Dental Disease

Dental Disease

What is dental disease?

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. If plaque remains it begins to become mineralized from elements such as calcium and magnesium from within the saliva. Mineralised plaque is called calculus. Calculus provides a nice breeding ground for destructive bacteria. Plaque irritates the gums at the tooth-gum interface, and the bacteria it contains proliferate in the groove around each tooth. The bacteria and their by-products cause further inflammation and eventual destruction of the periodontal ligament which anchors the tooth in the socket. Eventually the tooth falls out but not before the surrounding bone is destroyed. When dental disease is just at the gum inflammation stage it is termed gingivitis. As the periodontal ligament is destroyed the disease is termed periodontitis.

IMPORTANT!

You can reverse the effects of gingivitis with a professional prophylaxis and/or homecare techniques however periodontitis is irreversible. Dental disease not only causes bad breath, infections can extend into roots and surrounding bone causing significant pain and discomfort. It can also extend further into the blood stream causing diseases in other parts of the body in your pet.

%

Percentage of Dogs with Dental Disease Age 3 plus

%

Percentage of Cats with Dental Disease Aged 3 plus

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 chew or eat at all, especially hard food.
  • Pain when handled around the head or behavioural changes (e.g. lethargy, increased aggression, disrupted sleeping patterns)
  • Facial swelling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Inflamed (gingivitis) or receding gums

Preventing dental disease

Appropriate Food Premium prescription pet-foods with larger, harder kibble that are completely balanced are available for both dogs and cats at your furlife vet. These foods contain enzymes and ingredients similar to those found in our toothpaste that help to slow the dental disease process and help prevent plaque from forming on the teeth. Pet Dental chews Dental chew products, such as Oravet have been shown to work in two different ways: by decreasing overall bacterial loads in your pets mouth and softening plaque on the tooth surface. Brushing your Peet’s teeth Brushing is the ‘gold standard’ method of keeping your pets teeth clean. We brush our teeth multiple times a day – your pets teeth need to be brushed daily too.

There are many different methods to keep your pet’s “pearly whites” white! For adult cats and dogs with existing dental disease, a dental treatment with a scale and polish under general anaesthetic is often necessary to get their mouth back into top condition. It may also be necessary to remove teeth that are fractured or loose and in certain cases may be followed by treatment with antibiotics to prevent infection, or irritated gums.

In the majority of pet’s lives, there comes a time when their teeth may require veterinary treatment over and above their regular examinations. 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 SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PET’S DENTAL NEEDS MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR FUR LIFE VET

Fur Life Vet Bendigo 
Epsom 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/epsom
Golden Square 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital
Maffra 03 5147 1177
Sale 03 5144 3100
maffravet.com.au

Kyabram Veterinary Clinic
Kyabram 03 5852 2244
Nathalia 03 5866 2860
kyabramvets.com.au

Passionate Vetcare Bendigo 
03 5443 9385
passionatevetcare.com.au

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic
Terang 03 03 5592 2111
Mortlake 03 5599 2612
terangmortlakevet.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary
Warrnambool 03 5561 2255
Port Fairy 03 5568 1855
wvc.com.au

Border Veterinary Clinic
Barham 03 5453 3159
Cohuna 03 5456 2709
Leitchville 03 5456 7334
Kerang 03 5452 2094
bordervets.com.au

Southern Riverina Vets
Finley 03 5883 3833
Echuca 03 5482 3202
Moama 03 5480 6071
Deniliquin 03 5881 5488
sr-vets.com.au

Dubbo Veterinary Hospital
02 6884 1190
dubbovet.net.au

Quirindi Veterinary Clinic
02 6741 2000
quirindivetclinic.com.au

Gympie Veterinary Services
Gympie 07 5482 2488
Tin Can Bay 07 5486 4666
gympieveterinaryservices.com

Scottsdale Veterinary Services
03 6352 2996
scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service
03 6452 6333
smithtonvet.com.au

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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

The pet form of osteoarthritis is the same as the human-form – the human form – inflammation of the bones and cartilage within joints that then causes pain and discomfort.  It is a tell- tale sign that joints are suffering from wear and tear as the pet gradually deteriorates.
Osteoarthritis may: 
• Stop your pet from being active
• Change the way they walk, run or bear weight
• Interfere with the quality time you spend together
Pets are living longer than ever before. While this allows us to spend more quality time with our furry friends, it also leaves us with an extra responsibility to ensure they live comfortably as they age.

