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

As Humanimals continues to grow in popularity, we have had to add to our busy team in order to be able to continue to provide the best possible service to you and your pet.

We are delighted to welcome Dr Yifang Tay, Yifang (pronounced E-Fan) is a Massey University graduate and comes to us from Napier with glowing recommendations. 


Yifang graduated in 2010 from Massey University. Following that she practiced in Singapore for 3 years before heading back to work in New Zealand. She joined the team on December 4th 2017. She is currently enrolled in a Veterinary Postgraduate program  (Masters in Veterinary Medicine) and her special interests includes oncology. Outside of work you might find her holed up reading a good 'ole fiction book or walking in a park. Please introduce yourself, we know you and your pets are going to love her!

With a severe national shortage of veterinarians, we are thrilled to have attracted and been able to secure great veteriarians with up-to-date knowledge and skills as well as caring and passionate attitudes.  Please welcome Yifang and Sue.


Contents of this newsletter

01  Hot cars and hot dogs

02  Leo and the Christmas ham

03  Traveling with your pet

04  When to take your pet to the vet ASAP

05  Why does my pet lick his feet?

06  Top tips for preventing an itchy pet

01 Hot cars and hot dogs

As we have been having unusual, but very welcome, hot weather here in Dunedin, we thought we should remind you how hot cars can become and how how dangerous it can become for those inside (pets and children).

Vehicle temperature

Outside temp C     Inside temp C

                           10mins   30mins

24C                      34C       40C

26C                      37C       43C

29C                      40C       48C

32C                      43C       51C

Older pets and bracycephaplic (short nosed) dogs are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion, but any dog can be affected. Even in the shade with the windows down, the temperature can rise to a deadly 49°C in 30 minutes. Your dog’s natural cooling process is ineffective in these conditions.

Dogs overheat much more quickly than humans as they cannot sweat like we can, but instead they pant to dissipate heat and cool their body temperature. This is near impossible to do when the air in their immediate environment is thick and hot, as it is in a hot car. Your dog’s normal body temperature is about 38.5°C. Their body can withstand a higher temperature for only a short amount of time before irreversible damage is done.

Signs of heatstroke

A dog in a hot car will soon overheat and suffer from heatstroke. Some symptoms to look out for are:

  • Heavy panting
  • Profuse salivation
  • Extremely red gums and tongue
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Vomiting/diarrhoea
  • Loss of consciousness

If the dog is not removed from the car and treated quickly, symptoms can worsen to result in brain damage, or even death.

Emergency first aid

If a dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, give immediate first aid by cooling with water or other liquids (room temperature liquids are preferable as ice cold liquids can bring on shock or hypothermia).

  • Wet the skin thoroughly, not just the coat. Focus on the belly and inside of the legs
  • Spray or sponge the dog until their body temperature is lowered
  • When the dog is cooling down and responding, gently dry the body
  • If the dog is conscious give them small amounts of water
  • Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible

If you find a dog locked in a car in distress, please call the Police or your local SPCA immediately.


02 Leo and the Christmas ham
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Leo the ten year old schnauzer usually loves Christmas. And it isn't because of all the new toys he finds in his stocking, it's because he usually gets some leftover ham! That was until last Christmas.

On Boxing Day last year, Leo developed a painful and potentially life threatening condition known as pancreatitis. Leo's pancreatitis came on very quickly. He was vomiting, hunched over in pain and was becoming dehydrated. He was admitted to hospital and treatment was started immediately. Blood tests would confirm that he was suffering from pancreatitis but early treatment was vital. This involved restricting food, pain relief, antibiotics and rehydration via an IV drip.

When a meal is eaten, the pancreas secretes enzymes required for digestion. In some cases, an overly fatty meal (such as leftover ham) can trigger a “leakage” of these enzymes and the pancreas starts to digest itself. This can happen either all of a sudden (acute), or over time (chronic). In both cases, a pet can end up very unwell and in some cases, the condition can be life threatening.

After a few days in hospital, Leo was discharged with strict feeding advice and a low fat diet. The likelihood of pancreatitis striking again is high so there will be no more leftover ham for Leo this Christmas. He will be getting a low fat treat and lots of toys instead!

It is not uncommon for us to see pets with pancreatitis and other gastric upsets over the festive season so please take extra care around meal times and don't let your pet overindulge!  

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

Oh and if you need a laugh you should check out these hilarious Christmas pet illustrations via We think all people with pets will be able to relate to at least one!

03 Traveling with your pet

Are you travelling with your pet these summer holidays? It can be lots of fun and your pet will love being included in the adventure but you should consider the following before hitting the road:

  1. How healthy is your pet? You don't want to take your pet on a road trip if they are unwell. Arrange a check up with us if you are worried.

