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.
• Since 2013 Hill’s has had more than 21 000 pets sign up to the Hill’s Pet Slimmer programme.
• The most overweight dog breeds on the programme have been – Labrador / Retriever; Dachshund; Jack Russell; Pug and Miniature Pinscher.
• Gauteng has the highest number of overweight pets, followed by the Western Cape; KwaZulu-Natal; the Eastern Cape and the Free State.
• Less than 15% of pets enrolled on the programme are cats – though the largest cat ever to be signed up to the programme weighed 15kg!
• Some of the crazy treats that Hill’s has discovered that pet parents are giving to their pets include tea and rusks; marshmallows; honey on toast; viennas; dry wors, biltong & boerewors; ice cream, yoghurt and cheese. Some pets are also guilty of stealing treats – tales of pets stealing avocados from trees and dogs learning to open fridges and freezers to gain access to snacks have been heard.
• More than 50 pets had more than 30kgs to lose – that’s an 9 year old human!
• The most weight lost by a single pet slimmer is 26.7kg.
• There were some pets that signed up at 3 times their ideal body weight.
• One person brought her dog in for 59 weigh-ins – despite her utter dedication, her beagle never made it to its’ target weight.
For more information on the Hill’s Pet Slimmer Clinic please feel free to visit the website www.petslimmer.co.za
Does your dog qualify?
• Dog must be between 1-6 years old
• Good temperament, not aggressive and calm
• Large breed dog over 25kg
• Vaccinations up to date
• Must use tick and flea treatments monthly
• If they have ever received a blood transfusion themselves, they can’t become a blood donor
What are their different blood groups?
Canine blood types are denoted by “DEA,” or Dog Erythrocyte Antigen, and are broken down into eight categories:
Here is how it works!
Blood is collected once every 3-4 months.
We will make an appointment with you 1-2 days prior to the day of collection. Your doggy can be dropped off the morning and fetched when we are done or when you come back from work. We can also arrange to fetch animals if someone will be home and it is not too far from the Clinic.
The Collection process:
The collection area on the neck is shaved and surgically prepared to avoid contamination or infection.
Blood is collected using a collection bag and needle similar to those used in humans.
In some cases a light sedation may be needed to calm nervous donors.
One bag of 500ml is collected per donor.
What happens to the blood after collection?
We use these products in our hospital for critically ill patients suffering from diseases e.g. Babesia, Parvo, rat poison cases or trauma cases such as bite wounds.
As a token of our appreciation, after every donation you will have a choice of:
• an annual vaccination and deworming
• or a 8kg bag of Vets Choice of your choice
• or R300 credit on your account
If you would like to enroll your pet on this program, feel free to contact Sr Cindy at 012 653 4474 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet obesity is becoming a more common problem seen in general practice. Many pet owners mistakenly think that their pet’s size is normal, even when they are overweight. I would say that about 60% of the patients that we see weigh more than their ideal weight.
When a pet is overweight we strongly advise pet owners to enroll them into a weight-loss program.
For a successful weight-loss program, you need some motivation and perseverance. With our program at Bakenkop Animal Clinic we are able to help pet owners choose the perfect diet for their pets, help with feeding guidelines, give them advice on how to incorporate this diet into their lifestyle and schedule regular weigh-ins to monitor their pet’s progress.
When a pet is enrolled into a program, it keeps the owners motivated and goal focused.
Our Clinic also offers hydrotherapy exercise sessions to speed up weight loss.
For appointments please phone us on 012 653 4474 or email Cindy@bakenkop-vet.co.za
Our pets also need to take care of their teeth, just like we do. A fresh breath and sparkly teeth are not just “nice-to-haves”. Dental disease is more than a dirty mouth and unpleasant smell coming from your pet’s mouth. Dental disease is painful for the animal and can result in tooth root abscesses, loose teeth, bone loss and even infections of the heart valves and kidneys.
Signs that your pet has dental disease
* Bad breath
* Red and swollen gums
* Receding gums
* Yellow or brown crust of tartar on teeth
* Gums that easily bleed
* Loose teeth
* Reluctance to eat/ chew
* Abnormal drooling
* Mouth pawing/ rubbing
* Irritability/ Depression
Prevention is better than cure and that is why good oral hygiene for your pet is very important.
Ideally it is best to brush your pet’s teeth daily but we understand that it is not always possible and some pets will simply not allow it. Luckily there are many other ways to try and keep your pets teeth clean and healthy, for example dental chews, oral rinses and dental diets.
Unfortunately our furry friends won’t lie still in a chair and open their mouths to allow the vet to work. Thus pets need to be put under general anesthesia to have their teeth cleaned. This allows the veterinarian to properly examine each tooth. Periodontal disease occurs below the gum line and can only be evaluated while the animal is under anaesthesia. Every tooth is carefully evaluated to determine if it needs to be extracted. We will always chose the option to safe a tooth if possible. If in doubt we might recommend a dental X-ray to evaluate tooth roots.
Give your pet another reason to smile this September, book them for a dental scale and polish procedure this month and receive R200 discount. Please bring your pet for a FREE dental cost estimate. The estimation will depend on the severity of the tartar, if teeth need to be extracted and if medication will be needed. Please take note that we cannot give you a cost estimate without seeing your pet’s mouth as each pet’s oral health and dental procedure will be different.
Watch our video below on how to maintain the best oral hygiene in your pet