very quickly get very stiff, swollen and very painful due to the lack of blood supply. Severe cases can present in fulminate heart failure with or without a serious life threatening blood clot (embolus). Should your pet(s) have any specific conditions or problems, please consult your own vet(s) for more up to date and accurate treatment. All the staff have lived in the area for a very long time, and know the local pet health issues inside out. Dogs, cats and horses are all at risk, although curious dogs are the most frequently affected. But treating snake bite is always arduous for the affected pet, as well as for the vet and the nurses. With the rapid heart rate, the heart muscles get thicker and thicker- its a bit like a weight lifter doing extra work.


Less blood in means less blood out of the heart, and reduced blood supply to the body and its vital organs eg kidneys, liver, heart. In some cats, the high blood pressure from hyperthyroidism is keeping their poorly functioning kidneys going.
Should your remaining kidney lose up to 50% of its ability to concentrate urine, you can still appear normal although you may be drinking a bit more and making dilute urine. A Senior Pet Health Check urine examination looks at the concentrating ability of the kidneys to detect early reduction in kidney function.
In other words, the pet makes more urine than normal because the kidneys can't re-absorb the water out of the urine like they did when healthy. It is very accurate at detecting early kidney problems long before blood tests start to indicate a problem.
International travellers and infected or recovering dogs being flown to other countries would infect healthy dogs upon their arrival- either by direct contact with another dog or with their clothing, bedding and foot wear. They must be fully committed and prepared to put up with regular blood tests and expensive drug bills. Besides the expected increase in thirst with hot days, exercise or change to a drier food,  any pet showing polydypsia over 2-3 days should be examined by a vet. It is unlike the traditional form of cardiomyopathy we see in large dog breeds (most of the time). Any reduction in output means less oxygen for the heart muscles, so they can't pump as well as they would like. After extensive research, it was found that a world wide deficiency of Taurine (an essential amino acid) in commercial cats foods was the cause. Most cats have a heart murmur and a rapid heart and respiratory rate as the first detectable symptoms. A special thank you also to Simone who we called so early for assistance, she was wonderful and extremely professional.
I did numerous "sex change" operations on male cats (female cats have wider plumbing so to speak) who were repeatedly getting blocked bladders from crystals forming in their urine.
Dialysis is performed in people with renal failure to filter out the waste products that the kidney normally places in the urine. If the kidneys are not working properly, chemicals are released which elevate the blood pressure in an attempt to improve the flow of blood through the kidney and remove waste products that are building up in the body. Because RBC's are responsible for carrying oxygen around the whole body, the pet is quite weak and easily fatigued.
In other words, we don't normally see elevated kidney tests in chronic renal failure until there is only 25% of healthy tissue left. The kidneys aren't doing their job of "recycling water" by sucking water out of the urine before it goes to the bladder to be voided.
Dogs must go onto an IV drip to correct dehydration and reverse shock and damage to the kidneys. We remain with only our 2 indoor cats at the moment but the temptation to rescue some dogs is present.Mark as you would know its no coincidence Dotty lived so long and we also wanted to thank you for your expertise since you took over from Steven Henry. In fact, many dogs only survive 2-3 days with this intensive care before dying, leaving pet owners with huge vet bills and no dog. This means a dog may appear healthy, but can be excreting virus particles in its faeces and so become a source of infection to other dogs while the disease is brewing in its intestines.
These days, I can sit down with a toastie and a glass of wine at home, and log onto a live online seminar beaming in from the USA- incredible!
Heartworm had just started to appear in Sydney with almost 45% of un-protected dogs contracting the disease.
The brain realises it is losing more "water" than it should be from the body, so it activates the "thirst centre" in the brain which makes the pet look for water. Acute secondary kidney failure can occur due to the large amount of fluid loss causing thickening of the blood and decreased blood flow to vital organs. More damage to the pancreas means more leakage and it does not take long for massive inflammation and tissue destruction to occur.



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