Monday 7 December 2015

Tips for the holiday season

With decorations lining the streets and carols filling the supermarkets, I think that it is safe to say that the festive season is well and truly upon us! With all the chaos that comes with the silly season it can be difficult to remember the extra risks to our pets that come with this time of year. This is a little reminder of things that you can do to help ensure that your fur and feather children have a happy and safe holiday period.


It is important to mindful of how the warm weather affects out pets. Older animals, overweight animals, animals with heart disease, brachycephalic animals (“squishy face animals”- thinks Pugs, Boxers, Bulldogs and Persian cats), and pocket pets (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs and birds) are most susceptible to hot weather. It is a good idea to avoid exercise in the heat of the day, provide ample shade and multiple, plentiful water sources. And remember that dogs die in hot cars- NEVER leave your pets unattended in the car, not even for a minute! For more information on heat stroke and how to beat the heat please refer to our blog “Are you ready for warmer weather?”


Unfortunately many animals become  lost at this time of year. With holidays and fireworks, many of our furred family can become frightened and escape. You can minimise the risk of escape by ensuring that your yard is well secured and by bringing your animals indoors during firework displays. Ensure that your pet is wearing a collar and ID tag and that their microchip details are up to date.


If you are lucky enough to be traveling over the holiday period, it is important to remember this pet travel check list:

-        Ensure that vaccinations are up to date (essential for animals who will be staying in boarding kennels and catteries).

-        Ensure that parasite prevention is up to date (particularly heart worm and paralysis tick prevention if travelling north with your pet)

-        Ensure that you have an adequate supply of medications or prescription foods

-        Ensure that you have water and food supplies for long car journeys with your animal

-        Ensure that contact details (microchip and ID tag) are up to date

If you are traveling without your pet please make sure that there is a plan in place in the event that they should become unwell. Ensure that the person taking care of your pets knows about any pre-existing medical conditions and which vet to take your pet to in the event of an emergency.


As the festive season approaches, please remember that a pet for Christmas is a pet for life! Puppies and kittens will live for at least 10 years (well beyond this holiday period). If you cannot emotionally and financially commit to them for their entire life, do the animals a favour and get some socks instead!


Avoid a common Christmas emergency trip to the vet by ensuring that your pet doesn't help themselves to any Christmas or BBQ food. Unfortunately we often see a few very sick animals after they have gotten into rich food, the rubbish bin or even a full kebab stick. As much as we love seeing you we would rather keep your pets safe and happy.

The team at Bendigo Animal Hospital wish you and your animals a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Dr Jess

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Senior Wellness Program

On average, most cats and dogs are approaching the senior stages of life around seven years of age, depending on their breed and previous health conditions. While at this age they may not outwardly appear old, certain changes are progressively taking place. These changes can affect the metabolism, special senses, behaviour and various organs. Some of the most common diseases that vets see in senior animals include:

-           Osteoarthritis
-           Dental/periodontal disease
-           Kidney disease
-           Heart disease
-           Cancer
-           Thyroid disease
-           Eye disease
-           Neurological disease
-           Diabetes
-           Skin disease
-           Urinary tract disease
It is around the age of seven years that we recommend that pets undergo regular health checks and screening for age-related illnesses. Ensuring that your senior animal receives this veterinary attention will assist in the early detection of age-related illness. This in turn allows optimal veterinary care to be initiated, which may increase longevity and enhance the quality of life of your pet.
We are now offering a Senior Wellness Program to help ensure that your aging furchild receives the special veterinary care that they require. Our Senior Wellness Program allows us to evaluate your animal individually and provide you and your pet with the ongoing support and treatment that is required in their senior years.
Our Senior Wellness program includes:
-           Twice yearly wellness exam and assessment of weight, diet, behaviour and parasite control
-           Annual vaccination
o          F4 for cats- feline parvo and upper respiratory tract disease (cat flu- herpes, calcivirus and chlamydiophila)
o          C5 for dogs- canine parvo, contagious hepatitis, distemper
 and canine cough
-           Annual urinalysis
-           Annual blood screen (complete blood cell count, biochemistry profile, T4 and cholesterol)
-           FIV snap test for cats (first year only)
-           Heartworm snap test for dogs (first year only)
Members of the Senior Wellness Program will also benefit from a number of in-clinic discounts, including:
-           10% discount on merchandise and parasite preventatives (excludes food and nutrition)
-           Membership into our loyalty program for all foods and nutrition
-           10% discount on screening x-rays or ultrasounds
-           10% discount on recommended surgical procedures
-           20% discount on dental scale and polish (excludes extractions)
-           20% discount on long term heart medications
-           Complimentary nail trims

