Mira Mar Veterinary Hospital  
58 Cockburn Rd
Albany, WA, 6330
  November newsletter  

Welcome to our November email newsletter

In this newsletter we have some great advice on some of the more common emergency situations we see with your pets, and some congratulations for both puppy preschool and veterinary nurse graduates!

The weather is warming up and we are definitely seeing a whole lot more grass seeds!  Please make sure you check your pets coat, feet and ears regularly if they have access to dry grass.  Grass seeds have a tendency to burrow inwards, making them tricky to remove once they have penetrated the skin (or ear, or nose), so spotting them before they penetrate is MUCH easier and better for all concerned! If you need any advice on this, please contact our friendly team on 9841 5422.

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  Vet Nurse Day 2023  

In October we celebrated VET NURSE DAY!

(FYI it's the second Friday in October every year)

Without our amazing team of vet nurses, receptionists, kennel hands and admin staff, there is no way we could provide the patient care and customer service that we strive for. They truly are the heart and soul of our clinic, and we thank them for everything they do!

We hope they enjoyed their flowers and cute cupcakes!


It was smiles all round at Mira Mar Vets recently, with one of our Trainee Veterinary Nurses, Louise, absolutely smashing out her traineeship and passing her final assessment with assessor Penny to become a qualified vet nurse! ��
We are so very proud of Louise, who not only has managed to complete her traineeship in record time, but has done it whilst also juggling working at the clinic and being a busy mum to both her human and four-legged family!
Congratulations Louise ��

  October Puppy Preschool Graduates  

Our most recent Puppy Preschool class graduated in October with flying colours!

Well done to Biscuit, Bonnie, Louie, Max, Milly, Sebastiano and Spud on being such good dogs and for being so darn cute!

If you have a puppy that is between 6 and 16 weeks of age, and you think they might like to join our next class, please give our friendly team a call on 98415422.

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  A mini emergency  

Due to their immature immune systems, young pups are unfortunately more susceptible to infectious illnesses than adult dogs. However, if your pup is a toy breed, it can be even more prone to serious unwellness complications.

Toy-breed puppies are prone to these complications because:

  • They lose body heat more quickly, so can be prone to hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature)
  • They have less capability to store glucose in their bodies, so if they aren’t eating, they can rapidly develop hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • They become dehydrated more rapidly

What are common causes of unwellness in puppies?
Puppies commonly suffer from gastrointestinal unwellness due to dietary changes or infections (such as intestinal worms, giardia, or coccidia). However, due to their small body size and naturally lower red blood cell levels than an adult dog, toy breed puppies can also risk dangerous anaemia secondary to heavy flea infestations.

When should you take your puppy to the vet?
We recommend that our veterinary team promptly assess puppies that have missed more than one meal, have had several vomits, have had diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, or seem a bit quieter than usual.

However, we advise urgent treatment if your puppy:

  • Is having profuse or bloody diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Is lethargic or withdrawn
  • Has pale gums

What should I do if my puppy has diarrhoea but seems otherwise OK?
If your puppy is not passing blood, still seems playful, and is eating and drinking, we would advise feeding them small meals three to four times daily of a bland diet (such as plain-cooked skinless chicken breast with boiled rice) and monitoring them closely.

Remember, we recommend a vet check if your pup shows no improvement in 24 hours.

  Busting for a wee  

One of the most common emergency issues seen in general veterinary practice is urinary disease in cats. In such cases, the critical point for our team to ascertain is whether the cat is simply having urinary-related discomfort or whether they are unable to pass urine (i.e. urinary blockage). Read on to learn more about urinary disease in cats and the symptoms to monitor your feline friend for.

Causes of urinary tract disease

Urinary tract disease in cats commonly occurs due to a condition called feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), where cats develop bladder inflammation without infection. This condition is still not completely understood but is known to occur more often in cats susceptible to environmental stressors.

Cats may also develop urinary tract disease due to infection (more common in cats with an underlying problem such as kidney disease or diabetes), bladder stones, or bladder masses.

What symptoms does urinary tract disease cause?

Cats with bladder inflammation can show symptoms including:

  • An increased urge to urinate, which may cause them to strain out small volumes of urine frequently or pass urine in unusual places
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Pink or red-tinged urine
  • Increased licking at their genitals

When a cat develops urinary blockage, they become unable to pass urine and gradually develop a large, firm bladder, which is often painful to touch. They will become generally unwell and lethargic due to dehydration and the build-up of toxins within their body. Urinary blockage is most commonly seen in male cats (due to their narrower urethras).

What should I do if I notice symptoms of urinary disease in my cat?

Due to the discomfort and distress associated with urinary disease, cats showing symptoms should receive an assessment by a veterinarian.

However, urinary blockage is a true emergency and necessitates immediate veterinary treatment.

