Spring 2009 Newsletter

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					                                                           Vermont Value Vet ~ Spring Newsletter

              Spring 2009 Newsletter

                                    IN THIS ISSUE:
                    SPRING SPECIALS                                      Page 1
                    STAFF NEWS                                           Page 1-2
                    CASE OF THE MONTH                                    Page 2
                    A WORD FROM OUR GROOMER                              Page 3
                    ATOPIC DERMATITIS IN SPRING                          Page 3
                    FLEAS                                                Page 4
                    THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE IN DOGS                   Page 5

We have extended August’s Dental Special into September due to popular demand – FREE
dental checks plus 15% off any dental procedures.

Buy any bag of Hills J/D diet for canine arthritis and receive a free Treat Ball.

$20 voucher for you to spend on your pet when you refer a friend to Vermont Value Vet.

Doggy Day Spa is OPEN… we have all-year round DIY Hydro passes for $90, with shampoo,
conditioner, towels and hand-held dryer all included, or you can purchase 5 Drop-Off treatments
and get the 6th FREE.

Check out the new improved website at www.vvvet.com.au - we are still in the process of adding
useful information to it so it will continue to evolve over the next few months, plus newsletters will
be uploaded onto it every quarter. Any feedback is most welcome to vets@vvvet.com.au or

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                                                          Vermont Value Vet ~ Spring Newsletter

Heatherdale First Cub Scout Group
Hugh and Karly recently attended the Heatherdale First Cub Scout Group to present a talk to the
young Cubs. Topics covered included general health care of domestic pets, how to safely
approach dogs and what to do if a dog is aggressive to you, plus information on native wildlife in
the local area. We had a pop quiz with giveaway prizes, and all Cubs received a showbag with
lots of goodies at the end of the night. Hugh took his dog Lilly and Karly took Lara, so we were
able to show the Cubs how to check for microchips, how to listen to their hearts, and how to make
sure their skin and coat is healthy. We very much enjoyed the night and were glad to be
bombarded with endless questions from the inquisitive 8-10 year olds.

Kym recently returned from a long overdue break with husband Phil – they ventured off to
Thailand for 10 days and rode some elephants, cuddled baby tigers and enjoyed some sunshine
and are now back and refreshed, ready to take on the rest of ’09!
Mel recently had a well-deserved break up on Hamilton Island with a big group of her family and
friends. They had a very relaxing time in the sun, swimming and doing a variety of activities. Mel
is disappointed the footy season is coming to an end. Go Cats!
Hugh won the Vermont Value Vet Footy Tipping Competition, despite cunning tactics and
strategy by the rest of the staff to beat him! Better luck next year, Gang!
Karly has just spent a lovely few weeks in Bali with her Mum. They had a very relaxing      time
and Karly bought some lovely jewellery from a designer who is from Melbourne!
Elise is up to her eyeballs in study for her veterinary science degree. She is currently studying
pharmacology and anaesthesia. She will be very glad when the end of year arrives.
Jakob recently spent two weeks in Port Douglas with his family as well as his father-in- law who is
visiting from South Africa. They all enjoyed a lovely break, and spent daytrips visiting the reef
and the rainforest.
Rowena’s family was delighted to have the company of Shongi and Golly (Jakob’s dogs) whilst
Jakob was away – especially 11 month old Quenton, who was glad to have a partner in crime.
No shopping bag went uninvestigated, no bowl was left unturned whilst the pair were on the

Nala Lowther, a two year old Domestic Short Hair cat presented to the clinic after being seen
after-hours at the Animal Emergency Centre. She had been hit by a car and had sustained a
fractured mandible, as well as a degloving injury to her lower lip. After more than two hours
surgery her jaw was reconstructed again. Normally we would wire the mandible back together
but due to the extensive injuries we needed to place two pins to hold the jaw together, then
reconnect the whole lower lip. Se had to be fed liquidized food for a week or so post-op. Her jaw
is healing very well, and so long as there is no reaction, the pins will stay in place. We wish her a
speedy recovery.

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                                                          Vermont Value Vet ~ Spring Newsletter

Spring is the beginning of a very busy season for grooming. As the warmer weather approaches,
many people want to rid their dogs of their long winter coats. These last few months leading up
to Christmas are especially hectic and I am booked out several weeks in advance. Regular
clients have learnt to book two grooms ahead to be ensured a summer clip for their dogs. So it’s
best to get in early and avoid missing out come November/December/January.

Spring is now upon us and that means allergy season for up to 40% of dogs in Melbourne. Atopic
dermatitis is a common allergy in dogs. It is similar to hay fever in humans, however in dogs this
manifests with skin disease rather than respiratory signs. Dogs can have allergies to a number of
things, including grasses, trees, weeds, dust mites and pollen. Symptoms can vary from mild
licking of feet, to generalized itching over the whole body. Ear infections are a common sign of
atopic dermatitis. Secondary infection with bacteria and yeast is common, and this compounds
the itchiness.

Various treatment options and control measures are available, however it must be pointed out
that the dog will have the allergy for their whole lives, and therefore need lifelong management.

