Altona Veterinary Clinic
97 Pier Street
Altona, Vic, 3018

info@altonavet.com.au
www.altonavet.com.au
Phone: 03 9398 3333
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All staff at the Altona Veterinary Clinic would like to wish our wonderful clients and their pets a magical christmas. We hope it is filled with love and laughter. Thank you for your support during 2016 and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2017. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Eric in santa hat
Contents of this newsletter

01  Christmas present inspiration

02  Keep your pet safe this Christmas

03  Watch out, snakes about

04  Itchy and scratchy

05  Feline AIDS - can we prevent it?

01 Christmas present inspiration
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We know you love including your furry friends on your Christmas gift list so if you're looking for inspiration this year, look no further!

Here's a dog who was given the best present she could hope for: a life sized version of her favourite toy.

Click here to watch a video of her reaction! 

02 Keep your pet safe this Christmas
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It's fun to involve your pet in the Christmas and New Year celebrations so here are our top tips on how to keep them safe. 

Paws off the following
Chocolate, grapes, raisins and sultanas are poisonous to dogs. Always keep your pets away from the Christmas table (Christmas ham is very attractive) and secure the lids on rubbish bins. Christmas cake is definitely off limits and please don't leave edible gifts under the tree! Remember that cats should be kept away from the sweet-smelling Christmas lilies as these can cause kidney failure even if just a small amount of the plant is ingested.

Leave leftovers off the menu
Don't be tempted to feed your pet leftovers - most are too fatty for our pets and can cause upset tummies and nasty episodes of painful pancreatitis. Never feed cooked bones and watch out for skewered meat that falls from the BBQ. 

O Christmas tree
Secure your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip or fall. Don't let your pet access tree water and keep any wires and batteries out of paws' reach. Tinsel and Christmas lights: Kitties love these sparkly "toys" but if swallowed they can lead to an obstructed digestive tract.

Fear the fireworks 
If you know fireworks are scheduled, plan ahead. Keep your dog indoors and put him in a room with a television or radio turned up. If possible have a family member stay with him during the fireworks. Make sure all windows closed and all exits secure. Speak to us if you are concerned about your dog's firework anxiety, as we will be able to offer you some more helpful advice. 

03 Watch out, snakes about
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There are already plenty of snakes about so we are asking our clients to be extra vigilant. 

Different species of snakes possess different types of venom and these can cause varying symptoms that appear anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours after a bite.

Early signs might include:

  • Salivation (drooling)
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Depression

How you can help your pet survive a snake bite:

  • Seek veterinary attention immediately, even if you only suspect your pet has been bitten. It is better that your pet is checked over rather than wait and be sorry
  • If your pet has been bitten on the neck remove his collar
  • Keep your pet quiet and still - this is critical to help reduce movement of the venom around the body
  • Do not attempt treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound or trying to suck out venom in place of getting your pet to the vet - they are a waste of precious time

NEVER attempt to kill, handle or capture the snake as you risk being bitten too. 

04 Itchy and scratchy
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The most simple way to make sure your pet is comfy this summer is to prevent itchy skin.

Allergies to fleas, grasses, trees, plant pollen, dust mites and moulds as well as certain foods can all set off an itchy and scratchy show at your house! 

Itchy dogs will bite, lick or scratch with their legs however a cat will constantly lick at particular areas, causing hair loss. This quickly leads to self-trauma of the skin which causes secondary infections that require medication.

Our top skin care tips:  

  • 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 easier (and cheaper) than fixing the itch. Ask us for the best flea treatment available
  • A premium diet balanced in essential fatty acids is essential in keeping your pet's skin and coat in top shape. This will provide a good barrier against allergens - ask us for a recommendation
  • Always wash your dog in pet approved shampoo and conditioner - we have these available all year round 
  • An antihistamine or a medication to help reduce the immune system's response to the allergen can reduce the itch - we can provide you with more information so enquire now

If you have an itchy pet at your house it is best arrange an appointment with us. We will help keep your pet happy and healthy this summer.  

05 Feline AIDS - can we prevent it?
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Feline AIDS is caused by the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) which affects the immune system of cats.

The virus acts in the same way as the human form of HIV, destroying the immune system and leaving a cat susceptible to infections, disease and cancers. Once a cat has been infected, FIV can then progress to feline acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as Feline AIDS.

The virus is spread from cat to cat through saliva, often via a cat bite wound. A mother cat can also pass the virus to her kittens across the placenta or through her milk. FIV cannot be transferred to humans.

Close to 30% of cats in Australia are thought to be FIV positive and the scary thing is, any cat that ventures outside and has contact with an infected cat is at risk. 

Can we prevent the disease? 

Cats that are kept inside 100% of the time are generally safe, that is unless they accidentally escape. This is not uncommon so why put your cat at risk? Thankfully there is a vaccine available to help prevent FIV infection. All cats require an initial course of three vaccinations and then yearly boosters to maintain protection.

Ask us for more information if you are worried about your cat or would like to commence this vaccination program.