Paws, Claws and More Spring 2021

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With Spring here, you may see an allergic reaction in your beloved Dog or cat. This can show in the form of a red rash, hives, red skin, or constant scratching. The cause for this spring allergy in your dog or cat may be due to one specific Allergan or because of multiple ones. These causes could be from pollen, seeds or even the actual plant itself.


If your dog or cat is showing these signs, then they will need to be seen to by your veterinarian. If these allergies only occur during the spring, then it is a seasonal allergy and may only need a temporary treatment during this time. Your dog or cat can also have a year-round allergy that can also be treated.

If they have facial swelling this can be caused by an insect bite or a plant this something that may need to be treated a little more urgently. Ensure to check your pet can breathe, has pink guns and is otherwise unharmed or there is no immediate danger to yourself and furry friend.

Most importantly have fun with your fury companions through this beautiful time of year.


Masked lapwing or Plover is the bird most people fear in the spring. They are a small to medium sized bird dwelling along the east and south coast of Australia. They have a brown back and wings, white head, neck, and belly. Their eye is covered by a tough yellow marking that droops down like a mask with a black crown. You will likely see them around bodies of water like rivers, lakes, damns ect. They enjoy the flat grass areas around these waters, so you will often see them in parks, playing fields, grassed lawns or even air fields! Throughout the year they spend their time in flocks eating seeds, molluscs, worms, and insects. They will then separate into pairs during the breeding season which takes place after winter solstice around the 21st of June occasionally before. The nesting pair will defend their territory and eggs from intruders by calling loudly, spreading their wings, and performing fast low swoops. If necessary they may strike their attacker with their feet or the yellow spur on the carpal joint of the wing.

They may use tactics to protect a non-existent nest or pretending to have a broken leg to attract the attention of the predator away from the nest, or chicks. The attacks will be a lot more aggressive on predators such as ravens, cats and dogs. Once the chicks reach 60% of growth around the 2-3 months of age the attacks will slow down dramatically. The chicks will stay with their parents for two years which will result in flocks of 3 to 5 birds. They live to around the16 year mark. Of course the ones living in airports or domestic areas may live a shorter life span due to the danger and disturbance of domestic life.

Humans and domestic pets are the biggest threat to their lives. Being ground dwelling birds this makes them desirable prey for cats and dogs. Although aggressive for only a few months living in suburbs most people do not appreciate having them in the street and can make walking the dog hard. However there are ways around this. Give the birds a wide birth, do not make direct eye contact towards their next and move on as quickly as you can, or avoid walking in that area for the short term. Most of the time it is only one to two month where they will be this aggressive and majority of the time once the eggs have hatched they will move them to other areas to feed and will try less aggressive tactics to distract you or other predators.

One of our patients, Benji, was in a precarious situation. He had somehow gotten access to, and subsequently eaten, a box of snail bait. Snail bait is usually highly palatable to dogs as it often has a sweet flavour originally designed to be appealing for snails. There are 3 main types of snail bait used, with metaldehyde (usually green pellets) and methiocarb (blue pellets) the most common. Benji unfortunately got into the 3 rd type – iron-EDTA (red pellets). Common signs of snail bait poisoning include

  • Excessive drooling
  • Gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhoea · Increase heart rate and panting
  • Muscle tremors, twitching or restlessness (which may progress to seizures)

Treatment for any toxicity starts with decontamination – this usually starts with an injection to cause them to vomit up anything in their stomach. In Benji’s case this was then followed by more intense decontamination, he was anaesthetised and had his stomach pumped and an enema performed to remove as much of the snail bait as possible from his gastrointestinal tract.

The main concern after the ingestion of iron-EDTA is that it can cause liver damage and possible liver failure. This is because the iron absorbed by the gut cannot be removed by the body and causes damage to the liver and other organs as it circulates. It can be fatal within days or cause irreversible lifelong damage. Once Benji’s decontamination was complete, he was transferred to AREC for overnight monitoring, intravenous fluids and to begin chelation therapy – this works to bind the extra iron in the blood (that was absorbed because of the bait) and allow it to be excreted.

Luckily, Benji made a full recovery with no lasting side effects after a few days in hospital. Even small amounts of snail bait can be fatal. If you have pets, the best recommendation is to not use any kind of bait. If you suspect your pet has gotten into some, at your house or anywhere else, then please seek veterinary attention immediately and, if possible, bring the bait box with you to help identify the active toxic ingredient.

The Golden Retriever is the ideal family dog with its friendly and fun-loving personality. The breed was developed in 19th century to work as a hunting dog, retrieving wild birds on land and in water.

The golden retriever is a medium to large breed dog, with a luscious golden coat and friendly intelligent eyes. Their coat has a dense, water-resisting undercoat and is either flat or wavy, with feathering on the chest, front legs, hind legs, belly and tail meaning they do require regularly brushing to keep it looking beautiful. They are a kind, gentle and confident breed, as well as affectionate with people and other pets. It is a devoted family dog with a beautiful temperament and an aim to please. The breed thrives on structured training programs and is a top performer in Obedience and Agility trials. Because of its friendly nature towards strangers, as well as friends, it is not typically suitable as a watchdog.

They require regular exercise and enjoy swimming. They are sturdy breed but are susceptible to ear infections and hotspot due to their floppy ears and dense coat. Common hereditary problems include hip and elbow dysplasia so buying a puppy from a reputable breeder who screens for these issues is a must.