Did you know that Cancer is one of the most common disease-related killers in our pets??
As with humans, the earlier cancer is caught the better. Look out for the following signs; it could be indicative of cancer:
- Lumps and bumps
If you notice any lump or bump on your pet, we advise you to bring your pet to the veterinarian to be checked out. Not all lumps are cancerous but there is no way to know without examination. The veterinarian will do an FNA (fine needle aspirate) of the mass where they insert a needle into the mass to extract some of the cells. These cells are then examined under the microscope to assist in making a diagnosis.
- Abnormal odours
Offensive odours from your dog or cat’s mouth, ears, or any other part of your pet’s body, should be checked out. Oftentimes cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause such foul odours.
- Abnormal discharges
Please take special note if your pet is vomiting or has diarrhoea. Any other abnormal substance being discharged from any part of your pet’s body should be checked out by your veterinarian. An abnormal discharge could also be accumulating inside your pet’s body which could cause the abdomen to be bloated or distended. If you notice any of the above signs, it is safer to let the veterinarian examine your pet.
- Non-healing wounds
If your pet has wounds and sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of infection, skin disease or even cancer.
- Weight loss
Cancer is among the list of diseases that can cause weight loss in a pet. If you notice sudden weight loss in your dog or cat (and it is not currently on a diet), along with other signs from this list, be sure to mention it to your veterinarian.
- Change in appetite
Dogs and cats do not stop eating without a cause. While a lack of appetite does not automatically indicate cancer, it is still something to be discussed with your veterinarian. Oral tumours can also cause difficulty or pain when eating or swallowing.
- Coughing / difficulty breathing
There are a few types of cancer that can spread to the lungs and cause coughing or abnormal breathing. It can also be caused by heart and lung diseases
- Lethargy / Depression
Lethargy and depression are not symptoms that are confined to cancer only but it does give us reason for concern. It is often some of the first symptoms noted in cancer patients.
- Changes in bathroom habits
Changes in your pet’s urinary or bowel habits – difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, blood in urine or stool – these are all potential signs of cancer.
- Evidence of pain
Cancer can cause your pet discomfort in many ways but for instance if your pet has bone cancer, he/she will most probably be painful when walking.
While the above symptoms are not purely indicative of cancer, if your pet shows any signs of them we advise you to bring them for a vet check. Trust your instincts.
Meet Tipsy, a 4 year old dearly loved furry family member of the Lutz household. Tipsy’s human mommy is our senior surgeon at Bakenkop Animal Clinic. Dr Lutz have always had a soft spot for dachshunds. The day Tipsy became a part of their household, was one of the happiest days of their lives.
For those who do not know the breed well; dachshunds are more prone to have back problems due to their elongated spines.
Tipsy gets treated like royalty. She gets plenty of play time, sleeps in the bed and even goes to doggy day care at a family friend, Antoinette, every day when Dr Kristina comes to work. Being in the veterinary industry, the Lutz household did everything .Tipsy received all the medical care she needed. From vaccinations and dental procedures to sterilization.
Shortly after her sterilisation Dr Kristina realised that Tipsy had picked up some weight. Something we warn all pet owners about due to the change in hormones slowing down the metabolism. Knowing that the extra weight will put unnecessary strain on her spine, Dr Kristina made an appointment with our Pet Slimmer Clinic nurse, Sister Cindy and enrolled Tipsy into the weight-loss program in August 2018. Tipsy lost 1kg of weight (18% of her bodyweight) in just under 5 months. She also lost 4cm around her chest and 8cm around her waist.
Tipsy’s weight was being maintained. Her new dachshund sister helped her to keep trim and slim because together they never had a dull moment. They played and chased each other around the house. Life was fun and the family was happy.
