How to Get Cats to Like Each Other

Two cat sleep on the table

Cats are solitary animals and can be very territorial, so unless they’ve grown up together, it can be hard to bring a new cat into your home. The resident cat will see the new cat as a threat to their territory and will go out of their way to make them feel unwelcome. There could be fighting, toileting problems and other inconveniences. However, cats can learn to get along and live together peacefully.

Give Them Space

You wouldn’t like it if a stranger suddenly moved into your home and started using all your stuff, so don’t expect your cat to like it either. The same goes for the new cat who’s already out of sorts and feeling displaced and uncomfortable. Now they have to tiptoe around some other cat’s territory with no way out. Give both cats the space they need to get away from each other and get to know each other on their terms.

Make Sure There’s Enough of Everything

Cats are not team players, so they don’t like to share their stuff. Ensure both cats have their own toys, litter box, food bowls and bedding placed where they can access them without encountering the other cat. The resident cat will have right of way since the new cat is on their territory. Make it easier for the new cat by giving them their own little piece of territory with familiar things if possible. The resident cat will eventually let the new cat have more territory as they get used to each other.

Age and Gender are Important

If you have a choice on the age and gender of the new cat, it’s better to choose a younger cat of the opposite sex to the resident cat as long they’ve both been desexed. An older cat might not like having to live in a younger cat’s territory, and there could be a lot of hissing, growling and fighting.

If your resident cat is male, the newcomer should be female as two males are more likely to fight. If the resident cat is female, she will eventually, with a lot of patience, accept another cat of either sex.

Go Slowly

When you bring the new cat home, they’ll soon know about each other by smell. Introduce items to each cat that smells of the other to help them get used to each other. After a while, allow them to meet safely on neutral territory if possible so neither cat has the upper hand.

Be sure both cats have a quick escape route if things get out of hand. They will soon get used to each other; it’s just a matter of letting them do it on their terms, not yours.

Veterinarian Rockingham

Call Port Kennedy Vets on 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your cat, including vaccines and desexing. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

Causes of Coughing and Gagging in Dogs

Dachshund yawning, isolated on white

Dogs don’t generally cough much, unlike people, so if your dog suddenly starts coughing or gagging, it could be a symptom of something more serious. Smaller breeds and flat-faced breeds like pugs, bulldogs and boxers can often develop breathing difficulties because of their short snout, and some dogs can have food or environmental allergies that can cause snorting, gagging and other respiratory distress.

Let’s look at some of the most common causes of persistent coughing and gagging in dogs.

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough causes a sudden persistent cough that can become violent enough to make your dog vomit. Similar to bronchitis in humans, kennel cough can cause your dog to gag, wheeze, snort, and produce deep, hacking coughs, but it usually isn’t as serious as it sounds.

Although kennel cough is contagious, and your dog will have to be isolated to prevent the infection spreading to other dogs, the condition will often clear up by itself. A normal healthy dog may take a couple of weeks to recover, but you might need to keep a careful watch on senior dogs and young pups in case they need veterinary care.

Choking

Dogs chew on all sorts of things, and they can sometimes get lodged in their throats. Usually it’s something small such as a grass seed, and you’ll know there’s something wrong because your dog will make gagging sounds, lick their lips and keep trying to swallow.

If your dog can’t cough it up, you’ll need to make a quick trip to your local vet clinic for treatment.

Collapsing Trachea

Small breeds of dog are susceptible to a condition known as tracheal collapse, which can be congenital or acquired. Your dog will often gag while eating or drinking and show an aversion to exercise with respiratory distress. Mild forms can be managed, but more severe cases may need surgery.

Heart Disease

Coughing can be a sign of heart disease in dogs, but there will also be other obvious signs such as breathing difficulties, bluish tongue, lethargy and fatigue, especially when walking or running. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.

