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December 2017 newsletter

After Hours Emergencies

Village Veterinary Clinic is NOT attended 24 hours a day. If you have an after-hours emergency you have two choices of emergency clinics:
Hillcrest Veterinary Emergency Centre
Cube House, 32 Old Main Road Hillcrest
Cell: 084 520 1417
Sherwood after Hours Veterinary Clinic
Corner Locksley & 36 Jersey Road, Sherwood
Phone 031 207 1300

Village Veterinary Clinic is NOT attended 24 hours a day. If you have an after-hours emergency you have two choices of emergency clinics:

Hillcrest Veterinary Emergency Centre
Cube House, 32 Old Main Road Hillcrest Cell: 084 520 1417

Sherwood after Hours Veterinary Clinic
Corner Locksley & 36 Jersey Road, Sherwood
Phone 031 207 1300

ePetstoreVillage Veterinary Clinic is NOT attended 24 hours a day. If you have an after-hours emergency you have two choices of emergency clinics:
 
Hillcrest Veterinary Emergency Centre
Cube House, 32 Old Main Road Hillcrest
Cell: 084 520 1417
 
Sherwood after Hours Veterinary Clinic
Corner Locksley & 36 Jersey Road, Sherwood
Phone 031 207 1300

Village Vet Shop

shop4

Shop Open Times:
Monday - Friday:
7:45 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday:
8:30 am - 12 pm
 
Veterinary Consult Times:
Monday - Friday:
Mornings: 8:30 am - 12 pm
Afternoons: 3 pm - 5:30 pm
Saturday:
8:30 am to 11 am
 
 
 

Ceaser's Pet Parlour

ceasers_pet_parlour

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Vet

 

 “Oh, you’re a vet? How wonderful! That must be such a lovely job!” As a veterinarian, I often hear these words after introductions at social events and other occasions. I smile and nod politely as I cannot possibly convey the range and complexity of emotions involved in our profession. A single day can start with immense hope and joy when a patient improves dramatically overnight with successful treatment and end in heartbreak and tears when a beloved pet has to be put to sleep due to an incurable disease. As vets at Village Veterinary Clinic we see a wide variety of animals with a range of medical and surgical conditions and I will endeavour to describe a “day in the life of a vet” as seen through all our eyes.

 

A typical morning begins with hospital rounds at 8:00am. The phone is already ringing with anxious owners eager to receive news of their pets’ condition and they are requested to please be patient until after rounds are completed. Hospital rounds involve discussion of each patient’s progress by all the vets and nurses after which daily treatment plans are decided. “Callie”, the Yorkshire Terrier with bite wounds to her neck, has not been eating and will need a feeding tube to ensure she receives adequate nutrition during her recovery. “Jerry”, the 7kg overweight, diabetic cat is looking better since he started his insulin and new diet and he is due to be discharged today – he will need a discharge appointment so that we can show his owner how to administer his insulin accurately and safely and to explain the necessity of keeping “Jerry” on his low carbohydrate prescription diabetic food. “Bob”, an aggressive Boerboel is scheduled for surgery on his knee ligament however we will need his owner to come down to the hospital to get him out the cage as he has already bitten one of our staff members and is proving difficult and dangerous to handle. It is time to get going as there are quite a few patients being admitted to hospital for the day’s medical and surgical procedures.

 

 

Today’s routine surgeries include two spays, a castration, a dog with a large ear haematoma, and a rabbit with a nasty abscess on his leg. There is also an elderly Maltese poodle that needs to have most of her teeth removed due to severe dental disease – she will need careful anaesthetic monitoring, intravenous fluids and antibiotics and needs to be scheduled when both a vet and a nurse are available to attend to her. In addition to these procedures, we also have a number of animals dropped off with complaints including “bitten by other dog last week – starting to smell bad”, “not walking for two days ((x-ray?)” and “not well”. The exotic animals (birds, rats, rabbits, monkeys etc) also have their own procedure and surgery board and are allocated to the two vets who devote their time to treating these delicate patients.