Until one night…
It was the 31st of March and typical of the Sunday night theory. Tipsy was fine over the weekend but all of a sudden jumped off the couch and was paralyzed in her hind limbs. One of her discs had moved and placed pressure on the spinal cord. Dr Kristina being a vet herself and knowing the signs of disc disease knew she had to keep calm but her whole world felt like it was falling apart. She immediately started communicating with Dr Camby, one of the best orthopaedic surgeons. He was available to see Tipsy the following day. It was one of the longest nights for the Lutz family. A night filled with stress and no sleep.
Early the Monday morning Tipsy was taken to Zambezi Animal Clinic where Dr Camby examined her and immediately placed her on his surgery list for the day. The operation was a big success but Dr Camby warned Dr Lutz, just like all his other clients about how important the aftercare was. They needed to be patient and realise that it will take time for Tipsy to walk on her legs again. She will also be in pain and almost the worst part is to keep her movement restricted by cage rest and leash walks only.
She came back to Bakenkop a day after her operation for a few days of strict cage rest and pain monitoring as we have a 24 hour night monitoring service available. Dr Lutz knew that Tipsy would feel comfortable staying with her Bakenkop family and she entrust her colleagues to look after her “baby”.
Her rehabilitation process started within 48 hours post-op with leg exercises done by the nurses. Within 5 days she tried to use her left hind leg to walk and with the help of a physiotherapist, using treadmills and swimming, within two weeks she was walking even though with a limp on the right leg .With ongoing physiotherapy she should be up and running in the next two to three months.
With sharing Tipsy and Dr Kristina’s story we want our clients to know that we understand. The veterinary profession is much more than just a profession. All of the employees at our Clinic have our own pets that we call family and we care for deeply. We also get stressed when they fall ill or get hurt. We also have to treat them medically and pray for their recovery.
Meet Bakkies, an energetic 2 year old male Staffie and loving member of the Hertzog family.
We all know that Decembers can be a very busy and sometimes even chaotic time of the year. It was the 22nd of December, just before Christmas and the Hertzog family had just left to go on holiday, leaving their beloved furry family in the capable hands of friends and staff who work for them.
The family had just arrived at their holiday destination when they received the heart wrenching phone call from a family member, Barry Hertzog : “Bakkies was in an accident and was hurt!”
It is still unknown how exactly Bakkies managed to get out of the yard but he was hit by a car and was lying on the N11, 1 km away from home, in a puddle of blood. As luck would have it, Barry by coincidence drove on that highway at that time and recognised Bakkies from something that looked like a dark puddle lying in the middle of the road. A passing by vehicle also stopped to help transfer Bakkies’ fragile body from the road into the car to transport him to Dr Fritz Steenkamp, a veterinarian in Marble Hall, where the family reside.
Dr Steenkamp treated Bakkies for shock and stabilized him before taking radiographs of his broken legs. Bakkies sustained multiple fractured bones. His femur was broken into 3 pieces and 3 metatarsal bones were off but luckily his pelvis was still intact. He needed specialist surgery to repair the fractures.
He was then referred to our Clinic where Dr Orsilla van der Veen took over the case. She continued with treatment to get Bakkies stable for the big surgery that he needed to undergo. Unfortunately with the shock, Bakkies’ kidneys had to work harder and was in danger. Dr Orsilla kept the Hertzog family up to date with his prognosis and it was decided to go ahead with the surgery as soon as possible to avoid greater complications. Dr Orsilla arranged with our part-time specialist surgeon, Dr Charlie Boucher to operate on Bakkies’ broken femur. It was decided to let the metatarsal bones in his front leg heal with splint bandages as those bones a very delicate.
Bakkies was in surgery for just under 3 hours, after which Dr Orsilla phoned the Hertzog family with the good news that Bakkie’s surgery and anaesthesia went very well. He was intensively monitored by one of our qualified veterinary nurses together with Dr Orsilla throughout the whole surgery.
Dr Orsilla explained to the Hertzog family that the after care of such a big operation is just as important as the operation itself. Bakkies needed strict cage rest with short leash-walks only, bandage changes and later some physiotherapy to help him recover his normal gait again. It was then decided to leave Bakkies with us to assist with the rehabilitation process.
