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Natural, Nutritional & Medical treatments for Arthritis

Natural, Nutritional & Medical treatments for Arthritis Just recently it is as though the One Upstairs suddenly flicked a switch; the heating went off and the rain and the wind started up. Instantly it felt like winter! Most of us grumble a bit and pull on an extra jumper but for some of our senior pets, the turn in the weather spells the beginning of a less comfortable time as aching joints begin to flare up in colder weather.  Pets with arthritis suffer when the weather turns a bit miserable. Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating disease and unfortunately it is a common complaint in our senior cats and dogs.  If you think your dog or your cat does have arthritis don’t despair, there are many different treatment options available. Unfortunately there is no cure for this type of arthritis.  Treatment is based mainly on prevention and in management of the pain and inflammation. Read on to hear how Polly has been managed over the years to improve her quality of life living with chronic arthritis. Pollys’ Story Polly is a 13 year old Labrador cross who was adopted by Jan & Peter from a dog’s home 6 years ago. She had previously lived with 3 different owners but has finally found her forever home. She is a beautiful gentle dog who loves cuddles and rolling on her back in the grass. Her absolute favourite thing to do is madly gallop into the ocean and swim in circles. As Polly grew older, her mum noticed she was stiff when getting up and was slowing down on walks. After a run on the beach and a swim she was lame in one of her back legs. Pollys’ Diagnosis Polly was diagnosed with arthritis from degenerative cruciate ligament disease. Like all Labradors, Polly lives for her next meal and as she was doing less exercise, she was slowly getting heavier and heavier! We changed Polly’s food to a raw diet naturally high in protein and low in starch to help with losing and maintaining a lean body weight. We also added […]

Pet Acupuncture: What is it and how can it help?

    Pet Acupuncture & Trigger point therapy Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been used successfully to treat animals and humans for at least 2000 years. It works by using fine needles to stimulate certain points along the body’s meridians (or energy channels). This helps the body to heal itself and restore itself to balance. Acupuncture stimulates physiological changes that affect all systems throughout the body. It can also stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and release endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer) or cortisol (a natural steroid and anti-inflammatory). It is not a cure-all, but can work well where indicted when used alone or in combination with conventional veterinary medicine. Benefits of Acupuncture Relieves pain Stimulates the body’s natural defence system Effective for a wide range of problems including chronic disease An alternative option when harmful side effects of a drug are a problem When surgery is not a feasible option acupuncture can be beneficial Helps recovery post-operatively When to use Acupuncture Before you decide any treatment approach it is important to get a good diagnosis and then look at all the treatment options, including acupuncture and those offered by conventional medicine. To get a diagnosis your pet may need to have blood and urine tests or x-rays. Acupuncture often complements the conventional treatment of veterinary disorders. How will my pet react to Acupuncture? When the needles is place there can be a brief moment of sensitivity. However, most animals tolerate this well, and once the needles are in place they generally relax or even fall asleep! The needles are very fine- much thinner than the needles we use to give injections. Trigger point therapy A trigger point is an irritable, taut band of muscle which is painful when pressed. Trigger points give rise to pain which is frequently chronic. Many dogs with chronic pain and lameness will have trigger points, and they may have a history of poor response to conventional medications. Affected dogs may be young athletic dogs, or older dogs with mobility issues. Dogs with chronic back pain may […]

Pet nutritional supplements: Are they necessary and what do we recommend?

  Supplements for Pets. Many of my patients go home with recommendations to include some form of nutritional supplementation into their diet.  I am often asked why would my pet need a supplement if I am feeding a premium brand of balanced dog or cat food? The answer to that comes in two parts. First the why? Most commercially prepared cat and dog food contains the minimum nutritional requirements for pets in a balanced formula. If the pet eats nothing other than that balanced diet, then they will receive the minimum requirements for maintenance (survival), nothing more. Many people add other foods to their pet’s diet (bones, family left overs, home prepared pet foods). Even though these added ingredients are all good quality, human grade food, they are not completely balanced.  Unfortunately their addition effectively dilutes out the other nutrients leading to an unbalanced diet. So do we recommend these added ingredients or not? Absolutely YES! More on this later. The other reason is that commercially prepared tinned and dry foods for adult pets typically only contain the minimum requirements for maintenance. That is they don’t have anything extra for growth, illness, pregnancy, stress or high levels of exercise. Supplementing these diets with extra nutrients can really boost your pet’s vitality. There are also some nutrients that do not survive the extreme processing temperatures such as anti-oxidants and omega-3 essential oils. So what is needed? In an ideal world, everyone would get all of their required nutrition from the food they eat. We all know that a richly varied diet of organic whole food ingredients, with balanced proportions of each of the food groups, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids would provide all of the necessary nutrients for us all.  Yet, many of us, if asked to list ALL of the vegetables and fruit that they ate in a given week, would struggle to list much more than potato, carrots, peas, bananas and apples. We are surrounded by a wealth of variety in available foods.  As a result of marketing, supermarket subsidies and plain old habit forming, we consequently fall […]

