Apr 212017

The decision to spay or neuter your cat will be one of the biggest decisions you make regarding your cat’s health and welfare as well as the welfare of other cats. The pet overpopulation problem is devastatingly serious and animals are being put to death every day because shelters simply don’t have the room. Healthy animals are put to death because people don’t act responsibly.

Some people may feel as long as they keep their cats indoors there’s no risk to having them remain intact. Pet overpopulation isn’t the only reason to spay or neuter your cat. There are health concerns and behavioral implications as well.

What Happens if You Don’t Neuter Your Male Cat

If you’re under the impression keeping your male cat intact is the kinder choice, you’re dooming your cat to a life of frustration and being at the mercy of hormones. Intact male cats will spray. They will be on a mission to roam, increase their territory, find a mate and fight competitors. If your cat is an indoor kitty then that behavior will be directed at companion cats. The spraying will be directed at your furniture and belongings.

Don’t assume just because your cat lives exclusively indoors he won’t contribute to overpopulation or endure any of the suffering associated with life outdoors as an intact cat. Cats escape from their homes every day. Your cat could easily slip out the door.

If you allow your cat outdoors then you’ll put him at risk of injury or even death as he fights other males while in search of a female in heat. Intact males tend to roam beyond their usual territory to search for females. Your cat may enter into the territory of a rougher and tougher male and the end result of that fight could be tragic.

Cat fights often end with abscesses. A cat’s canine teeth are very sharp and if your cat is bitten, the wound may seal over, leaving bacteria trapped inside. This leads to infection and it’s very painful. With abscesses, it’s often necessary for the veterinarian to leave the wound open with a surgical drain while the infection clears. There is so much suffering involved with cat fights that could easily be avoided by neutering your cat and keeping him indoors.

An unneutered male will mate and the result adds to pet overpopulation. If the female with whom he mates is a stray cat then those kittens will likely also live an outdoor life and grow up intact where they will continue to mate.

The more your intact outdoor male fights and mates, the more he is at risk of contracting disease as well as spreading disease.

Intact males are at risk of developing certain cancers later in life. Neutering your young male will eliminate the risk of testicular cancer and greatly reduce the risk of prostate disease.


What Happens if You Don’t Spay Your Female Cat

As with the description above about life for an outdoor male, an outdoor female will endure fights and repeated mating. The feline mating process is not a pretty one – it’s violent and extremely stressful. It also puts the cat at risk of contracting disease as well as spreading disease. Giving birth, especially if your cat is very young, can pose a health risk to her as well.

An intact indoor cat will vocalize, try to escape and become a victim of hormones. Life for an unspayed adult female cat is filled with stress. It’s also very stressful for everyone else in the family. She will not be a pleasant companion to live with. She’ll also attract every intact male in the neighborhood. You may find yourself dealing with cats who are spraying outside your windows or fighting in your backyard because they know there’s a cat in heat close by.

Repeated heat cycles are also very stressful on a cat’s body. If your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle you reduce or eliminate the risk of mammary, ovarian and uterine cancer.

Be Responsible

There is simply no excuse for not spaying or neutering your cat. If you haven’t already adopted a cat then consider adopting one who is already spayed or neutered so that won’t be an expense you’ll have to face.

 Posted by at 9:29 am
Apr 192017

Leptospirosis in Dogs

In the last week we have seen four suspected cases of leptospirosis in our clinics

Rising ground temperatures at this time of year create an ideal environment for rodents to multiply, leading to an increased risk of your dog contracting the disease.

Your dog needs to be vaccinated EVERY year to protect them from Leptospirosis.


The Leptospira spirochete infection mainly occurs in subtropical, tropical, and wet environments. Leptospira spirochetes are more prevalent in marshy/muddy areas which have stagnant surface water and are frequented by wildlife. Heavily irrigated pastures are also common sources of infection. Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil, or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected animal. This last method of contact might take place in the wild. Hunting and sporting dogs, dogs that live near wooded areas, and dogs that live on or near farms are at an increased risk of acuiring this bacteria. Also at increased risk are dogs that have spent time in a kennel.


