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February 2011
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1. Happy New Year from all the staff at Sanford Veterinary Clinic
2. Sea hare threat to dogs
3. What’s that foul smell?
4. Blue eyes
5. Cats go crazy for a little nip
6. Not all vaccinations are the same
7. Do you look like your pet?

1. Happy New Year from all the staff at Sanford Veterinary Clinic

First of all, a very happy new year from all the staff at Sanford Veterinary Clinic. Hoping you had a great Christmas and all your pets are safe and well.

Well, it's now February and we have started the new appointment system for routine consultations.

Feedback on this change has been very positive. Why the change you may ask? Due to the increased demand on our service and the desire to provide our clients with a better service experience and shorter waiting times.

During times of heavy demand, it was not uncommon for between 10 to 15 patients to be waiting often from as early as 8.30am. Appointments were booked on a ‘first come, first served' basis. While every effort was made to see patients with routine procedures such as vaccinations in a reasonable timeframe, this system sometimes resulted in delays we felt were excessive. At Sanford we understand that your time is important and we felt that we could better serve you with an appointment system.

Of course as always urgent medical emergencies will always be seen immediately. As a result, the booking of all routine appointments will now proceed as follows:

Clients are encouraged to telephone Sanford Veterinary Clinic Reception on 9921 1797 a couple of days in advance to be booked into our computerised appointment system.

Sanford Veterinary Clinic is confident that the new appointment system will result in a greatly improved provision of services to our clients.

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2. Sea hare threat to dogs

Sea hares (aplysia gigantea) are once again being spotted regularly washed up on Geraldton beaches. This occurs every summer in the midwest. 

They contain a toxic cocktail of poisons that are lethal to pets, and dogs are often attracted to them. Contact such as licking, biting, ingesting or even rubbing against these sea hares can be fatal to a family pet. 

Dog owners should learn to recognise these large, brown or black jelly-like creatures, which can measure from 2cm to 70cm. There have been many pet deaths in Geraldton over the past few years so it is important to supervise your pet closely when at the beach.

This can be done by keeping your pet on a leash, or keeping your pet tied to a stationary vehicle. On arrival at the beach, be sure to check the area for sea hares along the shoreline and in among seaweed clumps. This will help minimise the risk of unwanted encounters.

If you see your pet come into contact with a sea slug, direct medical attention is required so contact Sanford Veterinary Clinic immediately. Don't wait for adverse symptoms to appear. There is no antidote, as the nature of the toxins is not known. Sanford Veterinary Clinic has a treatment protocol that has proven successful in many cases if treatment is sought immediately.

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3. What’s that foul smell?

Harry was watching Animal Planet on the couch when all of a sudden he let out a terrible smell. This was not just a case of bad wind, it was something much worse: anal gland fluid.

The anal glands are located on either side of your dog's anus. Each gland holds a small amount of a foul smelling brown liquid that your pet uses as a doggie calling card.

When your dog passes a stool, the anal glands receive pressure, and the fluid is released, along with your dog's custom scent. Most dogs won’t have a problem with the glands, but if they are not sufficiently expressed, infection can develop leading to a nasty abscess.

Some warning signs to watch out for:

  • Dragging (scooting) the bottom across the floor
  • A foul or fishy odour
  • Licking or chewing the bottom
  • Soft stools or diarrhoea

If you notice these signs, the glands may need to be manually expressed by us, just as was necessary for Harry.

Anal gland problems can be linked to quality of diet. Poor quality foods use cereal fillers, which produce soft stools. This doesn’t provide the necessary pressure to naturally express the gland.

Higher quality dog foods produce a firmer stool and assist natural anal gland expression and are therefore a better choice for your pet. Ask us for more information.

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4. Blue eyes

Pets may appear to have a hazy or blue appearance to the eye but does it mean your beloved friend has cataracts?

In most cases, older dogs and cats that develop a blue tint to their pupils are simply showing signs of an old age change called Senile Nuclear Sclerosis. This occurs when the lens of the eye (which sits directly behind the pupil) becomes less transparent. Senile nuclear sclerosis is not a cataract and only marginally reduces vision.

Cataracts are a different matter. They can occur in dogs and cats and cause blindness. The lens becomes opaque and blocks light to the retina. As a result the animal becomes blind. A tendency to form cataracts is often inherited.

For diagnosis, we need to thoroughly examine your pet’s eyes by dilating the pupils. The good news is that if diagnosed early enough, cataracts can be treated and sight can be restored.

Signs to watch out for:

  • Any sign of vision change – such as your dog not catching a ball as well or your cat bumping into furniture that has recently changed position
  • Squinting or redness – are indications of an underlying condition that may be causing the cataract

If you are concerned about your pet’s sight or how the eyes appear, seek our help as soon as possible. With most eye problems, the earlier we commence treatment, the more successful the outcome. 

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5. Cats go crazy for a little nip

Have you ever tried Catnip? Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you will be bitten! Catnip is a herb, related to the mint family and can cause an amazing behavioural reaction in cats.

Approximately 50-70% of cats will do anything to roll in, sniff, or even eat the leafy plant while others seem unaffected by it. Some cats resemble a drunken appearance, vocalise and roll around. You may notice elevated energy levels, increased affection and playfulness. Catnip is especially great to encourage and stimulate activity in lazy cats and indoor cats.

Test your cat’s response to catnip by using a small amount at first. Most cats will respond by calmly purring, as well as pawing, licking, rolling in or eating the plant. Cats less than six months of age are usually not affected by catnip.

The herb, available dried or fresh, can be used to fill soft cat toys or even sprinkled on the floor. For even more fun you can purchase it at pet stores or nurseries and grow it yourself. The fresher the herb, the better your cat will respond to it. To help keep your catnip fresh, store any unused supply in the freezer.

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6. Not all vaccinations are the same

Over the past few months, there has been much discussion about pets and vaccinations in the public domain.

We, as veterinarians like to keep up to date with any new developments in animal care and this includes vaccinations.

It is important to understand that not all vaccines are the same and vaccination programs vary between pets. For dogs, the three core and potentially lethal diseases we vaccinate against are Distemper, Parvovirus and Hepatitis.

Puppies must receive a course of these vaccinations in order to produce effective protection. There are vaccines available that are registered to provide protection for three years against these three deadly diseases but this may not suitable in every situation. Dogs must still receive a vaccination for Canine Cough once a year. We will advise you on the best vaccination program for your dog.

There is currently no vaccine available for cats that is registered to provide protection for longer than a year so they still need to be vaccinated annually.

When your pet comes in for a vaccination, it is also a good time for us to thoroughly examine your pet so we can detect any changes in their health early. This is often critical to achieving a positive outcome. Senior pets may require more frequent check ups, irrespective of vaccinations.

We are happy to discuss any questions you may have about vaccinations.

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7. Do you look like your pet?

It’s often said that people resemble their pets or vice versa. Is this phenomenon because people choose a breed that has similar characteristics to themselves? Or is it simply because we love our pets so much that we take on their traits?

If you think you and your pet look alike, send a photo to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The photos we receive will be uploaded to www.mypetstories.com.au

Our favourite photo will receive a copy of the hilarious book The A-Z of Unfortunate Dogs illustrated by Adam Elliot. Click here to watch a video to find out about the creation of this charming book. We know you'll love it!

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  Sanford Vet clinic

42 Sanford St
Geraldton, WA 6530

PH: 9921 1797



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