Here at Fur Life Vet we have created a great little online Quiz you can take to see if your dog is at risk of arthritis.

It asks a few simple questions about your dog and how he gets around.

It only take 5 minutes and just might help you identify if your dog is suffering in silence!

Arthritis and Dogs
Dogs show pain in many different ways, plus osteoarthritis signs can develop over a period of time. It can be hard to work out if these behaviours are a normal part of aging, or something more.
Is your dog:
  • Limping?
  • Having trouble rising?
  • Less active?
  • Seem uncomfortable when exercising?
  • Detached, irritable, or more dependent than previously?
  • Chewing or licking their joints?
Some dogs may display one or more of these symptoms, however many cases of canine arthritis go undetected. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, a visit to the vet will be the best gift you can give your pooch this year.
Arthritis and Cats
Osteoarthritis in cats is very subtle as symptoms may be more behavioural than physical.
Is your cat:
  • Reluctant to play or jump?
  • Irritable?
  • Seem uncomfortable when grooming?
  • Inactive?
  • Suffering from swollen joints?
  • Limping?
These are common symptoms in arthritic cats. However, as many cats have a sedentary lifestyle (especially in their senior years), it may be difficult to spot they’re in pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a vet visit. Your furry feline will thank you for it!

All the ways your vet can help

They can:
  • Diagnose your pet’s symptoms
  • Provide tailored pain relief so your animal is comfortable
  • Help protect against progression of the disease
  • Suggest ways to manage your pet’s weight – which is often the single most important thing you can do to help your pet long term
  • Offer a range of advice – about rest, exercise, physiotherapy and how to make your pet more comfy around the house (soft bedding, easily accessible litter trays or indoor ramps to help them get to their favourite spots).

Medication

While weight, diet modification and nutritional supplements can all play a role in managing osteoarthritis, so can medication – especially to alleviate your pet’s pain.
NSAIDS
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are one of many options used to manage the condition. They do a few important things such as provide pain relief, reduce inflammation and protect against joint deterioration.
Side effects
As with all medications, side effects can occur.
Common ones are:
  • A mild softening of your pet’s stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Other gastrointestinal signs
If your pet becomes unwell or you suspect your pet is having problems with a medication, STOP it and CONTACT your vet.

Why it’s vital to schedule a vet revisit

If your pet is on NSAID medication, it’s really important you stick to your revisit vet schedule so they can regularly monitor your furry friend with check-ups and lab tests. As lifestyle and medication needs can change over time, your friendly vet might suggest modifications along the way to make sure your best mate continues to live a long and healthy life.

HELPING YOUR PET MOVE INTO THEIR SENIOR YEARS COMFORTABLY & PAIN FREE

Fur Life Vet Bendigo 
Epsom 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/epsom
Golden Square 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital
Maffra 03 5147 1177
Sale 03 5144 3100
maffravet.com.au

Kyabram Veterinary Clinic
Kyabram 03 5852 2244
Nathalia 03 5866 2860
kyabramvets.com.au

Passionate Vetcare Bendigo 
03 5443 9385
passionatevetcare.com.au

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic
Terang 03 03 5592 2111
Mortlake 03 5599 2612
terangmortlakevet.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary
Warrnambool 03 5561 2255
Port Fairy 03 5568 1855
wvc.com.au

Border Veterinary Clinic
Barham 03 5453 3159
Cohuna 03 5456 2709
Leitchville 03 5456 7334
Kerang 03 5452 2094
bordervets.com.au

Southern Riverina Vets
Finley 03 5883 3833
Echuca 03 5482 3202
Moama 03 5480 6071
Deniliquin 03 5881 5488
sr-vets.com.au

Dubbo Veterinary Hospital
02 6884 1190
dubbovet.net.au

Quirindi Veterinary Clinic
02 6741 2000
quirindivetclinic.com.au

Gympie Veterinary Services
Gympie 07 5482 2488
Tin Can Bay 07 5486 4666
gympieveterinaryservices.com

Scottsdale Veterinary Services
03 6352 2996
scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service
03 6452 6333
smithtonvet.com.au

Follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with our latest services, offers and events. And don't forget to subscribe to our super cool eNewsletter too!

