Kidney Failure

Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

The kidneys are very important organs of the animal body and play an important role in the normal day to day functioning of the body. They act like a specialised type of filter by retaining the appropriate amount of different salts (electrolytes) to maintain fluid balance in the body. They secrete a hormone which is involved in the production of red blood cells. The kidneys are also responsible for getting rid of waste products through the urine, especially those that are produced by the breakdown of protein in food. Kidney failure starts as soon as the kidneys are damaged due to disease, damage or old age, however in animals most owners only start seeing the clinical symptoms of kidney failure once more than 70 to 75 % of the kidneys have been destroyed or damaged. This means that of two kidneys, as little as only half of one is functioning normally before the signs of kidney failure become evident.  At this stage the kidneys can no longer adapt to maintain a normal fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, and are no longer able to expel toxins as efficiently as before. The challenge with treating kidney disease is that the kidneys do not have the capacity to regenerate like other organs like the liver. This means that it is very important to look out for the symptoms of kidney failure so treatment can commence as soon as possible to preserve as much of the kidneys as possible.



Socialisation - The Critical Period

Socialisation of pets

Vets recognise the importance of looking at animals not only from a health point of view, but from a holistic point of view where the animal’s health is but one part of the overall wellbeing of the animal. Aspects like nutrition, shelter, behaviour and training form as an important part of an animal’s overall wellbeing as the physical and medical condition of the animal. Our domestic pets are kept as companions and the success of a pet in a household is not only measured by its longevity and health, but also how it fits into the home and interacts with the rest of the members of the household. More importantly, most pets do not stay confined to their home all the time, but often go out with the owner and interact with other animals and human beings. Just as there are rules for humans for good and acceptable public behaviour, so there are rules for good animal behaviour.



Hand Rearing Young Animals - A Basic Guideline

Hand Rearing Animals

The birth of a litter is a very exciting event, but it is also a huge responsibility for the owner, as many things can go wrong. Besides the birth process itself, problems can occur with the young animals due to birth defects, infections, or insufficient mothering care. In these cases hand rearing may be necessary.

There is a huge amount of commitment required for hand rearing. The main principles of concern are providing correct nutrition; temperature control; good hygiene; and monitoring urination and defecation.



Ear Infections in Your Pet

Ear infection

Ear infections are common in dogs, and to a lesser degree in cats. The anatomy of the animal predisposes them to this condition. The ear canal of the dog and cat follows the shape of an “L”, going first downwards and then horisontally. This shape makes it difficult for debris and water that go into the ear to come out, against the force of gravity.



Do cats get colds?

Snuffles - Feline Rhinotracheitis

Just like humans and most other domestic animal species, cats can also catch colds. In cats, this disease is referred to as Snuffles – quite an apt name for all the sniffing and snorting associated with this disease. The learned name for this disease is Feline Rhinotracheitis. This name describes the disease well;



Do Dogs get colds?

What is cracking with Kennel Cough?

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, or as it is more commonly known, Kennel Cough, is an upper respiratory tract disease of dogs that is found throughout the world. Breaking down the names of disease gives an indication as to how, and which parts of, the respiratory tract are involved.



The Hype about Hyperadrenocortism

Cushings Syndrome in animals

Hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s Disease, is a condition whereby the level of cortisol in the body is too high.  It is a condition which is also found in humans and the name Cushing’s Disease or also commonly known as Cushing’s Syndrome comes from Harvey Cushing, who in 1912, was one of the first physicians to report a patient affected with excessive cortisol hormone also otherwise known as glucocorticoid.



Diabetes Defined

Diabetes in dogs and cats

The pancreas is an organ in the body which is closely associated with the segment of intestine that leaves the stomach.  The pancreas releases enzymes involved in digestion as well as hormones with specific functions.  One of these hormones is insulin.  Insulin is released from the pancreas in response to the intake of food, especially carbohydrates and to a lesser degree fats and protein.  Insulin circulates in the bloodstream and facilitates the uptake of the ingested nutrients into the body’s own stores of energy.  



