Travelling Abroad

Before your dog or cat can travel past the borders of our country, you will need to have certain validated documents.

 

Every country that your pet will travel to has their own specific set of import regulations. Please liaise with the veterinary department of the importing country, or seek advice from a local pet travel agency for the latest requirements. The process of gathering all correct documentation can take up to 4-5 months, so please plan well ahead.

Things you can do to start the process:
Have a validated vaccination booklet for your dog or cat.
Make sure your dog or cat is microchipped and correctly registered for identification.
Vaccinate your dog or cat against rabies (your pet must be older than 12 weeks before they can be vaccinated against rabies for the first time).

Pet Health Information: Dogs

Vaccination Regimen

 

VACCINE

TIMELINE

1st DHPPi (5-in-1)

6-8 weeks of age

2nd DHPPi,  Lepto

10-12 weeks of age

3rd DHPPi,  Lepto,  Rabies

14-16 weeks of age

4th DHPPi,  Lepto,  Rabies

*5in1 optional but advised; Rabies booster compulsory*

18-20 weeks of age

DHPPi,  Lepto,  Rabies

1 year after last vaccination, repeated annually

*Rabies vaccine is repeated annually by law as Western Cape has had Rabies outbreaks recently*

The 5-in-1 vaccination includes defence against Canine Distemper virus, Canine Hepatitis (adenovirus), Canine Parvovirus, Canine Parainfluenza virus and Leptospirosis. This vaccination is administered every 3-4 weeks until a puppy is at least 16 weeks old. Along with any health check and vaccination visit, we are happy to assist in inserting a microchip for your puppy. 

Activity and Stimulation

All dogs need a form of activity and stimulation. This would entail frequent walks, hikes, runs in the park or on the beach, playing fetch with a ball or a good outing to a social dog gathering with other dogs. Dogs need stimulation activities that demand mental focus. Having activities that you do with your dog will strengthen your bond, keep your dog mentally focused, add to his/her set of tricks and will also often lead to a better-behaved pet. These activities can include specific trick training and treat-motivated games.

Two easy ideas:

  1. Roll a towel flat on the floor and sprinkle a handful of the daily pellets over the surface. Then roll up the towel from alternating corners, creating a knotted towel roll with treats for your pup to unroll and enjoy the hidden treats.
  2. Take a large plastic juice bottle with a lid. Poke holes into the plastic randomly, making sure the holes are just larger than the pellet size. Insert a handful of pellets in the lid opening and seal the lid. Have your pup roll the bottle over the floor, enjoying the treats that drop out as the bottle turns.

Pet Health Information: Cats

Vaccination Regimen

VACCINE

TIMELINE

1st CRP (3-in-1)

6-8 weeks of age

2nd CRP

10-12 weeks of age

3rd CRP, 1st Rabies

14-16 weeks of age

2nd Rabies

18-20 weeks of age

CRP,  Rabies

1 year after last vaccination, repeated annually

*Rabies vaccine is repeated annually by law as Western Cape has had Rabies outbreaks recently*

FeLV (Feline Leukaemia)

Optional, but recommended, anytime after 8 weeks off age and annual boosters.

The 3-in-1 vaccination includes defence against Feline Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis virus and Panleukopenia virus. Along with any health check and vaccination visit, we are happy to assist in inserting a microchip for your kitten. 

Activity and Stimulation

Cats, as pets, need mental stimulation too, but on their own time and demand. Keeping simple play toys available to your cat is important. Cat scratch poles with climbing apparatus is very advantageous to your cat’s happiness.

Low Stress

The feline world enjoys low-stress life. Stress can have detrimental effects on your cat, including viral disease manifestation, slower recovery from diseases, and certain stress-triggered diseases (UTIs). Transforming your home into a low-stress environment will bring added benefits to your cat’s well-being. 

Try these ideas:

  • Having an area where your cat can escape to is important. A small ‘hide-out’, separate room or a ‘blanket home’ will make your cat feel less threatened. 
  • Keeping routines similar for cats gives them comfort. Most cats’ stress levels increase when they travel, there are a large number of guests at home, new pets arrive or even a simple diet change. 
  • Keep enough litter boxes available for indoor cats. Always have a litter box per cat plus an additional one. Sharing litter boxes can cause increased stress. 
  • Pheromone therapy has proven positive stress-lowering effects. There are stationary diffusers available, adapters that can be plugged in or a collar that travels with your cat all the time.

