Storm Phobia in Dogs

Due to the recent storms and the subsequent rise in storm phobia cases that we have been seeing we felt we would give you an insight into how your pets may be feeling and how we can help.  Storm phobia or fear of thunderstorms is very common amongst domestic dogs. Dogs can sense the change in barometric pressure leading up to a storm, which may cause your dog to show signs of anxiety before you realise that a storm is coming. These signs can include excessive pacing, excessive licking of the lips, trying to escape or hide, vocalising, or generally unsettled behaviour. In severe cases dogs can destroy things and injure themselves by trying to escape.

Be Calm

Your reaction to your dog’s anxiety as a storm approaches can make the difference between a calm dog and a nervous wreck. As a pack animal, dogs look to you, their pack leader, for guidance and assurance, especially in times of uncertainty. If you adopt a calm attitude towards storms your pet will feel more settled. Be calm and show them the love and attention you would normally show them.  However, be mindful not to fuss over them too much when they are showing signs of anxiety, as this may reinforce that there is something to be afraid of.

Adjust the Surroundings

Providing a dark, sheltered environment for your dog, such as crate training, can be beneficial in many ways, particularly in storm phobic dogs. This offers a safe place to see out the storm and helps to block out the thunder and lightning. Sometimes, closing the doors, windows and curtains and turning a radio or TV on at a higher than normal volume can also help to block some of the lightning and thunder. As well as providing a secure place, it may also be beneficial to divert their attention onto fun activities or their favourite treat to take their mind away from the brewing storm.

Get Further Help If Needed

A veterinarian or behaviourist may also recommend trying natural calming supplements or a thunder shirt. In more severe cases, prescription medications recommended and dispensed by a veterinarian may be required in conjunction with training over a period of time to help resolve your dog’s phobias.
There are both short- and long-term prescriptions medications that can help if the above measures are insufficient.
Please contact us on 0484 613 668 for more information if your pet experiences storm phobias for ways that we can help.

Why Choose a Mobile Vet

Our service offers less stressful vet visits for you and your best friend in the convenience and comfort of your own home. Our service is great for multiple pets and also offers you and your pet more time with our highly experienced veterinarian than would normally occur during a typical vet clinic visit. Dr. Kerri will spend more time with you and you pet/s to offer highly personalized health care for your best friend for all stages of their life.

Other benefits include no additional stressful car rides to the vet clinic with your pets and Dr. Kerri can observe your pets in their own environment. Since Dr. Kerri comes to you there will be less exposure to contagious diseases for both you and your pet.  For those who find it difficult to leave their home, you can relax and we will come to you and your pet.


Paralysis Ticks

Tick season is in full swing here on the Gold Coast.  However, don’t let that fool you as ticks can be a year-round health threat to our fur babies. We have been seeing a steady rise in tick cases recently due to the warmer weather and we felt this was a timely reminder to inform you about this deadly parasite.

The Australian Paralysis Tick, Ixodes holocyclus, is found in the bushy coastal regions of Eastern Australian and is a parasite most likely to affect native mammals, livestock and pets. Though sometimes even humans can become affected.

Paralysis ticks can attach on any area of your pet; however, they are more likely to attach on the front half of your pet. The tick’s saliva contains a toxin that causes muscle weakness which then leads to paralysis. The tick usually needs to feed for 1-2 days before symptoms appear. Paralysis usually starts in the hind limbs and then moves up the body which can then affect the animal’s ability to breath, but paralysis can occur in any part of the body at any time.

Common symptoms of tick paralysis:

  • incoordination
  • weakness especially in the back legs
  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Vomiting/retching
  • Change of bark or meow
  • Difficulty breathing

If ticks are attached close to the eyes, they can cause the eyelids to stop blinking which could dry out the eyes causing damage. Another thing to be aware of is the toxin also affects the animal’s ability to swallow which could predispose them to pneumonia. Tick paralysis is progressive and potentially fatal and should be treated as soon as the animal shows symptoms of tick paralysis. The longer that the pet is without treatment the harder it is to treat the paralysis. If you find a tick on your pet pull it off straight away and call your local vet clinic. If your pet is showing any signs of tick paralysis your pet will need to be treated in hospital via an IV drip.

  • Of course, if there is one tick, there could be another one so don’t stop searching them!
  • Clipping your dog or cats coat short, especially during tick season, makes performing tick searches much easier.
  • The good news is this disease is totally preventable!
  • Please call us today on 0484 613 668 so Dr. Kerri can make sure your pet is properly protected against this deadly parasite.

Ear infections

We see pets with ear infections nearly ever day. It is estimated that 20% of dogs have an ear infection at any given time. That means that ear disease is a common cause of discomfort for our furry family members. Therefore, it’s important that you recognize the signs of ear disease so we can see your pet for  prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Signs of ear disease include shaking their head, scratching behind their ears, rubbing their head on the floor, groaning while having their ears scratched, scaly skin around the ear canal, discharge and foul odour from their ears. Many of this these signs are from the intense itching that ear infections can cause.

There are 4 main causes of ear infections:

  • Anatomy: dogs that have very floppy ears and dogs that have lots of hair in their ear canals are more prone to ear infections because it restricts air flow and can cause moisture and warmth to build up in their ear canals which are ideal for yeast and bacterial growth
  • Ear mites: these parasites are very contagious and cause extreme itching. We usually see theses more often in puppies and kittens.
  • Allergies: Allergies to food or pollen can make ears very red and itchy. The resulting inflammation can cause yeast and bacteria to overgrow
  • Fungal and bacterial infections: These normally develop due to an underlying predisposing cause such as those mentioned above. Dogs that swim a lot are also predisposed. Dogs are also more prone to developing yeast infections after a bath, as yeast infections thrive in moist environments.  Fungal infections cause itching and a yellow brown discharge and odour from the ear.

Treating your pet’s ears:

  • Treating the infection:  Ear cleaning will be prescribed with an ear cleaner such as epi-otic along with medicated drops to treat the infection. Dr. Kerri will clean your pets ears and show you how to administer the drops. Dogs that swim a lot need to have their ears cleaned with epi-otic after a swim to dry out their ear canals to help prevent infection. The same should be done after bath time as well.
  • Treating the underlying cause: This may involve allergy testing or removing hair from the ear canal. If there is an anatomical abnormality causing narrowing of the ear canal, surgery may need to be performed to open the ear canal

Ear infections can become chronic and difficult to treat. If your pet is showing any signs of ear disease, contact us to book a home visit. Early treatment can result in quicker resolution and your furry loved one will be free from discomfort much sooner.