Your pet’s eyesight is one of the most important senses he or she needs to get around daily. Our pets cannot speak and tell us when something is wrong hence it is our responsibility as pet owners to keep a lookout for any signs and symptoms that could make them uncomfortable or cause them harm.
We recommend bringing your pet for an eye examination if you see any of these signs:
- Red eyes
- Pawing at the eyes
- Discharge from the eyes
- Excessive tear production
- Excessive blinking
- Third eyelid present
- Difficulty in seeing or bumping into things
One of the common eye conditions we see at the Clinic is “Dry Eye” (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca). This is when there is a deficiency in the amount of aqueous tear film over the surface of the pet’s eye causing severe inflammation and drying of the cornea and conjunctiva. There are different treatment protocols depending on the exact cause and severity.
Other common eye problems seen at the Clinic include:
- Pigmentary keratitis
- Corneal Ulcers
- Tear duct obstruction
- Cherry eye
Sometimes our pets might need an enucleation (operation to remove the eye). It is remarkable to see how these pets adapt in their environment. We have seen many patients and know of clients that can testify that their pets still managed to live happy after such an operation (Keeping in mind that you need to keep the household as unchanged as possible).
To emphasize the importance of good eye care, we are offering a FREE tear production test when you book your pet for a Basic Eye examination with Dr Jeanetta this August. With this consultation Dr Jeanetta will:
- Do a full clinical examination
- Get a full history
- Do a tear production test
- Ulceration test (if indicated)
Please note that although Dr Jeanetta is not an Ophthalmologist, she has a special interest in Ophthalmology.
Last Friday afternoon, we received a phone call from a very worried client, Mr Green. His sheep went into labour and the little lamb had been stuck for a few hours already. Mr Green phoned around and struggled to find a clinic in the area able to assist.
Although we are a Small Animal Clinic and we do not have all the medicine and equipment to work with production animals, we told Mr Green that we are willing to try and assist him as it was his last resort. We knew that if the little lamb was stuck for too long, it becomes dangerous for the lamb and the mother as the risk for complications gets more as time passes.
Mr Green was desperate for veterinary assistance and brought her in straight away, where two of our very capable animal handlers assisted him to take the ewe to our examination room.
Dr Johan Jordaan, who has some experience with production animals, immediately evaluated the distressed ewe. Dr Orsilla gave the ewe an epidural and an injection to facilitate further contractions whilst Dr Johan assisted her with the birthing process. He correctly positioned the lambs’ legs and by applying enough lubrication, he was able to pull the lamb from the mother’s womb. After a few intense minutes of sweating and stressing, the lamb was out and alive. It was a moment of pure joy in the Clinic. Dr Orsilla quickly examined the little lamb and tied off the umbilical cord. Other than some swelling around the neck from being stuck for a few hours, the lamb sustained no serious injuries and was already standing and looking for her mother.
Sister Cindy put the mother on a drip (to help her cope with the shock she had been through) and the nurses assisted the little lamb with nursing from the mother.
Initially, the lamb struggled to latch as the mother could not stand up immediately after the birth. Her legs were still numb from lying down for a while and the epidural she received moments earlier. Sister Lizel milked the ewe and we were able to get the lamb to drink the much needed colostrum from a bottle.
As soon as she could stand, we took them outside where the mother and baby were able to bond and we witnessed the most heart-warming and beautiful moment where the lamb properly latched onto the mother’s teat and was able to nurse for the first time with a fast paced wagging tail.
We are so relieved that the little lamb made it out alive. We spoke to Mr Green yesterday and he confirmed that the little lamb is healthy and doing very well.
Ps: Please note that we are strictly a small animal clinic and advise consulting a production animal veterinarian for any related queries.
So you are a pet owner and you hear veterinarians recommending that your pet/s should be sterilized. “Why is it so important?” you ask yourself. You may have many questions regarding this procedure. We have put together some answers for you regarding sterilization:
What is sterilizing/ neutering/ spaying?
Sterilization in dogs/cats is a routine surgical procedure where the testicles of males (neutering) and ovaries & uterus of females (spaying) are removed while under general anaesthetic. At our Clinic this procedure is performed by a qualified veterinarian and the pet’s anaesthesia is administered and monitored by a qualified veterinary sister.
Why is it beneficial to sterilize my pets?
* Prevention of unwanted pregnancy and litters.
* Population control, meaning less unwanted pets which also facilitates in disease control
* Prevention of Pyometra (Infection in the uterus) in female dogs/cats.
* To prevent male dogs from roaming the streets in search of females which could get them lost or hurt.
* Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
* Prevention of false pregnancies causing emotional distress in your pet
* Decreases the chances of mammary and testicular cancers
* Lessens urine marking by your male cat / dog
* Can decrease aggression
Should I let my female dog/cat have one litter before sterilizing her?
- Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth: Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children – especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way
- Your female pet’s chances of getting mammary cancers are decreased dramatically, especially if you spay her BEFORE her first heat cycle.
- Your male pet’s chances of getting prostate (or testicular) problems are also decreased dramatically.
What are the risks involved?
Sterilization itself is a relatively fast procedure that is routinely done at our clinic. However, just as with any surgical procedure in humans it involves sedatives and general anaesthetics, which do carry some risks. Nevertheless, adverse reactions are rare.
To ensure the safest anaesthesia possible we do a full clinical examination and offer blood tests to assess organ function on your pet before the operation.
At what age can I have my pet sterilized?
