News, Article & Releases2021-03-17T00:06:51+11:00

Christmas & New Year’s Hazards

The silly season is an exciting time of year, with Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations giving us plenty of reasons to let loose and celebrate. With an increase of visitors, noises, tasty treats, shiny new toys, and interesting smells, this time of year can be overwhelming for our pets.

Here are some recommendations to make sure your furry friends are safe and happy during this festive time.

  • Make sure your pet has access to a quiet, calm, and secluded spot to hide away if needed
  • Exercise your pets before any guests arrive or before any particularly noisy events (i.e., fireworks displays) if you can – a pet with pent up energy can easily become anxious
  • Keep Christmas decorations and wrapping items (paper, tape, ribbon, discarded plastic, etc.) out of your pet’s reach. If ingested, these items can cause serious health problems, including intestinal blockages that may require surgical removal
  • Many plants and flowers used for Christmas decorations are toxic to pets – be sure to keep these out of reach
  • Many foods we see at celebrations are toxic to pets and can even be fatal. Make sure your pet does not have access to:
    • Chocolate
    • Christmas pudding
    • Salty foods (chips, pretzels, crackers, etc.)
    • Lollies & artificial sweeteners
    • Grapes, sultanas, raisins, and currants
    • Alcohol
    • Cherry pits (and other stone fruit pits)
    • Macadamias
    • Corn cobs
    • Avocado
    • Cooked bones

Fireworks can be terrifying for pets. Here is a list of tips for preparing your pet for fireworks displays:

  • Keep pets indoors when possible. The walls and roof will help to soften the noise and will also contain them safely.
  • Prepare your pet for loud noises during the day by putting on the TV or radio. Turn the volume up progressively throughout the day, so when the fireworks display commences, the existing noise will create a distraction
  • Avoid fussing over your pet. Carry on as normal, as this will reassure your pet nothing is wrong. You can use treats and games to distract them and encourage calm behaviour.
  • Ensure your pet’s microchip and identification tag details are up to date. Unfortunately, many pets escape during fireworks displays and can be found very far from home.
  • Pheromone diffusers could help to calm your pet. Talk to our team about Feliway for cats or Adaptil for dogs.
  • Some pet owners choose to use medications to assist in keeping particularly anxious pets calm. This is not something our team can organise for you without prior consultation, so please book in advance.

Our appointments during the festive season fill up very quickly, so be sure to organise an appointment as soon as possible.

If you suspect your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t, has injured themselves, or you would like more advice on keeping them safe over the Christmas and New Year’s period, give our friendly team a call on (02) 9351 3437 or book online to organise an appointment.

Barbecue & Picnic Hazards

With the sun shining and beautiful warm weather upon us – who can resist a picnic or barbecue with friends!?

It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time outdoors and the perfect chance for your pet to come along for some quality time together.

If you are taking your furry friend along to picnics and barbecues, there are many hazards to watch out for!

Foods

Barbecue and picnic foods can present several issues for our pets. Some key foods to keep your pet away from include:

  • Onions(and other members of this family – garlic, shallots, scallions, etc.) are toxic for dogs when ingested and can cause serious health complications
  • Sausages are very high in fatand often, ingestion can lead to pancreatitis
  • Salty foods like chips, pretzels, and crackers contain high amounts of salt that can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Alcohol should not be shared with pets – their livers struggle trying to break down alcohol and can lead to damage which can be fatal
  • Cooked bones such as ribs, t-bones, and chicken wings can splinter and become stuck in your pet’s throat or gut, leading to serious health problems requiring surgical intervention
  • Corn cobsare not safe to be ingested as they will not be broken down in your pet’s stomach, often leading to fatal bowel obstructions
  • Skewersfrom kebabs and other foods can lead to serious puncture wounds in your pet’s mouth and gut, often requiring surgical intervention
  • Seafood shells(prawns, mussels, oysters, etc.) can lead to internal damage if ingested and can not be digested, which can require surgical removal

Burns

Keep your pet away from barbecues altogether to avoid burns from splattering oil or direct body to hot-plate contact! To help train your pet to stay away from the barbecue, never feed them scraps or food from the barbecue. Always ensure the barbecue is supervised, and if it has a lid, consider closing it to protect your pets. If your pet does burn themselves, cool the burn site with cool, running water and call us immediately.

