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Help! My beardies have bone diseases, New Farm Vet.

3 types of bearded dragons are commonly kept in Australia; the Eastern Bearded Dragon (Pogona Barbata), the Pygmy Bearded Dragon (Pogona  henrylawsoni) and the Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Bearded dragons love the sun and it isn't uncommon to see them basking on the road side, on your fence posts or on large rocks in your garden. They are docile and gentle animals and relatively easy to care for. They are rather flighty, so if you're keeping one as a pet, be mindful of open doors, windows or if they're in the presence of other pets.

Help! My dragons have metabolic bone disease, New Farm Vet.

Most diseases affecting Bearded dragons can be traced back to husbandry problems so it pays to research on their requirements. Bearded Dragons are omnivores and diet is similar for all 3 species. Crickets and cockroaches are their preferred meat supplement while leafy greens and sprouts provide a suitable source of vitamins and minerals. They are prone to Metabolic Bone Diseases and resulting limb fractures due to low bone density. Supplements that contain Calcium and Vitamin D3 can be given to prevent MBD. Another method is to "gut load" crickets (or their food supply) by raising the insects on insectivore mix food and then dusting them with calcium. It is also important to provide adequate UV light to the dragons daily for calcium absorption. Natural sunlight that is not filtered through a window or glass enclosure are ideal if not, special UV lamps can be used.

Inadequate supply of water can also lead to development of Gout - uric acid crystals depositing in joints.  It is essential to provide water that is clean and not soiled by faeces or food. Elevate the water bowl if possible.

As with other reptiles, bearded dragons are cold blooded animals and require heat to carry out normal metabolic functions. The enclosure should have a temperature gradient that allows the dragon to seek out warmth when needed. Regularly check the heat source such as heating pads and hot rocks to ensure that they are working properly. Thermal burn wounds take weeks and even months to heal. Suitable substrate and structures in the enclosure must be provided to help prevent skin diseases such a dysecdysis (problem with sloughing). Be careful when you keep two Beardies together. Fights are common especially between males, and can result in bite wounds and fractures.

When Bearded Dragons are well taken cared of, they can live up to 15 years and provide you with lots of company. And remember, all reptiles are protected by Australian law and prohibitions generally exist against the collection of reptiles from the wild. Legal requirements vary from state to state so please check out with your State or Territory National Parks and Wildlife Service.

If you are looking for a New Farm vet, call (07) 3216 0045 to make an appointment to see Dr Nic at Fortitude Valley Vet.

Help! Should I let a tenant keep a pet, Fortitude Valley Vet?

Help! Should I let a tenant keep a pet, Fortitude Valley Vet?

To start helping you to find the correct answer, let's look at a couple of statistics that Fortitude Valley Vet has found on the web:

A survey published by the REIA has found almost a third of the landlords would allow pets in their rental homes, whilst 39.3 percent would not, with the rest undecided.

RSPCA has indicated that 63% of Australian Households have pets but a whopping 42% of pet-owning renters could not secure a home.

This would suggest that there is a very high number of prospective tenants with pets that are having a lot of difficulty finding a rental property.

I have asked a few of Fortitude Valley Vet's clients who are rental estate agents for their advice. And this is what they have suggested:

Pet owner tenants are more likely to be houseproud, and would take more effort to ensure your property is well-taken care of.

Pet owner tenants are more likely to stay longer at properties. This would also suggest that they are more likely to accept yearly rent increase as tenants know it is difficult to secure another property.

Pet owner tenants are more willing to pay a premium to stay in pet-friendly rentals as they know there is a huge lack of supply.

Pet owner tenants are more likely to be honest and upfront from the start about their pet situation.

Consider asking for a Pet Resume to help you decide if the particular pet's breed, age, activity level and health would be suitable for you. References from a vet or previous landlord/agent would be helpful.

 It is also important to ask the Body Corporate if approval is required for pets. Many apartments in Fortitude Valley, Newstead and Teneriffe often have an application process before a pet is allowed.

I hope this helps you to determine if you would like to have a tenant with a pet. Come see us at Fortitude Valley Vet, Emporium, Brisbane, if you have further questions.

Help! How do I squeeze my dog's anal glands, Teneriffe Vet?

The anal glands/sacs are a pair of small glandular structures, located inside the anus (imagine the anus to be a face of a clock and the glands are located at the 4 and 8 o’clock position). Each sac has a small duct that empties a foul-smelling fluid that is normally squeezed out onto faeces every time your dog defecates.  When your pet is unable to void this secretion properly, it can lead to blockage, infection and abscess formation.

Small dogs (particularly overweight specimens) such as miniature poodles, toy poodles and Chihuahuas seem to be predisposed to this problem. It is also reported that chronically soft faeces and poor muscle tone can contribute to anal gland problems.

Help! How do I squeeze my dog's anal glands, Teneriffe Vet?

How do I know if my dog has anal gland problems, Teneriffe Vet?

Signs vary according to the stage the condition has reached. I like to call the initial signs “the itchy bum syndrome”. Your dog will drag or scoot his bottom on the ground as if he is relieving an itch. Occasionally you can smell the odour or even find wet smelly patches on your carpet. Some dogs will lick their anal area and others will chase their tails. The area around the anus may also become inflamed from trauma caused by scooting or licking. Blocked anal glands can quickly become infected, leading to the formation of an abscess if not treated appropriately. The abscess formed can be very painful and can rupture through the skin.