Pneumonia

A cough that sounds wet or phlegmy could indicate fluid build-up in your dog’s lungs, which could be pneumonia. Your dog might also have trouble breathing, be lethargic, and have a fever. Any wet-sounding cough needs immediate vet care so your dog can be started on the appropriate treatment, as pneumonia can be caused by a number of different things.

Veterinarian Rockingham

At Pork Kennedy Vets, your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, and we’re open every day of the week for help and advice if your dog is coughing or gagging persistently. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

Using Elimination Diets to Determine Allergies in Your Pet

Little dog maltese and black and white cat eating natural, organic food from a bowl at home

If your pet eats a varied diet and suddenly develops an allergy, it can be a difficult process to find out which particular food is the culprit. Food allergies in pets can present in different ways such as itchy skin, hair loss or hair pulling, gastric upset, and patches of irritated skin called hot spots.

If you can remember introducing a new food to your pet recently, it can simply be a matter of removing that food to see if it makes a difference, but often it’s not that easy. The only way to isolate the offending food is to use an elimination diet for as long as it takes to find it.

What’s An Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet is a restricted diet your pet eats until you find the food that’s causing the allergy or sensitivity. Another benefit is that it gives you a list of all the foods your pet can safely eat.

You’ll need to make a list of all the different foods your pet has been eating, commercial and home-cooked, including the separate ingredients of prepared foods. In this list is the ingredient that’s causing your pet’s allergy. Now we have to find out which one it is.

Common Foods that Cause Allergies

Some of the common sources of food allergies are the protein sources in your pet’s food such as chicken, beef, dairy, egg and soy. Commercial foods can also contain nasty chemicals such as dyes and preservatives that cause allergies. That’s why you need to write down all the ingredients from these foods.

New Foods

You’ll need to find a source of protein and a source of carbohydrate that your pet has never had before. Feeding these should lessen the allergy symptoms since they’re not on the list of possible allergens. Once your pet is feeling better on their new diet, you can begin to introduce the things on your list, one at a time, back into their diet and wait to see if the allergy reappears.

The Forbidden List

If the symptoms reappear and you need to wait a couple of weeks for each food you introduce back into the diet, you can put that food on the forbidden list. If your pet seems fine after adding each ingredient, then you can add that food to the safe list.

Keep adding foods from your original list, one by one, until you’ve gone through them all. You should now have two lists; one with the safe foods on it, and one with the forbidden foods that your pet has a reaction to.

Veterinarian Rockingham

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority. Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for help and advice on allergies and food sensitivities in your pet. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

What are Cat Abscesses?

Cat with bite wound

The very nature of cats makes them prone to abscesses, and most are invariably caused by other cats. An abscess forms after the skin has been broken, usually by another cat’s teeth, and the wound gets infected. Cats have a lot of bacteria in their mouth, and the site of the bite almost always forms a localised swelling that’s very painful and can make your cat feel quite ill.

The Abscess

Since cats are secretive creatures, they won’t often let you know if they have an injury. The first thing you’ll notice is the large, tender lump, often on the face or neck of the cat. Occasionally, you’ll see the bite mark before it turns into an abscess, and your vet can treat it to ensure it doesn’t get worse. However, once the wound becomes infected, the pressure starts to build and a pus-filled lump will form.

Be careful and try not to touch it. You’ll not only create more pain for your cat, but you might burst it, and the resulting smell is extremely foul.

Treating the Abscess

Sometimes, the abscess will burst by itself, and the cat will do its best to clean the wound. However, since they’re often on the head, face or neck, it’s inaccessible. If it has burst, you’ll see a large, open wound that oozes pus and possibly blood.

Whether the abscess is intact or not, your cat needs to go to your local vet clinic as soon as possible. Your vet will drain the abscess and clean it up, and write a prescription for a course of antibiotics to ensure it heals and doesn’t recur.

Severe instances may need to have drains inserted for a time, and your cat may have to wear an Elizabethan collar – plastic cones that stop them from licking the wound and pulling out drains and stitches. You’ll need to keep your cat inside while they heal, and you might want to take steps to prevent it happening again.