Rubbish

Always ensure you clean up your rubbish or food scraps when you are ready to leave the picnic or barbecue site. Leftovers may cause harm if ingested by other pets or local wildlife visiting the area.

Preparation

Before heading to your picnic or barbecue location, be sure to check:

  • Fresh water and shade are easily accessible for your pet
  • That the local council permits pets (on or off-leash) to be in this area
  • Your pet is adequately socialised and will not become anxious meeting new people and potentially other pets
  • Your pet’s vaccinations and parasite protection is up to date, especially if you are visiting an unfamiliar area
  • Your pet is appropriately and safely restrained when being transported to your destination

If you have any questions or concerns or would like some more safety and first aid advice, give us a call on (02) 9351 3437 or book a consultation with our friendly team by emailing univet@sydney.edu.au or booking online.

Toxic Plants

Spring is the perfect time show off our green-thumbs, by filling our homes and gardens with luscious flowers and plants! As beautiful as they can look, some of these can pose a threat to our furry friends.
Cats, dogs, birds and pocket-pets alike can become curious and easily tempted for a nibble of your new plant. Some pets can become itchy or even unwell, just by sniffing or brushing against these troublesome plants.

Here are some of the more common, more toxic plants and flowers that could cause problems for your pet:

  • Azaleas
  • Cannibis
  • Chives
  • Cycad, Sago Palm and Zamia Palm
  • Daffodils & jonquils
  • Devil’s ivy (pothos)
  • Diffenbachia (dumb cane)
  • Holly
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lantana
  • Lillies (including Asiatic, day, Easter, Japanese show, stargazer, tiger, red, western and wood lillies)
  • Mistletoe
  • Moses-in-the-Cradle
  • Oleander
  • Philodendrons (including swiss cheese plant, heart leaf and fiddle leaf philodendrons)
  • Rhododendrons
  • Tulips
  • Wandering Jew
  • Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Of course, there are many other types of plants that can upset your pet.
Some of the more common symptoms these plants can cause if ingested include:

  • Lethargy
  • Itchy or red skin
  • Itchy and irritated eyes
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Excessive and unusual drooling
  • Excessive or unusual thirst
  • Disorientation or a lack of coordination
  • Pain around the abdomen area
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty or rapid breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness

These symptoms can vary greatly depending on which plant your pet may have come into contact with, so you may only notice one or two – it is important to be diligent and act fast.
If you are concerned your pet may have ingested a toxic plant, be sure to give us a call right away so we can commence diagnosis and treatment. If you can, take a photo of the plant, or take a snippet so we can try to identify what it is causing the issue.

If you have any questions or are worried about your pets interacting with any of the plants in your home or garden, give our friendly team a call on (02) 9351 3437 or email us at univet@sydney.edu.au.

Parasites

As the weather warms up, we start to see more parasite problems for all sorts of pets.
Here are some of the more common parasites we come across, as well as some information on the problems they cause and how to get rid of them.  Fleas and ticks are of particular concern for Sydney dogs

Fleas

Fleas can be difficult to spot and not all pets carrying fleas will be itchy! Look out for these clues:

  • Your pet might constantly be scratching or chewing and become quite irritable.
  • You might notice red, sore-looking bumps or blisters on your pet’s skin.
  • If you look close enough, you might see ‘flea dirt’ – this is a flea waste product that looks like tiny little flecks of pepper.
  • Sometimes, you can even see the fleas moving around themselves – tiny little brown or black wingless insects, with an incredible jump!

