Choosing the Right Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is still relatively new in Australia but there are many different providers and plans available. The cost of emergency veterinary treatments can be expensive, especially when surgeries or overnight stays are necessary. Read on to find out more about insurance and why we recommend that you arrange cover for your pet.

Why Should I Get Pet Insurance?

Insuring your pet is a great way to protect your finances and provide peace of mind. Unfortunately, accidents and illnesses are common emergencies and treating your pet can incur a significant cost. Whilst preventative care protects your pet from many diseases, you can’t predict what might happen when they are outside and unsupervised. When your pet is unwell, the last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for their treatment.

How Do I Choose an Insurer?

There are now many different companies offering pet insurance in Australia so the choice can seem overwhelming. Speak to your friends, family and vets to find out if they have any recommendations. The ease of making claims and customer service provision are both key factors in picking an insurer.

The pricing of available policies will likely play a big part in your decision, but make sure you find out how easy it is to submit a claim and how long the process will take before you sign up. This will ensure you avoid falling into the trap of a plan that offers false economy.

What Kind of Cover Do I Need?

The most basic type of pet insurance is accident cover, an insurance that looks after your bills in an emergency. The next level of cover is illness insurance, where your pet is covered for unexpected illnesses. This type of cover becomes more expensive and more complicated with age, so it’s a good idea to start it as soon as possible. It can seem more expensive when your pet is young and healthy but it offers big benefits over time as your pet ages.

The top level of insurance includes wellness cover, which provides routine examinations and preventative care for your pet. Some people prefer to save up and pay for these on the spot, while others would rather know that everything their pet might need is covered by their insurance premium.

When Should I Insure?

There’s a simple answer to this question – as soon as possible! Young pets are just as vulnerable to accidents as older pets, and the earlier you can start, the cheaper it is likely to be as you won’t have to pay extra for existing conditions that your pet may develop as it grows. As a part of our wellness packages, we offer 4 weeks of free PetPlan Insurance for our patients to help you save even more.

For more information on arranging pet insurance, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital now on 08 9524 6644 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Why Pet Insurance is Important

All pet owners know that footing a veterinary bill can be quite expensive and ongoing medical care for your pet can quickly put financial pressure. Cats and dogs may need medical attention for a variety of reasons such as old age, injuries, illness or even accidents. In such cases, the wisest thing to do is to ensure you are always covered with pet insurance. In this infographic we discuss the many benefits of insurance for cats and dogs as well as the myths behind it. Read more to find out.

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Veterinary Care for Puppies

Just like babies, puppies need constant care for their first few months of their life to monitor behaviour and keep them safe. Your puppy should make its first visit to the vet before it reaches 10 weeks old – the longer you wait, the more you put them at risk.

Puppy care involves a range of preventative treatments and checkups, all of which are included in our Puppy Wellness Package. To learn more about how your vet can care for your puppy, read the information below.

 

Vaccinations

Vaccines are a vital part of your puppy’s care to help prevent serious disease. There are two classes of vaccine – core vaccines, which should be given to every puppy, and supplementary vaccines, which are only recommended for certain dogs and situations.

The three core vaccines offered at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital are distemper (a viral disease affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems); canine adenovirus type 2 (an infectious respiratory disease) and canine parvovirus type 2 (a virus infecting the intestines). The first vaccine for a new puppy will be recommended at around 8 weeks, with regular boosters for the first few months.

 

Deworming

Many puppies are born with intestinal parasites inherited from their mother. Your dog should be wormed every few weeks for the first few months, and then every 3 months from then on. This treatment should be completed regardless of whether worm droppings are visible as sometimes the evidence of intestinal worms is too small to be seen. If left untreated, these parasites can cause anaemia and weight loss, so preventing their growth is vital.

 

Desexing

Spaying or neutering your puppy provides health benefits for your pet and lifestyle benefits for you. It prevents pets from fighting or roaming and makes them more relaxed and affectionate, as well as eliminating the risk of certain cancers. The ideal time for a surgical spaying is between 4 and 6 months of age before your puppy reaches sexual maturity.

 

Teething

Your puppy’s first teeth will begin to erupt after just a few weeks, with the teething processing lasting a few months. Ensure your dog maintains great oral health with regular brushing and dental check-ups at your veterinary clinic. Preventing gum disease and tooth decay is simply a matter of monitoring your pet’s diet and keeping teeth strong by chewing on raw or dental bones on a weekly basis.