We recommend having your pets sterilized generally at 6 months of age before the first heat cycle. We do not recommend doing it before this age as the reproductive tract needs to fully mature first. Please don’t hesitate to ask one of our veterinarians when would be the best age for YOUR pet.
How long does the sterilization procedure take?
It is a one-day procedure. On the day of your pet’s appointment they need to be at our Clinic before 7:30 am the morning and can only be fetched after 15:00 pm.
The sterilization procedure itself is done within a few minutes but the hospital stay involves a thorough clinical examination and after the operation our compassionate veterinary nurses will monitor your pet during the recovery process to make sure that your pet is fully awake and stable before going home. We also take them for a walk and give them food before they are discharged.
What does the aftercare involve?
- Your pet will present with a few sutures after a sterilization (male cats do not get sutures). You just need to keep an eye on the surgical wound to make sure it is clean and has no signs of infection (redness, pain, swelling or heat).
- If you are concerned about the wound after the operation, you can bring your pet in for us to have a look at the wound post-surgery.
- Please prevent your pet from licking the wound as it will cause infection and they can pull out their sutures, if you see them licking come in and purchase a Buster collar or ask our nurses at discharge .
- Try and keep your pet as quiet as possible for 10 days until the sutures are removed. No running, jumping or bathing in this time.
- Sutures will be removed free of charge.
Meet Leroy, the 3 month old Great Dane puppy and much loved furry family member of the Krige household.
Leroy was brought for a consultation with Dr Soné last Thursday. His owners were very worried after they found him chewing on a box of staples. They suspected that he had swallowed quite a big portion of the staples as some of them were missing.
Dr Soné suggested that radiographs be taken and there it was; A whole lot of staples all bundled together could clearly be seen in the stomach.
Dr Kristina Lutz, our head surgeon got called out and an emergency Gastrotomy had to be performed to remove all the staples. Leroy was in theatre for about 45 minutes. A repeat radiograph was taken after the surgery to confirm that all the foreign objects had been removed. Dr Kristina even found a small piece of a PC board together with food particles inside of Leroy’s stomach.
Luckily Leroy’s owners were very observant and brought him in as soon as they realised he had swallowed the staples as it could have caused damage to his intestinal or stomach walls. It could easily have perforated the stomach or intestines and caused seepage of intestinal fluid into his peritoneum. This could lead to Peritonitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the abdomen) and even death.
Leroy was kept in our hospital for 48 hours post-surgery for observation. He was monitored throughout the night by Sister Molly that was on night shift and during the day Dr Kristina and the day nurses kept a close eye on him. He fully recovered from the anaesthesia within a few hours. The next day he was back to a playful busy puppy again. We started feeding him small meals frequently to give his gut a chance to heal. Leroy did not vomit, had no pain or discomfort.
Leroy was sent home on Saturday morning with some medication and an intestinal support diet. On Monday his owners confirmed that he was doing well. He was full of energy, eating well and already sniffing around to find something new to chew on.
With Leroy’s story we would like to warn all pet owners that pets can be very curious at times. Pets explore with their feet and mouths. Chewing and swallowing objects is their way of exploring. If possible try to keep ALL things that they can swallow out of reach. Especially when they are young.
Accidents happen quickly so if your pet presents with any of the following symptoms:
- Not eating
- Vomiting & pale gums
- Painful abdomen
we advise you to bring them in immediately.
Meet Ollie, the adorable Africanis cross breed puppy that went from a wondering township dog to a loving member of the Maass family in a matter of no time.
Mr Simon Maass is in construction and is currently working on a project at a site close to the Olievenhoutbosch area. About 2 months ago this adorable but scared little stray dog started exploring the building site. He seemed very relieved to find people in the area but was very cautious with coming too close and just viewed them and all situations from a safe distance.
When Simon saw this lost little dog, his heart immediately melted. He called him, with the hopes of winning his trust. Although he seemed very scared, he ran towards Simon, very eager to be loved. It was at that moment that Simon decided he needed a name. He named him “Ollie”, giving some recognition to the Olievenhoutbosch township that Simon suspects he came from.
And there it started, he was no longer “some stray dog” but Ollie now had a name and it felt like he was sent there for a reason. They had an instant connection!
Simon did not know if Ollie had a home and gave it some time to see if Ollie would keep returning. Every morning when Simon got to work, Ollie would be sleeping on his parking spot, waiting for him to get to work and very excited to see him.
They became best friends. Ollie drove around with Simon in his bakkie on site and loved to play in the sand. Simon made sure he had food and water and made the decision to permanently make Ollie his responsibility. Ollie went home with Simon and will never sleep cold or hungry again.
We feel very privileged that Ollie also became a member of the Bakenkop family. Simon brought him for a check-up as he struggled with some skin problems. Ollie is currently on medication. We were all amazed at how well behaved he is and how sweet his personality is. You just cannot help but instantly fall in love with this sweet boy.
We think Ollie realises how lucky he is to have an owner now. Not only someone that can dedicate time towards him to wash him with special shampoo and give his medication but also someone that can provide food and shelter for him in a loving and caring home. Ollie we can’t wait to see you again.
Hearing stories like this just reminds us that there are many helpless pets out there, in desperate need of some food, love, shelter etc.
We would like to thank Simon for this kind gesture of giving Ollie a second chance in life. We can see in his eyes that he is so grateful and will forever be his most loyal and best friend.
We understand that not everyone can adopt a stray pet but you can also make a BIG difference by:
• Microchipping your pets
• Sterilizing your pets
• Keeping your yard safe so your pets can’t wonder or get lost
• Making a donation at a shelter
• Donating your time at a shelter
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