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Going the extra mile

Subject: RE: October 2019 Heart Warmer

To all the  amazing vets and staff at Bakenkop,

I truly appreciate everything you do for my two precious Daxies, Nina and Mandy.  My girls mean the world to me and you get that.  I am so thankful that you go the extra mile for us.  Saying thank you seems so lame but THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all you do. 

God bless you all.

Theresa, Nina and Mandy Stewart xx

Pet Star of the month October 2019 – Dasha Calitz

Meet Dasha, a 5 year old Russian terrier and much loved furry family member of the Calitz family.

In June this year, Dasha was on heat. Herman and Sumarie made the decision to have her mated with and allow her to have at least one litter before sterilizing her. They were excited to experience puppy birth and whatever challenges goes hand in hand with it. After all, it is said that motherhood comes naturally. And who does not love puppies?

On the 17th of August, Dasha starting with nesting behaviour. It was obvious that the birthing process was about to happen. Dasha started getting contractions in the morning hours, with Herman and Sumare close by her side the entire time. Dasha struggled for a long time but could not get any puppies out and there was a green discharge visible.

Dasha at our Clinic still in labour

Mr Calitz phoned our Clinic during the early hours of morning to speak to Sister Ann, who was on night duty with Dr Yolande, thus assisting with any emergencies. It was advised that Dasha be brought to the Clinic for an examination and radiographs to see how many pups she still had in utero and if they were in the correct position to be born naturally.

Radiographs confirming 7 puppies

The radiographs confirmed that she still had 10 puppies inside of her. Dr Yolande did a vaginal exam and found one puppy already in the birth canal. The option of a C-section was discussed with the owners but it was decided to give Dasha some more time to try and give birth naturally. Dr Yolande gave an injection to further assist with contractions and sent Dasha home where she will be most comfortable to continue with the birthing process. The Calitz couple then knew exactly what to look out for and when to phone us again. They understood that if Dasha did not manage to get the puppies out soon, it would become an emergency and the puppies will need to be removed by a C-section. We regularly perform C-sections on especially small breed dogs.

Dasha went home with her owners, who still have not slept at all the entire night. In the next 3 hours, 3 puppies were born. At 7am Sunday morning, they brought Dasha back after one of the pups had unfortunately passed away. By this time Dasha had been in labour for hours already and the Calitz family did not want to risk any of the other babies’ lives. Dr Yolande advised that we surgically remove the pups by C-section. The owners also agreed to have her sterilized at the same time.

Dr Yolande placing skin sutures after performing a C-section on Dasha
The puppies shortly after the C-section

Dr Yolande, with the assistance of Dr Johan and Sister Marietjie who monitored the anaesthesia, went into theatre immediately whilst the other puppies were being bottle fed by Sister Cindy. Unfortunately another puppy was found dead in the birth canal.

After the C-section and recovery period, Dasha, her exhausted owners and the rest of the puppies went home with a tin of puppy milk as back-up. Dasha struggled as a new mom in the beginning. It took her some time to know how to lie so that her pups can suckle. She also didn’t seem to know how big she was and accidentally lay on one of her puppies, which also passed away. Another puppy was diagnosed with a serious birth defect and unfortunately had to be put to sleep. Sadly only 6 out of the 10 puppies were left.

One of the puppies being bottle fed by Mr Calitz

With this experience, the Calitz couple shed many tears of sadness but also tears of joy. They can easily now warn other pet owners of the big responsibility that comes with allowing your pets to have a litter. It is also not always as easy or natural as people might think. Sometimes surgical invention and medical treatment is needed. Mrs Calitz also added that she did not realise how emotionally attached you get to these pups, even if they are only a part of the household for a few weeks. If you cannot deal with this heartache, lack of sleep or financially support the medical expenses that go hand in hand with breeding, we advise pet owners to sterilize their pets as soon as they are matured enough. It should also be kept in mind that there are cases where pet owners will be left with the responsibility of feeding and stimulating pups every 2-3 hours.

Dasha with her puppies at the age of 6 weeks

With this being said, we want to thank the Calitz family for their dedication towards Dasha. They stood by her side the entire time, asked for medical advice and intervention when needed and still give the puppies the best start in life. A house filled with love and care.

Dr Yolande and Dr Johan with the puppies at their vaccination visit

A week back, the 6 puppies came for their first vaccinations and deworming. What a heart-warming site it was to see these beautiful pups back at our Clinic. Strong, happy and healthy. Calitz family, we salute you for all that you have been through this past 2 months.

Pet Star of the month September 2019 – Freddy van Aswegen

Pet star of the month September 2019 – Freddy

Meet Freddy, a very brave Afrikanus x Collie boy that is about 4 years old. Freddy deserves our Pet Star of the month title for all that he has been through.

In July, in the middle of the Winter one of our clients, Ms Cindy van Aswegen found Freddy, next to the road at the airport in Port Elizabeth. She was on her way back to Pretoria when she spotted him lying in the rain outside, barely moving. She ran towards him and could not believe that he was alive. He was in a terrible condition. He was severely emaciated, full of ticks, he had mange and a fractured leg.

Cindy has always had a soft spot for animals and could not leave the dog and get on her plane. So she missed her flight and took him to the nearest vet in the area where they treated him and kept him for 4 days. Luckily the fractured leg was stable and did not need surgical intervention.

Cindy did some networking and managed to find him a foster home in PE for time being. He started picking up some weight and got used to human contact.

After a month, Cindy managed to get Freddy to Pretoria where he came to our Clinic for a full clinical examination. We diagnosed him with a TVT (transmissible venereal tumour). This is a tumour of the external genitalia that gets transmitted during mating. Freddy is currently on a weekly Chemotherapy program at our Clinic. During this time, Freddy also found a loving forever home with Adre.