  2. Check vaccinations and parasite prevention are up to date before you leave. We can help you when it comes to using the right protection.

  3. Pets can easily become lost in an unfamiliar area. Is your pet microchipped and are the details (appropriate phone numbers) attached to the chip up to date? It's a good idea to put a collar on your pet with your details on a tag - this allows you to be reunited ASAP if your pet becomes lost.

  4. Don't forget to make sure your pet is securely harnessed or secured in a travel crate for the trip.Unrestrained pets are dangerous and can cause, or be severely injured in an accident.

  5. Things to pack: food, fresh water, travel water bowl, dog lead, dog poo bags, bedding. A basic first aid kit is also a good idea - ask us for more information.  Don't forget your pet's medication! Check you have plenty to last through-out your holiday.

  6. If your pet gets nauseous in the car, you should ask us about the medication we have available to help reduce motion sickness. We also have a pheromone spray available for both cats and dogs that can help reduce anxiety on car trips. Ask us for all the details.

Happy travels!

04 When to take your pet to the vet ASAP

The Christmas period can be a busy time for everyone. It can be easy to get swept up in the festivities and not realise your pet is unwell.

Here are ten situations when you should seek veterinary attention immediately:

  1. Trouble breathing - respiratory problems can be life threatening 
  2. Weakness and collapse - can indicate internal bleeding, heart problems, poisoning
  3. Seizures - can be caused by toxins and other conditions
  4. Panting, restless, unable to get comfortable - can indicate bloat, heat stress
  5. Profuse haemorrhage - bleeding externally is obviously an emergency but if your pet has suffered trauma such as being hit by a car, or falling from a height you should see a vet ASAP
  6. Struggling to urinate - this can be life threatening, particularly in male cats
  7. Not eating or drinking - some pets may skip a meal here or there, others may always clean up their food bowl so if they stop eating it's an indication something's not right
  8. Vomiting and diarrhoea - a one off vomit and episode of diarrhoea may not be an emergency but if it persists over the course of the day, dehydration can quickly set in so you should get your pet checked out asap
  9. Pain - if you think your pet might be in pain, you need to seek veterinary attention. Your pet might not always show a limp or vocalise when they are in pain and may simply be inactive or quieter than usual
  10. Known exposure to toxins - don't wait until it's too late. See a vet ASAP if your pet has ingested something he shouldn't (think chocolate, snail bait, rat bait, grapes, raisins, human medication just to name a few)

    There are many more reasons you might need to seek urgent veterinary attention. If you think something's not right with your pet you should always phone us for advice. 

05 Why does my pet lick his feet?

Licking and chewing of the paws is a common problem for our pets but it definitely shouldn't be considered normal! Cats tend to pull at their toes nails and dogs like to lick in between their toes. 

There can be many causes:

Allergies: This is a common cause of foot chewing. Ingestion of a food, contact with grasses or plants and inhalation of pollens are common causes of itchy skin (especially at this time of the year)

Parasites: mites can burrow into the skin and cause irritation and flea bites can cause generalised itching

Pain: licking to relieve pain caused by arthritis or the presence of a foreign body such as a grass seed

Boredom: just as people with anxiety might bite their nails, our pets can develop a physical response to psychological stress - some pets will develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder

Hormonal imbalances: thyroid disease and adrenal disease can lead to superficial skin infections and itchy skin

If your pet has itchy feet (or is itchy anywhere else) a consultation with us is essential to help improve their comfort levels - we have many things up our sleeve to help them feel better.

06 Top tips for preventing an itchy pet

Itchiness can be excruciatingly annoying for your pet. Itching quickly leads to trauma of the skin and can lead to secondary skin infections that require antibiotic treatment.

Your dog may bite, lick or scratch at themselves with their legs. Cats on the other hand are more likely to lick at particular areas and hair loss is often the first sign of an itchy feline. 

Here are our top tips for preventing an itch:

1. Be vigilant with flea treatment all year round. Fleas are THE major cause of an itchy pet and regular use of a flea treatment is the cheaper and easier option! Ask us for the best flea treatment available as there are some new and very effective products now available.

2. Biting flies can be a real problem at this time of the year but we can help prevent them - ask us how

3. Keep your pet's skin and coat in top shape to provide a good barrier from allergens - ask us for a premium diet balanced in essential fatty acids

4. Only ever wash your dog in pet shampoo and conditioner - some products can help improve the barrier of the skin, protecting from allergens - ask us for a good recommendation

5. Some pets may find relief with an antihistamine or a medication that can help to reduce the immune system's response to the allergen - we can provide you with more information about what might be suitable for your pet

If your pet is itchy you should arrange a check up with us.