Lynwood Veterinary Clinic
568 Metcalfe Rd
Ferndale, WA, 6148

reception@lynwoodvet.com.au
www.lynwoodvet.com.au
Phone: 08 9451 3575
Banner image

Welcome to our June Newsletter. Winter has arrived now with cold nights and chilly mornings though little rain so far. With the onset of the cold weather, owners of older animals (and sometimes those not so old ones) may start to see signs of arthritis such as stiffness, slowness to get up and down and reluctance to jump onto furniture or into the car. There are many things we can do to make them more comfortable.

During June we are offering a free consultation to dogs and cats over 8 years of age, to discuss any concerns you have and give them a thorough exam. We are also giving a 25% discount on in house blood testing to check their red and white blood cells, liver, kidneys and also thyroid if indicated. Please call us on 9451 3575 to make an appointment for your free senior health check.

Contents of this newsletter

01  Keeping an eye out for arthritis

02  Treatment options for arthritis

03  Meet Michelle's cat, Taco

04  An arthritis-friendly home

05  Alert for all cat owners

06  One very helpful dog

01 Keeping an eye out for arthritis
SetWidth170-iStock000043606742Large
SetWidth170-iStock000012091637Large

Our pets are more likely to suffer from arthritis during the colder weather so now is a great time for an arthritis check with us. Most of the signs of arthritis are subtle and will sneak up on your pet over many years. You may not even realise that your pet is in pain.

Arthritis is caused by the wearing down of the smooth cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. Usually this cartilage helps joints move freely but as time goes by, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together. Ouch! You can imagine this causes your pet considerable pain.

Your pet won’t necessarily limp. Some of the more subtle signs to watch out for include:

Dogs:

  • Might have trouble jumping into the car or up on the couch
  • Will be stiff and sore when getting going - especially in the morning or after lying down
  • May show behaviour changes such as being grumpy when touched on the back

Cats:

  • Will be hesitant to jump up or down from your lap or from the furniture
  • Might land ungracefully (in a heap!) when jumping down
  • Will become reluctant to climb the back fence or climb trees
  • Sometimes have a scruffy or matted coat as they are no longer able to groom comfortably

Don’t be tempted to put these changes down to 'he's just getting old' as your pet may be in significant pain. 

The good news is that there is plenty we can do to slow the progression of the disease and make sure your pet is pain free. Book an appointment today and we'll establish whether your pet has arthritis.

02 Treatment options for arthritis
SetWidth170-iStock000019001386Large
SetWidth170-iStock000012766184Large

If we’ve diagnosed your pet with arthritis we will work with you to come up with a suitable management plan. A well-rounded approach will help your pet get the most out of life. 

Some of the treatments might include:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Help to reduce pain and inflammation quickly. Can be given short term but may be needed for the rest of your pet’s life - we just need to monitor your pet’s kidney and liver function.

Note: It is critically important that you do not give human arthritis medications to your dog.

Disease modifying drugs

Given as a regular injection, these help to relieve pain and help to preserve joint cartilage. Read more here

Nutriceuticals

Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may be helpful in improving your pet’s joint function and may help slow down the progression of arthritis. We stock Paw Osteocare chews, a tasty meaty chew containing glucosamine and chondroitin, and also Paw Osteosupport capsules for dogs and cats which contain green lipped mussel.

Diet modification

A diet high in essential fatty acids (with added nutriceuticals) may help reduce inflammation and improve your pet’s mobility. Royal Canine mobility diet is perfect for senior dogs with arthritis.

It’s essential you return for regular check ups so we can assess the progress of your pet and ‘tweak’ the program if necessary.

03 Meet Michelle's cat, Taco
taco

Taco the Happy Cat

Taco has been with me since he was a kitten. He’s 10 now and I’d never really considered him to be a playful cat. I lovingly call him my ‘grumpy old man’ because he’s a typical temperamental cat who only wants love on his terms. Nearly two years ago now he became suddenly very lame on his left front leg. I had him checked at the clinic where we also discovered that his spine was painful. We started him on some pain medications, but after two weeks he hadn’t made much of an improvement and completely relapsed when we stopped the medications. The next step was to take some x-rays so that we could see the bones and hopefully find a cause of his pain. Unfortunately we couldn’t see anything obvious so we sent Taco and his x-rays off to Rivergum Referral Services for a consultation with Dr. Neil who is an orthopaedic specialist.

A very long story shortened, Taco was diagnosed with chronic osteoarthritis in several of his joints and we just hadn’t realised he was sore until he injured his leg. Taco was started back on his pain relief medication (Metacam) and because we know this condition will never go away, he will be on it for life. After a few weeks we gradually reduced his dose to half based on some new research which indicates that it may be safer for kidneys and provides the same relief from pain. After a few weeks an incredible thing happened! My cat that I haven’t seen playing in over 5 years started jumping in boxes and chasing fluff across the floor. I bought him some toys and he now has ‘killer cat’ moments several times a day where he runs sideways and attacks things.

Taco has now been on Metacam for Cats for nearly 2 years and just to be safe we do a blood test every year to check on his kidney and liver function. So far his organs show no ill health at all, and he is now a playful, comfortable, content cat.  We are very happy to continue his low dose Metacam for the rest of his days, and we’ve all learned that the symptoms of pain in cats can be so subtle that it can be easy for owners to miss, even when the owner is an experienced vet nurse/vet student. If your cat is over 8 years of age please know that sleeping more, playing less, a shabby looking coat, or a grumpy attitude may be your cat’s way of telling you that it hurts to move, groom and play.

By Michelle Bruce

04 An arthritis-friendly home
SetWidth170-iStock000008982783Large

To help your arthritic pet live a comfortable life we recommend a balanced and multi-targeted approach. This can help reduce the need for large amounts of medication and lessen the potential side effects of any one treatment.

A few small changes at home can help improve your pet’s comfort so here are our top tips:

  1. Keep your pet’s weight in a healthy range to reduce the load on the joint
  2. Provide a dry and comfortable bed, away from draughts and with plenty of padding – heated beds are a good idea for winter
  3. Use a portable ramp to help your dog in and out of the car
  4. Provide an additional piece of furniture so your cat doesn't have to jump so high to reach his favourite sunny spot
  5. Continue to exercise your pet in moderation; gentle daily walks for dogs help keep the joints moving and muscles toned

Ask us for more information on how to make your home arthritis friendly.

05 Alert for all cat owners
SetWidth170-iStock000061026712Large

As yet another reminder about the importance of vaccination, The Australian Veterinary Association has received reports that there’s been a re-emergence of feline infectious enteritis (also known as feline parvovirus or feline panleukopenia).

This disease is highly contagious and is spread by contact with faeces, urine and blood from infected cats. Cats may seem lethargic, have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea and vomiting. It can cause death in a very short time in some cats.

Cats that do recover from the infection can continue to shed virus for at least six weeks. Therefore cats can still be a potential source of infection without demonstrating any clinical signs. Once shed, the virus can survive for months to years in the environment.You can read more information about the virus here.

The widespread use of effective vaccines has dramatically reduced the presence of this virus over the past 20 years. However recently, the virus has become more prevalent again, particularly in Victoria so it is VITAL that your cat’s vaccinations are up to date.

Call us today to check on your cat's vaccination status. 

06 One very helpful dog
SetWidth170-iStock000025044589Large

Does your pet like to help out around the home? 

This month we've found a couple of very impressive videos for you. Baron, a German Shepherd, helps stack the dishwasher - and sort the laundry!

What an amazing pooch! It's time to start delegating those household jobs.