For more information about our Senior Wellness Program and how it can help your furchild live a long and healthy life please do not hesitate to contact the clinic.
We look forward to helping you and your animal enjoy their twilight years.

Dr Jess


Tuesday 13 October 2015

Are you ready for warmer weather?

There is no doubt that we are heading for a HOT summer! With the surprisingly warm October weather and recent bushfires, our concerns for heat related illness have been sparked early this year.
Heat stress in animals occurs when they are unable to maintain their normal body temperature on a hot day. The signs of heat stress include: excessive panting, salivating, whining and agitation. In severe cases of heat stress, animals may stop panting and start to vomit. Heat stress is an emergency and you should contact your vet immediately if you suspect that your animal may be suffering from this illness. While all of our pets are susceptible to heat stress, smaller animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and birds are at a higher risk and extra special care should be taken to help keep them cool on hot days. Brachycephalic ("squishy face") dogs and cats (e.g. Bulldogs, Pugs, Persian cats) are also at a higher risk.
It is your responsibility to help keep your animals comfortable and as cool as possible on a hot day. Here are my top tips to help keep your pets cool during the warmer weather:
-        Have fresh cold water available at all times
-        Place ice blocks in your animal’s water dish
-        Do not walk/exercise your dog during the hottest part of the day. It is safest to go for a walk early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid peak temperatures.
-        Pets should ideally be kept indoors in a cool room, but if they must remain outside ensure that they have adequate shade
-        Wipe your pets down with a cool, damp towel or leave wet towels out for them to lie on
-        Bathe (dogs) or mist (cats, rabbits, birds) your pet with cool water several times throughout the day. If water stresses your animal it may be best to avoid bathing or misting as it could cause more harm then good.
-        Offer your pet frozen treats (e.g. frozen vegetables, ice cubes)
-        Provide your animal with ice packs that they could rest near
-        Provide your dog with a wading pool (kept under shade of course!)
-        Consider having your pet clipped if they have a long and/or thick coat
-        NEVER leave your pets in a vehicle on a hot day- remember, dogs die in hot cars!
On hot days, you should be very careful not to walk your dog on hot footpaths as they may burn their paws. My rule is that if the footpath is too hot for me to walk on in bare feet then it is also too hot for my dog’s feet!
While we hope that we won’t be affected by bushfires, it is important that we are prepared for the worst case scenario. You have a responsibility to ensure that your animals are considered in your fire plan. It is a good idea to have a bushfire relocation kit prepared for your animals. This kit should include:
-          Food and water
-          A bowl for each pet
-          A second collar and lead
-          A carrier for cats and other smaller pets
-          Bedding and a woollen blanket for protection
-          A favourite toy
-          Any medications that your animal may be taking
-          Your vet’s contact details
-          A pet first aid kit
In the lead up to the bushfire season it is also important that you ensure that your animals are microchipped and wearing a collar identification tag at all times. You should also make certain that the contact details on your pet’s microchip are up to date. For more information about how to prepare for bushfires you can visit the CFA website:
(and thank you to all of the wonderful members of the CFA!)
Dr Joanna treating a dog that was burnt during bushfires
And finally, help wildlife survive the hot weather by keeping  a bowl of clean water in your front yard (away from your pets) for them.
Enjoy the warm weather!
Dr Jess

