Urinary tract

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Urinary tract infections in dogs

Urinary tract infections in dogs occur for myriad reasons including bacterial invasion, the dog’s immunity, the environment, and the dog’s anatomy. The most common is bacteria invading the lower urinary tract.  Many dogs will however resolve these infections within 3 days without antibiotic treatment, through the natural defence mechanism present in the urogenital tract. However, […]

Physiotherapy for pets: how it helps

Physiotherapy offers wide ranging benefits to pets, including pain relief, improved mobility and increased strength and resilience. Pets suffering from orthopaedic and neurological conditions will find physiotherapy especially beneficial. While dogs, cats and horses are most commonly treated with physio even birds, rats and guinea pigs have shown good results. “Providing knowledge about conditions that […]

Parvovirus is showing up more often in adults

Parvovirus is showing up more often in adult dogs judging by the number of adult cases being admitted to veterinary clinics in recent months. This a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease usually affects puppies. Though there are no official stats to back this up, clinical staff report higher adult numbers than usual. Parvovirus is […]

When to take your cat to the vet

When to take your cat to the vet is an important consideration as cats are masters at hiding illness and pain. Here’s our guide: Cats are considered young adults from ages 1 to 6 and mature adults or seniors from ages 7 to 10. An annual checkup is a must for adult cats and twice […]

Pyometra is a danger to unsterilised dogs

Pyometra is the accumulation of pus in the uterus of a bitch (female dog) due to infection. It forms part of a very complex disease known as CEHMEP (Cystic endometrial hyperplasia, mucometra, endometritis, pyometra complex) which is life-threatening and can lead to systemic shock, renal failure and death. Pyometra: how it occurs Pyometra happens because […]

Tick control essential right now

Tick control has never been more necessary than right now. According to Country Animal Clinic veterinarian, Dr Ingrid de Wet, the weird weather we are having (wet and cold one day, hot the next) has brought out the ticks in droves and clinics are seeing more and more cases of biliary (tick bite fever). One […]

Eye conditions in cats

Eye conditions in cats are many and varied but let’s start with the third eye. You notice that the white bit that only appears when your cat blinks is now swollen and prominent, extending further over the eye. Swollen whites in a cat’s eye can mean many things. The white in the inner corner of […]

Rabbit virus contagious and deadly

Rabbit owners are urged to keep a close eye on their pets for signs of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD), a highly contagious disease that has appeared in the Western Cape and other parts of South Africa for the first time. This is a deadly disease that is usually transmitted by direct contact with another rabbit. […]

Mange, a parasitic skin disease in dogs

Mange, a parasitic skin disease in dogs,  is one of the itchiest skin conditions in animals. There are two main parasites responsible – Demodex and Sarcops – and there are slight differences in the way they are diagnosed and treated. Mange: how to identify it The two main signs that a dog may have mange […]

Food allergies in pets: what you should know

Food allergies in pets account for about 10% of cases seen by veterinary practices yet allergies overall make up a significant percentage of the patients we see. Food allergies are often misunderstood. Here are some the myths we encounter as vets: Food allergies in pets: the myths Myth no 1: Dogs are allergic to brands […]

Itchy dogs get new treatment

Itchy dogs drive pet owners crazy. It is one of the most common complaints seen by veterinarians. Finding the right solution for your pet’s itching can be time consuming and expensive, and pet owners often spend a lot of money and time trying to solve the problem on their own before visiting a vet. Itchy […]

Cherry eye in dogs: what to look out for

Cherry eye may sound like something cheerful but is in fact an eye condition that can harm a dog’s long-term sight.  Certain breeds are at higher risk. Cherry eye is the common name for the prolapse of the third eyelid gland. Most animals, including dogs, have a tear gland within their third eye lids – […]

Entropion: a painful eye condition in dogs

Entropion is an abnormality of the eyelids in which the eyelid rolls inward. This results in the hair on the surface of the eyelid rubbing against the cornea. When this happens the dog experiences pain, possible corneal ulcers, perforations, or pigment  developing on the cornea which can interfere with vision. Entropion signs and symptoms You’ll […]

Epilepsy in dogs: causes and treatment

Epilepsy in dogs causes seizures or fits. Typically these seizures occur when the dog is resting. There is often a behaviour change a few hours before the seizure, followed by the seizure and a period of recovery for a few hours afterwards where the pet appears dull or exhausted. Epilepsy in dogs: what it looks […]

Distemper can be deadly but it is preventable

Distemper (known as ‘hondesiekte’ in Afrikaans) is a viral disease that is completely vaccine-preventable. By making sure your puppy is up to date with all their vaccinations and thereafter their annual vaccinations, he/she will be protected against the distemper virus. This disease is highly contagious and spreads through contact with infected animals or objects,  through […]

Feline herpes virus and your cat

Feline herpes virus (FHV, FHV-1) is one of the most common causes of acute upper respiratory tract infections (Snuffles) in cats. The virus is highly contagious and is easily transmitted between cats. This occurs through direct contact with saliva, eye and nasal secretions. Inhalation of sneeze droplets and sharing of food bowls or litter trays […]

Household poisons dangerous to dogs: our top 5

Household poisons can be useful for a variety of household pests and problems but they can also be deadly to pets. It is important to know what the risks are before introducing them into your home; and to know what to do if your pet accidentally ingests one. Household poisons: our top 5 1. Household […]

Bee stings: what to do if your dog is stung

Bee stings are a common scourge with dogs as they like to chase buzzing, flying insects but bee stings can be deadly. It’s part of a dog’s nature to be curious about insects but unfortunately some dogs can be highly allergic to stings and if your dog shows any of the symptoms below you must […]

Licking obsessively: why your dog does it

Licking obsessively, and usually in the same spot over and over again, causes what is known as acral lick granuloma. This condition is also known as acral lick dermatitis. ‘Acral’ means belonging to the extremities. It typically forms on the front part of the lower legs in dogs. Cats can also suffer from this condition […]

