General health issues and common ailments

Our pets can experience a range of health issues including osteoarthritis, heart and kidney disease. Find out about these conditions and other common ailments right here.

General Health Issues

Just like us our pets can experience a range of health issues. Find out about some of the more common conditions right here.

General Health Issues

During their lifetime our pets are likely to experience conditions such as osteoarthritis and potentially heart and kidney disease. With the growing epidemic of obesity, which even our pets are not immune too, diseases such as diabetes are all too common. But the most common complaint we see on a day-to-day basis at Fur life Vet involves ears!

From allergies through to pesky ear mites ears can be problematic if not treated when symptoms first arise. Often times ear problems are picked up accidentally when an animal is in at Fur Life Vet for an entirely different reason!

 

To help you understand and recognise the symptoms of some of the most common problems pets may encounter in their lifetime read through the information below. If you recognise any of the symptoms in your pet or you have any questions get in touch with your local Fur Life Vet today.

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.

Watch out for these symptoms:

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.

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!

Help your pet move into their senior years comfortably and pain free

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)

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.

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.

Heart Disease

Making sure you take your pet to the vet for an annual health check is an important step in keeping your pet’s heart healthy. And as your pet ages a check-up every 6 months is highly recommended. Your pet’s heart is responsible for pumping blood to different parts of the body, (same as with our hearts) helping organs and muscles function properly and stay healthy. To do its job effectively your pet’s heart needs to be in tip-top-shape!

Heart disease and your dog

Heart disease is almost as common in dogs as in people. Most forms of heart disease cannot be prevented however heart disease caused by heartworm can easily be avoided with year-round preventatives. The most common form of heart disease in dogs is valvular disease, which primarily affects small breed dogs over 5 years. Diseases, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, primarily affects large breed dogs. Dogs are often at risk for certain types of heart disease depending on genetics, breed, age, and size.

Dog Breeds Commonly Affected by Heart Disease

  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Great Danes
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Boxers
  • Poodles
  • Pekingese
  • Boston Terriers
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Heart disease and your cat

Heart disease is one of the leading cause of sudden death in cats from young to middle-aged. Cats are most commonly affected by a type of heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the walls of the heart thicken and do not pump blood effectively. This can lead to heart failure. This type of heart disease can be found in cats of any age and because it is more common among some cat breeds than others, there may be a genetic predisposition.

Cat Breeds Commonly Affected by Heart Disease

  • American Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Siamese
  • Ragdoll
  • Sphynx
Kidney Disease

The Facts

In their lifetime, over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease. And they typically do not show any signs of illness until their kidneys have lost most of their function permanently. As pets age, the likelihood pets will develop kidney disease worsens. In fact, more than half of cats over age 15 have this debilitating disease!

Kidney disease in cats

  • Kidney disease will likely impact 1 in 3 cats or more!
  • Certain diseases and hereditary conditions may make your cat more likely to develop kidney disease.
  • Early diagnosis, before symptoms become obvious, can be key in identifying the cause of kidney disease.

Kidney disease in dogs

Kidney disease is very common in dogs with studies showing that 1 in 10 dogs may suffer from kidney disease. Dogs can get kidney disease for a number of reasons and it’s often difficult to spot. Some of the earliest signs of kidney disease in dogs may include weight loss, urinating more often and drinking more water than usual. If you notice your dog is urinating more frequently, having accidents inside or asking to go out more, or if your dog is always thirsty, it’s time to Get Vet Checked!

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

Both cats and dogs exhibit very similar signs when it comes to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Unfortunately, these symptoms usually appear in the later stage of the disease.

  • Increased/excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Subtle weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath with a chemical odour
  • Mouth sores

What is kidney disease?

Kidneys are amazing little work horses in both humans and animals. These organs do all sorts of vital things like filter blood, process waste, balance body water levels and maintain red blood cells.

When they’re working at good capacity, all is well. But a dip in kidney function (which is the definition of kidney disease) has all sorts of consequences and if chronic, it can lead to failure. In pets, it’s pretty hard to detect until things start to get really bad and not much can be done to help.

SDMA – Changing the face of pet kidney disease diagnosis

A simple blood test is changing things for the better for Aussies pets and their owners. Read on to learn more about kidney disease, how it affects pets, the signs to watch out for, the SDMA early detection test and tips for caring for pets with kidney disease.

This test helps vets detect kidney function loss much earlier than previous tests – 45% loss as opposed to 75% loss.

