Information

Please find more information below and feel free to Contact Us for advice and tailor made treatments for your pets:

1. Vaccination Schedules – Dogs

The immunity that a puppy has at birth only lasts for a few weeks. Thereafter, it is your responsibility to ensure that your puppy is vaccinated against certain diseases to promote a long and healthy life. A puppy needs three vaccinations: at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age. The first vaccination protects against mainly parvovirus (“catflu”) and distemper. The second and third vaccinations are boosters and protect against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis virus, pneumonia viruses and rabies. Thereafter, your dog needs an annual vaccination which protects against all the viruses already mentioned.

Important preventable viral diseases in dogs include:

Canine Parvovirus: A very contagious and widespread disease which is spread through infected faeces and can remain in the environment for many months. Symptoms include high fever, listlessness, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. This disease is most severe in young puppies and older dogs, and can be potentially fatal, especially in unvaccinated animals.

Canine Distemper: This disease is hard to treat and is often fatal. Is is highly contagious and is spread by discharges from the nose and eyes of an infected dog. Symptoms can include listlessness, coughing, fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. Convulsions and paralysis can occur in the final stages of the disease. The virus attacks many organs which could be permanently damaged even if the dog recovers.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis: This disease is spread through secretions like saliva, infected urine or faeces. The symptoms are similar to those of early stage distemper. This disease can cause liver failure, eye damage and breathing problems. It can range from mild to fatal.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis (aka “Kennel Cough”): The disease is caused by various airborne bacteria and viruses. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough. It is easily transmitted from one dog to another the same way that the human common cold is transmitted.

*High-risk situations i.e. kenneling, may require additional intra-nasal vaccination against the above mentioned disease.

Rabies: This is an incurable viral disease which affects the central nervous system in all animals and humans. It is spread through contact with saliva of an infected animal, either through a bite or break in the skin. By law, all pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

Vaccinations given for these diseases cannot guarantee 100% protection, however if used in conjunction with proper nutrition and acceptable sanitary conditions, it is your pet’s best defense against disease. Prevention through vaccination is also cost effective, as treatments for the above diseases can be drawn-out and costly, both in terms of money and distress.

2. Vaccination Schedules – Cats

The immunity that a kitten has lasts longer than that of puppies, therefore they only need two vaccinations as kittens: at 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age. Thereafter, an annual booster vaccination is needed to protect against mainly flu-like viruses and rabies. Vaccinating your kitten can ensure a long and healthy life.

Important preventable viral diseases in cats include:

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: This virus causes upper respiratory-tract infections. It is easily transmitted from one cat to another, as with the human common cold. Symptoms include moderate fever, loss of appetite, eye and nasal discharges, coughing and sneezing. Treatment is limited, and if a can recovers it can remain a carrier for life.

Feline Calicivirus: This is another virus which causes upper respiratory-tract infections. It is widespread and highly contagious. Symptoms include fever, blisters and ulcers on the tongue and pneumonia. Treatment is also limited, and even if a cat recovers it can continue to infect other animals, as well as experience runny eyes and chronic sneezing.

Feline Panleucopenia: This is a very resistant and potentially fatal disease. Symptoms include listlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, severe dehydration and fever. Treatment is difficult, and a once-infected cat can transmit the disease to other unvaccinated animals.

Feline Leukaemia (FeLV): This virus can result in many serious health problems – from cancerous conditions (like leukaemia) to secondary infections  caused by the break down of the immune system. A cat can show no symptoms for months or even years, and yet still infect others.

Feline Chlamydiosis: This is a bacterial disease and is highly contagious, especially in young kittens. It causes a local infection of the mucous membranes of the eyes, but it may also involve the lungs. It can be transmitted to humans by direct contact.

Rabies: This is an incurable viral disease which affects the central nervous system in all animals and humans. It is spread through contact with saliva of an infected animal, either through a bite or break in the skin. By law, all pets should be vaccinated against rabies.

Vaccinations given for these diseases can not guarantee 100% protection, however if used in conjunction with proper nutrition and acceptable sanitary conditions, it is your pet’s best defense against disease. Prevention through vaccination is also cost effective, as treatments for the above diseases can be drawn-out and costly, both in terms of money and distress.

3. Parasite Control (Internal & External)

Worms are endoparasites which live mainly in the gastro-intestinal tract of animals and humans. There are many different types of worms, eg: hookworm, tapeworm, roundworm. There is also a link with ectoparasites, eg: fleas which carry tapeworms. Deworming is therefore essential to keep your pet healthy, and ultimately yourself as worms are transferrable to humans (zoonosis). You should routinely deworm your pet every 3 – 4 months.

