Live Vet Question and Answer Service and The Importance of Dental Care in Pets

Thanks Dr Joe for hosting today’s session. He’s not in the witness protection program – he just got the lighting a bit wrong.

Why are Intravenous Fluids Needed During Surgery?

Intravenous Fluids During Surgery

The second point I wanted to cover about getting your pet desexed at the Bunbury and Eaton Vet Clinics is

2. Every animal receives intravenous fluids during the surgery. With 85% of animals experiencing low blood pressure during surgery, intravenous fluids are important to help maintain blood pressure, making the surgery safer and the recovery faster. Low blood pressure can have wide-ranging effects on the animal, including causing liver and kidney damage, delayed wound healing, increased risk of infections and slower clearance of anaesthetic agents from the body.

This is something we started doing as standard around 12 months ago. Before then, we treated it as an “optional extra”. We now understand fully just how important intravenous fluids are.

There was a study published by Murdoch University which demonstrated that around 85% of dogs undergoing routine desexing will experience a degree of hypotension, with 46% becoming dangerously hypotensive, which put them at risk of kidney or liver failure.

Without good quality monitoring which includes blood pressure, it would be easy to miss these cases of hypotension, and without intravenous fluids it is very difficult to correct the problem.

We have found that by carefully monitoring blood pressure during surgery we are able to detect any early changes in blood pressure, and with the animal already attached to intravenous fluids we can rapidly correct any problems before they become life-threatening.

We have also noticed how much faster the animals recover from the anaesthetic when on intravenous fluids. Because many anaesthetic agents are cleared by the liver and kidneys, low blood pressure can affect the body’s ability to get rid of the anaesthetic due to poor blood flow to these organs.

How Much Does It Cost To Desex My Pet?

The price we give for desexing includes everything we believe your pet needs, including intravenous fluids, high level anaesthetic monitoring, pain relief and a collar to prevent them chewing at the surgical site. For more information and prices, CLICK HERE

Why is Pain Relief So Important When My Pet Is Desexed?

Last week my article was about things we see as important when it comes to getting your pet desexed at the Bunbury Vet Clinic. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to discuss in a bit more depth why each of these points is so important.

1. We give pain killers to every animal. We believe every animal undergoing desexing surgery needs good quality pain relief, so we include it in the price we give you. Remember that the pain from surgery lasts for more than 24 hours, so your pet will have some pain killers to take at home.

Good quality pain relief is so much more important than just making the animal comfortable. Pain relief starts before the surgery even begins with your pet given a powerful opioid pain killer (same class as morphine and pethidine) around 30 minutes before the surgery. For the particularly painful parts of the surgery (we judge this by changes in the animal’s heart rate and breathing) we also give more opioid pain killers into the vein for very powerful pain relief. This allows us to keep the anaesthetic as light and safe as possible while keeping the animal comfortable.

There is a condition called “pain wind-up”, which basically means that once an animal is feeling pain it is much harder to make it comfortable again. That is why we are very careful to give good pain relief right from the start.

We also use a different type of pain killer called a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID), which is given by injection while the animal is still asleep, and can then be given orally at home. This works to both reduce inflammation and provide powerful pain relief.

By keeping an animal comfortable, it has been shown that they recover from surgery faster, they are more likely to eat and drink normally, and are less likely to lick or chew at the surgical wound. All this on top of the obvious benefit of not being in pain.


Live Question and Answer Sessions with one of our Vets

Live Vet Question And Answer Sessions.

Starting 2pm on Monday 20th October, the Eaton Vet Clinic will be hosting a live Daily Question and Answer session. This is an opportunity for you to ask one of our vets any animal related questions you may have, such as advice on pet care, illness, training, breeding, etc.

Each session will start at 2pm and last up to 30 minutes, so there will be plenty of time to discuss any questions you may have.
If you can’t make it for the live session, feel free to email your questions to, and we can answer them for you. Each session will be recorded and put on our YouTube Channel and available on the website.

Head to our Google Plus site to register or join the conversation.

What To Watch For When Watching A Dog Around Children

What To Watch For When Watching A Dog Around Children.

Despite a lot of advice being given to parents and dog owners about always watching their dog when around children, we still see dogs being put down because they have bitten a child. Then a few days ago I realised we weren’t teaching parents what to watch for when watching their dog. Parents and dog owners were missing the signs that the dog was worried and may be about to bite because they didn’t know what to look out for.

So what should you look out for?