Coccidiosis in dogs

Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a single-celled organism (a protozoa) called coccidia. There are four different species that can infect dogs. These microscopic parasites spend part of their life cycle in the lining cells of the intestine. Despite damaging these cells, most infections in dogs are not associated with any detectable clinical […]

Cushing’s disease in dogs

Cushing’s syndrome happens when your dog’s body makes too much of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone usually helps your dog respond to stress, controls his weight, fights infections, and keeps his blood sugar levels in check but when there is too much, or too little of it, problems occur. Cushing’s, which is also known as hypercortisolism […]

Snail bait poisoning in dogs

Snail bait poisoning (Metaldehyde poisoning) in dogs can lead to respiratory failure and death if not treated urgently. For most of us Spring brings pure joy; warmer weather and new growth everywhere. But, as buds and bulbs spring into action, so do snails and slugs and in an effort to stop these pests from eating […]

Yeast infections in dogs: what to look out for

Yeast infections in dogs are quite common and can occur anywhere on the skin,  including the ears.  A yeast infection happens when there’s an excessive amount of yeast in a certain area but they are usually are caused by an underlying issue; anything that diminishes the normal defences in the skin can make yeast infections […]

Constipation in dogs: what to do

Constipation in dogs is usually a sign of a more serious disease or ailment so if your dog is struggling to poop,  it’s important to see your vet as soon as possible. Picking up poop is a job almost all dog owners know, and almost all dog owners hate. But not having any poop to […]

Hotspots in dogs: what causes them?

Hotspots in dogs are a common summer complaint and they can be frustrating to treat. A hotspot is the common name for a superficial moist dermatitis; anything that causes itchiness and inflammation of the skin or a small wound in the skin creates the environment for bacterial contamination. Even a slightly oozing sore can provide enough […]

Why do pets eat grass?

Why do pets eat grass? Does it mean they are sick? This is a question vets are often asked because grass eating is common among both cats and dogs. We expect dogs and cats to eat meat only. They’re carnivores, right? Actually, dogs can eat more non meat-based foodstuffs than we expect. They can digest carbohydrates, […]

Pet vaccinations: what’s in them?

Pet vaccinations cover the most serious viral diseases and some bacterial diseases. It is not possible to vaccinate animals against all diseases, thus the most common and/or serious diseases are included in the vaccines. These vaccines are divided into core and non-core vaccines. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a group of experts, The Vaccination […]

Cognitive dysfunction in dogs

Cognitive dysfunction in dogs is one of the many challenges they may face as they age. Nicknamed ‘dogzheimers’, canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) causes dogs to become confused, disorientated, anxious and even incontinent. It should not be ignored by pet owners simply as a pet’s natural ageing process as it can manifest in anxiety and poor […]

Small breed dogs and heart disease

Small breed dogs with heart disease is not uncommon. In fact, heart disease is fairly common among dogs in general but small dogs and big dogs generally suffer different types.  There are two main types: valvular heart disease which affects small breeds and dilated cardiomyopathy which affects large breed dogs. These diseases are quite different […]

Cataracts in pets

Cataracts in pets occur for several reasons, the most common one being hereditary. Breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, French Poodles and Boston Terriers are at higher risk. Cataracts: what are they? The function of the lens in the eye is to focus and refract light.   It is made of tissue fibres that with age […]

Itchy ears and weepy eyes

Itchy ears are a common complaint in dogs. Certain breeds like Spaniels with their long ears and Labradors that like to swim, are more at risk. Itchy ears: symptoms to look out for • Repeated, vigorous scratching of the ear • Discharge • Bad smell from the ears Itchy ears: diagnosis and treatment It’s absolutely […]

My dog’s ear is swollen: what’s the cause?

My dog’s ear is swollen, red and soft to the touch. What’s causing this? An othaematoma is the fancy name for a collection of blood in between the two layers of cartilage in the ear. It can usually be seen and felt as a soft to firm swelling of the ear. Dogs with upright ears […]

Heart conditions in dogs: know this

Heart conditions in dogs are not unusual but the one most often seen, particularly in Great Danes Boxers or Cocker Spaniels is known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). The heart becomes enlarged so the heart muscle becomes weaker causing the heart not to be able to pump blood effectively around the body. The exact reason for the enlargement […]

Heart conditions in cats: know this

Heart conditions in cats can be difficult for cat owners to spot because cats are so good at hiding symptoms. However, there are a few telltale signs which should alert you, and the earlier you get your cat to the vet the more successful the treatment. Heart conditions in cats are not uncommon but the […]

My pet has diarrhoea: what should I do?

My pet has diarrhoea. Should I see my vet? Vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms and are not diseases in themselves, but are symptoms of underlying disease. It is important to look at the pet and the other symptoms in order to make a diagnosis and choose the correct treatment. My pet has diarrhoea: what […]

Your dog’s heart: mitral valve disease

Your dog’s heart may become diseased as he gets older. Of the 10% of dogs who suffer from heart ailments, 80% are diagnosed with mitral valve disease. This article is intended to help pet parents whose pets have been diagnosed with mitral valve disease so that you understand everything you need to know about this […]

Flat-faced pets have health challenges

Flat-faced pets have specific health challenges because of their unique, short-nosed faces and pop-out eyes, the very attributes that make them so attractive to pet owners.  Whether we’re talking Persian cats, Pugs, Pekingese or the currently hugely popular French bulldogs, flat-faced pets can be quite a challenge to care for. Known as brachycephalics, flat-faced or […]

What you feed your pets impacts their health

What you feed your pets is not a decision to be made lightly, because what they put into their tummies now will impact their health in the future. The goal is to feed well so they live well. We get that belts are tighter now more than ever and that pet food can take a […]

Hypothyroidism in dogs: what you should know

Hypothyroidism in dogs occurs when there is a decrease of thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid hormones are very important as they affect almost all functions of metabolism. The cause of hypothyroidism is not usually known, but we do know that most of the time the problem originates in the pituitary gland and that middle-aged […]

