What if I have an after hours emergency with my pet?
Currently Dr.Beggs is our only veterinarian so while he tries to do most of the after hours cover himself,there are times when emergencies are referred to another veterinary clinic to allow Dr.Beggs time off with his family. The contact number of the emergency vet will be on our answering machine or on the cell phone message but we are fortunate that Windhoek Veterinary Clinic assists us in this regard. WVC's number is 228 405 or 081 124 1668 but is for emergencies only please.
Vaccination saves lives!
Despite much negative publicity regarding vaccines, there is no doubt that correctly administered vaccines save our pets from horrific,often fatal diseases such as Parvovirus(Catflu), Distemper in dogs and Panleucopenia and Feline Leukaemia in cats.We advise keeping your pets isolated on your property until 3 weeks after they have completed the full puppy or kitten course of vaccines to allow the immune system enough time to build up optimal defences.
The reasons to spay or castrate your pet.
Spaying pets before their first heat cycle reduces later risk of uterus infections, milk gland cancers as well as unwanted pregnancies and certain sexually transmitted diseases (brucellosis,TVT). Spaying also removes the hassle of cleaning up after your dogs' bloody discharge and keeping her physically separated from males for 3 weeks every 6 months.
The side effects of spaying such as weight gain and bladder incontinence can usually be easily managed. Castration prevents roaming,urine marking, reduces aggression and risk of many prostate diseases and cancer of the testis. Please ask our vet if you have any questions or need to discuss the matter in more detail.
Ticks and fleas- why bother?
Most of our pets will get exposed to ticks and fleas, some even on a daily basis. Ticks can transmit serious diseases such as Tick Bite Fever ( Ehrlichia and Babesia) or cause severe wounds from their mouth-parts (Hyalomma spp).Fleas can cause Flea Bite Allergy in 25% of adult dogs and 30% of adult cats , transmit tapeworms(Dipylidium spp) in dogs and cats ,and certain blood borne diseases(Hemobartonella/Mycoplasma) in cats.We advise monthly applications of Frontline Plus or Fibrotec as prevention of these problems.
How should I prepare my pet for a routine surgery such as spaying or castration?
We advise that pets do not have access to food from about 20h00 on the evening before their surgery and that you remove access to water first thing the next morning. We do this to reduce the risk of regurgitation of stomach fluid while under anaesthesia which can have serious side effects for your pet. Unless alternative arrangements have been made, we ask that all surgical patients arrive between 07h30 and 8h00 to be admitted to hospital .If there is anything else you want us to check or do ( such as check ears,anal glands,pedicure or install a microchip) please mention this at admission. Once your pet is in recovery, we will contact you to let you know and arrange a pickup time in the afternoon. All patients receive pain medication and a wound care pack to go home with.
How often should I treat my pet against parasites?
We advise that all pets be dewormed with a safe, effective product every 3-6 months. Young puppies and kittens,dogs which scavenge and cats which hunt, and any pets with contact with small children ( <7 years) should be done every 3 months routinely.Safe, effective tick and flea prevention should be applied every 4-5 weeks : we reccommend Frontline Plus or Fibrotec spot-ons because of their extreme safety profiles
Scratch scratch scratch - Part 1 of 2
Vets often hear this complaint in the examination room, where clients complain about the incessant itching and scratching of their pets. This is a more common complaint with dogs where the nightly thump, thump, thump of a hind limb hitting the floor keeps the owner and the dog awake for hours. If it is irritating and hard wearing on the owner, then equally so, if not so much more for the affected pet. Skin problems in dogs and cats make up by far the biggest number of cases seen by vets. This is understandable given the fact that the skin is the biggest organ in the body. By definition, it is also the organ which has the greatest exposure to the environment.
A killer disease with a misleading name
The name of a particular disease is often influenced by the circumstances around the original occurrence of such a disease. For example “sleeping disease” in humans was originally associated with the green fever trees found in low lying areas around South Africa. As time went by and a better understanding of the disease became apparent, it became clear that the disease was transmitted by Tsetse flies and had nothing to do with the trees. Similarly there is a killer disease in dogs with a misleading name – CATFLU. When the disease was first diagnosed in the late 1970’s, it was thought to be a disease transmitted from cats to dogs. Later it was discovered that cats did not harbour the offending organism causing the disease, but an extremely small yet resilient virus called, Parvo virus in actual fact is responsible for the disease.
An animal emergency can roughly be defined as an incident or condition which, once it occurs, if left untreated for more than an hour, will lead to death. Most emergencies have an acute nature or onset and leave little room for preparation and decision making. We therefore have to prepare for them in advance, and be ready to take action as soon as the emergency occurs. For one thing, it will mean that you will have to have the vet’s emergency number on your mobile phone or readily available. The sooner you can get in touch with the veterinary practice and alert them to the fact that you have an emergency and they need to be on standby and ready to assist as soon as you arrive at the veterinary practice, the better the chances of survival of your animal.