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Be Kind To Animals Weeks

The 1st of October marks the start of Be Kind To Animals Week! Now we all know that we should be kind to animals 365 days a year but what this week does is give us the opportunity to take time out of our busy lives and show the world we care. It’s the perfect opportunity to do something special at your work place, in your community or within your family.  This may be something like volunteering at your local animal shelter, highlighting an animal welfare issue that is important to you or helping out a neighbour in need (remember we humans are also a part of the animal kingdom!).  So no matter where you are and no matter what you do, there’s no excuse to not make a positive difference in the life of an animal.
We would love to here about how people are celebrating this special week, so feel free to share any celebrations on our Facebook page. For more ideas about things to do and for information about the events happening during this special week please visit the Be Kind To Animals Week website (
Be Kind To Animals Week is a initiative of our good friends at Edgar’s Mission, a sanctuary for rescued farmed animals  (

Dr Jess


Thursday 10 September 2015

Snake bite

With promises of warmer weather on the horizon, snake bite season is rapidly approaching. Snake bites are a very common occurrence during the warmer months, with the B.A.H. team treating multiple snake bite patients every week.

In the vast majority of snake bite cases, evidence of a bite wound is absent. As such, it is critical that you know the symptoms of a snake bite so that treatment can be initiated as soon as possible in the event that your pet is bitten. Symptoms of a snake bite can be dependent on the type of snake and amount of venom that has been delivered in the bite. Often dogs will display symptoms soon after the bite has occurred, while in cats it may take up to half a day before evidence of the bite is apparent.

Commonly dogs will experience the ‘pre-paralytic’ signs of snake bite, which include:

-          Transient collapse

-          Vomiting

-          Salivation

-          Lethargy

The pre-paralytic signs may be followed by a seemingly spontaneous recovery. However, the presence of pre-paralytic signs almost invariably means the animal has received a lethal dose of venom.

Other signs of snake bite in dogs include:

-          Generalised weakness

-          Hindlimb weakness (paresis) progressing to flaccid paralysis

-          Incoordination (ataxia)

-          Dilated pupils (mydriasis)

-          Severe trembling or excitement

-          Salivation

-          Vomiting

-          Blue gums (cyanosis)

-          Defaecation

-          Death

In contrast, the first signs noticed in cats are usually weakness and incoordination (ataxia). The signs of snake bite observed in cats include:

-          Hindlimb weakness progressing to flaccid paralysis

-          Generalised weakness

-          Incoordination (ataxia)

-          Dilated pupils (mydriasis)

-          Failure of pupils to constrict in light (absent pupillary light reflex)

-          Depression sometimes progressing to coma

-          Disorientation

-          Vomiting

-          Blood in urine (haematuria)

-          Death

If you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a snake it is essential that you get them to the nearest vet clinic immediately as snake bite patients can rapidly deteriorate. The treatment varies with each individual case and is dependent on the severity and progression of the symptoms. Treatment for snake envenomation usually consists of a hospital stay with intravenous fluids and the administration of antivenom. Some patients will require multiple vials of antivenom. Other supportive care may also be required including medications, assisted feeding, and oxygen supplementation (some cases may even require ventilation if the patient cannot breath on their own).

Please share this information with every pet parent that you know to help us ensure the best possible outcomes for animals that may become victims of a snake bite over the following months.

Dr Jess

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Welcome to the newest members of the B.A.H. family

We would like to welcome trainee nurse Tiffany and Dr Zoe to the B.A.H. family!
Tiffany is currently completing her Cert 4 in Veterinary Nursing and has a particular interest in surgery.  When Tiffany is not at work, she likes spending time with her husband and her  two beautiful dogs Daisy the Boxer X and Clover the Pointer X. She also enjoys running and is a keen supporter of the Richmond Tigers.
Dr Zoe joins the team after graduating from Charles Sturt University in 2015. Originally from Sydney, Dr Zoe has recently made the move to Bendigo with her two geriatric horses and her two dogs, a Kelpie and a Kelpie X Border Collie. She has a special interest in animal behaviour and small animal medicine.  In her spare time, she likes nothing more then horse riding and dog obedience.
Be sure to say hello to Tiffany and Zoe when you are next in the clinic. They are looking forward to meeting you and your fur children!

