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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Staff from Forrestfield & High Wycombe Vet Hospital joined  in the community spirit  on Sunday May 15th by taking part in the  RSPCA Million Paws Walk in South Perth.  Vet nurses Kat & Maybelline, and Vet Dr Jasmin braved the inclement weather to take their canine companions on the annual fundraiser to support the RSPCA in the good work they do in fighting animal cruelty.

Labrador Raven (Kat) , “Groodles”  Marvel & Disney (Maybelline) , and Pug  Teddy (Jasmin)  had a great day out  & managed to remain focused on the walk without too many lead tangles, despite the multitude of distractions bombarding their senses. For Raven it was her first Million Paws experience, & she stayed remarkably well behaved for a young lab, while the other 3 dogs were somewhat seasoned veterans of walks in previous years.

Although the original plan was for the 5 km version of the walk, Teddy the pug isn’t really built for endurance, so to avoid the need for emergency CPR, the walk was converted to the more manageable 2.5 km version which the others all completed with relative ease.

Surprisingly Teddy proved to be the most accomplished at completing the agility based Canine Adventure Course at the event, but we suspect this had something to do with the food treat incentives being offered (he is a Pug after all !!). Disney’s highlight was the many birds available for chasing, while conning Maybelline into buying a bag of tasty treats was Marvels crowning achievement.   Check out the photos,  but like all black dogs, don’t expect too much detail in the photos! All in all, a good day was had by everyone, for a good cause.

To see more about our staffs own pets you can click here to read the staff profiles on our website.

MP Walk Dogs Photo

Raven, Marvel, Teddy and Disney raring to go !

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The Million Paws Walkers

Contents of this newsletter

01  Does your dog have arthritis?

02  Cats are the best at hiding arthritis

03  Top tips for managing arthritis

04  The dog who mastered interior painting

05  Cruciate ligament disease

01 Does your dog have arthritis?
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Arthritis is a sneaky condition. It tends to creep up over time and our pets won't always show obvious signs until they are in considerable pain. 

The disease is caused by the wearing down of the cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. This 'cushioning' cartilage helps joints move freely and without discomfort but as it wears down, the ends of the bones become exposed and can rub together. You can imagine the pain this might cause your pet! 

It is very important to understand that your pet won’t necessarily limp or yelp or whimper if he is in pain.

Most of the signs of arthritic pain are subtle and here's what you should watch out for if you own a dog (we'll cover cats in more detail below): 

  • Hesitant to jump into the car or up on furniture
  • Slowing down on walks or a reluctance to walk as far 
  • A bit slow to get going after getting up 
  • Lowers his body slowly when going to lie down 
  • Behavioural changes e.g. grumpy when touched on the back
  • Slipping on floorboards or hesitant to use stairs

Don’t be tempted to put these changes down to 'he's just getting old' as your pet may be in significant pain - he just can't tell you!

Thankfully there is now a number of things we can do to slow the progression of the disease and keep your pet pain free.

Phone us to arrange an arthritis check up and we'll be able to work out a suitable treatment plan for your pet. 

02 Cats are the best at hiding arthritis
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Cats are even better than dogs at hiding or covering up pain caused by arthritis. If you think about it, cats spend much of their time sleeping and we generally don't take cats for a walk, so it is hard to see a change in their mobility.

Try to keep an eye out for these subtle signs:

  • Landing 'in a heap' when jumping off furniture 
  • Hesitant when jumping up or down from the furniture
  • Reluctant to climb the fence or trees
  • No longer using the litter box properly (especially if it has high sides)
  • Resistant to being picked up or moved
  • Matted or scruffy coat (as grooming is painful)
  • Long nails - simply because of reduced activity

If you notice any of these signs you should arrange a check up with us.

Good pain management can make a huge difference to your cat's quality of life and this is one of the most important things we can do for our pets. 

03 Top tips for managing arthritis
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If we’ve diagnosed your pet with arthritis we will work with you to come up with the best management plan to keep your pet pain free.

The key to success is a multi-targeted approach as this can help reduce the need for large amounts of medication and lessen the potential side effects of any one treatment.

Things YOU can do: 

  • Keep your pet’s weight in a healthy range  - ask us for a diet recommendation
  • Exercise your pet in moderation to keep the joints moving and muscles toned
  • Think about providing an additional piece of furniture so your dog or cat doesn't have to jump so high to reach his favourite spot or even a ramp to get into the car !!

Medical treatments might include:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): these help to reduce pain and inflammation quickly and may be used in the short or even long term.

Disease-modifying drugs: given as a regular injection, these help to relieve pain and help to preserve joint cartilage - ask us for more information.

Nutriceuticals: supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may be helpful in improving your pet’s joint function and may help slow down the progression of arthritis.

Diet modification: a diet high in essential fatty acids (with added nutriceuticals) can help reduce inflammation and improve your pet’s mobility. Ask us about the specific arthritis prescription diets we have available.

Don't forget, it’s absolutely essential you return with your pet for regular check ups so we can monitor their pain and mobility and adjust the program if necessary.

04 The dog who mastered interior painting
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Have you ever wondered what might happen when you leave a dog home alone for 3 hours with an ink pot? We think you'll laugh (and shudder at the same time) when you see what this husky got up to...

Thank goodness we weren't the ones cleaning this mess up! 

Click here to see the photos and read more about this aspiring artist.

05 Cruciate ligament disease
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One of the most common injuries we see in dogs is a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. This is the same injury seen in many a footballer - the notorious ACL, and it can can lead to dramatic arthritis in your dog's knee if it is not treated effectively.

Many dogs will 'snap' the ligament after taking off  while chasing something or turning quickly. These dogs present to us non weight bearing on the injured hind leg. As cruciate disease can also be a progressive and degenerative condition, other dogs will present with a mild, intermittent lameness and chronic thickening of the joint. 

Examination of a dog under sedation or general anaesthetic will help diagnose the condition and we are able to detect movement in the knee that should not be there if the ligament was healthy. Radiographs will also assist in identifying arthritic changes and evidence of swelling within and around the knee joint. 

Surgery to stabilise or modify the knee joint is the best option for treatment.  Without repair, many dogs will never use the leg again  and longer term,  the risk of developing painful arthritis is high.

There are a few different surgical techniques for cruciate ligament repair and new procedures are continually being developed. If your dog ruptures his cruciate ligament, we will be able to give you more information on the most suitable type of surgery. 

It is important to realise that arthritis may still develop in the affected joint following surgery, but will be significantly reduced than if surgery was not performed and return to function of the leg is the goal.

If you are worried about your pet please call us for advice.