Companion Animals

Companion Animal Hospital

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital provides compassionate routine, medical and surgical care for your pets.
It’s reassuring to know that your call to Gippsland Veterinary Hospital will be answered 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.

We stock quality pet care products and premium pet food. Our friendly experienced staff can assist you with all any questions you may have concerning your pet health and veterinary care.

Our clinics have excellent facilities with state of the art technology including:
> Ultrasound,
> Digital radiography
> Blood testing laboratory equipment.

Our in-house capabilities allow for rapid assessment, and ensures thorough medical attention for your animals. In addition we offer specialised orthopaedic procedures so you and your pet do not have the added inconvenience of travelling to Melbourne for specialist treatment.

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital has the only local AQIS Approved Veterinarian , (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service), Dr Cindy Hayes. Cindy can assist you with the relevant requirements should you need to travel overseas with your pet.

We offer an extensive range of reproductive services and at our Maffra clinic we are experienced in the collection and freezing of semen for selling or export, and the artificial insemination of bitches with frozen semen from around the world.

Ultrasound

State of the art Diagnostics.
Ultrasound is a gentle, non-invasive way to look inside your pet. The veterinary centres have upgraded our ultrasound machine to a Honda S 2000. This machine is an excellent tool for imaging of soft tissues. It is suited to diagnosing disease in the heart, liver, bladder, and pregnancy or cancer diagnosis. We also have veterinarians with extended training in ultra sound diagnostics.

Digital radiology

The latest technology for diagnosis and treatment of animals.
Instead of the old x-ray film being developed like an old fashioned photograph, x-ray pictures are viewed on a computer screen and can be saved onto a CD. There are many benefits for animals using this new technology. X-ray images are generated quickly and it is possible to adjust contrast and brightness and magnification. This means less retakes, and hence less stress for the pets. Digital radiography is also environmentally friendly. There are no hazardous chemicals and films, which would eventually end up as industrial waste. Digital radiography is available at both Sale and Maffra Veterinary Clinics.

ECG

Accurate diagnosis of heart arrthymias.
The ECG (electrocardiogram) is a tracing that shows the hearts electrical action. It is generated by attaching small legs to the body and amplifying the minutely small electrical impulses normally generated by the heart. This results in a tracing on paper.

In house laboratory

Rapid and reliable.
We have onsite facilities to conduct blood testing and cytology. This means better care for your pet as we can conduct tests indicating snake bite almost instantly, and pre-anaesthetic blood testing prior to surgery. We can also do preliminary testing on tumours.

Fur Life Vet

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital is proud to be a Fur Life Vet clinic.  Fur Life Vet clinics are located across regional Australia and are dedicated to providing exceptional veterinary services for clients and their companion animals.

Everything about a Fur Life Vet Clinic has your pet’s best interest at heart. Our highly trained and compassionate vets and nurses understand how important your pet is to you and work with your to care for your pet, providing skilled diagnostics, treatment and recovery plans alongside preventative health management.

When you make an appointment for your pet with a Fur Life Vet Clinic you become part of a team that puts your pet’s needs first, helping you to take a proactive approach to your pet’s long-term health.

To find out more about Fur Life Vet and where our other clinics are located visit the Fur lIfe Vet website.

Annual Health Check

We recommend you bring your pet in every year for a health check. A yearly check means we can monitor your animal to ensure their ongoing well-being and address any changes that may adversely affect their health as early as possible.

The annual check also provides you with the opportunity to have a chat with us about any concerns you may have, as well as a chance to discuss your pet’s diet, exercise, and parasite prevention.

Combining your pet’s vaccinations with an Annual health check is a great way to ensure your pet stays fit and healthy and is protected against contagious diseases.

Why is an annual health check so important?