Pet Health Information: General


Senior Pets

Classifying your pet as geriatric will depend on breed and species. Cats are geriatric above 14 years of age but could start showing signs from 7 years of age. As a rule of thumb, large-breed dogs age sooner than small and toy breeds.

Signs of ageing
Ageing pets have multiple vague signs. These signs start at different times and to varying degrees. Our pets’ older bodies are less mobile and reflexes are slower than before. You could see a decrease in activity firstly, followed by a tendency to spend more time sleeping. Our pets’ senses (hearing, seeing and smelling) also deteriorate gradually. With the loss of vision, changing their known environment or routine can be very upsetting. We also see older pets becoming senile, forgetting where they are, pacing around the home with inappropriate ablutions, being unsure of what to do at the food bowl, increased amount of vocal activity, or increased anxiety. These ‘old-age changes’ do frequently occur later in life. Some cannot be reversed, but others can be treated to decrease any level of discomfort.

Comfort at home
Keeping our older pets comfortable and pain-free is necessary. You can ensure that the area where they sleep, or spend most time resting, is soft and a comfortable temperature. In pets with decreased eyesight, we advise not moving around furniture in the home. Regular light exercise is crucial to minimise complete joint stiffness. Grooming geriatric pets is also important. For example, dogs who are less active have longer nails as a result of less wear and tear when walking, and older cats need increased brushing. A good quality diet is important, but weight control is even greater as extra weight adds strain on their already arthritic joints.

Administering Oral Medication

Giving tablet medications in food
Disguising tablets between food or in favourite pet snacks is the easiest way of making sure your pet gets his/her medication in. Safe snacks for medication include a small amount of cream cheese, chicken breast, vienna or a small block of cheese. Make sure that your pet is not intolerant to the snack before incorporating it.

Certain medications work best on an empty stomach and need a short period of no food afterwards in order to function optimally. Other tablets must be given whole (cannot be segmented or crushed when given). Before giving your pet medication with food, please confirm these things.

Giving tablet medication straight into the mouth
If the medication your pet needs is to be given on an empty stomach or your pet eats all his/her food except the medication, then you have to administer the medication directly into the mouth.
Hold the tablet between your dominant thumb and index finger. Lift your pet’s head with your non-dominant hand by gripping the top part of the muzzle in a dog, and the entire head in a cat, so your pet has to look at the ceiling. With your dominant middle and ring finger, open the mouth as you pull the lower jaw down before placing the tablet at the back of the mouth (over the back of the tongue). Close the mouth and hold it closed gently while stroking the throat or blowing on the nose to promote swallowing.

Alternative options to giving the tablet directly into the mouth:
A ‘’pill popper’’ is a simple piece of equipment with a soft plastic edge to grasp the tablet and easily insert the tablet into the back of the mouth.
Make your own liquid solution by crushing the tablets and mixing them into a small amount of water, and syringing it into your pet’s mouth. Please confirm with your Vet before crushing the tablet.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries you have.

Giving liquid medications in food
For most pet owners, administering a small amount of oral liquid medication is a simple task. Adding the liquid to a small snack or over the food does the trick, alternatively, dribbling straight into the mouth works well.

When dribbling liquid medication into the mouth, the easiest approach is to lift the lip while holding your pet’s head, slot in the syringe tip in the gap between the molar teeth along the side of the mouth, and slowly administer the liquid while your pet swallows. Keep the mouth slightly closed with gentle compression over the nose and chin, but leave enough wiggle space to swallow. Encourage swallowing by stroking underneath the neck or lightly blow on the nose. Make sure to shake the medication solution container before drawing up the prescribed amount.

Administering Eye Drops

Pets frequently need eye drops to treat ocular conditions. When administering eye drops, you might need 2-3 sets of hands to assist, but some pets allow you to do it yourself.

Lift your pet’s head so that his/her eyes are looking up at the ceiling. Open the eyelid to expose a small area of the sclera (white part of the globe). Place the dropper close to, but NOT touching, the eye, and squeeze out one drop into the eye. After administering the drop, close the eyelids and move them around to spread the medication over the entire globe.

Giving multiple eye drops are slightly more time-consuming as you will need to have a time gap of 5-10 minutes between administering different drops to allow maximal absorption and effectivity. When you have multiple drops to administer, give the drops from least oily to most oily, unless prescribed differently by your Vet.