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) in cats

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) in cats causes serious disease by compromising the body’s ability to fight off any infection (immunosuppression).  FeLV is also responsible for other conditions such as cancer, anaemia and seizures. Feline Leukaemia Virus in cats: how infection occurs The FeLV virus is secreted in saliva, stool, urine and faeces of infected cats. Therefore, […]

Eye problems in pets: what to look out for

Eye problems in pet may go unnoticed, especially in busy and boisterous animals. If your pet is showing any of the following symptoms, he or she may have eye problems that necessitate a visit to the vet. Eye problems: symptoms Squinting or holding the eye closed (the eye is sore) More tearing than usual from […]

Kidney stones in dogs and cats

Kidney stones in dogs and cats are not commonly encountered but they are important to diagnose as they can have a significant impact on a pet’s life. One of the main functions of the kidney is to filter waste products such as mineral salts and toxins.  These products are then excreted in the urine. Under […]

Winter illnesses in pets

Winter illnesses in pets are not necessarily season-specific but they do tend to occur with greater frequency during the colder months. Taking steps early on to prevent or contain them can make a big difference to how your pet responds, and to his quality of life. Here’s what to look out for as the months […]

Distemper in dogs: what you should know

Distemper in dogs (or hondesiekte) is a very contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory (lungs and nose), gastro-intestinal and nervous system of dogs. It has also been found in lions and wild dogs in South Africa. Distemper: how it spreads Distemper is spread through air-borne viral particles (sneezing or coughing) or direct contact (licking […]

Cats’ peeing in unusual places

Cats’ peeing in unusual places is a clear sign that something’s wrong because cats are, by nature, fastidious about their toilet. If your cat is suddenly peeing on your bed, in the shower, or somewhere else unusual and had stopped using the litter box, she’s telling you there’s a problem. Cats’ peeing in unusual places: […]

Cats vomiting: what’s normal, what isn’t

Cats vomiting is not unusual, but it can also be a sign of disease so cat owners need to know what’s normal and what isn’t.   When it occurs more than two times a month, if the frequency is increasing, or if your cat is losing weight, it needs to be investigated. Cats vomiting: possible causes There […]

Will the Coronavirus affect my pets?

Will the Coronavirus affect my pets? This is a question more and more pet owners are asking as the virus spreads across the globe. [infobox]The Centers for Disease Control in the US and World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported that there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. According to the […]

Bladder stones in pets

Bladder stones in pets is an extremely painful condition which can lead to a life-threatening emergency if not treated urgently. It is often caused by the pet’s diet, or by a urinary tract infection. What are bladder stones? Bladder stones are aggregates or clumps of many small crystals in the bladder that form due to […]

My pet is always thirsty: what’s the problem?

My pet is always thirsty. She drinks wherever she finds water, even from the pond and my glass. If dogs or cats are emptying their water bowls quickly or searching for water at places they don’t usually, such as the swimming pool or outside pond, they are most likely experiencing ‘polydipsia’ or excessive thirst. This […]

Older dogs need regular vet checks

Older dogs, like people, begin to suffer a range of illnesses as they age. Many  of these ailments aren’t detected until they are far advanced which means treatment is probably going to cost a lot and success is not guaranteed. That’s why veterinarians the world over encourage owners of older dogs to plan for regular […]

Feeding bones to dogs is not a good idea

Feeding bones to dogs has been depicted as perfectly natural for as long as any of us can remember. Whether dogs are the stars in cartoons, children’s stories or nursery rhymes there is usually a bone in their mouth or at their sides. However, what we’ve learned thanks to modern medical science is that feeding […]

Pets and cancer: what your vet wishes you knew

Pets and cancer is not something we’ve historically associated with veterinary care but the reality is, cancer in pets is increasing. Thanks to modern medicine and excellent nutrition, dogs and cats are living a lot longer, but as they get older their chances of developing cancer grows too. Here’s what your vet would like you […]

Coronavirus: can my pets get it?

Coronavirus or Covid-19 has dominated global headlines for weeks and as the virus spreads across continents, pet owners are beginning to ask if their pets are at risk. Coronavirus: are my pets at risk? As with any major health crisis, there’s a lot of misinformation doing the rounds but according to the World Health Organisation […]

Pets and sunburn: a real risk

Pets can’t get sunburn because they have fur, right? Wrong. Pets do suffer from sunburn, especially those with pink skin and short coats or white ears and pink noses. Pets that have  recently had a summer cut or have been shaved for surgery are also at higher risk. Hairless breeds like Sphynx and Mexican Hairless […]

Coronavirus: the animal to human connection

Coronavirus is a virus passed from animals to humans. This transfer of disease between species is called zoonoses. There are more than three dozen we can catch directly through touch and more than four dozen that result from bites. Bacteria and viruses that are deadly to one type of creature can evolve quickly to infect […]

Tummy trouble: how to help your pet

Tummy trouble is a generic term used to describe a host of gastro-intestinal ailments which can be mild or serious. Symptoms vary from vomiting to diarrhoea and loss of appetite or constipation. What’s causing my pet’s tummy trouble? Acute gastroenteritis This is very common and is characterised by sudden vomiting and diarrhoea. This is usually […]

7 common pet poisons to watch out for

Poison is not necessarily labelled ‘danger’ or marked with an ‘x’. In fact, many of the poisons that are most dangerous to pets are common household items like human medication and plants. If your pet starts drooling, frothing, convulsing, vomiting, crying, has difficulty breathing, won’t eat, stumbles or has pale gums, get him or her […]

Vaccinations: why they’re essential for your pet

Vaccinations are regrettably controversial. Thousands of parents (now known as anti-vaxxers) are choosing not to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases because of a single (now disproved) study that suggested a link between vaccination and autism. And the same is happening with pet parents. Veterinary clinics are experiencing anti-vaxxers too. We understand that some pet […]