Vaccinating Your Pet

Dogs

We currently use a C5 vaccine – this protects against five common or dangerous diseases that are easily spread between animals:

  • Distemper – this disease can severely impact multiple body systems, and has a high fatality rate. It is no longer common due to several decades of vaccinating, however ongoing vaccination is required to prevent this disease from taking hold again.
  • Hepatitis – caused by a virus, this disease results in chronic and irreversible liver damage.
  • Parvovirus – this is a highly resistant virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, and has caused numerous recent outbreaks in Australia. It requires prolonged and intensive medical therapy, and can be fatal in young animals.
  • Canine cough – Often called Kennel Cough, this disease is rarely fatal, but can cause severe pneumonia. Our vaccine protects against the two most common forms, Bordatella bronchiseptica(bacteria) and Canine Parainfluenza (virus).
Vaccinating Puppies

Puppies gain some protection from their mother’s milk (as long as the mother has immunity) but this protection gradually declines around 6-8 weeks of age and we need to commence a vaccination program.

 

  • 1st Vaccination: 6–8 weeks
  • 2nd Vaccination: 10+ weeks. If a puppy commences the program after 10 weeks of age, only one vaccination is required. This is NOT a reason to delay vaccination until then as the puppy will be unprotected between 6–10 weeks.
  • 3rd Vaccination is a kennel cough booster vaccination (if an intranasal vaccination was not given as part of the 2nd Vaccination) and final health check.
Vaccinating Adult Dogs

Adult dogs require their 1st booster vaccination 12 months following their puppy course, which is usually around 15 months of age.

 

  • Triannual C3 Vaccinations – C3 vaccination lasts for 3 years in adult dogs.
  • Annual Canine Cough Vaccination – needs to be given annually.
Vaccinating Kittens
F5 Vaccination

 

  • 1st Vaccination: 8 weeks.
  • 2nd Vaccination: Minimum 12 weeks (or 4 weeks after 1st).

FIV Vaccination

  • 1st Vaccination: 8 weeks
  • 2nd Vaccination: 12 weeks
  • 3rd Vaccination: 14-16 weeks
Vaccinating Cats 6 Months Plus
Vaccinating Cats – 6 months of age

 

  • F5 Vaccination – two vaccinations 4 weeks apart.

FIV Vaccination

  • Will need a blood test to make sure the cat is negative for FIV, then three vaccinations given at 2-4 week intervals.

Annual Vaccination

  • Both F4 and FIV vaccinations require annual boosters.
Information about Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
What is FIV?
Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV), commonly known as feline aids, is a virus similar to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Once infected, FIV causes a lifelong infection that leads to immune suppression.  A FIV infected cat may not show any clinical signs for several years. Due to poor immune function, however, a FIV infected animal is susceptible to a variety of other diseases that may lead to severe illness.

How is FIV spread?
FIV is shed in saliva and, hence, spread by direct bite wounds between cats.

Who is susceptible?
Cats of all ages are susceptible. Aggressive biting behaviour with stray and feral cats poses risk to any free-roaming, outdoor cat. High risk factors include sexually intact, male cats, living outdoors due to their tendency to display territorial fighting behaviour.  Multi-cat households or high density habitats also increase the risk of territorial fighting and, hence, spread of FIV.

Public Health Risks?
It should be noted that FIV is host specific to feline species (including the domestic cat, lions, tigers, leopards, panthers etc) and cannot be spread to other species, including humans.
Due to their immunosuppressed state, FIV infected cats are susceptible to a variety of diseases; some of which may pose human threat. Humans who are immunosuppressed must be particularly careful.

Is there a treatment?
There is no cure for FIV; infection with FIV is life-long. Supportive treatment, however, can be offered. Furthermore, treatment may be directed at concurrent disease.

How do I prevent my cat from FIV?

1. Prevent exposure
Stop your cat from roaming freely outdoors. Spay or neuter your cat to reduce free-roaming and fighting behaviour.

2. Vaccination
A killed vaccine is available for prevention against FIV. Cats may be vaccinated from eight weeks of age. Any outdoor, freely roaming cat should be vaccinated to prevent infection with FIV. A full vaccination course should be completed before allowing your cat outdoors. An initial vaccination course requires 3 doses. Thereafter, yearly boosters are required. FIV positive cats cannot be vaccinated. Therefore, cats older than 6 months of age and unvaccinated must be tested for FIV infection before vaccination.