Dr Jess

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Dental Health Awareness Month

Happy Dental Health Awareness Month!
Dental disease is the most common ailment seen in our cats and dogs. At least 80% of cats and dogs are suffering from dental disease by the time they are only three years old! Poor dental hygiene is not simply a matter of bad breath, it is a very serious condition that if left untreated leads to pain, infection, eroded gums, tooth and bone loss, septicaemia (infection in the blood stream), heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and nutritional deficiency.

Some of the symptoms of dental disease include:

-          Bad breath (halitosis)

-          Brown tartar on teeth

-          Bleeding or red gums (gingivitis)

-          Loose or broken teeth

-          Problems picking up food and chewing

-          Lumps in the mouth or under the eyes

-          Chewing on one side of the mouth

-          Not wanting head touched

-          Bloody saliva

-          Mouth ulcers

-          Sneezing or nasal discharge

 There are simple steps that you can implement at home to help keep your fur child’s teeth at their healthiest:

     -   Daily teeth brushing

     -   Feeding dental health diets (e.g. Hills t/d, Hills Oral Care, Royal Canin Dental)

     -   Avoid feeding tinned/wet pet food

     -   Use of dental water additives (e.g. Healthy Mouth)

     -   Dental chews (e.g. Greenies)

To help get your pet’s pearly whites back on track this August, Bendigo Animal Hospital is offering FREE dental checks and discounts on dental procedures and dental diets. Please do not hesitate to call the B.A.H. team to find out more about what you can do to ensure the oral health of your pet and to book a free dental check with one of our qualified veterinary nurses.

And while you are visiting Bendigo Animal Hospital for your free dental check, why not get your pet’s nails trimmed at the same time? The B.A.H team will clip your pet’s nails for a $5.00 donation into their charity tin. This winter all proceeds from the charity tin will be donated to Bendigo Foodshare.
Dr Jess

Thursday 28 May 2015

A note on animal welfare

Like many people across the nation, and indeed the world, we were disgusted to recently learn of yet another case of animal cruelty in the live export trade. We were saddened to hear the reports of extreme cruelty inflicted upon live cattle in Vietnam. And what makes this even more upsetting is that this is certainly not a new problem. For years, animal welfare organisations have been campaigning against cruel practices in the live export industry.  Leading the way in these campaigns has been one of our country’s largest animal protection agencies, Animals Australia.
Over the years, animal welfare organisations have done some incredible work exposing instances of animal cruelty throughout a number of animal industries, including (but not limited to) puppy mills, factory farms and live export. Another recent example of the great work of these groups is the exposé of live baiting in the Australian greyhound racing industry, which was lead by Animal Liberation Queensland and aided by Animals Australia and the RSPCA.

It is incredibly disappointing that the government and industry bodies are not able to ensure the humane treatment of animals within animal industries. When we allow self-regulation by people with vested interests in these industries, it comes as no surprise that animal welfare will suffer at the expense of financial profit.

Given that the government and industry bodies have failed to protect our animals, we cannot thank animal welfare groups enough for fighting for the humane treatment of these  beings. We hope that the attempts of parliament to pass “ag-gag” laws, which would prevent animal protection agencies from exposing acts of commercialised animal cruelty, never succeed.

To find out more about what you can do to help improve animal welfare visit

Dr Jess

Thursday 21 May 2015

Arthritis in your animals

At Bendigo Animal Hospital we often have people tell us that their animal is “a bit stiff”, “slowing down a little” or “spending more time sleeping these days”. Often people think that these signs are simply just a part of getting older, but did you know that they are common symptoms of one of the most prevalent diseases in older cats and dogs…arthritis! Osteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease) is the progressive and permanent deterioration of the cartilage in joints.  While we generally think of arthritis as a disease of older animals it can also affect young animals.


