Forrestfield Veterinary Hospital
313 Hale Road
Wattle Grove, WA, 6107

reception@forrestfieldvet.com.au
Phone: 08 9453 1290

High Wycombe Veterinary Hospital
548 Kalamunda Road
High Wycombe, WA, 6057

reception@highwycombevet.com.au
Phone: 08 9454 6915
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Leroy  the cat  has spent a lot of time at Forrestfield  & High Wycombe Vet Hospital over the last year, but not in the way you would think !  No, he hasn’t had a longstanding illness requiring regular treatment, & no, he hasn’t had a major injury requiring rehabilitation.  Instead Leroy is a STRAY cat that was actually living UNDER the floorboards at our High Wycombe Vet Hospital !!!.

We became aware over many months that there was a stray hanging around the hospital as we would see it  flashing past quite often when outside, but later realised it was actually consistently disappearing into the access manhole under the building. Over time it became obvious that this cat was actually LIVING  under the hospital, as it was often seen inside the manhole, or hiding in nearby bushes & would run to safety under the building whenever approached. After catching him stealing water, we became concerned for his welfare, and started a concerted process to try & gain his confidence.  By November, we got close enough to see that he actually had a large wound  in his armpit, requiring vet attention, so we fed him  in earnest , gradually coaxing the stray to get brave enough to trust us, til finally on November 20th Vet Nurse Bec was able to get a hold of him & bring him inside the hospital.

Affectionately named Leroy ( for no other reason than it seemed to suit him), he was examined by our vets, & he indeed had a longstanding large wound in his armpit that was not healing. He unfortunately didn’t have a microchip, but apart from being thin & slightly dehydrated, he was otherwise OK. Understandably initially terrified, Leroy clearly still enjoyed a pat & became very affectionate (on his terms) quite quickly as he remembered how nice human companionship could be.

So we began the process of rehabilitation. After surgically repairing his armpit wound  under general anaesthetic , Leroy spent several weeks in cage restriction while this difficult wound healed, enjoyed his regular meals & cuddles, & settled back into a better life than living under a building!!

Ten weeks  later, you’d barely recognise the handsome lad he’s become (as the photos show)  from the scrawny terrified thing  we caught back in November. Leroy  has a delightful chilled personality  & now likes nothing more than a good pat, or being carried around the hospital like a baby. We are currently trialling his suitability as a “clinic  cat “ at our Forrestfield Vet Hospital, but as only certain cat personalities can “enjoy this role”, we don’t know yet how he will work out.  So we may yet be looking for a loving home  for him in the next month or so, & he would undoubtedly make a divine addition to any family. Stay tuned for Leroy’s progress in coming newsletters !!

One thing is for certain though, lifes better for Leroy now !

Leroy Photo again

Leroy was thin but still good looking when we first got him

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Leroy enjoys cuddles !!

Contents of this newsletter

01  Does your pet really love you?

02  Recognising a broken heart

03  What is SRR?

04  The link between smelly breath and heart disease

05  Is heartworm prevention important?

01 Does your pet really love you?
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Feeling a bit lonely this Valentine's Day? Never fear, that's why our pets are here! They are better than any Valentine's date. 

Ever wondered if your pet really loves you? Here's what you should be looking for:

Cats

  • Brings you presents - whether it is a dead mouse or a headless bird, this is a 'gift.'
  • Head butts you - he is depositing facial pheromones on you and wants to leave his scent to claim you - it's a sign of affection.
  • He flashes his tummy at you - this signifies your cat is happy to lie in a more vulnerable position and feels completely safe around you.
  • Your cat kneads you - by massaging you with his paws he leaves his pheromones on you - you are loved!

Dogs

  • Brings you his squeaky toys - even if they are covered in slobber, you should accept this as a sign of affection!
  • Makes eye contact with you - prolonged eye contact means your dog feels safe and secure with you.
  • Licks your face frantically - this one is self explanatory, you are being kissed!
  • Yawns when you yawn  - it is thought that when a dog yawns after a human he is showing empathy.

To see a video of a dog who is completely in love with his owner, click here

02 Recognising a broken heart
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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, there's never been a better time to discuss heart disease.

