Not displaying properly? Click here to read online.
44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
Contents of this newsletter

01  Keeping Pets Safe this Easter

02  Hydrotherapy

03  What does your cat's personality say about you?

04  Blood tests are magic

05  My cat is so hungry but is still losing weight

06  Check out these posers!

01 Keeping Pets Safe this Easter




As a general rule of thumb, the more bitter or dark the chocolate is, the more toxic it is to cats and dogs.  

  • Signs can range from gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea), restlessness, agitation to cardiac complications, seizures and death at higher concentrations.
  • So beware your chocolate stash and be meticulous when planning and hunting Easter eggs
  • Contact us immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed chocolate.

   Easter lilies

  • True lilies and day lilies ( like the Easter lily, tiger lily, Stargazer lily, Asiatic lilies) can be fatal if ingested by a cat.
  • Whilst lily toxicosis appears to affect mainly cats, chewing and eating the plant is also likely to give dogs a tummy upset.
  • The toxic principle in lilies is unknown, all parts of the plant are toxic, with the flowers being the most toxic part. Even minor exposure warrants veterinary intervention.
  • Signs of lily toxicity can occur within a few hours after exposure, ranging from vomiting and lethargy to death- depending on the quantity ingested. Most cases of untreated lily intoxication can cause acute renal failure within 12-36 hours. 
  • If you think or know that your pet has gotten into some lilies, contact us as soon as possible.

   Hot cross buns

  • Raisins: Ingestion of grapes, raisins, sultanas, and Zante currants can cause gastro intestinal upset and acute renal failure in dogs.
    • Signs (vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetance, weakness, dehydration, changes in urine output and abdominal pain) generally begin within several hours of ingestion. Vomiting has occurred in all reported cases.
    • Contact your vet if your pet has eaten raisins/ sultanas/ hot cross buns.

   Xylitol- sugar substitute

  • Xylitol is used in a variety of food and non-food products, including sugar-free foods (e.g. candy, gum, baked goods, baking mix, jelly, condiments, syrup, flavoured drinks, drink powders, peanut butter, nut butter, protein bars, protein powders), toothpaste, oral hygiene products, medications, medication bases (e.g. elixirs, syrups).
  • Vomiting, lethargy, seizures; lack of coordination, liver failure and death
  • Ingestion of xylitol is considered an emergency and you will need to contact us as soon as possible.

   Easter basket fillings/ egg substitutes/ foil wrapping

  • Plastic grass and fillers in baskets, and plastic eggs can cause gastroenteritis and gastro-intestinal obstructions.
  • Raw eggs may cause GI upset.
  • You will need to contact your vet if you notice vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, inappetance, dehydration, especially if your pet has eaten any of the above items.

  Fatty food

  • A delicious roast dinner at night is amazing, but it’s not that great for your pet.
  • Fatty foods can cause gastro intestinal upsets and pancreatitis which is extremely painful and can be life threatening.
  • Please do not give bones- cooked or otherwise to your pets. They can cause mechanical obstructions in their gut and/ or severe constipation.
  • If you notice any of the above signs, please contact your vet.

If you’re not sure if your pet can eat something, it’s probably best to avoid it and stick to their regular food. Keeping food and treats (listed above) out of reach of your pets is the best way to avoid them snacking on things they shouldn’t be, and an excellent way to avoid an emergency trip to the vet!   Keep our phone number handy by grabbing one of our fridge magnets for easy refrence in an emergency!

02 Hydrotherapy

hydrotherapy using the underwater treadmill


You may recall Krystle one of our veterinary nurses had a special interest in rehabilitation, she has gone on to open her own business, AquaPaws.  At AquaPaws she utilises hydrotherapy using a special and sophisticated underwater treadmill.