Caring For Your Pet’s Ears

Cleaning the ears
Some dogs are susceptible to regular ear infections and then need ear cleaning with medication. After the infection is cleared, routine cleaning is required to maintain a non-infected ear. However, cats suffer from these ear infections less frequently.

Hold your pet close so that he/she does not run away. Lift the ear flap (pinna), and see the ear canal. Do not pull the ear upwards. Wet a tissue with your cleaning solution and wipe the inside of the flap. Administer your cleaning liquid into the canal until full. Gently massage at the base of the ear for a few seconds. Let go of the ear and allow your dog/cat to shake their head and get rid of the excess cleaning liquid (be prepared to get splashed too). Using a clean tissue or gauze, gently clean and dry the pinna and initial canal. Avoid using earbuds in your pet’s ears at home.

Applying ear medication
Ensure the ear is clean and dry before administering the ear medication. Draw up the indicated amount of medication, or uncap the bottle. Hold the pinna open, exposing the clean and dry canal. Do not pull the ear upwards. Carefully insert the tip of the syringe/nozzle into the beginning of the canal. Insert the full dosage of the medication into the canal. Massage the canal gently to allow full dispersion of the medication in the canal. This is standard protocol, but please follow the Vet’s specific instructions.

If you are pregnant, avoid handling steroid creams and medications.

Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth

Caring for your pets’ teeth at home is a simple process but can be tricky if your pets don’t tolerate tooth brushing. It is easier to maintain clean teeth than to get them sparkly clean.

The important factor in dental care is early intervention and prevention. Brushing the teeth is simple and very effective in keeping teeth clean. Pet-specific brushes or small child-friendly toothbrushes can be used. Feeding dry pellets, or specific dental pellets, is also beneficial to the cleaning of teeth. Large gnawing toys or dental treats can also be used. 

Monitoring their dental condition and level of tartar build-up is very important. Regular home checks of your pets’ mouths are vital in the early detection of disease and prevention of a catastrophe. Your annual check with your vet also entails a dental check; advice will be given according to concerns observed then. 

Recognising dental disease at home

There are multiple conditions classified as dental disease. Identifying them can be easy, and early intervention is key. These are a few of the frequently seen conditions. If you have noticed any of these, please notify your Vet of them during their health check.

Puppies and Kittens

Malocclusion

Teeth are designed to be in a specific place in the mouth, all fitting in their own spot. If teeth are in the incorrect spot, they will not fit nicely with the other teeth, predisposing all teeth to disease.

Deciduous teeth (baby teeth)

Deciduous teeth should be replaced by the permanent set of teeth during 4-6 months of age. Sometimes some deciduous teeth do not fall out and stay in place. This creates incorrect positioning of teeth, predisposing them to dental tartar build-up, risking further dental disease.

Adult teeth

Dental tartar

Generally known as ‘dirty teeth’, dental tartar builds up over time when we don’t brush pets’ teeth regularly. This starts as small yellow or brown spots and, when severe, looks like a grey-green ‘rock’ over the tooth. The covering tartar can hide any other dental problems.

Gingivitis and stomatitis

The typical red line along the gum-tooth edge is known as gingivitis. This is gum inflammation that is most commonly triggered by tartar on the teeth. When the mouth has a severe infection of the gums as well as inner cheeks, stomatitis is diagnosed.

Periodontitis

Infection around the tooth and gum can lead to an irreversible receding gum line. This exposes vital structures at the base of the tooth. Deep infection can lead to permanent damage to critical structures that keep teeth in place and healthy. This can lead to mobility, pain and even loss of the tooth.

Tooth fracture

A broken tooth can be very detrimental and lead to abscesses and loss of the tooth. You will clearly see the broken tooth in the mouth or the pain experienced by your pet when eating.

Lumps and bumps

Often, there are multiple growths and bumps along the gumline of our pets. These can be simple ‘gum overgrowth’ or neoplastic growths. These are mostly benign, but sending away a sample is our only confirmation.

Caries

Caries are visible cavities in the tooth caused by fracture or injury. The exposure of deeper structures can develop into deep tooth infection when foreign or food material gets stuck in these cavities. This predisposes the tooth root to infection and injury. Extraction of these teeth with large caries is often advised.

Discoloured teeth

Teeth should be sparkly white. Teeth that are brown, yellow or black tinge are diseased and need to be addressed.