If you’d like to arrange vaccinations for your puppy or purchase a wellness package, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital now on 08 9524 6644 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

 

Wellness Package for Cats & Dogs – What’s Included

Visits to the vet for your pet’s regular checks, cost of pet food, pet accessories, grooming and training can be quite expensive to keep up with. Luckily, Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital offers wellness packages for cats and dogs in an effort to save pet owners money in the long run without neglecting their pet’s health. View our infographic to see what’s included in the package.

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The Importance of Health Checks

Regular health checks give pets and their owners the best chance of preventing, detecting and treating any possible illnesses, both immediately and in the future.

A full exam allows your vet to take a closer look at your pet and gives you the opportunity to ask about any unusual behaviour. Below you’ll find more information on the importance of health checks and how to manage your pet’s veterinary care.

 

Early Disease Detection

A key benefit of regular health check-ups for your pet is the potential to detect illnesses early on. There may be subtle changes in your pet’s behaviour that you don’t consider remarkable, but your vet may pick up on these as warning signs of something more serious. If your pet is diagnosed with a disease, the earlier the treatment starts the better the prognosis will generally be. This treatment could involve anything from surgery and medication to a simple change in diet, but whatever it is, you’ll want to get the ball rolling.

 

Preventative Treatment

There are many animal illnesses that can be easily prevented with treatment from your vet. Younger pets, in particular, will need a variety of vaccines to combat preventable diseases, along with treatments to deter parasites and worms. Your vet will help you construct a preventative healthcare plan for your pet over the next few years with scheduled treatments over time. At each check-up, the vet will also examine your pet’s weight and be able to warn you if they are becoming overweight, enabling you to make the necessary changes to avoid obesity.

 

Important Checks

During an annual health check, your vet will complete a thorough nose-to-tail examination of your pet. They will check ears for mites and infection, and examine eyes to make sure your pet has no issues with vision such as cataracts or glaucoma, which can lead to more serious issues. Internal organs will be checked using a stethoscope and physical manipulation to make sure there are no abnormalities. Another essential area of investigation is your pet’s mouth. Tooth or gum decay can cause your pet pain without you even realising it. This can lead to more serious abscesses or even tooth loss.

 

Total Wellness

At Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital, your pet’s health is our primary concern. In order to give you the best possible service and value for money, we’ve developed a range of wellness packages to provide excellent preventative care for your dog, cat, puppy or kitten. The plan includes regular health checks as well as parasite treatments, essential vaccinations, deworming and discounts on further consultations. Explore either our dog and puppy or cat and kitten packages to find out more, and keep your pet healthy for less.

If you’d like to purchase a wellness package for your pet then call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital now on 08 9524 6644 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Common Pet Surgical Procedures

No pet owner likes the idea of the furriest member of their family having to undergo surgery, but with the expert care of our team at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital, there is no need to worry. We aim to make every surgery as stress-free as possible for you and your pet. Below, you’ll find more information on the most common surgical procedures we perform.

 

Tooth Extractions

Dental decay and damage can pose a serious health threat to animals. Infected teeth may need to be extracted in order to minimise risk to surrounding healthy teeth and tissue. This is a very common animal surgery which utilises general anaesthesia to maximise the comfort of your pet.

In order to prevent your pet from needing a tooth extraction, it’s important to care for their oral health by brushing their teeth once a week or using a shop-bought teeth cleaning treat. At Port Kennedy Vets, we have a dedicated dental suite for performing regular cleaning, minor procedures and dental surgeries.

 

Neutering

This is the most common type of pet surgery and it is a highly recommended preventative measure. Desexing offers many benefits to your pet as well as the family. For example, a de-sexed animal has a lower risk of developing reproductive cancers and enjoy an increased life expectancy overall. A neutered animal will generally experience less anxiety and aggressive behaviour, and is less likely to bite or get involved in fights. The overall result is a more affectionate, relaxed companion for you and your family. Find out more about the benefits of desexing your pet, preparing for the procedure and caring for them afterwards.

 

Skin Surgeries

Many pets need to have skin lumps or other masses operated on. Both benign and malignant tumours are removed for safety, and biopsies can be carried out afterwards. Other skin surgeries include operating on abscesses to enable proper healing and suturing wounds.

 

Injuries

As much as we may try to protect them, our pets often suffer injuries. Injuries from fights such as bites and open wounds may need surgery to prevent infection. Broken bones sometimes need resetting or the insertion of metal plates to regain strength, and torn ligaments can be repaired. In these instances, it is best to get your pet to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible to minimise blood loss, infection or further damage.

If you’d like to arrange desexing or another surgery for your pet, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital now on 08 9524 6644 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Management Plans of Overweight Pets

Recent studies have shown that up to a third of Australian cats and dogs are now considered overweight. Dogs are more likely than cats to have weight problems, and pets that are older, neutered or live in single-pet households are also more at risk. Unfortunately, certain breeds are more prone to obesity but this doesn’t mean it can’t be avoided.