If you notice any symptoms of urinary disease in your cat, please phone us as soon as possible for further advice.

  Dogs on three legs  

When an active dog goes lame on a hindleg, five common issues could be the potential cause. Can you guess what they are? Answers below!

1. Cruciate disease
Cruciate disease involves damage to the cranial cruciate ligament (a key ligament) in the knee joint of the hindlimb.
Whilst some pets can completely snap their cruciate ligament in one go due to a significant trauma, many dogs will suffer from chronic cruciate disease, where their ligament gradually tears (usually over months). Chronic cruciate disease leads to periods of hindlimb lameness from which the pet appears to recover until the ligament eventually tears completely.

2. Patellar luxation
Patellar luxation is most common in smaller breed dogs and involves abnormal looseness of one or both kneecaps. In less severe cases, the kneecap may occasionally pop out of place, causing the pet to suddenly “skip” on the affected hind leg until the kneecap pops back into place.

3. Broken nail
It’s not uncommon for active pets to break one of their nails when racing around in pursuit of a toy, which can be very painful if the raw nail bed becomes exposed and may become infected.
Usually, broken nails will bleed, and the pet will lick at their paw frequently.

4. Hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a developmental condition involving abnormal looseness and improper formation of the hip joint.
Unfortunately, this makes affected pets more likely to develop arthritis in their hip joints at a relatively young age. Arthritis in the hip joint may cause flare-ups of hindlimb pain, particularly after vigorous exercise.

5. Soft tissue injury
Soft tissue injuries can be a risk for pets having outdoor adventures. Common injuries include bee stings, paw injuries (such as cuts from oyster shells or embedded glass pieces), or simple joint strains due to over-exuberant playing.

In cases of pet lameness, we advise a veterinary check-up if your pet looks pretty uncomfortable or generally unwell or if the lameness isn’t improving after 24-48 hours.

  Weak 'n' wobbly  

Is your older pet suddenly having difficulties walking? In addition to problems such as tick paralysis, which can affect pets of any age, senior pets can be at risk of specific age-related issues that can impair their ability to move normally.
Here are some potential causes of sudden changes in your older pet’s mobility.

Spinal pain
Whilst spinal pain can occur in any pet (particularly in long-backed breeds such as dachshunds), older pets are at an increased risk of specific spinal issues, including:

  • Progressive intervertebral disc disease (gradually bulging discs within the spine)
  • Spinal tumours
  • Arthritic changes within the bones of the spine

Pets with spinal issues may show non-specific symptoms such as a reluctance to move, intermittent yelping, trouble eating and drinking comfortably, or changes in behaviour. If the spinal cord becomes significantly compressed, these pets may also develop neurological problems, affecting their coordination, leg strength, or continence (ability to control urination or bowel movements).

Arthritis flare-up
As well as arthritis of the spine, older pets are also commonly affected by degenerative joint disease (a type of arthritis) in areas such as the hips, knees, and elbows.
As well as general stiffness (particularly after rest), slowing on walks, and sometimes a reluctance to jump up or climb stairs, affected pets may worsen suddenly after an awkward slip or fall and show significant pain and lameness.

Geriatric vestibular disease
Geriatric vestibular disease is when older pets suddenly develop vertigo-like symptoms, which usually cause them to have an uncontrollable head tilt and generalised loss of balance. They may also feel quite nauseous and be reluctant to eat and drink. The exact cause of this condition is unclear.

If your pet shows a sudden change in their mobility, it’s always best to consult our experienced team promptly. With the proper support, we can hopefully have your pet back on track quickly!

  A rise in high-rise syndrome  

With the rise of apartment living, high-rise falls have become an increasingly common veterinary emergency – so much so that the collection of injuries commonly sustained by affected pets is called “high-rise syndrome”.

What exactly is high-rise syndrome?

This term refers to injuries commonly occurring when a pet falls two storeys or more.

Cats and dogs who fall from significant heights may sustain multiple injuries, which usually involve:

  • The face, e.g. tooth fractures, jaw fractures, or damage to the palate
  • The chest, e.g. broken ribs or collapsed lungs
  • One or more limbs, e.g. fractures or dislocations

These pets may also experience cardiovascular shock (dangerously low blood pressure) due to blood loss.

Less commonly, pets who have fallen from a significant height can also sustain abdominal injuries, such as bleeding within the belly, damage to the liver, or bladder rupture.

How is high-rise syndrome diagnosed?

We highly recommend that animals undergo an immediate veterinary assessment if they fall (or are suspected of having fallen) two or more storeys - even if they “seem fine” initially! Unfortunately, issues such as lung damage may not be immediately evident but can worsen in the hours after the fall.

As well as a complete physical examination to check the pet’s jaw, teeth and oral cavity, assess their musculoskeletal system, palpate their belly, and listen to their chest, we may also advise them to undergo general blood tests and imaging.