Heart disease isn't easy to spot. It tends to creep up on our pets slowly over many months to many years.

Being able to recognise some of the early signs of this disease can make a big difference. It means you can seek medical intervention from us and help your pet live a happier and longer life.

Most of the signs are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The heart has to work harder and harder over time and, without treatment, heart failure occurs.

Signs of heart disease to look out for:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Laboured or fast breathing
  • A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks
  • An enlarged abdomen
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

Regular check ups with us allow us to detect any changes early. Sometimes we will hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, or a special heart ultrasound  called an echocardiogram.

The good news is that there are some excellent medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease. These can keep the heart condition under control and help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you think your pet might have a problem with their heart, call us to arrange a check up today.

03 What is SRR?
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SRR refers to your pet's Sleeping Respiratory Rate. The SRR is a very useful tool in recognising the onset of or monitoring left sided congestive heart failure (CHF) in both dogs and cats.

Many of the common heart diseases lead to left sided congestive heart failure.  When pressure in the top left heart chamber increases and blood backs up into vessels within the lung, it results in fluid accumulating in the lungs. This fluid, referred to as pulmonary oedema, causes an increase in your pet's respiratory rate.

How to monitor Sleeping Respiratory Rate

The good news is you can easily perform this test at home!

The measurement should be done when your pet is asleep in a normal environment (not too cold, not too hot). Repeat the measurement over 2-3 days (to get a baseline variation), and then ongoing monitoring should happen once or twice a week. 

Normal SRR in dogs and cats is less than 30 breaths per minute, often in the high teens or low 20s.

If your pet has an underlying heart disease and their SRR is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute, your pet could be developing CHF.  

An elevated SRR can also be caused by high blood pressure, anaemia, pneumonia, heat stress or a fever - so if you are concerned about your pet it's best to arrange a check up with us as soon as possible.

04 The link between smelly breath and heart disease
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Did you know that improving your pet's teeth could save his life?

There is now clear evidence that dental disease is linked to heart disease.

Plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth lead to infection of the gums. Bacteria from this infection can travel in the blood stream around the body and cause infection in the heart. This commonly occurs in the heart's lining and valves and is known as endocarditis

And it's not only the heart that is affected. The kidneys, liver and lungs can all be infected by the bacteria. 

The good news is that many of these problems can be reversed if dental disease is resolved and dental hygiene is improved. 

How to prevent dental disease:

1. Get your pet's mouth checked regularly by us - we will be able to spot problems early.
2. Get your pet eating right. A premium quality dry diet is essential for good oral health - we want our pets to chew their food! There are some excellent dental diets available and they really work so ask us for the best recommendation.
3. Brush your pet's teeth. Yep! This is considered gold standard , but is not possible with many pets > If you can achieve toothbrushing - just make sure you use a pet approved toothpaste.
4. Lift the lip and have a smell. If you notice any yellowing of the teeth or redness of the gums OR your pet's breath smells a bit 'off', it might be time for a check up.

We recommend a dental check up at least once a year. Regular checks protect your pet's heart and might just be saving his life!

05 Is heartworm prevention important?
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Yes! Heartworm is the most dangerous of all the worms as it can be fatal

Mosquitoes spread heartworm and wherever there are mosquitoes, there is the risk of heartworm. When the mosquito feeds on your pet's blood, larvae enter the blood stream. These larvae mature into worms that can reach up to an astounding 30 cm in length!

The worms eventually become lodged in your pet's heart leading to heart failure and sometimes death. Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease but occasionally cats may also be at risk.

Treatment of heartworm is difficult and dangerous and prevention is better than the cure. Getting your pet started on the right heartworm medication can be confusing, especially with so many choices on the market. To make things more confusing, most of the intestinal ‘all wormer' medications do not prevent heartworm infection.

MOST conveniently  there is a once yearly injection for dogs, but there are are also monthly  "back of neck" treatments,  or  monthly tablet or chew  treatments  available.

Ask us for the most suitable prevention for your pet - we will make sure your pet is protected.

You can see a short video about heartworm prevalence in Australia here.