Not displaying properly? Click here to read online.

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

We are delighted to have been awarded Low Stress Handling Certification

Having met and surpassed the minimal the 51% mark of having individual staff members complete the Low Stress Handling Course, Humanimals Veterinary Hospital is automatically considered to be Low Stress Handling Certified (only individuals can say that they are Low Stress Handling "Silver" Certified).  This means staff have spent considerable time (doing almost 1000 hours of study each) to help reduce fear and stress for your pet, and you the owner!  If your pet is not stressed during treatments such as getting eyedrops, this assists you by making the task easier, increasing compliance and treatment success.

The Low Stress Handling course was set up by the late Dr Sophia Yin. She was a veterinarian who specialised in animal behaviour and has been credited with changing how many veterinary staff through-out the world handle their patients - for the better! A number of Humanimals staff were fortunate to do a workshop with her when she came to Dunedin in 2012 

LSHCertified 002
Contents of this newsletter

01  Rabbit virus and vaccinations

02  Chocolate toxicity - what to do

03  Easter health hazards you might not know about

04  Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?

05  Why is my cat doing that?

01 Rabbit virus and vaccinations

There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the proposed release of the rabbit virus know as Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD), or rabbit calicivirus. The government hopes the release of this virus in Otago, Canterbury and Marlborough will decrease the wild rabbit population by 40%.

A strain of this virus, known as RHDV1-V321 was released originally but the wild population of rabbits has grown resistant. By releasing the new Korean strain known as RHDV1-K5 or K5 the hopes are to massively decrease the population of the regions biggest pests. This strain was released in Australia in March 2017 with good results.

The rabbit vaccination (Cylap) has been used and is effective against the original strain and protects domesticated pet rabbits from the disease. This same vaccination has no claims of being effective against the new K5 strain but small studies done in Australia have shown it to be effective. In the study, all vaccinated rabbits introduced to the virus survived, where as all of the unvaccinated rabbits died.

Currently veterinarians are recommending that all domesticated pet rabbits are vaccinated with Cylap to best protect them against the virus which will be released in late March, early April 2018.

Rabbits should be vaccinated at 10 – 12 weeks. With a booster 1 month later. Followed by annual boosters to keep them protected.

Other ways to help keep your rabbits safe include

·         Removing all uneaten food daily as this attracts flies (who can carry the virus)

·         Keep rabbits indoors if possible

·         Rabbit proof your garden to prevent access by wild rabbits

·         Avoid cutting grass and feeding this to your rabbits if it could have been contaminated by wild rabbits

·         Limit contact and handling of unfamiliar rabbits

·         Wash hands, shoes and clothing after handling unfamiliar rabbits

Please call the clinic with any questions you may have or to enquire about our vaccine days.

02 Chocolate toxicity - what to do

Most dogs love chocolate and with their strong sense of smell they are very good at finding it! The problem is, dogs are not able to metabolise theobromine, a derivative of caffeine found in chocolate.

Ingestion can lead to 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 be a problem.

Not surprisingly, Easter is one of the busiest times for chocolate toxicities and if your dog happens to eat an Easter egg, here's what we will do:

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

The toxicity is also related to the size of your dog and the amount ingested. It is important to realise that any amount of chocolate can cause a problem so veterinary advice is always advised.

2. We will most likely induce emesis (which simply means we make your dog vomit). This is usually done using injection under the skin or application of a medication in to the eye. Vomiting tends to occur quickly and can sometimes be quite spectacular (especially if the wrapping has been consumed too!).

3. 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 intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalisation.

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

03 Easter health hazards you might not know about

It's not only chocolate that can be an issue at Easter! There are a few other potential dangers - here's what you should watch out for:

1. Hot Cross Buns

Many people are not aware that sultanas and raisins (and grapes) may contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage in dogs. Keep these off the menu at all times and watch for any that happen to drop on the floor (a common issue if you have little kids!) Call us for advice if your dog ingests any.

2. 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 you are worried about your cat you should call us and we will advise you on what you should do.

3. Easter toys

Those tiny fluffy baby chicken toys, plastic Easter eggs and bunny ears may be good basket stuffers for your kids, but your pet might think they look extra tasty and fun to chew on. They should all be kept away from cats and dogs as they can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.

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.

04 Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?
pexels photo 545017

Dogs are social creatures and they form strong bonds with humans. Most dogs cope ok with the daily separation from their owners but unfortunately some dogs will become very distressed and even destructive, a problem known as separation anxiety.

Watch out for:

  • Barking, howling
  • Excessive chewing, digging and pacing
  • Destruction and scratching of barriers - especially near doors and windows
  • House soiling

Our top tips to help reduce your dog’s anxiety:

  • Take your dog for a walk before you leave the house
  • Don’t make huge fuss when you leave your dog or when you return
  • Start small - leave your dog alone for only five minutes extending to twenty minutes then an hour, then longer
  • Leave your dog with plenty of stimulating toys, chews and mind games
  • Leave the radio or television on for company

Please don't hesitate to speak to us if you think your dog is developing separation problems. We have plenty of tools available to help you and your pet. 

05 Why is my cat doing that?

Cats are unique creatures and they will occasionally display certain behaviours that you need to watch out for as it can be an indication that something else is going on. 

Here are a couple of behaviours to be aware of: 

1. Spraying urine

The act of spraying involves a cat backing up to a vertical surface such as the wall,  a piece of furniture, or curtains (usually about 20cm from the floor). The cat will quiver his raised tail and tread with his back feet as urine is directed backwards.

Stress can bring on spraying and it is often associated with territorial or competitive behaviour.

If you notice this behaviour, a check up with us is essential. Once we've ruled out any medical problems we can help reduce your cat's anxiety and manage feline spraying. Ask us for more information.

2. Scratching the furniture

Scratching allows your cat to sharpen their claws and also helps them to leave scent markers or a "calling card."

Unfortunately, some cats will choose to sharpen their claws on furniture and think that the back of the sofa is just one giant scratching post!

What to do if your cat is damaging furniture:

  • Place a scratching post right next to the furniture the cat is currently scratching
  • Offer a variety of scratching substrates; don’t offer just one carpeted scratching post - try cardboard, logs of wood
  • Deter the cat from scratching furniture by placing double-sided sticky tape on it. Many cats find the stickiness of the tape unpleasant

If you’re worried about your cat's behaviour you should always ask us for advice.