Blood tests can help assess the pet for signs of liver or kidney damage, while using x-rays or ultrasound can help us determine if they may have lung bruising, a collapsed lung, or unusual fluid within their belly.

Once we have ascertained the full extent of the pet’s injuries, we can make treatment recommendations to help stabilise their condition and have them feeling on the up very soon!

  Animal News In Brief  


Blessings for local pets in Gosford, NSW. 

Image Credit: (ABC Central Coast: Caroline Perryman)

In a heartwarming tradition, people worldwide expressed gratitude to their cherished pets for the boundless love and joy they bring in time with the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the environment.

Anglican minister Christian Ford extended pet blessings to furry, feathered or scaly companions at a recent ceremony in Gosford Anglican Church. Christian Ford and his wife, Brenda, hope the event recognises the value pets bring to our lives and holds significance for those who’ve faced heart-wrenching separation from their animals during emergencies. Beyond celebration, these services offer a poignant moment to honour animals lost to natural causes like fires or floods.

Vegemite the schmoodle (a toy poodle x Maltese shi-tzu) and rescue dog Coby, accompanied by owners Kathy and Alisha Cloughessey, participated in the blessing. “We think of our dogs as part of the family, so it’s just lovely that the dogs can be a part of the service and get a blessing,” said Kathy Cloughessy. “I’m not religious at all, so I’m just here for the dogs and [to support] my wife,” said Alisha Cloughessy. Whether religious or not, attendees share in a collective acknowledgement of the profound impact of pets in our lives.

Click here to read the full article by ABC News.


Local chicken struts its stuff in Logan, QLD.

Naomi Barlowe, a resident of Boronia Heights in Logan, south-east Queensland, has turned heads in her neighbourhood by taking her pet chook, Mavis, for a daily stroll. Not for lack of a dog, because Naomi’s household boasts four other chooks, 11 guinea pigs, two dogs, two cats, and various birds. This unique routine began when Naomi received a chicken lead as a birthday gift.

Mavis wears her small harness, and Naomi wears a shirt proclaiming ‘Chickens make me happy; humans make my head hurt,’ though she embraces the positive reactions from her neighbours. Together, they confidently strut down the streets, capturing the attention of onlookers and sparking conversations during their brief walks. “She’s sassy, and she often goes in the opposite direction of me,” said Naomi.

“When Naomi asked for things with chickens on them for her birthday, I saw the chicken lead, bought it for her, and said, ‘Good luck!’ I knew it would bring good things!” said Naomi’s mother, Sue Barlowe, “It’s really great to see, and it’s definitely entertaining.”

Click here to read ABC News' full article, including video and radio interview with the Barlowe family.


Rescued puppy makes healthy recovery from rickets

During a drive in India, a compassionate group of rescuers spotted a forlorn puppy tethered to a sidewalk. As they approached, they noticed the pup struggled to walk as it eagerly greeted the rescuers. Determined to give the puppy a better life, one rescuer named Yogita adopted Abby into her family, later posting rescue videos to Instagram.

“He was left tied on the pole by a nearby shop owner who didn’t want to take care of him because of his bent legs,” she wrote. According to vets, Abby’s leg deformities were caused by rickets and malnutrition. “His recovery journey was a long one, but filled with so much love, and today he is living the best life he could ever have with his siblings,” Yogita said.

Abby’s story proves the transformative power of compassion and kindness in the lives of animals in difficult situations.

Click here to read The Dodo's full story, including footage of Abby's rescue.

  Humans vs Lions, who's scarier according to this wildlife study?  

In a groundbreaking study conducted at South Africa’s Kruger National Park, renowned as a haven for wildlife, researchers found that the pervasive fear of humans surpasses even that of the mighty lions, long regarded as the apex predators. The study involved observing 19 diverse species in their reactions to different sounds during the dry season, including buffaloes, zebras, elephants, hyenas, giraffes, kudus, and warthogs.

Strategically positioned cameras with speaker systems near water holes played recordings of human voices, lions roaring, hunting sounds, and bird noises. Surprisingly, nearly 95% of the observed species exhibited heightened responses, fleeing water holes at an accelerated pace upon hearing human noises, compared to the more subdued reactions to the roar of lions.

Elephants, in particular, showcased a stark contrast in their responses. While they reacted confrontationally to lion roars, aggressively approaching the broadcasting speakers, the fear of humans triggered a widespread evacuation.

The implications of these findings extend beyond wildlife behaviour, posing a significant challenge to conservation efforts reliant on tourism. The study, led by Western University biologist Lana Zanette, underscores the underestimated impact of human presence on savanna mammal communities and calls for a reevaluation of conservation strategies in the face of this newfound fear among wildlife.

Click here to read the full article by ABC News.


This email contains comments of a general nature only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice. It should not be relied on as the basis for whether you do or don't do anything. 

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