  • Look for stress signals. These include yawning, licking lips and showing the whites of their eyes. This is the dog saying “I’m not completely comfortable he, I’ll show my stress in a subtle, non-aggressive way”
  • Change in body language. If the dog becomes tense or appears “stiff”, or stops panting when a child is near, this is a sign of stress. This is a good early warning sign that the dog is not comfortable with the situation.
  • Watch for avoidance behavior. If the dog is walking away from a child it means it doesn’t want to “play”. This is very important to watch for as this is how many children get bitten. Often a dog will back away and the child keeps following. Eventually the dog will get to a place like its kennel where it can’t back away any more. If the child keeps following, the dog may feel like it has no choice to bite the child to get it away from them
  • Make sure the child is behaving well. If the child is pulling ears, jumping on the dog or hurting it, it’s not surprising if the dog bites. Teach your kid to be gentle with dogs and how to safely approach a dog
  • Growling is a warning. If the dog is growling it is trying very hard to get the message across that it is REALLY unhappy with the situation. It means “stop doing what you’re doing or I will bite you”. Take a growl very seriously.

Properly training and socialising your dog when young can help prevent dog bites. The Bunbury Vet Clinic runs Puppy Preschool for young puppies, where your puppy can be socialised in a safe, clean environment and you can learn a lot about becoming a great dog owner.

Plant Toxins Every Owner Should Know About

Plant Toxins Every Pet Owner Should Know About

We have recently seen a couple of animals poisoned by relatively common plants, so thought it would be a good time to teach pet owners about some common plant toxins.

Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, and my recommendation is that if you have a cat you shouldn’t have lilies in the house or the garden.

A cat was brought in to us a week ago when the owner found it eating leaves from a lily.

The exact poison in lilies isn’t clear, but we know it causes severe, acute kidney failure. Tiny amounts can be poisonous, with some cases of toxicity even occurring when a cat brushes past a lily then ingests the pollen when grooming itself.

We also had to treat a dog that had eaten Zamia palm nuts over the Easter long weekend. Zamia nuts are very dangerous to dogs, with very few dogs surviving Zamia nut poisoning. Sago palm is also in the same family, so the nuts of these plants are also very toxic.

Zamia palm nuts contain several different toxins. The first sign of Zamia toxicity is severe vomiting and gut pain. This can last several days and is very difficult to control. Around 1-3 days after eating the nuts most dogs experience massive liver damage, which is often fatal. Dogs that survive this can then experience other complications such as heart or kidney failure. On average around 2/3 of dogs that eat these nuts will not survive.

For both of these toxins, early treatment is essential. Fortunately both the cases we saw here have survived with some very intensive treatment. If you see an animal eating either of these plants, please don’t wait to see what happens as by the time they show signs it is often too late to help them.

Dental Disease Myths

Every day we see animals with significant dental disease. It is actually the most common health issue in cats and dogs. The Australian Veterinary Association, in conjunction with vets, is trying to clear up some of the common myths about dental disease in pets.

According to the AVA, the most common myths about dental disease are:

1. Myth – bad breath and tooth loss are inevitable in pets at any age

The truth – bad breath means infection. Dogs and cats lose teeth as a result of disease.

2. Myth – Dogs and cats don’t feel dental pain the way people do

The truth – If something is uncomfortable, unpleasant, or painful for us, it’s also painful for pets. Dogs and cats teeth have similar nerve supply to humans. Unfortunately unlike us, cats and dogs are very good at hiding signs of oral pain. It’s important to try and notice the more subtle signs to prevent prolonged infection and discomfort. This includes a reluctance to have the mouth handled, chewing on one side or swallowing food without chewing.

3. Myth – If my pet had oral disease surely I’d know!

The truth – Most owners don’t look in their pet’s mouth and even if they did they may not recognise the signs of disease.

4. Myth – Pet dentistry is really an elective or cosmetic procedure

The truth – Dental procedures are performed to treat existing problems and relieve pain and infection. Pets also hide pain so when dental treatment is recommended owners don’t understand that it’s for health and welfare reasons.

5. Myth – Scaling and polishing can be performed without general anaesthesia

The truth – Anaesthesia is an absolute requirement for dental procedures, including scaling and polishing. It’s not possible to examine all surfaces without general anaesthesia and if there’s any pathology or pain, it’s not humane for the patient without anaesthesia. Also, radiographs can’t be taken on a conscious animal. Finally, scaling and polishing without a protected airway carries risk of inhalation of water, bacteria and debris.

6. Myth – If we extract teeth, dogs and cats won’t be able to eat properly

The truth – Pets do fine without all their teeth and dental extraction is often the fastest way to resolve oral disease. In fact many pets eat much better after the source of infection and pain has been removed.

We recommend your pet having a full health check at least once every 12 months, but if you are concerned your pet may have dental disease, please phone us today for an appointment.