Our best tips to keep your pets coat healthy

A Healthy Coat With all of this wind around at the moment, many of us are suffering from extremely bad hair days! Just as important as it is for people to look their best, it is just as important for us to keep our pets’ coats in top condition too. A healthy glossy coat is a sign of a robust and happy pet.  While a dull, dry coat can be an indication of disease, allergies or nutritional deficiency. Here are our top tips for keeping your pet’s coat looking its very best: Nutrition The first and most important piece of advice we give is to provide your pet with excellent nutrition.  Proper nutrition will usually lead to healthy skin and a shiny coat. With healthy coats pets often have a degree of natural immunity to internal and external parasites. We all know that demodectic mange or lice on our pets is an indicator of poor health. We often find the pets who receive a fresh, natural and well balanced diet have fewer fleas and less frequently require chemical parasite prevention. An optimal diet consists of fresh and natural ingredients with ‘live’ nutrition.  Pets diets should be similar to the diet recommendations that healthy people follow (less processed and refined foods, more fresh wholefoods). It is vital to follow veterinary nutritional recommendations on balancing the diet to ensure mistakes are not made that can have serious health consequences. Washing Our washing recommendations vary depending on the dog we are discussing.  We are seldom mean enough to advise washing cats!  A short-coated dog with healthy skin may not need washing more than a few times a year.  Whereas a dog suffering from atopic skin disease or an inflammatory condition of the skin may benefit from fortnightly baths. All too often dogs are over-washed.  In some cases this can exacerbate the dry itch experienced by allergic dogs, making this condition worse. Reduced washing, or just wiping affected areas with a damp facecloth might produce better results than a weekly bath. The type of shampoo is also very important.  Save that medicated shampoo for when […]

What is the best flea protection for your pet?

Flea Protection I know it hasn’t felt like it but Spring really is well upon us and when the temperatures do rise, so again will flea numbers.  So what does this mean for you and your pet?  What is the best way to keep your pet protected from fleas? Did you know that fleas spend the majority of their time in the environment? That’s right, fleas actually spend only 10% of their time on your dog or cat? This means that 90%!! of the flea burden is living and breeding in your house and garden. And then there are the eggs, larvae and pupae.  All ready to erupt into a full-blown flea explosion as the weather warms up. Reducing the environmental load is why it takes several consecutive months to properly treat a flea problem. It is much more effective to treat the areas that your pets sleep and spend time, rather than just treating your pet. So if you are treating your pet with a flea product, what else can you do to get rid of those fleas within your house and garden? Flea bombs have traditionally been the only option. Unfortunately these treatments are toxic.  No one likes resorting to chemical treatments in and around our homes.  Especially when they require families and pets to vacate the house for 24 hours while they work. This is inconvenient and unhealthy. Tips on How to Remove Indoor Fleas Naturally The safest way to treat your household is to vacuum the areas that your pets sleep frequently.  Afterwards dispose of the vacuum dust into an outdoor bin. If you do this daily and thoroughly you will physically remove the environmental load and stop the fleas breeding.  Washing your pet’s bedding in hot water and hanging it out in the sunlight to dry will also kill flea larvae. Eucalyptus oil in the wash and sparingly dotted onto bedding will also repel fleas. These natural ways to remove fleas from your home are the safest methods.  However when your home is literally jumping with fleas, your dog and cat are scratching like mad and your children are being bitten, sometimes a fast and effective treatment is required. […]

Vaccinations and Titer Testing

Vaccinations, Immunisation and Titer Tests What do they all mean and why should I care? Every pet owner is very familiar with the vet’s annual reminder to bring Fluffy back in for her annual shots.  Annual health checks are important to maintaining good general health but do we need to vaccinate every year? Do you know what is actually being administered to Fluffy with that annual vaccination? Bentons Road Veterinary Clinic believes in vaccinating animals only when necessary.  We have the strong opinion that annual jabs given when not needed may cause harm to your pet. To be very clear though, we are NOT Anti-Vaccination vets.  Vaccinations are essential for providing your pet with immunity to debilitating and potentially fatal diseases.  We definitely need to ensure that we have strong individual and herd immunity to disease.  However we do not need to vaccinate every animal every year to do this effectively. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of immunisation and vaccinations and why this is vitally important to your pet, here are a few important definitions: VACCINATION A dose of a biological compound (part of a virus or bacteria) that stimulates/triggers the body’s natural immune system to provide immunity to that particular disease. IMMUNISATION The process by which an animal is made immune to a disease – usually by administering a vaccine. IMMUNITY Having protection against a particular disease. TITER TEST A measurement of antibodies for a particular disease which correlates with immunity.  VACCINES are those doses of partial disease that your vet gives your pet by injection at their Annual Health Exam each year. Dosing pets with this medication stimulates the immune system to recognise that particular disease as foreign.  Therefore your pet will be better able to fight it when it is next encountered. Perhaps by a real life infection. This gives the pet IMMUNITY to that disease. Sometimes the words vaccination and immunisation are interchangeable. Immunity is established after being given a vaccination, but how long does it last? How Long Does a Vaccine Last? Previously, vets have advised you vaccinate your pet every year.  This was because studies conducted by […]

