Why is my dog limping with his hind leg?

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition where the knee cap does not run in its groove but slips off to the side. Luxation is a learned word for “slipping”. It is a condition which is regularly encountered in dogs and more commonly in toy breeds. The condition can be developmental or traumatic in origin.

To understand the condition better, it helps to know what the anatomy of the knee looks like. The patella is commonly known as the knee cap and sits at the bottom of the big muscle group of the upper front part of the hind leg called the quadriceps. The patella makes up the front part of the knee and glides in the middle groove of the big bone of the upper part of the hind leg, the femur. This groove is known as the trochlear groove. The groove looks like a valley with two mountain ridges on either side. The ridges on either side of the groove are known as the trochlear ridges. The ridge on the inner part of the leg is known as the medial trochlear ridge and the one on the outer part is known as the lateral trochlear ridge. The knee cap or patella fits nicely in between these two ridges and glides up and down the groove as the knee bends. The patella is stabilised by the big muscle group to the top of it, the strong ligament to the bottom of it and the ligaments and connective tissue to the sides of it. The patella ligament which sits below the patella, implants onto the front of the top part of the bone underneath the femur, the tibia, also known as the shin bone.  



My young cat seems ill

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a serious and most often fatal disease affecting cats. It is most commonly seen in young cats between the ages of six months and two years. It has been found to affect male cats more commonly than females and purebred cats particularly the Asian breeds are more susceptible. It is characterised by fluid build-up in body cavities such as the chest and abdomen and neurological signs. It can affect all major organs and inevitably results in death. It may be referred to as Feline coronavirus polyserositis (wet or effusive form) or granulomatous feline infectious peritonitis (dry or non effusive form).



Can humans get worms from dogs and cats?

Zoonotic helminths – Worms which humans can get from pets

Have you ever wondered if humans can get worms from dogs and cats? You don’t have to wonder any longer, the answer is ‘yes’.  In this overview we look at which worms can be transmitted between pets and humans, what diseases they cause and how to prevent this potential health risk.

Firstly when a disease or parasite can be transmitted from animals to humans it is called a zoonosis. It is often a concern when a pet is diagnosed with intestinal worms whether the family is at risk of contracting the parasite. The concern is valid but the good news is that it is easily managed with education, proper precautions and a well organised deworming program for your pets.



My pet has red urine - what does it mean?

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones is a condition that occurs in dogs and cats of various ages, sex and breeds. Bladder stones are also called urinary calculi or uroliths. These are mineral like formations that form anywhere in the urinary tract, including kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The most frequent location is the bladder. 


Clinical signs of bladder stones to look out for

Dogs with bladder stones often present like dogs with a bladder infection. Both of these conditions will show frequent urination as well as discomfort, particularly when urinating. The animal will squat to urinate frequently, often only passing small amounts of urine while straining. The owner might also see a red discoloration in the urine and in some cases the urine can be a dark red colour. Because the stones rub against the bladder wall it causes irritation and inflammation of the bladder wall that leads to bleeding. Some dogs will show discomfort and pain when walking, with the hindquarters tucked in, while cats can become very vocal when in pain. In some cases the stones may still be very small and can leave the bladder and enter the urethra. The urethra is the tube that directs urine from the bladder to the outside. If the stone is not small enough to pass, it will become lodged in the urethra, blocking urine flow completely. The pressure will build up in the bladder and the kidneys, and if this is not corrected quickly, the bladder can rupture. This will cause severe illness and if quick intervention is not done it may lead to death. 



Do cats bite for no reason?

Aggression in cats

Cats are often seen as less aggressive animals than dogs but they have five sharp ends that can be used at a moments notice. Cats may also be seen as more instinctive than dogs, mimicking some of the behaviour seen in their wild counterparts. This is obviously on a much smaller level. Aggression can be directed towards people, cats, other species such as dogs, rabbits and birds or inanimate objects, which would include toys or furniture. The most common causes of aggression in cats can be described under the following categories:



Does your puppy have good manners?

House training your new puppy

It is important to plan ahead for house training. Always ensure everyone in the house is involved and that everyone knows what the plan is. It is important to have consistency when training puppies so as not to confuse them. Routine is essential for achieving the desired goal of having a puppy with “good manners”. Puppies, as with human babies, benefit greatly from a fixed routine, they feel safer and it helps the learning process. 



Do dogs bite for no reason?

Aggression in dogs

Aggression is one of the most common behavioural problems in dogs. Aggression is often easy to diagnose but difficult to manage, because it is often multifactorial. There are several different categories of aggression. Let's look at the different types of aggression in dogs.

Aggression in dogs

Aggression can be classified into several different categories. Fighting amongst dogs in the same household is probably the most common aggression problem, followed by aggression to unfamiliar people. It is not always possible to prevent aggression but it can usually be controlled with effective management. In some cases, re-homing an aggressive animal may be a suitable solution and in a few cases, euthanasia may be the only option.



A new puppy - happiest days or worst nightmare?

