Onwards and Upwards
We have had a great start to the year and are firing on all cylinders. I was very excited to have Alison Lambert from Onswitch UK, an international speaker spend four hours with the team last week working on the customer journey. It was a great experience to have Alison guide the team through the four quadrants of the so called customer journey:
1. Getting noticed. How the client finds us ?
2. Filling the funnel – attracting the client through contact to come to the clinic.
3. Making the customer experience in clinic perfect and reflective of our values.
4. Getting feedback and word of mouth referrals.
It was a perfect opportunity to escape from the day to day and reflect on what we do well. I thank the team for contributing so well. I have put a link below to a one question survey. We value your time and your feedback is important to us. We have designed a one question survey that will help us measure our performance over time. Please clink on the link below. It will take 60seconds and help us immensely.
What else is new:
Dr Geoff’s Blog is in the process of change and will become Common questions asked to our team. We will cycle between Dog Day Care, Grooming, Reception and the vet team with the team answering the questions.
Dr Geoff (that’s me) launched last week a new facebook feed called a Geoffisode. It is a small video that will really be on something topical, or something that is happening today in the clinic. Make sure you friend us on facebook so you get my updates. Below is the link to my first Geoffisode.
Have a great day, week and month and if you have any questions comments or feedback I would love to hear from you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or just pick up the phone and call me.
Call to Action: Rabbit Owners
The NSW government we be releasing a new strain(RHDV1 K5) of calicivirus, the causative agent of viral haemorrhagic diarrhoea in rabbits, in March of this year to control wild rabbit populations.
This disease is spread through direct contact, indirect contact (food, hay, etc) and vector borne (via mosquitos and other biting insects).
This disease has a very high fatality rate approaching 100%, and there is no effective cure.
We have a vaccination against calicivirus, however due to the novel strain we strongly recommend all rabbits are vaccinated within this week (the last week of February). It has also been recommended that vaccinations be given every 6 months rather than yearly now to prevent this disease.
More information on the planned release of “RHDV1 K5” can be found on the NSW department of primary industries website.
Please ensure your rabbits are up to date and arrange an appointment as soon as you are able, if you have any questions regarding the vaccination or any other health concerns feel free to call us on 9326 1255.
Feline Panleukopenia Virus in Cats
You may have heard on the news or on Facebook that there has been an outbreak of Feline Panleukopenia Virus (aka feline distemper, feline infectious enteritis or feline parvovirus) in Sydney.
This is a highly infectious virus which results in fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, followed by severe gastroenteritis (vomiting/diarrhoea). In very severe infections it can result in sudden death in up to 90% of unvaccinated cats.
The infection is highly contagious amongst unvaccinated cats, usually kittens and young adult cats living in groups. Cats in animal shelter groups, pet stores, and rescue facilities are at high risk for outbreaks. The current outbreak in Sydney was in a cat shelter and affected unvaccinated kittens. When the overall protection of the cat community reduces because of a lack of vaccination, there poses a large risk of an outbreak. Similar issues have been seen recently in the human population with whooping cough.
The virus is spread indirectly through the environment (the virus can persist for up to 12 months in the environment and can only be killed with certain cleaners) or directly through any body secretion (faeces, vomit, urine, saliva, mucus). Recovered cats are contagious for up to 6 weeks after clinical symptoms have finished.
Please ensure your cats are up to date with their vaccinations. We recommend an annual F3 vaccination which includes the panleucopaenia virus and two components of cat flu. Cats that are low risk such as inside only cats that do not need to board can have this vaccination every three years and it will be likely to provide effective protection
A Summer with Less Ticks, Fleas and Mites. Happy Pets…Happy Vets
Since the introduction of Bravecto a couple of years ago we are very glad to have hardly had any tick paralysis cases, mite infections and flea infestations. The only tick paralysis case we have had this summer was a dog who was not on Bravecto and we can assure you the dog now gets it religiously every 3 months!
As new products come into the veterinary market, there is always the fear of not knowing the long term side effects of these new products and drugs. We can assure you, that all products we sell and recommend undergo rigorous testing and trials for many years’ prior and are often on the US market for a couple of years before they come to Australia.
Why do we need these new products? With new advances in medicine and technology we have the ability to improve products and come up with new medications to treat illnesses we may not have been able to previously treat. We also have newer products which don’t need to be administered as frequently (the less we need to remember in our busy lives the better!) and have less side effects than previous drugs.
Fleas: we are finding that fleas are becoming resistant to the older products, much like our problem with bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. This means that some animals who are up to date with their flea prevention are still getting fleas. The newer products on the market are using different active ingredients which are a lot more effective at killing and preventing those nasty fleas.
There are also new Seresto collars which we recommend for flea prevention for cats which last for 9 months! That will save you from chasing your cat around the house every 4 weeks to try to apply the topical liquids.
Paralysis Ticks: Gone are the days where we need to use tick prevention products every fortnight! Bravecto effectively prevents paralysis ticks and should be given only every 3 months! Plus, it’s a chew so no chance of it washing off on your beach holidays.