Abscess Prevention

Most cat fights are over territory and occur between intact males fighting over females in heat. Simply having your cat neutered or spayed and keeping them inside at night can often prevent injuries from fights, and your cat will be happier and healthier. You’ll also feel better knowing your cat is safe instead of roaming around in the night being bitten, breeding, and possibly even contracting a nasty disease.

Rockingham Vet

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if your cat has an abscess that needs attention, Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for your convenience. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Pet?

A cute little terrier breed dog taking a bubble bath with his paws up on the rim of the tub

The thought of bathing your dog or cat can make you worried about how you’re going to get them in the tub, but surprisingly, some pets like to bathe. It’s rare for a cat for enjoy it, and trying to put your cat into a bath full of water could be cause for a visit to casualty for you, but many dogs don’t really mind it so much. If your dog, and sometimes even your cat, is bathed regularly when they’re young, they become used to them.

Bathing Your Dog

If you make bath time a pleasant experience from a young age, your dog will learn to associate it with fun. How often you bathe them depends on the type of dog, whether they regularly get dirty outside, if they have any skin conditions, and your personal preference. Some dogs are just extra smelly, and as long as you use a mild shampoo, there’s no reason why you can’t bathe them a couple of times a week as long as it doesn’t stress them.

The Benefits of Bathing Your Dog

No matter how often you bathe your dog, always use a very mild shampoo so you don’t dry out their skin and strip their coat of natural oils. Bathing not only keeps him clean and well-groomed; it also gives you a chance to bond with them and check for bumps, lumps, scratches and other conditions you might not otherwise know about, especially if your dog is very hairy or fluffy.

Some skin conditions or allergies may benefit from bathing regularly with a medicated shampoo specifically made for the condition.

Tips for Bathing Your Dog

It’s important that your dog sees bath time as a positive experience where they spend time with you and enjoys themselves.

Stick to the same routine every time, and make sure you have everything you need before you place them in the tub. Try to keep them calm so they don’t slip and hurt themselves, and use warm water, not too hot. When you’re rinsing the shampoo off, don’t pour water into their eyes or ears. Use a soft cloth to wipe their face clean so they don’t get shampoo or water in their eyes, ears or nose.

Go Professional

If you don’t like the thought of bathing your dog, but they still need to get clean, consider using a professional dog groomer. You can also get their nails and hair clipped if necessary.

Pet Health Rockingham

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, and Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for your convenience. We also offer a pet grooming service for your dog or cat, so call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

7 Foods You Shouldn’t Feed to Your Pet

Little white maltese dog and food ingredients toxic to him

Our pets are often part of the family, and we like to make them happy by offering them the same food we eat. However, pets are not humans, and their metabolism is very different to ours.

What’s just fine for us to eat can be toxic and even deadly to your pet, so you need to be aware of the foods you should never feed them. It’s also important to look at the ingredients as they differ from product to product. Therefore, one type of food might be fine to give to your pet while another contains something toxic like artificial sweeteners.

To keep your pets safe, read our list of seven things you shouldn’t feed your pet.

Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs because it contains theobromine, an ingredient in cocoa that can cause seizures, internal bleeding, and even heart failure in large quantities. Many dogs and cats love sweet things, so be sure to keep the chocolate out of reach.

Grapes

Not all fruit is good for everyone. Grapes, sultanas, currants, raisins and any other dried grape product are highly toxic to dogs. Just a few grapes can cause kidney failure and even death in a small dog.

Avocado

Delicious, creamy avocado is best kept for the humans in your family. Avocado contains persin which is toxic to many animals, and it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.

Cooked Bones

Many people don’t think twice about giving cooked bones to their dogs and cats, but they can be fatal. Small cooked bones, especially chicken and other poultry bones, can splinter more easily and cause punctures in the animal’s digestive tract. Larger, raw bones are safe for dogs as long as they don’t have small, sharp pieces.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in sugar-free chewing gum and lollies, and they can sometimes be found in other products such as peanut butter and baked goods. It’s important to check the ingredients list on any processed food you give your pet, as xylitol is toxic to pets and can cause seizures and vomiting.

