Autumn Pet Care, Geelong

March 22, 2016


Autumn Pet Care

The days are fine but the mornings are crisp and the evenings are drawing in earlier – it must be Autumn!

I love this season of changing colours and Easter. It’s the last chance to enjoy camping before Winter sets in and it’s fun to set up the Easter egg hunt. If you’re setting up an egg hunt this year, keep in mind that chocolate eggs need to be out of reach from your pets. The bright wrappers are very attractive but the contents can be toxic for pets.

We’ll start rugging up for cooler weather soon and we’re not the only ones that will looking for warmth. Now is time to start organizing warm bedding for all your pets and checking that kennels, hutches and aviaries are in good repair to cope with the rain and colder weather. Birds and pocket pets that are housed outside need extra bedding and draft free nesting boxes provided during this time of the year.

If your pets start to spend more time indoors during Autumn, make sure things around the home are kept pet friendly –  securely lock away cleaning products, poisons and other household items that could harm your pets.

Keep reading below to see what’s new at Bellarine Veterinary Practice and keep up to date with tips for Autumn.


LifeStage Care Program

The level of care available for our pets has seen many changes over recent years and we certainly consider our pets to be part of the family. In recognition of this bond between owners and their pets we are now offering LifeStage Care to all our clients and patients.

What is LifeStage Care?

LifeStage Care is a program that has been developed so that we are able to monitor your pets according to their age group.  We will now be sending you a reminder 6 months after your pet’s annual health check to visit us for a Wellbeing Consult.

What is a Wellbeing Consult?

If your pet is 1-7 years old, the visits are with our nurses and they will spend time with you and your pet to monitor the factors that contribute to a happy healthy pet. Your pet’s body condition  and dental health will be monitored each time and they will help you make choices regarding nutrition and preventative health care. These consults are complementary.

If your pet is over 7 years old, the visits are with our veterinarians who will be monitoring your pet for any early onset signs of disease. We will ask you to try and bring a sample of your pet’s urine with you for these visits. These consults are charged a consult fee.

Why have we introduced Wellbeing visits?

We have introduced this program because research shows that consistent wellness care often prevents common problems. Because our pets age 4-7 times faster that we do,it’s important that we see them more than once a year in order to monitor any changes in their health and well being.

If you have any questions regarding this program please call us on 52482009.


Why you should NEVER give chocolate to your pets.

To us humans, chocolate is a delicious cure to a bad day. Unfortunately for our pets, all types of chocolate are poisonous and ingesting any  can turn their day into a nightmare. In some cases, it can even be fatal.

Why would chocolate be harmful to my pets?

One of the major active ingredients of chocolate is known as theobromine. When an animal consumes chocolate, this compound begins stimulating their cardiovascular and central nervous system. As a result, it poisons the animal and can cause severe symptoms.

How much chocolate is considered toxic?

To calculate this, the animal’s body weight, the amount consumed and the type of chocolate eaten are required. But simply, the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is for your pets.

What are the symptoms?

The initial clinical signs that you should look out for include:

* Vomiting
* Diarrhoea
* Increased thirst
* Increased heart rate
* Rapid breathing
* Increased body temperature
* Abdominal distension
* Tremor
* Seizures

The severity of symptoms will vary depending on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. Sudden death can occur in animals with pre-existing heart problem due to cardiac failure.

What should I do if my pet has eaten chocolate?

Check if your pet has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate by calling us with the information on the amount and type of chocolate consumed and observe for any symptoms listed above. Note that clinical signs can be delayed as long as several hours following ingestion. If a large quantity of chocolate is consumed, it requires immediate veterinary attention. When in doubt, contact us as soon as possible.

The earlier you treat it, the better the prognosis!

Fleas are still around!

Fleas are starting to slow down their outdoor activity but they will still be present inside our homes as we start heating them for the cooler weather. Make sure all flea treatments are kept up to date monthly so that the little biters don’t get out of hand.

There are many products to choose from and our staff are able to help you decide on the best product for your pets.


Don’t forget about our Wildlife

Autumn still has some hot days and  wildlife tend to suffer dehydration and exhaustion in hot weather.  Placing shallow containers of water around your yard in shaded areas during a heat wave can really assist your local wildlife. Please keep your cats and dogs indoors out of the heat and to protect wildlife which may be extra vulnerable and weak. If you see wildlife you are concerned about please ring Wildlife Victoria  (ph 1300 094 535) who will send out an experienced wildlife rescuer to assess the animal, do not attempt to catch or handle the animal yourself unless it is absolutely necessary.

New strain of Calicivirus Virus in Rabbits

Calicivirus is a disease that can cause sudden death in rabbits. The Australian government originally released this virus in 1995 with the aim to control the wild rabbit population. A vaccine has been available to prevent this disease for many years, and it is likely that if you a bunny owner, you have been bringing your pet in for an annual vaccination. However, recently a new strain of calicivirus has been discovered in Melbourne and regional Victoria, which is posing a threat to the pet rabbit population. It is not known how this virus has entered Australia.
Rabbits infected with calicivirus will often die a sudden death. There are often no symptoms leading up to the death. Most importantly, however, there is no cure once infected. This is why prevention is of paramount importance. There has been reported cases of vaccinated adult rabbits In Victoria dying as a result of the new strain of calicivirus. Consequently, a new vaccination protocol has been recommended by the rabbit specialist vets in Melbourne as well as the Australian Veterinary Association. However, due to the mysterious nature of this strain, we cannot guarantee 100% protection against this new virus even with the new protocol.
New recommended vaccination protocol

Kittens – 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks

Adult rabbits – 6 monthly booster

Unvaccinated rabbits or overdue adults – two vaccinations a month apart, then 6 monthly.
It is believed that fleas, mosquitoes and other similar insects are involved in the transmission of disease. Hence, it is crucial that insect screens are placed over hutches in rabbits kept outdoors, and vigilant flea preventative measures be employed (Revolution, once a month topical application) in all pet rabbits.
If you have any questions regarding calicivirus or would like to make an appointment for a vaccination, please contact one of our clinics by phone.

Have you updated your pet’s microchip details?

Many lost animals are being bought into our clinics and unfortunately approximately half of them do not have up-to-date details attached to their microchip and we are unable to reunite them with their owners.

Have you recently purchased a pet, moved house or changed your phone number? Did you update your pet’s microchip details?

Countless new pet owners are not completing their pet’s microchip registration when they bring their new pup or kitten home. It’s essential that the details are transferred from the breeder to the new owner so that the pet can be reunited if needed.

If you need to update your pet’s details please click here

Save the date

During May we have two important events happening – mark your calendars so you don’t miss out!

Sunday 15th May – RSPCA Million Paws Walk 2016. You’ll be invited to join Team Bellarine to help pets who need a second chance.

1st -31st MayFREE dental nurse checks at all clinics.

Look out for updates as the time draws closer.