It is important to note that dogs suffering from food allergies or intestinal worms can cause similar signs. Make sure your dog is up to date with his worming routine using an all-wormer (including tapeworm).

What are the treatments available, Teneriffe Vet?

Blocked anal glands can usually be relieved by carefully squeezing out the contents which involves inserting a finger into your pet’s anus. I do not recommend owners to DIY this as you may cause more harm than good. Visit your local vet to get this done professionally.

A less “invasive” method is to put a tissue on the anus, place your thumb and forefinger just below the anal opening. It will be roughly at the 4 and 8 o’clock position and gently pinch in and squeeze. Blocked glands can sometime be felt as two firm bubbles underneath the skin at this area. This method is less effective at emptying the glands. When in doubt, always consult your local vet and ask him/her to show you how to do it. Watch my How-to video on expressing anal glands down beforelow

Infected glands are usually painful and will require general anaesthesia. The glands are flushed and antibiotic administered. Abscesses will require lancing, flushing and a drain inserted to prevent further pus accumulation.

There is a high recurrence rate of all types of anal gland diseases especially infection and abscess formation. Some experts recommend removal of anal glands (anal sacculectomy) if glands are required to be emptied every few weeks. The operation involves delicate surgery as the anal glands lie within the anal sphincter muscle and very close to the nerves and arteries supplying the anus.  However when the surgery is performed well by a skilled surgeon, the results are excellent and healing is rapid.

How often should I have my pet’s anal glands emptied, Teneriffe Vet?

Let your pet decide for you. If you find your pet scooting, then it is probably time to pay the vet a visit.

What else can I do to help my pet with this problem, Teneriffe Vet?

Bulking up their faeces with physllium husk may be a good idea. Similarly, you can try adding pumpkin to their diet to increase fiber intake. As with a lot of other diseases, exercise will be beneficial for your pet by strengthening up his muscle tone and shedding the extra pounds.

If you are looking for a Tenerrife vet, call (07) 3216 0045 to make an appointment to see Dr Nic at Fortitude Valley Vet.

Help! My dog is prone to heat stress, Newstead Vet

heat stress dog puppy fortitude valley vet emporium newstead teneriffe

It has been rather cool lately in Brisbane but heat stress can occur at any time throughout the year and it can be fatal. I nearly lost Diesel to heat stress many years ago while I was out with him on an evening walk in spring so now I am pretty vigilante ensuring that Diesel does not overheat again. However, this doesn’t mean we have to walk or engage in outdoor activities with your four-legged companion only at night!

Help! My dog is prone to heat stress, Newstead Vet.

Tips on preventing heat stress this summer.

  • Check daily maximum temperatures before heading out with your doggie. Early morning or evening is ideal – lots of sunlight still for you to enjoy. Common sense dictates to avoid the hottest part of the day and your pooch will enjoy the walk even more. Realise also that the pavement or path is a lot hotter (and retains heat) compared with the grass. Here's a tip: touch the pavement with your hand to check how hot it is.
  • Try to head to places that have cool shady areas such as picnic shelters / gazebos in a park or near tall leafy trees. This allows your furry kid to move around and seek shade when needed.
  • Bring water with you. There are many commercially available water containers that you can fold easily and put it in your bag or attach to the lead handle. Seek out parks that have water fountains for dogs.
  • Never leave your pet in a car even if you do not think it is a hot day - and that's even with the windows down parked in the shade. Neither should you leave your pet on a back of a yute/truck without adequate shade and water. Temperature on a summer’s day can easily reach hazardous levels for your dog. Remember that you can be distracted, or something might suddenly keep you occupied - if you're not with your pets, they should always be securely in place at a location where there is water, shade and safety. 
  • If you really have to bring your pooch out on a hot day for a picnic or beach outing, heed the above suggestions PLUS: bring along a spray bottle. Misting your dog, especially in the face and paws, helps to ease the discomfort from the heat. I personally would also bring a towel soaked with water and put it into a chiller bag with some ice in it - but make sure the towels aren't too icy cold. Wipe your dog down several times a day to help cool him down. This bag also doubles up as your EMERGENCY SUMMER PET PACK. - if your dog is in heat stress, immediately cool your dog down with the wet towels and go immediately to an emergency vet hospital. These towels cannot be too cold (slightly cooler than room temperature is fine) as this may send a dog undergoing heat stress into shock.   Similarly, you can also drench him with bottles of cool water you have stashed inside the chiller bag.
  • Bring your dogs indoors on hot days. If you cannot, consider getting a clamshell sandpit and fill it up with water for your dog to play in.

How do I know if my dog has heat stress, Newstead Vet?

  •  Excessive panting
  •  Excessive salivating
  •  Vomiting
  •  Diarrheoa
  •  Collapse
  •  Seizure
  • Dark red gums


Time is of the essence.  While transporting your dog to the hospital, actively cool your dog with cool water or wet towels, and apply a fan if possible.

Take extra precaution with long haired, overweight, young and older animals. Breeds that are “flat-faced” or have short nose, such as Boxers, Bull dogs, Pugs and Pekinese are more susceptible to heat stress.

Otherwise, enjoy the great outdoor and don’t forget sunscreen for your doggie!

If you are looking for a Newstead Vet, call (07) 3216 0045 to make an appointment to see Dr Nic at Fortitude Valley Vet.