If you’ve been thinking that your pet has recently turned into a bit of a grouch it could be that they’re actually in pain, but how would you know? It can sometimes be difficult to tell, and if the obvious signs such as limping or wounds aren’t present then you’ll need to know what to look for. Some animals simply hide their pain and live with it, but there are actually a number signs that something could be wrong in spite of how subtle they may be. In cats, it can be even more difficult to detect, and in some cases pain will only be obvious in the most extreme circumstances.
What can turn an affectionate pat or cuddle with your dog into an anxious moment? Finding a lump! Understandably the first thing that often springs to mind is that it could be cancer, however not all bumps and lumps on dogs are cancerous tumours. Sometimes they’re relatively harmless, such as sebaceous cysts which can occur as a result of blocked oil glands, or lipomas which can be unsightly but are harmless. Skin growths are common in dogs and fortunately many of them tend to be benign.
Bear in mind that not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, and many are fatty tumours and consequently do not require immediate surgery. Some look quite innocent when in fact they’re not, which is why you can’t afford to gamble with your dog's health and it’s important to get any lumps and bumps checked. Fast growth, redness, pus, swelling, an opening in the lump, and pain, are reasons to seek immediate veterinary attention.
When taking your dog to get lumps checked your vet will mostly likely ask whether the lump appeared suddenly, whether its shape, colour or size has changed, and whether your dog’s behaviour, such as his appetite or energy level, is different. Once diagnosed, your vet might record the location and sizes of lumps and bumps that aren’t removed to make it easier to keep track of what’s changed and any that are new in future. This is something that dog owners can do too, and an ideal time to check is when brushing, bathing, or petting. Doing it regularly will help you increase your familiarity with your dog’s body so that you’ll detect a change more quickly.
Even if your dog has a lump that you find is not cancerous, always have new ones tested and keep a close eye on all of them. Any of the Vets4Pets hospitals can help with examination and diagnosis of lumps and bumps. The sooner you have them checked, the sooner your dog can receive treatment if they’re problematic, and if they’re not, the sooner you’ll have peace of mind.
Some people keep mice as pets; they’re intelligent and can be trained, but most of us spend more time trying to get rid of them than befriending them. The sight of a mouse often creates concern amongst home owners that there are problems with hygiene and many people associate mice with disease, but as most pest controllers will tell you, where there are humans there are usually mice, and they occupy a wide range of habitats.
There many species of mice in Australia. Some are native, others were introduced and have adapted rapidly. As Adelaide’s temperatures drop, they are starting to seek warmer shelter, and that often means inside homes.
One of the most common ways to deal with the issue is to use baits containing poison, and these can put dogs and cats at risk. Both can become ill from ingesting rat bait or by eating rodents that have ingested it. It can have serious consequences, and early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important.
What are the risks to dogs and cats?
The two most commonly found types of rat bait found in Australia have either of the active ingredients Warfarin or Brodifacoum, with the former requiring ingestion over a longer period to cause death, and the latter acting more quickly and potentially causing fatality with a single dose.
Due to lifestyle improvements and advancements in health care, just like us, our pets are living longer. Their needs change as they age just as they do with us also, and there are some simple things you can do to help your pet remain healthy and happy throughout their senior years. Unsurprisingly many of them are common-sense approaches that apply to us as well, and if we can have “grey power” as we age, so can they.
Because they are all different, individual animals age differently, however there are some common issues that affect most dogs and cats
. For dogs, the size and breed is relevant, and larger dogs generally age more quickly than smaller dogs. A larger dog such as German Shepherd could be considered senior at seven to eight years, whereas a miniature poodle would not be considered senior until the early teens.
There is less variation with cats, who at seven to ten are in their “mature” years, but aren’t really considered to be senior until over ten. At 15 and above, they are very senior. With all animals, general health, medical history, nutrition and environment will influence aging. Genetics can also play a significant role.
Adelaide’s days are getting shorter and cooler, and getting outdoors to walk your pooch may be becoming a little less appealing, especially after work. Your dog should get adequate exercise throughout the year however, and there are lots of ways to make exercise varied and interesting, and comfortable for you both in the cooler months.
It’s important that your dog doesn’t get out of shape from inactivity during winter. If your pooch ever has spells of inactivity for an extended period, you’ll need to ease him or her back into their exercise regime, and start slowly to help the rebuild muscle tone before returning to a normal level of strenuous outdoor exercise. Before we look at some exercise options in winter, we’ll discuss two issues that can result from inactivity and why it’s so important that exercise be maintained consistently.
Pets enrich our lives in many ways, and they can help us overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. But is it possible for pets to become depressed themselves? Just like us, animals have feelings and moods, and these can lead to them having good and bad days, just as we do. Pets can also become depressed. The symptoms can be similar to those that affect humans, and it may be more common than we think.
If you have a pet then you’re a “pet mum”… in fact, you probably don’t even need to be female to be a pet mum. Regardless of whether your pet is a dog or cat, a horse or a bird, whatever they are, then you’re a pet mum!
Pets are special members of the family. They enrich our lives and provide emotional support and companionship, therefore being a pet mum is an important and fulfilling role. In acknowledgement of the importance of mothers, this Mothers’ Day we pay tribute to all the pet mums, and we look at ten reasons why being a pet mum can be fun and rewarding.
Does your dog or cat appear to be a little stiffer when getting up after a nap, and a little less nimble overall? Maybe your dog walks to catch a ball these days, or doesn’t follow you around as much, or perhaps your cat is struggling to jump up onto the lounge. Like us, dogs and cats get arthritis, and these can be signs that they could be suffering from it.
Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. What are they, and what’s the difference?
Arthritis is not a single disease. It is a term that’s used informally to refer to joint pain or joint disease. There are many different types, and osteoarthritis is the most common type in dogs and cats.
Osteoarthritis is a long-term progressive disease that causes permanent deterioration of cartilage around the joints. It is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. Older animals are generally at a higher risk of osteoarthritis, but pets of any age can suffer from various types of arthritis, which also include septic arthritis - joint inflammation caused by a type of bacterial or fungal infection - and immune-mediated arthritis, which is caused by the immune system attacking joints.
The ends of the bones in joints are covered and protected by cartilage. Cartilage itself doesn’t have nerves, but the bone that it covers does. Arthritis causes abnormal movement of the bones which over time causes the cartilage to wear away, thus exposing the bone and the nerves contained within it. Pain and inflammation is caused by bones touching and grinding against each other, and it can have a significant impact on an animal’s quality of life.
Symptoms commonly include pain, swelling, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. All may come and go, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Diabetes mellitus (or sugar diabetes) is a complex disease affecting both humans and animals. Diabetes results in the failure of the body to regulate blood sugar.
In a healthy dog or cat, cells in the pancreas called "beta cells" produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar. In animals with diabetes, there is complete destruction or a reduction in the number of beta cells and therefore insulin, or resistance of body tissues to insulin. This results in unregulated blood sugar and the condition known as hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar.
Australians love their pets, and more than 60% of households have one. Collectively, millions of dollars are spent every week looking after them, but unfortunately this generosity doesn’t extend to the hundreds of thousands of animals that find their way into shelters every year. Many end up there as a result of unplanned pregnancies, and tragically, many of end up being euthanised. A simple and effective way to prevent these unwanted pregnancies is desexing.
The large majority Australia’s registered pets are desexed, which demonstrates that people who take registration responsibly, also take a responsible approach to desexing, but there are thousands of animals that are unregistered and potentially not desexed. People choose not to desex their pets for a variety of reasons.