Vets can then put proactive plans in place to help preserve pets’ kidney function, thereby giving them a better quality of life and hopefully, a much longer one too.

Common Causes

  • Toxins
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Kidney stones & associated blockages
  • Inflammation & damage to tubes and/or filters
  • Hereditary diseases in some breeds

Any of the above can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Treatment

Waiting is the enemy when it comes to CKD. The longer you do, the more chance your pet’s kidney function will be severely reduced, permanently so. At this stage, treatment options are pretty limited, particularly as dialysis and transplants are not common for pets.

But there is some good news. A new blood test is giving vets the opportunity to detect kidney problems at a much earlier stage.

Tips for pet’s with CKD

  1. Give ‘em lots of fresh water
  2. Ensure they have quick & easy access to ‘go potty’ (ask a neighbour/friend/family member to help during the work day if need be)
  3. Consult with your vet to make sure they have a kidney-friendly diet
  4. Keep on top of any associated protein or high blood pressure issues with regular vet checks
  5. Be patient with them & their increased needs
Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to control blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II.

Type I

Also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone released when blood sugar levels are high, such as after meals, and directs cells in the body to move sugar out of the blood stream and into cells for storage or energy.

Type II

Unlike Type I, in Type II diabetes, insulin is being produced but the body becomes less responsive to its effects, which is why it is also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Regardless of the cause, both forms of diabetes result in chronically elevated blood sugar levels that damage capillaries and lead to different complications like nerve damage, kidney failure, and even death.

Symptoms of Diabetes (Dogs & cats)

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination – your pet produces more urine per day or has accidents in the house
  • Excessive hunger while losing weight
  • Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
  • Does not groom (cats)
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Thinning, dry, and dull fur

Risk Factors in Cats

  • Obesity
  • Age (older cats are more susceptible)
  • Neutered males
  • Genetics
  • Other insulin-resistant disorders or diseases, such as:
    • chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
    • hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Indoor lifestyle

Risk Factors in Dogs

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Breed–these breeds have a higher risk for developing diabetes:
    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Dachshunds
    • Dobermanns
    • German Shepherds
    • Golden Retrievers
    • Labrador Retrievers
    • Pomeranians
    • Terriers
    • Toy Poodles
    • Miniature Schnauzers
    • Keeshounds

Treatment

Fortunately, diabetes is manageable. With the right medications, diet and weight loss, diabetes can usually be controlled. The goal of treatment is to prevent high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Insulin is the primary treatment for both dogs and cats. There are several different types of insulin available with different durations of action.

In addition to medications, diet and weight loss are just as important when it comes to treating diabetes in pets. Talk to your Fur Life Vet about what, if any, nutritional changes are necessary for your pet.

Weight loss is important because obesity is a common cause of insulin resistance. Fatty tissue releases factors that impair the effects of insulin. To promote weight loss, you should exercise your pets in addition to following your vet’s dietary suggestions. Encourage active play and exercise for both dogs and cats.

Ear Issues

Ear complaints are one of the most common issues with our pets and often are only diagnosed by chance!

If we had to name the most common issues we see every day with pets then problem ears would be high on the list if not at the top. And for the most part ear problems are identified secondary to the reason the pet was actually at the vet in the first place!

But here’s the pinch … ear issues can be darn painful for your pooch and if left untreated  can become chronic, leading to hearing loss or hematomas due to the incessant head-shaking and scratching.

Don’t let your dog (or cat) suffer needlessly. Read about the common causes, symptoms and potential treatments below.

Causes

  • Ear mites
  • Foreign bodies like grass seeds
  • Allergies
  • Polyps or tumors
  • Infection
  • Conformation: Large floppy ears cover the canal, trap moisture and decrease airflow creating the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast.

Symptoms

  • Shaking head
  • Red inflamed ears
  • Rubbing or scratching at ears
  • Head tilt (carrying head on the side)
  • Painful sensitive ears
  • Ear discharge
  • Dark brown or black build up in ears

Treatment

The aim of treatment is to clean the ear, decrease inflammation, treat pain, and ultimately address the underlying cause.

Depending on the diagnosis, your Fur Life Vet will provide the appropriate medications and of course remove any foreign bodies that may have caused the inflammation and secondary infection.

Prevention

How do you prevent ear infections? 

We have provided a few simple tips below and some extra information on one of the most common ear problems … those pesky ear mites!

All About Ear Mites!