Mites: Bravecto has also been great at preventing Demodex mite infections. Previously, we have had to use drugs with potentially serious side effects to treat infections but Bravecto not only prevents but is also used as a treatment for infections.
While we are on the topic of new drugs, we have a fantastic one called Apoquel which is a tablet used to treat ongoing skin allergies which has been a godsend to severely itchy allergic dogs this summer. Of course, it is not appropriate for every itchy dog and is a prescription only medication after a vet has decided that it is appropriate for your dog.
We have Oravet chews which are daily treats for dental care and have shown huge success at reducing tartar and calculus build up and also make dog’s breath smell a LOT better! Win win situation! They are also Soy based so still appropriate for many dogs with food allergies.
Come in and have a chat about the best healthcare options for your pet! At Vet HQ we keep up to date with the latest technologies and research so when we recommend a product for your pet, you can be assured that we are certain it is safe and effective.
When it’s hot in the City
While we are approaching the end of Summer and hopefully the end of the hot spells we’ve had in Sydney – it is still a good time to remind our general community about the dangers of heat stroke in our furry friends.
Dogs and cats can overheat very quickly in the heat – and their ability to thermoregulate can vary on their breed and health status. Brachycephalic dogs (think bulldogs, pugs, and squished in faces) have a reduced ability to cool themselves through panting and so will tend to suffer in the heat more than other breeds.
Whilst pets may seem keen and interested in a walk even when it’s the middle of the day and hot out – you may want to think against it for several reasons.
1. The pavement and the ground may be too hot for their paws – if you can’t stand the thought of walking around in the heat on the bitumen barefoot – its likely your pet will suffer burns to their footpads. Whilst the footpads are remarkably tough and protective – they will not stand up to the burning pavement for long periods.
2. Their core temperature will rise quickly but their ability to cool is dependent on panting – when they are panting they are attempting to recirculate cool air through the nasal passages and mouth. If their core temperature continues to rise, and they are still exercising then their ability to cool will drop further.
3. Sun safety – we would normally wear hats and sunscreen to prevent high UV exposure. White furred areas with pink skin underneath are at highest risk for melanomas – so avoid full sun exposure when it’s the UV index is high. You can also purchase zincs and sunscreen formulations for pets to apply in these areas
What to look for:
1. Excessive panting
2. Red or purple gums
6. Uncoordinated walking / movement
Precautions to take:
On days that the temperature is forecast to hit 25 degrees or higher – aim to walk and exercise your pet early or late in the day when the sun will be less intense.
Ensure that there is plenty of cool water available – ideally in several locations to ensure that if they tip it over there is more available. You can use frozen bottles of water in their water troughs and bowls to keep the water cool.
Ensure that there is adequate shade available – and that the ground from the water to the shaded area is also cool enough for them to move around.
NEVER leave your pet in the car unattended – even if the windows are open a little, the car will heat up quickly and it can be fatal within minutes. It is never worth risking just a ‘quick trip into the shops’ with your furry friend in the car.
If you have any concerns or you are worried about the best way to keep your pet happy and cool during the warmer days – drop us a line at VetHQ to discuss any questions you may have.
Microchipping has been a great boon to vets, pets, owners and rescue centres the world over. Helping to reunite lost cats and dogs (and occasionally tortoises, rabbits and birds!) with their owners. Despite the success in reuniting owners with pets, we still have thousands of animals enter rescue centres each year in Australia who cannot be reunited, either because they are not microchipped or their details are no longer in date.
Microchipping is a legal requirement in Australia, all cats and dogs should be microchipped before leaving the place of their birth, and they should have their registration completed by 6 months of age, giving them enough time to be de-sexed and move to their new home before registration.
When purchasing or adopting a new pet it is important to check they are up to date with vaccinations, worming and flea treatment, and that they are microchipped. If they are not microchipped we advise you should think carefully about taking them on from an unreliable, and law breaking, source!
If your cat or dog is not microchipped, then it is a short simple procedure that we can do for you. It requires an injection to implant the rice grain sized microchip under the skin on the back of the neck. The microchip is inert, which means there is no reaction to it nor a power source in the microchip, it reflects a signal back to a reader rather then broadcasting a signal.
Recently the organisation behind the microchip database, the pet registry, has updated their systems to an online system. This allows owners to claim their pets, update details, and report when they are missing directly to the registry creating a more reliable and up to date database. This system has been in place for over 6 months now allowing most of the bugs to be ironed out and now all animals, including those chipped before the new system was started can be claimed online.
To do this visit
this website can also be found with a google search for “pet registry NSW”.
Once on the website you will first need to register yourself. Once you are registered you can claim your pets using their microchip numbers. You can find their microchip numbers on their microchip paperwork, vaccination records, de-sexing certificates, or our records.
When registered and claimed you can then update all your pet’s details.
If you have any problems or questions, please feel free to call us here at vetHQ.