During this time Bakkies became a part of the Bakenkop family. He was examined daily by our doctors and had plenty of TLC and confined play time with our nurses. He later started with hydrotherapy sessions to help strengthen his muscles and keep him fit. The Hertzog family came to visit when they could. They were also kept up to date with daily messages from us.
Today, over 2 months after his surgery, Bakkies is back home and can run on both his injured legs again. We are so proud of Bakkies for never losing his sparkle throughout this tough journey. Anyone that owns a Staffie will know that it goes against their busy nature to be kept confined. We also want to salute the Hertzog family for doing what is best for Bakkies even if it meant being without him for so long.
Bakkies will always have a special place in our hearts and we miss him so much!
The above mentioned and many other common dog behaviour problems are often misunderstood or mishandled by dog owners. Perhaps you are new to dog ownership or just wish to better manage your pet. Thoroughly understanding your pet’s behaviour problems is the first step in solving and preventing them.
Sometimes the “problem” can be a character trait of your pet’s breed, it could be normal behaviour for a young exploring animal or the behaviour trait could even be a sign of an illness… No matter the reason. Dr Yolandé can help you determine the cause and help you with a plan of action to treat it.
Bring your pet for a Behaviour consultation with Dr Yolandé Johnson this April and qualify for 10 % discount. Dr Yolande has a special interest in behaviour modification and training. She has helped many pets and their owners in dealing with behaviour problems.
When booking your appointment with Dr Yolandé, you will receive a questionnaire to complete. It is very important to complete this form before coming for your appointment as it will help Dr Yolandé better understand your pet’s background in order to give you the best applicable advice. For bookings please email Milindi at Milindi@bakenkop-vet.co.za.
Who can resist the adorable face of a cute little pet rat? Having rats as pets is becoming more and more popular nowadays. So we decided to share some information on a common ailment found in pet rats.
Dr Orsilla van der Veen, one of our very kind veterinarians, has a special interest in most exotic pets. When speaking to her about treating pet rats, she mentioned that the sick pet rats that she sees at the Clinic usually either have cancer or a Mycoplasma infection. We want to warn all new pet rat owners about the signs and symptoms of Mycoplasma infection.
Mycoplasma pulmonis bacteria are present in the upper respiratory and reproductive tract in many healthy rats. These rats then act as carriers of the organism, spreading the bacteria during close contact (mating / nursing their young) or as aerosols through the air. They can also contract the bacteria during the birthing process. Usually symptoms will stay hidden until periods of stress. The main symptoms that are seen are those of respiratory distress.
Examples of stressful events in a rat’s life:
- Death of cage mate
- Dirty cages
- Inadequate nutrition etc…
What are the symptoms of Mycoplasmosis?
- Nasal + ocular discharge. This discharge can often seem bloody. This is due to a pigment called porphyrin.
- Respiratory distress- characterised by laboured breathing which can lead to death
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
Take any rats that are sneezing for a check-up at the vet. The sooner the treatment starts, the better the prognosis. In general you never really completely get rid of the infection, but you can keep it under control and keep the animal comfortable. Stressful situations can cause flair ups of symptoms and will need to be treated as soon as they appear.
Here are a few helpful hints to try and prevent Mycoplasmosis:
The mainstay of prevention is to adopt good husbandry practice in order to eliminate the stressors that precipitate the disease such as:
* Avoid only having a single pet rat. They are less stressed, more social and generally healthier when they are in small groups of the same-sex.
* Feed a good quality rat pellet e.g. Burgess or Versele-Laga. You can also supplement with home cooked meals
* Do not use aromatic bedding like pine shavings or scented litter. Bedding should never by overly dusty.
* All new additions to the family should be in quarantine for at least 2 weeks.
