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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,

The July newsletter focuses on a really common problem for dogs and cats - tummy upsets. We generally see this illness present, both at home and at the vet hospital, as vomiting and diarrhoea, however sometimes our pets (especially cats) only show signs of abdominal pain and discomfort along with malaise.

The articles this month go in to more detail about when sick pets needs to come in to see us versus when its ok to monitor them at home. There is also some information about what to feed our pets - to hopefully avoid gastro issues, and also about how much food is too much food including identifiying when our pets are overweight.

As always, if you think that your pet has any of the symptoms discussed in the newsletter please call us or come in for some advice. We are always ready to help.

The Team at Enfield Vet Hospital

Dog vomiting Article
Contents of this newsletter

01  Tummy troubles

02  What on earth should I be feeding my pet?

03  How do I know if my pet is overweight?

04  Case study: Henry's bloat

05  Old tyres, new beds

01 Tummy troubles

There’s no getting around it, at some point in your pet’s life you may have to clean up some vomit or diarrhoea. No one likes this job and talking about it can make some people turn green. Thankfully we have simplified the facts so you don't have to dwell on these thoughts for too long.

What you should do at home

If your pet has a vomit or a bout of diarrhoea you should withhold food for a few hours (gastric rest), offer fluids for rehydration and feed a bland diet for a couple of days. In most cases, your pet will most likely recover without a problem.

There are times when vomiting and diarrhoea become a little more serious and that's when you need to call on us.

You should seek advice from us if your pet:

1. Vomits more than once
2. Has multiple bouts of diarrhoea
3. Seems lethargic or has a reduced appetite
4. Might have ingested something they shouldn't have
5. Has been losing weight recently
6. Has had intermittent bouts of vomiting and/or diarrhoea over a period of time

One of the most common causes of vomiting and/or diarrhoea in pets is a dietary indiscretion. This is just our way of saying your pet has eaten something they shouldn't. Other causes might be due to ingestion of a toxin, infection from a virus, a bacteria or a parasite, conditions such as pancreatitis, a gastric obstruction from a foreign body and other systemic diseases.

Treatment for vomiting and diarrhoea generally involves medications to help reduce nausea and even intravenous fluid therapy to help rehydrate your pet. In some cases, it is necessary for us to perform blood tests and further imaging such as radiographs of the abdomen to rule out the more concerning causes.

If you have a puppy or a kitten with diarrhoea or vomiting we recommend that you always get them checked by us as they can become dehydrated very quickly.

It's always best to ask us for advice if you are concerned about your pet. We might not be able to clean your carpet, but we are always here if you need reassurance.

02 What on earth should I be feeding my pet?

We know that when you go to buy food for your pet it can be very confusing. There are many choices available and lots of people that will give you their advice. Pet food companies also complicate things with claims that their food is better than others because it is all natural, paleo, vegan, grain free, wheat free and so on.

The best diet to feed your pet is one that is recommended by us. When it comes to nutrition, we are able to give you the most up to date information that has scientific backing. We will recommend the most appropriate diet no matter what stage of life your pet is at. For example, if you have a puppy, are you feeding it the best food for its breed to ensure correct bone growth? Or if your pet is suffering from a particular disease such as osteoarthritis, are you feeding the best diet to help manage the disease?

It is important to realise that all of the foods we recommend contain natural ingredients and these are precisely balanced for optimum nutrition. This means your pet won’t receive too little or too much of certain nutrients - and this claim is something only particular brands can make.

If you are feeling confused or have any questions regarding your pet’s diet please ask us for more information. When it comes to your pet’s nutrition, we are the best people to ask.

03 How do I know if my pet is overweight?

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and there’s not an ideal weight for every breed of dog or cat. The fact is, many pets are overweight and alarmingly, most people aren’t even aware of what to look for.

Here are our top tips for determining if your pet is carrying a few too many kilos:

1. Look at your pet from above - they will have lost definition of their waist. Instead of an hourglass figure, they may resemble a barrel on legs!
2. Have a feel of your pet’s ribs - you will no longer easily feel their ribs when you run your hands over their sides.
3. Can you see their neck? A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

The very best way to determine whether your pet is overweight is to drop in for a weight check with us. This will allow us to score your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

Thankfully, getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think. Physical exercise will help but it is absolutely crucial that you are feeding your pet the correct diet and the right amount. You also need to ensure all family members are on the same page (so Dad, this means no sneaking them toast at the breakfast table!)

The best news is, there are diets available that will actually help your pet lose weight, including one to increase your pet’s metabolic rate. We are happy to say that many of our patients have had great success with these so you should ask us for more information.

04 Case study: Henry's bloat

This is Henry. Henry is a five-year-old Great Dane who has been in a spot of trouble recently.

Henry presented one afternoon as he was restless, had laboured breathing and was drooling. Examination revealed a bloated abdomen. Henry was immediately admitted for treatment as it was suspected he was suffering from a life-threatening condition known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV).

GDV occurs when the stomach of a dog bloats with gas and food. The stomach then begins to twist, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach and eventually the spleen. The dog is unable to burp and release air from the stomach so gas continues to accumulate. The condition is almost always fatal if not treated rapidly and is considered an emergency.

Deep chested dogs are a particularly high risk of suffering from GDV. Great Danes, German Shepherds and Weimaraners as well as St Bernards, Standard Poodles, Irish Setters and Newfoundlands are all at risk. The only treatment for GDV is an emergency surgery. The stomach is untwisted and sutured to the abdominal wall to prevent it from twisting again. This procedure is known as a gastropexy.

A gastropexy can also be performed as a preventative measure (often at the time of de-sexing). Other precautions to prevent bloat include not exercising your dog before or after feeding and offering smaller meals rather than one large meal. Thankfully Henry’s surgery was successful and he is now recovering from the ordeal.

If you have a deep chested dog we recommend you discuss a preventative gastropexy with us.

05 Old tyres, new beds

Image Source: Instagram

We all love a feel-good story and this one’s a corker, because it not only benefits animals but the environment too.

Meet Amarildo Silva, a 23-year-old artist and entrepreneur from Brazil. In his spare time, Amarildo collects and transforms discarded tyres into animal beds. His family helps him find the old tyres and he then cleans and paints them, and adds a cushion for the pets to sleep on. Through the power of Instagram, he's managed to sell over 500 beds in 2 years! We love the impact these eco-friendly animal beds are having on reducing waste on the planet.

Click here to read more about Silva's amazing work.