The most common and life-threatening condition that concerns us as a vet each year is Tick Paralysis. We strive to continually pre-warn clients about the tick season, so that they may be prepared. Nationally, the mortality rate from tick paralysis cases that are hospitalized is 5-7% (1 in 20!). That’s a huge mortality rate in our eyes and one that can be reduced.
Don’t risk it! Talk to our staff about the best methods of prevention and early detection so you and your pet can be prepared.
Paralysis ticks are a serious parasite occurring on the East Coast of Australia. They inject a toxin causing paralysis that can be fatal in domestic animals, both pets and livestock. The toxin can also affect humans. More than 80,000 cases of tick toxicity, mainly in domestic pets, are treated each year in eastern Australia.
Paralysis ticks are native to Australia and their natural hosts are marsupials such as bandicoots, echidnas, possums and wallabies. Paralysis ticks tend to be associated with bushy or scrubby areas which harbour the native animal hosts, but they can still be picked up in your own back yard.
Early signs to look out for are:
If your pet is showing any of these signs, we recommend you take them to the vet as soon as possible. After examination by a veterinarian, your pet may need to be hospitalised for the tick anti-venom to be administered intravenously. The animal must be monitored very carefully by hospital staff to ensure any adverse reactions are treated straight away. Typically, pets will get worse before getting better over the following 12-24 hour period. We recommend that pets stay in hospital until they are able to breathe normally, walk and eat / drink on their own.
Identifying and detaching the ticks is the first step to preventing the further release of toxins and worsening of your pets clinical signs. Even if no ticks are found, we will normally sedate, shave your pet and apply Frontline spray to kill any small ticks not visible to the naked eye. This way we ensure that no ticks are left on the pet.
Ticks cause paralysis of the laryngeal muscles, which are involved in swallowing and protection of the upper airways. If the animal attempts to eat or drink with laryngeal paralysis, they risk aspiration of food and fluid into their lungs which can cause serious pneumonia. Because pets are not able to eat and drink until they regain proper function of their larynx, they are usually placed on intravenous fluids to maintain their hydration status. The tick toxin also causes paralysis of the respiratory (breathing) muscles. Depending on the severity of the toxicity, some animals may require oxygen therapy or even mechanical ventilation in some cases. Other treatments that may be given to your pet include anti-nausea medications and sedation to reduce stress.
For the best recovery, you will want to keep your pet in a quiet, cool environment. The effects of the toxins are temperature dependent and at high temperatures, aggravation of symptoms may occur. Physical activity should also be temporarily avoided, as activity can increase body temperature and aggravate symptoms. Encourage your pet to relax as much as possible until they are fully recovered.
To prevent paralysis ticks, we recommend using:
Talk to our veterinary team about the best tick preventative treatment for your pet.
Fleas are the most common external parasite of dogs. Even the best kept pets can potentially be infested with fleas, especially if they regularly leave their property or have roaming cats or possums passing through their property. Left untreated, the infestation quickly becomes a much bigger problem, and can lead to other things such as tapeworm infection, anaemia (low red cells in the blood) and skin conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis.
The flea lifecycle is resilient and will require committed compliance from owners to get on top of the problem. Understanding the life cycle of the flea will help pet owners in deciding on the best course of action to combat a flea infestation.
The flea lifecycle is comprised of four developmental stages: the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult flea. The time it takes for a flea egg to develop into an adult flea can vary from as little as 12 days to as long as 325 days.
Up to 40-50 small, white (0.5mm) flea eggs per day may be laid by an adult flea on your pet. These flea eggs fall off the pet’s coat into the environment within 8 hours of been laid.
Flea eggs hatch into larvae within one to 10 days. Flea larvae are mobile; moving away from light, towards moisture and the ground.
Within 5 – 11 days, flea larvae spin a sticky, silk cocoon to become pupae. Pupae can remain dormant for up to six months, depending on environmental conditions.
Young adult fleas are stimulated to emerge from the cocoon by your pet’s body temperature, movement, shadows and exhaled carbon dioxide. Within a second, your passing pet may acquire newly emerged fleas from the home environment (for example: under the house or veranda, within the pet’s bedding, under leaf matter in parks or from the garden).
The adult fleas then mate on the pet within 8 – 24 hours. The production of flea eggs begin within 24-48 hours of their first blood meal.
Did you know
The most common way pets pick up fleas is from the environment? Fleas rarely jump from pet to pet.
Talk to our knowledgeable staff about the best treatment for your pet.