New puppy

Having a new puppy join your family can be one of the most exhilarating experiences for a family but if not done the right way it can have disastrous consequences. People often let emotions get the better of them and don’t make informed decisions. A new puppy will become part of the family for the rest of its life and you will be responsible for its wellbeing. Before getting a new puppy, there are a number of things one has to consider.



Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) infection in cats

Feline Leukaemia

Introduction

Feline leukaemia (FELV) is a disease of cats caused by a virus called a retrovirus. It is called a retrovirus because of the method it uses to replicate inside the cat. It is the same type of virus as the human immunodeficiency virus and although there are a lot of disease similarities, several studies have shown that the disease is not transmissible to humans. FeLV is one of the most dangerous diseases that affect cats and is a major cause of death in cats. Fortunately the prevalence of the disease has decreased in recent years due to the use of vaccines against the disease and the ability of vets to diagnose the disease early and accurately.



Cat Aids

Feline Immuno Deficiency Virus

How does Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) compare to Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV)?

Feline immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) has similar building blocks and is related to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), but very importantly, it cannot be passed between cats and humans. The virus can also not be transmitted from cats to dogs. Both FIV and HIV viruses share a similar pattern of disease progression. Both viruses are classified as Lentivirus, which means they have a long period of showing very few clinical signs during which time the immune system deteriorates. Eventually Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) develops and this is accompanied by opportunistic infections, systemic disease and cancer. The close relationship between FIV and HIV has meant that FIV has been used as an animal study model to better understand HIV in humans.



My cat is eating like crazy but stays thin - What is the deal?

Hyperthyroidism in cats

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland can be considered the engine room of the cat’s body, which is responsible for the metabolism in the body and responsible for determining the speed at which all processes in the body works. It is an important part of the endocrine or hormonal messenger system in the body and affects all the organ systems including the liver, kidneys, heart, nervous system, intestines and even the skin. The primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland is thyroxin also referred to as T4 hormone. It is the overproduction of this hormone that causes hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is situated at the beginning of the windpipe just behind the throat in the upper part of the cat’s neck and consists of two main lobes linked together. Thyroxin or T4 is inactive when released, and is transformed into a biologically active form, T3, or otherwise called iodothyronine.



"Crocodile Mite" skin disease in dogs and cats

Demodectic mange in dogs and cats

Demodex is a mite that lives in the hair follicles of most mammals. It is species specific which means that different types of animals, including humans, have their own type of mite. It is a normal inhabitant of the skin and is most commonly not contagious. The mite is usually passed on to puppies from their mother in the first 72 hours of life. The puppy's immune system usually copes to contain the mite but sometimes an overgrowth of the mites occurs and this is when symptoms of demodicosis also referred to as mange are seen. Mange is a collective name for skin disease caused by different types of mites of which the Demodex mite is only one.



Understanding congestive heart failure in your pet

Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a very common condition affecting our pets, and is more often seen in dogs than cats. Although it is a serious condition, and a major concern for a pet owner, it can be easily diagnosed and once diagnosed, it can be managed effectively. The important thing is to make an early diagnosis and start treatment immediately. Congestive Heart Failure can occur in pets of any age, but is more common in older animals. For this reason it is important to have annual checks done on older generation pets. First, let’s have a look at how the heart works to be able to understand this condition better.



When is it more than just a tummy ache?

Pancreatitis

The pancreas is a small gland that is situated next to the stomach and first part of the small intestine in the front of the abdomen. As in humans, it performs two main functions in dogs and cats.

  1. It is responsible for producing some of the special chemicals called enzymes which aid in the digestion of food. Enzymes are usually inactive within the pancreas. They are activated when they are released into the small intestine through ducts. Enzymes break down the food into smaller particles which can then be absorbed through the intestinal wall into the blood stream.
  2. The other main function of the pancreas is to help regulate blood sugar. The pancreas produces special messengers called hormones. Insulin is one such hormone. These hormones tell the body when to release or store glucose into the cells.

Sometimes the digestive enzymes are released within the pancreas, instead of within the small intestine. When this happens, it causes severe inflammation and death of some of the pancreatic cells. This can affect surrounding abdominal organs, such as the liver. When inflammation occurs it is usually very painful and is described as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be acute, where the inflammation is not associated with permanent damage or it can be chronic. A chronic pancreatitis results in the pancreas becoming smaller and harder than normal and this affects the function of this important organ. Pancreatitis can become very severe very quickly and cause your pet to suffer with intense pain so it is important for your pet to receive veterinary attention as soon as you suspect there may be something wrong.



Tis The Season To Be Jolly

Guidelines for Keeping Your Pet Safe This Christmas

As the end of the year draws to a close, most businesses start to slow down in anticipation of a well-needed rest. The veterinary world however, braces itself for its busiest time. The holiday season comes with a multitude of risks for animals. This occurs for many reasons, some of them are out of our control, including climatic changes and prevalence of certain parasites, but many of them can be guarded against if the pet owner is aware and vigilant.