3. FIV blood test
An in-house blood test can be conducted to rule out FIV infection.  Cats older than 6 months of age and unvaccinated should be tested for FIV infection. Before introducing a new cat (> 6 months) into the household we recommend testing for FIV infection.  If your cat has been exposed to FIV (unvaccinated and freely roaming outdoors), we recommend testing to rule out FIV infection.

Cats

We have different levels of vaccinations for our feline friends. Our base vaccination is the F4. This covers for:

  • Panleukopaenia – the cat equivalent of canine parvovirus.
  • Herpesvirus – this causes significant disease of the upper airways and inflammation of the eyes. Cats become lifelong carriers, and stress can cause the disease to flare up and make your cat sick again. While the flare-ups can be treated, there is no cure.
  • Calicivirus – This also causes upper respiratory tract disease, and affected cats often develop severe ulcers in their mouth. As with herpesvirus, cats become lifelong carriers and the disease can flare up when stressed. While the flare-ups can be treated, there is no cure.
  • Chlamydiosis – This bacteria causes severe conjunctivitis and may also cause a respiratory tract infection. While it can be treated, it is debilitating, and has the potential to be fatal in young kittens.

In addition to these four core vaccines, we also offer vaccination against Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

  • FeLV – can severely impact a number of different body systems, and infected cats are at high risk of developing cancer. It significantly shortens lifespan.
  • FIV – most commonly causes suppression of the immune system, making cats more prone to developing other diseases and making it harder to recover. Also significantly shortens lifespan. (Further information about FIV on then left).

The most common route of infection for both of these diseases is through saliva, and thus is a particularly high risk for cats that get into fights. If your cat goes outdoors, we strongly recommend they be vaccinated against these two diseases.

Because of the potentially severe nature of these two diseases, any cat older than 6 months with an unknown FeLV/FIV history will require a blood test beforehand to confirm that they do not already have these diseases. Vaccinating for these diseases in a cat that is already positive can result in your pet becoming extremely sick. This test is done in our clinic and only takes 10 minutes to get results.

Rabbits

Rabbits can be vaccinated against calicivirus, which predominantly attacks the digestive system and can cause severe haemorrhage. It is nearly 100% fatal.
Another disease, myxomatosis, causes severe swelling and fever, and starts attacking various body systems. It is usually fatal. Vaccines are not registered for use in Australia, as this disease is relied on to keep the wild rabbit population under control.
Keeping your rabbit away from wild rabbits and hares, and protecting them from mosquitoes, are the only ways of preventing your rabbit from getting this disease

Vaccinating Rabbit Kittens
1st dose – 4 weeks
2nd and 3rd dose at 4 weeks intervals
Vaccinating Adult Rabbits
2 doses at 4 week intervals

Twice yearly booster
Every 6 months after finishing initial course

Pet Dentals

Dental disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque. Plaque is the thin, sticky film that covers teeth and is composed of bacteria and their by-products, saliva, food particles and sloughed epithelial cells. Much the same as with our own teeth.

Four ways to prevent dental disease:

  • Appropriate food.
  • Pet Dental chews.
  • Brushing your pet’s teeth.
  • Regular veterinary dental check-up.

Signs of dental disease
There are various signs you can look out for in your pet, these are:

  • Bad Breath (halitosis).
  • Discoloured or loose teeth.
  • Excessive drooling, sometimes blood stained.
  • Dropping of food from the mouth when eating, or reluctant to eat, especially hard food.
  • Pain when handled around the head or behavioural changes.
  • Facial swelling Pawing at the mouth Inflamed (gingivitis) or receding gums.

Pet dental treatment
A dental treatment involves:

  • Full veterinary pre-operative health assessment.
  • Admission and discharge appointments.
  • General anaesthetic including intravenous fluids.
  • Professional scaling to remove tartar.
  • Charting of the mouth to look for tooth decay, pain and mouth cancers.
  • Polishing of the teeth so they shine.
  • Advice on home-care to keep that smile sparkling.