Flea bites are not only uncomfortable and frustrating for your pets, but they can also lead to serious wound infections, anaemia, tapeworms, and dermatitis.
Moving swiftly is the key to flea treatment! You will need to treat:

  • Every pet in your household
  • Pet bedding
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Any other soft furnishings a flea or its eggs might be hiding

In clinic, we offer a wide range of products and tools to treat your pet for fleas, and we can offer some very helpful tips for dealing with an outbreak. Give us a call if you have any questions, or book online to organise an appointment.

Ticks

Ticks can be found in every state of Australia. There are many different species of ticks, and some pose a significant threat to the wellbeing of our pets. The most common species that affect our pets are the paralysis tick and the brown dog tick.

  • Paralysis ticks are particularly dangerous, as they deliver a neurotoxin into our pet’s bloodstream as they feed, leading to severe paralysis of the muscles – including the heart, proving fatal. They are particularly common on the eastern sea board, including Sydney, up to 20 km inland from the coast
  • Brown dog ticks are not deadly themselves but can cause dermatitis and anaemia, as well as carry some nasty diseases, including Ehrlichiosis, which has only recently been discovered in more northern parts of Australia, and is spreading to some southern parts.

The best practice is to regularly check your dog for ticks after being outside – run your fingers through their coats to feel for any unusual lumps on their skin. Be sure to check over your pets’ entire body, especially:

  • Around their head and ears
  • Inside their ears
  • In their mouths
  • Under their tail
  • Between their toes
  • Underneath their collar

Ticks are sneaky and can easily latch onto many different areas on your pet.

If you come across a tick, be sure to give us a call to organise its removal as soon as possible – it is vital to act quickly and we will ensure to remove all of the tick – even a small part leftover can continue to cause problems for your furry friend.

Keeping your dog protected year-round from ticks is key – we recommend tick prevention treatments like chewable tablets, spot-on drops or tick collars. Speak to us today for our recommendation and prevent your pet from any unnecessary discomfort and illness.

Mosquitoes

Dogs, cats, rodents. and birds make for easy targets and tasty snacks for mosquitoes. While the mosquito bite itself is more annoying than threatening, mosquitoes can spread heartworm and other potentially fatal parasites to your pets.  Cats can develop mosquito bite related skin allergies.

We recommend making sure there is no stagnant or still water around the backyard – this is where mosquito larvae grow. Cats with mosquito bite allergies should be brought indoors between dusk and dawn, or make sure they have a safe, meshed area to sleep in. Pet safe mosquito and insect repellents are available that may be used. Speak to us if you have any concerns about mosquitos in your area.

Heartworm and Intestinal worms

The prevalence of heartworm disease is thankfully now very low in the Sydney area.  However we do occasionally diagnose a positive case in dogs who have not travelled to a tropical area.  It is transmitted via mosquito bites.  We currently recommend ongoing heartworm protection in Sydney dogs to avoid an increase in prevalence of this nasty parasite.  It can cause severe lung and pulmonary artery disease

Many different intestinal  worms can affect our pets and importantly can also cause disease in humans!. Some more common worms we see are:

  • Roundworm
  • Hookworm
  • Tapeworm
  • Whipworm

Intestinal worms are more pathogenic in younger animals so it is extremely important to maintain vigilience with treatment in puppies and kittens.  However as humans can be affected by dog and cat intestinal parasites, lifelong treatment is recommended.

Prevention is the best cure – by administering regular preventatives which are available in various forms and combinations with other parasite control products. Ask our team for advice on the best preventative for your pet. If your pet is unwell, please book a consultation.

If you have any concerns about parasites and your pet, give us a call on (02) 9351 3437 to organise a consultation or book online to discuss these with your vet.

Grass Seeds

Springtime means grass seed season, and for something so tiny, they can cause a lot of big problems for your pet! The issues they can cause range from minor discomfort right through to potentially life-threatening conditions.

Grass seeds are naturally designed to travel – they are small, lightweight, come in all different shapes, and are spiky or sticky, meaning they can be easily picked up and caught in all kinds of uncomfortable places on animals – it can be tricky to know what to look for.</