Hyperthyroidism is a disease of older cats caused by excessive production of thyroid hormone. The cause is usually a benign overactive thyroid gland located in the neck area and is seen in cats typically ten years of age or older. Thyroid hormone has particular roles in metabolism and iodine storage. While dogs tend to suffer from hypothyroidism or low thyroid levels, cats are generally the opposite. In fact after diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism is the second most common hormonal disease in cats. Signs of hyperthyroidism include hyperactivity, weight loss despite a ravenous appetite, increased thirst and urination, frequent crying, poor grooming and a rapid heartbeat. If left untreated this condition can lead to heart failure, emaciation and death. The good news is that diagnosis involves a simple blood test performed by your vet and there are good treatment options. The ideal form of treatment is via a single dose of Radioactive-iodine given as an oral capsule. This is given under the supervision of a veterinary specialist in hospital but is safe and has excellent permanent results. An alternative treatment is an ongoing twice daily anti-thyroid tablet or in cats that are very difficult to pill, a gel applied to their ears. Ongoing regular blood and urine tests are required to monitor this treatment. Vets need to be mindful that older cats may also have concurrent kidney disease which can make treatment more challenging. Speak to your vet if your older cat has any of these clinical signs so they can offer tests and treatment suitable for your pet. Meet April one of our clinic cats at the Hoppers Crossing Vet Clinic.
One of the medical conditions we see on a daily basis at our vet clinic is a dog with an ear problem. The pet usually presents with a sore or smelly ear caused by an infection. Occasionally this may progress to a large swollen ear flap known as an Aural Haematoma. Ear infections are caused by organisms such as ear mites, bacteria or yeast growing in the ear or by a foreign object such as a grass seed lodging down the ear canal. Your vet will need to examine down the ear canal with an otoscope and take samples to look at under a microscope to make their diagnosis. Prescription ear drops and sometimes oral medications may be needed to properly clear an infection. Ear cleaners which remove wax and dirt build up may be used to prevent the ear infection from returning in the future. Underlying skin allergies may be the cause of a recurring ear infection as could incomplete medical treatment. An aural haematoma is a big bruise between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is often associated with vigorous head shaking, possibly due to an ear infection, trauma or allergies. Surgery under anaesthesia to repair the ear is usually required as well as medications to prevent pain and infection. Untreated haematomas may lead to a deformed or “cauliflower” type appearance to the ear. Recurring ear disease can be frustrating for pets, owners and their vets so a thorough investigation and course of treatment is essential. This is Sheldon the Standard Poodle puppy who had lovely clean ears at his check up at our clinic.
Coping with the loss of a dog or cat is the most difficult aspect of owning a pet and one of the hardest aspects about being a vet and vet nurse. This week our clinic has said a sad goodbye to several patients who we have known for over 14 years each. Euthanasia is usually decided based on an animals deteriorating quality of life or when medical treatment options have been exhausted. Our owners and their animals are part of our family too and when the time comes for a pet to be put to sleep we ensure animals pass in a peaceful and painless manner. Pets truly do provide us with unconditional love and are a faithful long term companion. For this reason the loss of a pet is as painful as the death of any family member. Many people choose to have their pet cremated so their ashes can be kept close by or scattered somewhere special. Surround yourself with friends and family and share your memories about your pet. Pet grief counsellors can provide additional support. Allow plenty of time for both yourself and the other pets at home to mourn and possibly consider taking on a new puppy or kitten when you feel you are ready. Always remember that your life is amazingly richer because of the time that you shared with your pet. This is Millie sharing some love with Bailey the Birman kitten at our clinic.
Summer time means it is cat breeding season yet again. This means litters of abandoned kittens and stray cats as well as a rise in neighbourhood cats fighting. Cat bite abscesses will require a visit to the vet for a course of antibiotics and pain relief or possibly even surgical drainage. Unfortunately the viral diseases associated with fighting may be with your cat for life, particularly Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). FIV affects the immune system causing fever, weight loss, oral disease and chronic infections in years to come. Cat owners should discuss with their vet the best ways to protect their cat from fighting, with an indoor lifestyle being the best recommendation. Now is also the time to ensure both male and female cats have been desexed. Female cats can get pregnant from as young as 4 or 5 months of age so should NOT be allowed outside until after their desexing operation. Desexing male cats will help prevent fighting as well as reduce spraying of urine around the house. There are a huge number of kittens and cats in our area not being responsibly owned and to address this problem the Wyndham Council is promoting desexing, microchipping and registration at a reduced fee via our clinic. Wyndham cat owners can contact us on 97486644 for more information on this fantastic initiative. This is Nismo the British Blue cat who has been responsibly desexed and microchipped by his owner.
Spring has sprung and now is the time to get rid of your pets winter coat and ensure they are protected from parasites in the warm months ahead. Grooming is an important part of caring for your pet. We recommend brushing the coat on a daily basis and for long-haired pets having them professionally clipped. Your pet will look and feel good and regular grooming will help prevent grass seeds and reduce skin problems. Warmer weather allows parasites such as fleas, worms and mosquitoes to multiply. There are a large range of products available from your vet clinic which are both effective and safe. Spot on treatments for fleas are easy to apply – just treat each dog and cat in the house on a monthly basis. Mosquitos spread heartworm disease and while prevalent in warm weather they do live all year round. If you have missed your pet's heartworm preventative, contact your vet to arrange a simple heartworm test. We recommend the Once-A-Year heartworm injection because monthly heartworm preventatives can be very easy to forget. The beginning of a new season is always the best time to ensure your pet is intestinally wormed. As a routine, adult pets should be wormed every three months against roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm. Choosing the correct combination of parasite control preparations for your pet can be complex so consult with your veterinary team for the best advice. This is Bonnie the maltese terrier cross after being groomed at The Hoppers Crossing Vet Clinic this week.