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Ophthalmic

Ophthalmic surgery is the specific area of pet care involving treatment of an animal’s eyes. For certain breeds, this service also involves the examination and certification of breeding dogs to verify their eyes are in good condition.

Eye examinations require specific equipment, such as an ophthalmoscope (a magnifying light to look into the eye). Our veterinarians may also use a special dye called fluorescein (it glows a green/yellow colour under a UV light) to identify damage to the cornea (the clear layer at the front of the eye). Many eye conditions can be treated medically, however, specific conditions may require surgery

Our practice is fully equipped to offer the following eye surgeries:

  • Enucleation (removal) of the eye for severe glaucoma or cancer cases  
  • Entropion surgery to prevent ocular damage from inward pointing eye lashes/eyelids
  • Ectropion surgery to correct outward facing lower eyelids
  • Eyelid tumour removal
  • Cherry eye surgery to correct a protruding third eyelid in dogs
  • Surgery to repair corneal ulcers (ulcers on the eye surface)

Our veterinarians can also refer your pet to a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist for specialised procedures such as eye ultrasound, vision testing or cataract removal.

Soft Tissue

Our veterinarians’ high level of expertise and our practice’s fully equipped surgical suite allows us to perform the vast majority of soft tissue surgical procedures that your pet may require. Soft tissue surgery encompasses any surgery that is not related to bones. It includes procedures such as desexing, exploratory laporotomies, caesareans, lump removals, biopsies, wound stitch-ups, removal of intestinal foreign bodies – the list is endless!

A very common soft tissue surgery is the removal of lumps. Some lumps may require a biopsy prior to removal to help understand whether they are cancerous or not. This information assists us in planning the surgery accordingly to give your pet the best possible outcome. Once they have been removed we recommend sending them to our external laboratory for analysis.

Although most lumps are benign (not harmful), a minority are more serious (malignant). In the case of malignant (cancerous) tumours, early removal and an accurate diagnosis is extremely important to maximise the chances of a good outcome.

If you find a lump or bump on your pet please make an appointment to visit one of our veterinarians to discuss any surgery your pet may require.

Please see our section under desexing for more details about this surgery.

Orthopaedic

Orthopaedic surgery encompasses any surgery that is related to bones or joints. It includes procedures such as fracture repairs, ligament repairs and spinal surgery to name a few. 

Our veterinarians’ high level of expertise and our practice’s fully equipped surgical suite allows us to perform certain orthopaedic surgical procedures that your pet may require. These may include:

  • Cranial cruciate ligament repair
  • Fracture (broken bone) repair
  • Amputations for severe injuries or bone cancer cases

Complicated orthopaedic cases, such as spinal surgery, will need to be referred to a specialist orthopaedic surgeon. Our veterinarians will assess each case individually and provide the best advice for you and your pet.

Desexing

Desexing or neutering is a common surgical procedure that involves removing the reproductive organs of your pet to prevent them from reproducing. In males, this procedure is commonly referred to as “castration,” which involves removing the testes, while in females, it is called “spaying,” which involves removing the ovaries and uterus. It is generally a safe and routine surgery and in most cases, your pet can go home on the same day as the surgery.

Desexing your pet before 6 months of age has several benefits, including a reduced risk of certain health issues, such as testicular cancer, prostate disease, pyometra (infection of the uterus), and mammary tumors (breast cancer). Additionally, desexing can help prevent unwanted litters and reduce aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males.

However, even if your pet is older than 6 months, they can still be desexed. It’s never too late to have your pet desexed, and there are still many benefits to doing so, including reducing the risk of certain health issues and preventing unwanted litters. Moreover, desexing can help your pet live a longer and healthier life and can also reduce council registration fees.

What to do before and after surgery

Before surgery:

  • Book a date for your pets operation
  • Wash your dog the day before surgery, as they will not be able to be washed until the stitches are removed
  • Do not give any food after 10pm the night before the operation
  • Do not give any water after 8am on the day of surgery
  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
  • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic
  • Some pets may require intravenous fluid support during surgery, which will be discussed with you prior to the procedure
  • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, they will receive pain relief prior to the surgery and will be sent home with pain relief medication for a few days after the procedure
  • It’s important to follow any other pre-surgical instructions your veterinarian provides to ensure the best possible outcome for your pet

After Surgery:

  • They will be feeling a bit tired, the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely
  • Keep them quiet to allow the wound to heal
  • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night of the surgery
  • Follow any further dietary instructions that the vet has provided
  • Ensure any post-surgical medications is administered as per the label instructions
  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection
  • Check the incision at least twice a day for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear
  • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound – we send you home with an e-collar to assist with this problem
  • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches

Common questions about desexing

Q. Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?
A. Some pets may become calmer and less aggressive after being desexed, but it is not guaranteed. Some pets may still exhibit unwanted behaviors even after being desexed, and it is important to address these behaviors with appropriate training and management techniques. It is always best to discuss any concerns about your pet’s behavior with your veterinarian.