For more information specific to your pet, we encourage you to make an appointment for a dental check.

Parasite Protection

We offer a variety of parasite prevention products in our clinic to cover all the parasite groups discussed below. Our products are top of the range, whereas many supermarket products cannot guarantee sufficient protection. Please come in and have a chat to our staff … they can help you determine which parasite prevention products best suit your needs.

Fleas
While these pesky bugs are most common in the warm weather, your pet can be infested all year round. Although fleas particularly love warm sandy environments, they can be found anywhere, including being tracked though your yard by strays and wildlife. In very severe cases, particularly in young animals, flea burdens can be life threatening.

 

Maintaining flea control, and regularly washing your pet’s bedding in a hot wash, are some easy but important ways to keep them healthy and itch free.

Ticks
We are unfortunate enough to share this part of the world with a species of paralysis tick. These ticks are most commonly found in bush and beach regions, so keeping your furry friend protected when travelling through these areas, particularly in the warm weather, is paramount. Tick paralysis requires intensive medical intervention, and if left untreated is fatal.
Intestinal worms
There are a huge variety of species of intestinal worms, some more common than others, and your pet can pick them up in a variety of ways. In some cases, very heavy worm burdens can make your pet incredibly sick. Some worm species are also what we call ‘zoonotic’. This means they can be spread between animals and people. Ensuring your pet’s worm prevention is up to date also protects your family.
Heartworm
This parasite is spread by mosquitoes, and is particularly dangerous because by the end of a complex life cycle, the adult worms reside in the heart and all the major blood vessels from it, which can lead to some serious and potentially fatal cardiac complications.

It is predominantly a parasite found further north in Australia. However, there have been isolated cases of heartworm in the region over the last few years, and the potential for the disease to be carried into the area by another animal is high.

If your pet is not up to date with heartworm prevention, it is extremely important to get them tested before starting any heartworm prevention product. Prevention products can kill all stages of heartworm at once, and if your pet happens to be heartworm positive with adult worms living in their circulatory system, this can result in blockages (embolism) that will likely be fatal.

Common Treatments

Day Surgeries
Preparation:
Dogs and cats: Your pet will need to come to the clinic with an empty stomach, this means no food from 10pm the night before HOWEVER they are perfectly fine to drink water all night, in fact it is important for your pet to come in well hydrated so please do not take away their water.

Rabbits and guinea pigs: these little guys have a very different digestive tract to dogs and cats and as such they must NOT be fasted prior to a procedure. We recommend your guinea pig/rabbit should be brought in to the clinic with some of their usual food so that they can eat right up until the point of surgery.

Admission:
Patient drop off is between 8-8:30am, you will be asked to read and fill in an admission form and confirm any current medications and when your pet last ate.

What happens at the clinic:
Your pet will have a full clinical exam after they are admitted, if you have opted for a pre-anaesthetic blood test they will have this run at this time. Our team then work out a schedule for the surgeries for the day and 30 minutes before your pet’s procedure, they are given a premed containing a sedative and a pain killer. This helps your pet to feel relaxed before they are taken into theatre for their full anaesthetic.

After their procedure your pet is snuggled into a warm bed and a nurse watches them until they are awake. Once your pet has fully recovered it will be given some food and are checked over one final time before a discharge appointment is made with you.

When you head home:
You will be given specific discharge instructions regarding medication and diet for your pet on picking them up at the end of the day. As a general rule it is best to keep your pet slightly warmer than usual (we recommend keeping them indoors) the night after a procedure. Unless otherwise directed, it is better to feed a smaller meal than usual the night after a procedure as your pet might feel a little nauseous after having an anaesthetic (rabbits and guinea pigs are excluded from this recommendation- just feed the normal type and amount of food).

It is important to keep your pet away from their stitches- it is a falsehood that dogs and cats have natural healing properties in their saliva!!! If they lick their stitches, they will cause a wound infection!! Bitterant sprays and Elizabeth collars are available for patients that start licking when they head home (we will send home a collar with any pets noticed to be bothering at their stitches while in the clinic).