Arthritis is insidious in its nature and can creep up without making itself overly apparent. Our pets are often stoic and uncomplaining, making it all too easy for us to attribute changes in their behaviour to getting old when in fact they are actually suffering from a very painful, but also treatable disease. When we start animals on arthritis treatments, people are often surprised at how big a difference it makes to the animal’s quality of life.


Signs of arthritis can be subtle or overt, but common signs to look for include:

ð       Difficulty rising

ð       Stiff gait

ð       Getting up later

ð       Unwilling or hesitant to jump

ð       No longer jumping up on furniture or difficulty jumping

ð       Decreased grooming (in cats)

ð       Muscle wastage

ð       Less interest in play

ð       Limping

ð       Reluctance to move


The team at Bendigo Animal Hospital are here to help! We don’t think that your much loved fur child should suffer from arthritic pain when there are things that we can do to help alleviate their discomfort. The approach to arthritic management varies from case to case, but can include some or all of the following:


1.      Maintain a lean body condition
Maintaining a lean body weight is the single most effective treatment and is also the least expensive one and has no negative side-effects, but many positive one! Overweight and obese animals are more likely to suffer from more severe cases of arthritis compared to animals that are of a healthy weight.


2.      Protect from cold
Protecting your animal from the cold (particularly where they sleep) greatly reduces the signs of arthritis.


3.      Provide a soft place to sleep
Ensure that your animal has a soft, warm place to sleep. This will reduce the pressure on their aching joints and help to reduce the commonly seen “stiff joints in the morning”.


4.      Gentle exercise
It is also beneficial for arthritic pets to maintain a gentle routine exercise regime.


5.      Nutritional management
Prescription diets such as Hills j/d and Royal Canin Mobility are designed to help slow the progression and alleviate the signs of arthritis. Some of the added benefits of these diets included omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), glucosamine, chondrontin and anti-oxidants, which are included to help reduce inflammation, repair damaged cartilage and slow down the progression of cartilage degeneration.


6.      Arthritis supplements
At BAH we recommend 4cyte as the leading joint supplement. This product promotes cartilage health as well as having a potent anti-inflammatory effect in the joint.


7.      Arthritis injections (Synovan)
Your veterinarian may also suggest a course of injections for arthritis treatment.  We use a product called Synovan. Synovan is very safe in our older pets and works by promoting blood flow to the joints, improving the quality of the joint fluid and by providing nutrients necessary for cartilage health.  The initial course is comprised of four injections given weekly.  After this a single booster injection is given as needed depending on the individual pet, but must be no greater than six months from the previous injection.


8.      Medical pain management
If necessary, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may be prescribed.  NSAIDs are the most effective products at reducing joint inflammation and the progressive joint changes that occur with arthritis. Your vet may recommend intermittent or daily use depending on your pet’s condition.  These medications are generally very safe but can have serious side effects if their use is not appropriately monitored.  Ideally pets receiving regular NSAIDs should have a blood test every six months.  If your pet is on anti-inflammatories and develops vomiting, diarrhoea, dark or black faeces you should stop giving the medication and contact your veterinarian.
In more advanced cases of arthritis your veterinarian may add in a range of further pain management drugs such as tramadol and gabapentin which would be tailored to the individual pet's condition.


As with many illnesses, the key to successful management is early detection and intervention. Very advanced cases of arthritis can be difficult to management, so we recommend that you initiate treatment early on in the disease course.

If your pet is showing signs of arthritis this reflects painful inflammatory change in the joint. Treating arthritis will improve your pet’s quality of life and slow the progression of the disease. To discuss any concerns, please make an appointment with one of the BAH veterinarians. We are currently offering in-clinic discounts on a number of arthritis treatments and a discount of 20% on arthritis consults upon presentation of our arthritis coupon which is available in the Bendigo Weekly.


We would love to help you keep your fur family happy & healthy for years to come.


Dr Jess