Q. Should my female have one litter first?
A. There is no medical or behavioral benefit to allowing a female pet to have a litter before desexing her. In fact, there are potential risks associated with breeding, such as pregnancy complications and the risk of passing on genetic disorders to offspring.

Q. Will it cause my pet to become fat?
A. Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing. However, this can easily be managed with proper diet and exercise. It is important to monitor your pet’s weight and body condition regularly and adjust their food intake and exercise routine as needed to maintain a healthy weight.

Q. Is desexing painful?
A. As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

Q. Will my dog lose its “guard dog” instinct?
A. No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery. Proper training and socialisation are key to ensuring that a dog’s protective instincts are directed in appropriate ways. It is always recommended to work with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist if you have concerns about your dog’s behavior.

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to your pet’s desexing, give us a call to discuss.

Nail Clipping

Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of the routine care of your pet.  It is essential for elderly and indoor pets, whereas outdoor pets may wear their nails down naturally. The requirement for nail trimming can vary depending on breed, age, level of exercise and the environment in which your pet is kept. Working and herding breeds of dogs are active and generally have compact feet with well arched toes that angle the toenails downwards towards the ground. If these dogs are active on hard surfaces such as gravel, rock and concrete, their nails may not need trimming until they slow down with age and exercise less, however you will still need to attend to their dew claws (the little claws on the inside of their front legs that don’t touch the ground) regularly. Other breeds may have nails that grow more forward than downward, and therefore no matter how much exercise they get on rough ground, it is unlikely they will wear down naturally. Some dogs may benefit from having the tips of their nails taken off once every week or two, however for most it will be longer than this, and you will have to decide what is right for your dog by inspecting its nails on a regular basis. Certainly, if you notice a change in the sound of your dog’s nails on hard floors this is a pretty good indication that it is time for a trim. 

Cats also require nail clipping, with the frequency depending on their lifestyle. Indoor-only cats will need more regular nail trims whereas outdoor cats may naturally wear their nails and require less frequent trimming.

What happens if my pet’s nails get too long?

If a pet’s nails are allowed to grow, they can split, break or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes. Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long that they can curl backward into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful for dogs (it’s like walking in shoes that are too small). Cats are able to retract their claws so this is less common for them, however,cats do still need to have their nails regularly clipped (especially if they don’t get much natural wear and tear). Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain. Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed on at least a monthly basis. If not, the quick tends to grow out with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and very painful for the pet. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, pressing the nail into a bar of soap will effectively stop the bleeding.

We have a variety of nail clippers that suit different pets – from the very small to the very tall.  Make an appointment today to have your pet’s nails checked.  We can also teach you how to do it if you would prefer to cut them yourself.

Nutritional Advice

Knowledgebase

Along with regular exercise and veterinary care, careful nutrition is the best way you can contribute to your pet’s prolonged good health. 

These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:

  • Water is the most essential nutrient in any diet. Your pet’s body is made up of approximately 70% water and will quickly perish without it. Ensure your pet can access fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
  • Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption. Too much fat however, can lead to such obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
  • Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet’s body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the blood stream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
  • Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet’s immune system during times of stress.

How do you make sure your pet’s diet is healthy?

We strongly recommend that you: 

  • Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding generic pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas.
  • Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or “kibble”) is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.
  • Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet’s ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
  • Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories.
  • Avoid “people” food. Your pet’s digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps will result in an unbalanced diet, can cause stomach upsets or even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

Life Cycle Feeding 

Your pet’s nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable.

Please give us a call to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life. 

Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!

RE-ORDER FOOD

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Your Pet’s Oral Health

It is important for our pet’s to maintain good oral health to prevent gum disease and problems with their teeth. Alarmingly, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three.

There are 2 simple ways to maintain your pet’s oral health, the first is using Oral Wipes there are many options available to purchase and that we sell in the clinic. They are easy to use, a quick wipe over the teeth at regular intervals removes and reduces plaque build up. Our nurses can you show the process and advise you on how regularly to use.