Chemotherapy and pets: what to expect

Chemotherapy is something we generally associate with human cancer patients, not pets but when faced with your pet’s cancer diagnosis it is good to know exactly what chemotherapy can do for him or her. If chemotherapy is recommended for your pet, it’s natural that you’ll have questions and concerns. When do we recommend chemotherapy? How […]

Xylitol is deadly to dogs

Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many foods. It is deadly to dogs. Always check labels, and keep items containing xylitol out of your dog’s reach. If you’ve ever owned a puppy you’ll know that anything that isn’t kept out of his reach will be chewed or eaten. Puppies love to exercise their teeth; […]

Dandruff on your dog: what you can do

Dandruff on your dog isn’t something you might feel comfortable with taking to the vet. She’ll think you’re fussing about nothing, that you’re making a big deal about a silly cosmetic issue. Not true. Dandruff-like debris on your dog’s coat could be the sign of a condition that goes beyond simple cosmetics. And if it is […]

The risk of rabies: why we need to be alarmed

The risk of rabies in South Africa is particularly high. It is endemic in our country. Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth. It’s fatality rate is 99.9%, with more than 95% of deaths occuring in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Dogs, and not farm animals as we like to believe, pose the greatest risk […]

Ear mites in pets: what to look out for

Ear mites in pets are unpleasant for pet owners (they usually result in smelly ears) and sore and uncomfortable for pets. Unfortunately, not all pets display obvious symptoms so vigilance is necessary to detect and then treat them. Ear mites affect both dogs and cats, though they are more frequent in cats. Ear mites in […]

Feline Leukaemia Virus: a guide for cat owners

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is widespread in South Africa and cats infected with it are predisposed to other illnesses and infections that could kill them. They’re also a danger to other cats. Here’s what you need to know to protect your cat: What is Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)? Feline leukaemia is a virus that infects […]

Diabetes in cats: what you need to know

Diabetes in cats (diabetes mellitus) has become an increasingly common condition. It often occurs in cats that are overweight and/or older. As in humans, cats have a pancreas that should produce insulin to regulate the sugar (glucose) in their bodies from their diet. Diabetes in cats occurs when the feline body is not able to […]

Winter hazards for pets: what to look out for

Winter hazards are everywhere; from plummeting temperatures to heating appliances that may cause burns. Pet owners need to be vigilant, especially with sudden cold snaps. Our friends at Rogz Pet Insurance have identified the following dangers for pet parents to watch out for: 1 Cold Temperatures. Pets can succumb to frost bite or hypothermia in […]

Your pets’ eyes: keep a lookout for diseases

Your pets’ eyes are usually appreciated for way they gently beguile you into sharing a treat. What few pet owners realise is that pets’ eyes are at risk of many of the same eye conditions or diseases that people have: surface scratches (ulcers), pinkeye (conjunctivitis) and increased fluid pressure (glaucoma) to name a few. Most […]

My dog is limping, what does it mean?

My dog is limping but he’s healthy. That’s a refrain that vets hear time and again. What pet owners don’t realise is that limping can be a sign of arthritis but because pets are good at hiding their pain, you may not be aware of it until the disease has progressed. My dog is limping. […]

Cat snuffles: what it is and what you can do

Cat snuffles is a common cat ailment usually characterised by sneezing, watery eyes and nose and ulceration of nose and tongue, but the cause could be any one of several viruses. Cat snuffles: what causes it The most important virus associated with cat snuffles is the herpes virus. It causes an infection of the upper […]

Cancer in pets: what you can do

Cancer in pets isn’t something we readily consider when taking on a new pet. We tend to think of cancer as a ‘human’ disease but like humans, pets are living longer and are at increased risk of cancer. In fact, one in three pets will get cancer. Types of cancer Cancer in pets can occur […]

Dandruff on dogs: what you should do

Dandruff is not something we generally associate with pets and if you do notice it, perhaps you’ve felt silly bringing it up with your vet. But you should. Dandruff-like debris could be the sign of a condition that goes beyond simple cosmetics. And if it is ordinary dandruff,  there are things you can do at […]

Lumps and bumps should not be ignored

Lumps and bumps on your dog or cat often appear as your pet ages. But because they’re small (at first) and don’t appear to be causing your pet any discomfort, you ignore them. “Oh, it’s just a little wart,” you might say, or “It’s just a funny little fatty thing on his tummy. Really no […]

Pregnancy in pets: what you need to know

Pregnancy in pets necessitates special care and attention, and additional veterinary visits. Here’s our vet’s guide to how to care for a pregnant pet, and her puppies or kittens: Pregnancy basics DOGS go on heat from the age of 7-9 months for 2-3 weeks. They are fertile in the last week of the heat. Their […]

How to cope with pet emergencies

Pet emergencies can be terrifying for pet owners because very few of us know what to do when they happen. Instead, we panic and in our distress, fail to take action fast enough. What is essential is that you get your pet to the vet as soon as you can, and call ahead if possible […]

Warning signs your pet’s not healthy (or happy)

Warning signs of pain and discomfort aren’t always easy to spot in our pets. Though they are sentient beings that experience the same discomforts we do; cold, heat, hunger and pain they hide their pain far more effectively than humans. That’s because in the wild, an ill or injured animal is vulnerable to attack, so […]

Litter tray misses: what your cat’s telling you

Litter tray misses can be frustrating and unpleasant for the cat owner who has to clean up after their cat but for the cat, it could be even worse. Messing outside the litter tray could be a cat’s call for help. Diabetes, early kidney failure, and other health problems can be the cause of your […]

Bones for your dog: why we don’t encourage them

Bones for your dog go together like fish and chips, right? In every doggy cartoon and every book you’ve read since childhood, the dog has a bone to chew. They’ve become so synonymous that it is sometimes difficult to see why they could be a problem but they are. Myths and legends Many people believe […]