Desexing
Desexing is a procedure that is done to prevent an animal from being able to reproduce. It is also known as ‘castration’ in males and ‘speying’ in females. The procedure in both males and females involves the surgical removal of reproductive organs.

There are many benefits of desexing.
These include:

  • Preventing unwanted litters.
  • Reducing the risk of prostate cancer in males, and of mammary cancer (breast cancer) in females, as well as completely. eliminating the risk of testicular and ovarian cancer.
  • Stops females coming on heat.
  • Decreases aggression and tendencies to wander.
  • Reduction of council registration fees.

We recommend getting your pet desexed at around 6 months of age, however they are never too old.
This is the most common surgical procedure performed in our clinic, and your pet will only need to be with us for the day.
If you would like to book your pet in, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Anal Glands
What are they?
They are two pea sized scent glands at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position on the rectum of your dog or cat. They contain a foul smelling, oily dark liquid which is excreted through a small duct spontaneously when they defecate.

Impacted anal glands
The anal glands become impacted when the duct clogs up therefore the liquid in them can not be excreted. Complications include infection, abscessation and fistula (abnormal tracts) formation, which are all very painful and uncomfortable.

How do you know they are causing trouble?
If your pet begins to lick their bottom, scoot/butt surf/ drag their bottom or strain while defecating, bring them in and we can assess their glands and express them for you.

Ongoing care
Some pets have ongoing issues with their anal glands. Changes in the diet can be made in order to prevent them from becoming impacted. However in a majority of cases, they must be expressed regularly, otherwise those complications listed above can occur. Surgical removal (anal gland sacculectomy) is an alternative in particular for cases with ongoing issues.  It is a complicated surgery as many nerves run in that area that can be performed here by one of our senior vets.

Arthritis
Arthritis is degenerative joint condition where the cartilage gets worn down and rough, which leads to pain and discomfort. There are many factors that can lead to arthritis, which include age, being overweight, injuries, and breed predisposition. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain or stiffness when getting up and down, particularly in cold weather
  • Sleeping or lying down more than usual
  • Reluctance to jump, climb stairs, or play
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Licking joints

Unfortunately arthritis is not a curable condition, but it can be managed, to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. There are a number of different ways this can be achieved, and may be used in combination, depending on the severity of the arthritis.

  • Weight loss – excess weight puts more strain on joints, which allows arthritis to progress more quickly. This can be managed with a combination of diet and exercise
  • Nutraceuticals – these are joints supplements that work to help maintain joint health and slow the progression of arthritis
  • Medication – this includes both short- and long term medications that provide varying degrees of pain relief, stimulating joint fluid production, and improving joint blood supply
  • Managing home environment – keeping your pet warm, soft padded bedding, assisting in and out of vehicles, protecting slippery floors, and avoiding excessive play or overdoing activities, are all things you can do to help your pet.

 

Your pet will require a health check with a before starting any medications, as there may be other health problems that would prevent the use of these medications. Book in to have a chat with one of our vets about managing your pet’s arthritis.

Wounds
We all know our pets love to play and have fun, but unfortunately sometimes this can lead to injuries in the form of cuts, torn nails, and bite wounds, to name a few. While some of the small things may heal on their own, it is important that if your pet gets injured, you get them in to see us sooner rather than later!

  • Fresh wounds are often still relatively clean from things such as dirt and hair. If it is not dealt with, this contamination can lead to infection of the wound, which may result in abscesses or non-healing wounds. These sorts of old injuries often then need significantly more surgical and medical intervention.
  • Shorter healing time – injuries that can be surgically repaired are usually fully healed in a much shorter period of time than wounds left open
  • Better cosmetic outcome – old open wounds that do eventually heal often leave large scars. Fresh surgically repaired wounds do leave scars as well, but they are often significantly less noticeable, or even covered by hair

Bite wounds are a notable exception. Bite injuries, whether from cats or dogs, are often significantly more severe than they appear. While your pet may only have one or two puncture wounds visible on the skin, there are often very large regions where the skin has separated from the tissues underneath, there can be puncture wounds into the muscle, and in worst case scenarios there can be penetration into a body cavity such as the abdomen. Bite injuries are much more likely to develop numerous complications. They also tend to get infected more easily, particularly cat bite wounds.

