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.
Some people keep mice as pets; they’re intelligent and can be trained, but most of us spend more time trying to get rid of them than befriending them. The sight of a mouse often creates concern amongst home owners that there are problems with hygiene and many people associate mice with disease, but as most pest controllers will tell you, where there are humans there are usually mice, and they occupy a wide range of habitats.
There many species of mice in Australia. Some are native, others were introduced and have adapted rapidly. As Adelaide’s temperatures drop, they are starting to seek warmer shelter, and that often means inside homes.
One of the most common ways to deal with the issue is to use baits containing poison, and these can put dogs and cats at risk. Both can become ill from ingesting rat bait or by eating rodents that have ingested it. It can have serious consequences, and early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important.
What are the risks to dogs and cats?
The two most commonly found types of rat bait found in Australia have either of the active ingredients Warfarin or Brodifacoum, with the former requiring ingestion over a longer period to cause death, and the latter acting more quickly and potentially causing fatality with a single dose.
Due to lifestyle improvements and advancements in health care, just like us, our pets are living longer. Their needs change as they age just as they do with us also, and there are some simple things you can do to help your pet remain healthy and happy throughout their senior years. Unsurprisingly many of them are common-sense approaches that apply to us as well, and if we can have “grey power” as we age, so can they.
Because they are all different, individual animals age differently, however there are some common issues that affect most dogs and cats
. For dogs, the size and breed is relevant, and larger dogs generally age more quickly than smaller dogs. A larger dog such as German Shepherd could be considered senior at seven to eight years, whereas a miniature poodle would not be considered senior until the early teens.
There is less variation with cats, who at seven to ten are in their “mature” years, but aren’t really considered to be senior until over ten. At 15 and above, they are very senior. With all animals, general health, medical history, nutrition and environment will influence aging. Genetics can also play a significant role.