If your best friend is constantly scratching his ears and shaking his head, or you smell something less than pleasant coming from his ears, the culprit may be ear mites.
Ear mites look like miniscule crabs. Their preferred environment is your dog’s ear canal, although they can move out of the ear to the hosts head and body.

What’s particularly unpleasant about these little crab-like mites is what they eat: namely, your dog! They love to feed on tissue and fluids inside the ear canal.

Ear mites are most commonly found in puppies and dogs that have poor immune systems (and they can also be found in cats). They have a three-week life cycle and reproduce rapidly.

 

Symptoms of Ear Mite include:

  • Scratching
  • Increased earwax
  • Thick, black-colored ear discharge
  • Head shaking
  • Sores around or on the ears
  • Itching of the head and neck

Diagnosis

Your Fur Life Vet  may do the following test to determine if your pooch has Ear Mite.

  • Ear swab and microscopic evaluation to identify the presence of the mites
  • Visual inspection of the ear canal with an otoscope
  • Other routine laboratory tests such as blood work, a chemistry profile, and electrolytes to screen for organ function, infection, and electrolyte status if your dog or puppy is in poor body condition or lethargic
  • Feacal tests to rule out other parasites

Treatment

Your Fur Life Vet will clean your dog’s ears while he or she is there for her exam and most likely prescribe parasiticides that will kill the mites, and recommend an ear cleaner to keep the ear canal clean of debris.

Looking after your pet’s ears

Keep your pet’s ears clean!

Some breeds of dogs are prone to ear infections and benefit from having their ears cleaned regularly.

Never use water, alcohol or peroxide. Make sure you use an ear cleaner designed for pets.  Ear cleaners are gentle and formulated for use in the ear. Next time you are at your Fur Life Vet ask them to show you how to properly and safely clean your pet’s ears.

Keep your pet’s ears dry.

Excessive moisture predisposes pets to ear infections, so try not to get water in your pet’s ears when bathing them and try to limit swimming if your pet has a history of ear infections.

Catch and treat ear infections early.

Know the symptoms of an ear infection so you can recognise them in your pet. If your pet is shaking their head, scratching at their ears, or has foul-smelling discharge from their ears, Get veet Checked!

Early intervention can help avoid the problems associated with chronic ear infections.

Guide to cleaning your pet’s ears

Step One Preparation

Clean and trim the outside of the dogs ear and ear flap to remove excess, matted or dirty hair.

The first step in cleaning your dogs ears is all about general grooming. Start by carefully grooming and trimming any excess, matted or dirty hair from around the ear flap and canal. Hair that is matted, dense or dirty around the ear flaps can restrict air flow to the ear canal creating a warm and moist environment that allows wax and other debris to build up that resulting in ear infections. If your dog has hair that is growing within the ear canals you will need to take extra care to avoid damaging the ear canal or creating additional discomfort for you dog. In these circumstances it is best to seek assistance from your vet or a professional and qualified groomer.

Make sure you talk to your Fur Life Vet about the best ear cleaning solution for your dog.

Step Two – Cleaning

Cleaning your dog’s ears – be gentle!

Remember pets ear canals and flaps are very sensitive. Over harsh cleaning can cause injury or even serious damage to the structure of the inner ear!

Gently lift the ear flap and dribble a small amount of the cleaning fluid into the ear. Do not overflow the ear canal, just enough fluid to fill the ear. Now gently massage the base of your dogs ear for roughly 30 seconds. You should hear a squishing sound as the liquid is moved around inside the ear canal. This exercise should not be painful to you dog in any way. If it is you should have your vet examine your pets ears immediately. Repeat the process with the other ear.

Step back – your dog will likely give his head a good shake! 

In shaking his head your dog will help to bring the wax and dirt up out of the ear canal. Take a clean cotton ball and gently wipe the inside of the ear removing any wax or dirt and excess cleaning solution you see.

Do not use cotton buds! If you place the cotton bud too deeply into the ear you may damage the ear drum causing permanent hearing loss and pain for your pet.

Gently and patiently clean the ear with soft cotton balls. For smaller dogs it might be wise to use half a cotton ball.

Step Three – How Often?

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

The regularity with which you clean your dog’s ears depends on your pet’s breed, coat, level of activity, age, and ear wax production.

At Fur Life Vet we recommend cleaning at least once a month. Some dogs may need their ears cleaned more frequently , especially if they regularly swim or get their ears wet.

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.

Watch out for these symptoms:

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.

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!

Help your pet move into their senior years comfortably and pain free

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)

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.

