We’re not rushing to get to work, take the kids to school & sports or going to the gym and we’re not frantically trying to get the housework done. So what do we do with this extra time we suddenly have? Use the time to ‘Focus on your pet!’.
COVID-19 has been terrible for humans in so many ways but our pets have benefited from it! Something we weren’t expecting! As a lot of people are home more, they’re noticing issues that have gone unnoticed. Here’s a few interesting things we’ve noticed since COVID-19 changed the way we live;
1. We’ve seen an increase in ‘limping’ cases.
This is largely due to the dog having arthritis but was not been picked up by owners. Now that people have more time, they’re walking the dog more which is causing them to feel stiff and sore. Is the walk causing it? No! There is an underlying arthritis issue that has gone untreated and walking is making it more obvious. This is great news as owners are noticing and bringing them in! We can therefore diagnose the arthritis and get them out of pain. Good news for dogs and cats!
2. We’re vaccinating more.
We can only guess that this is because people are now understanding the importance of vaccination. Without vaccination, viruses spread quickly! It’s great to see more people coming in and vaccinating their pets! During this visit, we’re also finding nasty lumps, ear issues and skin issues that were missed by owners.
We recently had a dog visit our sister practice for surgery to remove a lump. During this visit, we ran a blood test to make sure the kidneys and liver were able to cope with an anaesthetic. The blood test showed something a little strange so we called the owner to get permission to perform an Ultrasound to investigate further. Thank goodness the owner said ‘Yes’ because the Ultrasound showed the dog had a terrible case of bladder stones (see pictures below). These stones would have been causing a lot of pain and discomfort for the dog. Sometimes signs of pain are interpreted by owners as the pet ‘just getting old and slowing down’ or ‘being lazy’, when in fact they’re signs the pet is suffering and in pain. The dog who is generally ‘lazy’ can suddenly become active again, like a puppy! This dog was lucky he had great owners that were willing to investigate. He’d be feeling so much more comfortable now! It’s cases like these that remind us why we became veterinary professionals – to help animals – but you have to bring them in first if we’re to help them. A vaccination and check up is a good place to start.
3. We’re cleaning more teeth!
People have more time to sit on the couch so are cuddling up to their pets more. These cuddles are bringing the bad breath closer! This is great news because we can address the teeth and gum issues which are causing the pet pain. Now that people have more time, they’re focusing on their pets and addressing these issues. Great news for pets!
4. We’re removing more lumps
Again, more time is being spent with the dog cuddling, so owners are noticing lumps and bumps. This is great news because if it’s a cancerous lump we’re getting it off quickly which could save their life! Focusing on your pet could save their life.
5. We’re seeing an increase in gastrointestinal issues
This is something that you can address yourself. Stop feeding your pet human foods! Because we’re at home more, we’re feeding out pets more ‘table scraps’. Left over sandwiches from the kids, biscuits and other food they don’t normally have access too. While we feel great to give the dog a treat, the dog doesn’t feel great afterwards. We’re seeing lot of dogs with sore crampy belly’s from eating food they shouldn’t be eating. We can take away the discomfort at the practice but you can stop if from happening in the first place by asking all family members not to feed the dog table scraps. Buy some dog appropriate treats and put a day’s worth in a small bowl on the kitchen bench for feeding. Tell the family they are approved snacks for the dog so the family can still get the fuzzy feelings from rewarding the dog but the dog won’t suffer for it.
6. We’re seeing more stressed cats
Sadly, some cats don’t like having us at home more. We’d like to think they’d be really happy to have us hanging around more but most cats have a routine and they don’t like it being messed up. The kids are at home all the time, the house is noisier and their favourite spot to sleep during the day is no longer available. This can cause enormous stress for cats and as a result they start urinating inappropriately (peeing all over the house!). There are natural medications that you can buy over the counter, without seeing the vet which are excellent in reducing stress in cats. If you reduce the stress you can stop them from peeing.
Stress can also change the bacteria in cats bladders causing urinary tract infections. Difficulty peeing (sometimes it looks like they can’t poo), straining and blood in the urine are all signs of a urinary tract infection. If your cat shows any of these signs, please get them down to see us as quickly as possible. This is not something you want to sit on as it could be an emergency situation. If your cats bladder is ‘blocked’, it can quickly kill them if they don’t get veterinary attention fast enough.
7. Lily Toxicity
We’re isolating, so family members are sending flowers as gifts. This is lovely, except there are often Lily flowers in the bunch. All parts of the Lily plant are toxic to cats if eaten, so if you have cats, you can’t have Lily flowers in the house. Lily toxicity causes complete kidney failure in as little as 36 hours and can be fatal. If you’re sending flowers, tell the florist to not use any Lilly flowers.