Should I buy Pet Insurance

  Should I buy Pet Insurance One of the most common topics we get asked about at Bentons Road Vet Clinic is should I buy Pet Insurance. Whether its worth it.  Whether the benefits are there. Many people appear apprehensive about buying pet insurance and are concerned about companies declining payments or not covering certain injuries.  So what should you do?  What do we recommend?  This blog examines pet insurance and provides information to those people who just aren’t sure what to do. When talking about pet insurance, it is often the case that people tend to be wary of insurance companies. This often leads to people delaying taking out a policy for their pet. Many others wait for their pet to become older with the rationale that their pet is more likely to require veterinary treatment as an older pet and therefore they will get more value for their premiums by waiting a few years. In our opinion, this is the worst thing you can do.  Unfortunately taking out pet insurance on an older pet can be a huge cost with very little benefit. The problem with waiting to long to buy pet insurance If you wait a few years before taking out a policy, the insurance underwriters will request a full veterinary history before agreeing to cover the pet. This means that any lameness, skin condition, gastrointestinal disturbance that has been noted in the clinical history will now be considered a pre-existing condition and grounds for refusal of a claim in the future. Unfortunately at our Mt Martha vet clinic, we have often seen the surgery fee for a cruciate ligament repair be declined by the insurance company because the dog had lameness in the same leg as a puppy, before any insurance policy was taken out. Recommendations for Pet Insurance We always recommend to pet owners on the Mornington Peninsula, that they obtain pet insurance at the time of purchasing a puppy or a kitten.  Before it has had a chance to suffer an injury or an illness. After first examining your puppy or kitten, we can sign pets up for a […]

A Healthy Lifestyle

A Healthy Lifestyle Most people in today’s world understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle to their overall health. Good fresh nutrition, getting enough rest, reducing toxic load, gut health, mindfulness and weight control are more than just buzz words in most households. We know we should eat organic and pasture raised foods when we can afford it.  We know we should reduce the amount of toxins and drugs that we expose our bodies to.  Who doesn’t realise we need more sleep and ‘me time’ and we know the importance of probiotics and maintaining a healthy gut. This part is a no-brainer. So why shouldn’t we extend these health ideals to our four-legged friends? At Bentons Road Veterinary Clinic in Mt Martha, we apply this healthy philosophy to the care of our pets. We understand that pets have a positive effect on other family members. There is nothing more ‘mindful’ and beneficial to emotional health than getting out in the fresh air and going for a walk with your dog on one of our beautiful Mornington Peninsula beaches.  How relaxing it is taking time out from the hectic day to day or spending some time stroking a purring cat. Bentons Road Vet Clinic is passionate about the wellbeing of your pet.  We offer traditional and holistic health advice to ensure your pet is as well as can be. Our Overall Health Philosophy We believe natural, organic and unprocessed wholefoods should be fed to your pet as well as to your family. We recommend parasite control based on your pet’s lifestyle and have some great advice on natural methods of flea and worm control.  Vaccinations are recommended only when they are needed and we can easily test for whether they are required or not. We also have a wealth of experience in managing and treating fear and anxiety. Are you the sort of person who strives to keep your family healthy (and let’s be honest, who isn’t)? Then come to the veterinary clinic that applies the same principles to treating your pet. Bentons Road Veterinary Clinic is open 6 days a week, […]

A Good Diet

A good diet and effective parasite control will keep your pet’s coat looking its best.  Like humans a good quality, balanced diet will keep your pet in peak physical health.  You know your cat or dog is in good health when their coat is glossy and the skin underneath is well nourished and moisturised, not dry, flaking, red or irritated. Your pet has energy to burn and just looks happy. Bentons Road Vet Clinic’s philosophy on feeding may be a little different from what you are used to hearing but making some nutritional changes in your pet’s diet can dramatically improve the health of their skin and coat. 1.     A good quality, well-balanced diet rich in fresh and natural ingredients will ensure your pet is receiving all of the nutrients they require to keep their skin and coat healthy resulting in a shiny coat. Pets receiving excellent nutrition often have higher natural immunity to external parasites, needing less chemical treatment for fleas, lice and mites. A high level of omega 3 essential fatty acids are crucial in the diet to maintain skin health and help manage allergic skin disease and these are often lacking in highly processed commercial diets. For more information on nutrition and feeding, click here 2.     Parasite prevention is essential to keep your pet irritation free and to keep the skin and coat looking its best and we have already shown that a good quality diet can help reduce the incidence of parasites in our pets.  Bentons Road Vet Clinic in Mt Marth recommends chemical treatments (spot-on or tablet form) immediately for fleas only when a problem exists or if a pet is at high risk of contracting fleas (think dogs that frequently socialise with many other dogs). Many indoor or low risk pets do not require regular parasite treatment for a problem they do not have. 3.     Regular brushing to remove knots, shedding fur and old skin cells will keep the coat looking its best. Regular brushing also helps to spread the natural oils through the coat and along the shaft of the hair, improving shine. 4.     Infrequent […]