Your pet's once a year health check-up
Annual Check up
Many people wonder why vets recommend having a once a year check-up for pets. There are many reasons but probably the most important is that the average dog or cat ages by approximately seven “dog/cat years” for every human year. It may differ slightly from breed to breed and usually cats and small breed dogs age slower than large breed dogs. The average life expectancy of a large breed dog is about twelve years whereas cats and smaller breed dogs can quite comfortably live to eighteen years. Just like in humans where the average life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last twenty years because of better healthcare, proper nutrition and a general improvement in living conditions, so has the life expectancy of our pets. Animals which are kept as domestic pets live a much more sheltered lifestyle than their wild counterparts, where there is little protection from natural predators and harsh environmental conditions. Nutrition for pets has also become a much more advanced science than in years gone by and these days it is quite common to find specialised diets for life stages, breed types and conditions. The average quality of life and life expectancy in large breed dogs who suffer from arthritis has been substantially increased because of specialised diets catering for their particular needs.
“Man’s best friend.” The reason why dogs have been described like this over centuries is because of their unwavering loyalty and their good nature towards humans. However now and again, behavioural problems crop up in pet dogs which cause many people to dispute whether dogs are really man’s best friend. Behavioural problems can range from aggression, to destructive behaviour like chewing and digging, to house soiling. Some of these problems can be blamed on uninformed and uninvolved owners who do not spend the time to properly socialise and do basic training when they first acquire their dogs as puppies.
Spaying / Neutering your pet
Spaying & Neutering
People will often refer to sterilising an animal or alternatively called spaying or neutering of a pet as a “snip-snip”. This makes it sound like it is a quick, outpatient procedure, which only takes a few minutes and only cost a few rand. Nothing could be further away from the truth. Spaying or neutering pets is a full-blown surgical operation which requires a general anaesthetic.
Vaccinating your puppy and kitten
Getting a new puppy or kitten is always exciting and most of us just want to cuddle this cute little bundle of fur. It would be lovely if this were enough to keep them healthy and disease free forever but unfortunately it isn't. Just like human children, animal babies also need immunization when they are very young.
A newborn puppy or kitten isn't naturally immune. They do have some antibody protection that they received through the mother's blood via the placenta, but this is roughly only 10%. The other 90% is through the first milk they take in from their mother. This milk is called first milk or colostrum because only the milk produced in the first two days after birth contains antibodies (called maternal antibodies). These antibodies are like little soldiers standing ready to counter any attack from a virus (the enemy). The intestinal lining of the newborn starts changing 6 hours after birth and starts losing the ability to absorb these antibodies. It is therefore very important for new puppies and kittens to start suckling as soon as possible after birth. The newborn is only able to absorb these maternal antibodies for the first two days of its' life. Proper vaccination of the mother will ensure that she has proper antibodies levels which can then be passed on to her babies. If for some reason the puppy or kitten did not receive this precious colostrum (fostered pets, bottle fed pets or perhaps failure of the mother to produce milk), they will be at a greater risk of contracting disease.
The worm you did not know about - Spirocerca lupi
Most people do not know about this little worm. It has a strange and difficult name and an equally strange life-cycle. Normal deworming remedies do not kill this parasite and most people do not even know when their dog is infected with it. This article will try and shed some light on the how, what and where of Spirocerca lupi.
Spirocerca lupi is a roundworm. It is red in colour and 40 – 70 mm long. The eggs contain the larvae and have the shape of a paperclip. The eggs and larvae are passed from one host to another and this process normally starts when an animal passes the eggs in its stools. For example, a dung beetle ingests the eggs while working with or rolling in infected stools. The larvae then hatch inside the dung beetle and develop into more mature forms. A bird, lizard or another small animal might eat the dung beetle and then become infected with the larvae. Your dog will then become infected by eating the bird or lizard, called an intermediate host. This disease has not yet been seen in cats.
Periodontal disease in dogs and cats
“My dog/cat has bad breath!” This is probably one of the most common complaints vets hear from pet owners. Halitosis (bad breath) can be caused by many things, but is most often related to dental disease.
Nowadays pets are part of the family. They sit next to us on the couch when we watch television, they sleep with us in our beds and we even take them on holiday – they are practically human! This means we take better care of them and they therefore live much longer. Fortunately, as a result of this close relationship, we notice problems like bad breath much earlier (one cannot help but smell something if you share your pillow with a furry friend) and we can do something about it so much sooner.
The infallible flea
Fleas are the most common pests on our pets. The immature stages (larvae, pupae) can survive for a long time in crevices, sofas, dog beds and carpets, just waiting for the right circumstances (e.g. heat, humidity) to hatch and cause mayhem. Then they not only irritate our pets but can also cause discomfort in humans. Many people will tell you that getting rid of a flea infestation in your home can be quite difficult and costly.