Congestive heart failure for pet owners

Congestive heart failure in animals is not something most pet owners understand right off; you’re not veterinarians and discussing cardiac disease can be like speaking a foreign language. Your veterinarian knows you didn’t go to veterinary school, so when it comes to topics like congestive heart failure, the fancy clinical terms might not make any […]

Common household items that are poisonous to pets

Common household items that are poisonous to pets include everything from foodstuffs to vitamins. These are the top 10 items you need to keep out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate Chocolate tops the list—and for good reason! Chocolate is prevalent in our homes, and unfortunately, just as popular with dogs as it is with us. […]

Diabetes in cats: what you need to know

Diabetes in cats is a relatively common condition but it is quite manageable and your cat can lead a good quality of life. Here’s what you need to know: What is diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a condition that develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin that is produced isn’t sufficient enough […]

My dog is urinating in the house: what’s the problem?

My male dog has recently started urinating in the house. He urinates in the same spot, lifting his leg on a cabinet I only recently bought. He is doggy-door trained so he is able to go outside to pee whenever he wants. I have cleaned both the cabinet and floor with bleach and vinegar and […]

Thyroid problems in cats: what to look out for

Thyroid problems in pets is quite common, though how cats and dogs are affected can be quite different.   Dogs commonly suffer from hypothyroidism https://www.ebervet.com/hypothyroidism-i…-to-recognise-it/ while in cats, hyperthyroidism, or high hormone levels, is more common. The most obvious difference between the two is that dogs with hypothyroidism become lethargic and put on weight, while cats with […]

Hypothyroidism in dogs: how to recognise it

Hypothyroidism in dogs is a relatively common condition. Some breeds, like Golden Retrievers and Dobermans, are at higher risk as are middle-aged dogs and dogs that have been sterilised. At Country Animal Clinic our resident dog Bobo had been gaining a significant amount of weight over the last year (7kg) and her coat had become […]

Cruciate ligament injuries in pets: what you need to know

Cruciate ligament injury is one of the most common ailments encountered in dogs, particularly dogs that are overweight. Certain breeds are also at higher risk, like Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Golden Retrievers. What is a cruciate ligament? The cruciate ligaments are two fibrous bands in each knee that connect the femur (bone above […]

Ringworm in pets: what you need to know

Ringworm is something most pet owners fear because it can be passed on to humans.  The good news is that it’s not as gross as it sounds. The not-so-good news is that getting rid of it requires a lot of cleaning. But if you work with your veterinarian, your pet can get better quickly. What […]

Parvovirus reaches crisis levels in Cape

Parvovirus, a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease that affects dogs, is spreading like wildfire through the Cape. One hospital which usually treats around 14 parvo cases a month, has already seen 45 patients this month. The disease is prevented by vaccination. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to the virus and it’s chances of surviving […]

Osteoarthritis in pets: what you need to know

Osteoarthritis is commonly associated with elderly humans but it is also relatively common in pets, particularly as they age. It is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that makes movement difficult and painful. Though it is more common in cats and dogs aged 6 and upwards, younger animals can also be affected. Studies suggest that up […]

Make your dog a no-fly zone!

Flies emerge in their droves the moment the weather warms. For us, they’re a nuisance around food and bins but for our pets, and especially dogs, they can lead to serious injury, infection and even death of tissue. Flies carry bacteria and are capable of causing not only damage to your pet’s body, but also […]

5 things you should know about Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

Feline Leukaemia Virus is highly contagious and easily spread, though cats who are infected may show no signs of the disease for months or even years. The disease slowly weakens the immune system, exposing the cat to other life-threatening ailments like kidney disease and cancer. Here are 5 important things you should know about Feline […]

Keeping your dog safe in the water

Does your dog love to swim? Does he or she plunge into the pool at every opportunity? Some dogs, like Labradors, are genetically drawn to water whereas others are either afraid of it or find swimming very difficult, like Pugs and Corgis. Whether your dog swims in your pool at home or plunges into the […]

Constipation in dogs: how to treat it

Constipation in dogs is more common in older dogs but all ages and breeds can suffer from it. It should never be ignored  as extended periods of distress can cause serious health concerns. Constipation signs and symptoms A constipated dog, especially if it is well-trained and evacuates at regular intervals daily, is described as being […]

Kennel Cough: what dog owners should know

Kennel cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough where large numbers of dogs gather, like boarding kennels, daycare facilities, in parks and at dog shows. Kennel cough is spread through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s […]

Canine distemper outbreak: what you need to know

Canine distemper virus infects dogs and other mammals, including ferrets, but does not infect cats. Dogs of all ages are susceptible if not previously immunised, although infection is most common in puppies less than 16 weeks of age. Vaccination is your dog’s best protection. There is currently no available medication that can destroy the virus that […]

Why pets need their teeth cleaned

Pets need their teeth cleaned just as humans do. Few pet owners diligently follow this practice and that’s why 85 percent of all pets have gum disease and infection by the time they are 3 years of age. Like humans, if teeth aren’t cleaned regularly periodontal disease (gum disease) occurs. It starts when bacteria combine […]

Pet emergencies: when to take your pet to the vet

Emergencies are impossible to predict and sometimes difficult to read, especially when it comes to a pet. Most pet owners will wait several hours, or sometimes days, before taking a pet to the vet believing that whatever ails their dog or cat may resolve itself, or can be helped with a bit of TLC at […]

Rabies: 100% fatal, 100% preventable

Rabies is not a ‘farm animal’ disease; all mammals are at risk of rabies and in South Africa, more dogs carry rabies than any other animal. That’s why veterinarians are urging pet owners to please vaccinate their pets. You might think you’re safe in the suburbs but rabies is endemic in SA. It knows no […]

My pet is having a seizure. What should I do?

