Summer Newsletter 2019-2020

As the weather begins to heat up, we have a few things to watch out for to protect our pups!

Horrible Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that can be rapidly fatal. Cases require urgent vet care: prompt recognition & treatment is crucial in saving lives.

Effects of heatstroke:
Organ failure, cognitive dysfunction, swelling of the brain, internal bleeding, blood abnormalities, & death

What can cause heatstroke:
– Warm, humid temps & poor ventilation
– Lack of shade
– Inadequate drinking water
– Excessive exercise
– Brachycephalic breed (short-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs & Pugs), obesity, pre-existing heart & respiratory disease, age extremes (very young or very old) & pets with long/thick coats

Signs of heatstroke:
– Panting & drooling
– Bright red tongue & gums
– Convulsions, seizures or muscle tremors
– Vomiting or diarrhoea
– Glazed eyes
– Rapid heart-rate
– Dizziness & lack of coordination
– Staggering, weakness, or lethargy

What to do if you suspect heatstroke:
– Remove them from the hot environment immediately
– Phone ahead to The Dog Clinic to advise your pet will be arriving shortly as an emergency.
– Cool your dog quickly by spraying lukewarm water to the fur & skin. Avoid cold water or ice as these will constrict the blood vessels in the skin, impairing heat loss
– Cover your dog with towels soaked in tepid water
– Fan your pet to maximise heat loss
– In practice, draping with wet towels in the car & leaving the windows partially down to create a breeze as you drive to the clinic. Heatstroke is an emergency – even if your dog looks like they might be recovering, they should still always be checked by a vet!

Sneaky Sssnakes

Did you know that Tasmania has three species of snake, all of which are venomous?

Puncture marks may not be visible, read on for the symptoms that you should look out for.

There are Tiger snakes, Lowland Copperheads & White-lipped snakes. It is not important to catch the snake that may have bitten your pet – they can be fatal to humans too! Most vets carry the appropriate anti-venom serums, & can run tests to confirm snake bites.

– Sudden weakness or collapse
– Drooling, shaking or twitching
– Paralysis of limbs
– Difficulty breathing
– Pain or distress: groaning, yelping, panting etc
– Loss of bladder/bowel control, blood in urine
– Vomiting
– Dilated pupils or difficulty blinking
– Bleeding or swelling of punctured area

If you suspect your dog has been bitten by a snake, it is vital that you take your dog to the closest vet immediately for treatment. The sooner your pet is treated, the better their chances of survival!

Depending on the amount of venom injected & the size of your dog, it can take anywhere between 15 minutes & 6hrs for the dog to become affected by the venom.

Do not “wait & see” if your pet displays symptoms, early treatment is key to survival!

What to do if you suspect a snake bite:
– Try to keep your pet quiet & calm; this helps to slow the venom spreading throughout the body
– Do not allow your pet to walk
– If possible, call your nearest vet clinic so they can prepare for your arrival
– If you know where your pet has been bitten, immobilise the area, try to keep it lower than the heart
– Do not attempt to suck the venom from the bite or cut the bitten area

If you suspect a snake bite after-hours, take your dog to AHVEC – the After Hours Veterinary Emergency Centre: 1300 302 912
37 Derwent Park Road, MOONAH

Bush Fire Risks

Symptoms of smoke inhalation & burns:
– Coughing
– Respiratory distress/difficulty breathing
– Changes in gum colour: pale, blue or brown
– Missing or singed hair, visible burns
– May be covered in soot or smell of smoke
– Limping or licking at feet (burned ground or embers risk your dog getting burned pads)

If you suspect your dog is suffering from smoke inhalation, you need to seek immediate veterinary attention, as this could be potentially life threatening.

If your pet has suffered a burn, immediate first-aid treatment involves applying tepid water to the area (ideally continuously for 20 minutes). You then need to get your pet to the vet for further intervention, which may involve dressings & medications depending on the severity of the burns.

Reduce the risk of burns & smoke inhalation:
– Keep your pets indoors if there are bush fires in the vicinity of your home
– Keep the house cool with air conditioning if possible
– Relocate your pet to a safe place

It’s crucial to have an emergency plan in place in the event of a fire & evacuation.
Planning for your dog in the event of emergency:
– Having a cage or carrier on hand to transport & contain your dog
– Having portable water & food bowls ready to go
– Have a small bag of your dog’s food ready
– Consider filling a large container with water to take with you in the event of an evacuation so you know your dog will have access to fresh drinking water
– Have a lead ready
– Consider having your dog’s identification & your phone number on their collar or tag

Salt water ingestion
Lots of our furry friends love a good run at the local beaches. Unfortunately, some dogs love the water so much, they have a big drink! Often, ingesting salt water will result in vomiting &/or diarrhoea, & there may not be any further problems. However, if a large volume is ingested & not brought back up, it can cause serious illness.

What does saltwater do?
Salt water ingestion changes the electrolyte balance in the blood, leading to some serious consequences:
– Fluid around the brain
– Inflammation
– Stomach ulcers
– Death
– Symptoms of saltwater toxicity include:
– Vomiting
– Diarrhoea
– Muscle tremors
– Seizures

Treatment of salt water toxicity aims to restore the electrolyte balance in the body by carefully administering intravenous fluid therapy. This has to be done very carefully & slowly over a few days to try to minimise potential complications.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a large amount of salt water, please seek vet advice ASAP

Other dangers of sea water
Recently there have been reports of high contamination levels at local beaches around the Derwent River. Always look for signs at the beach regarding water quality. If the water is not safe for humans to swim, it is likely not safe for dogs either!

Prevention is better than a cure
Try to discourage your dog from drinking salt water; if your dog is intent on drinking it, they may be safer kept on lead. Providing your dog with a drink before & during their beach trip may reduce their desire to drink the salty water.