Humanimals
44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012

reception@humanimals.co.nz
www.humanimals.co.nz
Phone: 03 456 2345
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Contents of this newsletter

01  Does your pet really love you?

02  Recognising a broken heart

03  What is SRR?

04  The link between smelly breath and heart disease

05  Belated Christmas “toys” have finally arrived.

01 Does your pet really love you?
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Feeling a bit lonely this Valentine's Day? Never fear, that's why our pets are here! They are better than any Valentine's date. 

Ever wondered if your pet really loves you? Here's what you should be looking for:

Cats

  • Brings you presents - whether it is a dead mouse or a headless bird, this is a 'gift.'
  • Head butts you - he is depositing facial pheromones on you and wants to leave his scent to claim you - it's a sign of affection.
  • He flashes his tummy at you - this signifies your cat is happy to lie in a more vulnerable position and feels completely safe around you.
  • Your cat kneads you - by massaging you with his paws he leaves his pheromones on you - you are loved!

Dogs

  • Brings you his squeaky toys - even if they are covered in slobber, you should accept this as a sign of affection!
  • Makes eye contact with you - prolonged eye contact means your dog feels safe and secure with you.
  • Licks your face frantically - this one is self explanatory, you are being kissed!
  • Yawns when you yawn  - it is thought that when a dog yawns after a human he is showing empathy.

To see a video of a dog who is completely in love with his owner, click here

02 Recognising a broken heart
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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, there's never been a better time to discuss heart disease.

Heart disease isn't easy to spot. It tends to creep up on our pets slowly over many months to many years.

Being able to recognise some of the early signs of this disease can make a big difference. It means you can seek medical intervention from us and help your pet live a happier and longer life.

Most of the signs are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The heart has to work harder and harder over time and, without treatment, heart failure occurs.

Signs of heart disease to look out for:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Laboured or fast breathing
  • A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks
  • An enlarged abdomen
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

Regular check ups with us allow us to detect any changes early. Sometimes we will hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and an ECG.

The good news is that there are some excellent medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease. These can keep the heart condition under control and help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you think your pet might have a problem with their heart, call us to arrange a check up today.

03 What is SRR?
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SRR refers to your pet's Sleeping Respiratory Rate. The SRR is a very useful tool in recognising the onset of or monitoring left sided congestive heart failure (CHF) in both dogs and cats.

Many of the common heart diseases lead to left sided congestive heart failure.  When pressure in the top left heart chamber increases and blood backs up into vessels within the lung, it results in blood accumulating in the lungs. This fluid, referred to as pulmonary oedema, causes an increase in your pet's respiratory rate.

How to monitor Sleeping Respiratory Rate

The good news is you can easily perform this test at home!

The measurement should be done when your pet is asleep in a normal environment (not too cold, not too hot). Repeat the measurement over 2-3 days (to get a baseline variation), and then ongoing monitoring should happen once or twice a week. 

Normal SRR in dogs and cats is less than 30 breaths per minute, often in the high teens or low 20s.

If your pet has an underlying heart disease and their SRR is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute, your pet could be developing CHF.  

An elevated SRR can also be caused by high blood pressure, anaemia, pneumonia, heat stress or a fever - so if you are concerned about your pet it's best to arrange a check up with us as soon as possible.

04 The link between smelly breath and heart disease
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Did you know that improving your pet's teeth could save his life?

There is now clear evidence that dental disease is linked to heart disease.

Plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth lead to infection of the gums. Bacteria from this infection can travel in the blood stream around the body and cause infection in the heart. This commonly occurs in the heart's lining and valves and is known as endocarditis

And it's not only the heart that is affected. The kidneys, liver and lungs can all be infected by the bacteria. 

The good news is that many of these problems can be reversed if dental disease is resolved and dental hygiene is improved. 

How to prevent dental disease:

1. Get your pet's mouth checked regularly by us - we will be able to spot problems early.
2. Get your pet eating right. A premium quality dry diet is essential for good oral health - we want our pets to chew their food! There are some excellent dental diets available and they really work so ask us for the best recommendation.
3. Brush your pet's teeth. Yep! This is considered gold standard - just make sure you use a pet approved toothpaste.
4. Lift the lip and have a smell. If you notice any yellowing of the teeth or redness of the gums OR your pet's breath smells a bit 'off', it might be time for a check up.

We recommend a dental check up at least once a year. Regular checks protect your pet's heart and might just be saving his life!

05 Belated Christmas “toys” have finally arrived.
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Endoscope

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Capnograph

The last of our big purchases finally arrived in January, an endoscope and multi-parameter monitor.

Some of you may have, or know someone who has experienced an endoscopic examination at the hospital. Our new endoscope will allow us another, less invasive tool to help diagnose illness in our patients. The veterinarians will have a new tool in their diagnostic arsenal and be able to diagnose problems in gastro-intestinal tracts, including potentially removing "foreign bodies" like toys or corn cobs that have been accidentally swallowed. We are very fortunate that Krystle previously worked in the "gastro" unit at the hospital and knows how to keep it in tip top shape.

Our other new piece of equipment is a sophisticated multi-parameter monitor. This monitor will assist in the assessment of anaesthesia and for critically in patients. It can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation in the blood, blood pressure, temperature and the level of carbon dioxide in the breathe that is exhaled; helping make sure our patients are at the correct anaesthetic depth.  Whilst it has all the “lights, whistles and bells”, we are also acutely aware that no machine is better than a qualified, well-trained, competent and dedicated person to monitor. This monitor, however will be of great assistance to our staff when doing what is a very complex and exacting task.