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Enfield Veterinary Hospital
94 Coronation Parade
Enfield, NSW, 2136

enfieldvet@bigpond.com.au
Phone: 02 9747 3999

To All the Friends of Enfield Vet and their Pets,

Having finally reached December (and our last newsletter for the year) we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We thank you for all your support over the last 12 months and for being such attentive and caring owners to your much loved pets - they are lucky to have you!!

This edition of the newsletter reminds us, firstly, of a real issue around Xmas time - excess food. It is not just the humans who binge in the silly season! Unfortunately, our pets often scavenge (or beg) for rich and unusual foods around Christmas, that can have devastating health consequences. In particular, we see many cases of pancreatitis - which can range from the mild to the life-threatening. The best rule of thumb is to call us for advice if your pet is sick after having eaten food that is unusual or very fatty.

The newletter also goes on to discuss medical emergencies in pets - at this time of year with lots of public holidays and reduced vet hours, it is vital to know when your dog or cat absolutely must be seen by us for medical attention. At Enfield Vet we are open every day of the holidays except Christmas Day (our public holiday hours are 10am - 1pm) - we are open as normal on all other days.

Remember, if you have any concerns over the holidays please call us or come down.

Once again, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year,

The Team at Enfield Vet Hospital

Contents of this newsletter

01  Leo and the Christmas ham

02  Traveling with your pet

03  When to take your pet to the vet ASAP

04  Why does my pet lick his feet?

05  Top tips for preventing an itchy pet

01 Leo and the Christmas ham
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Leo the ten year old schnauzer usually loves Christmas. And it isn't because of all the new toys he finds in his stocking, it's because he usually gets some leftover ham! That was until last Christmas.

On Boxing Day last year, Leo developed a painful and potentially life threatening condition known as pancreatitis. Leo's pancreatitis came on very quickly. He was vomiting, hunched over in pain and was becoming dehydrated. He was admitted to hospital and treatment was started immediately. Blood tests would confirm that he was suffering from pancreatitis but early treatment was vital. This involved restricting food, pain relief, antibiotics and rehydration via an IV drip.

When a meal is eaten, the pancreas secretes enzymes required for digestion. In some cases, an overly fatty meal (such as leftover ham) can trigger a “leakage” of these enzymes and the pancreas starts to digest itself. This can happen either all of a sudden (acute), or over time (chronic). In both cases, a pet can end up very unwell and in some cases, the condition can be life threatening.

After a few days in hospital, Leo was discharged with strict feeding advice and a low fat diet. The likelihood of pancreatitis striking again is high so there will be no more leftover ham for Leo this Christmas. He will be getting a low fat treat and lots of toys instead!

It is not uncommon for us to see pets with pancreatitis and other gastric upsets over the festive season so please take extra care around meal times and don't let your pet overindulge!  

If you are worried about your pet you should always phone us for advice.

Oh and if you need a laugh you should check out these hilarious Christmas pet illustrations via boredpanda.com. We think all people with pets will be able to relate to at least one!

02 Traveling with your pet
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Are you travelling with your pet these summer holidays? It can be lots of fun and your pet will love being included in the adventure but you should consider the following before hitting the road:

  1. How healthy is your pet? You don't want to take your pet on a road trip if they are unwell. Arrange a check up with us if you are worried.

  2. Check vaccinations and parasite prevention are up to date before you leave. Are you visiting a paralysis tick area? (these ticks can be fatal). Is your pet protected against heartworm, fleas and biting flies? We can help you when it comes to using the right protection.

  3. Pets can easily become lost in an unfamiliar area. Is your pet microchipped and are the details (appropriate phone numbers) attached to the chip up to date? It's a good idea to put a collar on your pet with your details on a tag - this allows you to be reunited ASAP if your pet becomes lost.

  4. Don't forget to make sure your pet is securely harnessed or secured in a travel crate for the trip. The laws for restraining your pet differ from state to state so check the laws before you leave. Unrestrained pets are dangerous and can cause, or be severely injured in an accident.

