Clinton Street Veterinary Clinic Summer Newsletter 2020

The days are passing quickly in the lead up to the Christmas. Things are getting busy as the clinic renovations enter their final phase, with new cabinetry being installed and the waiting room coming together. The next step will be refreshing the front porches with new brickwork and a ramp entry. We appreciate the patience of our clients as we have adjusted to the new set up.

We also want to wish our clients all the best for a Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you and your animals in the New Year.

Snake bite season

Early summer is the peak time for snake bites of dogs, cats and horses. We are regularly seeing animals who have been bitten by the 3 main species of venomous snakes - Browns, Blacks and Tigers. Many animals recover well, unfortunately though there are some who pass away despite our interventions. We urge clients to be vigilant in looking out for snakes, strange behaviour, especially dogs who can be reactive to snakes, and sudden changes in the condition of their pets. Dogs when envenomated will typically do one or more of the following: salivate and/or vomit, stagger, collapse, pant/breathe with difficulty, or have enlarged pupils. They may then seemingly "recover" - this is an indicator of a lethal dose of snake venom and the animal needs to be treated as soon as possible with anti venom to maximise the chances of recovery. At the clinic we use a multivenom so there is no need to attempt to identify the snake - just call the clinic and bring your animal in.

Cats often present a little differently (see below for why) - they may vomit but more commonly appear weak or are slow to make it home due to being unable to walk properly. They may hold their body close to the ground, with the tail down, and make a strange meow.

If you see your animal with a snake, don't hesitate, call the clinic. There is a vet on call 24/7 - just listen to the answer message.

Why do dogs and cats react differently to snake bite?

Researchers at the University of Queensland have investigated why cats and dogs present with different signs when bitten by a snake.

Snake venom induces "venom induced consumptive coagulopathy". This means that the clotting factors usually present in the blood are used up rapidly after envenomation. The result is an animal is unable to clot their blood like usual. This means they can have fatal bleeding into the lungs, chest cavity, stomach or other spaces in the body.

Dogs have a much shorter clotting time than cats normally. When exposed to snake venom, the researchers found that dogs' clotting factors were used up much more quickly than the cats' clotting factors, making dogs much more sensitive to this effect of the venom.

The difference in behaviour of dogs and cats also explains their susceptibility to snake venom. Dogs often investigate with and get bitten on the nose or face, whereas cats get bitten on the paw. The large blood and lymph supply on the face results in a rapid spread of the venom, vs in the leg where the lymph flow is slower.

We have at the clinic a blood testing machine which measure the blood clotting times APTT (activated partial prothrombin time) and PT (prothrombin time). This machine has helped us correctly diagnose snake bite cases where the animal comes in without the more obvious signs of snake envenomation.

Hoof abscesses - not just a pain in the foot

Hoof abscesses are one of the most common causes of severe, sudden onset lameness in horses. The buildup of pus between the hoof wall and sole causes increased pressure and then pain (much like a nail abscess in us). The pain is relieved when the pus is released. Poultices may then be used to assist further drainage.

Recurrent or non-resolving hoof abscesses can indicate an underlying issue. Most commonly is subclinical (not obvious) laminitis. Ongoing laminae (the velcro cells holding the hoof onto the foot) inflammation weakens the join between the hoof and the hoof capsule/sole, leading to a widened white line, which in turn allows easier abscess formation. The other sign of chronic laminitis are rings around the hoof. Underlying health conditions can make a horse more susceptible to laminitis. Infections of the pedal (coffin) bone can also cause continual hoof abscess like signs.

Our vets can examine your horse and advise on the best care plan to ensure the risk of laminitis is minimised. We can also x-ray your horse's feet to check how the pedal bones are sitting within the hoof capsule (rotation and sinking). These x-rays can guide your farrier to aid trimming and ensure ongoing management of your horse's feet is the best it can be. A horse without good feet is only half a horse (and not the good half!).

Sheep feet - the other pain in the hoof

We have been seeing a large number of sheep affected by foot abscesses this spring and summer. Conditions this year have been ideal for the development of foot abscesses.

Heavy animals e.g. rams and cross bred ewes, standing in wet paddocks are more susceptible however all classes of stock can be impacted. Prompt treatment reduces bone damage and thus the chance of ongoing joint problems.

Affected mobs should be moved off lush, wet pasture to allow feet to dry out. Once treated animals should be marked or recorded in some way to check if treatment is effective.

You will need to have had a vet on farm in the past 12 months in order to meet the legal requirements for supply of prescription medications. We can organise a discounted farm visit if required to ensure you have both the right advice and ability to treat your stock with the required medications.

Christmas Hours

Thursday 24th - 8:30 - 1pm

Friday 25th to Monday 28th - CLOSED

Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th - 8:30 - 6pm

Thursday 31st - 8:30 - 1pm

Friday 1st - CLOSED

Saturday 2nd - 10am - 12pm

Re-open for normal hours Monday 4th.

A vet is on call 24 hours over the holiday period.

Joke corner

Can a kangaroo jump higher than the Rocky Hill Tower?

Of course, the Tower can't jump.