DogTime Blogs

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Diabetes in cats

Diabetes is well recognised in cats. Genetics, diet and breed play a role in the disease. In Australia and the UK, the Burmese breed are at higher risk of developing diabetes.

Obesity is also a major risk factor.

Symptoms that you may see in a diabetic cat are an increase in appetite, thirst and urination, sometimes combined with weight loss.

Diabetic cats are managed in a similar way to humans with diabetes. In most cases we need to give insulin injections to affected cats. Feeding a recommended high protein and low carbohydrate diet is also extremely important in controlling the disease.

Cats can experience diabetic remission, particularly if well controlled with insulin and on the appropriate diet.


Allergies are one of the most common problems in dogs with inhaled allergens, food and fleas being the top causes. When pets breathe in allergens such as pollens, they can develop itchy and irritated skin. Allergic pets generally show signs around 6-7 months and fully develop signs by 3-5 years. It can be seasonal or it can be all year round.

Signs of allergies in pets:
• Chewing of feet
• Discoloration of fur on feet (saliva staining)
• Hair loss
• Hot and reddened skin around face, feet, armpits and groin
• Scabby skin

If you suspect allergies, your veterinarian can run a simple blood test to determine what is causing your pet to itch.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Help the Australian Wildlife

Unfortunately, it is all too common to come across injured wildlife. With natural disasters such as flooding and fires, our wildlife must flee from their homes.

Here is a list of wildlife hotlines for you to call when you come across an injured wildlife:
NSW 13000 WIRES or 1300 094 737
VIC: 1300 WILDLIFE (1300 9453 5433)
ACT 132 281 or RSPCA Wildlife - (02) 62878100
NT Wildcare - (08) 8988 6121
QLD (07) 5527 2444
SA Fauna Rescue - (08) 8289 0896
TAS (03) 6233 6556
WA Wildcare - (08) 9334 0333

When handling wildlife:
• Approach the animal slowly
• Gently cover them with a towel or blanket to calm it down
• Do not attempt to feed it

For more information go to or
Wildlife Victoria or Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Is Bad Breath Normal?

Healthy pets should have normal fresh breath. Bad breath can be a sign of a serious dental disease or health problems. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease by age 3 years.

It's important to have your pets teeth examined by a veterinarian every year. You can help prevent dental problems by brushing your pets teeth regularly. Ask your veterinarian to discuss preventive options for your pet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tips on Training Your Dog to Relax

If your having trouble training your dog to “stay” or “wait”, consider the word “relax”.

It’s an important command that can come in handy for situations such as:
- when you are using potentially harmful cleaning agents,
- when there is broken glass or nails in the area,
- when there are small children around.

Sit your dog calmly in one place and calmly say “relax”. Any slight movements should be followed with a firm “uh-uh”. Gently hold your dog in place repeating the word calmly “relax” and after a few seconds, release and say “ok”.

Practice every day giving your dog positive reinforcement such as a pet or a treat.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal infections in people (Salmonellosis). Clinical signs include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever and cast last up to 4-7 days. It is usually contracted through the ingestion of food contaminated with animal feces. Birds and reptiles (such as turtles, snakes and lizards) naturally carry salmonella and therefore should be handled with care.

Illness can be prevented with simple hygiene practice:
1. Wash hands with soap before eating;
2. Cook all meat;
3. Do not use raw eggs;
4. Wash kitchen surfaces and utensils with detergent;
5. Wash hands after handling reptiles or birds especially after coming into contact with their droppings

Further details about Salmonellosis at CDC

Monday, March 23, 2009

Poisonous Pet Foods

Care must be taken when feeding pets from our kitchen. Certain food items can be poisonous to our pets. When giving treats, always given in moderation and avoid high fat and high sugar foods. The following is a list of foods that can be poisonous to our pets:
Tomato leaves or stems

This is not the full list. For further details, check out

Pet Food Recalls

Since the major pet food recall in 2007, there has been heightened public awareness of pet food safety. In 2007 there was a global recall of many dog and cat food brands due to melamine contamination being linked to kidney failure in pets. In 2008, peanuts were under scrutiny for the salmonella contamination.

It’s no wonder that our natural instinct would be to blame food companies and seek home made diets. However, special care is required in order to ensure safe food handling at home. No matter what food you give to your pets, you should consult your local veterinarian to make sure that the diet is fully balanced and safe for your pet.

It’s important that we are all aware of the current food safety issues and that we monitor our pets closely. Any problems experienced with a particular food or product should be reported immediately by seeking veterinary attention.

The AVMA and the FDA provide regular updates on food recalls.

FDA Peanut Butter Recall List (USA only)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is one of the hottest topics in veterinary medicine. It is the practice of retrieving stem cells (young cells that can develop into any tissue cell i.e. heart, cartilage, muscle, ligament, bone) from an animal’s fat sample and injecting it into the same animal’s injured site. In theory, these stem cells develop into healthy tissue by way of reacting to environmental signals. Anecdotal successes have been reported throughout the world in the treatment of horses and dogs with tendon and ligament injuries and arthritis.