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.

Heart Disease and your pet

Making sure you take your pet to the vet for an annual health check is an important step in keeping your pet’s heart healthy. And as your pet ages a check-up every 6 months is highly recommended. Your pet’s heart is responsible for pumping blood to different parts of the body, (same as with our hearts) helping organs and muscles function properly and stay healthy. To do its job effectively your pet’s heart needs to be in tip-top-shape!

Heart disease and your cat

Heart disease is one of the leading cause of sudden death in cats from young to middle-aged. Cats are most commonly affected by a type of heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the walls of the heart thicken and do not pump blood effectively. This can lead to heart failure. This type of heart disease can be found in cats of any age and because it is more common among some cat breeds than others, there may be a genetic predisposition.

Heart disease and your dog

Heart disease is almost as common in dogs as in people. Most forms of heart disease cannot be prevented however heart disease caused by heartworm can easily be avoided with year-round preventatives. The most common form of heart disease in dogs is valvular disease, which primarily affects small breed dogs over 5 years. Diseases, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, primarily affects large breed dogs. Dogs are often at risk for certain types of heart disease depending on genetics, breed, age, and size.

Cat Breeds Commonly Affected by Heart Disease
  • American Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Siamese
  • Ragdoll
  • Sphynx
Dog Breeds Commonly Affected by Heart Disease
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Great Danes
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Boxers
  • Poodles
  • Pekingese
  • Boston Terriers
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Kidney Disease – The facts

In their lifetime, over 1 in 3 cats and 1 in 10 dogs will get kidney disease. And they typically do not show any signs of illness until their kidneys have lost most of their function permanently. As pets age, the likelihood pets will develop kidney disease worsens. In fact, more than half of cats over age 15 have this debilitating disease!

Kidney disease in cats

  • Kidney disease will likely impact 1 in 3 cats or more!
  • Certain diseases and hereditary conditions may make your cat more likely to develop kidney disease.
  • Early diagnosis, before symptoms become obvious, can be key in identifying the cause of kidney disease.

Kidney disease in dogs

Kidney disease is very common in dogs with studies showing that 1 in 10 dogs may suffer from kidney disease. Dogs can get kidney disease for a number of reasons and it’s often difficult to spot. Some of the earliest signs of kidney disease in dogs may include weight loss, urinating more often and drinking more water than usual. If you notice your dog is urinating more frequently, having accidents inside or asking to go out more, or if your dog is always thirsty, it’s time to Get Vet Checked!

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

Both cats and dogs exhibit very similar signs when it comes to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Unfortunately, these symptoms usually appear in the later stage of the disease.

 

  • Increased/excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Subtle weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath with a chemical odour
  • Mouth sores

What is kidney disease?

Kidneys are amazing little work horses in both humans and animals. These organs do all sorts of vital things like filter blood, process waste, balance body water levels and maintain red blood cells.

When they’re working at good capacity, all is well. But a dip in kidney function (which is the definition of kidney disease) has all sorts of consequences and if chronic, it can lead to failure. In pets, it’s pretty hard to detect until things start to get really bad and not much can be done to help.

 

SDMA – Changing the face of pet kidney disease diagnosis

A simple blood test is changing things for the better for Aussies pets and their owners. Read on to learn more about kidney disease, how it affects pets, the signs to watch out for, the SDMA early detection test and tips for caring for pets with kidney disease.

This test helps vets detect kidney function loss much earlier than previous tests – 45% loss as opposed to 75% loss.

Vets can then put proactive plans in place to help preserve pets’ kidney function, thereby giving them a better quality of life and hopefully, a much longer one too.

Common Causes
  • Toxins
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Kidney stones & associated blockages
  • Inflammation & damage to tubes and/or filters
  • Hereditary diseases in some breeds

Any of the above can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Treatment

Waiting is the enemy when it comes to CKD. The longer you do, the more chance your pet’s kidney function will be severely reduced, permanently so. At this stage, treatment options are pretty limited, particularly as dialysis and transplants are not common for pets.

 

But there is some good news. A new blood test is giving vets the opportunity to detect kidney problems at a much earlier stage.

 

Tips for pets with CKD
  1. Give ‘em lots of fresh water
  2. Ensure they have quick & easy access to ‘go potty’ (ask a neighbour/friend/family member to help during the work day if need be)
  3. Consult with your vet to make sure they have a kidney-friendly diet
  4. Keep on top of any associated protein or high blood pressure issues with regular vet checks
  5. Be patient with them & their increased needs

Diabetes and your pet

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to control blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, Type I and Type II.