 

 The nurses have just started to anaesthetise the first surgical patient when the receptionist phones through and says there is an emergency patient that needs to be seen immediately. “George”, a seven-year-old German Shepherd, has been hit by a car and is in a very bad way. He is rushed through to hospital and immediately placed on oxygen and given pain medication while his injuries are assessed. He is battling to breathe and has obvious internal chest trauma as well as a broken hind leg. He will need to be treated for shock before he is stable enough to have x-rays of his chest and leg. His owners are understandably very distraught however they are refusing to leave a deposit for the initial cost of his care. I gently explain that “George’s” injuries are very serious and although we can give an estimate of the initial costs for stabilisation and x-rays, we need the information from the x-rays to determine the subsequent costs for surgery on his broken leg. They become very angry as they cannot afford the treatment – it is our fault because vets are so expensive and we are supposed to love animals and so obviously we are just going to let their dog die! A deep breath followed by a gentle reminder to myself that they are emotional and do not mean to take it out on me personally, I offer to sit down with our practice manager and discuss a way in which we can help them cope financially with “George’s” treatment. They request that they be allowed to pay the account over a few months. Unfortunately we often have to deal with the situation of clients promising to settle their accounts over a period of time. When those payments are not met, it leaves us with a large accumulation of bad debt as well as a lack of trust in the next client who requests the same favour. We agree to this in good faith in order to help “George” and his owners. All we can do is hope that they will honour their promise. We have our own financial commitments to meet – salaries, drug payments, rates, lights, water and veterinary equipment and we know that compassion does not settle our debts, only the payments we receive for the services we perform. But for now we focus on “George”, and doing all we can to ensure the successful treatment of this beautiful dog.

 

 Time for a quick cup of tea and a slice of delicious milk tart baked by “Jerry’s” owner with grateful thanks for helping her cat - and then fully booked consultations for the next hour and a half. We have a varied list of appointments: a hamster with a broken leg, a cat that is urinating in the house, a dog with a broken tooth to name but a few. Then the highlight of the day: nine Golden Retriever puppies for their first inoculations. Nine wriggling, slobbering bundles of joy provide thirty minutes of psychotherapy that is worth more than two hours on any psychologist’s couch. The next consultation is not as pleasant. “Gus”, a fifteen-year-old Labrador hobbles in on his painfully arthritic legs and sinks to the floor with a deep sigh. His big brown eyes look up at me and silently communicate…. “It’s time, Doc. Please help me go peacefully”. His owner has also reached the same heartbreaking conclusion and wishes to remain with her faithful old boy during his last few moments. As I administer the anaesthetic solution, “Gussy” gives two grateful thumps of his tail and drifts off quietly. I swallow my own grief and remain for a few minutes to console his tearful owner.

 

I compose myself before seeing my next patient whose owner berates me loudly in reception for being five minutes late for the appointment. The afternoon flies into evening and the last client leaves at 6:00 pm. I contemplate what will be the quickest and easiest meal to make for supper tonight as I sort through the telephone messages that await me. I return a call marked “urgent” and listen to a thirty minute diatribe about a wart that has been on the dog’s head for six months suddenly looking a bit red. Finally I leave for home, exhausted. “Hi Love, how was your day?”…….I smile wearily. “About average, thanks” and I head for the couch.

 

 

 

KNOW YOUR STATUS !

BE INFORMED – BE TESTED !

Feather plucking is quite a common problem seen in birds. It has many causes ranging from serious viral diseases to dietary problems to psychological problems.

We would like to keep you as an owner informed and educated and help you to look after your beloved pet as best possible.

Knowledge is power!

 parrot feather plucking

We are urging all owners of parrots to have them tested for the Beak and Feather virus. Knowing your parrot’s status (even if there are no signs of feather problems) will give you peace of mind and help us to structure a health plan to suit your needs better.