Here’s some information on diagnosing and treating obesity in your pets.

Is My Pet Overweight?

To check if your pet is overweight, start by feeling around their ribcage and spine. In a healthy animal, you should be able to feel their bone structure through only a thin layer of fat. If you can’t find the ribcage at all then you definitely have an overweight pet.

 

If you know the optimal weight for your pet’s age and breed, then you can weigh them at home. Step on a scale to read your own weight and then step back on while holding your pet – their weight will be the difference between the two sums. As a general rule, if your pet is up to 15% over their optimal weight they are considered overweight. Above 15% is categorised as obese.

 

What Are the Risks?

An overweight pet has a shorter life expectancy and a poorer quality of life overall than a pet of a healthy weight. The health risks to an overweight animal include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory problems. In addition to these, carrying that extra weight around will cause excessive wear on your pet’s joints and ligaments. Not only will your pet be less happy but it could leave you with huge costs in surgical bills and additional veterinary visits.

 

Step One – Diet

 The first step in managing your pet’s weight is to get everyone in the household on board with the diet plan. Make sure no one is going to feel sorry for your overweight pet and sneak it extra treats or supplementary food as this will make it harder to achieve weight loss goals. Get advice from your vet on how much energy your furry friend needs from food and make sure they are still getting the nutrition they need while on their new diet. Portion control is an easy way to lower calorie intake so try cutting daily food intake by 20-30% as a first step. For help and guidance, sign up for Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital’s free weight loss clinics for pets.

 

Step Two – Exercise

The second part of the weight management plan is to increase exercise. For dogs, this is a simple matter of taking longer and more frequent walks, but for cats, it’s a little trickier. Try adding height to your cat’s play area with vertical scratching posts and playing areas. Invest in a few more toys and encourage the whole family to play with the cat as much as possible. Bring out its natural instinct to hunt using lights, wands and other moving objects. Make meal times into an aerobic adventure by dividing food into smaller portions and hiding them around the house.

 

Maintaining Healthy Weight

Once you begin to achieve success in your pet’s weight management plan, it’s crucial to maintain this new routine. Continue to keep treats to a minimum and get as much exercise as possible. Getting the whole family into the habit of looking after your pet’s health is essential for maintaining weight loss.

If you’re interested in discussing a diet plan for your pet, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital providing veterinary services to Port Kennedy and surrounding Perth suburbs now or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Keep Your Pet Warm This Winter

Your pet may have a furry coat to keep warm, but for most breeds, this isn’t enough to ensure they stay comfortable throughout the winter.

Read on for our top tips on keeping your pets safe and warm this winter.

  • Bedding

For optimum comfort, your pet’s bed (whether inside or outside) should be raised off the ground. This prevents the bed from coming into direct contact with cold concrete, timber or tiles. Add extra blankets or bedding into their sleeping area for warmth over winter. If your pet is elderly, particularly if they’re thin or they suffer from arthritis, then they may need extra heating to remain comfortable. Consider purchasing a snuggle pad, which is heated in a microwave and can then be placed under bedding to keep your pet warm all night.

  • Clothing

Puppies and older dogs find it harder to control their body temperature. When it gets really cold, a canine sweater or coat can provide extra protection against cold or wet weather. Make sure your dog feels comfortable in whatever they wear and is still able to run and play freely.

  • Grooming

Make sure you keep up a good grooming regime through the winter. Avoid shaving or trimming your dog’s hair as their long fur keeps them warm. Whenever they need bathing, this should be done inside in warm water. Your pet’s coat will need to be brushed or combed regularly in the colder, wetter months to avoid it becoming matted as fur in bad condition provides less insulation.

  • Time Outside

On a particularly cold day, don’t be afraid to take a shorter walk than usual. As long as your dog is still getting daily exercise there’s no point risking you and your dog becoming too cold. If you have space inside, then encourage your pet to enjoy some indoor play time to keep them warm and maintain fitness.

  • Car Travel

You wouldn’t leave your pet alone in a hot car and the same goes for cold weather. Once the car heating is turned off, the temperature can drop quickly so avoid leaving pets alone for long periods.

  • Food

If your pet spends a lot of time outside they may need more food in the winter as they will be using up calories trying to stay warm. However, for many indoor animals, this is not necessary and overfeeding can cause them to become overweight. Talk to your vet about your pet’s individual energy needs. Make sure your cat or dog has access to unfrozen water outdoors throughout the year.

