1. Can the Coronavirus/COVID-19 virus infect dogs and cats?

Recently in Hong Kong there were proactive and precautionary measures to quarantine the pets of people who were diagnosed with COVID-19. In February one of these pets, a healthy dog, had a small amount of viral genetic material that was detected in the dog’s mouth and nose. The dog did not get sick and did not have COVID-19 illness or sickness, but this single case sparked discussion across the globe. There have been no further cases reported via the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) to date.


The good news is that this dog is not contagious to people or to pets and there is no evidence that pets are involved in the spread of COVID-19.


2. Can pets spread the disease? I.e. If a pet has been in contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, can the pet spread the disease to other people or pets?’

No, there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection to other animals or to humans. This epidemic is being spread from humans to humans and there is no evidence that pets are involved.



3. There is a lot of information online about dogs, cats and coronavirus. Why is this?

The term ‘coronavirus’ defines a broad family (type) of viruses which have been around for a long time, some of which only affect dogs and cats. Dog and cat coronaviruses are different to COVID-19 and cannot infect people. Unfortunately, due to the similar name, these terms may appear in historical articles or online forums and this can cause unnecessary confusion, panic or concern.


There are vaccinations available to protect dogs and cats from infectious diseases including the specific canine coronavirus (there is no equivalent vaccine for cats). It’s important to vaccinate our pet dogs and cats to keep them safe and healthy. Please talk with your vet for a tailored vaccine program to suit your pet. Remember, pets are not involved in the spread of COVID-19, you do not need to be alarmed.


4. How can pet parents protect themselves and their pets?

Remember, the way you can catch COVID-19 is from exposure to an infected person. Therefore, practice standard precautionary hygiene measures as recommended by the relevant Health Departments in your state or territory. This includes thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water (or alcohol gels), distancing yourself from people who are unwell, in some cases wearing face masks and avoid touching your face.


We recommend following good hygiene whenever interacting with your pets, this advice has not changed. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any animal.  Avoid sharing food with your pets or letting your pets kiss or lick your face or mouth. Keep your pet’s vaccinations and parasite treatments (including worming) up to date and maintain regular veterinary health checks. If you suspect your pet is unwell or you have any concerns about your pet’s health, give us a call.


If you are required to self-isolate for 14 days, this may impact your pet’s daily routine and you may need to keep them at home with you. You can plan-ahead by ensuring that you have two weeks of pet food and medication on hand.


5. Should pet parents avoid contact with pets or other animals if they’re sick with COVID-19?

If you have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 then you may wish to take extra precautions to keep your pets safe.


The Centre of Disease Control in the USA recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.




This information is referenced by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It must be emphasised that the situation is rapidly evolving, and we encourage you to monitor the websites of the associations listed above to stay up to date with the latest information

KONGs are a fun, innovative way to feed your cat or dog. They are a tool that helps us engage in play with our pets, can help in the management of behavioural issues like separation anxiety, and they allow dogs to exhibit that natural behaviour that we love to hate - chewing! KONGs help slow down the time it takes a cat or dog to eat their meal while providing some mental stimulation in the process.

KONGs come in all shapes, colours, textures and sizes and are suitable for kittens to cats and pups to dogs of all breeds.

KONGs can be filled with kibble, various pastes (there is nothing better in my dog’s opinion than a peanut butter KONG), or on a hot summers day a frozen treat - think a KONG ice block!

The benefits of using a KONG

KONGs are a great way to PLAY with your dog. Playing is an important part of being a dog and interactive play can strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

Play is a normal and natural instinct of dogs and the KONG provides a way for you and your dog to play together, while also providing an outlet for mental (and dental!) stimulation, helping management of behavioural disorders, and to a lesser degree maintaining good oral health.

KONGs are durable, and that erratic bounce appeals to a dog’s natural chase instinct. Once the dog captures the KONG, the natural rubber can be chewed on for hours, satisfying the needs to chase as well as chew.

Boredom and anxiety can become problems in some pets when we’re not at home – a KONG stuffed with treats can keep your dog occupied for hours as they work hard to reach what’s inside. It can also help to discourage your pet from ruining furniture by providing a distraction or help to preoccupy them when you leave for the day.

Healthy recipes for your KONG

Anything can go in a KONG! Consider these following ideas…….