 We are running a promotion on testing your bird for the rest of the year. Please book and appointment to have a blood sample taken and “Know your status”.

 What you need to know:

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) is caused by a circovirus. It is a highly contagious disease that can very easily spread between birds. It is most commonly seen in Ringnecks, African Grey Parrots, Cockatoos and Love Birds. It is shed in feather dust and faeces of infected birds. It is a very resistant virus that can remain infective in the environment for many months.

 It affects the cells of the feather follicles, beak and immune system.

 The symptoms can resemble a feather-plucking problem, but usually the feathers on the head remain in good condition in feather plucking birds, as they cannot reach them. The bird with PBFD will mostly also show feather loss and abnormal feathering on the cheeks and the head.

 Birds can be carriers of the virus and not ever show any feather abnormalities or only show symptoms many years after being infected.

 Hatchlings can contract the virus from their parents through feeding and contact with feather dust and faeces in the nest. They normally present with the acute form of the disease. They will show weakness, poor appetite, crop stasis, diarrhoea and they often die soon after showing symptoms.

 Most birds start showing symptoms at less than one year of age.

 If the bird only gets exposed to the virus as an adult bird, they may not become ill, but they may become carriers and can still transmit the disease to other birds.

 In the chronic form of the disease, the early signs are loss of the powder down feathers leading to a decrease in the white powder that we see in healthy parrots. The new feathers often are sparse, retain their sheaths, have blood in them or can be deformed. There may be a change in the feather color (Normal body feathers sometimes grow out pink in African Grey Parrots). The beak can become shiny and eventually brittle and necrotic in advanced cases.

 The virus suppresses the immunity and these birds often suffer from recurring bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory tract and gastro-intestinal tract.

Once a bird starts showing abnormal feather signs, it means that it has the chronic form of the disease. They shed massive amounts of virus into the environment and pose a large risk to other birds around them.

 The best way to diagnose the disease is by doing a PCR (DNA) test on a blood sample.

 There is no specific treatment or cure for PBFD, but some birds can live for long periods of time before showing deterioration.

 There is ongoing research to try and develop a vaccine, but and effective vaccine is not available at this stage.

 

Suggestions for owners:

  1. 1.Have your parrot tested with the PCR blood test – even if it is not showing symptoms of feather plucking, as the bird could be a carrier.
  2. 2.Do not introduce a new bird to your home or collection before doing the test.

Positive test results :

If your bird has no feather symptoms, but tests positive, there is a chance that it has been exposed to the virus, but is not necessarily a chronic carrier.

The bird needs to be separate from any other birds and it needs to be re-tested after 3 months.

If the bird now tests negative, it has managed to overcome the infection and has been “naturally vaccinated” and should not contract the disease in future.

If the bird now again tests positive, it is a true chronic PBFD carrier and may show symptoms later.

If your bird has feather symptoms and tested positive, it is sadly very bad news. It is not necessarily a reason for euthanasia, and you can try and support your bird BUT it is really important to be aware of the risk that your bird is to all other birds.

Your bird needs to be strictly quarantined and not be allowed to be in contact with any other birds. If you have close contact with your bird, you also should not make contact with any other birds as the virus may be transmitted by you. It will be very important to make sure that your bird does not get too cold or too hot as having no or few feathers will decrease his ability to regulate his own temperature.

We want to support you and your bird as best we can and at the same time ensure that we do not spread the virus to any other birds. In order to do this we suggest the following plan of action:

When you book your appointment, please remind the reception staff that your bird has a contagious disease.

They will ask you to wait outside (weather permitting) for the doctor to fetch you for the consultation.

Please bring your own towel with for handling purposes. Your consultation will always be done in consult room number 1.

 If your bird shows signs of losing weight, diarrhoea, vomiting, being depressed or quiet we need to assess him as soon as possible. It will be really important for you to evaluate his quality of life as you may have to make a decision to rather euthanaze him at some point to prevent your pet from suffering.