We strongly recommend that if your pet has been bitten by another animal, regardless of how minor it looks, you bring them in to see us as soon after the incident as is practical.

Common Conditions

Cruciate Ligament Disease
What is the cruciate ligament?
The cruciate ligaments are a pair of ligaments in the knee joint that form a ‘cross’ shape. Their main function is to provide stability between the femur (upper leg bone) and tibia (lower leg bone), by limiting the forward movement of the tibia relative to the femur. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the one that runs from the front of the tibia to the back of the femur, and is most prone to cruciate disease.

 

 

What is cruciate disease?
Cruciate disease occurs most commonly over a long period of time, getting gradually stretched and torn, and can also lead to damage of the cartilage in the joint and cause arthritis. The condition gets progressively worse until the ligament eventually ruptures catastrophically. Many clients report their dog suddenly yelping and then going severely lame during the course of normal activity. The lameness seen is often ‘toe touching’ – animals tend to put little to no weight on the affected leg.

How is it diagnosed?
Your vet will take your pet’s history and presenting signs into account when doing a physical exam. Because cruciate disease usually happens over time, there are often changes such as joint thickening and instability that can be found in the consult room. Your vet may also try look for a ‘drawer sign’ – the ability to move the femur and tibia backwards and forwards in opposite directions, which should not happen in a normal stable joint. However, this test can be quite painful, and many dogs will require sedation or a full anaesthetic before this test can be performed properly. X-rays are also usually done to assess the level of bone damage

How is it treated?
Surgical repair is the best course of action with cruciate disease, as it allows the joint to be restabilised, and slows the progression of arthritis. This allows your pet to regain better function of the leg in a shorter period of time, and they are more comfortable. Without surgery, arthritis progresses rapidly and the leg remains quite painful.

Our team here at Gippsland Veterinary Hospital is extremely experienced and well equipped to diagnose and treat cruciate disease. If your pet has lameness that comes and goes or just never seems to go away at all, please book in to come and see us.

Heart Disease
Heart disease is a common problem found in pets, especially because they are living longer and longer. It is significantly more common in dogs, but cats do occasionally develop heart disease as well. Heart problems causing heart disease can either be present from birth (congenital) or develop later in life (acquired). Acquired heart disease is much more common, but there are some things that can increase the risk of getting heart disease such as:

  • Increasing age
  • Breed predisposition – some breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, Boxers, and German Shepherds, are much more likely to develop heart problems due to genetics
  • Other diseases – obesity and dental disease are two of the most common problems that can contribute to heart disease

There are three common forms of heart disease

  • Mitral valve insufficiency – most commonly a problem in small dogs. This is where valves in the heart fail to close properly, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy – more in large breed dogs. This is where the muscular walls of the heart become weaker and/or thinner and can’t pump blood through the heart as efficiently
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – almost exclusively in cats. The walls of the heart become extremely thick, making it difficult for it to pump effectively, as well as reducing the amount of blood that can flow through

Heart disease can eventually progress to heart failure – this is where the body can no longer compensate for the heart being unable to function properly. Early signs of heart failure include:

  • Coughing, especially at night or after exercise
  • Exercise intolerance – not keeping up on walks, generally not as active as usual
  • Difficulty breathing or increased respiratory rate, particularly when sleeping

As heart failure progresses, signs can become more severe, and include:

  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Distended abdomen due to fluid pooling
  • Episodes of collapse or fainting

One of the first things your vet will find with heart disease and heart failure is a heart murmur. This is the sound of turbulent blood flow in the heart. We can then do other tests such as x-rays, cardiac ultrasound, and ECG, to further assess your pet’s heart.

Heart failure is a serious condition, and unfortunately cannot be cured. However, it can be managed with medication that will improve the symptoms and improve your pet’s quality of life. Managing diet and exercise is also very important, to keep your pet comfortable and happy.