* Prevent overcrowding
Although we are do not have a specialized exotic veterinarian at our Clinic, Dr Orsilla van der Veen has a special interest in bunnies, rats and certain exotic pets. Feel free to phone for assistance or advice prior to making an appointment
This March we offer 20 % on the following Exotic pet procedures:
- Bunny & Rat castrations
- Avian DNA sexing
- Grooming: beak, wing and nail clips
NB! Booking with Dr Orsilla is essential
Golden oldie getting a second chance in life
The awful part of working in the veterinary industry is seeing pets suffer. Whether they are sick, hurt or even lost. It breaks our hearts to the same extent.
One day, early in January, Mrs Cassandra van Zyl found a very old, mostly blind cross breed dog at the Sasol garage in Rooihuiskraal. It was obvious that he was scared and had nowhere to go. She could not keep him and asked us to help as she did not want him to go to the SPCA.
Being in the veterinary industry, we all have a very soft spot for pets and thus we treat the stray animals with the same love and respect as we do our patients. If we have space in our very busy hospital, we always try to assist the community by taking in lost pets, buying the owners some time to find their missing pet.
We understand that accidents do happen and that some pets are escape artists. The first thing we did was to scan him for a chip. Sadly he was not chipped which changed the ball game completely. If pets are not chipped, it makes it so difficult for us to find the owner. Not everyone is on social media and many owners have no idea where to start looking for their missing pet.
We took this very hungry, tired and scared dog into our care. We prepared a cage with blankets for him and opened some soft tin food, which he gulped up – indicating he had not eaten in days. Mrs van Zyl was adamant to help us find his owners. She also posted his photo and information on various Facebook pages, community WhatsApp groups and alerted the Vets in the area. Sadly after 3 days, no owner had been found. As each day passed, we got more worried and sad. We knew that if the owners were not found quickly, this old dog would not stand a chance to be rehomed….
One of our darling clients, Mrs Morkel saw a post made by Sister Cindy urgently asking for a foster home. She made contact with us and offered to foster this old dog. She was like an angel sent from above!! Mrs Morkel sadly lost 3 of her senior pets recently. Grieving the loss of her beloved pets, she felt that this old dog needed her love and attention as much as she needed to hand it out.
We made contact with a rescue worker who helped us follow the correct steps. Mrs Morkel completed foster forms and passed the home check with flying colours. The Morkel family immediately fell in love with this sweet dog. She took him for a bath and a shave, he got lots of love, plenty of food and yummy snacks, slept in the house and was even allowed on the furniture. Quickly he fitted in and they knew that this dog crossed their path for a reason. They named him Ginger and are now in the process of adopting him.
We would like to thank the Morkel family for giving this sweet old dog a second chance and Mrs van Zyl for rescuing him off the street. We also want to thank each and every client that donates towards our stray fund.
In general only 10% of people that drop off strays and ask for our help are willing to make a donation. To those that do, we really appreciate it. We use these funds for any treatments needed (medical, dietary etc) of injured stray pets. We cannot make a difference if we do not get support from the community.
Please keep in mind that although we love animals and we always try to help, we are not a Rescue Organization or the SPCA. We are a veterinary hospital and we can only help if we have space available. We have 3 day policy where we keep dogs for 72 hours to help give the owners time to locate their missing pet, after this time we have to send a stray dog to a Rescue (if they have space) or the SPCA. If you help us find a foster home we can send those details with to the rescue where they will make contact with you. Also note that we do not take in healthy adult cats without microchips as cats tend to roam the area and will find their way back home.
We want to end this lovely story by asking everyone who loves their pets, to PLEASE microchip and sterilize them as not all pets are as lucky as Ginger. Some sit in cages for months, even years before they get adopted or might even be put to sleep due to the high demand of stray pets requiring shelter.
Meet Patches, the 7 month old adorable Basset pup and very much loved member of the Wentworth family.
The Wentworth family did know that puppies (especially basset puppies) love to chew and swallow foreign objects. Keeping this in mind, they bought Patches many toys to keep him busy and entertained. Only toys that they pre-checked and approved as safe enough not to be swallowed.