The Rolls Royce treatment option is referral to Melbourne’s Skin and Allergy Clinic for intra-
dermal skin testing. This allows for a specific diagnosis of atopy, and identifies the allergens that
the dog is allergic to. A desensitizing allergy vaccine can then be made up, which can then be
administered to the dog. Over time this can have the effect of desensitizing the dog to the
particular allergens. A warning is that not all allergens can have vaccines made up against them,
and there is no guarantee the allergy vaccine will be effective. The process and procedure is
expensive, however good results can be obtained in various cases.

Most of our clients at Vermont Value Vet will elect for on-going management at our clinic. The
treatment options we are able to provide include combating the secondary infections with
antibacterial and anti-yeast products, and using topical products such as shampoos and steroid
sprays to reduce itching. We have had good success with lots of cases by using antihistamines
as well as omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in the food on an ongoing basis. Many cases will need short
prednisolone (steroid) courses to get the pruritis or itchiness under control, however we do not
like to rely on them long term due to the associated side effects. Instead we prefer to rely on
topical treatments to the skin plus antihistamines and fatty acids.

There is another product called Atopica, which is a cyclosporine drug that is very effective in
resolving clinical symptoms. Although effective, it can also be cost prohibitive.

If you have a dog that suffers from allergies during the spring and summer season, it is best to
get them on medications before the allergy season starts. This will prevent the onset of the
secondary invaders of the bacteria and yeast once the skin becomes inflamed. Please contact
the surgery if you would like more advice on how to control your allergic dog.

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                                                           Vermont Value Vet ~ Spring Newsletter


  Spring is here, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the fleas are coming! ARRHH!!

What are fleas?
Fleas are wingless hard bodied, blood sucking ectoparasites. They belong to the insect family
known as siphonaptera, which means “wingless siphon’. Fleas rely on blood for their nutrition, but
can survive for several months without it. There are four stages to a flea’s life.
1)        Egg – Barely visible to the human eye, the female lay’s one egg per hour, they then
hatch within 1-10 days, depending on the climate. Environment conditions such as warmer
weather, determine how quickly and how many flea larvae will hatch. Flea eggs fall off when your
pet jumps, scratches, moves and sleeps. Eggs can be found all over the home, but mainly in pet’s
2)        Larvae – These are maggot like and dislike light. They reside in carpet fibers, under
furniture, rugs and in crevices. At this stage they have no legs or eyes, but have chewing mouth
parts. Larvae feed on adult flea excrement, food debris and dead skin.
3)        Pupae – This is the transition stage between larvae and adult flea. After 7-8 days the
larvae pupate, then 7-10 days for the larvae to develop into an adult flea. They are at their most
resilient as pupae, and resistant to insecticides. The pupae are found in carpet fibers; crevices etc
and are virtually undetectable.
4)        Adult flea – The adult flea emerges with the WARMER weather. The flea can come out
of its cocoon within seconds of stimulation. The lifespan is around 2-3months. The adult flea is
around 1.5-4mm long, dark brown or black in appearance. Adult fleas begin laying eggs within
36-48hours of their first blood meal. THE CYCLE BEGINS….
The best preventative we recommend is Frontline Plus, the treatment and prevention of flea
infestation. Frontline Plus has a rapid onset of action and kills re-infestations and adult fleas for at
least one month. Frontline Plus also prevents the development of flea eggs, larvae and pupae.
Once applied to the back of the neck of your pet, the product will spread over the coat within
24hours. Once spread, Frontline Plus is water fast. Frontline Plus is a great once a month flea
preventative for your pet.

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                                                          Vermont Value Vet ~ Spring Newsletter

Lack of exercise in dogs is a major cause of boredom and destructive behaviour. Many dogs
were originally bred for a working purpose. These breeds include for example…Labradors,
Kelpies, Border Collies, Pointers, Spaniels and Terriers. They were bred to run and work
everyday, all day. The average cattle dog can run up to 50 km a day herding stock on a farm to
and forth. So it is little wonder these types of dogs go “stir-crazy” in suburbia. Lack of exercise =
destructive behaviour, incessant barking, hyper-activity and disobedience in many energetic
Sometimes it can be hard to exercise dogs in colder months…wind and rain can make it difficult.
Also, many of us work long hours and haven’t always got the time to walk our dogs for long
enough, especially the big ones. There are many ways around this. Ball-throwers (a great plastic
arm designed for throwing tennis balls) will toss a ball the length of an oval, giving your dog a
great chance to stretch his legs and run. Agility classes are also a great way of stimulating your
dog mentally as well as a great source of exercise. Sometimes just having one family member
walk the dog in the morning and another family member walk him at night or during the day can
make a great difference to an energetic dog. Many dogs are much calmer and obedient when
they have a consistent daily exercise routine. It is important to consider what daily exercise your
dog requires as smaller dogs will have very different needs to bigger dogs. Once they have
thoroughly exerted energy, you’ll find that most dogs are calmer, more obedient and
responsive…but most of all they are happier!!


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