Not so sweet corn!

Not so sweet corn!

Not so sweet corn!

A normally active and happy one and half year old year old Staffy came into the clinic with the owner concerned she had gone off her food over the last day or two and was a little lethargic. She was still drinking water and appeared normal except for slight discomfort in the abdominal region. However later on that day she started to vomit so the owner brought her back in to see Dr. Lisa at Fur Life Vet Epsom.

Dr Lisa questioned the owner who reported that the dog had been losing weight over the last month. She was also prone to scavenging from bins, eating anything and everything she found! Dr Lisa examined the Staffy and could feel a solid lump in her mid-abdominal region on palpitation. 

An x-ray showed a suspicious mottled region with areas of gas-filled loops which suggested the poor girl had a foreign body lodged in her intestine.

But what was it?

Dr Lisa performed abdominal surgery on the Staffy and removed a Corn Cob along with a section of damaged small intestine! Yes – a corn cob!

The Staffy with the adventurous appetite will make a full-recovery.

Warning –  yucky photos!

And the lesson from this little story?

Don’t leave corn-cobs (fresh, cooked or leftovers) lying around where your Doggo might just find them!

Fur Life Vet Bendigo 
Epsom 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/epsom
Golden Square 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital
Maffra 03 5147 1177
Sale 03 5144 3100
maffravet.com.au

Kyabram Veterinary Clinic
Kyabram 03 5852 2244
Nathalia 03 5866 2860
kyabramvets.com.au

Passionate Vetcare Bendigo 
03 5443 9385
passionatevetcare.com.au

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic
Terang 03 03 5592 2111
Mortlake 03 5599 2612
terangmortlakevet.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary
Warrnambool 03 5561 2255
Port Fairy 03 5568 1855
wvc.com.au

Border Veterinary Clinic
Barham 03 5453 3159
Cohuna 03 5456 2709
Leitchville 03 5456 7334
Kerang 03 5452 2094
bordervets.com.au

Southern Riverina Vets
Finley 03 5883 3833
Echuca 03 5482 3202
Moama 03 5480 6071
Deniliquin 03 5881 5488
sr-vets.com.au

Dubbo Veterinary Hospital
02 6884 1190
dubbovet.net.au

Quirindi Veterinary Clinic
02 6741 2000
quirindivetclinic.com.au

Gympie Veterinary Services
Gympie 07 5482 2488
Tin Can Bay 07 5486 4666
gympieveterinaryservices.com

Scottsdale Veterinary Services
03 6352 2996
scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service
03 6452 6333
smithtonvet.com.au

Follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with our latest services, offers and events. And don't forget to subscribe to our super cool eNewsletter too!

Summer Heat Tips

Summer Heat Tips

Keeping your pet happy in the heat

Making sure your pet stays well hydrated on hot days is vital. It’s also important to know the warning signs of heat stress. There are a few things pet owners can do to make sure their pets get through hot summer days unscathed. From the basics, like providing plenty of fresh clean water and ample shade, to water activities and even some super cool pet-cocktail recipes to keep them hydrated in a fun way too!

Here are five red-hot dangers, along with tips to help you keep your beloved animal safe and happy during the summer months.

Doggo Dehydration
Water is essential to ensure your dog’s body operates optimally. The combination of hot weather and a lack of shade – or hot weather and a walk (even a short one) – can turn a happy dog into a parched pooch. 
 

Signs of doggo dehydration

  • Dry gums 
  • Excessive panting/drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Reduced skin elasticity (to work out if your dog has reduced skin elasticity, lightly pinch your dog’s skin. If it remains ‘pinched’, they might be dehydrated. Note: this doesn’t work so well for older dogs as like us, their skin loses its springiness as they age!)
 

What to do

There are plenty of things you can do at home, on walks or when you’re on holiday trips to keep your best mate adequately hydrated.
 