One morning Patches did not want to eat his breakfast, which was very unlike him. He became a bit lethargic and later started to vomit. His owners were very concerned and took him to a nearby veterinary clinic in Centurion. The veterinarian took abdominal X-rays and found a foreign body obstruction in his intestines. It appeared to be a rock.
The Veterinary Clinic referred Patches to our Hospital for an emergency exploratory laparotomy (surgical incision into the abdominal cavity) to remove the foreign body that was blocking the intestines.
Dr Kristina Lutz together with two of our qualified veterinary nurses went into theatre with Patches straight away. Sister Akhira monitored Patches’ anaesthesia throughout the whole operation (making sure that his heart rate, blood pressure and breathing was normal) while Sister Jeani assisted Dr Lutz with the operation. As seen on the X-ray, a very big rock was found in the small intestine. It had bruised and started damaging the intestinal wall. If the rock was not removed surgically, it could have caused the intestines to rupture into the peritoneal cavity causing infection, sepsis and most probably resulting in Patches’ untimely death.
The rock was successfully removed and Patches spent two nights in our hospital where our doctors together with our day and night nurses closely monitored Patches 24 hours a day. We made sure that when he went home his pain was under control, he did not vomit and he ate on his own again.
Although the family took all the necessary precautions to avoid a foreign body, Patches still decided to find a rock and swallow it. We know that it is in his inquisitive nature to want to explore and we understand that an accident like this can happen so quickly. Unfortunately we can try protect our pets but we cannot always keep them safe from harm. With this being said we are very proud of Patches to have gone through such major surgery so early in his life.
We sincerely hope that Patches will be more careful of what he plays with and chews on. Thank you to the Wentworth family for allowing us to help Patches and for being such good pet owners.
We hope that this story will warn other pet owners of how easily a pet can have a foreign body (this includes bones, sosatie sticks, toothpicks, toys, blankets, towels, underwear etc.) We also strongly advise all pet owners to look at a Medical Insurance plan for example Medipet (https://medipetsa.co.za/). This will come in handy when something unexpected like this happens to your pet.
Skin problems and allergies are a very common problem in pets. If you have ever had an itchy and scratching pet, you will understand how frustrating it can be, for both you and your pet. Your pet’s skin acts as protective barrier, once this barrier is compromised it is easy to get infections and other health problems.
A few Dermatology facts to keep in mind:
- Skin problems can be caused by either parasites, environmental allergies or food allergies
- Sometimes we can diagnose a skin problem by doing one simple test
- Other times we have to diagnose by eliminating all possible causes. This might take a few tests and some time
- You need to be realistic
- You need to be patient
- You need to be compliant
- There is no overnight cure
- You need to keep note of any changes (diet, shampoo, season etc.)
- Be aware that most allergic pets will be allergic for the remainder of their life. We can only help you manage the problem
- Follow up appointments are an important part in sorting out the problem
We understand that DERMATOLOGY problems can be frustrating but we want to motivate our clients not to give up hope. We have helped many pets sort out their itchy feet, ears and overall skin. We can help your pet too.
Although December is the Season to be jolly, it can also be very stressful if you do not plan properly. So we decided to help you by making a check-list .
It is that time of the year again…
The season of thunderstorms, holidays away from home, fun family visits and New Year’s parties are coming closer. All of these can cause some serious stress in our furry friends which can result in your pets trying to escape from your yard and getting lost in the street. If your pet is microchipped it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to reunite you with your pet.
A microchip is an information carrying device about the size of a grain of rice. This device gets injected under your pet’s skin. It is a quick injection to give you peace of mind.
Come and talk to us today if we can help you with calming medication for your pet. There are a few natural over the counter medications available. We advise trying the product in advance to see if it has the desired effect on your pet.
Please note that if your pet requires scheduled medication, a veterinarian will need to do a full clinical on your pet first to ensure the safety of your pet. It is illegal for a veterinarian to dispense scheduled medication to an animal that has not been assessed in the last 6 months.