For any dog owner, witnessing your beloved pet having a seizure or fitting episode can be a terrifying experience. Seizures or fits are the result of disease and your veterinarian will need to run several tests on your dog to determine the cause. “The most important thing you can do as an owner is not […]

My dog is vomiting – is this normal?

Vomiting episodes are fairly common with dogs. However, if the vomiting continues (more than one isolated episode) or there is a noticeable decline in a dog’s overall health, it’s essential to take action. What could be causing the vomiting? These are the 5 most common conditions that contribute to vomiting. They can be dangerous and […]

Prostate cancer in dogs

Prostate cancer, or adenocarcinoma, is a malignant tumour originating in the glandular tissue, in this case the tissue of the prostate gland. It can grow and metastasize rapidly to other parts and organs of the body, including the lungs, bones, and lymph nodes. Prostatic adenocarcinoma is seen in both intact and neutered dogs. It can develop in any breed, but it most […]

Hot spots: what causes them, how to get rid of them

Most dog owners are familiar with ‘hot spots’. They are those raw, red patches on your dog where the hair has been rubbed or licked off or has fallen out. Any hair that is left is caked with noisy, smelly crusts. A hot spot is painful for your dog. Treatment is essential. Why do hot […]

Venereal tumours: another important reason to sterilise your dog

Sexually transmitted diseases are not something one naturally associates with animals but venereal tumours do unfortunately occur all too often in South Africa. Transmissible venereal tumour, or TVT, is a naturally occurring tumour that is sexually transmitted from one dog to another. It is also transmitted via licking or sniffing of an affected area. It […]

Cancer pain: how to help your pet through it

Cancer pain is something we don’t like to think about but if your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, he or she is almost certainly experiencing pain.  Once diagnosed, your vet will work with you to create a pain management plan to keep your pet comfortable during treatment. Here are some pointers to keep in mind […]

Living with Feline Leukaemia: a guide for cat owners

Mention the words ‘Feline Leukaemia’ to any cat owner and you’ll see instant panic on their faces.  For many owners, this disease spells ‘early death’ for their beloved felines. However, cat specialist veterinarian Dr Glenn Olah, says with proper management by the owner and healthcare from the veterinary team, cats with this retrovirus can live […]

Undescended testicles endanger your pet’s health

Undescended testicles are not something pet owners routinely search for. Yet if left where they are, they can pose serious health problems. Take the case of Squeek Cunnington, a 15 year old Jack Russell, who presented at our Country Animal Clinic in Somerset West with a large mass in his abdomen. The mass, said  his […]

Dental disease in pets is a serious health issue

Taking care of your pet’s teeth is more than fresh breath and clean teeth; it’s a serious health issue. Too few pet owners consider their pets’ teeth when considering their overall health yet a scary 85% of pets suffer some form of dental disease after the age of three. Bad teeth not only cause pain, […]

My dog has constipation; what can I do?

A dog with constipation is an unhappy dog, and constipation can become life-threatening if left untreated. Here’s how to help your pooch: How bad is it? Determining the severity of your dog’s constipation is essential for treatment. If your dog is in significant discomfort, is vomiting, won’t eat, hasn’t pooped for more than three days, […]

Heart disease and pets: how you can help

Heart disease is usually associated with human beings and many pet owners don’t realise their pets are at risk too. In fact, its one of the most common illnesses we see in companion animals. All breeds can be affected – though some are genetically pre-disposed – and the incidence increases dramatically with age. February is […]

Bladder stones in cats: how to avoid them

Bladder stones in cats have myriad causes. Some breeds are pre-disposed to this condition, diet has a significant influence, and older cats are more likely to get them. Cats can develop bladder stones at any age. Some types of stones are more likely to form at different lifestages. The risk of developing calcium oxalate stones, for […]

Sterilisation could save your pet’s life

Sterilisation is not something that dog owner Lloyd Schmidt ever considered for his German Shepherd, Helga. “I was brought up to believe you leave the dog as it is; as nature intended, and that you don’t sterilise,” he says, “especially as the dog never got out and was protected from other dogs.” Then Helga became […]

Ear infections in dogs: facts not fiction

Ear infections in dogs are more common than pet owners may think. And, unfortunately, there are several myths around them that could exacerbate recurrent infections. 5 facts to fight the fiction MYTH All ear infections are the same; I can use the same medicine I used the last time. FACT Your vet needs to examine […]

Hot spots plague dogs in summer

  If your dog is licking consistently in one spot and a raw, red, moist sore develops, he or she probably has a ‘hot spot’.   Hot spots (or moist dermatitis) appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog’s body. They are usually caused when broken skin is contaminated by bacteria. Moisture – a recent bath, a […]

Pets and allergies: what you can do

Pets, like humans, are prone to allergies especially at this time of year. Constant scratching, biting and licking are sure signs of a skin allergy, a more common ailment than one might think. Allergies cause great discomfort to your pets,  leaving them with bald, bleeding patches and raised bumps or blisters on the skin. What […]

What you should know about overweight pets

Fact: half of South Africa’s pets are overweight or obese. Fact: 9 out of 10 pet owners believe their pets are a normal weight. October is Pet Obesity Month and because this is such a huge problem for South Africa’s pets, we’re highlighting ways you can help yours to slim down. Firstly, it’s important to […]

Poisonous plants and your pets

By Dr Adri Rossouw They may be beautiful to look at and fill your garden with fragrance but there are many plants that are poisonous to pets. The flame lily, the perfumed Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Elephant Ear, syringa, dragon tree, firesticks and cycads all pose significant dangers to dogs and cats. At our Country […]

Seizures and epilepsy in pets

By Dr Ingrid de Wet Nothing can be more scary than seeing a beloved pet have a seizure. Seizures usually come out of the blue and one feels utterly helpless as the minutes tick by. Today, we’re going to discuss what causes seizures and what to do when your pet has one. What is a […]

