Who you gonna call… Myth-Busters!

Happy March everybody!

It’s unreal to think we’re already a third through 2021! As we wave goodbye to summer and the frantics of the New Year, we welcome autumn and the fun of Easter approaching. Next month we’ll dive more into the things we need to be cautious of with Easter goodies, but for now we’re going to look at busting some common myths about our pets! Vaccinations, diet, parasite control, anaesthetics… these are just some of the areas where people tend to have their own ideas or opinions about what is right and wrong, but we’re here to help set the record straight, and keep your mind at ease.

Myth 1: Pet’s don’t need regular vaccinations, just the one off is fine.

Busted! Yearly vaccinations are vital for your cats and dogs to protect them against various potentially fatal or debilitating infectious diseases. We will advise the type of vaccination which will be best for your pet, taking into account a discussion about the pet’s age and lifestyle - such as whether they are mainly indoors or outdoors, and any risk factors that they might be exposed to. Our vets follow the current world guidelines on vaccine types and frequency of use to ensure your pet is best protected from disease. If your pet has any health problems of concern, or a history of autoimmune disease, we may recommend titre testing to check their level of immunity. Similar to when us humans get our vaccinations, there is sometimes some mild pain or discomfort at the site of the vaccination injection, however pets have a lot looser skin than people, and the vaccination injections are given subcutaneously (under the skin) to pets instead of into the muscle like with us humans. Some pet vaccinations, such as for canine cough, can also be given orally or sprayed into the nose. We will be able to explain any common things to be aware of after your pet has had their vaccination, and what to do if you have any concerns. Your pet’s health and wellbeing are of paramount importance to us!

Myth 2: General anaesthetic are never safe for older pets.

Worry not! Older pets commonly have anaesthetics and we will advise the options for your pet. If you have an older animal who might require a surgical and dental procedure, you may be concerned about them undergoing a general anaesthetic. However, our veterinarians will be able to provide the best advice specific to your pets needs, and explain how we can manage any potential risks associated with old age. As part of our discussion with you, we will examine your pet and may touch on some of the following areas:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Blood tests
  • Medications
  • Intravenous
  • Managing anxiety related to coming in to the vets

We will advise you about the optimal treatment options available for your pet to help keep them happy and health.

Myth 3: Feeding pets raw diets are better than the dry food you buy

There are some risks associated with raw diets, so it's very important to check with us first before feeding your feline or canine friends. The best way to determine if any diet is right for your pet is to book a consultation with our veterinary team. We will be able to recommend a balanced diet that meets the unique needs of your pet. You may have heard of the natural BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or Bones and Raw Food) pet diet, which has been a hot topic lately. Some people may like the idea of feeding a “natural” diet to their pet, and a BARF diet can allow the tailoring of diet ingredients for pets with dietary intolerances or allergies. There is some published evidence of some animals, finding these diets more digestible, leading to smaller stools, less faecal odour and improved gastrointestinal health. However, using a BARF diet is not without risk. There are multiple veterinary studies that have shown the majority of published commercial or home-cooked BARF recipes do not provide a long-term complete and balanced nutrition for pets. The research has highlighted that many of the diets tested were deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral (and sometimes several), e.g. imbalanced/low calcium and phosphorous, which can cause bone growth abnormalities. Multiple veterinary studies have also demonstrated an increased risk of harmful bacterial contamination in raw meat and commercial BARF diets (e.g. salmonella, E. coli). Raw organ meats can also carry a risk of parasitic-related diseases like toxoplasmosis or hydatid tapeworm contamination.

Veterinary brand dry foods are guaranteed to be completely balanced, which takes all this worry out for you!

Myth 4: You don’t have to worry about maintaining Flea & Worm prevention on a regular basis.

Majorly busted! Flea and tick prevention products help keep your pet healthy by protecting them from parasites. With so many combination flea and tick prevention products now available, we frequently field questions from pet owners about what are the best products to use for your pet. Flea and tick prevention is vital. Paralysis ticks can be active on the east coast of Australia all year round, but has now been noted in SA as well (not close to us yet). Affected animals can suffer paralysis and breathing difficulties, requiring intensive emergency care. This condition can even be fatal for pets. Other species of tick such as the brown dog tick and bush ticks, are mostly found in bushland areas near to waterways or the coast, and can cause local skin irritation and also transmit diseases.

Fleas are present all over Australia, and can cause severe skin irritation and infection in flea-allergic pets - in fact, fleas are one of the most common causes of skin disease in pets. Fleas can also transmit human diseases, such as cat flea typhus. So a regular program of parasite prevention is recommended for all dogs and cats who go outdoors. In areas where tick-borne diseases are known to occur, it is recommended to use dual prevention with a tick repellent product plus an oral flea/tick prevention product, to best protect your pet.