Please come and get your pet’s calming meds well in advance to avoid the end of the year rush.
Do you know that your pet not only needs a series of vaccinations when they are young but they also need yearly boosters to keep their immunity strong against many diseases?
Especially this time of year, we warn pet owners about the feared Parvo Virus, also known as Katgriep. We have seen many cases lately and want to urge all pet owners to check their pets’ vaccination status. As the saying goes, rather be safe than sorry.
Tick and flea treatment:
With the warmer weather and the rainy season we unfortunately have to deal with the creepy crawlies that feast on you and your pet’s blood. Let us help you choose the perfect product to protect your pets against them. Remember that you need to treat them monthly to keep your house protected.
If you have not dewormed your pet in the last 3-4 months with a veterinary product, then it is definitely time again. Let us help you choose the best product for your pet.
Stock up on your pet’s food before you leave for your holiday or leave your pet in someone else’s care. Take enough food with you to make sure that you do not run out.
For your convenience, please note that you can phone us in advance to order your pet’s food to ensure that we have stock of your pet’s specific diet.
Keep your pets safe:
During the festive season criminal activity is very high. A determined burglar will do anything to silence your pet. Every year we deal with a large number of poisoned animals. Sadly not all of them survive. If at all possible, let your pets sleep inside or keep them confined. If you are going away let someone stay in your house or let them check on your pets daily.
If your pet is on chronic medication, according to the Medicine and Substance Control Act, dispensing may only be done by a veterinarian or a veterinary nurse. As it is the silly season, we ask that you phone at least a few hours in advance to give us enough time to prepare your order.
PLEASE NOTE: by law, a pet must be examined every 6 months if on regular long-term medication. No medication will be dispensed if the pet was not seen for his/her 6 months’ check-up.
Emergency veterinary care:
If you go away on holiday, make sure that you know where the nearest Veterinary Clinic is and save their number on your phone. Please note that we will be available throughout the entire festive season to assist you with basic procedures during the day or emergencies after hours. We now also offer 24 hour night monitoring. Feel free to save our emergency number onto your phone 082 551 1966.
Most importantly we hope that you enjoy this festive season with your loved ones and the furry family.
Meet Niquta, the 6 year old Jack Russel and loved member of the Bayford family.
In July this year she was suddenly very sick. She had a fever, stopped eating, was vomiting and had severe abdominal pain. Her owners were very worried. Our medicine specialist, Dr Joanne Mclean examined her and upon doing an ultrasound of her abdomen, Dr Mclean found that her gallbladder had ruptured and bile was leaking into her abdomen. She was referred to Bryanston Veterinary Hospital where a specialist surgeon performed an emergency laparotomy and found a mass on her gallbladder wall which had caused the gallbladder to rupture. He removed the gallbladder with the mass and sent it to the laboratory for analysis. She was in ICU after the surgery for a few days but made a miraculous and speedy recovery.
The mass was diagnosed as a hemangiosarcoma which is a malignant cancer of the bloodvessels. This type of cancer is very aggressive and can spread easily from one organ to another especially to the liver, spleen, lungs and heart and can cause life-threatening haemorrhage. Once she had recovered from the surgery Dr McLean scanned her heart and took chest x-rays to make sure there was no signs of spread to the other organs.
Luckily all these tests were clear and Niquita was started on a course of chemotherapy to destroy any microscopic cancer cells that may have been present in the blood or organs.
She just recently had her post chemotherapy check-up and no traces of cancer could be found. Niquta is completely cancer free!Niquta came in for Chemotherapy treatment every three weeks for six treatments. Chemotherapy can have some horrible side -affects such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea but luckily Niquta responded well and had very few symptoms. Niquta was a star patient and still wagged her tail with each visit. She just had this sparkle in her eyes and this strong will to keep fighting.
We would like to thank the Bayford family for giving this sweet girl a second chance in life. We know that it wasn’t always an easy road and it warms our hearts seeing her healthy and happy again.