Poisons & Household Dangers

Due to the inquisitive nature of dogs, they suffer more often from intoxication incidents, whereas cats are less likely. Commonly, well-intentioned owners accidentally give their pets something toxic.

It is important to know which items at home carry toxic risks to your pets.

‘I suspect my pet has been poisoned, what do I do?’
If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, contact your Vet straightaway, telling them what you suspect your pet could have eaten. They will discuss the way forward with you, which might include bringing your pet to the hospital immediately.

If possible, bring along the packaging of the ingested material and try to quantify how much was eaten by your pet.

If your pet has been sick (vomited), it is important to note whether there is any of the suspected product in the vomit. Do not allow your pet to eat the vomit again.

 

Potentially dangerous substances at home:

Chocolate (dogs)

Chocolate, made from the Theobroma cacao bean, contains theobromine. This is extremely toxic to our pets. Intoxication affects the nervous system and can be fatal. Dogs that are intoxicated may vomit, become hyperactive or start to tremble. There is also a great increase in their heart rate, electrolyte imbalances and, in severe cases, death. Caffeine also contains theobromine but in much smaller doses.

Antifreeze (dogs and cats)

Ethylene-glycol in antifreeze products is sweet tasting, making it more attractive to our inquisitive pets. Ingested ethylene-glycol forms crystals in the body and can cause major organ damage, even organ failure. Keep products safe and quickly wash away any spillages.

Rodenticide/rat bait (dogs and cats)

This is an emergency and life-threatening! Coumarin, the dangerous ingredient in rat bait, causes problems with the clotting of blood. Please deny access to your pets from the area you have placed bait, as well as any possible rats that have succumbed from ingesting the bait. Toxicity presents as signs of internal or external bleeding (e.g., obvious severe spontaneous bleeding, weak, pale gums, collapse).

Snail bait (dogs and cats)

This is an emergency and life-threatening! The metaldehyde in the snail bait is very dangerous to cats and dogs. Affected pets will vomit, act strange and start twitching, leading to full seizure activity. Please bring your pet to the vet immediately if snail bait ingestion is suspected.

Lilies (cats)

As beautiful as the Lily flowers are in our homes, they are extremely toxic to our cats. Any ingestion of the plant or pollen can cause severe kidney disease, even failure. Cats that have ingested part of a Lily plant will become very ill. Exposure to illness can be a very short space of time, and intoxicated cats will need intense treatment.

Onions (dogs and cats)

The digestion of onions in cats and dogs leads to the release and intestinal absorption of N-propyl disulfide. This substance causes detrimental transformations to the red blood cells, leading cats and dogs to become anaemic (red blood cell-deficient). Please remove any onion from human food before feeding it to your cats or dogs. This includes onions, garlic, leeks and chives.

Grapes/Raisins (dogs)

This is an emergency! Grapes cause kidney injury/failure in dogs. The exact how is still a mystery, but large or small amounts can cause problems. Even as little as 2-3 grapes have been reported to cause damage, and full kidney failure in 48 hours. Please contact your vet immediately after ingestion.

Artificial Sweeteners (dogs)

Xylitol, used in homes, sweeteners and sugar-free gum, causes a large rapid release of insulin after ingestion in dogs. This triggers very low blood sugar levels and possible severe liver damage. This presents as weakness, seizures and even death. Immediate action is required to stabilise these patients.

Prescription human medication (dogs and cats)

Please never give your pets medication intended for humans unless specifically prescribed by your vet. Dosage and tablet sizes are largely different between humans and animals. Animals also break down the medication differently, and this process can be fatal. If your pet accidentally ate human medication (e.g., Ibuprofen, contraceptives, anti-epileptics, blood pressure tablets), please contact your vet immediately. Have the name, tablet strength and the number of tablets on hand.

Caustic substances and cleaning chemicals (dogs and cats)

Due to their inquisitive nature or triggered by smell, cats and dogs could lick, swallow or roll in caustic and dangerous chemicals. These can cause severe ‘burning’ damage to the mouth, oesophagus or external body. In this event, prevent further exposure, rinse off any external chemicals and have your pet seen by a Vet as soon as possible. Identify the product, the amount ingested and any signs shown by your pet (salivating, vomiting, diarrhoea, itching). Depending on the injury, your pet might be admitted for recovery in the hospital.

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