POTM March2020

“Blue”, a 4 year old huntaway. Some things in life come down to good timing. That certainly applies to Blue, who chose to develop one of the most life threatening conditions that a dog can develop on the morning that our vet was scheduled to see a lame horse on the same property. The phrase “while you’re here can you…” sends shivers down the spine of most rural vets as it surely means another reason to be late to the next call. When he saw Blue though, he instantly recognised that she was in a bad way. Even without his spectacles perched on his nosetip in an academic manner, he was able to identify that Blue, with a basketball sized and shaped abdomen, had a twisted stomach. Blue was rushed into Warkworth vets in the footwell of the ute, clasped between the knees of an accompanying vet student, whose main task was to prevent the regurgitant, being produced at an alarming rate, to not get on the dashboard.  Blue underwent immediate surgery. Her stomach was untwisted, stitched in place, and she went on to charm all staff and visitors to the clinic over the next few days. She even developed a small fanclub from the local school who monitored her progress with baited breath. 

POTM Oct2019

Thunder, 8 year old horse Thunder was found on a hilltop, just as night time approached. He was motionless and didn’t respond to the rattling of his feed bucket which would usually have him charging down the hillside in hot pursuit of his evening meal. Our on call vet had similar aspirations but downed fork and spoon to race to Thunder’s assistance. He had various nicks and cuts but most concerningly was very cautious on one of his front legs.  He was reassessed by Warkworth Vets 3 days later in the barn after his owner described collecting cupfuls of custard like discharge from a hole near his shoulder. Our attending vet who, being a fisherman, was very accustomed with overstatement, was quite surprised to discover that sure enough, discharge was flowing out at an alarming rate, and indeed he was able to fill several cups. There had to be more to this wound than that which was immediately visible. Thunder was sedated and under local anaesthetic a gloved hand was inserted deep into the wound. Up to his elbow our vet felt bone, blood vessels and muscles he could barely recall the names of, and then something different and unexpected. He grasped this and pulled, removing a chunk of timber the size of a survey peg. He was so excited by this discovery that he insisted the owner take a photograph which she duly did before sitting back down on the ground very pale of face. Thunder has since made an uneventful recovery.

POTM June2020

Milly, a 16 year old moggie Some of our patients at Warkworth Vets have no concept of gratitude. They hiss and spit and try their hardest to sink their teeth into the very hand which tries to help them. Some of our patients have vets and nurses alike questioning their very career choice. Milly is one of these such patients. Milly’s Mum always looks dismayed when she sees the “Care, Aggressive” flag displayed in red on the cage door whenever Milly is at our clinic for the day. She can’t understand it, Milly is such a loving pet when she’s at home. But on a recent winter’s evening, Milly was in a desperate state. She is a diabetic, and as tends to happen with diabetic cats, her dependance on insulin was diminishing which resulted in her becoming suddenly dangerously hypoglycaemic after her most recent insulin injection. Our vet was simultaneously relieved, yet concerned when Milly was pulled from her carry cage in a hypoglycaemic coma.  A quick ear prick and the diagnosis was confirmed. Milly was immediately administered intravenous glucose. Her eyes rolled back down, her tail flicked and a rumbling growl came from deep within her chest. Milly was back. 

Pet of the month

Lucy Lawless Pet of month for July, Lucy Lawless, a 9 year old cavoodle. Lucy has been a regular patient of Warkworth Vets, to the extent that she has been afforded additional favours about the surgery. During many of her stays she is allowed to bask in the flow of the heat pump by the ankles of Becky and Carmel at reception. Lucy has had many health issues over the past few years and has been subjected to many surgical and medical procedures which she has always taken in her stride. Most recently she has undergone a bilateral lateral ear canal resection to help alleviate her constant ear infections. This is a procedure which involves cutting away the outer cartilage layer and skin of her ear canal to enable more effective ventilation of the ears. Dogs ears have their own little microclimate which bacteria and yeasts enjoy. A dog such as Lucy with floppy ears is even more appealing to infectious agents as there is no escape for any moisture which may get in the ear canals, resulting in a magnificent environment for bug growth. Lucy’s lateral ear canal resection, along with diligent cleaning has opened her ears right up to enable better ventilation, reduced humidity and fewer infections, a lot like opening the window after a steamy shower.

