Lynwood Veterinary Clinic
568 Metcalfe Rd
Ferndale, WA, 6148

reception@lynwoodvet.com.au
www.lynwoodvet.com.au
Phone: 08 9451 3575
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February is the month of love and we all know how much you love your pets. Our newsletter has a great article on how your pets show they love you, and some great ways you can show your pets you love them in return. There's also informative articles about heart disease and signs to watch for. Happy Valentine's Day to all!

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Contents of this newsletter

01  Does your pet really love you?

02  Show Your Pets How Much You Love Them!

03  Recognising a broken heart

04  What is SRR?

05  The link between smelly breath and heart disease

06  Is heartworm prevention important?

01 Does your pet really love you?
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Feeling a bit lonely this Valentine's Day? Never fear, that's why our pets are here! They are better than any Valentine's date. 

Ever wondered if your pet really loves you? Here's what you should be looking for:

Cats

  • Brings you presents - whether it is a dead mouse or a headless bird, this is a 'gift.'
  • Head butts you - he is depositing facial pheromones on you and wants to leave his scent to claim you - it's a sign of affection.
  • He flashes his tummy at you - this signifies your cat is happy to lie in a more vulnerable position and feels completely safe around you.
  • Your cat kneads you - by massaging you with his paws he leaves his pheromones on you - you are loved!

Dogs

  • Brings you his squeaky toys - even if they are covered in slobber, you should accept this as a sign of affection!
  • Makes eye contact with you - prolonged eye contact means your dog feels safe and secure with you.
  • Licks your face frantically - this one is self explanatory, you are being kissed!
  • Yawns when you yawn  - it is thought that when a dog yawns after a human he is showing empathy.

To see a video of a dog who is completely in love with his owner, click here

02 Show Your Pets How Much You Love Them!
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Often we show our pets how much we love them by giving them food treats because it makes them, and therefore us, happy. But too many treats can cause obesity which is a very common health problem in Australian pets. 

So what other ways can we show our pets we love them?

  • take them for a walk - check out new walking areas when you have extra time, even putting them in the car to go somewhere different.
  • play a favourite game such as tug
  • teach them a new trick
  • give them a treasure hunt - hide toys or low fat treats around the house or yard so whilst they are still having a food treat they have to burn energy to find it first
  • give them a brush or even a massage
  • simply spend time cuddling and patting them - not only do they enjoy this attention but it helps reduce your stress and can even reduce blood pressure
  • take them for regular health checks and ensure their vaccinations and parasite prevention are up to date

Our pets just want to be a part of the family and love being included in as much of your life and family activities as practical. 

03 Recognising a broken heart
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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, there's never been a better time to discuss heart disease.

Heart disease isn't easy to spot. It tends to creep up on our pets slowly over many months to many years.

Being able to recognise some of the early signs of this disease can make a big difference. It means you can seek medical intervention from us and help your pet live a happier and longer life.

Most of the signs are related to a decrease in the function of the heart. The heart has to work harder and harder over time and, without treatment, heart failure occurs.

Signs of heart disease to look out for:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Laboured or fast breathing
  • A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks
  • An enlarged abdomen
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Weakness or fainting associated with exercise

Regular check ups with us allow us to detect any changes early. Sometimes we will hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and an ECG.

The good news is that there are some excellent medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease. These can keep the heart condition under control and help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you think your pet might have a problem with their heart, call us to arrange a check up today.

04 What is SRR?
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SRR refers to your pet's Sleeping Respiratory Rate. The SRR is a very useful tool in recognising the onset of or monitoring left sided congestive heart failure (CHF) in both dogs and cats.

Many of the common heart diseases lead to left sided congestive heart failure.  When pressure in the top left heart chamber increases and blood backs up into vessels within the lung, it results in blood accumulating in the lungs. This fluid, referred to as pulmonary oedema, causes an increase in your pet's respiratory rate.

How to monitor Sleeping Respiratory Rate

The good news is you can easily perform this test at home!

The measurement should be done when your pet is asleep in a normal environment (not too cold, not too hot). Repeat the measurement over 2-3 days (to get a baseline variation), and then ongoing monitoring should happen once or twice a week. 

Normal SRR in dogs and cats is less than 30 breaths per minute, often in the high teens or low 20s.

If your pet has an underlying heart disease and their SRR is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute, your pet could be developing CHF.  

An elevated SRR can also be caused by high blood pressure, anaemia, pneumonia, heat stress or a fever - so if you are concerned about your pet it's best to arrange a check up with us as soon as possible.

05 The link between smelly breath and heart disease
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Did you know that improving your pet's teeth could save his life?

There is now clear evidence that dental disease is linked to heart disease.

Plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth lead to infection of the gums. Bacteria from this infection can travel in the blood stream around the body and cause infection in the heart. This commonly occurs in the heart's lining and valves and is known as endocarditis

And it's not only the heart that is affected. The kidneys, liver and lungs can all be infected by the bacteria. 

The good news is that many of these problems can be reversed if dental disease is resolved and dental hygiene is improved. 

How to prevent dental disease:

1. Get your pet's mouth checked regularly by us - we will be able to spot problems early.
2. Get your pet eating right. A premium quality dry diet is essential for good oral health - we want our pets to chew their food! There are some excellent dental diets available and they really work so ask us for the best recommendation.
3. Brush your pet's teeth. Yep! This is considered gold standard - just make sure you use a pet approved toothpaste.
4. Lift the lip and have a smell. If you notice any yellowing of the teeth or redness of the gums OR your pet's breath smells a bit 'off', it might be time for a check up.

We recommend a dental check up at least once a year. Regular checks protect your pet's heart and might just be saving his life!

06 Is heartworm prevention important?
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Yes! Heartworm is the most dangerous of all the worms as it can be fatal

Mosquitoes spread heartworm and wherever there are mosquitoes, there is the risk of heartworm. When the mosquito feeds on your pet's blood, larvae enter the blood stream. These larvae mature into worms that can reach up to an astounding 30 cm in length!

The worms eventually become lodged in your pet's heart leading to heart failure and sometimes death. Dogs are more commonly affected by heartworm disease but cats may also be at risk.

Treatment of heartworm is difficult and dangerous and prevention is better than the cure. Getting your pet started on the right heartworm medication can be confusing, especially with so many choices on the market. To make things more confusing, most of the intestinal ‘all wormer' medications do not prevent heartworm infection.

There are topical treatments, oral treatments and a once yearly injection for dogs.

Ask us for the most suitable prevention for your pet - we will make sure your pet is protected.

You can see a short video about heartworm prevalence in Australia here.