Heartworm is a parasitic disease that can affect any dog regardless of age, sex or habitat. It is found in many parts of Australia. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and tends to have a higher incidence in areas heavily populated by mosquitoes. Dogs are considered the most common host for heartworms; however, heartworms may also infect more than thirty animal species (including foxes, domestic cats, ferrets) and, rarely, even humans.
What are heartworms?
Heartworms are parasites that live in the blood of a dog’s heart and adjacent blood vessels. They can grow from ten to thirty centimetres in length, reach maturation 6 to 7 months after infection and live for approximately five to seven years. Adult heartworms living in the heart produce offspring, known as microfilariae, which circulate in the animal’s blood. When a female mosquito bites an infected animal, it sucks out the blood containing the microfilariae. When the mosquito bites another pet, the infectious larvae are transmitted. In many cases, the infected dog will not show symptoms in the early stages.
Heartworm is the most serious common parasite in dogs because it stresses the dog’s heart by restricting blood flow and also damages other internal organs. The heart may enlarge and become weakened due to an increased workload, and congestive heart failure may occur. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal to dogs.
Blood screening tests can verify the presence of heartworms. Ultrasound and x-rays are used to detect the disease in its later stages. Prompt detection prevents needless suffering.
The good news is that most dogs with heartworm can be successfully treated, usually with drugs (adulticide, microfilaricide) that kill adult heartworms and their offspring. But prevention is the best solution – it’s safer, less expensive, and better for your pet!
There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including an injectable, chews, tablets and spot-on’s. Preventative medications are extremely effective and, when given properly on a regular basis, can completely prevent your pet from contracting heartworm. But remember, year-round or seasonal heartworm protection is as good as your diligence in remembering to give your pet the medication. However, a large percentage of dogs that are found to have heartworm are on the preventatives. This is why we strongly recommend having an annual injection for your pet. It is a safer way to go.
Depending on where you live, your veterinarian may recommend a repellent to help avoid mosquito bites.
Ask your veterinarian
Because of the regional and climate-dependant nature of the heartworm cycle, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet. Your veterinarian is your best reference, with expert knowledge of the heartworm cycle and transmission patterns in your region, along with the individual health and activity profile of your dog.
Before starting a preventive program, all dogs that could possibly be affected with mature heartworms should be tested as preventive medicines may cause severe reactions in dogs that are already hosts to adult heartworms. A dog that is on a preventive medicine should be tested routinely to ensure ongoing protection, especially when a dose has been missed or forgotten.
Can you catch heartworm and other parasites from your pet?
Mosquitoes transmit heartworm, not pets. Humans are unnatural hosts for heartworm – therefore cases of infection are rare.
Dogs and cats often have worms, which can cause illness and may be fatal! Some worms can even cause diseases in adults and children. Worming is important in helping to protect your pet and family against; Roundworm, Hookworm, Whipworm and Tapeworm. Our worming schedule is:
Puppies and Kittens: Worm every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age
Thereafter: Worm every 3 months for life
Always weigh your pet prior to worming and be sure to give the correct dose. We recommend Milbemax dewormers providing your pet’s heartworm prevention is up to date. We also recommend Drontal intestinal wormers.
Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic believes that feeding your pet a premier, nutritionally-balanced food holds a number of benefits for your pet’s health and can even prolong their life. A study conducted in Australia by leading pet nutrition companies found that a number of supermarket brands did not contain the nutrition they were claiming in their marketing.
Our clinic stocks only the best for your beloved pet. Feeding high-quality pet foods has a number of tangible benefits, such as: lower sodium to protect the kidneys, the correct balance of protein and fibre resulting in smaller, less smelly, less frequent faeces, better dental health, healthier skin and coat and a controlled weight. All our foods sold at Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic have measuring cups to ensure you are feeding the correct quantity of food to your pet.
Talk to us today about the best food options for your pet.
Our range focuses on special needs, such as:
Our friendly staff can assist your pet with our Slim Fit weight loss program. An initial consultation with the vet will establish whether or not your pet is overweight and, depending on his findings, may recommend Royal Canin Obesity Cat or Dog food.
Our reception staff can then enter your pet’s details into our Slim Fit program and calculate how much food your pet should be given daily. This is carefully calculated to facilitate gradual weight loss, with a target weight goal. You are then encouraged to bring your pet in for a weight check on our scales every two weeks, so we can plot a graph on our computer and keep a history of their weight loss progress.
For free weight loss discussion, please speak with our friendly receptionists to get your pet on its way to a fitter life!
Because dogs sweat through the pads on their feet, most of their body heat is expelled through their mouth when they pant. It’s their primary means of regulating body temperature. Dogs also pant to cope with pain.
