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
A new puppy - happiest days or worst nightmare?
Having a new puppy join your family can be one of the most exhilarating experiences for a family but if not done the right way it can have disastrous consequences. People often let emotions get the better of them and don’t make informed decisions. A new puppy will become part of the family for the rest of its life and you will be responsible for its wellbeing. Before getting a new puppy, there are a number of things one has to consider.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) infection in cats
Feline leukaemia (FELV) is a disease of cats caused by a virus called a retrovirus. It is called a retrovirus because of the method it uses to replicate inside the cat. It is the same type of virus as the human immunodeficiency virus and although there are a lot of disease similarities, several studies have shown that the disease is not transmissible to humans. FeLV is one of the most dangerous diseases that affect cats and is a major cause of death in cats. Fortunately the prevalence of the disease has decreased in recent years due to the use of vaccines against the disease and the ability of vets to diagnose the disease early and accurately.
Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus
How does Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) compare to Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?
Feline immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) has similar building blocks and is related to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), but very importantly, it cannot be passed between cats and humans. The virus can also not be transmitted from cats to dogs. Both FIV and HIV viruses share a similar pattern of disease progression. Both viruses are classified as Lentivirus, which means they have a long period of showing very few clinical signs during which time the immune system deteriorates. Eventually Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) develops and this is accompanied by opportunistic infections, systemic disease and cancer. The close relationship between FIV and HIV has meant that FIV has been used as an animal study model to better understand HIV in humans.
"Crocodile Mite" skin disease in dogs and cats
Demodectic mange in dogs and cats
Demodex is a mite that lives in the hair follicles of most mammals. It is species specific which means that different types of animals, including humans, have their own type of mite. It is a normal inhabitant of the skin and is most commonly not contagious. The mite is usually passed on to puppies from their mother in the first 72 hours of life. The puppy's immune system usually copes to contain the mite but sometimes an overgrowth of the mites occurs and this is when symptoms of demodicosis also referred to as mange are seen. Mange is a collective name for skin disease caused by different types of mites of which the Demodex mite is only one.
Understanding congestive heart failure in your pet
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a very common condition affecting our pets, and is more often seen in dogs than cats. Although it is a serious condition, and a major concern for a pet owner, it can be easily diagnosed and once diagnosed, it can be managed effectively. The important thing is to make an early diagnosis and start treatment immediately. Congestive Heart Failure can occur in pets of any age, but is more common in older animals. For this reason it is important to have annual checks done on older generation pets. First, let’s have a look at how the heart works to be able to understand this condition better.
When is it more than just a tummy ache?
The pancreas is a small gland that is situated next to the stomach and first part of the small intestine in the front of the abdomen. As in humans, it performs two main functions in dogs and cats.
Sometimes the digestive enzymes are released within the pancreas, instead of within the small intestine. When this happens, it causes severe inflammation and death of some of the pancreatic cells. This can affect surrounding abdominal organs, such as the liver. When inflammation occurs it is usually very painful and is described as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be acute, where the inflammation is not associated with permanent damage or it can be chronic. A chronic pancreatitis results in the pancreas becoming smaller and harder than normal and this affects the function of this important organ. Pancreatitis can become very severe very quickly and cause your pet to suffer with intense pain so it is important for your pet to receive veterinary attention as soon as you suspect there may be something wrong.
Tis The Season To Be Jolly
Guidelines for Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas
As the end of the year draws to a close, most businesses start to slow down in anticipation of a well-needed rest. The veterinary world however, braces itself for its busiest time. The holiday season comes with a multitude of risks for animals. This occurs for many reasons, some of them are out of our control, including climatic changes and prevalence of certain parasites, but many of them can be guarded against if the pet owner is aware and vigilant.
Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats
The kidneys are very important organs of the animal body and play an important role in the normal day to day functioning of the body. They act like a specialised type of filter by retaining the appropriate amount of different salts (electrolytes) to maintain fluid balance in the body. They secrete a hormone which is involved in the production of red blood cells. The kidneys are also responsible for getting rid of waste products through the urine, especially those that are produced by the breakdown of protein in food. Kidney failure starts as soon as the kidneys are damaged due to disease, damage or old age, however in animals most owners only start seeing the clinical symptoms of kidney failure once more than 70 to 75 % of the kidneys have been destroyed or damaged. This means that of two kidneys, as little as only half of one is functioning normally before the signs of kidney failure become evident. At this stage the kidneys can no longer adapt to maintain a normal fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, and are no longer able to expel toxins as efficiently as before. The challenge with treating kidney disease is that the kidneys do not have the capacity to regenerate like other organs like the liver. This means that it is very important to look out for the symptoms of kidney failure so treatment can commence as soon as possible to preserve as much of the kidneys as possible.
Socialisation - The Critical Period
Socialisation of pets
Vets recognise the importance of looking at animals not only from a health point of view, but from a holistic point of view where the animal’s health is but one part of the overall wellbeing of the animal. Aspects like nutrition, shelter, behaviour and training form as an important part of an animal’s overall wellbeing as the physical and medical condition of the animal. Our domestic pets are kept as companions and the success of a pet in a household is not only measured by its longevity and health, but also how it fits into the home and interacts with the rest of the members of the household. More importantly, most pets do not stay confined to their home all the time, but often go out with the owner and interact with other animals and human beings. Just as there are rules for humans for good and acceptable public behaviour, so there are rules for good animal behaviour.
Hand Rearing Young Animals - A Basic Guideline
Hand Rearing Animals
The birth of a litter is a very exciting event, but it is also a huge responsibility for the owner, as many things can go wrong. Besides the birth process itself, problems can occur with the young animals due to birth defects, infections, or insufficient mothering care. In these cases hand rearing may be necessary.
There is a huge amount of commitment required for hand rearing. The main principles of concern are providing correct nutrition; temperature control; good hygiene; and monitoring urination and defecation.