Leptospirosis is an infection of bacterial spirochetes, which dogs acquire when subspecies of the Leptospira interrogans penetrate the skin and spread through the body by way of the bloodstream. Two of of the most commonly seen members of this subspecies are the L. grippotyphosa and L. Pomona bacteria. Spirochetes are spiral, or corkscrew-shaped bacteria which infiltrate the system by burrowing into the skin.

Leptospires spread throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. Soon after initial infection, fever and bacterial infection of the blood develop, but these symptoms soon resolve with the reactive increase of antibodies, which clear the spirochetes from most of the system. The extent to which this bacteria affects the organs will depend on your dog’s immune system and its ability to eradicate the infection fully. Even then, Leptospira spirochetes can remain in the kidneys, reproducing there and infecting the urine. Infection of the liver or kidneys can be fatal for animals if the infection progresses, causing severe damage to these organs. Younger animals with less developed immune systems are at the highest risk for severe complications.

The Leptospira spirochete bacteria is zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Children are most at risk of acquiring the bacteria from an infected pet.

Symptoms and Types of Leptospirosis in Dogs

Sudden fever and illness
Sore muscles, reluctance to move
Stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait
Lack of appetite
Increased thirst and urination, may be indicative of chronic renal (kidney) failure, progressing to inability to urinate
Rapid dehydration
Vomiting, possibly with blood
Diarrhea – with or without blood in stool
Bloody vaginal discharge
Dark red speckled gums (petechiae)
Yellow skin and/or whites of eyes – anemic symptoms
Spontaneous cough
Difficulty breathing, fast breathing, irregular pulse
Runny nose
Swelling of the mucous membrane
Mild swelling of the lymph nodes

Diagnosing Leptospirosis in Dogs

Because leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, your veterinarian will be especially cautious when handling your pet, and will strongly advise you to do the same. Protective latex gloves must be worn at all times, and all body fluids will be treated as a biologically hazardous material. Urine, semen, post-abortion discharge, vomit, and any fluid that leaves the body will need to be handled with extreme caution.

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms, recent activities, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to what stage of infection your dog is experiencing, and which organs are being most affected.

Your veterinarian will order a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, an electrolyte panel, and a fluorescent antibody urine test. Urine and blood cultures will also be ordered for examining the prevalence of the bacteria. A microscopic agglutination test, or titer test, will also be performed to measure the body’s immune response to the infection, by measuring the presence of antibodies in the bloodstream. This will help to definitively identify leptospira spirochetes and the level of systemic infection.


Treatment for Leptospirosis in Dogs

Dogs with acute severe disease should be hospitalized. Fluid therapy will be the primary treatment, in order to reverse any effects of dehydration. If your dog has been vomiting, an anti-vomiting drug, called an antiemetic, may be administered, and a gastric tube can be used to nourish your dog if its inability to eat or keep food down continues. A blood transfusion may also be necessary if your dog has been severely hemorrhaging.

Antibiotics will be prescribed by your veterinarian, with the type of antibiotic dependent on the stage of infection. Penicillins can be used for initial infections, but they are not effective for eliminating the bacteria once it has reached the carrier stage. Tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, or similar antibiotics will be prescribed for this stage, since they are better distributed into the bone tissue. Antibiotics will be prescribed for a course of at least four weeks. Some antibiotics can have side effects that appear serious, especially those drugs that go deeper into the system to eliminate infection. Be sure to read all of the warnings that come with the prescription, and talk to your veterinarian about the indications you will need to watch for. Prognosis is generally positive, barring severe organ damage.

Living and Management

A vaccination for the prevention of the leptospirosis infection is available in some areas. Your veterinarian can advise you on the availability and usefulness of this vaccine. Make sure to inspect kennels before placing your dog in one – the kennel should be kept very clean, and should be free of rodents (look for rodent droppings). Urine from an infected animal should not come into contact with any other animals, or people.

Activity should be restricted to cage rest while your dog recovers from the physical trauma of this infection. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, transmissible to humans, and other animals via urine, semen, and post-birth or post-abortion discharge. While your dog is in the process of being treated, you will need to keep it isolated from children and other pets, and you will need to wear protective latex gloves when handling your dog in any way, or when handling fluid or waste products from your dog. Areas where your dog has urinated, vomited, or has possibly left any other type of fluid should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly with iodine-based disinfectants or bleach solutions. Gloves should be worn during the cleaning process and disposed of properly after.

