Paws, Claws and More – Spring Edition 2019
As many of you may have heard, there has recently been an outbreak of leptospirosis (lep-toe-speer-o-sis) in the inner west suburbs of Sydney within the last month. The six confirmed cases of leptospirosis resulted in the death or humane euthanasia of all six dogs. This disease is also zoonotic, which means it can affect people as well as animals.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria are found in infected animal urine and tissues. A dog that ingests infected animal urine or tissues or is exposed to urine in water sources or soil may then become infected. Bacteria can infect an animal or person through mucus membranes (eyes, ears, mouth) or open wounds/cracked skin. If conditions are right Leptospiral bacteria may live for months in contaminated soil or water sources. In the Sydney outbreak, experts are speculating that a combination of construction disrupting rat populations along with flooding weather may have lead exposure of dogs to contaminated puddles and soil.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include, fever, lethargy, reduced appetite, vomiting, petechiae (haemorrhages on skin or gums), blood in urine, increased thirst and urine output or even lack of urine production and jaundice (yellow tinged gums and eyes). The bacteria target kidneys and liver and can cause temporary or permanent damage. Diagnosis can be confirmed with specific testing of both blood and urine, however other diagnostics should be performed (blood work, urinalysis, x-ray and ultrasound) to rule out other or concurrent disease. Treatment involves aggressive supportive therapy and antibiotics. Environmental decontamination is also very important.
How can you prevent this deadly disease? Vaccinate yearly. The leptospirosis vaccine is recommended for any canine living in an area at risk (rural farm or high rodent density areas). While walking your dog prevent them from drinking out of stagnant water sources. You may also discourage rodent populations in your area with rat bait and sealed garbage containers.
In 2017 Mount Hutton Pet Hospital diagnosed our first case of leptospirosis in 23 years of practice! The dog in question was a Great Dane puppy named Ellie who was adopted from Queensland and presented very sick with a history of vomiting and lethargy. Diagnosis of the disease was based on blood work, imaging and paired serology tests. It was touch and go initially and we weren’t sure if she would make it but this small dog with HUGE feet was a fighter. With a rapid diagnosis and aggressive prolonged treatment she made a full recovery. Ellie lives in NSW currently and loves her walks on the beach.
Tick season is upon us! Make sure your pets tick prevention is up to date! If unsure please contact us on 49471311 to discuss the different options available for your pet. You can protect your pet from fleas and ticks from as little as $25 per month!
Meet Duke! He recently presented to the clinic after his owner found her outside lounge chewed to bits! We did xrays on Duke as a precautionary measure and while we didn’t find any pieces of lounge we did find a rock and what appeared to be jewelry in his colon! Luckily for Duke shortly after his xray he pooped out both items! Funnily enough the jewelry didn’t belong to his mum and she has no idea where he picked it up and to this day it remains a mystery!
The Pros and Cons of Keeping Reptiles as Pets
I am often asked why reptiles fascinate some people and why they have become so popular with pet keepers. To answer this question it is best to attempt to understand what type of person keeps reptiles.
Reptile keepers generally fall into two categories – those whose enthusiasm is based on scientific grounds [herpetologists] and those who collect them as pets [keepers]. Most herpetologists have kept reptiles since a young age and have continued the hobby all their lives, throughout the evolution of the licencing system, whilst pet-keepers are a relatively new phenomenon that has arisen since the relaxation of the fauna licencing laws about 10 years ago. Both groups of reptile enthusiasts derive a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction from the species that they keep and will put enormous amounts of time and effort into ensuring that they remain healthy. A healthy and “happy” reptile is sufficient reward in itself to their keepers and they will go to any length to ensure they stay that way.
It is hard to quantify the appeal that reptiles have for people. Most people react in one of two ways – fascination or horror. The subliminal fear that reptiles evoke in people often deters them from considering reptiles as pets but whilst many can be educated to accept them, they rarely feel inclined to keep them. In the wild, the sensible approach is to avoid reptiles at all times and never attempt to handle them and this emotion tends to carry over into reptiles in captivity. The majority of people who are considering a pet of any type , whether it is a bird, dog, cat, fish or anything other species, rarely select a reptile but they can be one of the easiest pets to keep. Irrespective of type, people should only keep a pet that is suited to their household situation with respect to their ability to maintain its physical and mental health. A person should never acquire a pet without due consideration with regards to its husbandry requirements. A dog requires a considerable amount of attention and care on a daily basis and can be very challenging to keep. The feedback and rewards that result from dog ownership are very satisfying to many people and they are very interactive and responsive pets. Cats tend to be less onerous to keep but can be just as affectionate and demanding as dogs. Each type of pet has its own appeal to an individual and responds in its own unique way to interaction with people. The more highly evolved the pet, the more interaction and human involvement that it requires in order to satisfy its needs. Mammals are familiar with the concept of play and need mental stimulation for their psychological health and, as such, are in constant need of attention from their owners.
Reptiles, however, function on a much more basic level and are more survival – oriented creatures. As a result, the level of interaction required is significantly less and they do not require structured play, exercise or other entertainment. All species
provide the same level of owner satisfaction but in different ways. Irrespective of type, people should never consider a pet without researching the subject and confirming that they can provide a suitable level of care. In the next newsletter I will discuss and compare the reptile with other pets with regard to the type and level of care required and the advantages and disadvantages of reptiles as pets with respect to these factors.
Dr Ray Burton
Mount Hutton Pet Hospital is going green!!
This year we implemented a new program to help reduce our paper wastage by doing all our paper work on an iPad. We are hoping to take this one step further by emailing all invoices and receipts to our clients. If you don’t have an email don’t despair we can still provide you with a paper receipt if required. Please make sure you update your email details at reception and help us make a greener tomorrow!
Charlotte graduated as a fully qualified Veterinary Nurse in 2018 and joined our team shortly after.
She has previous experience in the animal industry working at various boarding facilities in Newcastle and the Hunter region.
She loves all animals great and small but has a soft spot for large breed dogs and is the proud owner of two Dogue De Bordeaux’s a boy named Bardin and a girl named Bikini.
In her spare time Charlotte enjoys travelling, going on day adventures and weekend trips away, visiting wineries and dining out.
Her favourite part of working with animals is seeing them happily reunited with their families after being in our care.
Breed Bio – Bombay
The Bombay was created in the late 1950s, American breeders wanted a cat that had the appearance of a Burmese but wanted the cat to have a deep, glossy, black coat. They crossed a Burmese and a black American Shorthair with bright, copper eyes to achieve the breed. The Bombay is a solid cat and is stronger than it looks. They are great climbers and jumpers and should have cat trees and scratching poles to climb.
They are very active, curious cats and love to play. These cats are very affectionate and love to spend time with their owners playing and having cuddles. The Bombay has no specific health care issues, and like the Burmese they often live well into their teens. But while they are very active they are also prone to obesity as they have a very healthy appetite and care should be taken not to over feed them. The average Bombay weighes 4-7kg