44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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The staff at Humanimals genuinely understand the highs (the fun, exercise and laughter) and lows (illness and loss) of owning a pet.

Over the past few months a couple of our staff have lost some of their beloved pets to old age and illness, so know how hard that final heart-breaking decision can be. (RIP Mojo, Dardee and Flash.)

Despite the sadness of these losses, the Humanimals’ family has actually grown with the addition of new pets in the past few months. For some it may take weeks or months to fill that gap. However because of all the joys they have experienced with their pets, they usually fill it some time.

Karen our receptionist has added two rascally kittens, Willow and Christian, to her new home.

Sara and her family have added a Dog Rescue Dog to their household. Enzo has settled beautifully into their  busy lifestyle. 

Lisa recently added a very beautiful and determined little kitten to her new flat; Arlo has quickly wormed his way into everyone’s hearts and is now best mates with her dog Indie.

Marie couldn’t resist beautiful some Border Collie pups when they were brought in for their first vaccination at six weeks.  Sorcha, the red and white Border Collie has now made herself very much at home with the rest of the three ginger pets at her home.  Sorcha, along with her litter mates are real Humanimals pups having been “created” when her mum was artificially inseminated at the clinic. 

In total (between the staff of fifteen) we have twelve dogs (a number through Dog Rescue Dunedin and ranging in size!) and sixteen cats and two horses....oh! and one Goldfish!… and the numbers will most likely grow!






Arlo (the kitten) with Indie



Contents of this newsletter

01  Cats with Arthritis

02  A special mum

03  Mothers of the animal kingdom

04  What is an endocrine disease?

05  Maddie’s insatiable appetite

06  Cushing's disease – one to watch out for

01 Cats with Arthritis
cats with arthritis

Radiographic of a cat's hips

I watched my cat this afternoon, jump from a retaining wall to a fence. Normally cats do this with little hesitation and land the jump cleanly. Jaybs had to think about it a bit so I am wondering if she is getting a little stiff and aching in her joints. Usually it is older cats who are affected, but there are some congenital conditions which predispose to early degenerative joint disease (DJD). By the way we tend not to use the term arthritis much these days as the degeneration within joints is seldom actively inflammatory. Any “...itis” disease indicates inflammation.

The hip joints of this cat are severely “dysplastic” making him prone to degenerative joint disease.

Signs to look out for are the sort of reluctance to jump that I noticed with Jaybs, reduced grooming causing matted and unkempt coat, pain response when patted or groomed over an area and a hunched gait when walking. The good news is that degenerative joint disease can be treated to ease pain and restricted joint motion. Read more at this site:   where there is a very impressive video at the foot of the page.

02 A special mum

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday 10th May so we thought it would be a good time to celebrate mums of the furry variety!

In keeping with this theme, we stumbled across a beautiful story of a mother dog in Chile. She saved her litter of nine pups from a forest fire by digging a hole to allow the week old puppies to take shelter.

The devoted mother, who was nicknamed Blacky, had no time to escape and local residents witnessed her taking the puppies away from the blaze and burying them under a metal container to protect them.

Rescuers who went in search of the pups found them alive and well and they, along with their mum, were put up for adoption.

You can see images of Blacky and her pups and read more about this amazing story here.

Happy Mother's Day to all the devoted mums out there!

03 Mothers of the animal kingdom

Some amazing facts!

  • Elephants have the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom at 22 months.
  • Chimpanzees have the longest childhoods (apart from humans), staying with their mothers for up to 7 years.
  • Blue whale calves nurse for 7 to 8 months, drinking about 230 litres of milk a day. They gain about 3.7 kg every hour and are weaned when they reach about 13m in length. 
  • Male seahorses can actually give birth to offspring.

And finally:

During her reproductive life, one female cat has the ability to produce more than 100 kittens. Remember that there are many unwanted kittens and cats out there so it's important to desex your pet.

04 What is an endocrine disease?

An endocrine disease is a fancy way of describing a disease that is caused by a hormonal imbalance. These diseases are relatively common and can greatly affect your pet’s quality of life. Some diseases can even be life threatening if they are not diagnosed and treated correctly.

Endocrine diseases can develop because a gland is not functioning properly or the control of the gland is faulty.

When too much hormone is produced, the disease is referred to as a hyper disease. Tumours and abnormal tissue growth commonly cause an overproduction of hormone. 

A hypo disease occurs when too little hormone is produced. Endocrine glands that are destroyed, removed, or just stop working cause these diseases. 

Keep a look out for the following:

  • Changes in appetite and thirst
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in coat and skin
  • Changes in behaviour

There are multiple ways we can treat an endocrine disease but diagnosis of the actual cause of the disease is essential.

We will cover some of the common endocrine diseases in this newsletter but remember that there are plenty more out there so make sure your pet receives regular health checks with us. 

05 Maddie’s insatiable appetite

Meet Maddie, a scrawny 14 year old tortoiseshell cat who is always in search of a meal. 

A check up revealed Maddie had lost nearly 17% of her body weight in the past year. This was despite her ravenous appetite and regular snacks around the neighbourhood.

A blood test revealed grossly elevated levels of thyroid hormone circulating in her body. She was suffering from an endocrine disease called hyperthyroidism. This condition is not uncommon in older cats and an overproduction of thyroid hormone results in an out-of-control metabolic rate, upsetting the regulation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as the function of the heart.

Common signs of hyperthyroidism:

• Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
• Poor coat quality
• Vomiting
• Increased thirst and urination

There are different options for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and the treatment of individual patients depends on how well the kidneys and the heart are functioning.

Maddie has since commenced treatment with a transdermal medication and is gaining weight. We will monitor Maddie’s progress closely with regular blood and urine tests.

Arrange an appointment with us if you think your cat might be showing some of the signs mentioned above.

06 Cushing's disease – one to watch out for

Cushing's disease is one of the most common endocrine diseases seen in dogs. It is a slow and progressive disease caused by the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a normal hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland, and this hormone is essential for normal body function. Unfortunately, in some animals, the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol and can have detrimental effects on your pet’s quality of life.

In some cases, Cushing's can be caused by an external source of cortisol, such as the long term administration of cortisone.

Watch out for these signs of Cushing's disease:

  • Excessive thirst and appetite
  • Excessive urination
  • A pot belly
  • Ongoing skin problems, thin skin and hair loss
  • Poor tolerance of heat and excessive panting
  • Lethargy

Blood and urine tests are needed to diagnose Cushing's disease. It is also important that other endocrine diseases such as diabetes are ruled out.

Cushing's disease is just another reason why we like to perform regular health checks on your pet. If we are able to detect and commence treatment early we can slow the progression of the disease and help your pet live a longer and healthier life.