In nature, dogs bark to raise an alarm at the first signs of possible danger or to herald a new arrival. Barking is an important means of canine communication.
Just like a growing child, your dog will want to chew on toys and other objects to relieve the pain of a new set of teeth coming in. If your dog is full grown, you may also come home to find your couch cushions or favourite pair of shoes ripped to shreds, but it is not because they enjoy the taste. Your dog could be exhibiting signs of separation anxiety or anxiety in general.
Digging is an instinctual activity, written deep in a dog’s DNA. It is especially strong in terrier breeds. Dogs in natural packs will dig to hide food or to uncover food such as small rodents. A den dug in the cool earth can also provide shelter from the heat.
Though it may seem like play behaviour, or an enthusiastic greeting, jumping up is a sign that your dog is attempting to assert their dominance over you. By encouraging jumping up with affection, you are reinforcing the behaviour.
A dog will bite a person as a way of communicating their current state of mind. The dog could be reacting in aggression, fear or nervousness. There are, however, ways to prevent a dog bite from ever happening if you stay in tune to the dog’s body language.
Dogs live and travel in packs, so it’s natural for them to feel anxious when they are separated from their pack-mates. Try taking your dog on a nice, long walk before leaving her alone in the house. Leaving her in resting mode can calm her anxiety.
Once you understand these behaviours, you’ll be better equipped to recognise when your pet’s needs are not being met! When your dog’s needs go unfulfilled, unwanted behaviours begin to emerge.
Are you giving exercise, discipline, then affection?
For behavioural advice, talk to our friendly team at Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic. We can also direct you to animal behaviourists who specialize in problem dogs.
Get in touch with our team to find out more.
Cats are the second most common pet, with 29% of households owning a cat. Yet there’s still a lot we don’t know about our feline friends—including what they think of their owners.
Cat behavioural experts have been observing pet cats for several years, and there are some intriguing conclusions such as ‘pet cats don’t really understand us the way dogs do.’
There’s been a lot of research with dogs and how dogs interact with people. It’s become very clear that dogs perceive us as being different from themselves. As soon as they see a human, they change their behaviour. The way a dog plays with a human is completely different from the way it plays with another dog.
However, researchers are yet to discover anything about cat behaviour that suggests they have a separate box they put us in when they’re socializing with us. They obviously know we’re bigger than them, but they don’t seem to have adapted their social behaviour much. Putting their tails up in the air, rubbing around our legs, and sitting beside us and grooming us are exactly what cats do to each other. More research needs to be done to figure out exactly what cats think of us. It’s not an area that’s received sufficient attention.
Some surprising research is how stressed a lot of pet cats can be without their owners even realizing, and how much it affects the quality of their mental health and lives. Cats don’t always get on with other cats, and people don’t realize how much that can stress them out. Other than routine visits, the most common reason cats are taken to vets is because of a wound sustained in a fight with another cat.
More cats are mysteriously getting dermatitis and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) and it’s becoming abundantly clear that these medical problems are made worse by psychological stress. For instance, inflammation of the bladder wall is linked to stress hormones in the blood.
One solution is to examine the cat’s social lifestyle, instead of pumping it full of drugs. For example, making sure two cats that don’t get along live at opposite ends of the house. Quite often the whole problem goes away.
Why might a cat yowl when it’s by itself in a room?
Cats learn specifically how their owners react when they make particular noises. So, if the cat thinks, ‘I want to get my owner from the other room,’ it works to vocalize. They use straightforward learning.
Why do some cats treat one human member of the household differently?
They’re much smarter than we give them credit for: They learn what works with what person. They know if one member of the family is prone to get up at 4 a.m. and give them some treats.
Why do cats knead us?
They are using behaviour that they would use toward their mother—all the behaviour they show toward us is derived in some way from the mother-kitten relationship. The kitten learns to raise its tail, rub on its mother, knead and purr. Grooming is what mothers do back to kittens.
This means that they’re using bits of behaviour already in their repertoire to communicate with us. There aren’t very many behaviours—maybe half a dozen.
Cats don’t forgive.
And once they realise a person is causing them anxiety or hurt, they keep away.
Acknowledge that cats are sociable animals to a point, but not sociable to the extent that dogs are. A lot of people who have one cat decide they would like to have another cat, thinking two cats are twice as much fun. But the cats may not see it that way.
Simply, if you do want to have more than one cat, go about it in a very careful way.
