As the end of the year draws to a close, most businesses start to slow down in anticipation of a well-needed rest. The veterinary world however, braces itself for its busiest time. The holiday season comes with a multitude of risks for animals. This occurs for many reasons, some of them are out of our control, including climatic changes and prevalence of certain parasites, but many of them can be guarded against if the pet owner is aware and vigilant. Continue reading
The kidneys are very important organs of the animal body and play an important role in the normal day to day functioning of the body. They act like a specialised type of filter by retaining the appropriate amount of different salts (electrolytes) to maintain fluid balance in the body. They secrete a hormone which is involved in the production of red blood cells.
Vets recognise the importance of looking at animals not only from a health point of view, but from a holistic point of view where the animal’s health is but one part of the overall wellbeing of the animal. Aspects like nutrition, shelter, behaviour and training form as an important part of an animal’s overall wellbeing as the physical and medical condition of the animal. Our domestic pets are kept as companions and the success of a pet in a household is not only measured by its longevity and health, but also how it fits into the home and interacts with the rest of the members of the household. More importantly, most pets do not stay confined to their home all the time, but often go out with the owner and interact with other animals and human beings. Just as there are rules for humans for good and acceptable public behaviour, so there are rules for good animal behaviour. Continue reading
The birth of a litter is a very exciting event, but it is also a huge responsibility for the owner, as many things can go wrong. Besides the birth process itself, problems can occur with the young animals due to birth defects, infections, or insufficient mothering care. In these cases hand rearing may be necessary.
There is a huge amount of commitment required for hand rearing. The main principles of concern are providing correct nutrition; temperature control; good hygiene; and monitoring urination and defecation. Continue reading
Ear infections are common in dogs, and to a lesser degree in cats. The anatomy of the animal predisposes them to this condition. The ear canal of the dog and cat follows the shape of an “L”, going first downwards and then horisontally. This shape makes it difficult for debris and water that go into the ear to come out, against the force of gravity. Continue reading
Just like humans and most other domestic animal species, cats can also catch colds. In cats, this disease is referred to as Snuffles – quite an apt name for all the sniffing and snorting associated with this disease. The learned name for this disease is Feline Rhinotracheitis. Continue reading
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, or as it is more commonly known, Kennel Cough, is an upper respiratory tract disease of dogs that is found throughout the world. Breaking down the names of disease gives an indication as to how, and which parts of, the respiratory tract are involved.
Canine (meaning dog) – This disease is unique to dogs and does not spread between species, so a cat cannot contract it from a dog.
Infectious – This means that this disease is caused by infectious agents or organisms (in simple language – bugs) which can grow and multiply in the respiratory tract of the host, in this case that of a dog.
Tracheobronchitis – The trachea is the windpipe which connects the mouth and nose to the lungs. The bronchi are the small networks of tubes which stem from the trachea taking air into the lungs. Whenever a word ends with “–itis” it means inflammation or infection. Continue reading
Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s Disease, is a condition whereby the level of cortisol in the body is too high. It is a condition which is also found in humans and the name Cushing’s Disease or also commonly known as Cushing’s Syndrome comes from Harvey Cushing, who in 1912, was one of the first physicians to report a patient affected with excessive cortisol hormone also otherwise known as glucocorticoid. Continue reading
The pancreas is an organ in the body which is closely associated with the segment of intestine that leaves the stomach. The pancreas releases enzymes involved in digestion as well as hormones with specific functions. One of these hormones is insulin. Insulin is released from the pancreas in response to the intake of food, especially carbohydrates and to a lesser degree fats and protein. Insulin circulates in the bloodstream and facilitates the uptake of the ingested nutrients into the body’s own stores of energy. Continue reading
Anyone who has ever seen an animal experiencing a seizure will know that it is a “hair raising” event. Seizures or ‘fits’ is a well described phenomenon in domestic pets. The way in which a fit or seizure presents can vary significantly, from what seems to be a brief moment of absent mindedness to full blown body contractions where the animal is semi-conscious and lying on the ground shivering, shaking and convulsing, with foam coming out the mouth and looking like it is busy dying. Owners, and even vets who may have seen such seizures in pets quite often, still find it disturbing at the best of times. Continue reading