Despite the horrible side effects Freddy has to endure with his weekly chemotherapy and his saddening street life, Freddy still wags his tail when he enters our Clinic and his eyes now sparkle with new life.

Thank you Cindy and team for giving Freddy a second chance in life. We salute you!

Determining your pet’s ideal body weight

Determining and maintaining your pet’s ideal body weight can be changeling especially if you do not know what they should weight.

There are guidelines of expected ideal weights available everywhere, that are worked out according to pet breeds. Please note that these are merely GUIDELINES. It is almost the same to state that all 30 year old females should weigh the same. A person should take into consideration that some pets (even of the same breed) have longer legs than others and some have a broader chest or shoulders than others. This makes their ideal weight different.

One pet’s ideal weight could be another pet’s “overweight” weight…

So how do we determine if a pet is overweight?

We use a simple technique at the Clinic called BODY CONDITION SCORE

The main things we look out for to see if a pet is overweight is:

  • Can you see a visible waistline?
  • Can you EASILY feel your pet’s ribs? If you think you can feel the ribs, then your pet is still overweight.
  • Are there visible fat deposits?

If you are unsure whether your pet is overweight/ underweight and you need help choosing the perfect diet or working out how much to feed them, please let us help you. Make an appointment for a FREE weight check with Sr Cindy today.

Pet Star of the month – August 2019 (Levi D’Arcy)

Meet Levi, a 7 month old boerboel puppy and a much loved member of the D’Archy family. This sweet pup has faced some life-threatening and exhausting challenges in his short little life. Yet, he still has a happy and sparkly personality and loves coming to our Clinic. For this reason, we chose him to be a Bakenkop Pet Star.

Here is Levi’s story:

Levi’s owners bought him from a breeder in April this year. He fitted right in and immediately felt like he had been a part of the household for years. A few days after arriving at his new home, Levi got sick. He was lethargic, didn’t want to eat and started with diarrhoea. That was the first time he came to our Clinic. Levi was diagnosed with the dreaded Parvo Virus (Katgriep) and had to be admitted for intensive treatment.

Levi spent almost 2 weeks in hospital with us. He was very weak, but with 24 hour medical care from our team and daily visits from his new loving family, he managed to pull through and he became a Parvo survivor! He was happy and healthy and could go home.

We love seeing our patients for follow up’s. We saw Levi when he came back to be vaccinated and microchipped. What happy visits those were.

 But sadly, the 3rd visit after being discharged was not a happy one. Levi got hurt and needed to be admitted, again. The family suspected that Levi’s “brother” (Great Dane) accidentally fell on him. He was admitted for X-rays and pain management. It was confirmed that Levi had a broken left hind femur and multiple hernia’s that needed to be fixed urgently.

Levi spent another 5 days in hospital where he got operated twice by our Specialist surgeon, Dr Bruce with the assistance of Dr Kristina. The hernias had to be repaired and his leg needed special external pins to repair the fracture. Levi had to be kept still and come in weekly for bandage changes and check-ups over a period of 2 months. He also had to wear a buster collar around his neck during this time to prevent him from fiddling with the pins sticking out of the leg.

On the 10th of July 2019, Levi came for his final leg follow up. The X-rays revealed that his femur had fully healed and the pins could be removed. He was put under anaesthesia and the pins were removed.

Today, Levi can run and play normally again and without a plastic collar around his neck.

M’arcy family, we salute you for doing all you can to give Levi the best possible life even when it started with so many challenges. You strictly followed our advice and still take such good care of him. Levi is one of the luckiest dogs out there to have found a family that loves and cares for him as much as you do. In the course of the last 5 months, Levi also become a big part of the Bakenkop family. There is no staff member that is not excited to see Levi when he visits.

How to brush your dog’s teeth

Start as young as possible so your pet will become accustomed to the brushing process early on in his/her life.

  • Use a special pet toothbrush with soft bristles. We have easy to use finger brushes available at our Clinic.
  • Do NOT use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride that can be toxic to dogs, instead get a pet toothpaste with a flavour that your pet might actually enjoy.
  • Start by introducing your pet to the toothpaste, allowing him to lick it first to get used to the taste.
  • Once your pet is happy to accept the toothpaste. You can brush their teeth. If the brushing is new to your pet, try these steps below to get him/her accustomed to it:
  • Start by gently playing with their lips.
  • Once they are comfortable with this, proceed to tickling them in the mouth (not yet with the brush – only use your fingers).
  • Then apply the pet toothpaste to your finger, let them lick it off.
  • After they accept that step, you can make brushing movements with your finger. Let them get used to licking the toothpaste off the bristles of the toothbrush.
  • Start to play with the brush inside their mouth.
  • Then for the final step – brush the teeth gently.
  • Try to also get to the molar (back) teeth as they tend to accumulate lots of tartar that will cause damage.
  • Be patient. These steps above can happen over the course of a few days / weeks. Do not rush it and remember to reward your pet with some playtime / walk to positively reinforce the brushing activity.

Do you know when to take your pet for an eye examination?

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.

Pet Star of the month – “Little lamb” Green

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.

Frequently asked questions about sterilizing your pets

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.

Pet Star of the month June 2019 – Leroy Krige

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
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting & pale gums
  • Painful abdomen

we advise you to bring them in immediately.



Contact Us

Tel 012 653 4474/2 and After hours 082 5511 966 Fax 012 653 4353

Address: 1 Caper avenue, Eldoraigne x 3, Centurion

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