Max's Noisy Breathing

Max is an 11 year old Labrador who suffers from a condition called laryngeal paralysis.  This is a devastating disease that is most commonly seen in older Labradors and other large breed dogs.

The larynx has two folds that should open when breathing, and close when eating or drinking so food and liquid doesn't go down the wrong pipe.  In pets with laryngeal paralysis, none of this happens and either one or both folds of the larynx are paralyzed.  It makes taking a good, deep breath difficult to impossible.

Max's owners had noticed his noisy breathing 6 months earlier, but as the disease progressed, he began to suffer terrifying episodes of collapse and being unable to breathe.  Such episodes are brought on by stress, in the form of excitement, fear, anxiety, or overheating.

In Max's case a surgical procedure to "tie back" one side of his paralysed larynx was recommended.  Max underwent surgery with Dr Sarah Boys, and this was a great success.  While Max must now be careful when eating and is no longer allowed to go swimming, he is breathing normally again and acting like he is 2-3 years younger. 

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Dacryocystitis in Rabbits

Dacryocystitis in rabbits is where the nasolacrimal duct becomes infected.

The duct is long and windy and can become easily blocked resulting in a very mucky eye and surrounding fur.  It is really important to always check affected rabbits for any concurrent dental disease as the roots of the diseased upper molars can put pressure on the duct causing occlusion and infection.

Affected rabbits require frequent duct flushing and medication (sometimes for weeks) until the infection is under control and the duct has become patent again.  Most of the time rabbits are really cooperative with this and it can be performed under local anaesthetic to the eye.

Other common rabbit and guinea pig ocular problems include scratches to the eye, or foreign bodies especially seeds/straw behind the eyelids which require prompt removal/treatment to preserve the eyes and vision.

If you have any concerns about your small furries eyes contact any of our Blue Cross Veterinary centres today.

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Coffee Pods and Pepper don't mix

Meet Pepper.  He is a boisterous nine month old German Shorthair Pointer that mistook eight Nespresso coffee pods for play toys.  He came into our Blue Cross Clinic seizuring on the 25th of March.

Coffee pods are expresso concentrated coffee and are extremely toxic to cats and dogs.  The active ingredient is methylxanthine and dogs are much more sensitive to the effects of methylxanthine than humans.  Methylxanthine (present in chocolate and caffeine) can cause anxiousness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, increase heart rates and affect heart rhythm.  If not seen immediately then ingestion can be fatal.  A dose of up to 60mg/kg of caffeine can cause seizuring and Pepper ingested 3 times that amount.  So make sure to store your coffee pods (and chocolate) in a safe place so your dogs and cats can't get into them.  If you have noticed your animal has ingested coffee, chocolate or the contents from a coffee pod ring your Blue Cross Veterinary Centre as it can be an emergency.

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Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Going sugar-free seems like a good idea for you and your dog.  Unfortunately, a sugar free additive known as Xylitol is very toxic to dogs.  Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that is used as a sugar substitute in human food and can be found in many products around the home including gum, lollies, toothpaste, and baked goods to name a few!  The increased use of Xylitol has led to an increase in cases of toxicity in dogs.

While Xylitol is safe for people, it is very toxic in dogs even in very small doses.  When ingested by dogs it causes a large insulin release causing low blood sugar and potentially liver failure.  Signs of Xylitol toxicity include lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, sudden collapse, trembling, loss of coordination and potentially death.

If your furry friend gets into some human food remember to check the ingredients list for xylitol (other artificial sweeteners e.g. sorbitol and mannitol are not toxic to dogs) and if concerned bring them into the vets, so they can get treatment as soon as possible.

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Chino the Survivor

Chino has been a regular at the Veterinary Centre over the last few weeks and his outgoing personality have made him a firm favourite with the vets and nurses.  Chino came to our Blue Cross Vets in a critical condition after being hit by a car.

He had sustained multiple rib fractures, a badly fractured jaw and an abdominal hernia (tear in his abdominal muscles).  Despite these life-threatening injuries, Chino's owners knew he was a fighter.  Our professional team performed multiple surgeries to repair his abdomen and jaw.  This was followed by several weeks of intensive care which included a chest drain and a feeding tube.