Milk

Many cats and dogs are lactose intolerant, and milk and dairy products can cause bloating, gastric distress, diarrhoea and other problems. Small amounts of cheese can often be given and are well-tolerated. If you’re unsure, start off with just a tiny amount and see how your pet handles it.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic can cause damage to the red blood cells and, eventually, anaemia in pets. Both raw and cooked onions pose a threat, but your pet is unlikely to eat them alone; it’s when they’re hidden in other things like stews and soups that you have to be careful of.

Vet Clinic Port Kennedy

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if your pet accidentally eats something they shouldn’t, bring them in to the vet clinic at Port Kennedy Vets for treatment. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

Most Common Musculoskeletal Disorders in Dogs

Old German Shepherd dog suffering with arthritis moving about with aid of wheels

The musculoskeletal system consists of the muscle and skeleton working together to form support for joints, and musculoskeletal disorders in dogs generally refers to bone and joint problems.

These disorders can be genetic, the result of injury, or as part of the ageing process, and they are more commonly seen in large and active breeds. There are many and varied musculoskeletal disorders, but we’ll focus on the most common ones for this article, and what you can do to help.

Arthritis

Arthritis is usually thought of as a disorder of older dogs, and indeed osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joints starts to degenerate, often from age and overuse. However, hypertrophic arthritis can occur in younger large breed dogs and is often referred to as growing pains. Treatment usually consists of ant-inflammatory medication and pain killers, and joint support.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Disorders

The cruciate ligament supports the knee in the dog’s hind legs and can be injured, as it often happens with large working dogs, or it can degenerate over time. Partial tears can heal with rest, but more extensive damage needs surgery to repair and stabilise the joint.

Dogs with cruciate ligament disorders will often have swelling and pain around the affected joint, and it’s important to ensure they rest and see their vet to prevent further damage.

Patellar Luxation

Often called knee dysplasia, patellar luxation is where the kneecap slips out of place repeatedly and can cause further damage to the joint over time if not treated. The dog may develop a strange skipping gait, and treatment is not always effective. Surgery is only performed for severe cases.

Hip or Elbow Dysplasia

Hip or elbow dysplasia are often seen in large dogs that grow too fast due to an inappropriate diet, or from excessive exercise that damages the joints and causes them to develop incorrectly. Hip dysplasia is genetic in many large breeds and can present in young dogs or not be seen until the dog is much older.

Depending on the severity of the condition, medication and pain killers can be prescribed, or surgery in the worst cases.

Osteochondrosis

Another disorder caused by rapid growth in large dogs, osteochondrosis affects the shoulder, elbow and knee joints and often affects pups less than a year old. This painful condition occurs when the smooth cartilage in the joints is inflamed and small pieces break off and float around, causing more inflammation and swelling.

Mild cases can heal with plenty of rest, but more severe cases will need surgery.

Veterinary Hospital Port Kennedy

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if your dog shows signs of any musculoskeletal disorders, bring them in to the vet clinic at Port Kennedy Vets for assessment and early treatment.

Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet.

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What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

x ray for dog hip have red marker

Many people with large dogs are familiar with hip dysplasia because, being a genetic condition, it affects certain breeds more, but any dog of any size can develop it.

Hip dysplasia is when the ball and socket joint of the dog’s hind legs – the equivalent of our hips – doesn’t develop properly during the growth period. The condition usually affects both sides where the ball doesn’t fit properly into the socket, and it can vary in its severity.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia can be genetic and affects large, heavy breeds like the St Bernard, and larger working dogs such as German shepherds. It’s rare in small dogs, but it does happen.

