Pet Care Articles

While it would be nice if we were able to stick to only the heart-warming topics such as cute puppies and kittens, the not-so-pleasant subjects are also important, which is why we bring to your attention the things people would prefer not to discuss such as anal glands and vomiting. No one can accuse us of skirting around the less socially acceptable topics!


Vomiting is an unpleasant yet necessary response to various stimuli, and we are all familiar with that awful sensation that something is on its way back up.  Eating and drinking too much - or the wrong things - can cause it, and as uncomfortable as the process is, we usually feel better afterwards. It’s the same for our pets too.

The new rules in South Australia

From 1st July 2018, all dogs and cats must be microchipped and desexed. They must be microchipped before they reach 12 weeks of age or within 28 days after an owner takes possession of the animal. Desexing must occur before the animal is six months of age or within 28 days after the owner takes possession.


The changes come after extensive community consultation, and the involvement of a “citizen’s jury” in the development of the legislation which also has implications for breeders. Other changes intended to remedy long-standing weaknesses in the community’s management of dogs and cats, are new and increased fines and expiations for dog and cat owners who break the rules, as well as increased powers for council to investigate offenses. To review the legislation which includes details of penalties for non-compliance, refer to the Dog and Cat Management Regulations 2017.

We all love sharing things with our pets; cuddles, games, and our beds – even though it’s often not by choice – but is it possible to unintentionally share the less desirable things such as disease? The simple answer is yes, and there are numerous diseases that can be transmitted via a process called reverse zoonosis.


Zoonosis involves the transmission infectious diseases from animals to humans, and reverse zoonosis refers to transmission from humans to animals. Some modern diseases such as Ebola and HIV were zoonotic diseases that transferred to humans, and in the case of HIV it has now evolved into a human-only disease.


Avian flu and swine flu have highlighted the seriousness of zoonosis, and even though it is much less common, we can in fact make animals sick. Transfer of disease from humans to animals is much less studied than animals-to-humans, and it is not even clear whether our pets can catch the common cold from us; Some experts believe that whilst dogs can't catch human colds, cats can, even though the chances are slim. 

A cancer diagnosis is a stressful event for anyone, including pet owners. Decisions regarding chemotherapy can be difficult, and pet owners often worry about the prospect of their pet becoming sick from the treatment, particularly if they think it may be how they spend their remaining time. Most of these fears are unwarranted however, and knowing what to expect can help in making appropriate decisions.  

Hardly a subject for polite conversation but an important one nonetheless, is dogs’ anal glands. Technically they’re not glands, however they’re commonly referred to as glands and they are repositories of some revolting smelling substance. They are two small sacs that continually produce an oily material - semi-liquid - from the cells with which they’re lined. 

The days of domestic animals living their lives outdoors are becoming largely a part of history. It was not uncommon years ago for dogs to live their lives in suburban backyards… often with the family cat. These days however, the trend is for pets to live indoors, and there are a number of factors influencing it. Some are to do with lifestyle changes, and others are to do with a changed perception of the safety of a completely outdoors lifestyle. Even for those who still believe an outdoor lifestyle is the most appropriate option, Adelaide’s winters often prompt the question, “is it okay for pets to be outside in winter”?More people in cities live in townhouses and apartments these days, and don’t have backyards. Many choose not to have kids and have pets instead, and as we are living longer and often by ourselves, companion pets have taken on a new importance. The definition of “family” has changed and so too has how, and where our pets live with us. Of those whose pets live indoors because their homes have no outdoor areas, many wouldn’t let their pets live outside even if it was possible.

Dental disease is the cause of the vast majority of cases of bad breath in animals and even mild dental disease can lead to "dog breath". More advanced cases of dental disease can lead to severe halitosis. It is sometimes thought that dental issues and problems with teeth, will stop animals from eating thereby sending a clear signal to owners that something’s wrong, but this isn’t necessarily the case.


The question that’s sometimes hard to answer when you’re a pet owner is, “when is it an emergency”? Our pets can’t tell us, so what do you do when they’re limping or throwing up and it’s 10:30 at night? Do you call the vet, knowing that you could be worrying about something that’s not really a big deal and may pass, or do you take the risk and wait until the morning?

Vets4Pets has a 24/7 emergency centre which operates 365 days a year and is situated at Golden Grove. For residents in North Eastern suburbs, it’s only a quick drive away and your pet will have immediate access to a professionally trained team with advanced equipment to provide emergency treatment. Our doctors and nurses ensure a pleasant and friendly environment for both patients and their owners so you can rest assured that your pet is in the right hands.


When it comes to emergencies, knowing what to look for and where to turn for help, are key to ensuring the best outcome for your pet. Accidents happen, and making rational decisions in the middle of the night can be daunting, so don’t hesitate to call for help.

If you’ve been thinking that your pet has recently turned into a bit of a grouch it could be that they’re actually in pain, but how would you know? It can sometimes be difficult to tell, and if the obvious signs such as limping or wounds aren’t present then you’ll need to know what to look for. Some animals simply hide their pain and live with it, but there are actually a number signs that something could be wrong in spite of how subtle they may be. In cats, it can be even more difficult to detect, and in some cases pain will only be obvious in the most extreme circumstances.

What can turn an affectionate pat or cuddle with your dog into an anxious moment? Finding a lump! Understandably the first thing that often springs to mind is that it could be cancer, however not all bumps and lumps on dogs are cancerous tumours. Sometimes they’re relatively harmless, such as sebaceous cysts which can occur as a result of blocked oil glands, or lipomas which can be unsightly but are harmless. Skin growths are common in dogs and fortunately many of them tend to be benign.

Bear in mind that not all lumps and bumps are cancerous, and many are fatty tumours and consequently do not require immediate surgery. Some look quite innocent when in fact they’re not, which is why you can’t afford to gamble with your dog's health and it’s important to get any lumps and bumps checked. Fast growth, redness, pus, swelling, an opening in the lump, and pain, are reasons to seek immediate veterinary attention.


When taking your dog to get lumps checked your vet will mostly likely ask whether the lump appeared suddenly, whether its shape, colour or size has changed, and whether your dog’s behaviour, such as his appetite or energy level, is different. Once diagnosed, your vet might record the location and sizes of lumps and bumps that aren’t removed to make it easier to keep track of what’s changed and any that are new in future. This is something that dog owners can do too, and an ideal time to check is when brushing, bathing, or petting. Doing it regularly will help you increase your familiarity with your dog’s body so that you’ll detect a change more quickly. 


Even if your dog has a lump that you find is not cancerous, always have new ones tested and keep a close eye on all of them. Any of the Vets4Pets hospitals can help with examination and diagnosis of lumps and bumps. The sooner you have them checked, the sooner your dog can receive treatment if they’re problematic, and if they’re not, the sooner you’ll have peace of mind.




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