Rabies and your pets: what you need to know

Rabies is endemic in South Africa yet few pet owners appreciate the dangers to city and suburban pets. “We still tend to think of rabies as a disease found on farms, and that is spread by jackals and other wildlife,” says veterinarian Dr Hilldidge Beer. The reality though is that in South Africa 99% of […]

When dogs’ baby teeth must be removed

You may have thought that it was only children that had ‘baby’ teeth but dogs have them too. And just like humans, some dogs don’t lose their baby teeth as they grow. This is a particular problem among certain breeds, in particular the toy breeds like Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Pinschers (Doberman) and Malteses but it […]

New kidney test diagnoses disease much earlier

A revolutionary kidney test, described by veterinarians as the most significant advancement in the field of veterinary medicine in 30 years, is turning back the clock for hundreds of thousands of pets. One in three cats and one in 10 dogs is likely to suffer chronic kidney disease (CKD) as they get older.  It remains […]

Removing a dog’s eye: reasons and post-op care

Enucleation. It’s a scary-sounding word and it’s a scary procedure for most pet parents. No pet parent wants to be told their dog’s eye needs to be removed (enucleation) but several medical conditions may necessitate this. If a dog is in severe pain from a medical condition of the eye, or the condition can lead […]

Why does my dog shake his head?

This might seem like a really silly question but it is something dogs do quite often and many owners do wonder what it means, especially if the shaking becomes a regular habit. Firstly, shaking is a brilliant way for dogs to get something out of their ears that shouldn’t be there. The forces generated by […]

Deafness in pets: what you can expect

Deafness is perhaps not something one associates all that often with pets. However, there are more than 30 breeds of dogs that have a known susceptibility for deafness and it affects cats too. Dog breeds most often affected include: the Boston Terrier, Australian Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Jack Russell, Maltese, Toy and Miniature […]

How to help your pet’s winter aches and pains

Winter aches and pains are not confined to humans. Like humans, many pets suffer arthritis and muscle pain as they age, particularly as the colder weather draws in. Arthritis is, in fact, one of the most common ailments seen in older pets, causing changes in affected joints that can be extremely painful, yet few pet […]

Testicular cancer in dogs: how to prevent it

Testicular cancer is relatively common in older dogs that have not been sterilised. It presents as a tumour. Though it is more common in older dogs it can occur in unsterilised males of any age, and in all breeds. The current cause of testicular tumours is unknown. Dogs that have one or both testicles that are not descended (what […]

How to store your pet’s food safely

We spend hundreds of Rands each year buying food for our pets but few of us give much thought to the best way to store and preserve it when we buy in bulk. There is a right way and a wrong way. Do it right and you’re not only saving yourself money, you’ll also be […]

Incontinence in dogs: causes and treatment

Dogs present with incontinence for a number of different reasons. These include hormonal problems, kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, bladder stones and bladder infections. A consultation with a veterinarian is essential to find the underlying cause, and to find the appropriate treatment. The veterinarian will take a full history and do a clinical examination. […]

Arthritis in pets: how to ease the pain

Like humans, many pets suffer arthritis as they age and this is particularly noticeable as the colder weather draws in. It is one of the most common ailments seen in older pets, causing changes in affected joints that can be extremely painful for a cat or dog. But it can also be particularly hard to […]

Hip dysplasia: how to help your dog

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal disorders seen in dogs. The condition is characterised by a malformation of the hip joint. Instead of the normal tight fit between the cup or socket and femoral head (ball), patients with this condition suffer from a laxity within the joint. The malformation is a result […]

Eye discharge in dogs: when to worry

Have you ever noticed gummy, sticky, runny stuff at the corner of your dog’s eye? Eye discharge is a common problem in dogs. Some types are completely normal, while others are associated with potentially serious health issues. To know whether that discharge needs veterinary attention or not, pet parents need to understand the various types […]

Bladder stones in pets

Bladder stones are fairly common in pets. They have multiple causes. They are painful to pets so the sooner they are detected and removed the better. What causes bladder stones in pets? Diet. Certain minerals become oversaturated in the urine and eventually form stones. The pH (acidity or alkalinity) of the urine also predisposes to different […]

Mothballs: keep them away from your pets

By Jennifer Coates, DVM The incidence of mothball poisoning in pets is quite low but that becomes irrelevant when it’s your pet that has become sick. Most cases of mothball poisoning involve a pet eating a mothball, but problems can also arise when pets are exposed to the fumes that mothballs produce or when their skin comes in contact […]

Don’t neglect your pet’s dental health

Imagine what your mouth would look like if you hadn’t brushed your teeth for years. Not a pretty sight. So what about your pet? When last did you think about his or her dental health? Chances are if you haven’t been vigilant about your pet’s dental health you’ll find his teeth are stained and brown, that […]

Ultrasound: new heart help for your pet

Heart disease in pets is more common than most people think. At Country Animal Clinic we have the expertise to take ultrasound images of your pet’s heart. This gives us a greater chance of correctly diagnosing your pet’s heart ailment. This technique is called an echo-cardiogram or echo for short. How does an echo-cardiogram help […]

Kidney disease in cats

Chronic kidney disease is one of the most common diseases in older cats. For this reason, all cats older than 7 years of age should undergo an annual checkup and kidney screening. Symptoms of chronic kidney disease – Increased water intake. Cats may start demanding that you open the tap, or drink from a pond or pool, or […]

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) – what you need to know

Many cat owners fear feline leukemia virus (FeLV) but what is it? How do cats catch it? How best can you protect your cat? Here’s our expert veterinarian advice… What is feline leukaemia?  Feline leukaemia infects cats around the world. Between 2-4 % of cats test positive, though the incidence is probably much higher as only a […]

Hairballs: how to prevent them harming your cat

All cat owners are probably familiar with hairballs. Those with long-haired cats are more familiar than most. You’ll know your cat has a hairball when he or she retches then vomits up a tubular mass of hair. This is a hairball. What causes a hairball? Hairballs occur as a result of your cat grooming and […]

