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  Sanford Vet clinic  Sanford Vet clinic  

August 2010

1. Killer dog virus outbreak hits Geraldton
2. Funny caption competition
3. The truth about teeth
4. A day at the dentist
5. Fred's fight ends in a bite
6. Holidaying with pets
7. Dogs and kids: minimising the risk of bites

1. Killer dog virus outbreak hits Geraldton

An outbreak of canine parvovirus is sweeping Geraldton. At the time of writing, twenty confirmed cases have been diagnosed with the virus resulting in the death of ten dogs. Sanford Veterinary Clinic, in conjunction with the Geraldton Guardian, WIN and GWN are urgently trying to get the message out to dog owners to have their pets vaccinated. Parvovirus, most prevalent during the winter months, is completely preventable with annual vaccination.

We need your help

Help us stop the parvovirus outbreak by doing the following things. Firstly, ensure your own pet’s vaccination is up to date. Then talk to other pet owners or pass this email on to friends or relatives with pet dogs. If you haven’t done so already, enrol in our free email Pet Heath Reminder Service by ringing the clinic on Ph 9921 1797. This fantastic service will help keep your pet safe by reminding you when their vaccination is once again due. Annual vaccination is the only way to keep your pet safe.

What is parvovirus?

Parvovirus is a highly infectious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular systems of dogs. Geraldton has a significant number of unvaccinated dogs which means parvovirus is always present in our environment.

Has my dog got Parvo?

Dogs that become infected with the virus and show clinical signs will usually become ill within 7-10 days of the initial infection. The signs of parvovirus can be a sudden onset of repeated bouts of vomiting, lethargy and unwillingness to eat, progressing to the onset of bloody diarrhoea. Young puppies are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat.

How do I keep my dog safe?

Annual vaccination is essential to protect your dog against parvovirus infection. All puppies should receive their first vaccination 6 to 8 weeks of age. Your puppy will then need a second vaccination at 10 to 12 weeks of age.

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2. Funny caption competition

We received some terrific entries to our Funny Caption competition. Here is the entry that made us laugh the hardest!

A day out with the geriatrics. Look out dogz...we may be half blind, hypoglycaemic, arthritic and nervous but in our 'dog mobile' we're 'wheely, wheely' fast!

You can view more entries at

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3. The truth about teeth

Did you know that foul smelling pet breath is not normal? Smelly breath usually reflects a diseased mouth and an astonishing 80% of dogs and cats over 2 years of age have some degree of dental disease.

Our pets are not cleaning their teeth as they once did in the wild. A good example is a pack of Lions chewing on a Wildebeest, the meat and gristle from the prized catch act as a natural toothbrush. Much of the food we feed doesn't require the chewing needed to help keep teeth clean.

Dental disease is painful, can restrict eating and the bacteria in the mouth can lead to other diseases in the body. Dental disease will shorten the life of your pet. The good news is that it can be prevented or reversed in some cases.

Signs of dental disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Reddened gums - gingivitis
  • Discolouration of teeth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling

Here's what to do:

If you notice any of the above signs, make an appointment to have a dental check. The earlier we get to see the problem the greater the chance to take action before it becomes irreversible.

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4. A day at the dentist

When you bring your pet in for a check up, we will always lift your pet's lip and check out their pearly whites. If any of the teeth are unhealthy, we will devise a dental plan for your pet. For many pets, this will involve a dental clean. 

We use very similar equipment to human dentists. Unfortunately we can't ask our pets to keep their mouths open so to make sure we are able to clean all teeth and do it safely, a general anaesthetic is required.

A vibrating instrument, known as an ultrasonic scaler is used to remove any plaque that is stuck to the teeth. In some cases, bacteria may have already damaged the structures of the tooth, leading to exposure of the roots and sensitive nerves. This can cause your pet pain and lead to a tooth root abscess, so it is best we remove these teeth. A fractured tooth may also require extraction.

Local anaesthetic is injected around the diseased tooth and the tooth is gently removed. Sometimes, dissolvable sutures will be placed at the site. Finally, a polishing instrument and prophy paste are used to help form a protective layer over the tooth.

Antibiotics, pain relief and a diet of soft and chunky food may be needed until the extraction sites have healed. Your pet will be happier, healthier and a lick on the face won't lead to you fainting!

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5. Fred's fight ends in a bite

Fred the temperamental tabby returned one morning after a big night on the town. He wandered home with a fever and a nasty cat bite after a fight with his pesky new neighbour, Claude. Fred had no appetite and felt lousy as Claude, a purebred chocolate Burmese, was getting all of the attention from the females in the street.

A trip to the vet was needed. The cat bite on Fred's tail was swollen and painful. Claude's sharp teeth had punctured the skin, seeding bacteria into the wound. A pain relief injection was given and Fred was sent home with a course of antibiotics. Unlike many other cats in this predicament, Fred's bite was attended to promptly and did not require surgical drainage. If you think your cat has been in a fight, make an appointment with us as soon as possible.  

Thankfully, Fred had been vaccinated against Feline Aids. This disease, also known as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is spread via cat bites and any cat that goes outdoors can be exposed to infection. There is no treatment or cure for an infected cat. Positive cats may be healthy for years before their immune system gives up, making them susceptible to diseases and ultimately early death.  

Ask us for more information about the FIV vaccine for your cat. 

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6. Holidaying with pets

With September school holidays just around the corner, it is a perfect time to organise a holiday with your pet. Here are the golden rules for holidaying with pets:

1. Ensure they have had a vet check, that all flea, tick and worm prevention is up to date and that vaccinations are current

2. Make sure that the accommodation you have booked is suitable for pets

3. Make sure your pet has been microchipped, that all of these details are up to date and that they are wearing a tag displaying your phone number

What to bring:

  • Food and water bowls
  • A supply of their usual food 
  • Fresh water for the car trip
  • Dog lead
  • Toys and bedding
  • Medications including tick prevention if travelling to the east coast of Australia
  • Travel sickness medication - ask us

Don't forget to always clean up after your pet and respect the native habitat of our wildlife.

Click here for some more information about holidaying with dogs. 

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7. Dogs and kids: minimising the risk of bites

Did you know that one third of all dog bites involve children under the age of 14 years? This is a timely reminder to take care; here are some tips to help minimize the risk:

1) Supervise - put your dog out of the room if you are unable to supervise the kids and the dog at the same time. Reward your child and dog for playing quietly when you are present

2) Play: bites often occur when a child is rough or unrelenting, teach your child to never hurt or tease or be over excited around the dog

3) Sleeping dogs: never approach a sleeping dog as they may act defensively if woken, it is best to call the dog from a distance

4) Feeding: make this an adults only activity and teach your kids to never approach a dog that is eating

5) Behavioural traits: teach your kids the signs a dog may be threatened; growling, lifting lips, hair raised on back

6) Approaching: teach your kids to never approach a strange dog and always ask and owner if it is safe to pat their dog

For more information click here.

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  Sanford Vet clinic

42 Sanford St
Geraldton, WA 6530

PH: 9921 1797
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