Throughout it all he never lost his purr and we are happy to report he is now home and looking as happy as ever.

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Smoke and Her Tumour

Smoke the Huntaway, presented to the Veterinary Centre Oamaru after having a seizure.  Her Blue Cross vet, Bridget, found that Smoke's blood sugar levels were extremely low.  After further tests Smoke was diagnosed with a rare tumour on her pancreas called an Insulinoma.  These tumours produce a massive amount of insulin (the hormone normally used to treat diabetics).  This over supply of insulin was the cause of Smoke's low blood sugar levels and seizure.  A technical surgery was performed to remove Smoke's tumour.  During surgery a bright blue dye was administered into her vein, to 'light up' the tumour on her pancreas so her veterinary surgeon could find it.  Smoke's surgery was a success.  The following day Smoke's sugar levels had returned to normal and she was looking a lot happier.  The surgery means Smoke has more time to continue to do her favourite thing - barking at sheep!

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Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be life threatening!

Now that summer has arrived, it is important to make sure your dogs, cats, rabbits and other furry friends have access to plenty of drinking water and shade to escape the heat if they are getting too hot.

NEVER leave your animal in the car on a hot day.  An outside temperature of 24 degrees can jump to 50 degrees in just half an hour.

Signs of heat stroke include restlessness, agitation, whining, panting, foaming at the mouth or drooling, elevated heart rate, muscle tremors and red gums.

If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke - first hose them down with water, give them a drink, pop them in the shade and call us immediately at the Blue Cross Veterinary Centre for further assistance.

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Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament

In August of this year, Jetty the Labrador ruptured the cranial cruciate ligament of his left knee, leaving him extremely debilitated.  Shortly after this, Jetty became the first dog to undergo a cutting-edge surgery in Oamaru known as the tibial tuberosity advancement procedure (TTA) to treat this injury.

The cranial cruciate ligament (known as the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL in humans) is an important ligament of the knee joint.  In many dogs, this ligament degenerates and weakens with age.  Consequently, tearing or complete rupture of this ligament is the most common orthopaedic problem that we as veterinarians see.

The TTA procedure involves making a cut in the front of the shin bone to move it further forward and then putting in a titanium wedge implant made by a 3D printer that fits each dog.

Jetty's surgery went extremely well and since then Jetty hasn't looked back and is enjoying the freedom of being active and having fun with his owners again.  Our Veterinary Centre professional team are very excited in knowing what this operation will mean for our clients.

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Summer Skin Damage

With spring well underway it is important to keep our dogs safe in the sun.  White dogs, those with sparse hair coats or short-haired breeds, are particularly prone to solar damage from UV rays, even on cloudy days.  What starts as an irritating sunburn can lead to more serious conditions from solar dermatitis through to serious skin cancers.

Prevention is better than cure, so to help our pets avoid getting red in the face we can help protect them from the sun.  Keeping dogs indoors during the peak UV exposure times (11am-3pm) and making shade available is important.  Using one of our pet-safe creams or powder sun-blocks on vulnerable areas will help.

Checking your pet regularly is important especially in dogs already living with skin allergies.  Noses and less haired areas are key spots to check for signs of damage so that we can treat early.

Our Blue Cross Veterinary team are happy to talk you through sun-protection strategies or investigate skin disease.

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Uma & the Sea Tulips

Uma, one of our well-loved patients, presented because she had gone off her food and was far from her usual bouncy self.  After some investigation by our Blue Cross Veterinary team, a suspicious, painful lump was felt within her abdomen.  X-rays confirmed this to be a life threatening blockage within her intestines and she was taken immediately to surgery.  During surgery, Uma's veterinarian, Sarah, removed two foreign objects from within her intestine.  These were later identified as sea tulips, a type of sea sponge that commonly wash up on Oamaru beaches.  Sea tulips seem to be particularly attractive snacks to dogs but do not digest within the stomach and therefore pose the risk of causing blockages.  Uma's case highlights the dangers of these tulips to smaller dogs so please take care when you see these on the beach.

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