Fleas are wingless insects who feed on the blood of animals. Their enlarged back legs gives them incredible jumping ability. They hang onto the animals fur with their claws and use their needle-like mouth to bite through the skin. Females can lay 30-50 eggs a day. The eggs drop onto the ground and the flea larvae hatch and hide in dark places (ground, carpets, upholstery), all in as little as 2 days. After a week, the larvae spin cocoons to become pupae. The pupae develop into adult fleas and emerge from their cocoons as soon as they sense an animal host nearby. This cycle can vary from 12 to 180 days. The best way to control flea problems is prevention. Use an anti-flea product every month as Nelspruit has a sub-tropical climate, and the hot, humid conditions are favourable to hatch flea pupae.

Ticks are also wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals. However, they are much bigger than fleas and do not have enlarged back legs. They can sense heat, carbon dioxide and other stimuli which allows them to locate the presence of an animal host. They embed their mouth parts into the animal’s skin and suck its blood. A female tick can lay up to 3 000 eggs. A tick should be removed immediately when found on your pet, as they can transmit diseases. To remove a tick, grasp the exposed section of the tick’s body near your pet’s skin and gently pull until it lets go. Prevention is also the best way to control tick problems. You can get combined products that work both for fleas and ticks at the same time.

Biliary fever is a life-threatening disease which is transmitted by ticks. Common symptoms include lethargy, weakness, anaemia, loss of appetite and blood in urine. Rapid treatment is often necessary to save your pet’s life.

4. Feeding & Nutrition

The nutritional value of food is vital for the development and maintenance of your pet throughout its life. Do you know what is required to keep your pet in tip-top condition? This is a field that is becoming very specialised. It is important to feed your pets according to their life stage and / or medical condition, etc. Please feel free to visit our shop and discuss this with our highly trained and helpful staff.

5. Sterilisations & Castrations

These operations are the best way of preventing unwanted pregnancies in cats and dogs. This type of surgery is a day procedure whereby your pet undergoes anesthetic and the relevant organs are removed. Recovery is quite quick, and within 2 – 3 days your pet should be back to their old self. We routinely perform these kinds of procedures on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You need to book an appointment with our receptionist about a week prior to your chosen date.

Dogs should be sterilised and castrated at around 6 months of age. This can reduce unwanted aggression in males, urine marking, roaming and potential prostate and testicular issues. The risk of uterus infections, and mammary glands and tumours is reduced in female dogs. Giving your female dog hormonal treatments to stop her from coming on heat can cause secondary infections and complications, particularly if you want to breed with her at a later stage, and are not encouraged by veterinarians.

Cats should be sterilised and castrated at around 6 months of age. This can also reduce roaming, aggression and marking of territories in male cats. Unwanted litters and uterus infections are prevented in female cats.

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6. Dental Hygiene

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by a build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. This can be caused by a poor diet and poor dental hygiene. It is important for your pet’s teeth to be checked annually by a veterinarian. You can also help your pet by feeding a nutritious diet, giving chewy treats and regular brushing at home. Use toothpaste, toothbrushes and oral rinses that are designed specifically for pets, which are obtainable from our veterinary practice or shop.

Note:

Do not let your pet eat or chew on materials like bones and stones. They can wear down the teeth, or even break them, damage the gums and lead to an infection. Giving bones to your pet to eat can also cause blockages or tears in the digestive tract with can cause serious complications for your pet. Rather give rawhides or pet treats like biscuits to help with the removal of plaque, and to help with those pets who like to chew or are “teething”.

7. Traveling with your Pet

Wherever you go, always ensure that your pet wears a collar with an identification tag and/is microchipped. Ensure that your pet is up to date with vaccinations, particularly if traveling to an area with increased risk of certain diseases (like rabies). You can also get a variety of treatments from your veterinarian which will help your pet to remain calm while traveling, and will assist with motion sickness. Cats prefer to be in carry boxes which are dark and well-ventilated.

When crossing borders to neighboring countries, the relevant embassies need to be contacted for the appropriate information on health documents needed, etc.

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8. First Aid & Emergencies

For any first aid and emergency cases, our practice offers a 24-hour / 7 days a week emergency number, with a vet available for telephonic advice and emergency assistance. Please contact us on (013) 752 8271 and you will be given a cell phone number of the veterinarian on duty to contact.

9. Poisoning

There are many household products and plants that can be harmful and toxic to your pets. Antifreeze and windscreen washer smells and tastes nice to pets, but are extremely toxic if ingested. Household chemicals like bleach and ammonia can cause toxicity in pets. Medicines, shampoo, suntan lotions and other personal care items can kill your pet. Indoor (like elephant ear and spider plants) and outdoor plants (like ivy, cycads and oleander) can be poisonous to pets. Remember to “pet proof” your house and keep dangerous and poisonous substances out of reach of pets.

Malicious poisonings seem to be on the increase due to high crime rates. Raw meat is often laced with various poisons like snailbaits, ant poison and temik. Please contact our emergency “on-call” vet for help and advice.