44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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Did you know that history was made in the veterinary nursing profession in New Zealand last week? (If you follow our Facebook page you will!)

Did you know that the term “nurse” is protected by legal statute?

This prevents anyone from saying they are a nurse (medical as opposed to veterinary) unless they are suitably qualified and hold an annual practising certificate.

Veterinary nursing has no such protection or standing, meaning anyone can say they are a veterinary nurse whether qualified or not, or indeed whether they have had any form of training or not. Worryingly there is no accountability for poor practice.

The New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association (NZVNA) has been petitioning Parliament for some time (the second time during my tenure as NZVNA President in the early 2000’s) to gain this legal standing for the profession.  Recently they were turned down again despite strong support from the Veterinary Council of New Zealand and the New Zealand Veterinary Association. However the NZVNA remain undaunted and have taken steps towards this, encouraging working veterinary nurses to voluntarily register and sign up for a code of conduct and commitment to continuing education.

Last week the first roll call of Registered (those with a two year qualification such as Diploma or higher) and Listed (those with a one year Certificate in Veterinary Nursing) veterinary nurses were released.

Humanimals is delighted to say we have four Registered and two Listed Veterinary Nurses who all voluntarily put themselves through the process to go on the Register and List.  We are very proud of our team and appreciate all of their hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to our veterinary nurses and to the profession as a whole for this historical step forward.

Marie Hennessy

Practice Manager



Contents of this newsletter

01  The cat who thinks he's a chimp

02  What's off limits for your pet this Easter?

03  Help! My dog just ate my Lindt bunny!

04  Why socialisation sets up your dog for life

05  An easy way to reduce your cat's stress

01 The cat who thinks he's a chimp

We came across a great video this month and it's taking the internet by storm!

Here's a cat who thinks he's a chimp! How incredible is his determination?

Check out the video here.


02 What's off limits for your pet this Easter?

Easter can be a dangerous time for our pets and there's a few things you need to keep off limits. Take note of the following!

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine, a derivative of caffeine that cannot be metabolised by our pets (particularly dogs).

Ingestion can cause an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, tremors, seizures and even death. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic but ingestion of ANY chocolate can cause problems. Find out what amount of chocolate might be toxic to your dog here.

2. Hot Cross Buns

Many people are not aware that sultanas and raisins (and grapes!) can contain a toxin that causes kidney damage in dogs. Keep these off the menu at all times!

3. Easter lilies

These beautiful fragrant flowers if ingested can cause kidney failure in cats. The stems, leaves, flowers and stamen are all dangerous, as is the water the flowers are stored in.

If your pet ingests any of the above over the Easter period call us immediately for advice. Make sure you have emergency numbers on hand if it is out of our normal opening hours.

03 Help! My dog just ate my Lindt bunny!

Like us, dogs love chocolate and they are very good at finding it! Not surprisingly, Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for vets when it comes to chocolate toxicities.

If your dog eats your favourite Lindt bunny (the one you were saving for last), here's what we will do:

We will ask you how much and what type of chocolate your dog ingested. This helps us work out just how dangerous the ingestion might be. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic, followed by milk and then white chocolate.

The toxicity is also proportional to the size of your dog and the amount ingested. We use a calculator similar to this one. It is important to realise that any amount of chocolate can cause a problem so veterinary guidance is always recommended. 

Next we will probably induce emesis (which simply means we make your dog vomit). This is usually done using injection under the skin or application of a medication into the eye. Vomiting tends to occur relatively quickly.

If we don't feel enough chocolate has been vomited or if the symptoms are serious, a charcoal meal or enema may be given to help reduce the toxicity. Some dogs will also need further supportive care including fluid therapy.

Please phone us immediately, even if you only think your dog has ingested chocolate. We will be able to give you the best advice.

04 Why socialisation sets up your dog for life

Many people aren't always aware that the most critical time in your dog's life is in during their first four months. Socialisation at this time with other dogs (both big and small) is one of the most important ingredients for a well behaved and sociable dog. Here are some things to consider:

Puppies have brains like sponges
The more they are introduced to during this period, the better. If they learn how to behave around other canines it will help make future outings and park visits much more pleasant!

Puppy school is the first event you should put on your dog's social calendar
Puppies will develop confidence and will learn how to interact with each other. This is a safe environment for socialisation as all puppies must be up to date with their vaccinations.

Puppyhood is also a good time to introduce your dog to different noises and experiences
Think about the vacuum, traffic, multiple car trips as well as longer stints at home alone. We can recommend some great boredom busters to keep your puppy stimulated while you head out. You want your dog to learn to be happy during 'alone time'.

Of course, good behaviour and training doesn't stop at the age of four months! It is crucial to continue with positive reinforcement and to reward your dog for good behaviour.

When it comes to pet behaviour, always ask us for the best advice.

05 An easy way to reduce your cat's stress

Many people put off taking their cat to the vet as they feel it is just too stressful. As a result we don't get to see your feline friend as often as we should and inevitably health problems go unseen. Dental disease, heart disease, kidney disease can sneak up on your cat slowly, often without you noticing.

Thankfully there is a way you can help reduce the stress associated with vet visits. By using a pheromone spray in the cat carrier, your cat will feel more safe and secure. The pheromone spray is the same pheromone cats release when they feel chilled out and happy. We also recommend spraying it on a towel and covering the cat carrier to help your cat feel safe and avoid them making eye contact with patients of the canine variety!

The pheromone is also available as a diffuser and this is useful for cats that are having anxiety issues at home, such as during rehoming or when your are introducing a new pet or even a new baby. The diffuser can also help with toileting problems associated with stress. 

Ask us for more information about this product or about the pheromone options available for dogs.