  • Outside Shelter

If you have an outdoor pet, then it’s important to provide them with adequate shelter. A kennel should have a sloped roof and dry bedding and offer protection against the rain. If possible, it’s better for your pet to move inside for the coldest months in order to ensure their health and happiness.

For more information or to make a veterinary appointment, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

The Importance of Pet Nutrition

Good nutrition is just as important for your pets as it is for the rest of your family. Nutritional requirements for your pet depending on their age, breed, size and health and will change over time. To keep your pets as happy and healthy as possible, follow our guidelines below.

 

Commercial vs Home Made Foods

Commercial foods are designed to meet all of your pet’s needs. Most include a mixture of meat, grains, vegetables and vitamins. If you prefer to feed your pet raw food then that’s fine too – just make sure it provides the right combination of energy, proteins, healthy fats and other necessary nutrients for your pet’s stage of life. Dry foods are good for the teeth while wet foods provide additional moisture to prevent dehydration.

 

Speak to your vet about the best feeding option, but in general, the choice of food is down to the personal preferences of you and your pet.

 

Does My Pet Need to Diet?

In Australia, one in three cats and dogs is overweight. Pets in this situation live shorter and less active lives than their fitter counterparts. Heavy pets tend to be less playful and energetic and will physically interact with their families less, spending more time lying around. Carrying extra weight also puts extra pressure on their limbs, joints and the heart.

 

If you suspect your pet is overweight then it’s important to do something about it now. Carrying just a few extra kilos can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and joint problems, among other complications. You can do a basic check for obesity at home by seeing how easily you can feel your pet’s ribs – if they are difficult to feel then it’s time for a visit to the vet.

 

How Do I Put My Pet On a Diet?

Weight loss for your pet shouldn’t be too tricky. The keys to success include the right advice from your veterinary healthcare team and a commitment from you and your family.

 

The ideal weight for your cat or dog will be calculated based on its size, age and breed. Just like for humans, it’s important not to cause any extreme weight loss – a safe amount would be around 3-5% body weight loss per month. Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can start to feed your pet smaller portions of its normal food or use special lower-calorie pet food. You should also increase the amount of exercise your furry friend is getting every day. Sign up for the free weight loss clinic at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital for help every step of the way.

 

Treats

Dogs and cats love treats just as much as we do! There’s no reason that treats can’t be part of a healthy diet for your pet. Just make sure you pay attention to what they’re eating and make sure treats don’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake. Instead of buying snacks at the supermarket, try treating your pet to fresh vegetables or fruit snacks such as green beans or banana slices, or bigger snacks like baby carrots, watermelon or apples for dogs. Just make sure you avoid anything that’s high in fat or sugar and skip anything that could damage your pet’s teeth.

 

If you’re interested in discussing a diet plan for your pet, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your dog has kennel cough, it can be quite distressing to witness. Kennel cough makes your dog generally miserable and lethargic. The cough itself is also loud and can sound quite concerning. Kennel cough can become quite serious if left untreated for a length of time and it also prevents your dog from being near other dogs until they have recovered.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a respiratory disease that occurs in puppies and dogs. It’s highly contagious and dogs tend to catch it at boarding kennels or off-lead dog parks. It’s easily treated, although puppies that are under 6 months old and dogs who haven’t been immunised can be at a higher risk of becoming severely unwell.

How Do You Know if Your Dog Has Kennel Cough?

There are some common symptoms associated with kennel cough, one of them being a ‘honking’ sound as your dog coughs. Other symptoms may include:

• Frequent sneezing
• Runny nose
• Tiredness
• Loss of appetite

How Can You Treat Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough can usually be treated like a common cold, where a fortnight of rest will be enough to recover completely. If symptoms persist then a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or a cough medication to ease the symptoms.

What Happens if Kennel Cough Isn’t Treated?

Generally, kennel cough will resolve itself on its own. However, if after 14 days your dog is still quite unwell, kennel cough may need to be resolved with antibiotics before it turns into something more serious.

What Else Do You Need to Do if Your Dog Has Kennel Cough?

To avoid re-infection or infection of other pets or dogs, you should separate your dog from other pets and keep their food and water bowls apart. Humans can’t catch kennel cough but other animals may become infected.

How Long Is Your Dog with Kennel Cough Confined for?

You should isolate your pet from other dogs for 14 days following the first symptoms of kennel cough. This is to be on the safe side as generally, dogs are only contagious for the first 7-10 days.

The team at Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital understands, values, and respects the very special nature of the human-animal bond. We dedicate ourselves to ensuring that your pet is achieving the best quality of life.

If you’re concerned about your dog suffering kennel cough, contact us today.