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.
Easter can be a fun time with family and friends, but it can sometimes be hazardous for your pet. Following are some of the risks to your pet’s health that they can be exposed to at Easter. Keeping an eye on them and being aware of the risks will help you to keep your pet out of harm’s way, and ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Easter.
As with any issue a visit to the vet is necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. History is important in helping your vet determine whether there has been a change and in helping them choose the most appropriate diagnostic tests. During an examination, your vet will check the eye for indications of trauma, and signs of systemic problems. They’ll also evaluate the structures of the eye.
If your pet has a simple eye infection then the prognosis is very good. Viral infections are often self-limiting, (i.e. they will get better by themselves and without treatment), and bacterial infections usually respond well to treatment such as antibiotics.
Whilst it’s important to keep a watch out for potential eye problems in your pets, and to conduct the basic checks, it’s important to also remember that different problems can look alike to the untrained eye. If your pet is showing any signs of pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to call us to arrange a visit. Trying to treat a problem at home, and not knowing what it really is, can waste precious time in getting the right diagnosis and worse still, it can create further problems.
If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s eye health or any other health care issues, call us to make an appointment, or alternatively book online at your convenience 24/7.
The kidneys play a vital role by filtering blood and removing waste products from the body’s circulation. They also regulate certain hormones, blood volume and water composition, blood sugar, and blood pressure. When kidney function is impaired, waste products start to accumulate in the body and cause illness.
Kidney failure can result from a slow deterioration of kidney function and consequently the symptoms may not be obvious until it’s too late to treat effectively. Kidneys will often compensate losses of functionality over an extended period, but the disease can be fatal.
You may not realise it, but our pets also experience stress and anxiety. It Is actually more common that most people know. Just like with humans, excessive stress can have a negative impact on the health of your animal.
Major reasons for stress include:
- Loud noises
- Separation anxiety
- Changes in their routine
Unfortunately, our pets cannot tell us how they are feeling, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms, so that you can identify the signs that your furry friend is stressed, and seek help quickly.
Rehabilitation assists patients recovering from injury and orthopaedic surgery by reducing pain, improving movement and regaining function as soon as possible. Rehabilitation may assist with weight management and the treatment of obesity.
Rehabilitation may also increase the active life span and promote the best quality of life in our middle aged or geriatric pets suffering from degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis and spinal conditions. Chronic disease may result in compensatory muscle tension and sometimes severe discomfort. Rehabilitation therapies gently assist the body to heal and slow the degenerative processes down.
At Vets4Pets we work together with our veterinarians and nurses to find the best program for restoring optimal function for your pet’s lifestyle and well-being. Please call Vets4Pets Northgate on 8367 9555, to make an appointment or if you have any questions with regards to the benefits of rehabilitation for your pet.
Reptiles can be interesting and entertaining pets, but keep in mind that a reptile is exotic and quite sensitive. You should therefore expect that these animals need specific care and each reptile species has unique care requirements.
Some may look similar but because of variation in their natural habitats, they can have entirely different care requirements from one reptile to another. It’s important to read up on the specific species of your pet, in order to understand their needs.
Several of our vets have particular interest in reptile medicine including Dr Marijke Mellor at our Salisbury Park Hospital and Dernancourt Centre, Dr Nicole Burke at our Ridgehaven Centre, Dr Hannah Smith at our Salisbury Park Hospital. Also, if you are thinking about getting an exotic animal, make sure that it’s allowed to be owned in Australia, and if it was imported that is was imported legally. If you have any doubts check with the Department of Environment and Energy.
In Australia, certain viruses and diseases that are dangerous to domestic animals become prevalent in outbreaks or “waves”, every few years. This can be devastating when pets contract these viruses and fall very ill, and even die.
Vaccinating your pet is the safest way to protect your pet, the animal population of Australia, and avoid the expense and heartbreak of illness. Bringing them in for annual health checks can help with this care. It allows us to identify issues before they become bigger and costlier, and it might even save your pet’s life. It is also the perfect opportunity to discuss with our experts any questions or concerns you may have about your pets’ health and welfare.
To make an appointment for a vaccination update we offer the convenience of online bookings. Alternatively, call any of our hosptials. We’re always available to offer advice and provide information on any of your pet health care enquires. If you have any questions about vaccinating your pet, don’t hestate to contact us.