At home, ensure they have: 
 
  1. A constant supply of water – Is their bowl big enough to last a full day when you’re work?
  2. A shady spot – one that remains in the shade all day
 
On walks and day/holiday car trips, take: 
 
  1. Extra water and a collapsible bowl, or plastic container
  2. Extra precautions (i.e. medication) if you have a car-sick pooch. Vomiting in hot weather can quickly lead to doggie dehydration 
Heat Stroke
If you’re out walking with your furry friend in hot weather, keep a close eye on them especially if they seem to be panting and/or drooling excessively, or refuse to walk further. Should this happen, they may be overheating. Left unchecked, this can quickly lead to an even more sinister condition – heatstroke. 
 
Dog heatstroke occurs when they can no longer regulate their body temperature. It’s a really serious condition that can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage and even death. Once your dog reaches this stage, quick medical attention is a must.
 
Dogs most at risk of heatstroke are puppies, big, furry or brachycephalic breeds, and overweight pooches. But it’s worth noting any dog is susceptible in hot weather.
 
Serious symptoms of dog heatstroke
 
  • Very heavy panting
  • Thick saliva 
  • Limb weakness 
  • Collapsing
  • Losing consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
 
What to do
 
If your dog shows signs of overheating (excessive panting, slowly down and/or refusing to walk further):
  1. Get them out of the sun
  2. Offer them water
  3. Use a damp towel or cool water to wet their body 
If they don’t seem to be recovering and/or exhibit any of the more serious symptoms above, get them to the vet ASAP.
As with most things in life, prevention is always best. Follow these tips to help your best friend avoid heatstroke:
  1. Don’t leave them out in high temperatures – if you can’t, ensure they have proper shade
  2. Keep them hydrated with access to water at all times
  3. Be smart about when you take them for walkies – aim for coolest part of the day
  4. Watch them carefully when walking for signs of heat stress
  5. Never leave them in hot cars, even for a minute – a cracked window or parking in the shade does very little to reduce internal car temperature
Sunburn
Doggos can get sunburnt just like we do, particularly if they are pale-coloured or have thin hair. Their noses, ears and belly are particularly susceptible.
 
What to do
 
You can use sunscreen but it must be safe to ingest as it’s likely your dog will try to lick it off! There are specific dog sunscreens on the market for this purpose.
 
If you think your pooch has a case of sunburn, seek vet advice. 
Paw Burns
It’s easy to think your pooch’s paws are pretty tough, but they are actually very sensitive. Walking on hot pavements or sand can easily cause scorched paws. The general rule of thumb is: if it’s too hot for your bare feet, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. 
 
What to do
 
  • Avoid going for walks in hot weather – wait for a cooler time, i.e. evenings 
  • Slip your shoes off and test the ground temperature
  • Take note of changes in terrain – it may mean a temperature shift
  • Walk in the shade
  • Carry your dog across hot sections if need be
Stings and Bites
Camping trips, swims at the beach or walks in the bush means your pet is exposed to a range of insects and other animals … and their bites (think snakes, spiders, ticks, fleas and even, jellyfish).  
 
What to do
 
  • Think carefully about where let your dog walk or swim to avoid accidental bites or stings
  • Watch your pooch when they go exploring (i.e. sticking their nose in a dark hole!)
  • Ensure your pet is fully protected with up-to-date vaccinations, parasite & tick control
  • If bitten, seek vet treatment

Other heat tips

  • Give them a summer haircut (but leave enough to prevent sunburnt skin)
  • Don’t muzzle dogs in hot weather (they can’t pant effectively which helps them cool down)
  • Let them have a run in the sprinkler (the bonus – the kids can join in too!)

Case of the month

Case of the month

Molly’s Bladder Stones!

Molly is a 6 year old female Cavalier Poodle that presented to the clinic with a history of frequently urinating small amounts for about a week duration.

On presentation she had urine staining around vulval area and painful on palpation of bladder. Urine was collected and showed some abnormalites – bacteria present, alkaline pH and white blood cells. An ultrasound was performed and could visualise stones situated in the bladder.

Normal dog urine is slightly acidic and contains waste products from metabolism including dissolved mineral salts and other compounds. Struvite is a normal component of dog’s urine and will remain dissolved as long as the urine is acidic and is not too concentrated, if this changes then crystals will form.

In dogs, bladder stones usually form as a complication of a bladder infection caused by bacteria that produce an enzyme known as urease.  This enzyme breaks down the urea that is normally present in the urine causing an excess production of ammonia; this ammonia production then causes the urine to become alkaline.

