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Eltham Veterinary Practice
Cnr Main Rd and Mt Pleasant Rd
Eltham, VIC, 3095
Phone: 03 9439 8650

We have a fantastic offer for those of you who own a cat - FREE testing for the FIV AIDS virus.

This month is FIV Awareness Month; FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or in other words Feline AIDS. FIV is a potentially fatal viral disease that interferes with the immune system of a cat. Cats that contract FIV may remain healthy for a number of years, showing little sign of disease while others may display various symptoms. Eventually the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections or diseases and the cat will often suffer from weight loss, eye disease, poor coat, sores in and around the mouth, chronic infections and cancer. As a result, the infected cat will die from one of these subsequent diseases or infections. FIV is spread from cat to cat primarily through bite wounds, the virus being shed in high levels through saliva. Outdoor cats are at a great risk for contracting this terrible infection and Feline AIDS is unfortunately prevalent in our area. Studies show that between 16 to 20% of cats in Victoria are infected with FIV.  FIV-positive cats are considered infected and are infectious for life and there is no treatment or cure for an FIV infected cat.

There is however an annual vaccination that can prevent Feline Aids in your cat. If your cat is over 6 months old, we will first test him or her to see if FIV is present and then there are 3 booster shots with 2-4 week intervals to set your cat up with immunity for the next 12 months. Throughout your cats life, he or she will only need to have this vaccination annually and can be set up to coincide with the other annual shots your cat has to protect it from Feline Enteritis and Feline Influenza.  It’s definitely something to think about and if you have any questions regarding your cat’s risk please don’t hesitate to call us on 9439 8650. To arrange you FREE FIV  test, please contact the clinic to make an appointment.

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Contents of this newsletter

01  Winter Woolies Competition

02  Expecting? Tell your dog you’re pregnant and win!

03  Caring for our senior citizens

04  Does my pet have dementia or am I losing my mind?

05  Oscar's mysterious weight loss

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01 Winter Woolies Competition
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Heidi in her winter hoodie

We received some great entries to our Winter Woolies competition.

To see the top entries (these photos received the most 'likes') go to My Pet Stories Facebook page

We hope they brighten your Winter day!

02 Expecting? Tell your dog you’re pregnant and win!

Many of us treat our dogs as if they were our first born. If you’ve got a bun in the oven or you’re trying for a baby you won't want to leave your dog in the dark. In order to create a healthy bond between your dog and your baby bump you need to prepare your dog for what to expect. The recently released book, Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant is the perfect tool.

Written by Dr Lewis Kirkham, Tell your Dog You’re Pregnant delivers a practical and intuitive approach to preparing your dog for your new baby. The book is bulging with information, helpful tips and the latest behavioural knowledge making it a must read for any dog owning family on stork watch.

Learn how to:

  • Prepare your dog for the baby
  • Accustom your dog to numerous baby sounds, including toy noises
  • Read and interpret your dog’s body language
  • Adjust your routine and the household to keep your dog calm
  • Introduce your dog and baby for the first time
  • Recognise your dog’s warning signs
  • Know when you need professional assistance

We’ve got 5 signed copies of the book to give away. Go to our My Pet Stories Facebook Page and upload a photo of your dog and your pregnancy or current family and go in to the draw to win one in five copies (RRP $39.95).

You can read more information or order the book at

03 Caring for our senior citizens

This month we are focussing on our senior pets. Many people are not aware that they are living with a senior pet and may be surprised to learn that dogs and cats are classifed as senior citizens when they reach 7 or 8 years of age.

There may be obvious changes such as grey hairs around the muzzle, accidents around the house, hearing problems or stiff legs.

But beyond the changes you can see, there can be much more going on, such as a slowing metabolism and changing nutritional requirements. It is easy to put any one of the following signs down to 'getting old', however any of these symptoms may indicate an underlying age related disease:

  • A cough
  • New lumps
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Occasional vomiting or diarrhoea 
  • Changes in appetite or thirst
  • Increasing or decreasing weight 
  • Loss of housetraining 
  • Difficulty climbing stairs or getting into the car

A regular health check with us is the key to picking up on any problems early and there is much we can do to help. Monitoring of your senior pet with blood and urine tests, blood pressure, eye, arthritis and weight checks are all important. Keep reading on to learn more about some of the common problems we see in our senior patients. 

Call us to make an appointment for your senior pet to ensure you have the happy and healthy years together that your best friend deserves. 

04 Does my pet have dementia or am I losing my mind?

It is well known that ageing takes a toll on our entire body including our brain and the same goes for our pets. So if you think your pet may be acting a little senile don't worry, you are not losing your mind.

Research confirms that our pets suffer from dementia too and the disease that affects dogs (known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction) has many similarities to Alzheimer's disease in humans.  

The signs of canine dementia can be classified by the acronym DISHA: 

D: Disorientation: dogs often end up stuck in a corner or go to the hinge side of the door to be let out

I: Interaction: lack or decreased levels of interaction with family members or other pets 

S: Sleep pattern is disturbed

H: House training is lost

A: Activity levels decreased 

While canine dementia has been recognised for some time, there is now increasing evidence that cats may suffer from senility too. 

Signs commonly include:

  • vocalising more or in an odd manner
  • failure to groom themselves
  • forgetting how to use a litter tray
  • appearing agitated particularly when they should be sleeping

The most important point to remember is that there are many other diseases that can lead to any of the signs of dementia so diagnosis involves assessment of your pet and elimination of other diseases. 

Thankfully we have a few treatment options up our sleeve so ask us about the prescription diets we have available as well as a medication that may help improve brain function.

05 Oscar's mysterious weight loss

Oscar is a scrawny but loveable 12 year old long haired cat who is always in search of a feed. He occasionally vomits but his owners had put this down to hairballs.

A check up revealed Oscar had lost nearly 15% of his body weight in the past year despite his ravenous appetite and regular supper at the neighbour's house. 

A blood test confirmed that Oscar was suffering from Hyperthyroidism, a disease that is not uncommon in older cats. The thyroid hormone has a role in nearly every organ in the body. Over production results in an out of control metabolic rate, upsetting the regulation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as the function of the heart. Hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure so detection and treatment are essential. 

Common signs to watch out for: 

• Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite

• Poor coat quality

• Vomiting (don't just put this down to hairballs!)

• Increased thirst and urination

There are different options for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and the treatment of individual patients depends on how well the kidneys and the heart are functioning.  

Oscar has commenced twice daily treatment and he no longer feels the need to visit the neighbour's house for a midnight snack. Most importantly, his organs are not under the stress of of excess circulating thyroid hormone. He will be monitored closely with regular blood and urine tests and we know he will be living a longer and healthier life.