  5. Things to pack: food, fresh water, travel water bowl, dog lead, dog poo bags, bedding. A basic first aid kit is also a good idea - ask us for more information.

  6. If your pet gets nauseous in the car, you should ask us about the medication we have available to help reduce motion sickness. We also have a pheromone spray available for both cats and dogs that can help reduce anxiety on car trips. Ask us for all the details.

Happy travels!

03 When to take your pet to the vet ASAP
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The Christmas period can be a busy time for everyone. It can be easy to get swept up in the festivities and not realise your pet is unwell.

Here are ten situations when you should seek veterinary attention immediately:

  1. Trouble breathing - respiratory problems can be life threatening 
  2. Weakness and collapse - can indicate internal bleeding, heart problems, poisoning
  3. Seizures - can be caused by toxins and other conditions
  4. Panting, restless, unable to get comfortable - can indicate bloat, heat stress
  5. Profuse haemorrhage - bleeding externally is obviously an emergency but if your pet has suffered trauma such as being hit by a car, or falling from a height you should see a vet ASAP
  6. Struggling to urinate - this can be life threatening, particularly in male cats
  7. Not eating or drinking - some pets may skip a meal here or there, others may always clean up their food bowl so if they stop eating it's an indication something's not right
  8. Vomiting and diarrhoea - a one off vomit and episode of diarrhoea may not be an emergency but if it persists over the course of the day, dehydration can quickly set in so you should get your pet checked out asap
  9. Pain - if you think your pet might be in pain, you need to seek veterinary attention. Your pet might not always show a limp or vocalise when they are in pain and may simply be inactive or quieter than usual
  10. Known exposure to toxins - don't wait until it's too late. See a vet ASAP if your pet has ingested something he shouldn't (think chocolate, snail bait, rat bait, grapes, raisins, human medication just to name a few)

    There are many more reasons you might need to seek urgent veterinary attention. If you think something's not right with your pet you should always phone us for advice. 

04 Why does my pet lick his feet?
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Licking and chewing of the paws is a common problem for our pets but it definitely shouldn't be considered normal! Cats tend to pull at their toes nails and dogs like to lick in between their toes. 

There can be many causes:

Allergies: This is a common cause of foot chewing. Ingestion of a food, contact with grasses or plants and inhalation of pollens are common causes of itchy skin (especially at this time of the year)

Parasites: mites can burrow into the skin and cause irritation and flea bites can cause generalised itching

Pain: licking to relieve pain caused by arthritis or the presence of a foreign body such as a grass seed

Boredom: just as people with anxiety might bite their nails, our pets can develop a physical response to psychological stress - some pets will develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder

Hormonal imbalances: thyroid disease and adrenal disease can lead to superficial skin infections and itchy skin

If your pet has itchy feet (or is itchy anywhere else) a consultation with us is essential to help improve their comfort levels - we have many things up our sleeve to help them feel better.

05 Top tips for preventing an itchy pet
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Itchiness can be excruciatingly annoying for your pet. Itching quickly leads to trauma of the skin and can lead to secondary skin infections that require antibiotic treatment.

Your dog may bite, lick or scratch at themselves with their legs. Cats on the other hand are more likely to lick at particular areas and hair loss is often the first sign of an itchy feline. 

Here are our top tips for preventing an itch:

1. Be vigilant with flea treatment all year round. Fleas are THE major cause of an itchy pet and regular use of a flea treatment is the cheaper and easier option! Ask us for the best flea treatment available as there are some new and very effective products now available.

2. Biting flies can be a real problem at this time of the year but we can help prevent them - ask us how

3. Keep your pet's skin and coat in top shape to provide a good barrier from allergens - ask us for a premium diet balanced in essential fatty acids

4. Only ever wash your dog in pet shampoo and conditioner - some products can help improve the barrier of the skin, protecting from allergens - ask us for a good recommendation

5. Some pets may find relief with an antihistamine or a medication that can help to reduce the immune system's response to the allergen - we can provide you with more information about what might be suitable for your pet

If your pet is itchy you should arrange a check up with us.