Ammonia in the urine also causes inflammation of the bladder. Under these conditions, struvite crystals will precipitate out of solution and collect around any cells or debris that may have formed in the bladder as a result of inflammation.

Female dogs tend to get these types of bladder infections and stones much more frequently than males, probably because their shorter, wider urethra makes it easier for bacteria to pass up the urethra into the bladder.

Molly underwent surgery called a cystotomy, this involves opening up the bladder under a general anaesthetic. The stones where removed successfully and the bladder and urethra were thoroughly flushed with saline.

Molly recovered well after surgery with an indwelling urinary catheter for a couple of days to ensure healing of the bladder without it being stretched too much.

We have sent the stones off to be evaluated in a laboratory to interpret what they exactly are.

Molly needs to be on a special prescription diet to stop the development of more stones in the future.

Caring for your pet in their senior years

Caring for your pet in their senior years

Many of us have had a ‘senior moment’ or two as we get on in years – keys in the fridge, anyone? But did you realise that as they age, your dog or cat will have their own senior moments too? In this article, we explore some signs your dog or cat may exhibit as they reach their senior stage and what you can do to ensure you keep them in tip-top shape and with you for as long as possible.

The signs Whether you’ve got a cat or a dog, the tell-tale signs of age are fairly similar. Here’s a quick rundown (and we know you’ll have a chuckle when you realise how akin they are to ours).

Your dog or cat’s key signs:

  • hair greys
  • their reflexes aren’t as sharp
  • their senses diminish, particularly their hearing, eyesight and smell
  • there’s a marked decrease in their activity
  • they sleep longer and more soundly (can be hard to distinguish with cats as they love to nap!)
  • their movements may appear stiff, laboured or painful

Generally speaking, these signs start to crop up in dogs 10+ years of age. In bigger breeds, like Great Danes, it may be as early as 8. For cats who live indoors – and especially if desexed – it could be anywhere between the ages of 7 to 11. Who’s the best person to help you judge if your pet’s reached their senior years? The prize goes to anyone who answered – my vet! And that brings us to our first top tip in helping you and your animal in their older years …

Health care tips for senior cats/dogs

Up your vet visits:

Just like their human counterparts, senior pets should visit their doctor regularly for check-ups. Aim for a thorough examination every 6 months, as adult cats and dogs can age as much as 3-4 years (in human terms) in a year. Thank the universe we don’t, right?
While you’re there, tell your Vet if you notice changes in your animal’s physical condition or behaviour. Often fur-parents assume changes are related to their pet’s advanced age but they could also be symptoms of a treatable medical condition like osteoarthritis. Early detection means fast and more effective treatment – a win for you and your pet.

Bonus tip: Schedule a visit in the lead up to the colder months to ensure your best mate is fit and ready before the cold sets in.

Rethink their diet:

You might notice your pet eats less which is quite natural if they’re not moving around as much. However, even if they’re eating less, they may gain weight and that’s thanks to the slowing of their metabolism (yep, we’re talking about your pet’s version of the dreaded ‘middle age spread’!).
It could also go the other way and they lose weight. No matter which one, diet is paramount. Excess weight or nutritional deficiencies can contribute to a variety of health-related issues in older pets (diabetes, gum/teeth disease etc). Smaller quantities of low-calorie food are a good idea. If you’re worried about their weight, seek your vet’s advice.

Bonus tip: to beat the podgy-pet syndrome, don’t feed them table scraps or snacks and consider two smaller meals per day, rather than one big one.

Make ‘em comfy:

As they age – particularly if they are overweight or have sore joints – pets may find it difficult to bend down to eat or drink. To make it easier for them, consider investing in a specially designed table with cut-outs for food and drink at variable heights. If you’re handy, you can make a DIY one out of a crate – or perhaps something fancier!

Grooming & exercise:

  • Keep up their worm and parasite control
  • Brush those toothy-pegs on a daily basis
  • Get them out and about as appropriate to their capabilities – short bursts of activity may be better
  • Do a weekly nail check for cats as they may not use their scratching post as often

*Offer valid for in-clinic Senior Wellness Check (cat and dog).  Promotion starts on the 1st March 2018 to May 31st 2018
Any further diagnostics, medications or treatments are not included. 10% off bloods ^Discount valid for standard blood profile test.