Finally, if you do have other pets or children in the home, they may have been infected with the leptospira bacteria and are not yet showing symptoms. It may be worthwhile to have them (and yourself) tested for the presence of the bacteria. And, it is important to keep in mind that leptospires may continue to be shed through the urine for several weeks after treatment and apparent recovery from the infection. Appropriate handling practices will be the best prevention of the spread of infection, or of reinfection.

 Posted by at 5:35 pm
Apr 102017

dog chocolate 2

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromide differs in the different types of chocolate (dark chocolate has the most in it).

What does theobromine do and what symptoms will I see?

Theobromide mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms will occur from 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate and will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has eaten.

If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may see:

  • Vomiting (may include blood)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle tension, incoordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • SeizuresOur advice is not to give any chocolate to your dog, but if they have managed to get hold of some chocolate these are some guidelines you need to be aware of. Approximate amount of theobromine in 25grams of chocolate.
  • Theobromine doses in the region of 100-150 mg/kg bodyweight are toxic to dogs

dog chocolateHow Much chocolate is too much chocolate

Our advice is not to give any chocolate to your dog, but if they have managed to get hold of some chocolate these are some guidelines you need to be aware of.

Theobromine doses in the region of 100-150 mg/kg bodyweight are toxic to dogs.

Approximate amount of theobromine in 25grams of chocolate.

  • White chocolate contains minimal amounts of theobromine.
  • Milk chocolate contains 44-64 mg theobromine
  • Semi-sweet chocolate and sweet dark chocolate contains 150-160 mg theobromine
  • Unsweetened (baking) chocolate 390-450 mg theobromine
  • Dry cocoa powder 800 mg theobromine Signs of poisoning will be seen at lower levels of ingestion.  For example, a 30kg dog that has eaten 200g milk chocolate is likely to have a digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhoea).  If they had eaten 500g milk chocolate, it is likely that cardiovascular problems will be seen (increased heart rate) and if they had eaten 750g milk chocolate they may develop seizures.What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?TreatmentWith prompt intervention and treatment even in dogs that have eaten large amounts of chocolate the prognosis for a poisoned dog is usually good.
  • There is no antidote to theobromine. In most cases your vet will make your dog vomit.  They may wash out the stomach and feed activated charcoal which will absorb any theobromine left in the intestine. Other treatments will depend on the signs your dog is showing.  They may need intravenous fluids (a drip), medication to control heart rate, blood pressure and seizure activity.
  • Treatment may be needed if your dog eats any chocolate so please contact your vet as soon as possible.  It will assist your vet if you can tell them how much chocolate your dog has eaten, what type of chocolate it was (wrappers can be very helpful) and when your dog ate the chocolate.  This will enable them to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic dose or not and what treatment your dog is likely to need.
  • It can be hard to tell exactly how much your dog may have eaten and the amount of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate will vary due to growing conditions, cocoa bean sources and variety. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet for advice if you are at all concerned.
  • This means that for a Labrador (around 30kg bodyweight) we would expect to see a fatal toxic reaction if they had eaten 1kg of milk chocolate, ½kg dark chocolate or 170grams of baking chocolate.
 Posted by at 3:16 pm
Apr 072017

Pet owners are being urged to stay vigilant after the second case of a potentially deadly dog disease was confirmed in Ireland.

Alabama Rot can lead to devastating symptoms in all breeds of dogs and there is no way to prevent your pet from becoming infected.
The devastating illness can cause a dog’s flesh to rot and can ultimately lead to kidney failure, tiredness, vomiting and loss of appetite.
If dogs displaying any of these symptoms are not treated urgently, they can die of a deadly fever.It’s thought that the disease is picked up on the paws and legs on muddy walks, so dog owners are reminded to always wash off woodland mud, check for signs of CRGV and if in doubt, call the vet.

Dogs can also appear to become ‘depressed’ with a loss of appetite and they may start to vomit.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has been confirmed in two dogs here.

one case was recently diagnosed in Dublin.
This follows the first which was confirmed in Co Wexford in January 2015.