FIV (Feline aids)

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Background Feline immunodeficiency virus causes a potentially fatal viral disease that interferes with the cat’s immune system similar to HIV virus in humans (note: It does not transmit to humans).  The virus resides in the blood stream of infected cats and transmission is usually through saliva from a bite wound.  Close contact such as grooming or sharing a food bowl does not spread FIV. FIV causes various clinical signs in affected cats. The general presenting signs in most of the cases we have seen at our surgery relate to immunosuppression caused by the virus. FIV affects the ability of the cat’s immune system to fight off other infections which would generally, in a healthy cat produce no overt signs of disease. We often see them presented for general sickness and fever. They’re off their food and just generally lethargic. They can settle and improve only to relapse a week or two later. They will often present with severe gum inflammation and associated oral signs such as bad breath and dribbling. Risk in Rodney NZ has one of the highest rates of FIV infection in the world. The factors which contribute to this are the high population of cat ownership in NZ, the high numbers of feral cats and the outdoor lifestyle enjoyed by NZ cats. In a 2010 paper published in NZ, the prevalence of FIV infection ranged from 7% in healthy cats, to up to 27.3% of sick cats. A study of feral cats across NZ showed 21.5% were positive. To assess our local risk we recently tested 20 “high risk” cats (i.e repeat cat bite recipients) seen at our Warkworth practice and found 3 positive for FIV. Based on the frequency of which we see FIV cases in our area, we believe that the prevalence being maintained in the local population of cats (both wild and domestic) is similar to that found in the national study above.  Meaning the risks of infection are still significant, especially if your cat is coming into contact and fighting with other cats of unknown health status. Treatment and Control There is no effective treatment for FIV, and often secondary diseases also become refractory to treatment due to severe immunosuppression. Unfortunately, due to compromised animal welfare, the severity of disease and the owners responsibility to prevent the spread and multiplication of this disease in our local environment the only option left is humane euthanasia.  Rarely, cases can be managed by the owner at home given strict control of the cats movements can be ensured and any pain or suffering from secondary diseases can be controlled by treatment. Prevention through vaccination The consequences of FIV infection are so severe that we would recommend all cat owners consider this as part of their vaccination protocol. It is not considered a “core” vaccine, and is not required, for example, to be able to put your cat into a cattery. We operate at the pointy end of cat ownership and see the consequences of FIV infection; a drawn out illness with lots of repeat vet visits and diagnostic tests, all too often ending badly, and therefore encourage you to consider FIV vaccination. The vaccination protocol involves 3 vaccinations from 8 weeks of age at 2 – 4 week intervals, and then an annual booster vaccine. This can be performed at the same time as your “cat flu” vaccinations.  However, please note the following important points before starting vaccination. Current testing cannot distinguish between a true FIV infected cat  Vs a cat vaccinated against FIV.  For this reason we strongly advise that you microchip and register with the companion animal register also, so your cat is permanently traceable and so his/her vaccination status can be known. We have a package price for 3  FIV vaccinations, microchip and CAR registration. For details please phone the surgery. Adult naive cats starting a vaccination program will require a blood test to confirm they are FIV free first.