Hydrotherapy used in conjunction with veterinary care can enhance treatment and improve healing of chronic diseases. For older dogs this can improve mobility, strengthen muscles and decrease pain suffered by oste- arthritis; making them feel better and improve the quality of their lives in their twilight years. In younger dogs it can increase cardiovascular fitness for events such as agility or just for family fun runs, and for overweight dogs, they are able to exercise with a decreased weight-load on their joints with the buoyancy of the water, aiding and speeding weight-loss.

Hydrotherapy can be used as part of a multi-modal approach to care following surgery. it can be used in conjunction with laser therapy - more on that next month.

03 What does your cat's personality say about you?

We don’t want to open a can of worms here but if your cat is a little temperamental, have you ever considered that it could be mirroring you?

Research undertaken at Nottingham Trent University in the UK has shown that there are similarities between behaviours exhibited by people and the behaviour of their cat. It suggested that a cat might absorb and then mirror certain personality traits from their human carer and there may be parallels with the parent-child relationship. 

3,000 cat owners were surveyed, asking a series of questions that assessed people's agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness. They found a number of correlations that not only predicted the cat's own personality but also it's welfare.

Interestingly, a more neurotic human personality was linked with cats that were cited as having a "behavioural problem". This might have been seen as aggression, anxiety or fear, or stress-related behaviours in the cat. Furthermore, the cat owners who were assessed as being more extroverted were more likely to have felines who enjoyed being outside. 

Obviously more studies need to be undertaken to investigate a possible link but it’s important to be aware that aspects of our personality could be impacting our feline friends in both positive and negative ways.

You can read more about the study here.

04 Blood tests are magic

Many people cower when we mention the following words: blood test. But did you know that these tests are virtually magic when it comes to getting an insight into your pet’s general health?

From a blood test, we can decide if your pet is dehydrated, has underlying kidney disease or liver disease, and assess your pet's red and white blood cells. We can also rule out common diseases (such as hyperthyroidism in the case below). Early detection of diseases via a blood test can allow prompt treatment and greatly improve your pet’s quality of life.

The ins and outs of a blood test

+ Most blood samples are taken from the jugular vein in the neck. This vein provides us with a good sample as quickly and painlessly as possible.

+ The majority of pets are more relaxed when blood is taken from their jugular vein. If necessary, a smaller sample can be obtained from a vein in the leg but these veins are generally 'saved' for administering injections or intravenous fluids.

+ Once the blood has been collected we place gentle pressure over the vein to prevent any bruising. We don’t tend to apply a bandaid but a liver treat (instead of a lollipop) is essential.

+ Your pet’s blood is placed into tubes appropriate for required tests. Some tests can be run on machines in the clinic but there are certain tests that require more extensive equipment and so the blood sample must be sent to an external laboratory.

It's important to realise that blood tests are an essential part of good veterinary medicine and can be critical when diagnosing and managing diseases.

Ask us if you have any questions about your pet's health, we are always here to help. 

05 My cat is so hungry but is still losing weight

It’s not an unusual presentation, an elderly cat that is losing weight but is ravenous day and night.

Once we have ruled out diabetes, another common cause of these symptoms may very well be the endocrine (hormonal) disease hyperthyroidism.

This disease is not uncommon in older cats and is caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormone from the thyroid glands. It results in an out-of-control metabolic rate and this upsets the regulation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as the function of the heart. If untreated a cat can become seriously unwell.

Signs of hyperthyroidism

+ Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
+ Vomiting
+ Increased thirst and urination
+ Poor coat quality

Fortunately, the vast majority of cats that develop hyperthyroidism can be treated very successfully and most cats will make a complete recovery. 

There are different options for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and the treatment of the individual patient depends on how well the kidneys and the heart are functioning. In most cases, it involves life-long daily medication and regular blood, urine and blood pressure tests.

If you think your cat might be showing some of the signs mentioned above you should call us for advice and arrange an appointment for appropriate blood and urine tests.

06 Check out these posers!

We've got some feel-good pics for you this month. Have a look at these dogs who walk and pose together every day.

We can't quite work out how the dog walker gets them all to sit perfectly still for a photo but we are pretty impressed. Check them out here.