Vetalogica Feline Tranquil
Calmaphan® complex care blend for pets is a unique, proprietary blend of Tryptophan and B Group vitamins in precise ratios which provides maintenance of emotional balance in cats. This superior, scientific formulation contains natural ingredients in a unique ‘Non-Drowsy’ chewable tablet. Vetalogica’s world exclusive Calmaphan® complex care formulation is the result of numerous years of research and development by Scientists, Chemists, Veterinarians and flavour experts.
Hills C/d Stress diet
A healthy bladder starts with the right balance of vital nutrients. Excess minerals can encourage the formation of crystals in the urine, which may lead to the creation of bladder stones. They can cause discomfort and lead to more serious problems that require the care of a veterinarian. Stress in the home has been shown to negatively impact bladder health as well.
Hill’s nutritionists & veterinarians developed Prescription Diet® c/d® MultiCare Feline Stress clinical nutrition specially formulated to support your cat’s urinary health while also managing stress. In fact, c/d MultiCare is clinically tested nutrition to lower the recurrence of most common urinary signs by 89%.
Cats naturally deposit pheromones from their cheek gland by rubbing their face on objects. Feliway mimics this, as it contains a synthetic version of feline facial pheromones. By spraying either furniture / bedding this replicates the natural scent and in turn makes the cat feel that they are in a safe and familiar environment. Help to stop unwanted scratching, urine marking and reduce aggression towards other cats or pets.
The Feliway diffuser offers constant comfort and calming at home. Studies have shown that the use of Feliway is 90% effective in helping reduce or eliminate scratching and urine spraying. A significant reduction in these behaviours is usually seen within 7 days. Feliway MultiCat is clinically proven to help reduce tension and conflict between household cats.
For more information or behavioural advice for felines, get in touch with our team.
Queensland Local Council law requires microchipping of dogs and cats. This is set out in Sections 13 and 14 of the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008 which requires microchipping of cats and dogs prior to sale / transfer and prior to reaching 12 weeks of age.
Under State Government laws for pet owners, microchipping is compulsory when acquiring a cat or a dog in Queensland.
Microchipping is a permanent means of identification which helps the City of Gold Coast fast-track the safe return of many lost cats and dogs across the city every year. Inserting the microchip is a very quick and relatively painless process for your precious pooch or favourite feline and is available at Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic seven days a week.
Did you know that under the new Council laws, you will be subject to fines if your pet is impounded and cannot be identified?
It is also compulsory for all dogs to be registered with your local Council. Tallebudgera veterinarians can microchip your puppy or kitten when giving the second or third puppy vaccination.
How it works
Adult dogs and cats can also be microchipped during a visit to the vet for a consultation.
A microchip is a little bigger than a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin on the back between the shoulder blades. It is injected with a microchipping device, which looks like a large syringe needle. Each microchip has a unique number to be registered with your pet’s details. This allows identification if a pet is lost or stolen so they can be reunited with their owners.
Contact our team for more information on microchipping or to book your furry friend in for an appointment. For peace of mind and to ensure your pet returns home to you safely if lost or stolen, get your pet microchipped today!
Our trained nurses are available to clip your pet’s nails Mondays to Saturdays. Just ring our receptionists and book an appointment with a nurse for your pet’s nail clip. Alternatively, you can ask our vets at your next consultation to clip your pet’s nails.
If you are thinking of clipping your pet’s nails yourself, here are a few tips:
Pet insurance is a rapidly growing industry in Australia, as more people are realising the benefits of health cover for their pets. We thoroughly recommend it to our clients.
It offers you peace of mind as it covers part or all of the treatment costs if your pet is ever involved in an accident or suffers a sudden illness.
There is no equivalent of Medicare for pets, which is often why treatment costs seem expensive for pets. Did you know that 24 hr emergency care for animals can cost over $1000 per day?
The Gold Coast area has a large number of tick and snake bite cases each year, which demand expensive anti-serum and a high level of intensive nursing care and which can result in bills of thousands of dollars. It is a heartbreaking situation to have to choose between the health of your pet and financial constraints, so for peace of mind we strongly recommend that your pet is insured.
There are several companies that offer pet insurance and we can help you find one that best suits your needs and your pet.
Individual packages vary in the type of treatment covered. However, they usually include most accidents and unexpected illnesses.
You need to consider the differences between policies, in particular the claim excess amount, proportion of treatment costs covered, annual claim limit, age restrictions, pre-existing illness exclusions and policy costs.
Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic highly recommends pet insurance.
Please see article from CANSTAR on whether pet insurance is the right choice.
Want to compare different policies? We have done the work for you. Click on the link which will take you to a comparison page to view all leading pet insurance companies.