Type I

Also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone released when blood sugar levels are high, such as after meals, and directs cells in the body to move sugar out of the blood stream and into cells for storage or energy.

Type II

Unlike Type I, in Type II diabetes, insulin is being produced but the body becomes less responsive to its effects, which is why it is also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Regardless of the cause, both forms of diabetes result in chronically elevated blood sugar levels that damage capillaries and lead to different complications like nerve damage, kidney failure, and even death.

Risk Factors in Cats

  • Obesity
  • Age (older cats are more susceptible)
  • Neutered males
  • Genetics
  • Other insulin-resistant disorders or diseases, such as:
    • chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
    • hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
  • Physical inactivity
  • Indoor lifestyle

Symptoms of Diabetes (Dogs & cats)

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination – your pet produces more urine per day or has accidents in the house
  • Excessive hunger while losing weight
  • Lethargy (less active/sleeps more)
  • Does not groom (cats)
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Thinning, dry, and dull fur

Risk Factors in Dogs

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Breed–these breeds have a higher risk for developing diabetes:
    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Dachshunds
    • Dobermanns
    • German Shepherds
    • Golden Retrievers
    • Labrador Retrievers
    • Pomeranians
    • Terriers
    • Toy Poodles
    • Miniature Schnauzers
    • Keeshounds

Treatment

Fortunately, diabetes is manageable. With the right medications, diet and weight loss, diabetes can usually be controlled. The goal of treatment is to prevent high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Insulin is the primary treatment for both dogs and cats. There are several different types of insulin available with different durations of action.

In addition to medications, diet and weight loss are just as important when it comes to treating diabetes in pets. Talk to your Fur Life Vet about what, if any, nutritional changes are necessary for your pet.

Weight loss is important because obesity is a common cause of insulin resistance. Fatty tissue releases factors that impair the effects of insulin. To promote weight loss, you should exercise your pets in addition to following your vet’s dietary suggestions. Encourage active play and exercise for both dogs and cats.

Ear complaints are one of the most common issues with our pets and often are only diagnosed by chance!

If we had to name the most common issues we see every day with pets then problem ears would be high on the list if not at the top. And for the most part ear problems are identified secondary to the reason the pet was actually at the vet in the first place!

But here's the pinch ... ear issues can be darn painful for your pooch and if left untreated  can become chronic, leading to hearing loss or hematomas due to the incessant head-shaking and scratching. 

Don't let your dog (or cat) suffer needlessly. Read about the common causes, symptoms and potential treatments below.

Causes

  • Ear mites
  • Foreign bodies like grass seeds
  • Allergies
  • Polyps or tumors
  • Infection
  • Conformation: Large floppy ears cover the canal, trap moisture and decrease airflow creating the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast.

Symptoms

  • Shaking head
  • Red inflamed ears
  • Rubbing or scratching at ears
  • Head tilt (carrying head on the side)
  • Painful sensitive ears
  • Ear discharge
  • Dark brown or black build up in ears

Treatment

The aim of treatment is to clean the ear, decrease inflammation, treat pain, and ultimately address the underlying cause.

Depending on the diagnosis, your Fur Life Vet will provide the appropriate medications and of course remove any foreign bodies that may have caused the inflammation and secondary infection.

Prevention

How do you prevent ear infections? 

We have provided a few simple tips below and some extra information on one of the most common ear problems ... those pesky ear mites!

All About Ear Mites

If your best friend is constantly scratching his ears and shaking his head, or you smell something less than pleasant coming from his ears, the culprit may be ear mites.
Ear mites look like miniscule crabs. Their preferred environment is your dog’s ear canal, although they can move out of the ear to the hosts head and body.

What’s particularly unpleasant about these little crab-like mites is what they eat: namely, your dog! They love to feed on tissue and fluids inside the ear canal.

Ear mites are most commonly found in puppies and dogs that have poor immune systems (and they can also be found in cats). They have a three-week life cycle and reproduce rapidly.

 

Symptoms of Ear Mite include:

  • Scratching
  • Increased earwax
  • Thick, black-colored ear discharge
  • Head shaking
  • Sores around or on the ears
  • Itching of the head and neck

Diagnosis

Your Fur Life Vet  may do the following test to determine if your pooch has Ear Mite.

