44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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Happy 2017!!

As we start a new year it is always interesting to look back at the year we are leaving behind.

The start of 2016 was very busy for us as we geared up for our Best Practice Hospital Standards Accreditation visit – thankfully all that hard work paid off with a successful pass on our first attempt!

The rest of the year has continued to be busy for everyone with some interesting cases, some terribly sad cases and some technological firsts for us like CT scans for two of our patients, and pleasingly our client numbers continue a steady growth.

The staff have been busy too, with three engagements, a 25th wedding anniversary,  and one baby…and the addition of lots of new pets. Our staff numbers continue to grow; we have four fulltime vets, five fulltime veterinary nurses and six part-time veterinary nurses along with our fulltime receptionist, practice manager and a part time book-keeper.

Continuing education (CE) and professional development is very important to all of our staff, and something we all participate in. Some CE is short, such as webinars and others longer, more involved (and more taxing) such as the University papers undertaken by Jeff and Michelle as they progress towards the end of their Masters in Veterinary Medicine. The last of our veterinary nurses (Sara and Catie) started on their Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, upgrading from their Certificates in Veterinary Nursing. They will complete the Diploma in 2017. Marie completed a Diploma in Financial Management through the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Polytechnic.

We look forward to using all of that new knowledge whilst being of service to you and your pets in 2017.

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Contents of this newsletter

01  Avoiding heatstroke

02  Watch out for grass seeds!

03  Attention all dog owners

04  Dog's reaction to a new kitten

01 Avoiding heatstroke

The heat is on and as we hopefully (eventually) get some sunshine and our way through summer, spare a thought for your pet.

Our pets are super susceptible to heatstroke (even in Dunedin!). They can't sweat all over like humans do and they only produce a tiny amount of sweat through their footpads. The only way they can attempt to cool themselves down is through panting.

Heatstroke (also known as heat exhaustion) can be very dangerous and even fatal. It doesn't necessarily need to be really hot or humid for heat exhaustion to occur so it’s important to be able to recognise the signs and know what to do.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Excessive panting
  • Exaggerated and noisy panting
  • Drooling
  • Weakness or collapse

If you are worried about your pet, bring your pet to us immediately (or seek emergency veterinary care). It's best to place your pet in front of the air conditioner or a fan while you are in the car. You can also place wet towels on hairless parts of the body (footpads and groins). 

Tips to help prevent heatstroke:

  • Don't leave your pet in the car - the internal temperature of a car can become like an oven in minutes (even on a mild day)
  • Avoid exercising your pet in the heat of the day
  • Consider clipping your pet's coat to help them stay cool 
  • Provide shade or even paddling pools to help keep cool

If you are ever concerned about your pet in the heat you can always call us for advice

02 Watch out for grass seeds!

As the grass starts to dry off you need to keep your eyes peeled for the dreaded grass seed... who knew that something so small and innocent could cause so many problems!?

Certain types of grass seeds are shaped like a pointy arrow with a needle-like tip and once they are caught in your pet’s fur they can start to burrow aggressively into your pet’s skin with no way of escaping.

If the seed does not exit, a painful abscess can form and this may lead to the need for surgery to remove the seed or remnants.

Keep an eye out for a lump or swelling (particularly between the toes), excessive licking, pain or pus and bloody discharge from a small wound.

Occasionally a grass seed will end up in your dog’s ear canal leading to intense irritation. If you notice your dog is shaking his head or appears itchy around the ears, a check up with us is essential.

We recommend that you check your pet for grass seeds daily and after every walk - concentrate under the paws, between the toes, around the ears and in the armpit region. You'll be amazed how many seeds can become hidden in your pet's coat - and they are just waiting to cause trouble!

A keen eye will prevent grass seeds becoming a problem so be vigilant and don’t let these little nuisances take hold.

03 Attention all dog owners

We are often asked: why is it necessary to vaccinate against kennel cough even though my dog isn't boarding?

Here are the facts. Kennel cough's correct name is canine cough. It is commonly spread via water droplets through the air and can be transmitted between ANY dogs. It is often incorrectly referred to as 'kennel cough' and this is simply because the boarding kennels are a common place for it to be transmitted (given the high numbers of dogs in one area).

But ANY dog can contract canine cough; at the park, at the groomer, doggy day care and even walking down the street! As it can be spread through water droplets, a communal water doggy bowl at your local cafe may even be a potential source.

Vaccination is the key as it protects your dog against the worst strains of the disease (the ones that can typically cause nasty pneumonia). It's important to realise that dogs can still contract a cough even if they are vaccinated but it's never as bad as if they aren't vaccinated.

If you have any questions about vaccination and your pet, we are the best people to ask for advice!

04 Dog's reaction to a new kitten

Did your pet get something awesome for Christmas? We couldn't help but share this hilarious video with you to help kick start your New Year with a laugh.

Check out this pooch's reaction when he finds out there's a new kitten in the house!