Breast cancer: spay your dog

Breast cancer is something we readily associate with humans but how many of us knew it is also a common disease in dogs? In fact, it is one of the most common ailments affecting dogs, particularly female dogs that have not been spayed. How to reduce the risk of breast cancer The best way to […]

Sterilising your pets is better for their health

Sterilising a pet before she’s had her first litter may seem to some pet owners to be cruel but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Spaying your pet not only stops her having babies, it also protects her against deadly diseases like cancer, feline HIV and leukaemia. Unfortunately, there are still many pet owners who believe that […]

No chocolate for pets on Valentine’s Day

Chocolate may be the key to your lover’s heart on Valentine’s Day but it could spell death for your dog. It contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants that affect the central nervous system and the heart muscle in pets. The amount of chocolate it takes to poison your pet depends on the type  and your pet’s weight. Because […]

Heart disease: please check your pet

Heart disease is one of the most common illnesses we see in companion animals. All breeds can be affected and the incidence increases dramatically with age. It’s heart month. Now is the perfect time to have your pet checked by your vet. Here’s what you need to know: Large breed dogs (especially Dobermans and Boxers) are predisposed to what […]

How to know when your pet’s in pain

Pain is something none of us want our pets to suffer but knowing when they’re feeling it can be difficult because they don’t respond the same way as humans. Our pets can’t tell us when they’re hurting but rehabilitation and pain management specialist Dr Janice Huntingford says pets do offer clues about how they’re feeling if […]

The bitter truth about sweetener for dogs

Xylitol, the sweetener commonly used in tea and coffee as a sugar substitute, and to flavour human foods, is potentially fatal for dogs. The South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) warns that any dog swallowing xylitol should be taken to a vet immediately. The sooner he or she receives treatment, the better the chance of survival. […]

Diabetes: don’t miss the warning signs

Like humans, pets can develop diabetes. Signs that your pet may have this life-threatening disease include: excessive urination; excessive drinking; increased appetite; and weight loss. In cases where the diabetes is not treated promptly and allowed to progress to the point of a crisis, symptoms may include a loss of appetite, weakness, seizures, twitching, and intestinal problems […]

Pets get breast cancer too

As women worldwide take steps to prevent breast cancer so should pet owners. Veterinary statistics show that as many as 1 in 4 unspayed female dogs will get breast cancer; in humans, that number is 1 in 29. Most pet owners are unaware that dogs and cats get breast cancer (also known as mammary cancer) […]

Rabies risk: what’s yours?

Rabies risk is relatively high considering that it is an entirely preventable disease. It kills more than 55 000 people worldwide every year and most are children younger than 15 years of age. According to the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) this deadly disease is mostly transmitted via dog bites. “Vaccination is the most reliable, […]

Caring for your pet’s teeth

Imagine what your mouth would look like if you hadn’t brushed your teeth for years. Not a pretty sight. So what about your pet? When last did you take a really close look at his or her teeth and gums? Chances are if you haven’t been vigilant about your pet’s dental health you’ll find his […]

Rabies: what you need to know

Rabies kills one person every 10 minutes somewhere in the world. This fatal viral infection is most common in Asia and Africa but is 100% preventable. Jackals, mongooses and bat-eared foxes are common rabies carriers although all mammals are susceptible. The virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, either when they bite, or […]

Ear infections in dogs

Ear infections in dogs are a common ailment in South Africa, especially in summer when many dogs like to swim. Labradors and spaniels (water-loving dogs) are most vulnerable. Water in the ears is a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.   Signs and symptoms Common signs of ear infections are ear scratching and head shaking.  The ear […]

Rickets in pets

Rickets is a relatively common disease in young animals. Bow-legged pups, or even those crawling around on their elbows, are often observed in impoverished communities, though the disease is not limited to poor homes. Rickets affects the long bone in young animals, that part of the bone that grows during puppy and kittenhood. Causes Diet […]

Pet vaccinations

One of the most heartbreaking experiences for any veterinarian is being presented with a beautiful puppy that is infected with Parvovirus (Cat flu or ‘katgriep’) – a killer disease easily prevented by vaccination. A puppy’s chances of surviving Parvo are 50/50, if he or she gets premium and urgent veterinary care immediately after diagnosis. The […]

Cancer & your pet

Few animal owners realise it but, like humans, pets get cancer too – even breast cancer! Cancer is a word most of us dread. We immediately think of pain and suffering and a poor prognosis but, as with all diseases, the sooner cancer is detected, the easier and more successful the treatment. Here’s what you need […]

Feline Aids – what cat owners should know

Although FIV is similar to HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) and causes a disease in cats similar to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) in humans, it is a highly species-specific virus that infects only felines. Because biting is the most efficient means of viral transmission, free-roaming, aggressive male cats are the most frequently infected, while […]

Protecting your cat from feline leukaemia virus

Feline leukaemia virus is widespread in South Africa and cats infected with it are predisposed to other illnesses and infections that could kill them. They’re also a danger to other cats. Here’s what you need to know to protect your cat: What is feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)? Feline leukaemia is a virus that infects only cats. […]

Hairballs in cats

Hairballs are relatively common in all cats, not just those with long hair but how do you know if yours has one? Does your cat sometimes make retching, coughing sounds as though its trying to dislodge something in its throat? This may be a hairball. Hairballs form in your cat’s stomach from hair they’ve swallowed […]

New test for kidney disease

A revolutionary new blood test is able to diagnose early stage kidney disease in cats and dogs. This means your pet can be treated earlier and given a longer life. The kidney’s function is to filter toxins from the blood but if a kidney is damaged by disease it can’t perform. Until recently vets diagnosed kidney […]

Kidney disease in pets

Kidney disease is one of the most common illnesses likely to affect our pets yet because signs of serious renal disease only appear after 75% of kidney function has already been lost, early detection is vitally important. Once chronic kidney failure develops it cannot be reversed. As in humans, kidneys play a vital role in […]

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