Drenching Livestock

Drenching, why, how and when? Whether you are a commercial or lifestyle farmer, drenching and parasite control is an ongoing and important part of animal health. Controlling parasite numbers and preventing the development of resistance to drenches are the key aims of any parasite control program. Parasite numbers are primarily dependent on environmental conditions and stock density. However, other factors that can complicate the issue are Species specific metabolism of drugs Cross-grazing of different species (such as sheep and goats) Buying in stock with unknown parasite burdens Stock access to long-standing water sources Dench resistant parasites Repeat grazing of young stock on the same pastures year after year. For this reason, a “one size fits all” approach to drenching is not appropriate and can be deleterious if implemented long term. Here at Warkworth Vets we recommend a three-step approach to drenching. Assess the parasite burden (drench only when needed) Drench wisely (appropriate product and dose) Perform a drench check (ensure the drench is working) FEC A Faecal Egg Count (FEC) is a cheap, quick and effective method that will answer steps ONE and THREE of this drenching approach. All you need to do is collect a fresh faecal sample from your stock (4-6 samples in large mobs is enough) and drop it into the clinic, we can usually have a result the same day and then advise if drenching is appropriate for your stock class. 1. Assessing the parasite burden In New Zealand, most parasites of significance in livestock have similar lifecycles and will flourish under warm, wet weather. Early spring has traditionally been the parasites friend, any parasite eggs on pasture that have survived the winter will start to develop and be infective to grazing stock. Once ingested they take around three weeks to fully develop and start producing eggs that re-infect pasture. The traditional approach to drenching has been to drench a couple of times in spring at one month intervals, then once in autumn to limit parasite numbers that overwinter. However, with the emergence of drench resistance and a changing climate it is no longer that simple and you may need to drench any time of year. When to Drench The parasite season starts as soon as warm and wet weather breaks the winter cycle, this usually happens sometime in august. Collecting faecal samples for testing before starting drenching is important so you can measure efficacy post drenching. Depending on your stock type and density you may need to drench every month all through spring and into summer if it remains wet due to high parasite loads on pasture. This is not ideal due to cost and the risk of parasite resistance, so performing another FEC either before each drench or at least after the 3rd or 4th drench in spring is recommended so you know that continuing monthly drench cycles is warranted. Recommendation Perform a FEC whenever parasitism is suspected or weather conditions favour development. In the Rodney region this may be any time from late winter through to early winter the next year if wet,warm weather persists for a period of 2-3 weeks or more.   2. Drench wisely Choosing the correct drench can be confusing due to the many and varied brands and drug combinations offered on the market. The three key considerations you need to assess are: • What drug active is appropriate (have I proven efficacy in the past?) • What route of administration should I use? • What dose should I use? Drug Actives There are only five drug actives on the market, they are packaged as either single or multi-drug formulations and in general you should use an old generation active before a new generation, and, the least number of actives required for efficacy. As a broad guideline this means use the “fewest actives that work” (confirmed by doing a drench check as outlined in step 3). The reason for this approach is due to drench resistance, using a multi-combination or new generation drench comes with the risk of developing resistance to those actives. Once this occurs there a few options available. Route of administration Injectable, oral and pour-on formulations are available. Double check your equipment and administration method labeled on the packaging. Also check the expiry date on the product (Do not use expired product). With pour-on drenches avoid wet weather. Dose Drench resistance primarily develops due to under dosing, so getting this right is very important. When drenching, always drench the entire mob of any stock class to the weight if the heaviest animal in that mob. If in doubt about weights, estimate higher rather than lower. Recommendation Use the “fewest actives that work” Dose all animals to the weight of the heaviest in the mob Strictly follow the labeled with-hold periods for milk and meat going for consumption 3. Perform a drench check Ensuring your drench has actually worked is very important, particularly for the first drench of the spring season and the last drench in autumn. Without this you may be wasting money on a drench that is not effective or an expensive drench that could be replaced by a much cheaper one. Recommendation Perform FEC 7-10 days’ post drenching to confirm efficacy Record results, use this to aid drench choice at next dose. Additional notes Keep an eye out for “barbers pole” or Haemonchosis in sheep, goats and alpacas. It is an internal parasite that can rapidly increase in numbers on pasture causing anaemia (look for lethargy and white gums). Call the clinic ASAP as it can kill. Liver Fluke is a parasite of livestock with a very specific lifecycle, it does not fit to the above rules and requires veterinary intervention for correct diagnosis and treatment. Ticks require a specific drench for control, call the clinic for advice. Quarantine bought in stock and perform a pre and post-drench FEC to confirm you don’t import resistant parasites onto your property.  