  • Ear swab and microscopic evaluation to identify the presence of the mites
  • Visual inspection of the ear canal with an otoscope
  • Other routine laboratory tests such as blood work, a chemistry profile, and electrolytes to screen for organ function, infection, and electrolyte status if your dog or puppy is in poor body condition or lethargic
  • Fecal tests to rule out other parasites

Treatment

Your Fur Life Vet will clean your dog’s ears while he or she is there for her exam and most likely prescribe parasiticides that will kill the mites, and recommend an ear cleaner to keep the ear canal clean of debris.

 

Looking after your pet's ears

Keep your pet’s ears clean!

Some breeds of dogs are prone to ear infections and benefit from having their ears cleaned regularly.

Never use water, alcohol or peroxide. Make sure you use an ear cleaner designed for pets.  Ear cleaners are gentle and formulated for use in the ear. Next time you are at your Fur Life Vet ask them to show you how to properly and safely clean your pet’s ears.

Keep your pet’s ears dry.

Excessive moisture predisposes pets to ear infections, so try not to get water in your pet’s ears when bathing them and try to limit swimming if your pet has a history of ear infections.

Guide to cleaning your pet's ears

Step One – Preparation

Clean and trim the outside of the dogs ear and ear flap to remove excess, matted or dirty hair.

The first step in cleaning your dogs ears is all about general grooming. Start by carefully grooming and trimming any excess, matted or dirty hair from around the ear flap and canal. Hair that is matted, dense or dirty around the ear flaps can restrict air flow to the ear canal creating a warm and moist environment that allows wax and other debris to build up that resulting in ear infections. If your dog has hair that is growing within the ear canals you will need to take extra care to avoid damaging the ear canal or creating additional discomfort for you dog. In these circumstances it is best to seek assistance from your vet or a professional and qualified groomer.

Make sure you talk to your Fur Life Vet about the best ear cleaning solution for your dog.

Step Two – Cleaning

Cleaning your dog's ears – be gentle!

Remember pets ear canals and flaps are very sensitive. Over harsh cleaning can cause injury or even serious damage to the structure of the inner ear!

Gently lift the ear flap and dribble a small amount of the cleaning fluid into the ear. Do not overflow the ear canal, just enough fluid to fill the ear. Now gently massage the base of your dogs ear for roughly 30 seconds. You should hear a squishing sound as the liquid is moved around inside the ear canal. This exercise should not be painful to you dog in any way. If it is you should have your vet examine your pets ears immediately. Repeat the process with the other ear.

Step back – your dog will likely give his head a good shake! 

In shaking his head your dog will help to bring the wax and dirt up out of the ear canal. Take a clean cotton ball and gently wipe the inside of the ear removing any wax or dirt and excess cleaning solution you see.

Do not use cotton buds! If you place the cotton bud too deeply into the ear you may damage the ear drum causing permanent hearing loss and pain for your pet.

Gently and patiently clean the ear with soft cotton balls. For smaller dogs it might be wise to use half a cotton ball.

Step Four – How often

How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears?

The regularity with which you clean your dog’s ears depends on your pet's breed, coat, level of activity, age, and ear wax production.

At Fur Life Vet we recommend cleaning at least once a month. Some dogs may need their ears cleaned more frequently , especially if they regularly swim or get their ears wet.

Catch and treat ear infections early.

Know the symptoms of an ear infection so you can recognise them in your pet. If your pet is shaking their head, scratching at their ears, or has foul-smelling discharge from their ears, Get veet Checked!

Early intervention can help avoid the problems associated with chronic ear infections.

Your Local Fur Life Vet

Fur Life Vet Bendigo

Epsom 1800 387 543

furlifevet.com.au/epsom

Golden Square 1800 387 543

furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Fur Life Vet Eaglehawk Road

03 5443 9385 (Bendigo)

furlifevet.com.au/eaglehawkroad/

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

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic

Terang 03 5592 2111

Mortlake 03 5599 2612

terangmortlakevetclinic.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary

Warrnambool 03 5559 0222

Port Fairy 03 5568 6222

Koroit 03 5559 0260

Nullawarre 03 5559 0270

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

Echuca Moama Vet Clinic

Echuca 03 5482 3202

Moama 03 5480 6071

echucavets.com.au

Deniliquin Vet Clinic

03 58815488

denivet.com.au

Finley Vet Clinic

03 5883 3833

finleyvet.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

gympievetservice.com.au

Scottsdale Veterinary Services

03 6352 2996

scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service

03 6452 6333

smithtonvet.com.au

Devoted Vets (Warragul)