Other factors such as diet (over feeding), excessive exercise, and weight gain can also be a factor. It’s generally an imbalance between the muscles and the bones while the dog is growing that causes the joint to pull apart which, in turn, causes instability of the hip joint and other problems.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia

Symptoms can be present when the dog is very young, or when the dog is much older. It all depends on the severity of the condition.

Since it’s a very painful condition, the first sign is a reluctance to run and jump around, something you’d notice in a young dog but not so much in an older dog. Your dog might have trouble getting up or lying down, seem uncoordinated, sway when they walk or stagger with sudden lameness in the hind legs, which is especially occurrent in younger dogs.

Treatment

If you notice anything unusual with your dog’s hind quarters, consult your vet for a thorough examination to diagnose hip dysplasia. Treatment depends on the age of the dog and the severity of the condition, but it can include weight management, medication for the pain and inflammation and to try to repair the cartilage.

As a last resort, there are a variety of surgical procedures that can be performed, with the most extreme being total hip replacement.

Prevention

A reputable breeder of large dogs prone to hip dysplasia will do their best to try and breed it out, but since it’s so prevalent in some breeds, the next best thing is to have their breeding dogs x-rayed and vet certified to ensure they breed dogs with the lowest likelihood of developing it.

If you have a pup, you can make sure you feed the correct diet and provide appropriate levels of exercise to prevent excessive growth and, later, obesity.

Veterinary Hospital Port Kennedy

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if your dog shows signs of hip dysplasia, bring them in to the vet clinic at Port Kennedy Vets for assessment and early treatment. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.

What is Tick Paralysis?

Paralysis tick, dog tick parasite - Parasitiformes. Ticks are small arachnids, part of the order Parasitiformes. Ticks are ectoparasites, living by hematophagy on the blood of mammals

The paralysis tick – Ixodes holocyclus – is a tiny creature that can have a big impact on any warm-blooded animal. They live in bushland and attach themselves to their host and suck its blood. The blood sucking itself isn’t the problem, the tick’s salivary glands produce a toxin that affects the host’s nervous system and causes paralysis.

Any creature running around outdoors can pick up a tick, but dogs and cats are particularly susceptible because they come into contact with the tick’s environment.

Symptoms of Tick Poisoning

It only takes a couple of days once the tick has attached itself to your pet before you’ll start to see symptoms. Your pet might start to lose mobility in the rear legs and become unsteady, which soon progresses to the front legs. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, panting, coughing, weakness and loss of coordination, breathing difficulties and the bark or meow sounding strange.

Checking your Pet for Ticks

Ticks tend to attach to the front of your pet as they’re walking through the grass and bushes, but it’s important to check your pet all over. If you live in a humid, bushy or coastal area, you must check your pet daily for ticks. The best way is run your fingers through your pet’s fur to feel for lumps, and go over the entire body – your pet will get used to it and even get some relief out of it.

Ticks will attach anywhere they can, so check lips, ears, nose, between toes, armpits and genital areas. If you find a lump, separate the fur, and if it’s a tick, remove it using a tick hook or tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Keep checking your pet; where there’s one tick, there could be more.

Treatment of Tick Paralysis

Tick paralysis is progressive, and your pet can still be affected even after you’ve removed the tick, so see your vet for advice and treatment. Your pet will be administered with tick anti-serum and put on an intravenous drip to keep them hydrated.

Fast action and prompt treatment could see your pet back home within a couple of days, but the longer you wait, the less chance of recovery. Without treatment at all, your pet could die, so see your vet immediately.

How to Prevent Tick Poisoning

There are preventative medications available for pets such as collars and sprays, but they don’t work 100% of the time. The best prevention is to check your pet daily and feel for ticks. You’ll soon get better at it, and the first time you find one, you’ll know it’s worth the effort.

Rockingham Animal Hospital

Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority, so if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, or you’ve recently been in one and your pet is showing signs of tick paralysis, don’t hesitate. Take them straight to Port Kennedy Vets, your local vet clinic. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.