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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
One of the most dangerous infectious diseases dogs are exposed to is the Parvo virus, more commonly known as “katgriep” or “cat flu”.
The symptoms include :
* severe vomiting
* lack of appetite
can eventually result in death.
Although the majority of pet owners are aware of this virus and fears it, the number of dogs and puppies in our area that succumb to this disease is shockingly high.
There is a significant increase in Parvo cases with the changing of seasons and the start of the rainy season. According to our practice statistics 27 Parvo snap tests were already performed in the past month. Unfortunately almost 90% of those tests were positive.
There are a variety of risk factors that can increase a dog’s susceptibility to the disease, but mainly, the virus is transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, by the faecal-oral route. Heavy concentrations of the virus are found in an infected dog’s stool, so when a healthy dog sniffs an infected dog’s stool, it will contract the disease. The virus can also be brought into a dog’s environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected faeces. There is evidence that the virus can live in ground soil for up to a year. It is resistant to most cleaning products, or even to weather changes.
The number of Parvo patients is increasing at an alarming rate every day. This devastating and sometimes fatal disease mostly affects puppies but can also affect adult dogs. The parvo virus will keep spreading because of the number of dogs missing their full vaccination schedule. When buying a new puppy, some owners assume that the puppy is fully vaccinated which is impossible if the puppy is only a few weeks old.
This is the vaccination schedule that we recommend for dogs:
1st vaccination: 6 weeks @ R400
2nd vaccination: 9 weeks @ R400
3rd vaccination including Rabies: 12 weeks R440
4th vaccination including Rabies booster: 16 weeks @ R440
We recommend an annual booster @ R440 to keep your dog’s vaccination status up to date
If you just bought a puppy, it will still need vaccination boosters every 3-4 weeks. When you strictly keep to the vaccination schedule, your puppy will only be fully protected after the completion of the boosters at the age of 4-5 months. Please keep this in mind.
We call on all pet owners to check their pets’ vaccination cards and bring them to be vaccinated if they are not up to date. Yes, your puppy’s vaccinations will cost you R1680 over 4 months, but the cost of intensive parvo virus treatment can go up to R15000 or more depending on the dog’s size and amount of days spent in hospital. We want to warn all owners that this disease is spreading and it is spreading really FAST!
If you are unsure whether your pet need another booster, feel free to phone us.
Please help us by spreading the word so we can protect our pets.