If you have any concerns about your pet, or if you think your pet has any of the above clinical signs, please do not hesitate to book in to see one of our vets.

Cancer
Cancer in animals
Cancer is a condition that can occur in any animal, including, as we are all aware: humans. It is the abnormal over-growth of a population of cells in the body either forming a lump of cancerous tissue (a tumour) or a spreading through and taking over normal tissue. There are almost as many types of cancer as there are different types of cell in the body, so it can be seen how difficult it is to have one treatment to manage them all. Luckily some cancers are benign (they won’t spread through the body and invade healthy tissue), but others are malignant (these will spread elsewhere).

Cancer is one of the leading causes of disease in older pets and is still a leading cause of death.

How can we diagnose and find cancer?
Just like there are many different cancers, there are many different ways we have to go about detecting them. Finding a new lump on or under the skin is a very common way that owners can detect a cancer in their pets, but sometimes cancer is completely internal and a pet will present to us for unwellness. Not every lump will be a cancer, but every lump is worth checking, just in case.

A comprehensive set of blood testing machines, x-rays, ultrasound and surgical facilities is available at all 3 of our clinics to help diagnose cancer in your pets. In some cases only 1 or 2 tests will be needed to reach a diagnosis, but some cancers can be tricky to find and many tests can be required. Once we have diagnosed the type of cancer, we can then plan for the best treatment.

How can we treat cancer in a pet?

1. Surgery
For solitary and especially benign tumours, surgery is often the only treatment required to cure a pet. Even some malignant cancers if caught early can be cured with surgery.

Surgical oncology is often a 2 step process, with the first step being to find out what a cancer is with a biopsy. We will often also run some staging tests e.g. Chest x-rays and abdominal ultrasounds to check a cancer hasn’t spread if we are concerned a tumour could be malignant.

Once we know what a cancer is, the second step is a definitive removal procedure that requires careful planning to ensure the best chance of achieving a cure. Our best chance at removing a malignant cancer is the first time we try: if we don’t get all the cancer the first time round, it is much harder to get what is left the second time.

2. Radiation
Although we are not able to offer a wide range of radiotherapy as is the case in human medicine, for some superficial cancers, particularly sun induced skin cancers of the face, we are able to offer a minimally invasive radiation therapy. This involves placing a radioactive probe on top of a superficial cancer weekly for a 3-4 week cycle.

3. Chemotherapy
In the case where a cancer has already spread before we detect it, or in the case of a cancer of the bloodstream e.g. lymphoma, sometimes we recommend chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy can be used after a surgery to help increase the length of time it takes for a malignant cancer to grow back again if we didn’t get all of it at surgery. It can be used without surgery in a limited number of cancers that are inoperable.

The aims of chemotherapy in veterinary medicine are very different to the aims of chemotherapy in human medicine: in humans there is always an aim to cure cancer, but as such, high doses of drugs are used and there are often a lot of side effects. In pets, we are not aiming for a cure, we are aiming to extend our pets’ lives while keeping them excellent quality. We use much lower doses of chemotherapy drugs to shrink down cancers and stop them growing back and this means that 80% of pets undergoing chemotherapy show no side effects at all.

Chemotherapy is administered in a variety of ways- sometimes tablets can be given at home, other times tablets or injections are given in hospital. Almost all chemotherapy patients are managed as out-patients, meaning they only come to see us for short visits. We want our patients to remain within their family environment for as much of their treatment as possible, as this is an important contributor to the excellent quality of life that we want!

Dr Emily Bride at the Sale Vet Centre has a professional interest in chemotherapy and can offer a range of chemotherapy treatments for your pet.

Heat Stroke
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke is a life threatening condition. It is a state of extreme hyperthermia whereby heat generation exceeds the body’s capacity to cool itself. Internal thermal injury leads to severe, multiple organ damage that can result in death. Early recognition is key to improving the chance of survival in your pet.