The disease has been found in at least 27 counties in England and Wales since 2012.
A new outbreak has seen three cases confirmed within a 50-mile radius of Chelmsford city centre, according to data provided by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
Vets have warned that one of the most noticeable signs of the disease early in its onset is skin lesions.
This abnormality in the tissue of an organism begins as a slow-healing ulcer.

Owners who spot wounds or lesions to the limbs of their pet, or on their dog’s face, that appear to take a long time to heal, should make a prompt visit to the vet.
Dogs can also appear to become ‘depressed’ with a loss of appetite and they may start to vomit.


 Posted by at 3:11 pm
Mar 242017

Now is the time to start thinking about the pesky critters that may be crawling outside and inside your pets. Adult cats and dogs must be wormed four times a year, young cats and dogs can be wormed from 2 weeks of age. With such a broad range of treatments for internal and external parasites there is a product to suit every pet. Call into us today and we can advise you on the correct treatment for your pet.








 Posted by at 3:18 pm
Mar 142017

Too Much Kissy Kissy


Little Tiny a 3 year old miniature Jack Russel Terrier, arrived at the Portarlington clinic on Saturday morning. Tiny was very unwell and had been experiencing vomiting, was not eating and had recently lost quite a bit of weight. Des examined Tiny and immediately became suspicious that there may be a foreign body somewhere inside. Des admitted Tiny and he was taken to Kildare for immediate x-rays to see what exactly was going on inside. Below is what Des found upon taking the x-rays.


The guessing began as to what exactly the object was, the top of a babies bottle/a wine bottle cork. Whatever it was it was stuck and causing Tiny a lot of problems and it needed to be taken out. Des prepped Tiny for surgery and went in.


Unbelievably the object had passed down through Tiny’s tiny oesophagus, into and out of his stomach and had gotten lodged in his small intestine. Des made an incision and removed the object. It quickly became apparent that it was a plastic toy of some kind but it was unbelievably large, well what was more unbelievable was that such a small dog managed to swallow such a large toy. Object found Des closed little Tiny up and he went to his warm bed in recovery.

Little Tiny recovered well from his surgery and immediately seemed brighter when he woke up. By the following day he was eating small amounts and drinking water and keeping everything down, his tail was back wagging.

Upon investigation of this unusual object we found out that it was a Moshi Monster Moshling called Kissy, who is Moshling number 27 and is apparently uncommon and hard to find which is definitely true in Tinys case.

Tiny went home a happy healthy little doggie and hopefully he will stay away from the Moshi Monster collecting for the minute.

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Feb 272017

Most advice you find on the internet recommends washing your dog just several times per year!


dog wash 2

Times have changed! Today, dogs enjoy shampoos and conditioners that are on par with the best human shampoos- that don’t have harsh chemicals and that don’t strip the hair of all of its oils.

The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed. Think about your own hair. If you don’t wash it, what happens? It gets oily. Is the oil good for your hair? Probably, but we wash our hair everyday anyway so that it’s clean!


1. Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?

If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month. I know this is radical thinking, but, if your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa. So, the trade off is that your dog’s coat ~might ~ be marginally drier but you will have a fresh smelling dog that you can cuddle without the fear that gross stuff is getting into the sheets.

2. Breed of dog

Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog.  Breeds with harsh-textured coast include Shelties, Collies and labs and they can be bathed once a month. Dogs without undercoats like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week. If you’re not sure, remember, a clean dog is a happy dog!

3. Is anyone in your household allergic to dogs?

If so, you SHOULD groom & bathe them as often as possible, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.


4. What activities does your dog partake in?

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Does you dog play in the sand or dirt? Does your dog roll in the grass or go swimming or hiking? What about sniffing butts, eating poop or drooling?

Well, if you have a normal dog, she probably partakes in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. Again, you have to think of the trade off. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, he will be cleaner, smell better, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love.


dog wash 1

5. Does your dog suffer from itchy skin?

Unlike humans who absorb most environmental allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin. Weekly bathing can prevent itchyness, washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.

In conclusion — the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them every 2-4 weeks depending on the above circumstances.

But remember, use a gentle pet shampoo and do not use your own shampoo.


Why not allow us to do the dirty work and book your pet in for a pampering.

 Posted by at 3:48 pm