03 5623 2525

devotedvets.com.au

Cox Street Vets (Hamilton)

03 5571 1202

coxstreetvets.com.au

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© 2019 Fur Life Vet | Apiam Animal Health

Privacy Statement

Privacy Policy 
Apiam Animal Health Limited ACN 604 961 024 

INTRODUCTION
Apiam Animal Health Limited and each of its subsidiaries ('Apiam', ‘our’, 'we' or 'us') take your privacy and security very seriously. We respect your rights to privacy under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (“Act”) and we comply with all of the Act’s requirements in respect of the collection, management and disclosure of your personal information. This policy relates only to the personal information management practices of Apiam. Personal information means information which identifies you as an individual, or from which your identity can reasonably be ascertained. This Policy describes how we collect, store, use and disclose personal information and also explains your rights to access and correct that information or make a complaint about our handling of our personal information (regardless of the form of the information and whether the information is true or not). This policy does not relate to personal information held about current or former employees of Apiam.

WHAT TYPE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
We only collect personal information if it is necessary for one of our functions or activities. The type of personal information we collect will depend on the reason for collection. Generally, the types of personal information we collect will include name, contact details and records of communication with us.In addition, we collect information relating to:
Veterinary clients and/or retail customers

  • information about your pet or animal ownership details; insurance details (if applicable) for the treatment of your pet or animal;
  • details of the products and services you have purchased from us or which you have enquired about, together with any additional information necessary to deliver those products and services and to respond to your enquiries;
  • marketing preferences, including the type of marketing materials you wish to receive and the method of delivery (email, SMS, direct mail, or other);
  • responses to customer satisfaction, service development, quality control and research surveys and similar activities;
  • any additional information relating to you that you provide to us directly through our websites or indirectly through use of our websites or online presence, through our representatives or otherwise; and information you provide to us through our customer surveys or visits by our representatives from time to time.
  • We may also be required to collect your personal information under State and Territory veterinary surgeons’ legislation.

Job applicants

  • employment and academic histories and the names of referees. We will collect this information directly from organisations that provide recruitment related services to us, and from third parties who provide job applications with professional or personal references.
    We will also collect information, including names and contact details, about:
  • people involved in or through organisation that we support;
  • our suppliers (this information is collected for business-related purposes but contains some limited personal information such as contact details of the people that we liaise with);
  • people who correspond with us, including through our website, in which case we may keep a copy of that correspondence and relevant contact details; and
  • people who request information updates about us through our mailing list.

WEBSITE ANALYTICS 
To improve your experience on our website, we may use ‘cookies’. Cookies are an industry-standard and most major websites use them. A cookie is a small text file that our site may place on our computer as a tool to remember your preferences. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of the website. Our website may contain links to other websites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. Our website uses Google Analytics, a service which transmits website traffic data to Google servers. Google Analytics does not identify individual users or associate your IP address with any other data held by Google. We use reports provided by Google Analytics to help us understand website traffic and webpage usage. By using our websites, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner described in Google’s Privacy Policy: https://policies.google.com/privacy. 

HOW WE COLLECT AND HOLD PERSONAL INFORMATION 
Where it is reasonable and practicable to do so, we collect personal information directly from you when you correspond or register your details with us, when you present your pet or animal for treatment at one of our clinics or provide feedback to us. Depending on the nature of our interaction with you, we may collect personal information from third parties – for example, information about job applications is collected in manner set out above; where new veterinary practices join the Apiam group and from organisations with whom we have an affiliation. Apiam may also collect personal information about individual veterinary surgeons (for example where other veterinary surgeons are also involved in the care of an animal), contractors and other individuals who interact with us. This information is generally collected for administration and management purposes. We hold personal information in hard copy (paper) or electronic form. If you provide information to us electronically, we retain this information in our computer systems and databases. Information held in electronic form is generally held on servers controlled by Apiam or on servers controlled by third parties under contractual arrangement with Apiam in Australia. Apiam uses physical security, password protection and other measures to ensure that personal information stored in electronic form is protected from misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. Personal information collected in hard copy (paper) form may be converted to electronic form. Information held in paper-based form is generally securely stored at our veterinary clinics, or our head office. Apiam uses physical security and other measures to ensure that personal information in hard copy form is protected from misuse, interference and loss; and from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.