Who is susceptible?
Any animal can suffer heat stroke. Dogs that are especially prone to heatstroke include those with airway disease, cardiac disease, obesity and a dark or dense hair coat. Brachycephalic, or short-faced, breeds often have underlying airway disease that significantly increases the risk of heat stroke. Such breeds include English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Pugs and Boston terriers. Animals with a history of heatstroke are at risk of further episodes.

How to avoid heat stroke?

  • Provide ample water and shade/cool environment.
  • Do not allow dogs to run or play outside during hot and/or humid weather.
  • Do not leave animals in cars on hot days.

What are signs heat stroke?

  • Excessive panting.
  • Noisy or difficulty breathing.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Bright red gums.
  • Vomiting.
  • Collapse.

If signs of heatstroke are present:

  • Begin external cooling at home by:
    • Spraying the dog with lukewarm water.
    • Offer cool water to drink.
    • Drive to clinic with window down or air conditioning turned on.
  • Seek veterinary attention immediately.
  • Early intervention will improve survival rates.
Snake Bite!
As the weather gets warmer snakes become more active. Snakes around the Gippsland area include tiger, brown, copperhead, black and rarely death adder. They tend to keep to themselves but can attack if they feel  threatened. Snake bites can be lethal and it is of utmost importance to bring them in immediately once you suspect that your pet has been bitten. Identifying a snake bite early and prompt treatment will undoubtedly maximise your pet’s survival.

 

 

What to look for:
In many cases, shortly after your pet is bitten they tend tovomit and or collapse.Some pets appear to get better but then rapidly decline. Commonly their pupils appear dilated, they staggerin their backlegs and this can progress to paralysis,breathing difficulties (breaths shorter and more rapid) and lead to death. Other signs include lethargy, drooling, pale gums and bleeding from wounds and blood in urine or vomit.

What happens here:
Different snake venoms will contain different toxins that will affect your pet in different ways. Your pet will be thoroughly examined and a series of blood tests will be conducted in order to assess if they have been bitten, allow the correct administration of antivenom and appropriate hospital management. Your pet will be kept and monitored in hospital on intravenous fluids to assess their response to the antivenom. Depending on the severity of signs, your pet may need to stay a few nights or longer in hospital.  Early recognition and treatment are key factors in resulting in a positive outcome for your pet.

Pet Grooming

We offer a full grooming and hydrobath service.

The hydrobath delivers a steady stream of high pressure water through the coat, which dislodges deep dirt, dead hair, crusts and scabs.  This system is great for removal of crusts, scabs and scale, especially in dense coated animals.  Unlike a conventional home-bath the dog does not sit in a tub full of water, and the animal can walk directly into the bath without lifting.

Reasons for a hydrobath you might not have thought of …

  • Arthritic animals don’t have to be lifted up and down, don’t have to sit in cold water, and can be dried afterwards.
  • Skin disease, hydrobaths are great for removing crusts, scabs and scale.
  • We can do the medicated wash, you’re not stuck holding your wet dog for 10 minutes while the medicated shampoo does its’ job.
  • It’s just nice to get rid of unpleasant smells and dirt.  We know a lot of dogs live inside, but we aren’t to keen about the ‘doggy smell’ on the bed, furniture or in the car! (Let’s not forget cleaning that hair out of the sinkhole!).

Grooming may include:

  • Full body clipping.
  • Stripping (combing) out dead and loose coat.
  • Thinning the coat (cutting and brushing feathering).
  • Trimming feet and face.

The right type of grooming depends on what type of dog you have.  Our staff can advise you. All dogs in for grooming recieve a hydrobath and nail clipping.  Dogs require washing when groomed to loosen dead fur.

Please let us know if you require additional services from the veterinarians such as checking anal glands, a physical examination by a veterinarian or removing grass seeds.

Latest News and Events

Keep in touch with all the news from Gippsland Veterinary Hospital. Including staff happenings, events and promotions like Pet Dental Month in August and our mobile equine dental clinics staged at locations throughout the district. Plus we will keep you up-to-date with the latest in veterinary services, diagnostics and products. 

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