My pet is having a fit! - Seizures in Pets

Seizures in Pets

Anyone who has ever seen an animal experiencing a seizure will know that it is a “hair-raising” event. Seizures or ‘fits’ is a well-described phenomenon in domestic pets. The way in which a fit or seizure presents can vary significantly, from what seems to be a brief moment of absent-mindedness to full blown body contractions where the animal is semi-conscious and lying on the ground shivering, shaking and convulsing, with foam coming out the mouth and looking like it is busy dying. Owners, and even vets who may have seen such seizures in pets quite often, still find it disturbing at the best of times.  



Cancer in pets - Part 2 of 2

Cancer

The treatment of cancer in pets has become a significant part of the therapy provided by veterinarians to keep our pet population healthy and thriving. Depending on the modality used, the type and extent of cancer treated, and the size and the nature of the animal involved, cancer treatment can be very expensive. Therefore, as with any disease, the principle of prevention is better than cure holds true. Not all cancers can be prevented but there are certain types of cancers which can be prevented and others that, if treated early on, require much less invasive treatment and therapy, than cancers which are left to develop.



Children and pets

Children

Children and pets are synonymous. Most families at some point in time acquire a pet for their children. Be it goldfish, pocket pets like hamsters, mice, gerbils or guinea pigs, birds, dogs, cats, rabbits or even something exotic like a snake, a tortoise, bearded dragon or iguana. Pets come in all shapes and sizes and often times they are given to a child as a gift. Sometimes the child has not asked for a pet and receives one without receiving proper instructions on how to care for it. Many times children will beg and nag their parents for a certain type of pet, and eventually wear the parents down with their continuous nagging to the point where the parents cave in to the demands of the child to preserve the peace. This peace only lasts for a very brief moment before the parents realise that they made a big mistake.



Cancer in pets - Part 1 of 2

Cancer

The battle against cancer in humans is as old as mankind itself. Since veterinary medicine became a fully-fledged discipline in the previous century, this battle has been extended to animals, and more so than any other area of veterinary medicine, to our pets. Many animal owners who are confronted with cancer in their pet for the first time, are somewhat surprised to find out that cancer is as prevalent in animals as it is in humans. Once they have overcome the initial shock, they find it even more surprising that cancer in animals is treated very much the same way in animals as in humans.



Smelling as fresh as a spring breeze

How to bath your pet


Human hygiene and animal hygiene are worlds apart. Whatever is considered to be clean for humans is totally something else for our pets. Dirt may easily be disguised in the thick (or thin) coat of a pet and only once the animal is washed do we really see how dirty they are.

Cats spend their days and nights grooming themselves. However many cats love taking a dust bath and will revel in the opportunity to curl and then wriggle on their back from side to side on a nice patch of bare soil.



Fireworks and Thunderstorms and your pet

Anxiety Attacks in pets

Anxiety and angst is as much part of the animal world as it is of the human world. As humans, the way in which we manage stress and anxiety is largely related to our understanding of our environment and an interpretation of cause and effect. Unfortunately this is not the same for animals. A human who is about to set off a large fire cracker can warn all those around them of the impending bang, and prepare everyone for the impact. However explaining to a dog or cat that the glitter of a burning fuse will lead to a thunderous crack to which they should not respond, is impossible. Add to that the anatomy of animals’ ears which have been specifically designed to amplify sounds by turning the ears towards sounds, and you have a recipe for disaster when it comes to shooting off fireworks in the vicinity of animals.



New puppies and kittens - Part 3 of 3

Breeding with my dog or cat � Should I or should I not?

Nobody will dispute the cuteness of puppies or kittens. These adorable little creatures really pull at the heartstrings and appeal to young and old. However spending some time in a puppy or kitten shelter and seeing what undernourished or uncared for puppies or kittens look like, will make anyone who is serious about the well being of animals think twice about indiscriminate breeding.