WHY WE COLLECT, HOLD AND USE PERSONAL INFORMATION 
We may use personal information for the primary purpose for which it is collected (e.g. the provision of our veterinary services) or for purposes related to the primary purpose where it would be reasonably expected that we would use the information in such a way, or in other limited circumstances as set out in the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). We collect, hold and use your personal information to:

  • to provide safe and effective veterinary care to your pet or animal;
  • to provide products and services to you and to send communications requested by you;
  • to answer enquiries and provide information or advice about existing and new products or services;
  • to communicate with you about upcoming appointments, health checks, vaccination schedules and other related veterinary care matters;
  • ▪ to manage, monitor, plan and evaluate our services;
  • for safety and quality assurance and improvement activities;
  • for testing and maintenance of information technology systems;
  • for product and service development, quality control and research to improve the way Apiam and its service provides provide products and services to us and you;
  • to seek your feedback in relation to customer satisfaction and our relationship with you and perform research and statistical analysis using such feedback;
  • to correspond with people who have contacted us, and deal with feedback;
  • to recruit and assess potential employees;
  • for marketing (including direct marketing), planning, product or service development, quality control and research purposes of Apiam and its related bodies corporate;
  • to maintain and update our records;
  • to comply with any law, rule, regulation, lawful and binding determination, decision or direction of a regulator, or in co-operation with any governmental authority of any country;
  • to answer your questions, provide you with information or advice (including general pet health advice) or consider and respond to requests or complaints made by you.

WHY WE DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION 
We may not disclose personal information to third parties unless we are permitted to do so by law or we have obtained consent to do so. We may disclose personal information for the primary purpose for which it is collected or for purposes related to the primary purpose where it would be reasonably be expected that we would use the information in such a way. Third parties we may disclose personal information to include:

  • Veterinary care professionals (for example, veterinary pathologists) in the course of the provision of veterinary care to your pet or animal (where this is consistent with our veterinary surgeons' legal and professional obligations);
  • Data analysts, IT service providers and our advisors including our professional advisors (including legal and financial advisors);
  • Financial institutions involved with administering billing (including administration of insurance and other third-party payment arrangements) and debt recovery; and
  • Government agencies.
  • We take steps to ensure that our service providers are obliged to protect the privacy and security of personal information and use it only for the purpose for which it is disclosed.

OVERSEAS DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION 
Unless we have your consent, or an exception under the Australian Privacy Principles applies, we will only disclose your personal information to overseas recipients where we have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles in relation to your personal information. We may use cloud computing services or data storage located overseas in which case information may be stored, under our control, on computer servers located outside of Australia.
ACCESSING AND CORRECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
You can request access to your personal information held by us, or request that it be corrected, by contacting us at the address below.Where we hold information that you are entitled to access, we will try to provide you with suitable means of accessing it (for example, by mailing or emailing it to you). There may be instances where we cannot grant you access to the personal information we hold. For example, we may need to refuse access if granting access would interfere with the privacy of others or if it would result in a breach of confidentiality. If that happens, we will give you written reasons for any refusal. If you believe that personal information we hold about you is incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate, then you may request that we amend it. We will consider if the information requires amendment. If we do not agree that there are grounds for amendment then we will add a note to the personal information stating that you disagree with it.

DESTRUCTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION 
Apiam take reasonable steps to destroy or permanently de-identify your personal information where it is no longer required. Personal information which forms part of our veterinary surgeons' treatment records must be maintained in accordance with legislative and professional requirements.

COMPLAINTS ABOUT HANDLING OF PERSONAL INFORMATION 
If you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy or how your personal information has been handled by Apiam, you may contact us at any time. The contact details for the Apiam Privacy Officer are set out below under 'Contacting Us'. We will consider and respond to your complaint within a reasonable period. If you are not satisfied with our response to a complaint, or you consider that Apiam may have breached the Australian Privacy Principles or the Privacy Act, you are entitled to make a complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be contacted by telephone on 1300 363 992. Full contact details for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can be found online at www.oaic.gov.au.

CHANGES TO THIS POLICY 
We reserve the right, at our discretion, to modify or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time. This Privacy Policy is in addition to any other terms and conditions applicable to the web site. Any updated versions of this privacy policy will be posted on our website and will be effective upon posting. Please review it regularly.

CONTACTING US 
You may contact us in relation to this Privacy Policy or your personal information as follows:

  • Call us: (03) 5445 5999
  • Email: privacy*apiam.com.au
  • In Writing: The Privacy Officer – Apiam, PO Box 2388, Bendigo DC, Vic 3554