Kongsicle

Like an icy pole, a KONG can be filled with frozen soup, chicken stock or water with liver treats in it. If you’re wondering how on earth to get the liquid to stay inside, the secret is to fill the holes with peanut butter!

Veggie KONG

Sweet potato – or any vegetable that’s safe for your dog – can be mashed and packed into the Kong. Depending on the weather, give it to your dog fresh or frozen. Remember, no onions, leeks or garlic please!

Chicken Kongerole

Combine leftover chopped up chicken and veggies from your casserole with chicken broth and pack it into the KONG.

Sardine Kong

One the cats will particularly love – smash up some sardines and stuff them in there!

Salmon Kong

Try smearing some salmon inside a KONG for a purrrfect treat.

Dessert Kong

Pack the inside with your pet’s favourite treats, then fill the holes with peanut butter.


For different types of KONG toys and to see what suits your pet more please visit www.vetslovepets.com.au and Register us as your local vet to receive a 5% discount off your order! Any order over $49 receives FREE shipping to your door!


The Heritage team x

Ear infections are a common reason pet owners will seek advice from their vet. Recognising an ear infection and seeking advice early can be critical in achieving a quick and successful outcome. Ear problems can be frustrating to treat, they often can wax and wane and knowing when to finish treatment can be difficult due to the shape of our cats and dogs ear canals.

Warm moist ear canals, with little ventilation, make an ideal environment for infection to establish. Bacteria and yeast can multiply in a warm, waxy, moist environment, contributing to inflammation. Ear infections can progress from the outer ear, to the middle and even inner ear if the ear drum is ruptured. Inner ear infections can cause issues with a dog or cats ability to hear.


What are the signs of ear infection?

Does your pet shake their head a lot? This may be because their ears are inflamed, itchy or sore.

Other symptoms of ear infections are:

· Scratching ears

· Smell from ears

· Discharge from ears

· Sore ears (won’t let you touch them)

· Red or swollen skin around the ear or on the “pinna”- the ear “flap” (should be healthy pink)

· A tilting of the head to one side or the other (inner ear infection)

· Different pupil sizes or a raised Third eyelid (the small lid in the inside corner of the eye)

.

What causes ear infections?

There are many reasons why our pet’s ears become inflamed. Here are a few commonly seen causes.

Allergies : There is a strong link between allergic skin disease and Otitis (ear inflammation) and often an ear infection is the first symptom of underlying skin disease.

Foreign bodies - Grass seeds can get stuck in your pet’s ear and cause pain and inflammation making the ear sore and irritating to your pet

Humidity - Moisture in your pet’s ears encourages yeast and bacteria to grow.

Narrowed ear canals – some breeds of dogs eg the Shar Pei, have narrowed ear canals making drainage from the ear, and good ventilation into the ear canal difficult. For these breeds of dogs getting ear treatment into the right part of the canal to get a quick resolution can be tricky.

Parasites - Mites are often a cause of ear infection in young animals. These pets are highly irritated by their ears, and often have a dark brown discharge from the ears.

What to do if you think your pet has an ear infection.

Make an appointment at your local vet clinic. The vet will examine your cat or dog from top to toe including a focus on the ear canals. They will use an otoscope to look into the ear canal and take swabs to analyse what type of infection is present.

Often if we can’t see right down the ear canal because it is either painful or full of discharge we will suggest a small sedation procedure for your pet so we can clean the ear and examine the ear drum. We will then prescribe an appropriate medication for the ear, and can show you how best to apply this to the ear canal.


How you can prevent ear infection

Check your pet’s ears regularly and be on the look out for signs of an infection. If ears are not a healthy pink colour, if they have a discharge or odour, or if you notice swelling or pain from the ear then consult your veterinarian. Check your pet’s ears regularly and be on the lookout for signs of an infection. Also, regular cleaning by lifting the ear; squeezing in a recommended ear cleaning fluid; gently massaging the ear to distribute the fluid; and removing excess liquid with cotton wool can help with pets that are prone to infections, Your vet or vet nurse can show you how to properly clean your pets ears.


And finally, never use cotton buds in your pet’s ears as this could cause further damage to the ears.



© 2018 by Heritage Vet Hospital. Proudly created with Wix.com