BVD & LIC results

Bulk Milk testing As part of your regular herd test LIC offer a Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) bulk milk test.  This test will measure two aspects of your bulk milk sample in relation to this disease. SP Ratio The first is the SP ratio which is looking at antibody levels. This is the paint ball splat with a letter in the middle appearing on the graph.  If the levels are high it means the cows have been exposed to BVD and are actively producing antibody, if low they are less likely to have been exposed and hence antibody is not being actively produced. If the levels are somewhere in between it may mean that in the past the herd was exposed but the antibody levels are declining, or a BVD free herd may have been recently exposed and therefore the antibody levels are increasing. BVD Antigen The second thing measured is the presence or absence of virus (different to the antibodies which are produced in response to exposure to the virus). This is represented by the arrow at the top of the graph. If you get the red arrow it tells us that one of the cows that contributed to the vat on the day they were tested is a carrier, if you get a clear arrow then there are no carrier cows amongst the cows that contributed milk to the vat that day.  Remember, that is not to say that there isn’t a carrier cow in the penicillin mob or in the younger stock. Low Antibodies In general, a low antibody level (yellow or orange splatter) tells us that your herd has low level of exposure to BVD. That’s fine if your herd is biosecure, but you are at risk of a more severe outbreak if it is introduced. A high antibody level tells us your herd has a high level of exposure and is likely to have been exposed recently to BVD, usually meaning that there is a carrier lurking somewhere in your herd. There is no one size fits all solution to BVD. The best thing to do is, armed with your most recent LIC splatter and arrow graph, accost your friendly vet next time he/she is on the farm to work out what would best work for you.

Small Animal Vaccination (dogs, cats & rabbits)

2016 vaccination protocols for Dogs, Cats & Rabbits New vaccine guidelines released by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) in 2015 now state that puppies and kittens require a final core vaccination at 16 weeks of age or older, this is due to the ~10% of animals that will not react to the 12 week vaccination due to interference from maternal antibodies.  In addition, cats that are deemed high risk of coming into contact with other cats of unknown health status should be vaccinated annually with the core vaccine. Dog vaccination Puppies Core vaccine (Vanguard +5) start at 6-8wks of age, with boosters every 2-4wks until 16 weeks or older. Leptosporsis (Leptoguard) start at 8wks or older with a booster 3-4weeks later.  Recommended for any dogs possibly in contact with rats (note this is a leptospirosis endemic area). Kennel Cough (Bronchisheild III) as a single intra-nasal from the age of 3 weeks for those at risk (kennels, dog shows) Healthy adults (over 16wks) Core vaccine (Vanguard +5) booster at 6mths to 1 year of age then every 3 years ongoing Leptospirosis (Leptoguard) vaccinate then booster 3-4wks later for naive animals then annual booster ongoing Kennel Cough (Bronchisheild III) as an annual intra-nasal for those at risk (kennels, dog shows) Cat vaccination Kittens Core vaccine (Felocell 3) start at 6-8wks of age, with boosters every 2-4wks until 16 weeks or older. Healthy adults (over 16wks) Core vaccine (Felocell 3) booster at 6mths to 1 year of age then annual booster for at risk cats or 3 yearly for low risk cats FIV vaccine initially 3 doses at 2-4wk intervals starting at 8wks of age then an annual booster.  PLEASE NOTE: Conditions apply before this vaccine can be administered.  See “Feline FIV vaccination” page for more information. Rabbit vaccination Healthy rabbits over 12wks of age Calicivirus (Cylap RCD) annual vaccine

Raising Dairy Calves

Dairy Calves With calves now hitting the ground thick and fast. Ensuring colostrum intake within the first 12hrs of life and maintaining good hygiene are key to getting your future stock to weaning in good health and condition. Colostrum Colostrum – Studies have shown that around 50% of dairy calves fail to suckle naturally directly after birth, limiting colostrum intake in the important first 12hrs of life. After this time antibody absorption drastically drops off until 18-24hrs after birth were the gut closes and treats all intake as feed to be broken down before absorption. Calf Sheds Calving Sheds – Adequate ventilation (preventing ammonia buildup), good bedding that drains, maintaining a sick pen and separation into small groups are the basics to get right. Scouring Many diseases cause scouring in young calves but only a few respond to antibiotics. Early detection is important as most can be resolved with fluid replacement (electrolytes), However severe cases require aggressive veterinary care or they invariably die. What can you do Always include a colostrum dose for fresh arrivals into the shed. Ideally 2L in the first 6hrs then another 2L by 12hrs post birth. Monitor closely those that miss getting colostrum within the first 12hrs of life. They are high risk of scouring and amplifying any disease already present in the shed. Run a sick pen and be strict about separation Electrolyte replacement involves interval feeding 2L electrolytes followed by 2L milk during the day with the last feed before bed being electrolytes.