Pet Life Magazine, New Zealand Pet Life Magazine Issue 4 Spring 2017 - Page 13

Deciding to breed your dog or cat is a big decision, and places a lot of responsibility on you. Also, when deciding whether or not to breed your pet, it is important to plan ahead financially. You’ll need to set aside funds for health checks as well as for any unexpected emergencies. Complications such as the need for an emergency caesarian section can be very costly so it’s best to plan ahead and to be prepared for the unexpected! For the pet population as a whole, it is clear that desexing at a young age is an important practice that is adopted by animal shelters globally. When considering desexing your pet and the many factors relating to their specific needs as individuals, it is important to obtain guidance from your vet to help you to make the appropriate decision for their long-term health. ABSCESSES Abscesses are usually the result of puncture wounds. With cats they are commonly inflicted during cat fights, and occasionally a foreign body such as a thorn, splinter or claw can remain. Infection starts under the skin. Pus accumulates as the body tries to fight off the infection and get rid of the foreign material. It is very painful when a lump forms, pressure builds and there’s nowhere for the fluid to go. Many abscesses burst on their own, which provides great relief. Sometimes you can feel a scab over the area and when you pull it away pus comes out. Cats and dogs will often lick and clean the area once an abscess starts to drain, and this assists with the healing. You can help by wiping the area clean twice a day with warm water using a swab or cotton wool pad. Prevention Pets with healthy immune systems may be much less prone to developing abscesses and often heal very quickly. Optimal immune system function can be supported by feeding a wholesome, balanced diet with optimal amounts of immune- supporting nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Another important strategy to help support a healthy immune system is to provide your animal with a comfortable and stress- free home environment. With cats, this can be difficult in suburbia as the neighborhood may be densely populated with cats and fights are often inevitable. Ensuring that you don’t have too many cats in your home, that they all have a safe place to rest in and retreat to and that your surrounding neighborhood doesn’t have stray/ unowned cats is important. Desexing cats can make a big difference to their territorial behaviour, like fighting, and is important to do to promote a healthy environment for cats. Veterinary attention If your pet is unwell, painful, feverish, off their food, lethargic or the abscess hasn’t burst then a visit to the vet can help them to feel a lot better. We treat abscesses by surgically lancing, draining and flushing them to ensure that foreign material is dislodged. This is often performed under sedation or anesthetic because they can be so painful. Sometimes we need to remove dying tissue to promote more rapid healing and resolution of the infection. The wound will often be left open to encourage drainage and sometimes we place a special surgical drain to assist this process. Antibiotics may be needed to help clear up a bad infection but complementary therapies like homeopathy, herbal medicine, ozonated gel, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and others can help aid healing tremendously. About Dr Liza Dr Liza is based in Tauranga where she established Holistic Vets, the first of its kind in New Zealand, which integrates all the advantages of conventional medicine and surgery with complementary therapies combining the best of both worlds to achieve excellent results for our patients and peace of mind for their owners . Her clinic has a digital X-ray, an in- house laboratory, hospital, surgery and a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, likely the second of its kind dedicated to animal use in the southern hemisphere. To help educate and inspire vets about the benefits of complementary therapies, I also serve as the president on the NZ Vet Associations’ Complementary Veterinary Medicine Branch. Dr. Liza Schneider Director / Veterinarian Tel. 07 578 7054 56 Fraser Street, Tauranga Bay of Plenty, New Zealand