44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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You may have read on our Facebook page, the ODT or seen on Dunedin Television that Catie one of our Humanimal's veterinary nurses is helping out the SPCA by fostering 5 puppies that were abandoned near the SPCA. The five puppies (all girls) have been named after five Kiwi Olympians: Valerie, Lydia, Jonelle, Eliza and Andrea.

We are happy to report all five pups are doing well, growing rapidly. They are already trying to explore the world around them (despite not yet having their eyes open).  Not so funny when it is the 2am feed!

Catie will have to hand them back in a few weeks time to the SPCA when they will be looking for their forever home. Thank you to Hills Pet Nutrition for donating a large bag of puppy food for when they start on solid food in the next few weeks.

Contents of this newsletter

01  SPCA Building Fund

02  Can cats get asthma?

03  Why fleas love spring

04  Bee and wasp stings: what to do

05  Snail bait - what you need to know

01 SPCA Building Fund
We need your help Construction Max

As you may be aware the Otago SPCA is looking to improve and expand their facilities and have set up a building fund to raise the required amount.

We are keen to help them achieve their goal and hope that you can help them too. We have set up an account so that donations can be made to the SPCA building fund when you pay your Humanimals account. Just ask our staff how to donate. You can donate as much or as little as you like.

Thank you in advance.

02 Can cats get asthma?

They certainly can and this life altering disease is very similar to asthma in humans.

The disease involves the small airways in the lungs over-reacting to the presence of a irritant or an allergen. This leads to an inflammatory response and an increase in mucus production. The reaction also results in contraction of the small muscles around the airways causing them to narrow. Both the mucous and the narrowed airway means a cat has difficulty breathing.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing (often bouts of coughing)
  • Laboured and/or fast breathing
  • Squatting with shoulders hunched, neck extended and rapid breathing or gasping for breath
  • Open mouthed breathing
  • Lethargy and weakness

It is thought that irritants such as cigarette smoke, pollens, dust from cat litter, perfume and moulds can contribute to the condition. Parasites, heart disease and obesity may also play a role.

Diagnosis may include blood tests, x-rays, bronchoscopy (camera in the lungs to evaluate the airways), or an airway wash to isolate cells to look for inflammation or bacteria.

There isn't a cure for feline asthma but it can successfully managed with medications that open up the airway passages or modify the inflammatory response. Just as in human asthma, medication is sometimes administered through a special inhaler.

It is important to recognise that asthma can quickly become a life-threatening situation, so any cat with a cough needs to be examined by us as soon as possible.

03 Why fleas love spring

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, it won't only be us who will be celebrating! The cheeky flea will be out and about and even though they can cause problems all year round, it is during spring and summer that we see them come out in force.

Flea eggs like to sit dormant through the winter months and it only takes a few warm and sunny days for them to start celebrating and begin hatching.

It's always best to be on the front foot when is comes to prevention. The aim is to kill the eggs before they hatch and you can do this by making sure your pet is up to date with top quality flea control. Ask us for the best recommendation as not all flea products are effective at treating the entire life cycle, and some might even be a waste of your money.

It only takes one flea bite for your pet to start feeling pretty itchy and uncomfortable. If the itch gets out of control, the trauma caused by scratching can lead to skin infections and the need for antibiotics.

When it comes to fleas, prevention is the key! So beat the flea this spring and make sure your pet (and all pets in the household) are protected.

04 Bee and wasp stings: what to do

Spring has sprung and as the flowers start to bloom we will start to see more bees about. What should you do if your pet is stung by a bee or a wasp?

In most cases, there will be mild swelling and tenderness at the sting site. You should try remove the tiny stinger as quickly as possible to stop the venom spreading (although they can be hard to see). Apply a cold compress (damp towel) to reduce swelling.

When should we see your pet?

If your pet is licking the area constantly, is in pain (limping is common if stung on the paw), or seems a bit lethargic, phone us for an appointment. We will give your pet an antihistamine and/or pain relief injection.

When does my pet need urgent emergency care?

Seek veterinary advice immediately if your pet:

  • is having trouble breathing 
  • is vomiting within 5-10 minutes post sting
  • has pale coloured gums
  • collapses

It is rare but some dogs and cats are severely allergic to bee stings. These pets may go into anaphylactic shock (and even die) if they don’t receive immediate veterinary attention. Vaccines and emergency adrenaline pens are available for severely allergic pets.

To help prevent bee stings, try to keep your pet away from flowering trees and plants (especially ground cover). Discourage your pet from playing with or chasing bees. Oh and be aware that rotting fallen fruit, meat and uneaten pet food are attractive to european wasps.

If you are worried about your pet you can always phone us for advice.

05 Snail bait - what you need to know

After a long, wet and very cold winter we are thrilled that Spring has arrived. But Spring also brings about some hazards and one in particular is the presence of snail (and slug) bait in the garden. Be careful if you happen to visit the neighbour's garden or a friend's garden as you might not realise it's there.

Part of the problem is that snail bait pellets look just like dog kibble, so dogs often eat the pellets by mistake. Unfortunately even the so called “pet friendly” products are dangerous if ingested. 

There are three types of snail bait:

  1. Metaldehyde - green pellets
  2. Methiocarb - blue pellets
  3. Iron EDTA (Multiguard) - brown/yellow pellets

The most dangerous are Metaldehyde and Methiocarb. They act on the nervous system causing increased stimulation and can be fatal if immediate veterinary treatment is not given.

Multiguard is less toxic but can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea, or may cause damage to the liver, spleen, heart, kidneys or brain. If this is ingested, we still recommend treatment.

Signs of snail bait poisoning: 

  • Muscle tremors and restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid heart rate & panting
  • Vomiting & diarrhoea
  • Seizures

If your pet has ingested (or even if you just think your pet might have ingested) snail bait, please don't hesitate to call us for advice immediately.