Another great way is to introduce teeth brushing, although this may sound odd it, with some simple training your dog may find brushing their teeth a positive experience.
Start the training by choosing either a dog toothbrush and toothpaste kit or just use a kids soft bristled toothbrush and water. Show your dog their toothbrush and then give it a treat, do this every day for the first week. By the time you reach week 2, most dogs will see the toothbrush and it will trigger an understanding that a treat is coming.  The toothbrush now means “treat”!
Once your dog is excited by seeing the toothbrush, touch it to your dog’s lips followed by a treat. Now your dog should be tolerating the touching of the toothbrush to the lips. If you are using dog toothpaste, you may like to let your dog have a sniff and taste of the paste. See if your dog will tolerate a gentle rub of the front teeth with the toothbrush followed immediately by a treat. By week four your dog should be tolerating the brush entering his mouth and allowing you to gently brush some teeth.  

  • Don’t rush
  • Don’t try to brush the entire mouth
  • Follow every session with a treat

Your dog will begin to understand that this is part of the daily routine and always leads to a desired food reward. Over time you may find you can give the whole mouth a good brush.

Initially focus on the incisors (small front teeth) and canines (large pointy teeth).  The molars at the back of the mouth do get a workout with chewing.  You can include the molars when the dog will allow.

If you can manage to brush your dog’s teeth THREE times per week it will reduce plaque by 75% and this will reduce tartar and subsequent periodontal disease.

Puppy Toilet Training Tips

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also bring some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is toilet training. Puppies have small bladders and need to go frequently, which means accidents are bound to happen, however, with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your puppy to use a designated toileting area in no time.

Choose a designated toileting area
The first step in toilet training your puppy is to choose a designated toileting area. This area should be easily accessible and grassy, secluded, and away from your living areas. Taking your puppy to the same spot every time they need to go will help them understand that this is where they should be going to the toilet.

Use positive reinforcement
Puppies respond well to positive reinforcement. Whenever your puppy goes to the designated toileting area, verbally praise and encourage them. This positive reinforcement will encourage your puppy to repeat the behavior and use the designated area consistently.

Avoid punishment
Never punish your puppy for toileting in the wrong spot, this can cause fear and anxiety, which will hinder the training process. Instead, if you catch your puppy toileting in the wrong spot, calmly pick them up and take them to the designated toileting area. When they go in the right spot, offer them plenty of praise.

Be consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to toilet training your puppy. Take your puppy to the designated toileting area frequently, especially after eating, sleeping, or playing. By being consistent, you’ll help your puppy understand where they should be going to the toilet.

Be patient
Toilet training takes time, and accidents are bound to happen. It’s essential to be patient and not get frustrated when your puppy has an accident. Remember, your puppy is still learning, and mistakes are part of the learning process.

Clean up accidents properly
If your puppy has an accident inside the house, it’s crucial to clean it up properly. Use a specially designed cleaner that’s formulated to eliminate the odor completely. Avoid using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can encourage your puppy to go in the same spot again.

Toilet training your puppy can be a challenging experience, but with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can succeed. Choose a designated toileting area, use positive reinforcement, avoid punishment, be consistent, be patient, and clean up accidents properly. With time and effort, your puppy will learn to use the designated area consistently, making toilet training a breeze for both you and your furry friend.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is becoming more and more popular in Australia. It offers you peace of mind as it covers some or all of the treatment costs if your pet was ever involved in an accident or suffers a sudden illness. There is no equivalent of Medicare for pets, thus often treatment costs exceed what an equivalent problem would cost for a human patient. Did you know that 24 hr emergency care for animals can cost over $1000 per day? Some surgeries such as repair of fractured bones or exploratory surgery can also add up to thousands of dollars and that does not even include the recovery and aftercare treatment. It is a heartbreaking situation to have to choose between the health of your pet and financial constraints, so for peace of mind we strongly recommend that your pet is insured.

There are several companies that offer pet insurance and we can help you find one that best suits your needs and your pet.

What does pet insurance cover? 

Individual packages vary in the type of treatment covered. However, they usually include most accidents and unexpected illnesses.
You need to consider the differences between policies, in particular the claim excess amount, proportion of treatment costs covered, annual claim limit, age restrictions, pre-existing illness exclusions and policy costs.
We highly recommend pet insurance and encourage you to discuss it with us at your next visit.

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